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4.25 stars Be filled with gratitude, ladies You ve been Godshot On the surface, Godshot appears to be about a cult While the cult is a huge part of the storyline, this is really a book about mothers and daughters, loneliness, friendship, and love.14 year old Lacey May Herd is a true believer in GOTS, a religious cult located in Peaches, California Peaches, once a thriving agricultural town known as the Raisin Capital of the World, is now barren, the land is dry, the crops are dead, the wat 4.25 stars Be filled with gratitude, ladies You ve been Godshot On the surface, Godshot appears to be about a cult While the cult is a huge part of the storyline, this is really a book about mothers and daughters, loneliness, friendship, and love.14 year old Lacey May Herd is a true believer in GOTS, a religious cult located in Peaches, California Peaches, once a thriving agricultural town known as the Raisin Capital of the World, is now barren, the land is dry, the crops are dead, the water is gone, and its residents are fleeing But those who have stayed believe there is still hope that Vern, the leader of GOTS, will bring the rain back to Peaches.When Lacey May s mother is excommunicated from the cult, she abandons her daughter Forced to live with her eccentric grandmother, who caresabout the cult and her stuffed pets, than her granddaughter s well being, Lacey May struggles to find her place When she becomes a prime member of Vern s divine plan to make it rain, she is forced to face a brutal series of realities causing her to question all that she believed in.I was really moved by Godshot This is a dark and compelling read that focuses on gender roles, religion, faith, sexuality, sexual assault, and motherhood I struggled a bit with Bieker s writing style a little in the beginning, but once I got used to the cadence, I was completely enthralled and found myself transported to another world filled with quirky, fascinating characters There are a lot of vile characters featured in this book, but characters like Lacey May, Florin, and Daisy shined some light on the darkness It was easy to root for Lacey May, especially when her circumstances go from bad to worse to horrendous to hopeful She is very much a child, but at the same time, wise beyond her years Her relationship with her mother is heartbreaking to read There are some very difficult parts of this book to read, especially scenes involving rape and incest The final sentences left me teary eyed, yet hopeful for Lacey May I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher I decided to request this one after seeing a few reviews from my friends and dived into it right away, looking for a deep connection to a story and the characters I started to get a little worried about the way it started and wondered what I got myself into I hung in there and was rewarded with an unquie look at the bond between our main character 14 year old Lacey and her mother The story is set in drought stricken cult ran town by Pastor Vern, who preys on the vulnerabilities of the members I decided to request this one after seeing a few reviews from my friends and dived into it right away, looking for a deep connection to a story and the characters I started to get a little worried about the way it started and wondered what I got myself into I hung in there and was rewarded with an unquie look at the bond between our main character 14 year old Lacey and her mother The story is set in drought stricken cult ran town by Pastor Vern, who preys on the vulnerabilities of the members, especially with the children He promises them rain for doing assignments that I felt were too bizarre by the way the story was told, and the cult storyline wasn t a convincing part of the story for me I did read this one on my own, so I didn t get the chance to talk about that with anyone Maybe I would have felt differently after chatting about that What did create that emotional response I was looking for was with Lacey s growth throughout the story Lacey s mother is banished from the community Instead of Lacey holding feelings of abandonment and anger towards her mother she becomes determined to find her Lacey develops some interesting friendships and through some unquie women, she learns something about herself and sees her mother differently through them The story unravels slowly and, at times, almost lost me, however, Lacey s observation of the world around her and her sense of humour under all the pressure and her will to survive kept me hanging in there.I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley Going hiking will gather my thoughts and return to review soon But yikes I lost HOURS of sleep will need to nap later I m back Incredible thought provoking moving affecting read Penetrating Razor sharp Disturbing Edgy Repressive Terrifying Scintillating..transformative..and painful depths of sadness that scratches continuously at your emotions Debut.From the first page to the last crazy addicting towards the end.I couldn t put this book down I lost hours o Going hiking will gather my thoughts and return to review soon But yikes I lost HOURS of sleep will need to nap later I m back Incredible thought provoking moving affecting read Penetrating Razor sharp Disturbing Edgy Repressive Terrifying Scintillating..transformative..and painful depths of sadness that scratches continuously at your emotions Debut.From the first page to the last crazy addicting towards the end.I couldn t put this book down I lost hours of sleep last night it was worth it If this is the new it..BUZZ book..during the 2020 coronavirus year.I AGREE Lacey May had just turned fourteen years of age She was still a board chested child in the eyes of God and Pastor Vern, and so she prayed day and night for her blood to come to flood the bed she shared with her mother Lacey May s mother had an assignment so much mystery as to what that assignment was her mother didn t tell her what it was.but Lacey May s two best friends, Denay and Taffy had their blood months before Lacy May did They smiled and walked proud to church Lacey May wanted to be part of the club.so she told Pastor Vern the secret her mother had wanted her to keep..Lacey May desperately wanted to be recognized for her faith She wanted to be obedient in the eyes of God She knew she was never to have ill feelings toward the church or of Pastor Vern who likened himself to Jesus as an equal or even superior to him.Vern had shown their town, Peaches , a fictional town outside of Fresno, California , what he could do what his power could do.where drought was of serious concern in their little county population1,008, barely 3.2 Square miles in size Vern summoned something from nothing.rain had finally flooded the streets no one was ever the same after that Lacey May, also knew Pastor Vern was captivated by her mother, Louise s beauty Lacey May wanted to be captivated in the eyes of Pastor Vern She was curious she wanted an assignment , too While reading this book I thought about the many young daughters around the world who when coming of age , often even without consciously being aware compared, competed, desired, to be like their mothers or to be better then them Many years of mis understandings assumptions partial truths between daughters and their mothers Daughters test their mothers tested what separated them from the greater world s messages but with limited eyes with naivety not a full plate of truth It s as if the mystery of life itself leads to the possibility of a dangerous unknown path.It was so easy to see the inner voice of Lacey May She was just beginning while looking back at her childhood all of only fourteen years behind her to draw conclusions about her mother I wondered if Lacy May s views of her mother were going to help her grow into an independent strong young adult or would she be damaged by them And who is my mother then She was a day late and a dollar short, a water bottle of gin in her purse, in her glove box, a waitressing job at the Grape Tray, and one lousy boyfriend after another who sat potbellied and spread legged in our kitchen, yellowed fingers ashing cigarettes and two chili cans And me I was only her bastard daughter, unsaved and seven years old, daddyless and dirt kneed, whole mind a sin plain, my fingers pocketing gumdrops from the candy store, eyes watching cartoons of coyotes dropping anvils on heads Someone I can hardly remember But thank the good God, I learned that day, the past was of no matter The rain soaked my sundress and Vern blessed us out of that life and into another Vern wanted the women pretty because everything Godsaved was beautiful He wanted the women pretty maybe, I wondered sometimes but did not say, to attract infidels to the church, to dangle a prize to be awarded on the other side of conversion Nevertheless, it was some thing of evil to make a man stumble Women, God created beauty Women, lead men not into temptation But what was my mother to do with your beauty She couldn t pray it away It came up from inside her It was not just the arrangement of eyes and nose and mouth It was something unnameable that could not be achieved with make up or manipulation of hairstyle She had a gap between her front teeth that she considered an imperfection, but it was wet through her beauty over the edge It drove men crazy My mother never liked to talk about how she was before transformation After my father left, her drinking had taken her over like flames through a house I remember feeling scared for us sometimes, when she drove down the road swerving and breaking late When she would close her self in our room for days, silent, and I sleep on the couch watching television late into the night, M A.S.H and I LOVE LUCY For a while she had a boyfriend who didn t wear pants around our apartment and I could see his flesh poking out from under his T shirts His eyes were always bleary, and he gave me sapphire earrings one night while my mother was passed out He had pulled me close to him so he could put them on me, only to find I didn t have pierced ears He bent me over his lap that night He pierced them with the dull poke of the earrings themselves while I called out for my mother and she never came what a pretty little girl I was, he said, when it was over And now, looking at Pastor Vern, my heart surged with affection thinking of that time, for it was he who had delivered us out of it The conditions of deliverance were these one, that my mother never drink again two, that she remain chaste, a bride to the church How I wanted to fix it for her How I wanted the world to be good enough so she wouldn t have to feel it s rough edges If someone could just see her when she was at her best, the way she was in the morning back then, getting ready for the day, dancing and singing, the soft dander of her cheek The way her neck looked when she tilted it back in the car and sang Great American Cowboy , along with the Sons of the San Joaquin I didn t know what to say to fix it, to make her eyes go clear, to make her steps sure and straight, her breath her own without the bite of alcohol on it It hurts Get used to it, she said Women have a long history of suffering Her mother was the design of sin to be the most attractive thing in the room Vern separated the girls by blood Girls who had it and were under the marrying age of eighteen were ready for the true mission, and were set apart Lacey May s desperation and desire for guidance lead her towards temptation Pastor Vern..a cult leader Vern promised her, and other young girls salvation, love, and even rain, through secret assignments Thenthe unthinkable happened Lacey May s mother, Louise, ran off with a man.abandoning her daughter Lacey motherless moves in with her widowed Grandmother, Cherry not exactly a cherry supported role model either.Grandma Cherry said to Lacey A girl Can be fine without a mother But Lacey s body told her that wasn t true Lacey missed her mother desperately My mother had said being pregnant was like an alien takeover She hated it The way I had stretched and rolled inside her She said she imagined snakes fighting in there, and that sometimes all she could do was sleep to keep herself from thinking too hard about it The fact that soon someone would need need need her She said the thought of a baby repulsed her, all the crying in the night, all the foolish wanting But was being needed a bad thing My disease of loneliness wondered if a baby might just be the cure For I could not yet fathom all this baby would mean to me, but one thing was now certain I was no longer alone, and never would be again Would I be able to mother myself now Would I no longer need her if I was her At church Vern wore a robe of pewter There was asomberness about him, a heft in his usually perked shoulders But his hair had been freshly curled, the ringlets cinched up closer to his collarbones than usual, and the spray holding them was flecked with glitter Meekness is valued, ladies, I understand your hesitance, and that s good, actually, because you won t be telling anyone about this for a while For now this is a secret between you and God and your pastor Think of it as a precious flower pressed in the middle of your Bible, dying You wouldn t want to take it out too soon A secret He d had a secret with my mother, too In the coming months your bodies will bloom forward and there will be a time of celebration Be filled with gratitude, ladies You ve been Godshot Lacey May wanted to be recognized for her faith She was obedient And she wanted to be obedient but she wondered why God wanted all the girls pregnant Children unite the body Children ensure another generation of soldiers Parentless children who are tended to and cared for by everyone, who belong to the church itself, are the most useful gems A boyfriend was trash, however attractive, that would one day have to be taken out And in the eyes of God a marriage meant a cemented union that no one could come in between A marriage to a man would take me out of my marriage to the church A marriage was what I needed I would not be Godshot The child would just be a common shame, the result of a sin with an infidel, a couple who were on uncareful but who were doing their best to make things right Resentments, and all that Lacey s mother had deprived her of, were thoughts that shifted to simply missing her Lacey knew that God was bigger than her own understanding, and the thought was a sudden comfort If after all her believing years still meant that she didn t understand God, then that meant there was a life outside of her own, and that there were other things she still didn t understand, but could come to know if she wanted She let the possibility of the world slowly unfurl before her The loneliness of a monster can only become sentimental after it is dead This was such an addictive read a harrowing look at religion, sexuality, fragility, and most the vulnerability of women coming of age Lacey May was a young girl I rooted for her observations were judicious but also understandably conflicted It s not easy to learn about life, love, faith, acceptance, and forgiveness.and how we each come to strengthen our own beliefs even in the best of functional loving families but to have to grow up with such devilishly absurdity as she did.was strange beyond strangeheartbreaking.and repressive This book was startling engrossing suspenseful conscience ridden filled with sublimity and sin..with a powerful ending that left me tearful but hopeful Thank You Netgalley, Catapult Publishing, and Chelsea Bieker congrats to Chelsea.This debut novel should make her an overnight readers household name 4.5A really good first novel There is a drought going on in Peaches, California.There is also a religious cult in that town, led by Pastor Vern.14 yr old Lacey and her alcoholic mother, well..actually her whole family are members of this cult.Her mother abandons her, she s stuck in this cult.Pastor Vern comes up with a secret assignment given to the teenagers in this cult that once it is completed, is supposed to make the rains fall in the town again.This is a horrific assignment I loved Lacey 4.5A really good first novel There is a drought going on in Peaches, California.There is also a religious cult in that town, led by Pastor Vern.14 yr old Lacey and her alcoholic mother, well..actually her whole family are members of this cult.Her mother abandons her, she s stuck in this cult.Pastor Vern comes up with a secret assignment given to the teenagers in this cult that once it is completed, is supposed to make the rains fall in the town again.This is a horrific assignment I loved Lacey s character and it was maddening to see all she had to go through but what a journey.Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC I m absolutely one of those people who judges a book by its cover, for better or for worse This is going to be one of those covers that either draws people in or repels them away Something about the unapologetic use of glimmering, gold glitter and the evocation of God on the title is going to be too captivating for some to ignore It almost feels gratuitous, but in a way you just have to be a part of While I m sure Chelsea Bieker also loves glitter according to her Instagram, she most defini I m absolutely one of those people who judges a book by its cover, for better or for worse This is going to be one of those covers that either draws people in or repels them away Something about the unapologetic use of glimmering, gold glitter and the evocation of God on the title is going to be too captivating for some to ignore It almost feels gratuitous, but in a way you just have to be a part of While I m sure Chelsea Bieker also loves glitter according to her Instagram, she most definitely does , this cover also perfectly encapsulates the mindset surrounding a cult like personality You re reeled in with the promise of riches or glamour, only to discover what s being offered is just the same fool s gold that s been dug out of the craft store bargain bin All this to say don t let this cover deceive you It s anything but the light or glitzy novel you might be expecting This is a story about female power and breaking free of constricting community and family ties It s relentless and strong in a way that only a story about girls and women could be In Godshot, Bieker shines her golden spotlight on parts of American society that the majority of us passively choose to ignore Religious leaders that can act with impunity, domestic violence hidden behind closed doors, child abuse, child brides, devastating poverty and lack of proper education these are all things we don t hesitate to decry in so called 3rd world nations, but neglect to address at home They re woven into the fabric of our country, as American as apple pie, and yet just enough obscured from our day to day that we can convince ourselves that they don t exist But they do Characters like the tenacious Lacey May, her susceptible mother, Louise, and the rest of the inhabitants of the fictional town of Peaches, California represent real, living people I haven t read a lot of the books this one is being compared to, The Girls or White Oleander, but for ones I have, like The Handmaid s Tale, I see it to a point But I think the story here goes beyond the circumstances these female characters are thrust into At the heart of this book are the ways the women close to us can lift us up out of hardship, and sometimes how they let us down It s complicated and can be difficult to navigate, but those relationships are almost always worth pursuing.I m excited to seefrom Chelsea Bieker And if I m not mistaken, there was an Easter Egg for her upcoming book, Cowboys