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Saturday, December 21, 2013

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

One Breath AwayOne Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: One Breath Away
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Published: June 26, 2013
Genres: Fiction; Suspense Fiction

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

In her most emotionally charged novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered.

In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

My Review:
After reading These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf, I had very high expectations for One Breath Away and I must admit that she certainly didn't disappoint yet again with One Breath Away. Gudenkauf has managed to write a perfectly concise and organized fast-paced novel. I thoroughly enjoy Gudenkauf's writing style in that she tends to write from several different POV's throughout the book, but not only do we get a good picture about what's going on in the present, she also provide plenty of glimpses of what has happened in the past to get the characters to where they are today.

There's nothing better when you're reading a book and you just can't put it down because you are dying to know what the outcome of the story is, and One Breath Away is one of those books. It is one of those prop you eyelids open way into the early hours of the morning, even though you know you have to get up in a matter of hours kind of book! It doesn't get much better than that!

I thought that the characters were so rich and deep that I couldn't help but fall into their story and get lost in their lives. All of the characters in this book were all so different from each other, that even though there were quite a few characters, there was never any confusion as to which character you were reading about.

This story is dramatic, agonizing, heartfelt, traumatic, and the list of adjectives could go on forever, but the best way to describe it is as it's simply amazing. I thought I had figured out the outcome on so many different occasions, that I lost count, but in the end, sat, shell-shocked, because the outcome was not one that I could have EVER predicted.

Overall, I must say that there isn't one thing I can say badly or that I didn't like about One Breath Away. It's books like this that keep my excitement boiling for each new adventure that I come across in every book that I pick up (or listen to)! It is authors and writing like this that keeps my desire for reading so alive and passionate. After These Things Hidden and One Breath Away, I definitely won't hesitate to consider Heather Gudenkauf one of my top go-to author's, as she has an impeccable writing abilities!

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Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kinsbury {Audio}

Fifteen Minutes: A NovelFifteen Minutes: A Novel by Karen Kingsbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Fifteen Minutes: A Novel
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Narrator: Kirby Heybourne
Length: Unabridged; 12 hours 1 minute
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: October 29, 2013
Genres: Fiction; Christian Fiction

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes a dramatic story about fame, true love, and the cost of having it all.

Zack Dylan made a promise to God and his college sweetheart as he left his family’s horse farm in Kentucky to compete on the popular reality television show Fifteen Minutes: If he makes it, the fame won’t change him.

Overnight, Zack is the nation’s most popular contestant, a country singer with the looks and voice of a young Elvis. As his star rises, Zack is asked to compromise and quiet his beliefs, and also some­thing more. Something Zack could never have imagined. Just as America is falling in love with Zack, just as he’s on the verge of winning it all, his choices lead him to the brink of personal disaster.

At the same time, Reese Weatherly, a thera­peutic horse instructor, is no longer sure about her relationship with Zack, or the wedding they had dreamed about. While Zack advances from one round of the competition to the next, an offer comes to Reese—one that will take her to a home halfway around the world.

Then Chandra Olson—reigning diva pop star and one of the Fifteen Minutes judges—intervenes. Chandra has suffered so much public pain and pri­vate agony since her days as a Fifteen Minutes contestant. Now she wants just one thing: meaning.

Can Chandra’s private losses help Zack find his way, or will his fifteen minutes of fame cause him to lose the life he once loved? Fifteen Minutes is a story of character, compromise, and the cost of having it all. A story that raises the question: Who are the real winners?

My Review:
I must say that I don't really read much Christian Fiction, but was happy with the content of Fifteen Minutes. It wasn't overly Godly or religious, but was enough to know that Karen Kingsbury is comfortable writing about her faith and beliefs, which I really respect. I found the Fifteen Minutes really grasped me and I had to know what happened to Zack on the show and where that left him and Reese. I also found the sub stories of Kelly and Chandra very interesting and liked how they were woven in with the stories of Zack, Zoe and Reese.

The narrator, Kirby Heybourne did a wonderful job reading the book. The only quirk that I had was not with the narrator in particular, but the fact that when it came to a song in the book, the song or lyrics were just read. I think that it would have made this book over the top, and possibly that 5th star read for me if the songs would have actually been sung. It didn't even have to have music to accompany it, aA' Capella would have been just fine, at least for me! I was able to easily following Kirby's reading and kept in tune with the story just fine. He did a great job of distinguishing between characters and made the listening of Fifteen Minutes an enjoyable experience.

I thought that the characters were well thought-out and thorough. I felt like they came from a different breed than the characters I usually read about in mystery and suspense books, however, that different breed was quite refreshing! I thought that there was a great amount of diversity between the characters and they mixed well together to create a great novel. However, I was quite irked by the Zoe kink in the story and every part of that annoyed me, from the beginning and her introduction, to the end result. I felt like she instigated it all from the very beginning to the end, and was disappointed that Zack just let it go when he was confronted with information that she was behind it! That's about the only thing that really got to me, other than the songs not being sung!

The story was a great, lesson-learning story, that I am thrilled to have been able to read. I didn't necessarily care for the ending too much, because I felt like it left too much open, left too much for me to guess what happened. I would have liked a more defined ending as to this is exactly what happened. I could easily see the theme of the book and the point that Kindbury was trying to convey to her readers that even people with the strongest faith, can be changed in a matter of seconds, without even realizing it, that it is harder to be true to yourself and your faith than you may think that it is.

Overall, I really enjoyed listening to Fifteen minutes while driving, and found myself just wanted to drive more or wait in the car just a little bit longer just so that I could listen to a little bit more. This was my first read/listen by Karen Kingbury, as well as my first real Christian Fiction book, but I can assure you that it won't be my last from either! I really did enjoy this book!

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the Publisher, Simon & Schuster Audio via Audiobook Jukebox in return for an honest, unbiased review.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Crush (Karen Vail #2) by Alan Jacobson {Audio}

CrushCrush by Alan Jacobson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Crush
Author: Alan Jacobson
Narrator: Tish Hicks
Length: 12 hours, 22 minutes
Publisher: Phoenix Audio
Published: September 1, 2009
Genres: Fiction; Suspense Fiction

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮

In his thriller The 7th Victim, Alan Jacobson established FBI profiler Karen Vail as one of the most exciting new protagonists in the genre. In Crush, Karen Vail returns to confront a serial killer unlike any she has seen before, the hunt for whom will call on all her skills--and shake her confidence to its core.

My Review:
Just like Book 1, The 7th Victim, this book did not disappoint, in true Karen Vail fashion! Alan Jacobson continued to capture the true essence of who Karen Vail is, which keeps you captivated throughout!

Karen Vail is such a complex but interesting character, and Book 2 takes us on vacation with Karen and lets us see her blooming relationship with Robby! It doesn't take long for Karen to be elbow deep in another murder investigation, and as usual, seeming to be up to her eyeballs in trouble! I think that is what makes Karen such an enjoyable character!

