Book Review #202

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Hardcover, UK Edition, 400 pages

Published March 9th 2017 by Century

Original Title

16th Seduction

ISBN

1780895194 (ISBN13: 9781780895192)

Edition Language

English

Series

Women’s Murder Club #16

Ultimately, this 16th installment in the WMC series was not such a very satisfying read. First of all, the criminal trial for that bomber took forever (more than half of the book), and then to have that plot fizzle out, towards the end, without giving the readers a true sense of justice. The subplot was even more ridiculous. Imagine a miniature psycho who has kept himself hidden as a mental patient for 40 years, only to go out at night – through secret subterranean tunnels to commit murders; more accurately to syringe plunge people’s butt with a lethal drug in order to stop their hearts.
I thought overall both story-lines were weak. The only redeeming factor are the personal lives of our 4 friends Lindsay, Claire, Yuki and Cindy, and even there, there wasn’t much of an actual deep dive. One good thing is that Lindsay makes up her mind about Joe, realizing she might lose him due to the injuries he sustained from the bombing; she finally reconciles with him. The family tableau’s with little Julie feel authentic, and are so sweet

 

Book Review #201


Hardcover, 352 pages

Published April 25th 2017 by Atria Books (first published June 30th 2016)

ISBN

1501154591 (ISBN13: 9781501154591)

Wow! I loved this book. A fantastic psychological suspense novel. Two decades of secrets. A young bride with a missing husband. A lonely single mother and a man with no memory of who he is or where he came from. You may think you have it all figured out…but the truth may surprise you. I was definitely surprised.

In the British Seaside… Alice lives in a tiny house with her children and the stray animals that she’s picked up over the years. Alice has a thing for strays…and now a stray man is sitting on a bench near her home. Part of her wants to know why he’s just sitting there in the rain. As the day goes by she sees he’s still there, still getting drenched by the rain. She knows she should probably stay out of it. Alice has had trouble in the past with some of the decisions she’s made. But the more time that passes the more she wants to know why he’s there. What is his story? After speaking with him she finds out that he has no idea of who he is, where he is from, or how he got to there. He has no wallet, identification, or any other possessions. He doesn’t even have a jacket to keep him dry. ‘How long have you been sitting out here?’ ‘I got here yesterday.’ ‘Where did you come from?’ ‘I have no idea.’ Alice invites him in…

Meanwhile in a London suburb… Newly married and new to the country, twenty-one year old Lily Monrose is anxiously waiting for her husband to arrive home from work. As dinner gets cold, Lily wonders where on earth her he could be. She finally decides to call the police but they tell her she needs to wait, that he hasn’t been gone that long. But he’s never late. She can usually predict to the minute the moment he will walk in the door. When she finally gets the police to take her seriously they tell her something that shocks her to her core… Her husband doesn’t exist.

Twenty-three years before…. Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on their annual summer vacation with their parents when they meet a young man who starts to show an interest in Kirsty. Kirsty is young and her brother Gray feels something is off about this guy. He can’t quite put his finger on it but something about him makes Gray uncomfortable. However, his sister likes this young man and even their parents think Gray is overreacting. Is Gray being too over-protective of his sister? So many secrets…. I really enjoyed this book! Lisa Jewell does a fantastic job of developing unforgettable characters….whether they had two legs or four legs. The animals were almost as entertaining as the humans. All so well written! I loved the personalities of the humans and the dogs. I’m always impressed when an author can pull me so far into a story…I was fully invested in this novel and these characters, whether I loved or hated them, they all felt quite believable. Although there were a few violent scenes, I didn’t feel like the author went overboard in her descriptions of the acts but still gave enough detail to make me hold my breath in anticipation of what was going to happen next. Drawn in from the first page, this was a very enjoyable story with unique and intriguing characters, and a great plot.

I loved it! This may have been my first Lisa Jewell read but you can bet it won’t be my last.

