September Finds

September was a much slower reading month for me (#misingsummerreading), but I still managed to find time and some noteworthy books.  Quick note, if a book makes my list, then I recommend reading it.  There are many others I read that are just not worthy of a recommendation.  Four or five star reviews are my cut off as I know there are far too many great ones out there waiting for us.  Here are this months reads –


The Accident: A gripping psychological thriller that will have you hooked

The book opens with a bang. David sees his pregnant wife Tara with another man. He confronts him and accidentally kills him.  Parts of the book were too much inner turmoil for me, but overall the book was good. I’d have liked less background and inner dialogue and more action.  If you want a good psychological thriller, then this one won’t disappoint.  Overall though a big twist in the book made me up my rating to 4 stars.

One Perfect Lie

Lisa Scottoline never disappoints. This is another fast paced read that will keep you turning pages. It’s hard to say too much because there were surprises along the way. The book is about a possible Oklahoma City copy cat bombing. It is set within a high school and we meet several teenage boys knowing one of them is likely involved. Each family has their share of issues happening and we get to know each family, as well as the teachers at the school. It is worth reading and I’d say definitely get it if you like Scottoline’s books. It won’t disappoint. I would have given it five stars but found myself distracted during parts of the book. Likely it’s my issue as the school year just began.

Chasing Red

Totally not my type of book, but enjoyable all the same. Fans of the rich guy, virgin girl sexual tension genre will enjoy this. Very fast read with lots of angst and sexual tension – vanilla read though for fans of 50 Shades. Of course, as all these types of books do, we are left hanging at the end. Leaves you wanting the sequel.

If You Only Knew: IF YOU ONLY KNEW

One decision on a fateful night change the course of many lives. Great debut thriller. Elizabeth makes a decision that will change her life forever. Being raped and kidnapped while in college, forces her to kill or be killed. But what she does next will leave you speechless as you read to the conclusion.

If you’ve read a great book recently, please drop me a note below. I am always on the look out for my next great read. Enjoy.

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August Reads

Oh, please say it isn’t so. It can’t be September already as I have way too many books on my to be read pile.  Summer is my absolute favorite time of year and one in which I can read the most books.  I spoke to my daughter yesterday and she’s doing the same as me, finding a quiet spot (park) and enjoying the waning days of summer with a good book.  Here’s what kept my going all month long and there were some great page turners in this group.  We always have rainy days and weekends to read.

Bring Her Home

Totally devoured this book in one sitting. I was so engrossed and reading this as fast as I could. I had an early suspicion about who did the crime and couldn’t wait for the big reveal.

A father is searching for his missing daughter – Summer and her best friend Haley. The book opens with Bill rushing to the hospital when two girls are found, one dead and one barely alive. As he sits at his barley alive daughter’s bedside he is consumed with guilt and wondering what caused this. He begins to question his relationship with her and his parenting. Then far worse, he begins to question if this is even his daughter in the bed. I really can’t say too much about the plot as I don’t want to give anything away. There were many surprises and twists and turns. David Bell is a masterful story teller. A definite must read.

The Best Kind of People: A Novel

I opened this book and read the first page. It pulled me in immediately. I found this book to be a deep exploration of the psychological effect a major event has on a family. We follow Sadie, Andrew and Joan as they come to grips with their father and husband being charged with sexual abuse. At times it felt so raw. At times I wanted to look away. But, of course I couldn’t. I can’t say too much more for fear of exposing any of the major plot lines.

The Night Child: A Novel

I’m still trying to process this book, a deeply disturbing read. Nora is struggling emotionally and feels she is losing her mind. We are taken into her therapy sessions and witness to the unveiling of her split personality and deep dark secret. We are treated to a well written account of what is is like to be in this state of mind. There wasn’t a linear plot to this one, rather a slow unveiling of the event that caused the trauma. A deeply sad and dark read for me.

19 Souls (A Sin City Investigation)

This book had one very determined stalker who went to great lengths to find her prey – Dan – a boy from her past. Sophie was beautiful and deadly a great combination for a thriller. Jim Bean as the private investigator was a pretty cut and dry character who gets tangled with Sophie. He’s definitely in over his head rather quickly. A thriller that kept me turning the pages until the conclusion. You find yourself waiting for Sophie to strike and knowing it’s coming. Wait for it, wait for it.

Exposed: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel

Lisa Scottoline treats us to another great read based in Philadelphia. We return to favorite characters Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato, now partners. Mary’s quirky family is such a delight in these books and for me knowing the location is a draw. In this book, Mary is representing her family friend Simon who has been unjustly fired because his daughter has cancer and is causing too many expenses at the company. Unfortunately, there is a conflict of interest because Bennie represents the parent company, All this leads to tension between them and between Bennie and Nate who owns the parent company. Lots of twists and turns and fun characters. I love this series and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great read.

This Is Not a Love Letter

This young adult book addresses many sensitive and timely topics. Written from the perspective of Jessie speaking to her missing boyfriend Chris, hence the title. When Chris goes missing many think he may have killed himself but Jessie is convinced that he’s a victim of foul play. An emotional read but definitely one to read. Fans of 13 Reasons will love this one.

The Flight Attendant: A Novel

Cassandra wakes in bed in Dubai and finds her latest one night stand dead. She panics and flees leaving her a suspect in his murder. I totally enjoyed this latest book from Bohjailan. As usual he doesn’t disappoint.
A sexy flight attendant, a murder and some espionage with a surprise at the end. Winning for sure.

The Art of Hiding

The book opens with Nina at a rugby came watching her son. She’s waiting for her husband who is late when she gets that dreaded phone call. Her husband is dead and life will never be the same for her or her two boys.
This book has a lot of promise. The plot didn’t hold my total interest in all parts, but at it’s heart it was a story of facing ones personal demons.

The Dark Lake

I enjoyed reading this mystery by Sarah Bailey. I have not read any books by her before. The main character Gemma is the lead homicide police investigator of the murder of a local woman. It turns out the woman has a connection to Gemma as she stole her teenage boyfriend just before he committed suicide. Gemma is quite the messed up character and much of the book is devoted to her angst in life. The plot is good though and I really didn’t figure out who done it until it was revealed. I had my suspicions but they were not on target.

There’s a lot going on in the book other than just the murder. As I said, a lot of the book is devoted to Gemma and her internal struggles which are all linked back to the death of her boyfriend. Worthy of a read as it kept me turning pages to find out who killed Rosalind.

The Space Between Words

This book is truly magnificent. I was hesitant to read it due to the difficult subject matter, but am ever so glad I plunged in. The book grabs you from the first page and fails to let you go. I’m feeling it still lingering with me. Julie, Adeline, Jess, Patrick, they are characters who you soon won’t forget. I’m not going to say parts of this book aren’t difficult to read, let alone imagine that they happened, but the stories are so worth reading.
Jess finds herself caught up in the terror of the Bataclan mass murders. Life for her will never be the same. She comes upon pages from an antique Bible and journal and sets off on a journey to discover the life of Adeline and Julie and the entire Baillard family. This story too can be difficult to read at times and again events like this really did happen.
All I can say is it will be so worth your time because as the author so eloquently says, you often find light layered over the darkness in the world. Wonderful!

The Broken Girls

This was not the normal type of book I read, as I don’t read paranormal or ghost books. What drew me to this one was that it was advertised to be a thriller. Yes, there was a ghost aspect but it was not the focal point of the plot, though was a focal point of the story. I enjoyed this one and would never have figured out the mysterious death of Sonia or its connection to the death of Deb. Fiona as the main narrator was a likeable character who has walls around her emotions since her sister was found murdered 20 years ago. She obsesses over it and has a feeling that there is more to the death than ever was revealed. What she uncovers is pretty surprising and sad to think it all could have been avoided. This one will keep you turning the pages to find out what in the world happened and how the alternating chapters intersect.

Enjoy and if you read any of these books, please let me know how you enjoyed them. Leave me a comment below – I love to chat about books.

July Reads

Reviews Published

July is my favorite month of the year as it brings me to the beach house and relaxation. It is my time to destress, relax and catch up on my reading. It is the month in which I can read a book a day and that makes me so happy. My to read pile has gone down significantly this month and boy did I find some great reads for you all!  Some of these books are prerelease, but the nice thing about Amazon is when you order a prerelease you are not charged until it ships.
I always order them ahead because I know I’ll likely forget.

Between Lost and Found

This was the first book I’ve read by this author. I really enjoyed the story and found myself looking forward to returning to it. In this book we meet Janelle, an insecure city girl who is engaged to what she thinks is her dream man. From the first page, I didn’t like his arrogance and forget about the mother in law.