This book is full of different plots, twists, and turns, which keep you guessing throughout the whole book! As with book one, I did feel like the book was a little longer than necessary, but it didn't cause enough of a problem to make me not want to finish it! As a matter of a fact, with an ending like this book had, I can't wait to run out and get Book 3! The ending to Crush was the mac daddy of all cliffhangers!

The narrator did a wonderful job of portraying Karen Vail, and even though it wasn't the same narrator from Book 1, she tricked me into thinking that she was! She was able to distinctly portray each of the different characters, male and female, with ease! I enjoyed listening to Trish Hicks and think she has done a wonderful job throughout the entire book!

Overall, this has been a great series and I am certainly glad that I randomly came across it! I won't hesitate to recommend this series to all of my friends, as well as check out other titles of Jacobson's! This was definitely a thrilling ride!

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Finding Cinderella (Hopeless #2.5) by Colleen Hoover

Finding Cinderella (Hopeless, #2.5)Finding Cinderella (Hopeless #2.5) by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Finding Cinderella
Author: Colleen Hoover
Length: 105 pages
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: October 14, 2013
Genres: Fiction; Love Stories

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

This novella is a companion novel to the Hopeless series, but can be read as a standalone.

A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love comes with conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. Daniel soon realizes the way he pretended to feel about Cinderella and the way he really feels about Six may not be so different after all. Especially when the two loves of his life end up being one in the same.

Unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it.

My Review:
I have found that with many authors, it seems the more they write, the least interesting their books become, however, it is exactly the opposite with Colleen Hoover. The more that I read from her, the more I cannot live without her writing! I CRAVE MORE! Hoover has such a phenomenal gift in writing that I can't imagine her doing anything else! With each book that I read, I cannot believe the feelings that Hoover stirs up within me! Someone else said it perfectly..."I felt more in reading 100 pages of this novella than I have felt reading many other entire books!"

At first, I was quite skeptical on a book about Daniel. He was the odd cookie, that didn't necessarily appeal to me in the other books. Boy, did he shine in his own story! Who knew he could be such a romantic? Hoover has found her niche in being able to create the perfect characters that say and do all the right things! And it was good to learn more about the real Daniel and Six, where we only saw small bits and pieces of them in the books before!

You can't get any better with this story! There are not enough words of greatness to describe any of Hoover's books, Finding Cinderella included! At the end of all of Hoover's books, I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next book to be released, and this book was no different! This was such a quick and easy read that I couldn't help but want to savor!

Hoover has figured out what it takes to write a successful book, and adds all of the right touches to make each and every book she writes, the perfect book, and Finding Cinderella is no exception! I certainly hope that there is more to this story, because I just have to know more!

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Skeleton's Key (Delta Crossroads Trilogy #2) by Stacy Green

Skeleton's Key (Delta Crossroads, #2)Skeleton's Key by Stacy Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Skeleton's Key
Author: Stacy Green
Length: 313 pages
Publisher: Misterio Press
Published: October 28, 2013
Genres: Fiction; Mystery/Romantic Suspense

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Cage Foster can’t catch a break. The discovery of a dusty skeleton in the antebellum home he’s caring for is bad enough. But the unearthing of two fresh bodies, buried during his tenure at Ironwood Plantation, may land Cage on Mississippi’s death row. Even worse, the one person certain of his innocence is a pushy Yankee newcomer, a woman who talks too fast and still believes in the romance of the Old South.

A specialist in historical renovation, Dani Evans intends to restore Ironwood to its former glory while she rebuild]]of her mother. Death, hidden treasure, and falling in love with a murder suspect were not part of the plan. The lure of the infamous Ironwood treasure cache convinces Dani the skeleton is the key to unraveling the legend, and that the treasure itself is the motive for the murders.

Cage is certain an old grudge is setting him up for murder, but the evidence against him is mounting and time is running out. Dani believes she can find the truth before Cage is arrested, but her search for answers will uncover a descent into madness that should have stayed buried.

My Review:
I met Stacy Green on Goodreads and was fortunate enough to be able to read the first book in this series for her, Tin God, in return for my review, and let me tell you, I absolutely LOVED it from the very start! So when she asked if I would be interested in seeing Skeleton's Key, I jumped at the chance!!

So, I must say that when I first started reading this book, I was slightly disappointed to not go right back into Jayme's life, to see where she was at in her life after Tin God...however, that only lasted a quick moment, as I completely fell into Cage's story, and it was soon, Jayme who? I was surprised to see Jayme come in later, but still thrilled to get more involved with Cage.

Green does a superb job of providing such detailed descriptions that the reader can't help but imagine everything in all of it's glory...the heat and beauty of historic Roselea, Mississippi, the magnitude of the plantation homes, and the deep relationships of the characters involved.

With both books, I was amazed at the ease Green appears to have in writing a great mystery novel! This book was full of mystery and suspense, and just enough romance to spice up your life! Green has the perfect touch with romantic suspense! In no way was this book predictable, as I was blindsided when the real culprit was revealed. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book!

I couldn't help but fall even more in love with the characters of this quaint little town, due to Green's expertly written characters with real-life strengths and weaknesses.

I can't wait to continue to love and grow and meet all the characters that The Delta Crossroads has to offer! I couldn't be more thrilled with this book and as always, will anxiously await Green's next novel!

**This book was provided to me as an ARC from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.**

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long

In Leah's WakeIn Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: In Leah's Wake
Author: Terri Giuliano Long
Length: 359 pages
Publisher: North Charleston, NC: Createspace
Published: March 23, 2012
Genres: Fiction; Domestic Fiction

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮

A Story of Love, Loss, Connection, and Grace

At the heart of the seemingly perfect Tyler family stands sixteen-year-old Leah. Her proud parents are happily married, successful professionals. Her adoring younger sister is wise and responsible beyond her years. And Leah herself is a talented athlete with a bright collegiate future. But living out her father’s lost dreams, and living up to her sister’s worshipful expectations, is no easy task for a teenager. And when temptation enters her life in the form of drugs, desire, and a dangerously exciting boy, Leah’s world turns on a dime from idyllic to chaotic to nearly tragic.

As Leah’s conflicted emotions take their toll on those she loves—turning them against each other and pushing them to destructive extremes—In Leah’s Wake powerfully explores one of fiction’s most enduring themes: the struggle of teenagers coming of age, and coming to terms with the overwhelming feelings that rule them and the demanding world that challenges them. Terri Giuliano Long’s skillfully styled and insightfully informed debut novel captures the intensely personal tragedies, victories, and revelations each new generation faces during those tumultuous transitional years.

Recipient of multiple awards and honors, In Leah’s Wake is a compelling and satisfying reading experience with important truths to share—by a new author with the voice of a natural storyteller and an unfailingly keen understanding of the human condition…at every age.

