June 7, 2013

Guest Reviewer Shannon McCrimmon reviews THE SWEET GUM TREE by Katherine Allred

Today I have a special treat for you guys. Author Shannon McCrimmon has offered to do a guest review of a book she just finished: THE SWEET GUM TREE by Katherine Allred


Author: Katherine Allred

Reviewer: Shannon McCrimmon


Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.

Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.

Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick's abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she's starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He's back…and he's not alone.

Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson's death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.

Shannon's Take...

A New Favorite of Mine: The Sweet Gum Tree written by Katherine Allred

I first noticed The Sweet Gum Tree, written by Katherine Allred, on Amazon.com. It was a recommended read based on my previous purchases. The title intrigued me, and the synopsis sounded interesting, but at the time, I had a growing pile of TBR's that needed my immediate attention. So, it was placed on the back burner with the intent to buy later. (I'm trying to cut down on my book purchases. And to that I say, “Good luck with that!”)

The book received glowing reviews both on Goodreads and Amazon. A lot of the reviews swore up and down about its greatness, and so I figured I needed to push the book to the top of my TBR stack. My fingers clicked on the “buy button” on Amazon, and it was moved to the front of my TBR list.

First of all, the price is insanely low. It's priced at $1.49, which is less than a cup of coffee. A good book is sure to give me much more enjoyment and for a much longer time, than a 12 ounce cup of coffee ever will. Don't get me wrong, I love my caffeine, but a great book is something to be cherished.

I devoured this book. And by devour, I mean I read it in two days. Had I not needed to eat and sleep, I would have finished it faster. That's the downfall of a great book, you finish it way too soon, and then there's that empty nest type of feeling of what to read next. Nothing ever seems to measure up until you read a great book again. You find yourself comparing it against the others, which is a terrible thing to do.

Once I started this book, I could not stop. At one point, I had to go to the grocery store and resented every moment of that visit to the store. I had to know what was going to happen in the book. I loved the characters and the story line had me hooked from page one. So what if I needed bread or yogurt, right? My hunger wasn't that important. LOL.

The Sweet Gum Tree is a romantic southern read that follows Alix French, the main character. Alix is a feisty, strong-willed girl from a well-respected family who tries to save Nick Anderson, the boy from the wrong side of town. As the story begins, Alix is ten years of age and Nick is thirteen. As they grow up, they fall in love, and things start to look brighter until Nick's father, Frank, is killed.

All of a sudden, Nick is no where to be found and Alix is pregnant and alone. Fifteen years later, Nick reappears, and Alix is trying to get her life back together. As truths are slowly revealed, it's up to Alix and Nick to pick up the pieces and see if their love can conquer all.

This was an enjoyable read. I am a sucker for southern novels, and I love a good romance. I cheered for Nick, albeit I didn't agree with all of his choices. I was mad at Alix for some of hers, but that is what made them so likeable, that they weren't perfect. Because what human being is?

I cried, I laughed, and I yelled while I read this book. I was filled with a mixture of emotions because this book is that good. I highly recommend it. I've already placed it in my “favorites” section on my Kindle, and plan to reread it again and again. I loved it that much and hope you will too.

Shannon McCrimmon currently lives in South Carolina with her husband and toy poodle. She is the author of two young adult, coming of age novels: The Summer I Learned to Dive and The Year I Almost Drowned. Both are available on Amazon.com.
Friend Shannon on Goodreads.com or Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/shannonmccrimmonauthor or on twitter.com @smccrimmon1

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting me guest review, Mandy:)