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Monday, April 28, 2014

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins {Audio}

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins
My Rating:  4 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Tilt
Author:  Ellen Hopkins
Series:  Stand Alone
Narrators:  Kirby HeyborneMadeleine MabyRebekkah RossJacques RoyCandace Thaxton
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Audio
Published:  February 11, 2014
Source:  Publisher via Audiobook Jukebox
Format:  Audiobook; CD
Genres:  Fiction; Juvenile Fiction
Subjects:  Dating; Love
Love - good and bad - forces three teens' worlds to tilt in a riveting standalone novel from #1 New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins.
Three teens, three stories - all interconnected through their parents' family relationships. As the adults pull away, caught up in their own dilemmas, the worlds of the teens begin to tilt.
Mikayla, almost 18, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year and decides to keep the baby?
Shane turns 16 that same summer and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister's impending death. Can he accept Alex's love, knowing his life, too, will be shortened?
Harley is 14 - a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be.
Love, in all its forms, has crucial consequences in this wrenching story from Ellen Hopkins.
©2013 Ellen Hopkins (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
My Review:
I must admit that I was totally surprised with this book!  I don't know if I just hadn't really payed much attention when I originally read the Synopsis or what, but I was expecting this something sweet novel, and that is certainly not what I got!  However, I was pleasantly surprised!  The only thing that I am slightly disappointed in, is the Publisher's Synopsis gives a pretty vivid description of the book, so it doesn't leave too much to the imagination.  So I guess that I am happy that I didn't pay much attention to it until after the fact.

There were a whole lot of characters throughout this book, which as an audiobook, made it quite difficult to keep up with, especially in the beginning, however, I was really quite appreciative of the many different narrators, which helped me define which character was which!  The story was told through the point of view of all the different characters, and I enjoyed that!  I liked going back and forth from what one to the other to the other thought about what was going on!  It was very entertaining!

I felt a variety of emotions while listening to this book!  It took me back to my younger days, remembering what it was like to be a teenager again, dealing with relationships of all sorts, from that with parents, to friends, to boyfriends/girlfriends.  That's a tough time in one's life and I believe that Tilt is the perfect portrayal of that fact!  I also think that the title fits the story perfectly!  This is a story of life, and the choices one makes, and consequences that follow choices!

The narrators did a wonderful job of portraying the characters they were playing!  I was especially impressed with Kirby Heyborne and his portrayal of Shane!  He really captured Shane's emotions and delivered a stellar performance!!  I also felt that the voice fit each character well!  I could have pictured Harley as a ready to hit the world 14 year old, and Mikayla, an almost 18 year old that knows it all, and Shane, the misunderstood homesexual 16 year old!  I believe they had perfect casting for the narrators!

The only qualm that I had with this book was the ending!  I felt like she left the ending way too open, and left me thinking, seriously, it's over?  I wish she wouldn't have left so much to the imagination and had given a concrete ending!  I felt like there was no conclusion, especially for Mikayla and even Shane!  I definitely would have preferred more for the conclusion!

This was my first book by Ellen Hopkins, but I must say that I was impressed!  I didn't feel like I was reading a Juvenile Fiction book and actually thoroughly enjoyed listening to this title!  It was an easy listen, that I managed to finish in one day's time!  I was impressed with how much I liked this book, especially given that it is considered YA/Juvenile Fiction!  I will pursue other titles from this author in the future!

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Disclaimer:  This title was provided to me by the Publisher, Simon & Schuster Audio, via Audiobook Jukebox, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Previously Loved Treasures by Bette Crosby

Previously Loved Treasures (Serendipity #2) by Bette Lee Crosby
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Previously Loved Treasures
Author:  Bette Lee Crosby
Series:  Serendipity #2 [Can be read as Stand Alone]
Length:  262 pages
Publisher:  Bent Pine Publishing
Published:  April 2, 2014
Source:  Author
Format:  Kindle
Genres:  Fiction; Contemporary; Southern Literature
Subjects:  Family; Relationships; Pay it Forward
In Previously Loved Treasures recently widowed Ida Sweetwater and her granddaughter come together in a heartwarming mystery rich with imagination and magic. 

Struggling to make ends meet, Ida turns her home into a boarding house and goes in search of used furniture. This quest leads to the Previously Loved Treasures shop and Peter Pennington, a delightfully strange proprietor who anticipates people’s needs. In addition to bargains, Peter hands out sage advice. When a pocket watch belonging to one of the residents goes missing for a second time he warns of danger—but will Ida’s granddaughter listen and will she heed his advice?