Nominated Global eBook Award (New Edition, 2012)
Book Bundlz 2011 Book Pick
Book Bundlz Book Club 2011 Favorites - First Place

My Review:
Terri Giuliano Long writes about intense family relationships and what life with a teenager can be like! Life with teenagers is probably never easy, and Long writes about extreme difficulties faced by the Tyler family in just trying to get Leah to survive her teenage years!

Although I feel that Long accurately depicted real-life troubles with teenagers, I feel that sometimes it was a little too drawn out throughout the story. After awhile, I was getting annoyed with Leah and her antics, and found myself just not wanting to read any more.

One review that I read described how the Tyler family depicts this perfect picture of Leah Tyler, how she is this phenomenal athlete, extremely intelligent child, however, not many of her actions throughout this book, live up to that description. After the intense descriptions of the trials and tribulations of Leah, I would have liked to learn more about her survival afterward.

The book is great at proving that even the perfect families, aren't so perfect behind closed doors. Even though one may be a doctor, and drive a nice car, have a nice house, with the perfect job and kids, things might not be quite as they seem!

In the beginning, I was slightly confused by Long's writing style, how it would go back and forth between characters, especially in the first few chapters, but I didn't seem to notice it as much throughout the remainder of the book.

Overall, this book won't suede me from reading another book written by Long. I wanted to love it, but could only bring myself to like it. But I enjoyed the subject matter and writing abilities of the author.

I received this book as a member of Sisterhood of the Traveling Book from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

The Midwife's ConfessionThe Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: The Midwife's Confession
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Length: 417 pages
Publisher: Don Mills, Ont.: Mira
Published: April 26, 2011
Genres: Fiction

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Dear Anna,
What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry-

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle - her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family - described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives - and the life of a desperate stranger - with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

My Review:
How could one NOT want to read this book after reading the synopsis!! I was engulfed by this story from the first page to the very last page! This was my first read by Diane Chamberlain, and I have already reserved a copy of another book of hers! I was succumbed by her writing abilities. This was such a great, well-written, emotional novel.

The characters were so real and emotional, but they were so wonderful to read about! I was so involved in their lives while reading their stories, evening feeling their anguish as they learned the truths of their lives and their friend's lives! This is truly a story about real friendships and the lengths a real friend will go to protect one another.

This story was like an emotional roller coaster, but left plenty of twists and turns to keep you wondering what exactly was going on. There was not a moment that passed while reading, that I was uninterested in what was going on.

This is probably one of the best books that I've read in awhile and I can't wait until I get to read more from this amazing author!

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Shadowkiller (Nightwatcher #3) by Wendy Corsi Staub

Shadowkiller (Nightwatcher #3)Shadowkiller (Nightwatcher #3) by Wendy Corsi Staub
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Shadowkiller
Author: Wendy Corsi Staub
Length: 419 pages
Publisher: New York; Harper
Published: January 9, 2013
Genres: Fiction; Suspense Fiction

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮

The terror of Sleepwalker and Nightwatcher continues as this New York Times bestselling author presents a new novel of suspense so terrifying it may make you afraid of the dark ...

Allison Taylor MacKenna's peaceful life is threatened by murky childhood memories and the murder of a stranger in the Caribbean. NYPD Detective Rocky Manzillo knows something terrible has emerged from the shadows. Can he stop a killer before it's too late for Allison and her family?

My Review:
Wendy Corsi Staub didn't disappoint me again with Book 3 of her Nightwatcher Trilogy! I have grown very fond of her writing and find that she does a great job! I enjoyed this book, however, not as much as the first two!

As with the first two books, I have found that I still want more from Allison and Mac, and am disappointed that as of right now, this is the end.

Wendy Corsi Staub has done a great job of bringing us a totally different story, with these same characters that we've read about and grown to love in Nightwatcher and Shadowkiller! It was great to get a glimpse into Allison's ever so distant and mysterious past life.

This book will take you on a roller coaster ride that you'll love, leaving you with plenty of shocks and thrills along the way! It's amazing how the three books come together in this last book of the trilogy!

I certainly will not hesitate to read more from Wendy Corsi Staub, as she has quickly jumped up my list of favorite authors. After three books, she has yet to leave me disappointed!

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Friday, August 30, 2013

A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay

A Tap on the WindowA Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: A Tap on the Window
Author: Linwood Barclay
Length: 500 pages
Publisher: New York; New American Library
Published: August 6, 2013
Genres: Fiction; Mystery Fiction

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

It's been two months since private investigator Cal Weaver's teenage son, Scott, died in a tragic drug-related accident. Ever since, he and his wife have drifted apart, fracturing a once-normal life. Cal is mired in grief he can't move past. And maybe that has clouded his judgment. Because he made a grave mistake driving home on a very rainy night. A drenched young girl tapped on his window as he sat at a stoplight and asked for a ride. And even though he knew a forty-something man picking up a teenage hitchhiker is a fool, he let her in the car--she was the same age as Scott and maybe she could help him find the dealer who sold his son the drugs that killed him. However, after a brief stop at a roadside diner, Cal senses that something's not right with the girl or the situation. But it's too late. He's already involved.
Soon Cal finds himself mired in a nightmare of pain and suspicion. Something is horribly wrong in the small town of Griffon in Upstate New York. There are too many secrets, too many lies. And Cal decides to expose those secrets one by one.

My Review:
This was my first Linwood Barclay book, and I have to say that I very quickly got my hands on another one of his books almost immediately after finishing A Tap on the Window. I had this book on the shelf for a rather long time before I started it, but once I did, it didn't come out of my hands for long, unless, you know, I had to get some sleep or something crazy like that! Other than for sleep and work, my nose was stuck in this book from beginning to end! I thought that it was such a great thriller with deep-seeded emotions wrought throughout.

Barclay does a wonderful job at keeping you guessing throughout the entire story, right up until the bitter end. He offers plenty of twists and turns, and makes you believe you've got it figured out, and that's when he throws you another curve! It is similar to the ups and downs of a roller coaster! Absolutely thrilling!

His characters are flawed, which I think makes them so much better to read about, because seriously, who always wants to read about the perfect person, with the perfect life, with the perfect spouse, and perfect house and job and everything else in the world? BORING...certainly not me! Cal and his wife are grieving parents, dealing with the hand of cards that life has recently dealt them, with raw emotions!

Barclay has given us a book with real life situations in it, something that could happen to you and I, so I think that is what made this book all the more pleasurable, knowing that this scenario could be a reality! Overall, I thought that this was a fantastic read and was kicking myself in the butt for taking so long to read it! I can't wait to read more from this author! I think he will quickly rise to one of my favorites!

I received this book as a First Reads book on Goodreads. I hereby express that this is my honest and unbiased opinion of this book!

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Face of Deception (Eve Duncan #1) by Iris Johansen

The Face Of Deception (Eve Duncan, #1)The Face Of Deception (Eve Duncan #1) by Iris Johansen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: The Face Of Deception
Author: Iris Johansen
Length: 480 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Published: June 1, 1999
Genres: Fiction; Mystery Fiction

Visit my review/blog HERE!
My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

An unidentified skull...

A trail of terrifying secrets...

And a woman whose talented hands could reveal the shocking truth...

As a forensic sculptor, Eve Duncan helps identify the dead from their skulls. Her own daughter murdered and her body never found, the job is Eve's way of coming to terms with her personal nightmare. But more terror lies ahead when she accepts work from billionaire John Logan. Beneath her gifted hands a face emerges from the skull he has given her to reconstruct—a face no one was ever meant to see. Now Eve is trapped in a frightening web of murder and deceit. Powerful enemies are determined to cover up the truth, and they will make certain that truth goes to the grave...even if Eve gets buried with it.

My Review:
The only regret that I have about this book is that I didn't read it sooner! This was the first book that I've read from Iris Johansen and I can assure you that it will not be my last. As soon as I finished this book, I made sure I put Book #2 in the Eve Duncan series, The Killing Game, on hold! This book was right up my alley, as I love forensics and am fascinated with this sculpting process!

The story was in depth, flowing smoothly, with twists and turns in every directions that you wouldn't expect. Just when you thought you knew what was going on, Johansen threw you for another twist. It was an interesting story to read about and kept me captivated throughout! I felt that the facts of the story were thoroughly researched and accurately depicted.

As for the characters, I loved Eve Duncan! I think that the characters were put together nicely to make a great balance in the story. I think that each characters puts their own advantage to the story, making it fill out nicely.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this read and can't wait to read more! I don't think that I will stop with the Eve Duncan series either. I can see Iris Johansen ranking right up there with Lisa Gardner on my favorite author list!

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline {Audio}

Don't GoDon't Go by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Don't Go
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Narrator: Jeremy Davidson
Length: 9 Discs, 11 hours, 25 minutes
Publisher: MacMillion Audio
Published: April 9, 2013
Genres: Fiction; Suspense; Mystery

Visit my review: http://chorleychronicals.blogspot.com

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Bestselling author Lisa Scottoline has thrilled millions with her emotionally-charged novels that feature strong women exploring the boundaries of family, justice, and love. In Don’t Go, she breaks new ground and delivers the story of a soldier who discovers what it means to be a man, a father, and ultimately, a hero.
When Dr. Mike Scanlon is called to serve as an army doctor in Afghanistan, he’s acutely aware of the dangers he’ll face and the hardships it will cause his wife Chloe and newborn baby. And deep inside, he doesn’t think of himself as a warrior, but a healer.

However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies at home in the suburbs, in an apparent household accident. Devastated, he returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart. His medical practice is in jeopardy, and he is a complete stranger to the only family he has left - his precious baby girl. Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.
Ultimately, Mike realizes that the most important battle of his life faces him on the home front and he’ll have to put it all on the line to save what’s dearest to him – his family. Gripping, thrilling, and profoundly emotional, Don’t Go is Lisa Scottoline at her finest.

My Review:
This book was such a heartwarming, gut wrenching, truly touching story to read (or in my case, listen to!) It is a story of love, loss, war and conflict, military spouses, and life after war. It is of my opinion that most people would find it difficult to dislike this book.

This was my first read by Lisa Scottoline, and I have to say, that I thought this book was exceptional! I listened to it on audio, and it had me captured from the first few moments clear through the bitter end. I thought that Scottoline did a superb job of writing a believable and emotional story.

The narrator, Jeremy Davidson, did a phenomenal job narrating this story. He is such a great reader, that I would consider listening to book narrated by him, just to see what else he can do! He was able to make you feel like you really were listening to Mike, hearing his story, and feeling his raw emotions.

I felt that Scottoline was very in depth and thorough with her characters in Don't Go, and I felt like they all appropriately fit each of them. Of course, there were characters that I loved and characters that I absolutely had complete disdain for! One of those was Bob! I was also carefully guarded with Danielle. I kept feeling the need to root for Mike!

The story was the farthest thing from predictable and I loved that! Scottoline gives you just enough bits and pieces to know that something is amiss, but never enough to know exactly what it is until the very end. Speaking of the end, it was a very peaceful, acceptable ending, that left me with a feeling of closure. There was mystery and suspense, but not enough to be gory, just enough to keep you hanging on to every last word!

Overall, I loved listening to this book. It has got to be one of my favorite audio books that I've ever listened to. This book was made to be an audio book! I also can't wait to try out more of Lisa Scottoline's book's to see what else she has up her sleeve!

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the Publisher, MacMillion Audio via Audiobook Jukebox in return for an honest, unbiased review.

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Bella by Steve Piacente

BellaBella by Steve Piacente
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Bella
Author: Steve Piacente
Length: 268 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published: June 13, 2010
Genres: Fiction; Political Thriller; Mystery/Thriller

Visit my review: http://chorleychronicals.blogspot.com

My Rating: ✮✮✮

A striking widow intent on proving the military lied about her husband's death lures a Washington journalist into the investigation. Working together, they discover the power of temptation, the futility of revenge, and the consequences of yielding to either.

My Review:
I have thought and thought about what I was going to write for this review, and just wanted to put out a disclaimer that this probably has to be one of the hardest reviews that I ever had to do.

I instantly thought I would love this book when I read the description, even though there are quite the conflicted reviews. I now understand, because I am still quite conflicted over a month after finishing this book!

I did really like the book, but there was just something about it that made me give it 3/5 stars. I think it was my distaste for Isabel Moss. And lack of respect for Dan Patragno.

I found the plot to be wonderful and shocking and just full of twists and turns that kept you wanting to turn the page and find out exactly what happened. However, the idiocy and total lack of thought or consequence on Dan's part, just really irritated me, along with Isabel's total disregard for anyone or their feelings. Granted, I understand she had been through a lot, but that woman is ice cold!

As for the characters, I think they are a diverse group! Piacente did a really good job with creating the type of characters that we don't read about often, if ever. However, I have often found in my reading, that if I don't like a character, what they do, or what they about, it turns me off from the book a bit, so I seem to find characters quite important to me for me to be able to enjoy the book.

This was the hardest story for me to rate because there are parts of it that I really like and would love to give it a higher rating, and there are parts of it that I really do not like. Overall though, I'd say I'd get it a 3.75 rating! This book shows me that Steve Piacente has great potential of providing me with a fantastic reading, so I would not hesitate to read another of his books!

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the Author in return for an honest, unbiased review.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Losing Hope (Hopeless #2) by Colleen Hoover

Losing Hope (Hopeless, #2)Losing Hope (Hopeless #2) by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Losing Hope
Author: Colleen Hoover
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: July 8, 2013
Genres: Fiction; Women's Fiction

Visit my review: http://chorleychronicals.blogspot.com

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Sometimes in life, in order to move forward you must face the past…

#1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover held readers spellbound with her novel Hopeless, the story of what happened when a troubled girl named Sky encountered a long-lost childhood friend, Dean Holder. With Holder’s help, Sky uncovered shocking family secrets and came to terms with memories and emotions that had left deep scars.

Hopeless was Sky’s story. Now, in Losing Hope, we finally learn the truth about Dean Holder.

Haunted by the little girl he couldn’t save from imminent danger, Holder’s life has been overshadowed by feelings of guilt and remorse. He has never stopped searching for her, believing that finding her would bring him the peace he needs to move on. However, Holder could not have anticipated that he would be faced with even greater pain the moment they reconnect.

In Losing Hope, Holder reveals the way in which the events of Sky’s youth affected him and his family, leading him to seek his own redemption in the act of saving her. But it is only in loving Sky that he can finally begin to heal himself.

My Review:
I have to start out with the fact that I loved Colleen Hoover's Hopeless, so I had extremely high hopes for Losing Hope and drove myself nuts with anticipation waiting anxiously for the day I could finally get my hands on a copy of this book! Hopeless was certainly a tough act to follow! I've never read a second book, from a different person's point of view, so I have to admit that I was quite skeptical about reading this book, and enjoying it as much as I did the first one, but boy was I wrong! It seemed to help me that much more that I already knew the background of the story, and seemed to be able to read more efficiently and thoroughly because of that fact! I was also able to enjoy what I was reading a little easier than a book you're reading for the first time!

Dean "Holder" was such an amazing character in Hopeless that simply left me feeling speechless and hopeless for days after finishing it, so I couldn't wait to get more of Holder! I found myself highlight favorite quotes from holder every few pages! He's just so wise and intricate and deep and intense and even though I loved Sky, I really wanted to delve into Holder's world and thoughts! He left me just as smitten if not more the second time around!

The story is so gut-wrenching but believable! Again, I must use the word intense, because that seems to be the only appropriate adjective to describe both Holder and the story. The story flowed so smoothly and was so well written that I easily lost myself within the story. I started the book when I went to bed, and here I found myself at 2 am, already 42% into the book, forcing myself to stop reading because I HAD to go to sleep!! It was so hard to put down the book once you started, and I LOVE that about Colleen Hoover's books! She has such an awesome ability to capture the true essence of what a reader wants and ensconce them in her writing!

After reading Hopeless, it left me reeling for days! Hopeless was all that consumed my thoughts and Losing Hope is no different! Both books left me feeling the roller coaster of emotions that the characters were feeling at the time: devastation (which Holder shares his personal thoughts of the meaning throughout!), grief, pain, sadness, chemisty, contentment, fulfillment, true love. I couldn't help but feeling breathless, my heart aching, leaving me gasping for breath while throughout the entire book. I have never in my life read another story from another author that has made me personally feel so emotional and invested as Colleen Hoover has been able to do in not one, but TWO books!!

There are not enough words or adjectives in the English vocabulary that can do this book and this author justice, but I will try with unbelievable phenomenal best two books that I have EVER read! It does leave me wanting more, more of the future for Sky and Holder! At the end of Hopeless, all I could feel was Hopeless. Now at the end of Losing Hope, I feel breathless, still speechless, but not so hopeless! It left me with my own little ray of Hope! I certainly hope this is not the end of Sky and Dean and can't wait to see more out of Colleen Hoover and hope that this series takes her to the top, because that is where she belongs!

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the Publish, Atria Books (by Simon & Schuster) via NetGalley in return for an honest, unbiased review.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Law of Attraction (Anna Curtis #1) by Allison Leotta

Law of Attraction (Anna Curtis, #1)Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Law of Attraction
Author: Allison Leotta
Length: 279 pages
Publisher: Touchstone
Published: October 12, 2010
Genres: Legal Stories; Suspense Fiction; Fiction

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

As a newly minted Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., Anna Curtis has already developed thick skin to deal with the brutality she encounters with her daily stack of domestic violence cases. Yet when Laprea Johnson walks into Anna’s life—battered by her boyfriend on the morning after Valentine’s Day—there’s something about this particular case that Anna can’t quite shake, something that reminds the prosecutor of her own troubled past.
At the trial, Laprea makes a last-minute reversal, lying on the witness stand to free her boy-friend. Shortly after he is freed, Anna is horrified to hear that Laprea’s body has been found in a trash heap. Hastily assigned to prosecute the murder case alongside intimidating chief homicide prosecutor Jack Bailey, Anna’s heart sinks when she learns that her own boyfriend, public defender Nick Wagner, is representing the accused.
Torn between bringing the killer to justice and saving her personal life, Anna makes a series of choices that jeopardizes her career, her relationships, and her very life as she uncovers the shocking truth behind the murder.
Weaving expert knowledge with deft storytelling, federal sex-crimes prosecutor and Harvard Law School graduate Allison Leotta takes readers on a thrilling ride through D.C.’s criminal justice system. From the back rooms of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the flirtations and machinations of Washington’s Ivy League lawyers to the struggles of its poorest citizens on the gritty streets of Anacostia, Law of Attraction is a gripping debut from an exciting new talent.

My Review:
This was such a great, quick, easy read that I enjoyed throughout the entire story! It flowed so smoothly that it seemed to take no time to complete the entire book. It left me feeling like it was impossible to put down!

The characters were thick with detail and very in depth. They were likable characters that you wanted to read about. You couldn't help but root for Anna throughout the story, especially as the Rookie Prosecutor on her first big case that would define her entire career. I think there's a Nick in just about everyone's life.

The story was such an easy story to follow! The author wrote a detailed and concise story with such a great story line, that it left you wanting more!

This was the first Allison Leotta book for me, but it certainly won't be my last!

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Sleepwalker (Nightwatcher #2) by Wendy Corsi Staub

SleepwalkerSleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Sleepwalker
Author: Wendy Corsi Staub
Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Harper
Published: September 25, 2012
Genres: Suspense, Fiction

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Ten years after the catastrophe, a great fallen city has risen again. Ten years after, a horror begins anew…or never truly ended.

The nightmare of 9/11 is a distant but still painful memory for Allison Taylor MacKenna—now married to Mack and living in a quiet Westchester suburb. She has moved on with her life ten years after barely escaping death at the hands of New York’s Nightwatcher serial killer. The monster is dead, having recently committed suicide in his prison cell, but something is terribly wrong. Mack has started sleepwalking, with no recollection of where his nighttime excursions are taking him. And here, north of the city, more women are being savagely murdered, their bodies bearing the Nightwatcher’s unmistakable signature.

Suddenly Allison must confront a devastating truth: her life is in jeopardy once again…and quite possibly from the man she trusts and loves.

My Review:
Wendy Corsi Staub has done it again!! She has superbly written another intense, gratifying suspense novel, which knocked me off my feet! She is certainly one of the most gifted authors of her genre!! I was thrilled with
Nightwatcher, but when I read the reviews for Sleepwalker, and saw how many people enjoyed this book more than the first in the series, I couldn't wait to get started! It certainly didn't disappoint, even from the very first few words.

Traditionally, I have difficulty getting wrapped up in a book until I get at least a few chapters into it, but there was no such problem with Sleepwalker! The author has me attached from the very first sentence! It took all I had to put down the book until I could come back to it, and each time I came back, it was with waited breath! Never once was I bored with the book or the story, and felt that it flowed smoothly and concisely! Staub was able to carry you though the story with sometimes knowing bits and pieces of what was happening, but never enough to totally understand it until...BAM! It smacks you in the face!

I fell in love with Mack and Allison in the first book, and was so happy to see them get their happily ever after, together! Only, is it a happily ever after, after all? Each character was well described and in depth enough that I could vividly picture each character that I was reading about as if I knew them personally!

Overall, this was a fantastic read that I have not only added to my favorites list, but will recommend to all of my friends! After reading this, it have left me excited and antsy to read the third and final book in this series! I can't wait to see what else Wendy Corsi Staub has in store for us! She has left me wanting more, more more!! I will also pick up some of her other novels, as I believe she has a true writing ability like none other!

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The Dinner by Herman Koch {Audio}

The DinnerThe Dinner by Herman Koch
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Title: The Dinner
Author: Herman Koch
Narrator: Clive Mantel
Unabridged Length: 8h 59m
Published by: AudioGo, 2013
Genres: Adult Fiction, Literary

My Rating: ✮✮

Publisher's Synopsis:
It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse--the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love. Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

My Review:
Let me start by saying that this book epitomizes dysfunctional families! It is definitely a different type of story than has ever been written before. It is deep with emotions between siblings and their families.

I did have a difficult time beginning this book, but once I got into, it's like knowing a train wreck is about to happen, but yet you just can't cover your eyes, you have to keep watching to see for yourself what happens! The story did seem to jump all over the place a bit too much for my liking, without much notice, so I found myself questions exactly which time frame I was listening to at the time.

The main characters were deeply emotional brother's, one who is sick and tired of the other's rooty tooty, better art than thou attitude, and makes his feelings quite apparent. Let me tell you, this is no family dinner that I would want to be a part of! The interesting part is the deep connection between the husband and wife, Paul and Claire, and their willingness to support each other, no matter what!

I listened to the audio version of this book, and at the beginning, as an American, I had a difficult time with the accent of the narrator, Clive Mantel, but once I got used to it, he was a phenomenal narrator. He certainly did Paul justice, and was able to precisely exhibit Paul's emotions throughout the entire book. He even did an exquisite job of portraying the women, comically so with Babette (who I felt he was slightly mocking, which made it even more funny!)

Overall, I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars, because it was hard to follow and all over the place, which distracted me from the story at hand. However, it was a book that once you started, you wanted to just keep listening to see what was going to happen!

This Audio CD was provided to me by http://www.audiogo.com/us/, courtesy of http://www.audiobookjukebox.com, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't think there are enough great words in the dictionary to describe this book!!! Colleen Hoover is a writing genius!! If I could rate this story a 10 star read, I WOULD! I LOVE IT and that's putting it mildly! Simply PHENOMENAL! After reading Hopeless, I'm HOPELESS! This book will knock you socks off and leave you speechless. This book is the epitome of PERFECTION! My life has been forever changes because of this book!

I have never been able to read any where close to an entire book in one day, but I came pretty darn close with this one! Once you start reading, Hoover draws you in and never lets you go.

This story was such an emotional roller coaster, yet even though parts of the story were gut wrenching, I found myself reading and smiling throughout the majority of the book. It is a story of unwavering unconditional true love and dives into the very core of your soul and bares all of your inner emotions that one may think should never surface.

I was very impressed with the continued correlation to the title throughout the entire story. Too often, stories may only have one sentence that references back to the title, however, the references started at the very beginning and followed clear through to the end!

The characters are in depth and so lovable. I would like to even clone a little Holder for myself.

I honestly don't think that I could ever read another book that I loved so much. Prior to reading this book I never dreamed of wanting to re-read a book, but I loved this book enough to want to read and read and re-read and re-read it again! I just can't get enough of Hopeless!

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Murphy's Law (Molly Murphy #1) by Rhys Bowen

Murphy's Law (Molly Murphy, #1)Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't think I would care for this book before I started, but oh how that changed as I began reading it. It seemed that I became easily hooked and desperate to continue reading just to find out what was going to happen next. It was so good that I will not hesitate to continue on with the series.

I found that the story moved along quite nicely and kept the reader hanging in all the right spots in order to necessitate the desire to never put the book down until it's finished. However, it was a very easy, smooth flowing, read! It was extremely understandable and concise! I thought that Rhys Bowen wrote a beautifully hanging ending that draws the reader in, leaving them with the desperate feeling to continue to the next book. The story is a wonderful historical mystery that gives the reader another look at immigration and Ireland and New York in the early 1900's! It appears that Bowen did her research for writing this book and it shows in her writing!

The characters were well developed, each with their own story. You had your typical protagonists as well as plenty of antagonists to keep the characters interesting.

Overall, this was a very easy, quick read, that leaves you with the feeling like you can't get enough and wanting more! This sounds like a very promising series to continue!

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

The DressmakerThe Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: The Dressmaker
Author: Kate Alcott
Length: 417 pages
Publisher: Anchor
Published: February 21, 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction; Love Stories; Fiction

Rating: ✮✮✮✮

Just in time for the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic comes a vivid, romantic, and relentlessly compelling historical novel about a spirited young woman who survives the disaster only to find herself embroiled in the media frenzy left in the wake of the tragedy.

Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she's had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes.

Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy. Others—including the gallant Midwestern tycoon—are not so lucky.

On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn and later, the hearings on the Titanic. Set against a historical tragedy but told from a completely fresh angle, The Dressmaker is an atmospheric delight filled with all the period's glitz and glamour, all the raw feelings of a national tragedy and all the contradictory emotions of young love.

I just absolutely loved this book from start to finish! This is not typically the genre of my choice, but each book of the genre that I've read, I've seemed to like just as much as the last, and that was certainly the case with this book!

What I enjoyed the most about this book that it is historically correct. Kate Alcott, or should I say, Patricia O'Brien, really did her homework and performed plenty of research to write this book. I can't believe it took her writing this book under a pseudonym to get a publisher to pick it up, because it truly is a great, heart-warming book.

The characters are so real and believable, which is awesome, because most of them are real people. I found myself invested in the characters and the happenings in their lives. I really admired Tess Collins, the main character, and am in awe of her strength and courage throughout the book.

Overall, this was a fantastic, realistic book. I am so happy that I've been able to read this!

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Fragile (The Hollows #1) by Lisa Unger {Audio}

Fragile (The Hollows, #1)Fragile by Lisa Unger
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Title: Fragile
Author: Lisa Unger
Narrator: Nancy Linari
Unabridged Length: 11h 34m
Published by: Random House Audio, August 10, 2010
Genre: Mystery & Thriller; Modern Detective

Rating: ✮✮

Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It’s a place where neighbors keep an eye on one another’s kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high-school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten.
As a child, Maggie found living under the microscope of small-town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she has happily returned to The Hollows’s insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients’ lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son, Rick, disappears, Maggie’s intuitive gift proves useful to the case—and also dangerous.
Eerie parallels soon emerge between Charlene’s disappearance and the abduction of another local girl that shook the community years ago when Maggie was a teenager. The investigation has her husband, Jones, the lead detective on the case, acting strangely. Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn. In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father.
“I know how a moment can spiral out of control,” Jones says to a shocked Maggie as he searches Rick’s room for incriminating evidence. “How the consequences of one careless action can cost you everything.”
As she tries to reassure him that Rick embodies his father in all of the important ways, Maggie realizes this might be exactly what Jones fears most. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene’s disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret—one that could destroy everything she holds dear.
This thrilling novel about one community’s intricate yet fragile bonds will leave listeners asking, How well do I know the people I love? And how far would I go to protect them?

I listened to this on audio and it wasn't my favorite story. I seemed to have a really hard allowing the story to grasp my attention.

As for the story, I had a really hard time following which part of the story I was actually listening to due to so many different storylines, throughout a variety of time frames. I sometimes couldn't recognize whether the story was present time or from the past because it randomly switched back and forth. It was hard to follow, at least on audio.

As for the characters, I felt that there were too many characters to keep up with throughout the whole book. I had a hard time following which character the story was about due to the many characters that the story maintained. That many characters made it feel jumbled and confusing.

I have heard many great things about this book, so I am considering actually reading it before I pass my final judgment and due to these many great reviews, I will most likely read this book later on.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fatal Distraction (Jess Kimball Thriller #2) by Diane Capri

Fatal Distraction (Jess Kimball Thriller)Fatal Distraction by Diane Capri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Fatal Distraction
Author: Diane Capri
Length: 360 pages
Publisher: Stonegate, Inc.
Published: December 5, 2013
Genres: Legal Thriller/Mystery

Rating: ✮✮✮✮

Relentless victims’ rights advocate Jess Kimball and Jack Reacher both deliver justice when the legal system fails. Reacher waits until trouble finds him and then he does whatever it takes. But Jess pursues legal justice and draws lines she will not cross. How can she win against killers who refuse to follow the rules?

Three years ago, beloved Florida Governor Helen Sullivan’s world shattered when her only son died in a senseless car crash, killing his best friend, too. Helen quickly discovered Eric’s crash was no accident and lured the killer to her son’s funeral to be caught.

When the shooting ceased in the small country church, Helen believed her nightmare was over. Instead, she’d unwittingly escalated her duel with a cunning and patient assassin.

Now, investigative journalist Jess Kimball is driven to find the horrifying truth. Is the Central Florida Child Killer guilty? Or is the real killer still out there?

Helen and Jess together face the determined killer in a pitched battle of wit and nerve. Who will survive?

This was a page-turning fast-paced thriller that I just couldn't get enough of! One more chapter was just not enough! Diane Capri chooses to use different writing methods for her mystery that I think were excellent! Rather than writing the mystery as a who done it, you figured out the who pretty early on, leaving you to sit and ponder why in the world would this person be possessed to do the things that he/she is doing! It was a great strategy for an interesting twist!

I really admired the characters in this book, and maybe that is what drew me to the book even more, because the two main characters are two strong, independent, intelligent women. They are both the epitome of outstanding lead characters. All of the characters blended nicely together and provided an interesting array of personalities.

The story was very engaging and fulfilling and quite easy to just get lost in what is going on. It will take a reader on his/her own, very unique, roller coaster ride, leaving you saying, shew! at the end!

Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great, twisty ride! This is the first read from this author and certainly won't be my last! I look forward to see more of Jess Kimball and Helen Sullivan in the future!

This book was provided to me by the author, Diane Capri, in return for an honest/unbiased review.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman

Cover of SnowCover of Snow by Jenny Milchman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I randomly came across this book browsing the online library content, and boy am I glad that I did! This debut novel by Jenny Milchman was such a jewel to find!

I listened to this on audio and the narrator did such a great job reading the story from Nora's point-of-view! I felt like I was literally listening to Nora tell her story! It normally takes me a good while to get into an audio book, if I ever can at all, but not only was I able to "get into" this book, it captured me from the very beginning and held and maintained my attention throughout the entire story!

I thought that the story flowed nicely and that Milchman did a wonderful job of telling her story, through Nora's eyes. She was thorough with her characters, creating a wide variety of great characters, which gave the book plenty of flare and flavor! The story provided plenty of mystery and "who dun it?" and kept me reading to the very end, delivering a good, solid ending.

Overall, I think that Jenny Milchman certainly has a bright future writing many more books to come and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next!

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Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates {Audio}

Daddy LoveDaddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Daddy Love
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Narrator: Christine Williams
Unabridged Length: 6 h, 45 m
Published by: Highbridge Audio, 2013
Genres: Mysteries & Thrillers, Horror

Rating: ✮✮✮✮

From one of the most acclaimed writers of our time comes a horrifying tale about a young boy kidnapped by a sadistic killer and sexual predator known only as Daddy Love, a part-time reverend whose twisted desires know no bounds.

This was my first Joyce Carol Oates book and definitely won't be my last. I found the writing to be concise and well-developed with what seemed to be great detail to each of the characters. I enjoyed that the main characters were more taboo than your regular main character!

The story seemed like an actual story straight out of the headlines which is exactly what caught and kept my attention! I also really liked how the ending worked out!

The narrator did a wonderful job of reading this story! She was able to really capture my attention and maintain it throughout the entire story.

Overall, I really enjoyed listening to this book and will not hesitate to seek out more Joyce Carol Oates books in the near future!

This Audio CD was provided to me by HighBridge Audio courtesy of Audiobook Jukebox in return for an honest, unbiased review.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Night RoadNight Road by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first Kristin Hannah book and it certainly won't be my last! I am so thrilled to have come across this author, as she seems to have the ability to write exactly what it is that I enjoy reading (when not knee deep into mysteries and thrillers)!

The characters were so raw and deep with emotion. You have the characters that you can't help but love and want to route for no matter what it is that they do, then you have the characters that you are screaming at through the book and ready to choke them! There is such a broad range of characters present throughout this book and I loved that!

The emotions in this story are so raw and real and the reader (at least speaking for myself) can feel them to the core. I found that throughout reading Night Road, that it brought many other emotions to light that didn't even have anything to do with the book! Kristen Hannah has such a spectacular talent when it comes to emotional writing!

