Search This Blog

Love reading challenges? Check out my other blog:

2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 30 books. 30% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (5)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho
- Illinois
- Indiana
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas (1)
- Kentucky
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland (2)
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota
- Mississippi (1)
- Missouri
- Montana (1)
- Nebraska
- Nevada
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (3)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas (1)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia (1)
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.*


- Australia (3)
- Canada (6)
- England (11)
- France (1)
- Ireland (2)
- Scotland (1)
- South Korea (1)
- The Netherlands (1)
-Vietnam (1)

My Progress:

26 / 51 states. 51% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

19 / 25 books. 76% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

31 / 50 books. 62% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

36 / 52 books. 69% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

41 / 52 books. 79% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

19 / 25 books. 76% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

57 / 109 books. 52% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Sequel Not As Powerful As Predecessor, But Still Enjoyable

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Just Call My Name, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, I'll Be There.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

With his violent, schizophrenic father behind bars, 17-year-old Sam Border can finally take a breath.  At long last, he can live the normal life he's always dreamed of.  It's a good life, too.  He's enrolled in school; dating sweet, pretty Emily Bell; and watching his autistic younger brother blossom under Emily's mother's care.  That's a Happily Ever After in Sam's book.  

Then, he meets Destiny Verbeck, a vivacious mystery girl who cashiers at a variety shop near the restaurant where Emily works.  Sam recognizes in Destiny a kindred spirit, someone who, like him, has lived a rougher life than Emily could possibly imagine.  The closer he gets to Destiny, the more distant he feels from Emily.  Sam doesn't want to lose her, but something in him refuses to believe someone as innocent and pure as Emily could really want someone like him

In the midst of their relationship trouble comes the last person either one of them expects to see outside a jail cell.  Clarence Border is out and looking for revenge.  Can anyone survive his deadly wrath?  Can Sam and Emily overcome all the odds stacked against them and finally be left in peace to pursue the love that keeps them glued together?  Or will they be torn apart by Clarence or Destiny or both?  

After reading (and loving) I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan, I couldn't wait to dive into its sequel, Just Call My Name.  Even though the first book wrapped up to my satisfaction, I still wanted to check in on Sam, Riddle, and Emily.  That's how deeply they were lodged in my heart!  Just Call My Name starts off pretty tame.  The conflict with Destiny feels forced and gets really irritating really fast.  I was glad when the action picked up in the second half of the novel, perking up the story significantly.   The tense, adrenaline-fueled ending definitely made up for a slower beginning.  In the end, I didn't adore Just Call My Name like I did I'll Be There, but I did enjoy it.  If you like compelling heart-tuggers that are a little outside the norm, give these two books a go.  You won't regret it.

(Readalikes:  I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan; also reminds me a bit of The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson)  


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence/gore, and sexual innuendo/content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Tender, Touching I'll Be There Should Not Be Missed

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Thanks to his erratic, nomadic father, 17-year-old Sam Border wouldn't recognize a stable family life if it alighted on the end of his nose.  He does his best to protect his odd little brother from harm, but Sam knows Rudolph ("Riddle") deserves better than their itinerant existence.  With their father always on the run from the law, the boys have never stayed in one place long enough to put down roots.  Sam longs for a normal life, one that includes school, friends, and safety for both himself and Riddle.  Especially Riddle, who's always silent, always sickly, always starving.    

When the boys manage to break away from their father, they're in even more danger than usual.  They can't attract any unwanted attention.  That plan goes awry as soon as Sam meets the The Bell Family in a small Oregon town.  He's attracted to 17-year-old Emily, not just because she's pretty, but also because she's kind.  Her close-knit family exudes the kind of warmth and love Sam and Riddle have never known.  Sam can't explain to her what the boys' life has been like—she wouldn't understand.  At all.  He keeps his secrets close to his own heart, even as he gives it, piece by broken piece, to Emily.

Just when it looks like Happily Ever After has come along to save the boys, their father, Clarence Border, returns with a vengeance.  No one is exempt from his wrath, especially not Sam and Riddle, whose betrayal Clarence will never forgive.  How will they survive—how does anyone survive—when hope has been so cruelly snatched away?

I'll Be There, Holly Goldberg Sloan's debut novel, is an unforgettable tale that stretches across genre borders.  It's a family drama, a romance, and a survival story all rolled up into one well-rounded story.  The characters come alive, the plot speeds along at a breathless clip, the prose sings with lyrical, luminous beauty—seriously, what's not to like here?  Compelling and unique, I'll Be There is a tender, touching novel that quite simply should not be missed.  In case you can't tell, I loved it.  

(Readalikes:  Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan; also reminds me a bit of The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Zero Days by Ruth Ware


Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive