Book Reviews

Book Review: Living in Suspension by Winifred Morris

Living in Suspension is about Sky, an unhappy teen who despises high school. At first, I didn’t like Sky very much and felt that his problems were a direct result of his poor choices and bad attitude. He doesn’t put forth much effort academically, he skips school, his group of friends is comprised of dropouts and troublemakers, he acts like a jerk to his parents, and his overall demeanor is angry and mopey. So why the four-star rating? Because by the end of this novel I grew to understand and like this character, who happens to be the perfect portrait of an average kid who simply isn’t hardwired to succeed in a traditional classroom setting. I also enjoy Morris’ writing style. She takes her time letting you get to know her characters, and she has a way with inserting a bit of humor where you wouldn’t normally expect it.

In addition to Sky’s difficulties with succeeding in mainstream classes, Morris highlights his battles with authority, his struggles to be a good friend, and his crush on the popular neighbor girl. I should also mention that there’s a story within this story. The secondary story is a novel Sky is working on for a creative writing class–the only class he’s ever really enjoyed. This novel ends up providing clarity and hope for Sky in the end.

Even though Living in Suspension is geared toward teens, I think adults would benefit from reading it as well. As a warning to teachers who might want to use this book in the classroom (because it would be perfect for discussion related to differentiated learning environments and teen issues in general) and parents, this book contains instances of swearing and drug use. These instances added authenticity to the subject matter, and nothing was over-the-top or added simply for shock value.

A few of my favorite parts:

“Then she does this smile that seems to make the years fall away again. On warm summer nights when we used to play hide and seek, whenever she found me, she would smile just like that. But she shakes her hair the way she did before, and it’s too red, too pretty. All those years since we were friends jump back into place. She’s one of those girls who smiles at everyone.”

“I was the extra luggage my parents insisted on dragging along even though they would probably have no use for it later.”

“I don’t know why I cried, but I remember how it felt–the twisting in my stomach, the tightness in my chest. In fact, now I’m feeling it again, as if memories carry their feelings with them kind of like bad smells. You open one up, and there it is smothering you again. And they seem to work the way worm holes are supposed to work in space, carrying you on to other bad-smelling memories.”

GOODREADS

AMAZON

 

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Author Events

Author Winifred Morris

Winifred-Morris

Winifred Morris has built and remodeled houses and helped plant more than a million trees. She is the author of several award-winning children’s books, five picture books and four novels for the young–or young at heart. Her debut novel for adults, Of Mice and Money, falls into the genre of humorous women’s fiction, and her second novel, Bombed, is a comic romantic suspense.

Fun-Fact(11)

If you’d like to connect with Winifred Morris or learn more about her, she can be found on the following social media sites:


For a chance to win a copy of Bombed, visit Winifred’s Facebook page, or click here to join the Reader Appreciation Author Hop.

Rock ‘n’ Roll, Romance, and a Bomb!

Annie is the front woman of a rock ‘n’ roll band, playing sleazy bars and barely making enough money for gas to the next town. So she’s also making deliveries for some old hippie friends of the family. This means there’s no room in her life for a man. Too risky for both him and her.

Then she meets Wes, and her heart goes into a Reggae beat. But he’s an undercover agent hoping to bust her and her hippie friends. Next her gentle but schizophrenic uncle gets pulled into a plot to bomb a Fourth of July parade. Add to her troubles a broke broker now turned kidnapper and a bass player who doesn’t like to think too much.

Annie needs to rescue her uncle, stop the bomb, and get Wes out of her life! But does she really want Wes out of her life?

Book Reviews

Book Review: Bombed by Winifred Morris

After reading Morris’s Of Mice and Money (which I highly recommend) I was happy to learn that she’d written another novel. Just like Of Mice and Money, I enjoyed Bombed. Not only is it unique and peppered with humor, romance and suspense, but it is also well paced and full of memorable characters.

The main character, Annie, is the front woman in a band and a likeable drug dealer. Yes, that’s right, she’s an LSD distributor. This tidbit leads me to something that I love about Morris’s characters: They are realistically flawed, yet I can’t help but like them! (I even like the half-wits!) Besides Annie, there’s a hunky FBI agent sent to track down Annie’s suppliers (who happen to be retired, fun-loving hippie friends of her deceased parents), Annie’s paranoid uncle and an array of hilarious side characters.

There are a lot of moving parts in this novel, but Morris did an exceptional job of weaving the plot and subplots together. Everything flows nicely from scene to scene, which allowed me to picture what was going on as if I was watching a movie. In fact, I think Bombed would be a hit on the big screen.

One of my favorite things about Morris’s writing is the way she’s able to transition from:

Funny – “Wes had to wonder if his superiors were truly stupid or cunningly pretending to be.”

to

Touchy-feely – “She wasn’t clever in bed the way some women were. She wasn’t trying to impress him with her skills. She wasn’t manipulating him for her pleasure either. She was just fully there, going with him, taking him with her, so that he couldn’t think about impressing her, or manipulating her. He couldn’t think at all.”

to

Serious – “He seemed deliberately to leave a universe of frigid air between them.”

If you enjoy books that break genre barriers, then you are likely to enjoy Bombed. I truly look forward to reading more of Morris’s work!

A big thank you to Winifred Morris for providing me with an advanced reader copy of Bombed.

4 1/2 STARS

Amazon | Goodreads

Book Reviews

Book Review: Of Mice and Money by Winifred Morris

Of Mice and Money tells the story of Kiva, a woman in her late thirties who wants to make a clean break from her drug-smuggling husband. After a decade of putting up with his “scary business” and being told things on a “need-to-know” basis, she decides to give up a life of luxury for one that is simpler, quieter, and much safer—or so she thinks. When she finds a place that seems perfect for a fresh start, chaos (and humor) ensues as new and familiar faces begin showing up on her doorstep.

Much of the first half of the book, which was a tad slow but packed with the hilarious inner dialogue of Kiva, is spent setting up the plot and introducing key characters. However, if the author hadn’t done such a thorough job of introducing each character, I’m not sure the second half would have flowed as well as it does. As soon as Kiva’s hippie parents show up, the story really takes off. I finished the book in one sitting from that point on. There were no loose ends by the end, and I felt thoroughly satisfied with how everything shakes out.

I really enjoyed getting to know Kiva, who is funny and likeable despite the mistakes she has made in the past, especially in regards to her daughter. When Amy shows up after not seeing Kiva for four years, their rocky relationship adds a layer of drama that any mother or daughter can probably relate to.

This book sort of reminds me of the popular TV series Weeds. Despite the seriousness of some of the themes in the story (drug dealing, drug use, mother/daughter drama, deadbeat parenting), it is still humorous and quite entertaining. No, Kiva is not a drug dealer like Nancy Botwin in Weeds, but their personalities are quite similar. If you were a fan of Weeds, then this book is right up your alley.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

4 STARS

Amazon | Goodreads