This is a story that resonates with Crosby’s heartwarming albeit quirky characters and the joy of a pay-it-forward philosophy.
My Review:
I have found that anytime I need comfort, that Bette Lee Crosby is the author to fall back on and I must say that with Previously Loved Treasures, there was no exception.  I am only disappointed that I allowed myself to go so long between reading Crosby novels.  This woman sure knows how to tug at all of your heart strings and captivate her reader!  Bette Lee Crosby's books only get better with time!  I always find it difficult to surpass the last, but someone each new book does just that!

I always know that when I pick up a book written by Bette Lee Crosby that I am going to find myself going through a roller coaster of emotions, which every now and again is a good thing!  Only Bette could make you feel like you've hit rock bottom right alongside one of her characters to, only moments later, be overwhelmed with joy, then finding yourself filled with fury, immediately followed by great passion!  Crosby is the only author that I know of that can make her readers feel just as much part of her books as every single one of her characters.  I was devastated to find that the story was over!  

I had quite the love/hate relationship with the characters.  I had much love for half the characters and much despise for others, which I think is exactly what Bette was trying to do.  

Overall, this story was thought-provoking and heartwarming and thoroughly enjoyable!  I always have a wonderful time reading Bette's books, and this book was no different.  As usual, after reading Previously Loved Treasures, it's left me yearning for more by Bette!

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~Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review!~

Friday, April 11, 2014

Watch Your Back (Romantic Suspense #15) (Baltimore #4) by Karen Rose {Audio}

Watch Your Back (Romantic Suspense #15) (Baltimore #4) by Karen Rose
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Watch Your Back
Author:  Karen Rose
Series:  Romantic Suspense #15Baltimore #4
Narrator:  Marguerite Gavin
Length:  Unabridged; 20 hours and 11 minutes
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio
Published:  February 5, 2014
Source:  Publisher via Audiobook Jukebox
Genres:  Fiction; Romantic Suspense
Subjects:  Women Detectives; Psychopaths
A cold case reopened - and a murderer reemerging more deadly than ever before
Baltimore homicide detective Stevie Mazzetti has suffered losses no woman should have to endure. And, despite it all, she's still a fighter. When she learns that her ex-partner might have miscarried justice, she's determined to put the past to rights, even when she becomes a target.
It's former marine Clay Maynard's job to see the risk in every situation, and he doesn't have to look hard to find the danger surrounding Stevie. Since the minute he first saw her, Clay has wanted toprotect the wounded officer, and he started loving her not long after that. So when Stevie attracts the attention of a vicious psychopath, Clay will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. That is, if he can stay ahead of a killer with everything to lose - and something terrifying to hide.
©2014 Karen Rose (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
My Review:
The more that I read Karen Rose's writing, the more I fall in love with it!  I really must admit that she has got to be my favorite author.  I've read several of her books, and I've enjoyed every single one of them!  Watch Your Back was no exception.  Normally I tend to stay away from the larger books, but when it's a book by Rose, it doesn't seem to phase me a bit!

I love how each book in the Romantic Suspense/Baltimore series builds on each character.  Each book focuses mainly on a character or two, but you learn even more snippets about the other characters that were introduced in previous books.  Even though Stevie Mezzetti  and Clay Maynard were introduced early on, this book really dives into their lives and unspoken feelings for each other.  I love and get irritated with Stevie's character all at one time.  I love that she's so strong and independent, but it drives me nuts how stubborn and independent she is!  Clay seems to be the ultimate man, every woman's dream come true, so why can't Stevie realize that he is her dream come true?  I really love the characters of this series!!

Watch Your Back is full of intense, nail-biting, edge-of-your seat writing that will keep you flipping the pages way past your bedtime, and incredibly late into the night!  I continually felt the need to devour up the story!  This one was probably one of the most action-packed stories yet!

Marguerite Gavin has become the perfect fit for the Baltimore series, and I have come to trust and love her narration!  Some females tend to sound absolutely ridiculous when they attempt to portray a male character, but Gavin seems to fit to it pretty well!  She is probably one of my favorite narrators!

Overall, as with every other Rose book that I've read, I think she knocked it out of the park with Watch Your Back!  I am only saddened by the fact that I am going to have to wait awhile for a new release in this series!  I can't tell you that I can't wait for the next book and will be first in line to get the next release!!

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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Maximum Exposure (Max Revere #0.5) by Allison Brennan

Maximum Exposure (Max Revere #0.5) by Allison Brennan
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Maximum Exposure
Author:  Allison Brennan
Series:  Max Revere #0.5
Length:  102 pages
Publisher:  MacMillan Publishing
Published:  February 4, 2014
Source:  Purchase via Amazon
Format:  Kindle
Genres:  Fiction; Mystery; Suspense
Subject:  Investigative Reporting; Missing Persons; Search & Rescue
In this thrilling story, New York Times bestseller Allison Brennan introduces tough-as-nails investigative reporter Maxine Revere, the compelling feature character of Notorious, Brennan's exciting new series debut available in hardcover March 25, 2014.

Two years before the events in Notorious, Max travels to Colorado Springs to investigate the disappearance of a college student. Frustrated over the lack of interest from both friends of the victim and campus authorities, Max tags along with the leader of search and rescue and his dog through the beautiful and deadly Rocky Mountains in the hopes of finding answers. Every answer she finds leads to more questions—questions neither the police nor the college want Max asking.
My Review:
This was a great little introduction into the character Max Revere, which is the new series by Allison Brennan.  It is the prequel to Notorious, and I would say it would be a good idea to read Maximum Exposure first!  It gives you a great background story on who Max(ine) Revere is, and what her life is all about!

For a short story, it was full and entertaining.  I really liked the introduction of Max, so I think that I am absolutely going to LOVE this series!  I can't wait to continue on with Notorious!  I must admit though, there aren't many books written by Allison Brennan that I've read that I've not liked! 

Allison Brennan packed a lot into this novella, but it was easy reading!  It was well written with a great subject matter, that I think will resonate with a lot of people!  I easily found myself caught up in the investigation, and just waiting to figure out what was going to happen!  

Overall, this was a great read and I am really looking forward to continuing this series!  

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Joyland by Stephen King {Audio}

Joyland by Stephen King
My Rating:  3 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Joyland
Author:  Stephen King
Series:  Stand Alone
Narrator:  Michael Kelly
Length:  Unabridged; 7 hours and 33 minutes
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Published:  June 4, 2013
Source:  Publisher via Audiobook Jukebox
Format:  Audiobook; CD
Genres:  Fiction; Mystery; Ghost Stories
Subjects:  City and Town Life; Amusement Parks; College Students; Cold Cases
"Joyland is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book.... Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved." 
—Charles Ardai, Edgar- and Shamus Award-winning editor of Hard Case Crime.
Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.
©2013 Stephen King. All rights reserved. (P)2013 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

My Review:
I have to be honest and tell you that despite him being a classic author, that this is the first Stephen King book that I have ever read.  I was actually quite surprised at the temperament of the book, especially knowing what King is famous for!

The introduction to the book was a little slow for me and really almost lost my attention.  Enough so that I actually put it away for almost a year, before deciding again to pick it back up and give it another try.  I must say that I am glad that I made myself pick it back up the second time around because the story really did pick up from that point and it got pretty interesting!

The narrator, Michael Kelly, seemed like a great fit for Devin!  He was a smooth reader, and made my listening experience of Joyland quite enjoyable.  He was clear and concise, and overall, entertaining!

I thought that the story had a very interested concept, and I certainly didn't figure it out until it was actually happening!  I  did feel like there was some either misconception or false advertisement, because in no way would I have considered this book to be a horror book or hard crime.  

Overall, this was a quick, easy read that I enjoyed!  Even though it wasn't in the same fashion of some of Stephen King's great novels, it won't stop me from picking up another King book to see another side of his writing abilities!  I enjoyed the layout of the story in the sense that it gave us snippets of  Devin's life when he was younger, during his time at Joyland, and his life after Joyland!  I'm happy that I gave it a second chance and finished it!

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Disclaimer:  I was provided this book by the Publisher, via Audiobook Jukebox, in return for an honet and unbiased review!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ten Rules for a Call Girl (Anna Curtis #1.5) by Allison Leotta

Ten Rules for a Call Girl (Anna Curtis #1.5) by Allison Leotta
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Ten Rules for a Call Girl
Author:  Allison Leotta
Series:  Anna Curtis #1.5
Length:  56 pages
Publisher:  Touchstone
Published:  June 5, 2012
Source:  Purchased (Amazon)
Format:  Kindle
Genres:  Fiction; Mystery
Subjects:  Escort Service/Prostitution
From former federal sex-crimes prosecutor Allison Leotta, an eShort story about the secret life of Washington, D.C.’s highest-paid escorts.