Book Review #200


I finally made it to 200 reviews

Paperback, TV Tie-In, 460 pages

Published February 9th 2017 by Berkley Books (first published December 25th 2014)

Original Title

Big Little Lies

ISBN

0399587195 (ISBN13: 9780399587191)

Edition Language

English

Characters

Celeste White, Madeline Martha Mackenzie, Jane

setting

Australia

Literary Awards

Davitt Award for Best Adult Novel (2015), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2014)

5 huge stars. I’d give it 6 if I could! This was one of the most captivating books I’ve read. An emotional joy-ride and an absolute favorite! Based in a small exclusive coastal town in Australia. It’s orientation day into kindergarten when one boy is accused of choking a little girl. For the parents it’s a moment when bonds are formed and lines are drawn in the sand. A full complement of emotions are cleverly weaved throughout. Laughter, tears, smiles and pain. Three wonderful friends (Madeline, Celeste and Jane) brought together on that orientation day by their children. The adventures they share together as well as their private struggles at home. Broken dreams, broken hearts and broken families. And the healing of hearts and souls.

“Every relationship has its glitches. It’s ups, its downs.” Everything revolves around something as simple as trivia night at the school. Then a situation arises that has both police and media questioning everyone present. The responses from the interviews are hilarious! I was always on the look-out for more of these little gems as a tasty bonus, near the end of every chapter. There are two distinct sides to this book. The fun, whimsical side that leaves you with a permanent grin on your face, desperately wanting to be part of this group of friends. Then, of course, there’s the dark side that proves you never really know what goes on in the privacy of one’s home.

Even between the closest of friends. There are three sides to every person…the side we show to everyone else, the side we show to friends and loved ones, and the side we show only to ourselves. In other words, this book is simply about life. Those we love and those that make us crazy. Very often, one in the same! I loved every minute of this book. Occasionally shaking my head at the silliness. Never expecting a twist in this story…I got a delicious jaw-dropping moment! Like icing on a cake. I absolutely adored this book! I am so sad it’s finished. The TV series was great

Saturday Review


Paperback, 113 pages

Published June 7th 2016 by BookShots

ISBN

0316317144 (ISBN13: 9780316317146)

Edition Language

English

Series

Alex Cross #23.5

Patterson takes the reins in this BookShot that tells a great story from the author’s longest-running series. While working at a local church to bring hot breakfasts to those in need, Alex Cross is confronted by a man firing a gun. When Cross and his partner, John Sampson, try to corner the man, Sampson is shot in the head and left for dead as Cross tries to pursue. Failing to do so, Cross cannot help but realize that his old nemesis, Gary Soneji, is the man doing the firing. Problem is, Soneji has been dead for over a decade and Cross saw him die. With Sampson clinging to life in the ICU, Cross must determine if it was Soneji he saw and where the criminal mastermind might be hiding. Working some leads puts Cross in the crosshairs and has him shot at on a few other occasions, with Soneji taunting from the shadows. When he eventually trips upon a sadistic Soneji fan club, Cross wonders if the group is idolizing a dead man or harboring a fugitive. Torn between sitting with Sampson as things take a turn for the worse and finding Soneji, Cross must make the ultimate sacrifice to save himself and those he loves. With an explosive ending that will leave the reader slack jawed, Patterson delivers something reminiscent of his writing of old.

I have devoured the six BookShots on which I have been able to put my hands, finding each one a unique journey into stories that stir the mind and keep the heart pumping. This is the first BookShot of Patterson’s core series and he does not disappoint. Using the central Cross characters effectively, he is also able to instill a wonderful sense of dread with the reemergence of Soneji and how that is processed. The story flows effectively and Alex Cross is at his best, struggling between his job and those he loves in a way only he has mastered. If other BookShots fit as nicely into the Patterson series, readers are in for a wonderful treat over the next year or two.

Kudos, Mr. Patterson for rediscovering your niche and writing effective and superior pieces. I can only hope that this will continue, both in BookShots and full-length novels.

Book Review #199

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ebook, 310 pages

Published June 20th 2016 (first published June 19th 2016)

Edition Language

English

Series

Return to Me #1

OMG!! This was one of the most gorgeous second chance romances I’ve ever read!! It had all the emotional intensity of a passionate love story, mixed in with deep feels that made me tear up, and even hilarious moments that made me laugh out loud too. It was sexy, swoony, and utterly addictive. I loved every word!

One of the things I specifically loved most about this book was that this couple genuinely talked through their issues in an open, functional way that made me truly believe in their relationship. It felt real. Everything they went through and did, even their mistakes, made sense or were explained in a way that you could understand where each character was coming from logically and because of that, their story was truly a joy to read.

