December 31, 2012
When Jack learns he is dying, he attempts to restore the relationship with his son. As Jack struggles with living, an unlikely friendship forms between self-proclaimed archenemies, Travis and Jack's close friend, Dr. Amity. After a serious accident, Travis finds he must make the harsh decision whether his father will survive on life support or be taken off and left to die. Meanwhile, Jack is thrust into an enchanted world somewhere between life and death where he is reunited with his dead wife and daughter—but not everything is as spectacular as it seems.
This emotional story follows the journey between a son seeking the truth and resolution from an absent father before it’s too late, and a father caught between living and dying, who must mend relationships on both sides while confronting his own guilty demons.
I was super exited to read this one because I went to elementary school with the author. Be still is kind of two stories in one. It's the story of Jack's son Travis making peace with his father before his death and the story of Jack in the "in-between" while he's on life support.
I enjoyed both stories but Travis' drama seemed to drag on too far at the end. The resolution seemed like it would have been more natural if it happened earlier in the book. I was really sucked into the beginning of the story but lost a bit of steam finishing the end. Jack's part of the story was a lot more engaging.
I also loved the elements of supernatural. They were well done and not over the top. Overall the book is very well written with beautiful descriptions.
I recommend this one for anyone who loves a good contemporary romance.
December 19, 2012
Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.
Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life
In June of this year I read book one in the Northwest Passage series, The Mine (read my review), and loved it. I thought the writing in The Mine was a bit choppy at first but none of that was evident in The Journey. From page one the writing flowed smoothly and the story was well paced.
I'm sure that most of us have said "what if" at some point in their lives. I've never regretted becoming a mom at fifteen but occasionally I've wondered what I would be doing today if I didn't get pregnant when I did. In The Journey, Michelle Richardson gets that chance and uses her knowledge of the future to steer her younger self, Shelly, onto a much different path. I don't agree with some of Michelle's choices 100% but I can see why the author chose to let things play out the way they did. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the characters and felt a connection with most of them. The ending was pretty shocking but I loved it!
If you've read The Mine, you'll also notice a small cameo in The Journey by the lead character Joel, which I thought that was awesome.
Overall this was a great read and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves romance with just a hint of suspense.
December 9, 2012
Twenty-nine-year-old Lisa Newberry can barely make it through the day. Suddenly widowed and a survivor of a near-fatal attack, she is wracked with grief and despair. Then she hears of a medical trial for a tiny brain chip that emits electrical pulses to heal severe depression. At rope’s end, Lisa offers herself as a candidate.
When she receives her letter of acceptance for the trial, Lisa is at first hopeful. But—brain surgery. Can she really go through with that? What if she receives only the placebo?
What if something far worse goes wrong?
Written in the relentless style for which Brandilyn Collins is known, Double Blind is a psychological thriller with mind-bending twists. Lisa faces choices that drive her to the brink, and one wrong move could cost the lives of many.
November 28, 2012
November 18, 2012
In 2010 I read the first book in the Kane Pryce series, Soul Trapper (my review), and absolutely loved it. I couldn't wait to read this next installment and it didn't disappoint. Lennon weaves a real bridge in Pasadena, California and some if it's urban legends into the story (read a bit about the real bridge here) which makes it the perfect place for Kane's next foray into the supernatural underworld. Growing up in Los Angeles made this book all too real for me. I've driven over the bridge in the story and have been in many of the locations mentioned. That made the book a fun read in addition to the engaging storyline.
Devil's Gate is an incredible suspense read that I highly recommend but if you haven't read Soul Trapper, start there so you don't miss any part of this amazing series!
October 10, 2012
Halloween is just around the corner, and between cauldrons of candy and a deliciously cute new neighbour, Jaine Austen is struggling to resist her sweet tooth. But this year, her once humdrum neighbourhood seems to be handing out more tricks than treats...
When her faithful feline Prozac unwittingly scares to death a parakeet belonging to the neighbourhood's resident curmudgeon, Jaine finds herself knee-deep in toil and trouble. The cantankerous Hollywood has-been once played the part of Cryptessa Muldoon, television's fourth most famous monster mom. Now a bitter, paranoid old dame, Cryptessa spends her days making enemies with everyone on the street, and accidental bird killer Jaine is no exception.
So when the ornery D-lister is murdered with her own Do Not Trespass sign on Halloween night, the neighbourhood fills with relief - and possible culprits. With a killer on the loose, Jaine hardly has time to fall under the spell of her yummy new neighbour Peter.
As the prime suspect, she summons her sleuthing skills to clear her name and soon discovers that everyone has a few skeletons in their closets - and the motives for murder are endless. Could it have been Cryptessa's next door neighbours, the barracuda husband and wife realtors whose landscaping Cryptessa had bulldozed? Or the seemingly sweet old lady whose beloved dog was the object of Cryptessa's wrath? Or perhaps the crotchety actress was done in by her own nephew in a desperate attempt to get his hands on her money? As the masks come off, Jaine's search for sweet justice turns up more questions than answers.
And just when she thought nothing could be scarier than her run-in with a tortuous Tummy Tamer, she closes in on the killer and learns the true meaning of grave danger...
Death of a Neighborhood Witch is book eleven in the Jaine Austen Series. I've only read one other book in the series, Killing Bridezilla (my review) and didn't feel as if I was missing anything. It's so fun to read a clean and innocent cozy mystery every now and then and this one fits the bill.
Jaine is hilarious and the many different ways she justifies her over-eating and snack habit makes me giggle. When you add in the many side characters like her gay neighbor who competes with Jaine for the hot guy that just moved in down the block, the busy-body across the street and Jaine's own snarky cat you get a well written murder mystery.
If there was any down-side to the book it was the fact that Janie was a suspect in Cryptessa's murder but didn't seem too worried about it. That kind of stayed in the back of my mind throughout the book and I just wish it was addressed differently. Other that that it was a great light read.
I recommend this for anyone who loves a well written cozy with fun side characters.
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October 7, 2012
Twisted twins meet a man at a nightclub who tempts them with the prospect of joining a criminal circle – yet there’s a catch.
Seventeen-year-old twins James and Louise meet enigmatic Nick at Hell nightspot. He's been questioned by police in the hunt for the serial killer terrorising West London and they suspect it is him. But he appeals to their rebellious natures by tempting them with the prospect of joining a secret society, the Devil’s Fan Club, and they are ripe for corruption. So even when they learn that members must commit a crime and theirs is the ultimate one, they are enthralled. Half-believing they’ve met him, they go over to the Devil’s camp. And rather than trying to catch a killer, they cover for one.
Yet while they yearn to join Nick’s club, the task is too dreadful to complete. The killer gets closer. And James fears Louise will be next.
But sometimes the most fertile breeding ground for evil is innocence...
Uncompromising, dark, irreverent, psychological thriller The Devil’s Fan Club taps into the midbrain, and stays there.
My Thoughts: The Devil's Fan Club is the perfect book to read around the Halloween season. It's seriously creepy. Not a scary horror book but a supremely devious book that makes your skin crawl.
This story centers around an extremely disturbed family. You've got the perfect storm living under one roof. There are the dysfunctional parents, a younger daughter that talks to an imaginary friend, a pretty and young nanny and the above mentioned twisted twins.
The story that follows weaves the characters in and around each other in the most diabolical ways with an ending that fits the story to a tee. Bravo Kirkbride!
Recommendation: I recommend this for anyone who loves a good psychological thriller.
October 3, 2012
Lace is a thing like hope.
It is beauty; it is grace.
It was never meant to destroy so many lives.
The mad passion for forbidden lace has infiltrated France, pulling soldier and courtier into its web. For those who want the best, Flemish lace is the only choice, an exquisite perfection of thread and air. For those who want something they don't have, Flemish lace can buy almost anything-or anyone.
For Lisette, lace begins her downfall, and the only way to atone for her sins is to outwit the noble who know demands an impossible length of it. To fail means certain destruction. But for Katharina, lace is her salvation. It is who she is; it is what she does. If she cannot make this stunning tempest of threads, a dreaded fate awaits.
A taut, mesmerizing story, The Ruins of Lace explores the intricate tangle of fleeting beauty, mad obsession, and ephemeral hope.
The Ruins of Lace immediately captured my attention. The story is set in 16th-century France when lace was banned and follows the story of seven characters who were affected by it. Just from reading the blurb I was intrigued and the book did not disappoint. Anthony's well researched storyline pulled me in from the very beginning and I became so caught up in the story that I googled the banning of lace so I could read more about the real events regarding the ban.
I had strong feelings, both good and bad, towards several characters in the book. You know when a book makes you hate a character so much the author has done an amazing job.
I do have to admit the book has a very surprising ending though. I can't figure out if there will be a sequel or if the author just left those threads hanging for the reader to draw their own conclusions but I can honestly say that I hope it's the former.
I recommend this one for anyone who loves fully researched historical fiction.
September 24, 2012
Product Description: A tornado sweeps through an area of the deep Midwest and takes away a teenage soldier, Charlie Bradshaw, who's hurled into space-time and ends up 21years later, on the West Coast, off San Francisco. He's found on a beach, alive but unconscious. As he emerges from a 2-day coma, he has a vision and prediction: another disaster, a big earthquake. But he doesn't know he's on TV camera. He doesn't know either that his memory has gone 'reverse'. There are many other things he's still unaware of...
Written in a straight, very cinematic style, "Charlie's Trips" is an insolent tale of science-fiction that plays with several literary and cinematic myths (notably "The Wizard of Oz") as it introduces us to a new kind of hero: an 'amnesic psychic', able to see into the future when he lost his past. As it also asks us this question: is it possible to live in 'reverse' mode?
My Thoughts: Initially I was a little disturbed by how young Charlie was and thought it was way too unrealistic that he was in the military at the age of 16. I wondered why the author didn't make the character just a couple of years older to make the story more realistic but when the rest of the story unfolded I could see the reasons behind the author's decision to make him so young.
I really enjoyed the storyline and turn of events however I didn't rate the book higher because the writing didn't flow very well in my opinion. It was a bit choppy and the dialogue seemed very forced in some instances. Also the ending was just a bit too abrupt. I actually thought some of the book just got chopped off of the ebook version I was reading instead of leaving a cliff hanger.
My Recommendation: I recommend Charlie's Trips for anyone who loves sci-fi but I'd possbly wait for the next book in the series so it's a seamless read instead of being left wondering if the book is really over.
September 5, 2012
The object of his obsession has begun to move.
Painting by Numbers is a dark, surreal thriller that follows one man’s relentless pursuit into an old truth buried deep within.
Have you ever read a book that makes you want to read it all over again once you get through to the end? Painting by Numbers is just such a book. I read the last page and I immediately wanted to start over again so I can see if there was anything that pointed to the shocking ending.
From the opening scene I was sucked into the story and was eagerly turning the pages. Jacob is such a tragic character and even though you can see where his downward spiral is heading you can't help but hope that things turn around for him. When they don't your left guessing how he pulls himself out of the mess he's made.
It's been a couple of weeks since I finished Painting by Numbers and the ending still haunts me. I recommend this one for anyone who loves a shocking suspense thriller.
September 4, 2012
September 3, 2012
The possibilities are endless. (Just be careful what you wish for. . . .)
1916: The Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone?
2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive—some say mad, others allege dangerous—scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget: a box containing some rudimentary wiring, a three-way switch, and . . . a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way humankind views the world forever.
August 29, 2012
One afternoon Arthur Carhcart comes home to find his wife held at gunpoint by an unknown man that forces his wife to provide him with answers to five questions. Once he receives the answers both Arthur and his wife are shot and left for dead. Arthur's wife is killed instantly and although Arthur was shot in the head he lives.
Now Arthur is intent on finding out who killed his wife and why so he convinces the detective on the case to allow him to pretend he was killed and goes on the hunt.
Dead Anyway has a really great premise but unfortunately for me the story line was just too unbelievable. Arthur is a mild mannered market researcher who is dealing with limited functionality from being shot in the head and once he goes on the hunt for the killer he becomes some bad ass that hunts down killers for hire.
It seems like every time there's an obstruction he easily overcomes it even though he can barely handle elementary math. Need money? Purchase a super expensive vintage guitar collection to sell off one by one for money. Need a disguise? Become an expert in costume make-up. Need a way to get someone to talk? Expertly build a diabolical cage with the equipment conveniently available to him. Need a bit of help ? Easily get someone you've just met to abandon her life and become your partner-in-crime. Overall it was just to unrealistic for my tastes and even though there is a good enough cliff hanger to intrigue me I won't be reading the next book in the series.
August 9, 2012
When a mystery writer cries bloody murder, everyone blames her overactive imagination . . .
Thriller scribe Sophie Katz is as hard-boiled as a woman who drinks Grande Caramel Brownie Frappuccinos can be. So Sophie knows it's not paranoia or post-divorce, living-alone-again jitters, when she becomes convinced that a crazed reader is sneaking into her apartment to reenact scenes from her books. The police, however, can't tell a good plot from an unmarked grave.
When a filmmaker friend is brutally murdered in the manner of a death scene in one of his movies, Sophie becomes convinced that a copycat killer is on the loose -- and that she's the next target. If she doesn't solve the mystery, her own bestseller will spell out her doom. Cursing her grisly imagination (why, oh, why did she have to pick the ax?), Sophie engages in some real-life gumshoe tactics. The man who swoops in to save her in dark alleys is mysterious new love interest Anatoly Darinsky. Of course, if this were fiction, Anatoly would be her prime suspect . . .
Sex, Murder and a Double Latte was my book club's August pick but it has been on my to-read list for a while now. I assumed the book was going to be somewhere along the lines of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series but I was a little disappointed. Sophie and her numerous friends have the potential to be hilarious but the writing just never gets to that level.
There was a huge build up to make you think one person is the murderer but you can see from a mile away that Sophie is wrong and it just seemed forced that she kept on with that line of thinking.
Overall I did enjoy the story and characters but I just wish there was a little more humor. I'm still going to give book two, Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights, a try and hope Davis works out the kinks.
I recommend this one as a library read for anyone who likes light, cozy-like mysteries.
August 8, 2012
Marriage can be a real killer.
One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River.
Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
The premise of Gone Girl is somewhat of a "ripped from the headlines" tale. I can easily picture one or two famous husbands in recent years that Nick could have been modeled after. That in itself makes the story believable.
Between Nick's narration and Amy's diary you learn that the marriage wasn't as perfect as it looked to the outside world but then things are shaken up and you're led down a completely different path that I didn't see coming at all. I was on a roller coaster ride thinking one minute that Nick killed Amy and thinking the next minute that she is either still alive or someone else killed her. Flynn is a master at zig zagging through the story while keeping the reader guessing the whole time.
The only reason my review is not 5 stars was the ending. Considering how masterfully crafted the rest of the story is I was severely disappointed by the way the book ended. It's almost as if a different author finished out the last chapter.
I recommend this one for anyone who loves the perfect whodunit.
August 5, 2012
July 18, 2012
Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.
I loved A Discovery of Witches (read my review) and was eagerly awaiting Shadow of Night but was a very dissapointed with the story. Diana and Matthew travel back to 1590 to search for Ashmole 782 and to find someone to help Diana get control of and learn how to use her magic more but the story just went off on historical tangents and almost no progress was made in either endevour until the very end. Several famous historical characters were thrown in to make the book more interesting but really I would have appreciated more story line dealing with Diana's magic and the search. The was just too much fluff and not enough meat in this story for me to enjoy this one as much as A Discovery of Witches.
Even with all that being said I'm still interested in reading the final book of this trilogy hoping that we finally get some resolution to the problems Diana and Matthew face.
I wouldn't exactly recommend this one to anyone who hasn't read book one but if you have I'd say to save this one for a library read.