Beautiful Georgetown undergrad Caroline McBride almost has it all—a loving fiancĂ©e, a promising academic career, and a college life of fabulous parties—but she can't afford it. When her father becomes ill, plunging her family into debt, she reluctantly agrees to meet Madeleine, the madam of a high-end escort service. Catering to the most powerful men in D.C., Caroline can make more money in one night than in a month at her part-time college job. And no one has to know. All she has to do is follow the madam’s ten simple rules.

A riveting story of D.C.’s red-light underworld and the life of a modern courtesan, Ten Rules for a Call Girl is fascinating and addictive. Includes an excerpt from Allison Leotta’s new novel, Discretion!
My Review:
I first fell in love with the Anna Curtis series and Allison Leotta's writing over a year ago when I read Law of Attraction with my book club!  I instantly LOVED the story, and knew right away that I would continue with the series because it was right up my alley!

Then I noticed that Ten Rules for a Call Girl was a freebie on Amazon, so I just had to pick it up!  It has been quite awhile since I read the first book in the series, but I found myself really just wanting some light reading after finishing several books right in a row, and this book was on my Kindle from my recent purchase, so I said why now?  Well let me just tell you that it was the perfect introduction into Discretion and left me absolutely dying to get my hands on a copy of it!  I hadn't originally been planning to read Discretion for God knows how long, but it just got bumped up to the top of my TBR pile!

This book was the perfect length as it was used, just as an introduction for book two of the series, and it left me craving more.  It gave you just enough to tease you, leaving me with this huge feeling of void until I can continue on!

I find short stories hard to review, as there's not much content to them, but I can assure you, that after reading this short story, I will almost immediately be reading the next book that it introduces and I can't wait!!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Fear Nothing (Detective D.D. Warren #7) by Lisa Gardner {Audio}

Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner
My Rating:  4 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Fear Nothing
Author:  Lisa Gardner
Narrator:  Kirsten Potter
Series:  Detective D.D. Warren #7
Length:  Unabridged; 12 hours and 46 minutes
Publisher:  Brilliance Audio
Published:  January 7, 2014
Source:  Library
Format:  Audiobook
Genres:  Fiction; Psychological Fiction; Suspense Fiction
Subjects:  D.D. Warren; MA Police; Serial Murderers; Sisters; Antisocial Personality Disorders; Mystery & Detective; Police Procedural
My name is Dr. Adeline Glen. Due to a genetic condition, I can’t feel pain. I never have. I never will.
The last thing Boston Detective D. D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear… She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work.
My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman.
Six weeks later, a second woman is discovered murdered in her own bed, her room containing the same calling cards from a previous crime scene: A bottle of champagne and a single red rose. The only person who may have seen the killer: Detective D. D. Warren, who still can’t lift her child, load her gun, or recall a single detail from the night that may have cost her everything.
Our father was Harry Day, an infamous serial killer who buried young women beneath the floor of our home. He has been dead for forty years. Except the Rose Killer knows things about my father he shouldn’t. My sister claims she can help catch him. I think just because I can’t feel pain doesn’t mean my family can’t hurt me.
D.D. may not be back on the job, but she is back on the hunt. Because the Rose Killer isn’t just targeting lone women, he is targeting D.D. And D.D. knows there is only one way to take him down: Fear nothing.
©2014 Lisa Gardner, Inc. (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

My Review:
Reading Lisa Gardner is going back to my roots.  My love of mystery and suspense began with Lisa Gardner and Detective D.D. Warren.  So when it was announced that another D.D. Warren book was going to be released, I was ecstatic!

I wasn't exactly impressed by the narrator, Kirsten Potter.  I have listened to a few other of Gardner's books on audio, and rather enjoyed them, but for Fear Nothing, I believe I would have prefered to read it in print.  I just didn't feel that the narrator fit the book that well.

I enjoyed this book, but I must admit, that I have enjoyed a few of her earlier titles a little bit more.  I think that Gardner is so talented in that she brings her readers plots, characters, and situations that haven't been thought of before.  She leads us into the unknown, and takes you on a ride that is full of twists and turns, oohs and ahhs, parts with your eyebrows arched, leaving you guessing throughout!  I thoroughly enjoy the rollercoaster ride that Gardner's writing takes me on!

D.D. Warren is definitely one of my absolute favorite characters out of all of the books that I have read.  She is a confident, witty, independent female and what's not to like about that?  Other characters throughout this series only compliment her!

Overall, even though this wasn't my favorite book of this series, I still enjoyed the intentional misdirection and interesting characters of Fear Nothing.   I liked seing D.D. out of her element and working desperately to get back to what she knows best!  I can't recommend this book, and especially all of the other books in this series enough!!

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Safe Keeping by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Safe Keeping by Barbara Taylor Sissel
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Safe Keeping
Author:  Barbara Taylor Sissel
Series:  Stand Alone
Length:  320 pages
Publisher:  Harlequin MIRA
Published:  March 25, 2014
Source:  Author via Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Group
Format:  Paperback
Genres:  Fiction; Suspense Fiction; Women's Fiction
Subjects:  Families; Murder Investigation
At the heart of every crime, there's a family… 

My son is a murderer…. So begins this chilling and emotionally charged mystery from highly acclaimed author Barbara Taylor Sissel.  

Emily Lebay had always thought of her family as ordinary. Sure, they've endured their share of problems, even a time of great trouble—what family hasn't? But when a woman's body turns up in the dense woods near their home, and Emily's grown son, Tucker, is accused of murder, Emily is forced to confront the unfathomable, and everything she believed about her life is called into question. 

This isn't the first time Tucker has been targeted by the police; a year ago he was a person of interest when another woman was found dead in the same stretch of woods. Still, neither Emily nor her daughter, Lissa, can reconcile their Tucker with these brutal crimes. Terrified, convinced there's been a tragic mistake, Emily and Lissa set out to learn the truth about Tucker, once and for all. And while his life hangs in the balance, what they discover proves far more shocking than their darkest fears…. 

"A gut-wrenching mystery…enjoyable and insightful." —RT Book Reviews on Evidence of Life
My Review:
I have really come to love the writing of Barbara Taylor Sissel, and must say that Evidence of Life was one of my favorite books that I've read, so when I saw that she had a new book coming out, I did everything I could to find out how I could get my hands on a copy of Safe Keeping.  I knew that Barbara Taylor Sissel was in with one of my Goodreads groups, Sisterhood of the Traveling Books, so I checked there, and sure enough, she had Safe Keeping circulating, so I added myself to the list, and boy was I ever excited!

Who wouldn't want to read this book after reading such an amazing Synopsis?  And after reading the book, I can't say that the Synopsis has let me down.  I have found that with many books, that the story just doesn't quite live up to the Synopsis, and that in fact, the Synopsis is the best part of the book, however, that is so not the case with Safe Keeping.  The story was expertly and emotionally written, making the reader feel what the other side of a murder investigation might feel like!  It dives into the emotions that the family of the accused feel!  How, as an accused murderer's mother or sister, might you feel?  Would you stand by your son's/brother's side?  Would you give everything that you had to prove his innocence?  Would you believe in his innocence with all of your being?  I felt a variety of emotions while reading this book.

I must say that Sissel really threw me off with this story!  I thought that I had figured out what was going to happen, just to find out that I was totally wrong.  There was quite a surprise ending and left me with my mouth hanging wide open!  I was pulled in from the very first few words, and Sissel never let go until the last word on the last page!  I found it to be a quick and easy read, however, very emotional throughout.  It certainly was a page turner, and I enjoyed each and every page this story contained!

The characters were all such fierce characters, that believed in what they believed in, and were all willing to sacrifice anything for that belief.  What this family goes through will leave you reeling for days and certainly will tug at all of your heart strings.

Overall, I had very high expectations for this book after reading Evidence of Life and I must say that I wasn't even in the slightest bit, let down after reading Safe Keeping.  I think that Barbara Taylor Sissel has an amazing talent, and feel so honored that I can be one of her followers and have the opportunity to read her works of art!  I enjoyed every minute of reading this book!  As with her previous book, I found Sissel leaving me thinking of what I would do in the same situation, which is something that I really love about a book!  I love the thought that goes along with these types of stories!  I am endlessly amazed by Sissel's writing and can't wait to see what else she comes up with!

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

I also want to throw out a HUGE thank you to Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer for her help with some of the formatting of my post!  She has been an awesome help!
Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman

Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman
My Rating:  4 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Ruin Falls
Author:  Jenny Milchman
Series:  Stand Alone
Length:  352 pages
Publisher:  Ballantine Books (Random House, LLC)
Published:  April 22, 2014
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss
Format:  Kindle
Genres:  Fiction; Psychological Fiction; Suspense Fiction
Subjects:  Parental Kidnapping; Mothers of Kidnapped Children; Missing Persons; Family Secrets

In a suspenseful follow-up to her critically acclaimed Cover of Snow, Jenny Milchman ratchets up the tension with this edge-of-your-seat story of a mother determined to find her missing children.

Liz Daniels has every reason to be happy about setting off on a rare family vacation, leaving behind her remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, have met their paternal grandparents only a handful of times. But Liz’s husband, Paul, has decided that, despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood.

On their way to the farm, the family stops at a hotel for the night. In the morning, when Liz goes to check on her sleeping children, all her anxiety comes roaring back: Ally and Reed are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice-cold terror as the hours tick by without anyone finding a trace of the kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, and detectives are called in.

Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz’s mind—but in a sudden, gut-wrenching instant she realizes that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room that night. Someone she trusted completely has betrayed her. Though she knows that Ally and Reid are safe, Liz will stop at nothing to find them and get them back. From her guarded in-laws’ unwelcoming farmhouse to the deep woods of her own hometown, Liz follows the threads of a terrible secret to uncover a hidden world created from dreams and haunted by nightmares.

My Review:
I do want to start out by saying that I absolutely am closer to a 5 star rating rather than a four star rating, and would definitely give Ruin Falls a solid 4.5 rating, if only any rating systems gave you halves!

In my opinion, Jenny Milchman has introduced herself into the fiction world with a bang!  I read her first novel, Cover of Snow, about a year ago, and absolutely fell in love with her writing.  When I saw the opportunity to read Ruin Falls, I jumped on it as quick as I could.  Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.  I am impressed with Milchman's writing abilities, especially as a new author.  She definitely has phenomenal talent, especially when it comes to writing about twisted plots that leave you guessing until the very end.

The synopsis of this book drew me in, and each chapter that I read, left me deeper and deeper into the book, making each time I had to stop reading harder and harder to stop!  I thought that the plot was very unique and original!  I also learned a lot of new words while reading Ruin Falls!

I felt myself identifying with Liz, the main character.  I know if my children came up missing, I would stop at nothing to get them back, which is exactly what she does, even when she feels like she can no longer go on!  This book is definitely full of twisted relationships and outcomes that you wouldn't expect!

I must say that the more I read of Jenny Milchman, the more it leaves me craving more of her writing. I think that she certainly has proved herself to be an amazing writer that deserves the attention of anyone who enjoys a good suspense/psychological novel!  I know that I certainly will recommend this book to everyone I can!

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Disclaimer:  I was provided an ARC copy of Ruin Falls by the Publisher in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty {Audio}

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
My Rating:  3 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  The Husband's Secret
Author:  Liane Moriarty
Narrator:  Caroline Lee
Series:  Stand Alone
Length:  Unabridged; 13 hours and 44 minutes
Publisher:  Penguin Audio
Published:  July 30, 2013
Source:  Library
Format:  Audiobook
Genres:  Fiction; Domestic Fiction
Subjects:  Husband and Wife; Letters

"My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died...."                                                Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive....
      Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all - she's an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia - or each other - but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.
      Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses - and, ultimately, ourselves.
©2013 Liane Moriarty (P)2013 Penguin Audio

My Review:
I wouldn't really say that I struggled this book, but I certainly didn't see all the hype and why I was on a hold list for at least three months at the library to get this book.  Well, I can understand the hype, what...with a Synopsis like that?  Laine Moriarty and her publishers definitely didn't go wrong when they wrote that!  It certainly drew me in and made me feel like I just HAD to read this book.

Since completing The Husband's Secret, I can't say that I am disappointed that I read this book.  There were parts of it that drug on a little bit for me, but mid-way, the story really picked up, especially when the big secret was revealed.  I was actually quite shocked that the secret was revealed as early as it was in the story, and even though it was revealed mid-way through the story, I was happy to see that there was plenty of questionable items and ah ha moments that kept the story going throughout the end.

I did find, at least listening to the audio version, that the characters were a little hard to follow for most of the first half of the book until finally I just repeated the names and what was going on with them over and over until it was ingrained in my mind!

I don't usually like audio books that have a foreign accent, but I found the Australian accent of Caroline Lee to be very charming.  I thought that she did a great job personifying the characters of the story.  I also thought that she did well switching between the story lines of the different characters.

I can tell you that the big secret wasn't at all what I was thinking!  It did surprise me quite a bit.  I also have to say that some of the story with Tess, Will and Felicity was irritating to me, just to some of the absolutely outlandish things that were said by Will and Felicity!

I think that Liane Moriarty really captured what she meant to capture with this book, and that was to make the reader's really see and think about what secrets can do to themselves, their families, and other people involved around them.  I have to sit and ask myself, what would I have done if I would find out secrets such as these characters were keeping, and I honestly can't say that I have an answer to what my reaction and what the outcome would be.  They certainly were all difficult situations!

Overall, I am glad that I read this book.  It was quite thought provoking throughout the entire story and made me feel engaged while I was listening.  I enjoyed the narrator and respect the thought process that occurs within the text.  They hit a grand slam with the Synopsis and capturing the audience's attention...how utterly clever!  I would most likely read another book by Liane Moriary.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks {Audio}

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  The Longest Ride
Author:  Nicholas Sparks
Narrator:  Ron McLarty & January LaVoy
Series:  Stand Alone
Length:  Unabridged; 13 hours & 12 minutes
Publisher:  Hachette Audio
Published:  September 17, 2013
Source:  Library
Format:  Audiobook
Genres:  Fiction; Love Stories
Subjects:  Unmarried Couples; Man-Woman Relationships; Life Changing Events

                             Audie Award Finalist, Romance, 2013                                           Ira Levinson is in trouble. At 91 years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together - how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can't possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.
      A few miles away, at a local rodeo, a Wake Forest College senior's life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward - even life and death - loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans - a future that Luke has the power to rewrite... if the secret he's keeping doesn't destroy it first.
      Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.
                       ©2013 Nicholas Sparks (P)2013 Hachette Audio
My Review:
Nicholas Sparks has always been one of my favorite author's.  He was actually one of if not THE first author that I ever discovered.  At one time, I couldn't get enough of his writing, and soaked up every single one of his books.  Then I started dabbling with other author's and honestly haven't came back to him until now.  Oh my, although I hadn't realized it until the first few minutes into the book, how did I miss him and his writing!

Sparks has an extraordinary talent for delivering heart-felt, heart string tugging stories that leave you feeling like weeping and laughing, all at the same time.  I have always felt an amazing spark and connection when reading his books, and The Longest Ride was no different.  I always get so lost in his writing, and I found myself soaring through all of the different emotions while listening to The Longest Ride.  I felt a great connection to the story!

In the past, I have only listened to mystery/suspense novels on audio, so I was quite leery about listening to a non-mystery book on audio, so much so, that I actually put off listening to this book for several months.  With this book, I learned that most genres should be okay on audio, that it's not reserved for just mystery books (and be good, at least!)  I thought that the narrators, Ron McLarty and January LaVoy, fit their perspective characters perfectly.  I really felt like I was listening to Ira when McLarty read!  My only quirk would be that LaVoy also read the part of Dylan, so it was a little irking to hear a female try to sound like a manly cowboy!    Other than that, I think that the narration of The Longest Ride was great, and if I had to rate it, would rate it at least 4-1/2 stars!

I feel like you can never go wrong with Nicholas Sparks, and this book left me feeling no different.  It really made me feel like I've been missing a lot in the few years that it's been since I've read a Sparks book.  He has a way with words and really delivers some of the best love stories ever written!  His stories are impeccable and mesmerizing!   And I thoroughly enjoyed reading about both sets of couples, Ira and Ruth, and their life-long love story, which was truly touching, and Sophie and Dylan, who were just beginning their adventure of their love life, where they seem destined to be together!  I thought that Sparks expertly intersected the lives of these four people, and brought it altogether at the end.

Overall, of all the Nicholas Sparks books that I've read, that this one definitely stands out as one of the most touching stories that he's written.  Most retailers compare it to The Notebook, however, I feel like The Longest Ride may even surpass the greatness of The Notebook, which I would have thought was impossible to do!  I can't wait to catch up with the Sparks novels that I've missed and see what else he can pull out of his sleeve, because he truly is a remarkable author with astonishing writing abilities!

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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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