Oh, and THE EPILOGUE WAS PERFECT!!!!!! ALL THE SWOON!! If you’re looking for a heart-warming romance to make you swoon, I highly recommend this as a top favorite! But first, let me tell you a bit about the story…

When her loving, caring, supportive husband commits the ultimate betrayal (not cheating) with no apparent cause that she can see, Presley’s life is shattered and thrown into chaos. Everything she’d built with him came crashing down. The man she planned to grow old with and the father of her twin boys removed himself permanently from their lives leaving her alone to raise their children and support their home. When she loses their house shortly after, she has nowhere left to go but to return to her hometown to be with her family while she gets back on her feet.

She’d been avoiding going back home for almost two decades, ever since she left for college, because everything about that town reminded her of Zachary, the boy she’d loved in her childhood, who she’d been engaged to, with whom she was planning to spend the rest of her life, and who’d ripped out her heart when he left her.

What she didn’t count on was that he’d actually still be there. And even more, she certainly didn’t count on the chemistry between them being stronger than ever. He’d left her, abandoned her, and after everything she’d gone through since then, she was done putting her heart out on the line. And this time it was up to him to convince her that their broken relationship could be healed and that it was possible to give their love a second chance.

I’ve never stopped loving her. I knew I never had, but now there’s no way I can deny it. I’ve moved on in some ways, but Presley… she’s everything.


Ahhhhhhh THAT MOMENT when their eyes first met again after all those years apart gave me SHIVERS! My spine tingled!! There were so many feels between them that passes even in that moment. ALL THE SPARKS!

Before I can respond, my eyes look toward the bar. Everything stops. My heart. My breathing. My entire world stands still. Zachary Hennington stands there staring at me. He doesn’t move and neither do I. A tsunami of memories flood the room. Out first kiss, the first time we made love, the promises, the proposal, the love that filled our lives, and the pain when he left me. Not a muscle on him moves as he looks at me. I can see the questions pass between us.

Is that really you?
How are you?
Why are you here?
Why didn’t you call?
Why did you leave me?
Why didn’t you come with me?
Where have you been?
Do you feel this?
What does it mean?


And even the first time he hugged her — literally just HUGGED her — tears came to my eyes. They just had the kind of connection where you knew in your heart of hearts that no matter what kind of horrible things had happened between them, they were meant for each other.

“I want to see where this goes, and if it works, I want to take care of you. There’s a lot of shit we have to work through. This isn’t going to be easy, darlin’… I don’t ever want to hurt you.”
“I know you can’t promise that.”
“No, I can’t. But I can promise I’m not going away easily. I’ll wear you down. I’ll remind you that something the reward is worth the risk.”


I loved watching them reconnect. I loved that it wasn’t instant, and yet the moment they saw each other, you could tell that THEY were inevitable. It wouldn’t be possible for them not to end up together. They belonged to each other and seeing them work through their past to build back what had broken was beyond heartwarming!

For all his misguided mistakes back in college, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Zach. It was clear beyond any doubt that he still loved Presley with everything he had. Not to mention that the way he welcomed her sons into his life with such openness was just gorgeous! Guys, there is a whole LOT of swoon in this book!

When two people loved each other without inhibitions, the way we have, there is no chance of ever being the same again. The connection we share isn’t something that can be severed. I learned to love differently, and in this instant, my soul has found it’s way back to him.
“Kiss me,” I say in a hushed voice…
“Are you sure, darlin’?”
“I’ve loved you since I was twelve years old. You were my first kiss, my first love, the first man to touch me. I want you to kiss me, and I need to kiss you.”


Now I know some of you will be curious about this… When Presley comes back to town, Zach does have a girlfriend. She’s the town bitch and he isn’t in love with her. As soon as it was clear that they had a shot at trying to rebuild their relationship, he broke up with his girlfriend. I mean, they were separated for seventeen years. As far as he knew, he’d messed things beyond fixing with the girl he loved and she’d married someone else and started a family so it was understandable that he’d be with someone else during that time. But I loved that he openly broke it off as soon as it made sense to. Just the whole way all of this scenario was handled didn’t bother me at all.

I mentioned above how wonderful it was that Zachary and Presley really talked through their issues and I have to say that this was really the key element that made their whole story so believable. Good communication is one of the foundations of any healthy relationship and they had some of the most functional and realistic relationship-centric conversations I’ve ever read. They took the time to be open about their feelings and work through their issues and that’s what made their story so genuine. It wasn’t just that they fell back in love with each other, it was that they actually took the time to deal with their past in such a way that you believed that their future would be solid.

“We’re not a normal couple. We’ve known each other forever [and] I’ve been in love with you my whole life. I know you better than you know yourself. Don’t you get it, baby? We’re made for each other.” He releases my hand and cups my face. “I know every part of you, love every part of you, and there’s no rush on my part, but I don’t think we’re doing anything too fast. I think we’re just finding our way back to where we always were meant to be.”


Also can I just say that I adored Zachary’s brother Wyatt. He worked so hard to get them back together that it was achingly sweet. He deserves his own HEA and I hope he gets a book too. I’d read it without question!

Oh, and did I mention Zachary is a cowboy? A gorgeous, sexy cowboy who calls her “darlin'”. This was the ultimate swoon-fest. It was everything I could ever hope for from a second chance romance. I loved  the story from start to finish. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down and I highly recommend it to everyone as a new top favorite!!!

Rating: 4.5+ STARS!! Standalone Adult romance.

Book Review #198

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Paperback, 480 pages

Published May 2nd 2016 by Arrow

Original Title

15th Affair

ISBN

1784751995 (ISBN13: 9781784751999)

Edition Language

English

Series

Women’s Murder Club #15

Characters

Lindsay Boxer, Jospeh Molinari

I was very very close to giving this one star, but I can’t do it. I love(d) Women’s Murder Club. But this wasn’t Women’s Murder Club. It was the Lindsay Boxer soap opera and while I love Boxer, this was too much. I think we saw the Club all of three times and aside from a throwaway about Cindy trying on Julie for size, we really got no information. The high point of this series is them working together, not Linday’s unraveling love life. I also seriously think the character has gone down hill since the ill-fated casting of Angie Harmon as her. I love Angie, but Boxer is blondie and that’s a no. This book was so poorly written I wonder if Patterson actually wrote it since I like Maxine Paetro’s writing and this one is just such a poor chapter in this series. It’s also a horrible mish mash of British and American English. Maybe after 15 it’s time for the series to go to bed as I also eventually thought Alex Cross ran out of gas. Really? A SFPD Sergeant’s husband is missing and she’s not going to at least sort of look for him? Not a chance for the crusader of justice Boxer. The whole soap opera with Muller was pointless if you’re not going to resolve it. The whole Four Seasons case was mostly left unresolved despite the bandaid they attempted to put over it during the girl talk in the car in Vancouver. Nope. Not buying it – and glad I didn’t buy this book.

Book Review #197

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Paperback, 204 pages

Published November 4th 2014 by Createspace

Original Title

milk and honey

ISBN

1502784270 (ISBN13: 9781502784278)

Edition Language

English

 

To be simply put, this isn’t a book meant to be loved or raved about. It is just meant to be read.

I feel as if the people giving it three stars or so went in expecting it to ravish them, thrill them but it was not meant for that. Why on earth would you seek something so much more from a book that was written so truthfully, with feelings so raw that the hurt and the bitterness and the sorrows behind the words will never dull?

This was her story. She isn’t asking for you to judge if it’s “exciting” enough because it’s not a fiction meant to be critiqued. Life isn’t always “okay and then what?” Sometimes you can get stuck before you even try to move on.

if you were born with
the weakness to fall
you were born with
the strength to rise


I am so moved by this. These were words she had woven out for herself and now we are allowed to read them and take them to our hearts, too.

you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with a lightness on my tongue
so i could be easy to swallow
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget and not easy
for the mind to follow


Honestly, I am a young woman, a college student, surrounded by women who dumb themselves down and go out of their way to impress boys-because they think that’ll give them happiness, in the end, and it may, but it will be what they think happiness is rather than what it actually is. But I’ve never felt more alive than when I was happy with myself, even if it was a small thing. And this poetry encourages self love beyond anything. It normalizes it. You can’t get anywhere in life if you’re holding yourself back.

The doodles were so wonderful! Sincerely, they made me want to rip out the pages and put them up on my walls so I can look at them and remind myself of what is and what isn’t and how I should grow, too.