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Book Review Blog

  • Seema M. Fazil

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

Title: Sweet Cold of Winter

Series: Ashkettle Boys

Author: A.M. Goetz

Published: February 22, 2019

Purchase: Amazon

Add it on Goodreads

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Small towns hide big secrets.

When tourists discover the body of seasoned hiker James Fremont at the bottom of Scarface Mountain Trail, Sheriff Jacob Knight immediately suspects foul play. Fremont died with an engagement ring in his pocket and enough supplies to last two people for several days, yet there's no evidence of a woman at his abandoned campsite.

Worse -- Fremont's girlfriend, local cougar Denise Langerkamp -- won't admit they were ever a couple.

Denise has already moved on, her next target a scarred young man named Dack Ashkettle.

From the moment he first meets her, Dack is certain he loves Denise, but he's about to find out -- sometimes, loving the wrong woman can be murder.

Get your copy of Sweet Cold of Winter today.


My Review:

I'm so glad to finally get my hands on the last installment of the Ashkettle Boys series, Sweet Cold of Winter, on my kindle.

I've been looking forward to it ever since I finished Shaw's Obsession, and picked it up as soon as I finished a semester from my program.

For some reason, there is just something about wintery covers that intrigues me to a book, so it was a big bonus for me to see a wintery cover on an Ashkettle Boys book.

The last installment of the Ashkettle Boys series, Sweet Cold of Winter, was a book that intrigued me from beginning to end, as it followed the youngest Ashkettle still opening his eyes to the world and his experience with falling in love with the wrong woman...

Like Shaw's Obsession, Sweet Cold of Winter was a book that took me through a rollercoaster of emotions. I felt happy, angry, frustrated, excited, and almost cried...

I got hooked right from the first page as it opens with some tension between a couple at a campground. Between a man named James Fremont and the snake, Denise Langerkamp, and how she ended up murdering him by pushing him off the cliff...

While the sheriff, Jacob Knight, tries to solve the murder of James Fremont, whose body was found at the bottom of Scarface Mountain Trail, the youngest Ashkettle, Dack, is still in a coma back at their old hometown...

As usual, I loved the Ashkettle Boys' love and loyalty towards each other. I loved how Sonny and Bo were unwilling to give up on their younger brother; definitely the Ashkettles I know! I also loved the humor and banters between them throughout the book.

One of my favorites that kind of made me crack up:

(Between Dack and Bo, after Dack woke up from his coma)

"I know. It's cool, man. You go ahead and cry if you need to. Doc said it'd take you a while to start feeling like yourself again."
"Feel like... a... big... baby."
"Yeah? Well I'm off diaper-duty, dude. So don't get no ideas."

That was a great humor that lights a reader up after a serious situation.

Despite feeling happy and relieved that Dack survived his coma, I was feeling uneasy as, from my experience reading the Ashkettle Boys, whenever a trouble is resolved, a new trouble always comes up for them. They are boys who seem to always be targeted!

In Sweet Cold of Winter, that new trouble was Denise Langerkamp, as she approaches the youngest Ashkettle and starts taking advantage of the scarred young man, who's been through a lot.

As Dack falls in love with Denise the more he spent time with her, throughout most of the book, I've been wanting to reach into the pages and slap sense out of him to let him know that he's about to throw himself into another danger, and anxious for him to wake up soon! Sweet Cold of Winter has been one of those books, where you, as the reader, know something the character doesn't and you feel like slapping sense out of them, which, obviously, felt frustrating.

Throughout most of the book, I've also been cheering Bo, who was totally alert on who Denise really was and many times, tried to warn his younger brother against her.

More than anything, I've really been disgusted by this dirty woman and hoped with all my heart that she would get what she deserved.

Will Dack ever open his eyes and see who Denise really is? You'll have to read it to find out!

Finally, as soon as I finished reading it, I've instantly debated on a four or five stars, and finally decided on a four after much thinking.

While I really loved and enjoyed Sweet Cold of Winter, there were some minor issues I had with it. For instance, there were times when I felt like Dack, my favourite Ashkettle since the first book, was acting like a spoiled brat, which I felt was a bit out of character from him.

Also, again, like in Shaw's Obsession, Spoiler! we never got to know whether Merle was actually Dack's father or not. End Spoiler! I was expecting to find out in this book after the idea was left unconfirmed in Shaw's Obsession, but it was never mentioned again as though the idea never existed.

And about the ending - Spoiler! Wasn't Denise already supposed to be dead while Sonny was unconscious? End Spoiler!

Overall, the last book of the Ashkettle Boys series, Sweet Cold of Winter, was a great, intriguing read that teaches us something very important.

Be careful who you trust.

I will miss the Ashkettle Boys so much. 😭

Will eventually reread the series sometime in the near future though. :')

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  • Seema M. Fazil

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

Title: Some of Tim's Stories

Author: S.E. Hinton

Release Date: April 2, 2009

Publisher: Speak

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Add it on Goodreads

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Synonpsis from Amazon:

Continue celebrating 50 years of The Outsiders by reading S. E. Hinton's profound and wry compilation of fourteen short stories. Terry and Mike are cousins whose families are almost seamlessly intertwined. Raised as close as brothers and living happy childhoods, neither one thinks of what can go wrong. But the unexpected deaths of both their fathers catapult their lives in two very different directions. Terry finds trouble with the law, while Mike lives his life racked with guilt and sadness. S. E. Hinton gives readers a gritty view of how one incident, one tragedy, affects two boys very differently, and changes their lives forever.


My Review from February 13, 2022:

S.E. Hinton's Some of Tim's Stories is a collection of very short stories that are about two cousins, who were raised like brothers, and how one incident - one tragedy - affected their lives very differently.

Hinton "took a roundabout way of writing in first person, using a narrator who writes his stories in third person".

Being a Hinton fan ever since I read The Outsiders, when I first saw this, the cover pulled me in, and I instantly looked forward to it, expecting it to be a great, heartbreaking story about two boys who were like brothers.

Unfortunately, though, to my disappointment, it wasn't like I expected. They were just a collection of random short stories with just not much character depth for me to connect with them, and I agree with one reviewer on Goodreads saying that they were like a collection of "exercises that were written in a college creative writing course" and then combined together to make it a book. To be honest, reading it mostly felt like a chore. I expected more from it. Also, the last story ended in a cliffhanger, unfortunately.

The only thing I really enjoyed about this book though was the special features, which were the interviews with S.E. Hinton that took over the rest of the book.

I was really happy to get to know my favorite author more. I bet she really bonded with the actors who starred in her movies, especially Matt Dillion.

Finally, all I can say is that Some of Tim's Stories may not be my best S.E. Hinton read, but it was mostly good for pass time.

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  • Seema M. Fazil

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

Title: Shaw's Obsession

Series: Ashkettle Boys

Author: A.M. Goetz

Published: April 27, 2018

Purchase: Amazon

Add it on Goodreads

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis from Amazon:

Stuck in the stages of grief, Dr. Katherine Galway can barely face the day. How in the world will she stop a serial killer?
As a correctional psychologist working with the U.S. Parole Commission, Katherine knows an escalating offender when she sees one.
Enter Shaw McAllister.
Up for parole on his conviction of kidnapping and torturing a teenage boy who bears a striking resemblance to her own murdered brother, Shaw pushes every button Katherine has. She’ll be damned if she’ll recommend his release.
But her declination is overruled, her recommendation ignored.
And now Shaw is out.
He’s out, and he’s headed back home for another go at young Dack Ashkettle.
But Katherine is determined that’s not going to happen.
No matter what it takes, she’ll stop McAllister from destroying another family like her own family was destroyed.
She will.
Or she’ll die trying.


My Review from January 13, 2022:

Where do I start? :')

I'm so glad I finally got my hands on the fifth installment of the Ashkettle Boys series, Shaw's Obsession on my kindle. My first read of 2022.

As I assumed that the whole story would be in Shaw's point of view only and that the Ashkettle brothers would be side characters this time, I can't believe I nearly thought of skipping it, and how glad I didn't! I was so relieved that my assumption turned out to be wrong.

Shaw's Obsession was filled with excitement and suspense, and one that took me through a rollercoaster of emotions that I just wasn't able to contain myself. As usual, I loved the Ashkettle brothers' love and loyalty to each other and of course, felt their emotions; happy when they were happy and sad when they were sad. And of course, I felt angry when Katherine's declination was overruled, and Shaw McAllister was released. To have another go at Dack.

I was tensed up and hoped that Dack would be safe. Spoiler! How painful it was for me when Shaw managed to get a hold of him! End Spoiler!

Also, I was really impressed with Katherine for her determination to fight for justice.

While I really did enjoy Shaw's Obsession, there were some minor issues I had with it.

For instance, Goetz's messy writing, which was kind of a distraction from enjoying the story. There were times I felt like she just wrote it in one go without bothering to check it over for errors, like getting the names mixed up, for example.

Also, there were things I feel like didn't tie up. For instance, Spoiler! it's never confirmed whether Merle is actually Dack's father or not. End Spoiler!

Finally, the ending. I was sad that Spoiler! Dack didn't get better and that he stayed in a coma. Oh well, I guess we'll find out in the next book. End Spoiler! But hey, at least it's realistic. After all, life isn't always fairytale-happy endings.

Overall, Shaw's Obsession was an enjoyable read and I look forward to getting my hands on the sixth installment soon, Sweet Cold of Winter.

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