Janelle’s grandfather knows this is not the right man for her to marry so he devises a plan to lure her home. He has his girlfriend call to tell her he has gone missing and she must come home. Unfortunately what was meant to be a lure turns out to be the truth as Little Bill goes missing. I just loved the characters in this book and we got to know most of them. This book is about returning home and learning to love yourself. Janelle, Sam, Connie, Yvette and of course Little Bill are wonderful characters who come together to tell a story of finding and loving yourself. I hate comparing authors, but if you like Terry McMillan’s books you will like this.

Girl in Snow: A Novel

This debut novel has just been released. Thought this was a novel of suspense and who done it, its strength lay in character development. The book opens with a dead teenager, Lucinda who is found murdered on the school playground. Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of three characters who knew Lucinda and were being interviewed by the police each added a different perspective to the possible motives.

Cameron is a boy who loved Lucinda and was totally obsessed with her. He thinks he may have murdered her as he knows he was there watching her that night. He has some holes in his memory and is worried he may be the murdered. Jade a classmate who hated Lucinda because she stole her boyfriend and Russ, the copy assigned to investigate the murder. Each of these characters are the story and the author really develops them well. I was very surprised by the ending and totally did not guess ahead. My only wish was that she developed Lucinda as well as the other characters. It would have added some depth to the story.

The Visitors

Another debut novel that offers a creepy read. This is not a thriller, or a page turner. It’s a slow read, especially in the beginning, but stick with it as it all comes together to tell a great story of what we choose to overlook and why. This book is about Marion, a middle aged single woman, who lives with her brother. The book dives deeply into Marion’s psyche, including her childhood. It’s a tale of the damage life can do to someone and the lasting affects of that damage. Marion’s brother has been damaged too in a totally different way. What unravels in this book was disturbing and creepy and kept me turning the pages. Yes, I’d like a bit more twists and turns, but just the thought of it all was creepy enough for this one to be a worthy read.

The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel

I absolutely adored this little gem of a story. It may be because my dad is going through a similar time, but this quirky tale just touched my heart. Arthur (Truluv) is an 82 year old widower who sits at his wife’s grave every single day without fail. Maddy is a 17 year old high school student who is bullied and a loner. Her mom dies when she was young and her dad raised her but she hasn’t been loved. They meet at the cemetery, where Lucille loves to hang out alone. We also meet Lucille, Arthur’s neighbor who is quite the character.

These three come together to tell a tale of life, love and finding your tribe. A sweet tale that is worthy of your time. It will make you smile, laugh and cry.

Seeking Sarah: A Novel

Brooke discovers her mother,long thought dead, is very much alive. When her father dies this secret comes to life and Brooke finds herself searching for her mother. She went at first to find out why she was told her mother was dead, but upon seeing that her mother has a new family and life finds herself full of anger. She sets out on a path to destroy her mother. An emotional, fast paced read that will be devoured in one sitting.

The Rules of Magic: A Novel

I am a huge Alice Hoffman fan, but not a fan of magic books. I haven’t read Practical Magic and when I first started this book wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. But, afterall if was written by Ms. Hoffman who pulls me in every single time with her talent. She did not disappoint with this one either. I found myself unable to put the book down and read it in one day. Thankfully I’m down at the beach and was able to park in a chair for the day.

The Owens sisters and brother Vincent are enchanting and their story will linger with me for a bit as the characters in Hoffman’s books generally do. Their tale is quite sad and the curse put upon the family really led to much heartache and worry. Franny, Jet and Vincent leave me wanting more and I will now have to order Practical Magic to continue this saga.

I am not a fan of fantasy or magical tales, but this one is a winner.

Lies She Told

I read this book in one day on my beach vacation. When 3:00 came I was still sitting in my chair. My daughter asked if I was OK as I usually leave then to go up to the house and cook. I had to finish the book and literally sat there until I did. Liza was quite the interesting character and the story was quite unique. Told in alternating chapters, not unusual, but this one was one fictitious story and one the main story. As the plot progresses, they stories begin to blur and merge. There was a nice twist at the end as well to keep it interesting. Definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a book you can’t put down until you finish.

Emma in the Night: A Novel

This was a one day read for me on my beach vacation. I don’t think I moved all day. I was fascinated by the narcissistic personality disorder and it’s impact on the children. Wow. The book was for me a deeper read, which means though I read in one sitting I didn’t skim over any parts. I found it all gripping. What a dysfunctional family. The book says it has an unreliable narrator and I get why they say it, but I didn’t find Cass to be unreliable. I really felt her as she told her story. A twist at the end yes, but overall not a shock considering the story. I don’t want to say to much about the plot because it’s worth your reading for yourself. This is a must read and will likely be a best seller when released. GREAT read. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to preview the manuscript.

The Good Daughter: A Novel

This book opened with a bang, literally. A family watches their mother murdered and are taken out and shot. This opening was heart wrenching, but it sure did get my attention. And if that wasn’t enough they added next a school shooting. Wow. This was a can’t put down read with a slow point in the middle. The beginning and end pulled me in and kept me up late turning pages. The two sisters, Charlotte and Sam will linger with me awhile as I felt so entrenched in their story. I love books by Slaughter and this one does not disappoint. Great summer read.

The Marriage Pact: A Novel

Soon to be a movie!
Great read. The book was very different. There were some behaviors the characters exhibited – like a lawyer signing a contract without reading it – but I didn’t care! The book for me was gripping and kept me turning the pages. Partially because it was so unbelievable that this could happen I kept going.
In this book we meet Alice, a lawyer and Jake a psychiatrist who are newly married. Alice is afraid the marriage may not stand the test of time so they enter into a marriage pact to keep the relationship exciting. Wow, what a marriage pact the got themselves involved with. The ending really leaves you hanging so perhaps a sequel is in order. I’m not one who wants to make my own ending. I like to tie things up and know for sure what happens, but that’s just me. A definite book to read this summer!

Any Dream Will Do: A Novel

Another great read by Debbie Macomber. This book is a story about redemption and starting over. Shay is standing in a church, freshly released from prison with no money, family or plan. One step away from being homeless she is given a chance for recovery. This was a truly warm, fuzzy read as most of Macomber’s books are. Yes there is tragedy and bumps along the way, but you feel better about life at the end. I really can’t explain it, but her books always make me believe in happily ever after and in this crazy world who doesn’t need a little of that.
A perfect escape from life and a great beach read.

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

I’ve read most of this author’s books and like her writing style. This book was no exception, as I was quickly pulled into the story of Tess and Henry. Tess was a compelling character and you felt her pain and sense of loss throughout the book. The backdrop of this story was Hickory during the time of the polio outbreak. Some of the story was set in a real life event – the building of the hospital.
Ultimately this story is about life and how the choices we make can have a lasting impact on those we love. I found this to be a quick, easy read, but one that will linger. I would say the only character that had true dimension was Tess and that’s OK because it was her story. I was surprised by the twist at the end as all the foreshadowing led me down a different path. Overall a great summer read from Diane Chamberlain.

There’s bound to be something to your liking in this group.  If you’ve read any, please share your thoughts.  On to August and another pile of books.  Don’t you just love summer reading?

May Reads

This has been a busy month of reading for me.  I’ve been enjoying my book shelf and have found some really good reads.  If you are getting ready to stock up your kindle for summer reading, here are a few recommendations.

I didn’t love this one, but it was quite a disturbing concept.  I didn’t realize until I started talking to people about it that it was actually written in the 1980s.  I’m not usually a fan of dystopian novels, but I’d heard so much buzz about the book I decided to give it a read.  I’d guess it’s popularity can be found in those who seek to make connections to today’s world.  The book kept me turning the pages, but I didn’t love it as much as my daughter did.  I think this is one you either love or hate, but definitely one you will be talking about.  It’s also heavily advertised as a new series.

This one kept me up late at night turning the pages.  An old house is knocked down in London and the remains of a baby unearthed.  Kate Waters is an investigative reporter who feels inexplicably drawn to report on the case.  As she investigates, we meet a couple whose daughter was stolen from the hospital long ago.  The couple never found closure and with each new find they relive the loss over again.  Then there is a young lady who is also obsessed with this case.  How these three lives are connected is the big reveal.  I will admit I figured it out prior to the conclusion, but I read a lot of these types of books and watch way too much Criminal Minds.  A definite must read book.

This author’s books make me feel like I’m going home. I’ve read her Lowcountry and Beach House series and the characters feel like my friends now.  This book doesn’t disappoint and would make a wonderful beach read.  Cara Rutledge rents out her beach house to Heather for the summer.  Soon tragedy strikes and the two women’s lives are changed forever.   If you read Beach House Memories you will be familiar with the characters and the Isle of Palms.  An easy read and one destined to be on this summer’s best seller list.

Ronni Sunshine a Hollywood star, invites her three daughters home to tell them she’s dying.  She has ALS and wants her estranged daughters to make peace with her and each other before she takes her own life.  Told in alternating chapters from each daughter’s perspective, we learn the back story and reason for the estrangements.  Ronni wasn’t a great mother and is running out of time.  Can she make things right with the girls?  This book was full of family drama, but at it’s core it’s about family, the bonds that tie us to each other and the love that is often found buried under all that baggage.  An endearing read by the best selling author of Falling.

Oh how I loved this one.  I must warn you, you will need tissues and it is an emotional read.  I came upon this title and was drawn to the – for fans of Me Before You.  I mean I seriously loved that book.  I purchased this and it went right to the top of my pile.  This was a gut wrenching tale of Lucy and Gabe.  They had the special kind of love that most people spend their whole lives looking for.  It’s a book about the choices we make and the forks in the road we travel.  How one decision often leads to many later consequences.  I couldn’t put this one down until it was finished.  Then I was sad it was over and today I’m missing Lucy’s voice.  The story is narrated entirely by Lucy.  It is her tale to tell and her love story to share.  I think you should read this one immediately, but warn you it is a gut wrenching tale.

The Light we Lost will be the blockbuster of the summer and likely a movie in the making.  If you can only pick just one from this list, this is the one to pick!  I hope you find something to your liking.  Happy Reading and welcome summer!  Can’t wait to be able to read on a beach chair.

If you’ve read any of these books, please leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear you take on them.

50 Book Reviews

April Reads

April has been a month of many rainy days and some great reads. Here’s my top reads this month:

The Perfect Stranger: A Novel

If you haven’t read Megan Miranda’s book All the Missing Girls: A Novel then you absolutely must do that right now!  It was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  I loved the unique style of the book.  You can read my review on that book here – All the Missing Girls .

This one is a good read too, though not as good as her first.  The characters are well developed and you truly feel a sense of madness throughout the book that leaves you guessing and wondering.  I was slightly disappointed with the ending, as what I imagined was coming would have been far more intense than what she wrote.  If you are a fan of suspense, then I think the book is well worth your time and you will be turning the pages long into the night.  I gave this a 3.5 star review on Goodreads.

And Then There Was Me: A Novel of Friendship, Secrets and Lies

This was a great read about a woman named Bea.  The character is one that you will love on many levels.  I truly enjoyed the book and read it in one sitting.  There were many things that spoke to me as Bea was wrestling through the issues of her life and there were many.   I enjoyed the friendship she shared with Awilda, one that spanned their life from childhood to present day.  The raw honesty portrayed by Bea as she struggled felt real.  I didn’t enjoy the betrayal that Bea endured.  As I read those parts, I became disappointed along with her.  At its core, this book is a story of friendship, personal struggle and the ultimate betrayal.  But for me, it was a story of perseverance and strength.  This book reminded me somewhat of those written by Terry Macmillan, so if you’re a fan of her work, give it a shot.

Always: A Novel

This is a love story that speaks to the power of true love.  Told in alternating chapters between past and present, we read Kailey and Cade’s love story.  This is a story about the one who got away, the one you never forgot.

Ten years earlier, Kailey and Cade were deeply in love.  One day, Cade disappears from Kailey’s life leaving her heartbroken and confused.  She goes on to put her life back together and is now engaged and deeply in love with Ryan.  As the story unfolds, we see just how deeply Kailey felt about Cade.  Can she be honest with Ryan about Cade?  Will their love endure Cade’s return?  Why did Cade leave in the first place?   This book was really good read.   It reminded me of Colleen Hoover’s style.  If you are fan of Hoover, then check out this book.  I think you’ll see some similarities and enjoy a real good read.  But, be sure to start it on a day when you have nowhere to be.

The Memory of Things: A Novel

I saved the best for last!  I bought this Young Adult, coming of age book, several months back.  It sat on my kindle for a long while before I was brave enough to start it.  The thing is September 11 is seared in my memory.  I don’t often read books on this topic as it was a traumatic event for me and many that I know.  I am so happy I finally opened it and read it.  What a unique and truly interesting read this was and I literally didn’t move until I finished it.  The book captures the emotions of that day quite well.  Written in a unique style of narrative with poetic text included that I felt truly captured the uncertainty and feeling of the day.

This book is special and Gae Polisher captured that day with honesty and sensitivity.  Told in alternating chapters by two teenagers personally affected by the tragedy that unfolded that day we are reminded of the heroic efforts of everyday people.  Kyle is a student who has to walk home from school after watching the events unfold from his school.  Along the way he sees something on the bridge, a girl who intends to jump.  He manages to get her to come home with him.  Kyle is left alone at home with a father who is a first responder, whereabouts unknown, and a mom who was flying home from California, whereabouts unknown.  You really feel inside these characters as you go through three days with them.  Beautifully written and deeply engaging, this is one you don’t wan to miss.

The author includes text at the end with her personal reflection on the day.   I knew just form the way she captured the story that she was a New Yorker.  This was my first book by this author and I plan to check out her others.

Lately, two series are getting a lot of buzz.   Recently, Thirteen Reasons has been trending on Facebook and the news.  Surprisingly, many don’t realize this series is based on the best selling book, Thirteen Reasons Why a truly great read.   If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you do.  Also, the series Big Little Lies has been trending.  This too, is based on a best selling book.  If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it – Big Little Lies .  Both series were good and I binge watched them over a weekend, but neither one holds a candle to the books they were based on.

What books did you read this month?  Please share some titles below as I’m always looking for my next great read!  If you check out any of these titles, please post to let me know what you thought.

March Reads

This was a slow reading month for me as I only read five books.  Two of them were professional reads for work, so I’m not including the review for those in my post.

The Princess Diarist

I grew up during the Star Wars generation.  Carrie Fisher may have been every guys dream princess, but for us young girls she was our hero.  She proved to the world that women could play strong characters in a man’s movie world.  With her sad passing, I was interested to read her books.  This is the second one I have read and it wasn’t my favorite.  I enjoyed reading the behind the scenes narration about life on the set of Star Wars.  I didn’t know til her passing that she had an affair with Harrison Ford so that felt like juicy gossip.  The warm relationship between the characters of this movie was evident when reading this book.  Their friendships lasted decades and it was truly touching to hear of the bonds.  This book felt like my last connection to the movie and the characters so I did savor reading it.  When reading Carrie’s books, you are treated to her sarcasm and wit.  Unfortunately, you also get a window, I feel, into her mental illness.  Must read for all Star Wars fans, but for others it may not be of interest.  I loved the narrative more than the actual diary entries.

Good as Gone: A Novel of Suspense

If you are a suspense junkie, then this book is for you.  Julie is kidnapped from her home and the only witness to the crime is her sister.  Years go by without a trace of Julie and the effects of this on her family are played out in the book.  The relationships are damaged, with her sister bearing the brunt, as her relationship with her mother have been forever altered.

Then suddenly, one day Julie rings the bell and returns home.  Her family is thrilled to have her back, but doubts begin to surface as to who she really is.  Did they just accept her wanting their daughter back?  Is it really Julie?  Would you be willing to lose your child all over again, or just accept what could be?  This novel is fast paced and suspenseful as you are pondering the fate of Julie throughout.  The past is told in snippets until the thrilling conclusion. Quick, one night read for me.

The Two-Family House: A Novel

I love multigenerational novels with strong characters.  The emotional sagas pull you in and tug at your heart as you follow the life of the novel’s families.  This one will not disappoint those who love this genre.  The strong narrative grabs you from the first page and pulls you right in.

The foreshadowing of the main event to come made it pretty obvious to me where we were heading, but that didn’t bother me as this is not a novel of suspense.  Rather, it’s a novel of emotional drama, a saga that will tug at your heart.  I highly recommend this one as well.  It was not a one night read though as I wanted to savor the book and not let it end.  My first read by this author and one that made the Popsugar’s 6 Books You Must Read list.

If you love family drama that spans generations, this book is for you.  If you are opposed to predictable plots then maybe not.  Considering the favorable reviews are strong and it’s made the 14 Most Buzzed About Books list, I think I’m in the majority on this one when I say – read it!

Hoping to have a better reading month in April.  I have a week off this month so I’m stocking up my Kindle now.  What have you been reading?  Please share some great titles with me as I’m always looking for new reads.

 

February Reads

February was such a short month for reading.  This month, I was craving some suspenseful reads.  I’m not a fan of television and needed some beautiful distraction from the craziness of the world.   I found some gripping thrillers that kept my mind busy and kept me up late many nights.  All of these books were 5 star rated on Goodreads and appeared on many of the must read book lists.  If thrillers are your thing, I believe you’ll find something here that you’ll like.  I enjoyed each of them and highly recommend you check them out.


The Marriage Lie: A Bestselling Novel of Domestic Suspense

Imagine if your husband of seven years, who you are still madly in love with, flies off for a business trip to Florida.  Next thing you know you receive a call from the airlines that he was a passenger on a plane headed for Seattle that has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board.  This is the premise of this fast paced book.

Iris and Will are happily married when her world is shaken to its core.  Iris refuses to believe Will is dead, or for that fact that he was even on that plane.  The book follows her on her quest to find out the truth about what happened.  She learns more than she bargained for about her seemingly perfect husband.  All in all a quick, enjoyable read.


Little Girl Lost: A gripping thriller that will have you hooked (Di Robin Carter)

Abigail seemingly has the perfect life.  Handsome, devoted husband and beautiful baby Izzy.  Suddenly, she starts feeling like something is off in her world.  She starts suspecting she’s losing her mind and someone is trying to kidnap her daughter.  She receives threatening texts and begins to doubt her life is as perfect as she once thought.  Unfortunately, she is hiding a dark past from her husband so she has nowhere to turn for help.

The plot of this book is told in alternating chapters centered around an investigator, DI Robyn Carter, trying to solve the murder of an actor and find a missing teacher.  The narrator of the other chapters is setting the back story for us of a little girl abused.  You wonder if she is Abigail as you try to connect these story lines.

DI Robyn Carter starts to delve deeper and her investigations into both cases lead her back to Abigail.  Robyn’s instincts tell her there’s a connection between these deaths.   This was a fast paced read.  Every time I thought I had it solved it took another twist.  Very enjoyable read.


This Is Not Over: A Novel

When 30-year old Dawn returns from her Getaway.com booked vacation, she fails to receive her deposit back.  She contacts the homeowner to inquire when it will arrive and receives word it should be coming shortly.  Then she gets another email that tells her she will get her deposit back, minus $200 to replace the stained sheets.  Dawn is insulted and angry at what she perceives as dishonest practices.  She contacts Miranda, the homeowner, about this deduction and soon the two are locked in a battle of wills.

The emails between the two women set the stage for the alternating chapters.  I loved this book.   The backstory of each women really carried me through quickly.  Each of these women had secrets they were keeping and real deep rooted reasons for their actions.  They continue to battle right up until the end.  Be prepared to read this in one setting and be totally surprised that it’s about more than just the back and forth between these two stubborn women.


Blink: A psychological thriller with a killer twist you’ll never forget

Three years ago, Toni’s five year old daughter went missing.  She has never been found and  seems to have vanished without a trace.  The book opens with a stroke victim lying in the hospital trapped inside her body.  Everyone thinks she is brain dead and plans are being made to pull the plug.  But this woman is very much alive.  As she struggles to let them know she is alive, we are taken back in time to the days before Evie’s abduction.

We soon learn that Toni was struggling with drug addiction following the death of her husband in Afghanistan.  As we begin to piece together the story of the past, we realize that Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence and her only chance to save herself is to find a way to make herself heard.  She must find Evie.

This one has a nice twist toward the end that I didn’t see coming.  I was pretty shocked by it and realized after that the clues were there.  A thriller that kept me turning the pages until I was finished.  A one day read that is perfect for fans of thrillers.

I wonder what genre I’ll be binge reading in March.  I love my psychological thrillers, but maybe it’s time for some historical fiction.  So many books, so little time!  Enjoy and if you read any of these titles I’d love to hear what you thought.

 

Second Chances

Life’s Golden Ticket: A Story About Second Chances

 

BRENDON BURCHARD is one of the most watched, quoted, and followed personal development trainers in the world.   Brendon received his second chance at life after surviving a car accident.  This book has 780 reviews on Amazon and 87% of them are 5 star ratings.  It’s also a New York Times best seller, so it’s obviously worth checking out.

This book is an inspirational parable, a tale that will inspire anyone who has felt that perhaps they’d like a second chance to do things differently.  I’m sure we’ve all at some point in our life thought about how things could have been different, if only…..  Well, what if you were handed a golden ticket that could magically start your life anew?

That question is at the heart of Life’s Golden Ticket. The story opens with a woman who has been missing 40 days and just found critically injured.  In her hospital bed she begs her husband to go to the park she has been to.  She gives him an envelope to bring with him.  The husband goes to this park, an abandoned amusement park in which her younger brother had died many years ago.

The man takes the envelope and embarks on a journey of self discovery.  In order to release himself from the issues in his life, he must face his troubling past.  The past has kept him from fulfilling his dreams and living the life he always wanted.  With each character he meets he must answer difficult questions and face up to his shortcomings.  He learns a lesson from each and begins to take a hard look at himself.

The lessons learned here are universal and can be applied to anyone’s life.  The journey had a magical quality to it.  A very enjoyable read with so many great connections to every day life.  Life is so short it would be wonderful for everyone to live the life they truly want.  This tale of love and redemption is a great frame around the wonderful lessons found in the book.  Definitely worth checking out and a very quick read, yet one you will return to to ponder over once you finish.  Best of all there is a present for all in the back of the book in an envelope.  But do not open it until you read the book!

 

 

Dear Mother by Angela Marsons

Dear Mother: A gripping and emotional story that will make you sob your heart out

 

I just knew the moment I started this one it was going to be great.   While I didn’t sob my heart out, as the title indicated I would, I was drawn into the story.  It was an emotional read for sure and thinking about the childhood of these three girls was tough.

Three sisters, Catherine, Alex and Beth.  Very different, yet all equally damaged in their own way from the abuse suffered at the hands of their mother.  Each deals with the effects of that abuse in quite different ways.  Upon the death of their mother, Beth summons the girls back for the funeral.  They have not seen or spoken to each other in many years.  This book is about the emotional toll of physical abuse on the girls that truly shaped who they became as adults.

Each sister has their own story line, but we truly only get to hear from Catherine and Alex. Parts are difficult to read for sure, but it’s a great story of self discovery.  I found it fascinating to read and felt the author did a wonderful job depicting the emotions these characters felt.  Of the two, I was drawn more to Catherine’s story and narration.  The relationship with her twin daughters really shaped my understanding of the long term repercussions of Catherine’s childhood.

My only regret is that we didn’t get to know more about Beth’s backstory.  She was the driving force in the book, yet there was much left unsaid about her.  Highly recommend this one and it’s currently on sale at Amazon for only $3.99.  What a steal.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book to read and review.

New Summer Reads

The Sister: A psychological thriller with a brilliant twist you won’t see coming

This debut novel by Louis Jensen was an enjoyable read to kick off my beach vacation.  Told in alternating chapters of past and present, Grace narrates the tale of her life after losing her best friend Charlie.  The book opens with Grace going back to retrieve a time capsule the two young girls buried together long ago.  In it was a collection of items, including a letter Charlie made Grace promise not to read until they were grown up.  She also made her promise they’d read it together.  The book is about the impact of Charlie’s death on Grace and her quest to find answers about what happened to Charlie prior to her death.

I thought the character Grace was really well developed.  There was a lot of depth to her emotional struggles and I felt connected with her story throughout the book.  I think Grace’s story is what kept me turning the pages of this book.  The husband Dan was not as well developed and you could see immediately where the book was going with his story line.

I enjoyed the book, though there were some parts that were perhaps a bit much, no need for so many shocking events in one book.  I was able to figure out the twist a bit ahead of the end due to strong foreshadowing throughout the book, but not all of it.  There were still a few surprises.  All in all it’s a quick, enjoyable read and this author has great potential to become a best seller in this genre.  I look forward to reading her next novel.

 

To Have and to Hold (Wedding Belles)

My second read this vacation was the first book in a new series by Lauren Layne.  I loved this book and it’s not usually a genre I read.  This would appeal to those who like books by Lisa Renee Jones and even the Fifty Shades folks, though this is a much more vanilla read.  The book does have some steamy sex scenes for fans of those genre, just not as many and definitely not as descriptive.

The book opens with Seth finding out his younger sister Maya is engaged to her new, very short term boyfriend.  He is immediately suspicious of the relationship and worries it’s about gaining access to the family’s money.  Maya hires a wedding planner, Brooke Baldwin to help plan the wedding.  Brooke was a wedding planner in California and has just moved to NYC after her own wedding fell apart at the altar, literally.

Upon their first meeting, sexual sparks are flying between Seth and Brooke.  The book really captures their sexual tension well and you feel the angst of both characters.  All of the characters are likable and ones you’ll want to spend more time with in the anticipated future books of the series.  Personally, I liked Brooke the best and felt her character made the story come alive.  I liked her spunk and ability to get back up after being knocked down big time.  I liked the miscommunication and tension between her and Seth throughout the book.

The second book had a preview available and I was a bit disappointed that it appears to be focusing on a different character.  I had hoped for more of Seth and Brook, but that could come in the future.

A perfect beach read, a quick, steamy summer read.

Thank you to Netgalley and both publishers for providing me copies of these books to read and review.