and Angels, hidden in Godshot It sounds like something that would be right up Lacey May s alley TW Sexual assault against minor s religious cults Thanks to Catapult Netgalley for an advance copy This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here What I liked about this book The publisher s blurbWhat I disliked about this book Everything elseI don t usually rate a book that I DNF but will make an exception with this one Why 1 Because it s just so god awful that it doesn t deserve its high rating on here In fact, I wonder if most of those 5 star ratings are from the author s friends, because I sincerely do not know how it could otherwise be so high Then again those equally god awful Fifty Shades books had a lot of fans too, so maybe What I liked about this book The publisher s blurbWhat I disliked about this book Everything elseI don t usually rate a book that I DNF but will make an exception with this one Why 1 Because it s just so god awful that it doesn t deserve its high rating on here In fact, I wonder if most of those 5 star ratings are from the author s friends, because I sincerely do not know how it could otherwise be so high Then again those equally god awful Fifty Shades books had a lot of fans too, so maybe it s just me.2 I m rating this because, having suffered 123 miserable pages, I feel I deserve some credit for the time wasted It shouldn t count as a book read, but unfortunately giving it a star marks it as read Again though, I need something for the time I wasted on this crap Bad writing, poor character development, the most boring plot I ve seen in a long time I mean, nothing happens in those 123 pages except the mother runs off with some dude she met during her phone sex job where women say stuff like, and I quote, Your balls are as soft as a little bird and the teenage girl gets her period Or in the book s parlance, her blood Really Who the hell talks like that any Yeh, so she s in some weird cult, but c mon So she gets her blood and is given her assignment from the leader of the cult Anyone wanna take a stab as to what that might be Ding, ding, ding Yes, you got it Her assignment is to have sex with some disgusting pervert man in the church Well, I saw that coming from page one and it took 100 bloody boring pages to work up to just that 123 pages and that s it The dialogue is stilted and dumbed down, the same stuff said over and over and over until you just want to rip off your mask and scream Oh, that s right, I m at home I CAN take off my mask Whew, that feels better The publisher s blurb writer should win an award for making this garbage sound like a terrific novel The blurb really is the only good thing about it.Now to get this crap off my poor Kindle Drought Has Settled On The Town Of Peaches, California The Area Of The Central Valley Where Fourteen Year Old Lacey May And Her Alcoholic Mother Live Was Once An Agricultural Paradise Now It S An Environmental Disaster, A Place Of Cracked Earth And Barren Raisin Farms In Their Desperation, Residents Have Turned To A Cult Leader Named Pastor Vern For Guidance He Promises, Through Secret Assignments, To Bring The Rain Everybody Is Praying For Lacey Has No Reason To Doubt The Pastor But Then Her Life Explodes In A Single Unimaginable Act Of Abandonment Her Mother, Exiled From The Community For Her Sins, Leaves Lacey And Runs Off With A Man She Barely Knows Abandoned And Distraught, Lacey May Moves In With Her Widowed Grandma, Cherry, Who Is Concerned With Her Taxidermy Mice Collection Than Her Own Granddaughter As Lacey May Endures The Increasingly Appalling Acts Of Men Who Want To Write All The Rules, And Begins To Uncover The Full Extent Of Pastor Vern S Shocking Plan To Bring Fertility Back To The Land, She Decides She Must Go On A Quest To Find Her Mother, No Matter What It Takes With Her Only Guidance Coming From The Romance Novels She Reads And The Unlikely Companionship Of The Women Who Knew Her Mother, She Must Find Her Own Way Through Unthinkable CircumstancesPossessed Of An Unstoppable Plot And A Brilliantly Soulful Voice, Godshot Is A Book Of Grit And Humor And Heart, A Debut Novel About Female Friendship And Resilience, Mother Loss And Motherhood, And Seeking Salvation In Unexpected Places It Introduces A Writer Who Gives Flannery O Connor S Gothic Parables A Californian Twist And Who Emerges With A Miracle That Is All Her Own NOW AVAILABLE Take a deep breath before you begin reading this dark, dazzling and deliciously entrancing novel, for it won t be long before you ll holding your breath in anticipation of what lies waiting in Peaches, California for youTo have an assignment, Pastor Vern said, you had to be a woman of blood You had to be a man of deep voice and Adam s apple And you should never reveal your assignment to another soul, for assignments were a holy bargaining between you and your pastor andNOW AVAILABLE Take a deep breath before you begin reading this dark, dazzling and deliciously entrancing novel, for it won t be long before you ll holding your breath in anticipation of what lies waiting in Peaches, California for youTo have an assignment, Pastor Vern said, you had to be a woman of blood You had to be a man of deep voice and Adam s apple And you should never reveal your assignment to another soul, for assignments were a holy bargaining between you and your pastor and God Himself To speak of them directly would be to mar God s voice, turn the supernatural human, and ruin it So not even my own mother could tell me what her assignment was that unseasonably warm winter, wouldn t tell me months into it when spring lifted updry heat around us, and everything twisted and changed forever I imagined her floating above our beloved town of Peaches, dropping God glitter over us like an angel, summoning the rain to cure our droughted fields I imagined all these things with a burn of jealousy, for I had not received my woman s blessing yet, the rush of blood between my legs that would signify me as useful I d just turned fourteen but was still a board chested child in the eyes of God and Pastor Vern, and so I prayed day and night for the blood to come to me in a river, to flood the bed I shared with my mother Then I would be ready I could have an assignment too If you took the real story that made headline news in 2008 of Warren Jeffs and his YFZ Ranch and scaled it down in size, and then shared the story through the eyes of one of those young women, and you blended it with a dash of the young women in Emma Cline s Girls, you d come close to an idea of this, but throw in the unceasing drought, this community s lack of water leading to baptism by immersion in cola, along with the community s desperation building Add young, vulnerable, Lacey May, whose mother has just been driven out of the Gifts of the Spirit Church as your narrator in this coming of age debut novel, and you ve got Godshot.Of course there sto this story, but you ll want to experience this story yourself, a story with themes of extremist religions, socially constructed gender inequality, and a bit about the current and future state of the environment In a year so relatively new, I am amazed by how many extremely gifted debut authors works I ve read This is another one you won t forget.Pub Date 17 Apr 2020Many thanks for the ARC provided by Catapult I can t do this right now It s not the right time for something this deep, moving, and full of pain Yes, the writing is amazing I could see this being a HUGE book because of how it grips you But, the hell in a handbasket ride is taking all of my focus right now and the last thing I need is for Debbie Downer to jump in my handbasket with me.Maybe I will pick this back up when happy happy fun times return Or, you know, normal life I can t do this right now It s not the right time for something this deep, moving, and full of pain Yes, the writing is amazing I could see this being a HUGE book because of how it grips you But, the hell in a handbasket ride is taking all of my focus right now and the last thing I need is for Debbie Downer to jump in my handbasket with me.Maybe I will pick this back up when happy happy fun times return Or, you know, normal life 3.5 starsThis is not the first time recently that I came around to liking a book by the time I finished it Godshot takes place in Peaches, California There is a terrible drought in Peaches, and many of its residents are in the grip of a cult led by Vern, who promises that the drought will end if the members of the cult do his bidding His idea of what the members should do is pretty outlandish and brutal Lacey May is 14 years old, and it seems that nothing good has ever happened to her Her m 3.5 starsThis is not the first time recently that I came around to liking a book by the time I finished it Godshot takes place in Peaches, California There is a terrible drought in Peaches, and many of its residents are in the grip of a cult led by Vern, who promises that the drought will end if the members of the cult do his bidding His idea of what the members should do is pretty outlandish and brutal Lacey May is 14 years old, and it seems that nothing good has ever happened to her Her mother is an alcoholic who has had a series of bad boyfriends The cult was meant to be Lacey May and her mother s salvation, but it doesn t do much to improve Lacey May s life Lacey May starts off as a believer but her eyes gradually open to what is really happening in her community There s a surreal and dark tone to Godshot It s not quite clear when the story takes place and all of the characters and events are pushed to the extreme For much of the novel, I liked the ideathan I enjoyed the story But the end was very strong and I found myself muchemotionally engaged in the last few chapters as I rooted for Lacey May Thank you to Netgalley, Edelweiss and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy