Monday, September 14, 2015

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Well, that didn't go as I had hoped.

Brace yourself.... less than flattering review headed your way...

I've heard of Karin Slaughter and was pretty excited to receive an advance copy of her latest thriller, Pretty Girls.  But wow.  After reading this, I 'm thinking it would be a really great idea if authors were required to use a rating system much like movies do. Because if this was a movie, it would have been rated worse than an R for sure.

I've really been into psychological thrillers lately, but requesting this one was a bad move on my part and one I'm ultimately regretting since there are so many mental images that I can't give back.  Seriously, the amount of detail and disgusting mutilation of these women was horrific.  I've been a bit addicted lately to watching The Forensic Files and even those come across as more Sesame Street than what's described in this novel.  There's just no way I would recommend this story to anyone I know.  I rarely ever post a negative review - but I would be remiss if didn't share my honest opinion after reading this.  I love a good intense thriller, don't get me wrong - but when it drifts over into the perverted world of necrophilia.  Wrong.  Just all sorts of wrong.

Don't pick this one up.  Just don't.

I still want to thank HarperCollins Publishers and ShelfAwareness for allowing me the chance to read an advanced copy!!  (*All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.)

Description: #1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter returns with a sophisticated and chilling psychological thriller of dangerous secrets, cold vengeance, and unexpected absolution, in which two estranged sisters must come together to find truth about two harrowing tragedies, twenty years apart, that devastate their lives.

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia's teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.

Rating: ** (the only reason I give it 2 stars is because the story flowed amazingly and her writing is intriguing and keeps you hooked - but the story itself was the huge turn off for me).

Recommend: Nope.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

I'm a self-admitted Chevy Stevens addict.  I freakin have loved everything she has put out.  She knows that less can often be more when it comes to a psychological thriller & suspense.  As soon as I saw her latest Those Girls was coming out, I begged every avenue of publisher I could find to request a copy.  As a result, I won 2 copies!!  I was able to gift a copy to a friend of mine who first introduced me to the amazing fictional world of Ms. Stevens and she was thrilled to say the least.

I loved everything about this story line.  I had to put it down at various intervals in order to catch my breath.  And the fact that this story revolves around 3 sisters?  Well of course you have me there too.

Ugh - I just love her - read the synopsis below and if you're into suspense thrillers - you HAVE to try this one.  Even if you're not, you might discover that you could be!  

Thank you so much to Goodreads, ShelfAwareness AND St. Martin's Press for graciously allowing me the opportunity to read a copy for an unbiased review!  This book is already out, so scoop up your copy here! (*All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.)

Description: Chevy Stevens is back with her most powerful, emotional thriller yet— a story of survival…and revenge. 

Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives. 

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past. 

This time there’s nowhere left to run. 

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy was creepy and weird all in the right ways.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect after reading the synopsis, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I loved the details of them renovating this huge old mansion and at the flashbacks of the letters between the two old sisters.  I was completely spooked out but entirely engrossed.  Great pic for Halloween coming up!! 

This was a total win for me - and I highly recommend it!

Very appreciative to NetGalley & Ballentine Books for allowing me the opportunity to read an advanced copy for an unbiased review!  This book is already out, so check here for your own copy! (*All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.)

Description: In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family’s dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.

Rating: ****

Recommend:  Really enjoyed it and pretty sure I bit off all 10 of my fingernails.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell

Because I was so intrigued and even enthralled with the development of The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell, which I had read last fall - I knew I needed to get my hands on her most recent novel, The Third Wife.  And again - this novel was comprised of a completely unique plot and characters - some kinda weird, some likable, some lovable and even some despisable.  Throughout the entire time, I seriously could not for the life of me figure out who the heck had "done it".  It was so well written.  I admit because there was a lot of characters going on I got a bit confused now and then, but I actually didn't put it down long enough to lose my place in the narrative.  In fact I read it in 2 days - which is pretty quick for even me!

If you enjoy a story that will challenge your way of thinking or show you a different perspective to how some families live, I think you'll really enjoy this book.  I'm fast becoming a fan of Lisa Jewell and look forward to seeing what else she comes up with!

A massive thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for allowing me the chance to read an advanced copy!!  If you are interested in picking this one up, go here!   (*All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.)

Description: In the early hours of an April morning, Maya stumbles into the path of an oncoming bus.

A tragic accident? Or suicide?

Her grief-stricken husband, Adrian, is determined to find out.

Maya had a job she enjoyed; she had friends. They'd been in love.

She even got on with his two previous wives and their children. In fact, they'd all been one big happy family.

But before long Adrian starts to identify the dark cracks in his perfect life.
Because everyone has secrets.
And secrets have consequences.
Some of which can be devastating.

Rating: ****

Recommend:  Yes!  I thought it was refreshing to not read a cookie-cutter novel.  Lisa Jewell keeps her novels fresh & exciting!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Sound of Glass by Karen White

I LOOOOOVED THIS BOOK!  This is one of those books that you just immediately offer to anyone and everyone you come across.  In fact, I immediately loaned it to my mother-in-law, then my co-worker Debbie, and soon I'm going to send it off to my sister Kati back in Seattle.

Penguin Random House was generous enough to send me this copy of The Sound of Glass by Karen White and I couldn't have been giddier!  I really enjoyed both Sea Change and The Memory of Water, by Karen White which I've also reviewed on my blog.

There's just something about Karen's writing that sucks you in from page 1.  And I insanely appreciate the fact that she doesn't get all graphic and sexually explicit in her novels - I just can't pass on a great novel that happens to include a couple graphic sexual scenes and not feel weird about it.

Great, GREAT story and one that I would recommend to everyone.  It really takes you on a journey of laughter, joy, sadness, anger, compassion and so many genuine emotions.  Fantastic read!!   (*All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.)

Description: It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward’s husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news—Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal’s reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.

Charting the course of an uncertain life—and feeling guilt from her husband’s tragic death—Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life—a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old half-brother.

Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country.

Rating: *****

Recommend: YES! YES! YES!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Why? Trusting God When You Don't Understand by Anne Graham Lotz

My mother-in-law had left this at our house to read because she thought it would really encourage us during the season we've been enduring.  And she honestly couldn't have been more right.  This book might be tiny, but holy cow does it pack a large punch!  I savored and yet devoured it at the same time.  Then I started reading it over again to my husband out loud before we went to bed at night.

I think a lot of us need reminding of the bigger picture of how God orchestrates things in our lives.  It's easy to get negative and depressed with hardships, but God knows the beginning from the end.  Anne's description of Martha & Mary and what they might have felt or did feel with the passing of Lazarus was brought into a whole new light and revelation to me.

This book was everything I needed right at that moment and I've even passed it on to a friend at work.  If you find yourself wondering "why do bad things happen to good people?", pick this baby up and prepare to have your mind renewed.

Description: Called "the best preacher in the family," by her father, Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz speaks around the globe with the wisdom and the authority of years spent studying God's Word. In her latest book, Anne shares her heart and God's teachings on the universal problem of suffering.

Drawing her characteristically keen insights from the familiar story of Lazarus in the ninth and eleventh chapters of the Gospel of John, Anne offers Jesus' reassuring answers to our heartfelt cries for understanding: Why doesn't God care? Why does He let these things happen? Why me? Why doesn't God answer my prayers? Why didn't He protect me? Why doesn't He perform a miracle?

Why? helps us understand and deal with suffering while guiding us to the ultimate answer-the Savior who shares our grief and our tears.

Rating: *****

Recommend: Without ANY hesitation! I look forward to checking out more from Anne Graham Lotz.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Coming Back to Me by Caroline Leavitt

I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I'd would.  I'm a cover snob and the dude peeking through the window kinda turned me off in one of those 'cheesey-romance' ways.  But my friend Debbie loaned me this one and I can always trust her judgment...usually.

It was a heart-wrenching love story, and I will admit that I enjoyed the entire story up until the very end - which left me with a WTF?   Authors, you just can't do that to people!  It was everything I usually enjoy in an easy read - and I tore through it pretty quick.  I'd recommend to anyone (except for maybe any pregnant ladies, cause it might freak you out a bit).  Just sayin.

Description: It can take a long time to build up a life, and only moments to destroy it. Gary and Molly met in the way couples do: after a long haul of being single, quickly becoming soulmates and rejoicing in that fact. Beautiful, red-haired Molly ignites a fire in Gary and he eases the pain she feels about her past. Starting a family is something they both want badly to do, and with great joy Molly finds herself pregnant.

When she leaves for the hospital that things start to go seriously wrong. Just a few weeks later Gary is alone with a newborn and a mountain of medical bills he has no means to pay for. Desperate for help, he calls on Molly's long estranged sister, Suzanne.

From Sue Miller to Elizabeth Berg, bestselling authors have tackled the challenges of love and marriage. Caroline Leavitt claims the turf in her own exciting way, twisting and turning a medical nightmare into an opportunity for redemption and hope.