The only change I would have made about the book is a bit more for the ending. I felt like the ending was left a little too open for such descriptiveness throughout the rest of the story. I felt like I was left hanging, and would have liked more insight into the future or how the lives of the characters played out. That is the only thing that kept me from giving Night Road 5 stars, but I would still give it a 4.75!

Overall, I am so thrilled that a friend recommended and loaned this book for me to read so I could ride the roller coaster ride of Kristen Hannah and I certainly can't wait until I get to get on the next ride to see what else Hannah has in store for her readers!

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

"A" is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone #1) by Sue Grafton {Audio}

A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a mystery book, I found this to be such a refreshing read. If there's ever a time I need to get away from the darker, more graphic reads, this will be my new go-to series!

I listened to the audio version, and I thought the narrator did a great job of voicing Kinsey! I certainly hope that the same narrator is used throughout the series! I wouldn't hesitate to listen to another book from this series or any other books read from this narrator.

I felt like I could easily identify with Kinsey, the private detective. I found her sense of humor to be similar to mine, which is maybe why I enjoyed reading about her so much! I loved that she was so dedicated to her work, and also felt connected with the walls and barriers that she put up around her heart and how much of a tough front that she puts forth!

I thought the story was light and fluffy but yet still contained plenty of mystery! I am excited to have found this series as my go-to for lighter mystery reading!

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp ObjectsSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The more Gillian Flynn I read, the more I realize that all of her books thus far have focused on hardcore unhealthy relationships. That is the main theme I have found with all of her books. She is a truly remarkable psychological thriller author. She has the ability to really take a reader's mind beyond the ideal mindset, and bring you into the sick and twisted world of the mystery and thriller genre. I think that Flynn is one in her own and has made a place for herself as an incredible writer.

Many people didn't feel as great about Sharp Objects as they have other Flynn novels, but I myself think I enjoyed it a little bit more, at least more than Dark Places. Even though the story content is sick and twisted (which doesn't really bother me!), I seemed to find it the easiest to follow and keep up with.

I listened to the audio version of this book and I thoroughly enjoy being able to sit down and listen to a Gillian Flynn novel, and Sharp Objects was no different. I didn't have a problem keeping my attention with the story and following exactly what was happening at the precise moment it was happening (without having to rewind it a hundred times to get it!) The story flowed smoothly and quickly, but not too fast...just the perfect pace!

I felt that Flynn built a great set of characters within Sharp Objects, most that you couldn't stand, but a few that you wanted to see have a decent outcome for their lives. I found that I disliked all of the characters so much in Dark Places, that it made me not care so much for the book, and it was the exact opposite with Sharp Objects. I can't say that I felt emotionally attached to any of the characters, but I felt obliged to find out their ending!

Overall, I felt this was one of Flynn's better novels, especially for her debut novel and think that Flynn really has a wonderful gift in writing in the mystery genre!

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Monday, May 13, 2013

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster CallsA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I must start off by saying that I don't know that there has ever been a book that I have had such a hard time deciding what my rating would be, on top of what my review would be.

If there is a book for a person to connect with, this is the book. This is the closest to truth that I think I have found in my reading, other than reading a biography. I feel that as children, we all have dreams and possibly even reoccurring nightmares. We all also deal with "monsters" within our lifetime and this book does a wonderful job of depicting how a person may really feel while dealing with the monsters of their lives.

This book wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be which is what made me give it an initial 3 stars upon completing it, however, upon thinking the premise and the story through, I have to say that I would give it at least a 4 star review. I was so happy to see that Siobhan Dowd had such a wonderful thought, and that Patrick Ness was able to pick it up after her death and finish it as though I feel she would have, could she have been given more time on earth to do so. I think the idea of this book was brilliant and one-of-a-kind.

The story was very emotional which gave you a great insight into the characters. Everyone knows that life is really like a roller coaster and this book allows us to ride the roller coaster of Connor and his mother's life. The only thing that kept me from giving this book 5 stars was that it was more intended for a younger audience.

Overall, it was a very easy (but emotional) read! I enjoyed being able to experience this book. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it from the moment it was recommended to me, and I am certainly glad that I finally got to be a part of it.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Colleen Hoover Retro Giveaway

For all of you Colleen Hoover fans out there, I thought that I would share an awesome giveaway that she is doing right now in celebration of her newest book, <b>This Girl</b> which will be released tonight at MIDNIGHT!!  All you have to do is advertise her giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter and comment the URL where you did that on her blog, and you'll be in the running to win the following:

Original Self-Published Version of:
Point of Retreat
Herplers by Cerlern Herver which is a gag book

I don't know about you guys, but I absolutely adore Colleen Hoover's writing, and will do anything I can to get any of her books for free!  So check out her retro giveaway here:
<a href="http://colleenhoover.com/2013/04/29/nostalgic-giveaway/"></a>

Have a great evening guys!

Tin God (Delta Crossroads Trilogy #1) by Stacy Green

Tin GodTin God by Stacy Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

I thought that this was such an amazing read. For this only being the author's second book, I felt that she did a phenomenal job writing this story. I personally can't wait to read more from this author. I am thrilled that this was book one to series and can't wait to see what she comes up with next for book #2.

From the moment I started this book, I just couldn't get enough of it. I found the story to be engaging and interesting. It tells a story of a small town, and depicts accurate descriptions on how things in a small town are really like, which I really appreciated. At first, I thought I knew what the outcome was going to be from early on, but the story was just so good, it actually didn't bother me to think that I knew what may happen, or not necessarily what was going to happen, but who was going to be the base for all the troubles. Boy was I mistaken when I thought I had it figured out because the ending was totally different than what I thought it would have been, which was awesome. It moves at a great pace and flows very smoothly. I also really liked to see how the title came into play into the story. Stacy Green very clearly answers that.

Green's characters are very in depth and easy to get lost in their stories. Some are extremely likable and others are extremely hate-able. Either way, they are diverse and unique. I found myself feeling invested in their lives and the future of their lives. As I said, I can't wait to read book #2 to see where their lives go from here.

I am so thrilled to have been asked to read this book because it is probably one of the best books that I've read this year. It was a very refreshing read. It had intricate mystery and just the right touch of romance making it a perfect combination! I'm so thrilled to have a new great author to add to my favorites list and will be watching for more from her!

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All blogs and reviews posted here are the sole property of the blogger and represent my very own opinions. In some cases, books reviewed are supplied to me in exchange for an honest review. Such cases will be noted on the blog post.

All other books reviewed have been purchased or borrowed through the normal channels.

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Andrea has read 65 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Rating System

AMAZING!!! Go get this book right now!!

Great! Highly Recommend

It's ok. Borrow from a friend material.

Not that good but at least read the blurb.

Leave it on the shelf!

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