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Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

Posted November 13, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 22 Comments

Review:  The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah PekkanenThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 9th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.Assume nothing.
Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

The Wife Between Us is a story about a woman whose husband has left her for another younger replacement. Richard was a lovely doting husband, who was wealthy, charming, and attractive. She thought she gave him everything, but now she lives with her aunt in a small apartment and works for the department store trying to keep as low key as possible.

She thought she was done with Richard, until she find out that Richard is now getting married to her younger replacement and now she must stop the wedding from happening. Especially since the young replacement has no clue.

Oh.., Wow.., Wow.. I will stop right there. I don’t think I can go on past this point without ruining the book and with this book you have to go into this completely blindly. It is far the best way to experience what is coming.

There is an abundance of secondary characters at play and everything is very well done, including the main characters.

Hendricks and Pekkanen do and amazing collaboration job with this book. Once I started it, I was completely hooked from the first chapter. I could not put it down. The writing just drew me in and did not relinquish me until I was done. I wanted to know what was happening, I needed to know how it was going to end.

There are a lot of twists and turns, at times it feels like the authors spun you around into a circle. I don’t find it a bad thing, despite the fact that it felt a little flip floppy and at times I was questioning what I originally knew about the book. Looking back at it, it was all just part of the ploy to keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

I applaud the two ladies for a job well done. For the addictive writing style of this book. For a well done, interesting plot that kept me hooked and flipping through the pages.

This book felt like a puzzle and it is because it’s not till you keep reading do you see the pieces come together as more is revealed through the story and finally everything starts to come together as a whole.

I personally found that I really enjoyed this, not because just for how it was done, but because of the plot. I found that I really loved the plot. It wasn’t easy to read at time, especially the relationship parts, but oh, I was hooked.

I think the only issue I had was, that I wanted to know more about Richard’s sister and the fact that at times it did feel a little flip floppy – but again – this was all part of the plan and that plan was the reason I was so hooked through the entire book. The style was creative, it felt original, I have not myself read anything like it, and I really appreciated it. But, guys I absolutely love books like these that feel like domestic thrillers, they get bonus brownie points.

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Review: Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Posted November 10, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review:  Night Road by Kristin HannahNight Road by Kristin Hannah
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 22nd 2011
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 385
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices. To hold on…To let go..To forget…To forgive…Which road will you take?
For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows--her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids safe and on track for college. It has always been easy--until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.
NIGHT ROAD is vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.

Night Road follows a woman named Jude, who is a mother to two twins Zach and Mia and Lexi a former foster child with a dark past. Lexi quickly befriends Mia and the two become inseparable even when later, Zach and Lexi fall in love.

Jude is helicopter mother. She does everything she can to keep her twins safe and she makes sure that they are both on track for college.

One night when the twins attend a high school party right before their graduation, Zach – who is suppose to be the DD ends up being mad at his mother and drinking, the other two don’t fare much better. When it came down to going home, they had to make a decision between calling their mother, or driving the one mile towards home. Last time the twins got drunk and called for their mother to pick them up, