Someone Else's Love Story [NOOK Book]

Overview

I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K

For single mom Shandi Pierce, life is a juggling act. She's finishing college; raising her delightful three-year-old genius son, Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo; and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Christian mother and Jewish father. She's got enough to deal with before she gets caught in the middle of a stickup in a gas station mini-mart and falls in love with a great wall of a man named William...

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Someone Else's Love Story

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Overview

I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K

For single mom Shandi Pierce, life is a juggling act. She's finishing college; raising her delightful three-year-old genius son, Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo; and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Christian mother and Jewish father. She's got enough to deal with before she gets caught in the middle of a stickup in a gas station mini-mart and falls in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who steps between the armed robber and her son to shield the child from danger.

Shandi doesn't know that her blond god has his own baggage. When he looked down the barrel of the gun in the gas station he believed it was destiny: it's been exactly one year since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn't define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.

Now, William and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head-on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

Someone Else's Love Story is Joshilyn Jackson's funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love and learning that things aren't always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. It's a story about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
09/15/2013
Destiny. That's what Shandi Pierce is convinced brought her and scientist William Ashe together during a robbery at a Circle K store in rural Georgia, and that is what's going to help her answer a question that has been plaguing her for years. However, as their stories become more entwined and secrets from their pasts are revealed, Shandi wonders if she even wants the answer at all. VERDICT Jackson's sixth novel (after A Grown Up Kind of Pretty) is original and amusing, and the plot takes an unexpected turn with the introduction of a new character late in the book. Unfortunately, the clunky transitions among narrators and jumps between the past and present distract at times from the story. Still, Jackson's many fans and those who love authentic Southern fiction should enjoy this title. [See Prepub Alert, 6/3/13.]—Amber McKee, Cumberland Univ. Lib., Lebanon, TN
Publishers Weekly
10/07/2013
Friendships and relationships are tested by tragedy in this witty and insightful sixth novel from the author of Gods in Alabama and A Grown-up Kind of Pretty. Single mother Shandi Pierce is paralyzed with fear when she and her young son Natty are caught in the crossfire of a convenience store stickup gone bad. That is, until the dashing William Ashe steps between Natty and the gunman. Smitten by her erstwhile savior, Shandi buddies up to William, hoping their friendship can become more, but is stymied by complications in the form of Shandi’s disapproving best friend Walcott, William’s cohort Paula, Shandi’s ever-feuding divorced parents, and William’s own heartbreaking and as-yet unresolved past. With a deft wit and a series of stellar twists, Jackson creates a conventional love story that is also something more: an exploration of what draws people together, and pushes them apart; a commentary on faith’s ability to unite or divide; and a reminder that “death brushing past makes people hungry to connect to other people.” What emerges is a novel at once funny and touching, whose characters’ many flaws are overshadowed by all the ways in which they look out for one another. The final denouement of Jackson’s roller-coaster love story will leave the reader both thoroughly sated and hungry for more. (Dec.)
Booklist on SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY
“An inspiring story of love, faith and redemption...All of the characters... are so vividly drawn, they fairly leap off the page.”
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
“That rare woman’s novel that is sure to please readers of popular fiction as well as literary fiction. A terrific pageturner!”
People (3 ½ stars)
“Witty, cleverly constructed and including a truly surprising twist, Someone Else’s Love Story turns out to be a nuanced exploration of faith, family and the things we do for love.”
Omaha World-Herald
Someone Else’s Love Story is worth reading, even studying. Expressions of love come in many forms, as Jackson shows.”
Atlanta Magazine
“Finely drawn characters make the miraculous plausible, from the opening hostage scene in a North Georgia convenience store to an ending that hits the mark of ‘surprising yet inevitable’ mastered and articulated by Flannery O’Connor.”
Dallas Morning News on SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY
“A surprising novel, both graceful and tender. You won’t be able to put it down.”
Greenville News
Someone Else’s Love Story is never predictable, full of humor and heart and characters you can’t help but love.”
USA Today
“[T]here is love at [this novel’s] heart… there is much to gain from a closer read.” (3 out of 4 stars)
Wichita Falls Times Record Review
“Joshilyn Jackson is a brilliant storyteller and has a unique gift of bringing quirkiness to her characters and a lot of twists and turns to her tale.”
BookPage
“There are scenes that will make you gasp, pause or even tear up as Jackson’s characters fumble toward imperfect enlightenment. Someone Else’s Love Story will delight and surprise with its unexpected compassion, empathy and humanity.”
Bookreporter.com
“This charming page-turner serves up a twist I never remotely expected, followed by an utterly satisfying conclusion.”
Kirkus Reviews
Jackson's novel perfectly captures the flavor and rhythm of Southern life as a young woman preparing for college finds herself caught up in a real-life drama. Shandi has a miracle baby. His name is Nathan, but she and her BFF, Walcott, call the precocious 3-year-old genius Natty. As Shandi moves out of her mother's home to her successful physician father's condominium in Atlanta, she, Walcott and Natty become caught up in an armed robbery. It's during this robbery that Shandi meets William Ashe, a giant of a man with a palpable, lingering sorrow. When William takes a bullet during the robbery, Shandi decides to take on William and starts caring for him on the day he leaves the hospital. In due course, she discovers that William's suffered a tragic loss and finds herself fighting both his memories of happier times and his best friend, Paula, who makes it clear she wants Shandi out of the picture. However, Shandi is coping with a dilemma she thinks William can help her resolve: discovering the identity of the man who fathered her child. Shandi conceived Natty after being raped at a college party years before and still has enough of his DNA to possibly deduce his identity. William, a research scientist, has both the tools and the know-how to narrow down, if not figure out, just who her attacker might be. Jackson draws on her own Southern roots to paint this pitch-perfect portrait of a girl from a small town in Georgia. She traces Shandi's struggles to figure out what, if anything, William really means to her. Wrapped in a thoughtful, often funny and insightful narrative that brings Shandi and those in her satellite to life, Jackson presents the reader with a story that is never predictable and is awash in bittersweet love, regret and the promise of what could be. A surprising novel, both graceful and tender. You won't be able to put it down.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062105677
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/19/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 3,018
  • File size: 527 KB

Meet the Author

Joshilyn Jackson

Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including gods in Alabama and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.

Biography

During her trek from a tiny town in Alabama to a university in the big city of Chicago, Arlene Fleet makes a deal with God: If she agrees to never lie, never fornicate again, and never return to that little Alabama town, than God will agree to ensure that a certain corpse is never unearthed. Perhaps this is not the kind of deal to be made by a good southern girl, but Arlene Fleet isn't quite a good southern girl. She is, however, the central character in Joshilyn Jackson's breakthrough debut novel, Gods in Alabama.

Jackson wrote Gods in Alabama after a journey up north of her own. Much like Arlene, she was born in the South, and according to her official biography, "raised by a tribe of wild fundamentalists." Also like Arlene, Jackson eventually moved to Chicago, where she taught English at UIC. However, Arlene is no mere stand-in for the author. Although she is often asked if she based the character upon herself, Jackson is ready to admit that she does not have much in common with the promiscuous girl who may or may not be a murderer. In fact, when Arlene Fleet made her very first appearance in a short story titled "Little Dead Uglies," the narrator makes no bones about loathing her. Nevertheless, Jackson became fascinated with the character. "She wouldn't leave me alone," she explained to readersroom.com. "She's such a TINY part of that story. A few sentences. But every time I would go back to work on that story, she would kinda glitter at me... I KNEW she had a secret, and I knew she was something big, a novel waiting to happen. If only I had known what her secret was."

Jackson explored both the character and that secret in Gods in Alabama, and the results are a playful but dark dose of southern gothic humor. It also became Jackson's first published novel after two previous efforts failed to sell. Gods in Alabama more than makes up for any previous failures, though, as both a commercial and critical success and a No. 1 pick at Booksense.com.

Now Jackson, who is also an accomplished actor and playwright, is offering up her second novel, which once again finds the writer stirring up her southern heritage to create a sort of modern take on the infamous rivalry between the Hatfields and the McCoys. In Between, Georgia, Nonny Frett is caught between to feuding families: the Fretts, the family that provided her with a good southern upbringing after stealing her as a child, and the Crabtrees, the family that lost her and wants revenge. Once again, Jackson has crafted another unique and witty novel. Publishers Weekly has called Between, Georgia a "theatrical and well-paced Southern family drama" with "plenty of Southern sass." Jackson, for one, is quick to ensure those who were delighted by the one-of-a-kind voice that she established in Gods in Alabama that Between, Georgia will not disappoint. "It's a different book, but at the same time, I think it's pretty obvious I wrote it," she told southernlitreview.com. "It's that same odd blend of humor and violence."

Good To Know

Jackson's friends have accused her of being "dead inside" because she isn't particularly fond of music. However, that did not stop her from fronting a band and singing PJ Harvey tunes when she was a graduate student.

Before hitting pay dirt with Gods in Alabama, Jackson pursued a career in acting and even toured for a time with a dinner theater troupe.

As well as being a writer of novels and short stories, Jackson has also made a name for herself on the theater circuit, penning such plays as Another Snow White and Screwing Lazarus.

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Jackson:

"I get depressed if I don't have a little animal or two clotting up the house. Right now we have gerbils that my kids named Hotshot and Snickers. I like to pretend I got them for the kids, but the truth is, I like the little blighters myself and am the one who plays with them and feeds them and such most often. We also have an enormous one-eyed Maine Coon cat named Schubert. I would fear for the rodents, except Schubert is entirely too massive to lumber to the top of the table where the gerbil house sits. This is a very low number of pets for me. My husband thinks it is PLENTY of pets, but I secretly want to add a dog. And a horse. And some lizards...maybe a little chinchilla."

"I've always wanted to be a writer. My mother has a box full of books I wrote and published via the ‘Crayola and stapler' method."

"I can't remember a time when I couldn't read -- I've been doing it since before I had concrete memory. I learned accidentally before preschool by thieving my older brother's books and watching Sesame Street. I think that was one of the reason's I loved To Kill a Mockingbird so much. I first read it when I was a kid, and I identified strongly with Scout when she taught herself reading by sitting on Atticus's lap and looking at his newspapers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    Great book

    Loved this book and it's true to life story. A very clever story with suprises through out. A truly greaf read.

    I would also like to lend my voice to those who object to Plot Spoilers and kids who enjoy being stupid in book reviews. Why can't you text your trash like other kiddies do? If you have a review to post please there are others. who would just like to know if you like or dislike and why. Thanks.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Joshilyn's Best Yet

    I am a huge fan of Joshilyn's strong, Southern characters and this book brings even more. Carefully crafted storylines + flawed but intriguing characters make this a must read.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Very good quick read

    More twists and turns than you'd expect from a romance-type novel, but that made it better. I loved the prose, and the complex character relationships. Will be reading more by this author.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014

    Overrated

    This book should be listed in the teenager/young adult section. I am going to have to suffer through 50 more pages to finish the whole story.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2014

    Kathy

    This book would have been so much better without the f word. It is so unnecessary and used way too much. 3 stars for foul language.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2014

    Enjoyable

    Easy, enjoyable read with a twist.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2014

    Wondeful Book

    Intelligently written book; very moving.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2014

    This is the first book I have read from this author. I thought i

    This is the first book I have read from this author. I thought it was exceptional.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2014

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A crazy love st

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

    A crazy love story that started in the most craziest of ways and sure had the ups and downs, but I can't divulge where it ended!  (It's too good to spoil!)  Shandi is a young single mom and throughout the book I had to keep reminding myself of how young she was because she definitely didn't act like it at times.  William is a scientist to the core and may lack in the social skills, but definitely doesn't lack in the book smarts.  These two along with a few others are held up in a convenience store and that is where the crazy love story started.

    Shandi was a great character, there were a few moments where I thought she repeated herself and once had an enlightenment, but went back to doing the same thing she did before.  There were a few times where I wanted to smack her and say wake up!  William was the same way, he had some moments where I really gravitated towards him and then he would have a moment where I greatly disliked him - thankfully the good outweighed the bad!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    Not so great after all

    The reviews were so good but it has been a disappointment to me. The plot is good but the terrible character of Paula so turned me so off I will not finish it. Loved the child. Also way TMI on EVERYTHING.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    Love this author!

    Shandi, a 21-year-old college senior, is still at home being mothered by her mother, while she is trying to be a mother to three-year-old Nathan. After “Natty” teaches himself to read and his IQ is found to be in the genius range, Shandi’s father (or rather, her step-mother Bethany) invites Shandi and her son to come live in their Atlanta condo so that Nathan will have the opportunity to attend an academically appropriate pre-school. Shandi jumps at the chance to live ten minutes away from Georgia State instead of two hours away in her small mountain town.

    Shandi, Natty, and best-friend Walcott are on their way to Atlanta in her bright yellow VW bug when suddenly Natty declares that his throat feel “tickle-y.” As any mother of a carsick prone child would do, Shandi makes the quickest exit she can and stops the car for some side of the road throwing up, and then a trip the Circle K for some ginger ale. Unfortunately, this is where their day goes downhill, and quickly.

    The first paragraph of the book reads:

    “I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K. It was on a Friday afternoon at the tail end of a Georgia summer so ungodly hot the air felt like it had all been boiled red. We were both staring down the barrel of an ancient, creaky .32 that could kill us just as dead as a really nice gun could.”

    The author says that William is a character she has had bumping around in her head for a decade. He is a scientist, thinking in terms of black and white, yes or no, and does not in any way believe in destiny. William believes that what happens is a direct result of choices that people make, not some mystical force that causes the universe to unfold in a certain way. William is standing in the Circle K staring at the laundry detergent when a man walks in with that ancient, creaky .32. As the gunman orders everyone to the ground, William slides eighteen inches to the side, putting himself between the gun and Natty.

    This is a book about miracles, although not the huge, visible miracles that some of the characters believe in, but the tiny miracles that bubble up unexpectedly. Joshilyn Jackson is a talented author who writes vivid prose in such a way that you can almost taste the words, rich and full. In this particular book, Jackson throws in plot twists that I did not anticipate, yet draws the strings together and makes the conclusion a satisfying one. The images she creates with her written words will stay with you long after finishing the book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Shandi Pierce is no stranger to miracles¿she was still a virgin

    Shandi Pierce is no stranger to miracles—she was still a virgin when she had her son, Natty, and he in the flesh is an everyday blessing—and so when, in an extraordinary turn of the cosmic screw during her move to Atlanta, she's held at gunpoint in a Circle K, she sees no other option than to consider her fateful meeting with William Ashe just that: a miracle. This is the moment that changes everything for her; it is the moment she decides she will no longer pretend that beautiful Natty's conception was a miracle—immaculate and tidy—and unbeknownst to her yet, it is the moment she embarks on the poignant quest to finally face up to reality.

    Joshilyn Jackson's newest novel is a quirky, surprisingly tender journey that tests the boundaries of personal strengths, as well as weaves a glittering story about destiny or—as pushed by science and numbers—lack thereof.

    The story consists of an exchange between two distinct narratives: Shandi's vivid, smart, and smart-assed first-person voice intertwined with Will's blunted, methodical, and seemingly objective point-of-view. The unique timeline—primarily placed in the present, but with flashes of significant events revealed during opportune moments—allows readers  to become intimate with both characters who are similar in that they are both cynically hopeful, loved, and lonely, but diverge because they are ultimately fighting their own inner battles—battles they expose to one another, but cannot expect the other to completely understand. This is, by any measure, a love story—multiple love stories—but it is not their love story, because their stories are established before they even get the chance to meet.

    There's nothing that wasn't well done in this novel. The story is intriguing and immersed me completely; the style is at once unusual, observant, and accurate; and the characters are lively, unforgettable.

    Shandi is a new favorite female protagonist of mine; she's all of cute, hilarious, mature but still playful, and kickass, and I loved getting to know her in mind and in heart. She totes her delightful genius son Natty—who is obsessed with insect abdomens and has the grammatical capacity of a 40-year-old English professor—and her best friend Walcott-the-poet—whom she's been overly dependent upon since childhood—to Atlanta and as her closest family, these two will absolutely make you melt. Will is a character who doesn't reveal much about himself, but is complex in his own way, and I loved how he is portrayed too.

    When the two meet, it's an act of fate—of destiny—and it happens like a collision. Suddenly, Shandi is propelled to search for the truth about Natty's conception, while on the other end of the spectrum, Will learns, through Shandi's own frantic fixation, what faith is and what miracles are—things he never allowed himself to believe in previously, when his world was all science and coincidence. Shandi inadvertently shows Will that hope, that thing with feathers, will find a way to piece his broken life back together... and while the two fragmented souls use one another complete themselves, there is solace—and emptiness—in knowing they do not complete each other.

    I can't say much more without giving the important plot points away, but I will end with this: Someone Else's Love Story is brilliant. It is complicated, inspiring, and transfixing, and I don't know how Jackson pulled it off, but it so perfectly embodies the pain of sacrifice—the giving up and giving in for love—as well as the importance of family, faith, and the true definition of being holy. The unorthodox style and the god-honest narration will have you chortling with glee, while the ironic, nearly sacrilegious parallels will stun you emotionally. You have got to read this book.

    Pros: Amazing storytelling // Fresh, intelligent, witty voice // Elaborate, enjoyable style // LOVED Shandi // LOVED Will // Loved all the other characters // Huge plot twist that throws everything off cue // A nontraditional love story

    Cons: The novel as a whole neglects the more pragmatic aspects of Shandi's life, such as school and work // Unresolved issues by the end

    Verdict: With incredible attention to detail and penetrating insight of the human syndrome, Someone Else's Love Story is an unconventional love story with a memorable, dazzlingly human cast of characters, and enough personality to make you want to become the author's best best friend. Joshilyn Jackson presents the best and the brightest of deep, soulful, sassy Southern literary fiction with her newest novel; Shandi's rightful investigation and Will's slow resurrection cross paths in an exquisite, charming story about chance, love, faith, and most of important of them all, hope.

    Rating: 9 out of 10 hearts (5 stars): Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf.

    Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Harper Collins and TLC!).

    1 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2015

    Great read...

    I really enjoyed and devoured this book. It was the first book i have read by this author and definately will read more of her work. It is a book of love stories, friendships and the little miracles of life. Her characters were quirky and believable and I sure didnt see the ending coming.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2014

    Morgan

    Thats not helping.... I feel a bit worse....

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2014

    Jonathan

    Hi

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2014

    Gyvbh

    Gvgyctffcuguh

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2014

    Patty

    I get depressed a lot because I get bullied and my friend and I fight a lot. I have thought of suicide numerous times i need help

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2014

    Alice

    You must find methods that wor for you. Telling a person one thing is different than that person learning and experiencing it for themself. Thats what i mean by learning from your own mistakes

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2014

    Someone Else's Love Story

    261 pages - not my style of writing

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Shandi Pierce has her best friend, Walcott, tell her family and

    Shandi Pierce has her best friend, Walcott, tell her family and friends that she conceived her son, Natty, in a “virgin” birth.  The credibility of this claim stretches the reader’s curiosity but her story doesn’t change for a long, long time, four years to be exact.  Natty, it turns out, is a gifted child and so Shandi is taking him to live in Atlanta where he can attend a school for special children.  This gift comes from her father, long divorced from her mother, with the disapproval of Bethany, her father’s second wife, a snob always willing to fling barbs at Shandi.  Her Mom and Dad are always vying for Shandi’s preference but that’s not her way.  Now it’s time to begin a journey for her beloved Natty, who is her “everything!”
    An incidental stop at the Circle K gas station turns into a horror and later a mercy.  For after Shandi is done ogling a sexy looking “Thor” figure, they all enter the store for some snacks and then a drugged-up guy enters with a gun, determined to hold up the cashier for whatever cash he can get.  The story of the captive victims in the store is riveting reading that amps up the adrenaline for the reader as well as the fearful prisoners.  Where it goes is so totally unexpected but evolves into Shandi facing her past and wanting to know the unknown about her son’s real father.
    William is the hero of the day and yet he’s an enigma.  He’s a brilliant scientist and probably autistic (something like Asperger’s Syndrome, but never specifically identified).  He’s also suffering from a devastating, brutal loss that haunts his days and nights and has done so for the past year.  Later on his best friend, Paula, and Shandi clash like wildfire as each vies not only for William’s mind but also his heart, something that whirls through William’s brain but which he can’t resolve.
    William, however, is the one who really “gets” what Shandi needs and the discovery of Natty’s genetic makeup leads not only to Natty’s father but a story within a story that is shockingly credible and intertwines with characters one would never imagine were involved.  The plot becomes complex but does reach clarity by the lovely but unexpected ending.
    Someone Else’s Story is a thriller and a love story, but the latter includes many different types of love that force several characters to grow up fast and face the truth about the past, present and future!  
    Solidly written and fascinating read, Joshilyn Jackson!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews

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