Wednesday, July 12, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson


With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy--an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she's got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.

About the Author

Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including gods in Alabama and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. A former actor, Jackson is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children. 

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My Thoughts
My son, Digby, began at exactly 3:02 in the morning on the first Friday in June. 
Leia (gotta love the name for a character who straddles the geek world) is a top-knotch graphic artist who has a one-night stand with a costumed attendee at a type of Comic Con convention. She doesn't know his name or really know what he looks like, other than the fact that he was black and had a nice smile and gentle eyes, but she is shocked (and later finds she is pleased) to discover that her reckless one-night stand has left her "in the family way". At 38 and single, she recognizes that this may be her last chance for children, so she happily embraces the situation.

As a little girl, Leia's father died and left her mother to raise her alone until her remarried. Her stepfather Keith was a good father to her and Leia loves him, and with their marriage she also gained a step-sister. Rachel was her same age, and they were close as sisters growing up.

So, of course, when it comes time to tell someone about her pregnancy, Rachel is the first person she tries to share the news with. However when she arrives at Rachel's house, she discovers Rachel in the midst of her own personal crisis, causing leia to squash her news for the time being. Then Leia gets news that her paternal grandmother is ill and has her small town in an uproar. Leia leaves to see her grandmother, taking her niece Lavender with her to save her from the unrest going on in her home.

And just when you think that things can't get any tougher for this family, a mystery is unearthed at Leia's grandmother's house that begins a legal investigation involving the contents of a trunk found in the attic.

I don't believe I've read anything by this author before, although I was familiar with her name and previous books. But I've gotta say, I was really pleasantly surprised once I got going with the story. The author's writing is really easy-to-read and engaging. The characters are fleshed out. I got a real feel for their distinct personalities, their motivations and their needs and desires. Even the cadence of their voices came through loud and clear! I always know that a book has grabbed me if I can see the movie playing in my head, and this was one of those books!

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, July 11th: Book by Book
Wednesday, July 12th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, July 13th: bookchickdi
Friday, July 14th: Time 2 Read
Monday, July 17th: Tina Says…
Tuesday, July 18th: StephTheBookworm
Wednesday, July 19th: BookNAround
Thursday, July 20th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, July 21st: Bibliotica
Monday, July 24th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 25th: Leigh Kramer
Wednesday, July 26th: Always With a Book
Thursday, July 27th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Thursday, July 27th: Wining Wife
Friday, July 28th: SJ2B House Of Books
Monday, July 31st: she treads softly

My final word:
I really loved this book! The author's writing is very approachable, and makes for a fast read. Even I, who is a very slow reader, could knock this book out in a few days. There is enough intrigue and enough twists and turns and drama to keep you wanting to read on and not put the book down, but there is also humor (I actually chuckled aloud at one point, which is very rare for me!) and sentimentality, and you'll likely find yourself tearing up more than once. I quite happily and heartily recommend this one as the perfect summer read!

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.