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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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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.

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