Rating: ****

Recommend:  Sure, I thought it was a pretty great story!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Normal by Graeme Cameron

I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this.  After the first chapter, my reaction was instantly - "What did I just get myself into?"  Like I really wasn't sure what to do - stop reading it, keep reading it, bury it in the backyard?  It was creepy in every sense of the word.  I've been into a lot of psychological thrillers lately, but this is a whole other level of twisted.  

I'm not entirely sure I ever want to be inside the head of a psychopath serial killer again.  It was just a tad too much.  But on the other hand, the story development was amazing, the writing was incredible and I really had no clue where the story was headed.  Even explaining it to my husband, he thought it sounded super intriguing, and I was mostly in agreement - except for just how dang creepy it was.  I guess like watching Silence of the Lambs.  Really good - super disturbing.  You get me?

I need a light & fluffy read after finishing that one.  Or a cigarette, but then I'd probably need to be a smoker.  

Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin for allowing me the opportunity to preview a copy of Normal by Graeme Cameron for an unbiased review!  If you dare to pick this one up, just don't say I didn't warn you.  (*All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.)

Description: "The truth is I hurt people. It's what I do. It's all I do. It's all I've ever done." 

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him. 

What you don't know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he's carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he's holding there against her will—one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her. 

This is how it's been for a long time. It's normal…and it works. Perfectly. 

Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room…the others. He doesn't need any of them anymore. He needs only her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem—he still has someone trapped in his garage. 

Rating: ****

Recommend: To only those who can handle a gritty and quite violent suspense thriller. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

These make me so giddy!!

You know those little annoying ads on Facebook that just drive you nuts?!  Well for once I was so glad that a certain one advertising British Illustrator, Johanna Basford's adult coloring books Enchanted Forest and Secret Garden!  

I mean people, REALLY look at these drawings!  

They are SICK! (And I mean that in the most awesome way!) 

I'm not actually a huge coloring fan, but I am a huge embroidery fan and these pictures would make some absolutely STUNNING embroidery pieces.  

And apparently, I'm not the first one to have that idea.  Check out Mary Corbet's GORGEOUS work of one of Johanna's illustrations from her website

Talk about inspiring!  

I know this is a book blog, and technically I AM raving about these astounding coloring books, but they're just too gorgeous not to stitch as well!  And did you know coloring can greatly reduce stress? Lord knows we could all use a lot more of that in our lives ;-)

Copies of both books can be found on Amazon here and here!!  And they're so affordable too!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

That Night by Chevy Stevens

I don't even need to read the synopsis of a Chevy Stevens book to know I'm automatically going to like it.  And not surprisingly - I actually loved it.

She's still a relatively new author and this is the 5th book she's put out.  Her first two, Still Missing and Never Knowing were insanely awesome and I read those back in 2011.  I didn't even know about her third book The Other Side - I'll need to reserve that from the library.  Then I read her 4th book Always Watching in 2013, which I wasn't a huge fan of but it wasn't enough to throw me off her books altogether.  As soon as I saw That Night was featured on NetGalley I pretty much begged and pleaded to be able to read a copy!  I'm so grateful they allowed me, cause it was sooo good!!  I love a good suspense psychological thriller (my taste seems to be really evolving the older I get...weird).

The entire time I kept trying to figure out how everything was going to play out - though I admit I did have my suspicions and was totally dead on with those. Still, even though I figured it out, I so enjoyed every page of this intense story!  And isn't that cover gorgeous?  I'm such a sucker for covers involving water or leaves.

Thank you so much NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for graciously allowing me the opportunity to read a copy for an unbiased review!  This book is already out, so snag your copy here! (*All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.)

Description: They said she was a murderer. 

They said she killed her sister.

But they lied.

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

Rating: *****

Recommend:  Yup! 2 thumbs up!  But in my opinion, if you haven't read Chevy Stevens before, start with Still Missing, I think it's my favorite of them all!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova

Inside the O'Briens is my third Lisa Genova novel, and as I expected... it was fantastic!!  I mean this woman can do no wrong.  I truly am in awe of her writing and the way she portrays these rare & incurable conditions or diseases that individuals are left to face every day.  It helps that she's a Neuroscience graduate of Harvard - I mean whoa.

I fell in love with her first novel Still Alice back when I read it in 2009, then again her third novel, Love Anthony when I read it in 2013. And now again, her fourth novel, Inside the O'Briens which releases in stores April 7, 2015.  Why I haven't picked up her third book, Left Neglected is beyond me - I have to do that ASAP.

With each heart-wrenching story she gives such a personal and in-depth understanding of what an individual and a family goes through when diagnosed with a difficult condition or disease.  With Still Alice it was Alzheimer's, with Love Anthony it was Autism and with Inside the O'Briens it's Huntington's.

My absolutely only issue with this book - is how it ended.  I do hope to God that she's writing a sequel to it, because I just can't be at peace with the conclusion.  I need a bow Lisa - it doesn't even have to be a pretty one, it can be ugly, it can even be downright disgusting - but I NEED A BOW!  ha!!  I sat there venting to my husband at the end of the book - "Oh no she didn't! I don't accept this - this can't be the end."  And then I proceeded to start searching all over the Internet for clues of a sequel (*cue tears*).

This is a great story folks - the kind that makes you think, makes you cry and makes you look at this reality for some from all different sides. I Loved it.  A massive thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for allowing me the privilege of reading an advanced copy.  Pre-order your copy here!  (*All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.)

Description: From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova comes a powerful new novel that does for Huntington’s Disease what her debut Still Alice did for Alzheimer’s.

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (The San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again delivered a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core.

Rating: *****

Recommend:  I recommend all of her books, they are just incredible and is in the top 5 of my favorite authors. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Centurion's Wife by Davis Bunn & Janette Oke

Typically the only Christian historical fiction you'll see me picking up is by Francine Rivers - the woman knows how to do it right.  Unfortunately, I haven't found many other Christian authors that I enjoy historical fiction from.  BUT I will say, I LOVED the Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke, so when my mother-in-law dropped the Acts of Faith trilogy off at my house to give a try - I thought - heck why not?!

Sigh.....but it was not to be folks.  I read the first of the series, The Centurion's Wife and I just couldn't get into it.  And I'll admit I was actually a bit frustrated.  Here's why - because when Christian authors take actual historical Biblical accounts and "add" their spin to it, it confuses the absolute crap out of me.   And then next thing I know - I genuinely think there was a niece of Herod's out there by the name of Leah who fell in love with a Centurion of the name Alban and they had a bunch of interactions with Jesus and the disciples.  Didn't happen people.  Every now and then I do love a great historical fiction novel, but it has to keep some distance from actual historical events or it just loses me all together. I hope that makes sense.  Of course, that doesn't mean that I give up on Janette Oke all together, I just wasn't too keen on this one and therefore didn't feel compelled to read the remaining 2 books in the series.  Hey, at least I tried right?

Description: Janette Oke has dreamed for years of retelling a story in a biblical time frame from a female protagonist's perspective, and Davis Bunn is elated to be working with her again on this sweeping saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity...and the very personal story of Leah, a young Jewess of mixed heritage trapped in a vortex of competing political agendas and private trauma. 

Caught up in the maelstrom following the death of an obscure rabbi in the Roman backwater of first-century Palestine, Leah finds herself also engulfed in her own turmoil--facing the prospect of an arranged marriage to a Roman soldier, Alban, who seems to care for nothing but his own ambitions. Head of the garrison near Galilee, he has been assigned by Palestine's governor to ferret out the truth behind rumors of a political execution gone awry. Leah's mistress, the governor's wife, secretly commissions Leah also to discover what really has become of this man whose death--and missing body--is causing such furor. 

This epic drama is threaded with the tale of an unlikely romance and framed with dangers and betrayals from unexpected sources. At its core, The Centurion's Wife unfolds the testing of loyalties--between two young people whose inner searchings they cannot express, between their irreconcilable heritages, and ultimately between their humanity and the Divine they yearn to encounter.

Rating: **

Recommend: If blending between fiction & actual historical events doesn't bother you, then by all means give this one a shot! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Follow The Leader by Mel Sherratt

You know you've picked a winner of a read when you can't stop thinking about the characters long after you put the book down.  My husband was asking me the other day which book I was reading at the moment and I completely delved into the whole story of Follow The Leader trying to explain who was who and what I couldn't figure out and all the little details - really it was just an extremely futile effort, as I just could barely wrap my own mind around everything.

But wow - so good.  It was intense, it was well-paced and it was insane.  And I honestly didn't even realize that I had read Book #2 in the DS Allie Shenton series!  Follow The Leader definitely stands just fine on it's own, but now I HAVE to pick up the first one, Taunting The Dead and keep my eyes pealed for #3.

Y'all, if you like a seriously intense & suspenseful read, you'll really enjoy this one!  Holy crap.  Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for the opportunity to receive an advanced copy of Follow The Leader by Mel Sherratt.  You can pick up your copy when it releases on February 10th, by clicking here.  (*All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.)

Description: A man’s body is found on a canal towpath. In his pocket, a plastic magnet in the shape of an E.

Days later, a second victim is found, this time with the letter V tucked into her clothing.

As the body count rises, the eerie, childlike clues point to a pattern that sends DS Allie Shenton and her colleagues into full alert.

The race is on. Allie and the team must work quickly to determine where the killer will strike next.

The rules are simple but deadly—to catch the killer, they must follow the leader.

From the acclaimed author of Taunting the Dead comes a flesh-creeping tale of a child's game with a terrifying, grown-up twist.

Rating: *****

Recommend: For reals.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Illusionists: A Novel by Rosie Thomas

Plowing through The Illusionists was like re-reading Gone With the Wind all over again...and I don't exactly mean that in the best way.  It's a hefty novel rounding out close to 500 pages and was divided into Parts - you know like Part 1, Part 2...and so on. When it comes down to it, I just didn't understand where it was going.  When I finally delved into Part 2, all of a sudden the story turned into sorta a murder mystery - what the what?  There were certain chapters where I was glued, and other's I was barely able to keep my eyes open - it was really just a flip of the coin for me.

I don't always do so well with period type novels, so maybe that's where I was struggling, but I just didn't get it and was fairly disappointed in the long run.  Man I hate having to admit that.  Some of you might really enjoy this novel, since I've seen some really great reviews on Goodreads.

Thank you to BookReporter for sending me this beautiful, complimentary hard copy of The Illusionists: A Novel by Rosie Thomas. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for my review.

Description: Over the course of a brilliant career, bestselling novelist Rosie Thomas has earned an untold number of awards and the devotion of millions of loyal readers. Her new novel The Illusionists, set in London in 1870, is a thrilling step forward—a captivating tale of passion and intrigue in the theater world.

At the start of The Illusionists, we meet Eliza, a young, beautiful woman of limited means. Through her work as an artist’s model, she meets the magnetic and irascible Devil—a born showman whose dream is to run his own theater company. Devil’s righthand man is Carlo Bonomi, an ill-tempered dwarf with an enormous talent for all things magic and illusion. And then there is Jasper Button, the enigmatic, unlikely final member of this fascinating cast of characters. Thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked. As Eliza gets sucked into their seductive and dangerous world, she risks not only her heart, but also her life, which is soon thrown into peril.

Rating: **

Recommend:  My personal opinion is to pass on it, but then some of you might really enjoy it - check out other reviews on Amazon or Goodreads and decide for yourself! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle

Who doesn't love a good nail-biting page-turner?! In all truthfulness, I'm not really a fan of starting a new book - it takes me forever to set the stage and envision who is who and what is going on.  But that so wasn't the case with The Last Breath. At page one I was instantly hooked and


For reals people.  This book was almost perfection for me - minus all the gratuitous sex scenes.  Ugh, why is that so necessary for some authors!  Gah!  It's like since Fifty Shades of Grey became a literary sensation, every writer and their mother wants to push the envelope with how gritty their love-making can get.  I guess I'm one of the rare individuals who thinks that a little mystery and implied sensuality goes a long way.

But apart from that - so stinkin good.  If you've read any of my reviews in the past, you know I don't like to go into details on what I thought of the characters or the storyline because I don't want to influence someone who hasn't read the book yet themselves.  But seriously I couldn't figure out the ending for the life of me and it completely took me by surprise!  Amazing and bravo Ms. Belle.

Thank you to Harlequin MIRA and NetGalley for a complimentary advanced reading copy of The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review. Get your copy here!

Description: Humanitarian aid worker Gia Andrews chases disasters around the globe for a living. It's the perfect lifestyle to keep her far away from her own personal ground zero. Sixteen years ago, Gia's father was imprisoned for brutally killing her stepmother. Now he's come home to die of cancer, and she's responsible for his care—and coming to terms with his guilt. 

Gia reluctantly resumes the role of daughter to the town's most infamous murderer, a part complete with protesters on the lawn and death threats that are turning tragedy into front-page news. Returning to life in small-town Tennessee involves rebuilding relationships that distance and turmoil have strained, though finding an emotional anchor in the attractive hometown bartender is certainly helping Gia cope. 

As the past unravels before her, Gia will find herself torn between the stories that her family, their friends and neighbors, and even her long-departed stepmother have believed to be real all these years. But in the end, the truth—and all the lies that came before—may have deadlier consequences than she could have ever anticipated…

Rating: ****

Recommend:  If you love a good dose of suspense-filled women's fiction, then you will devour this!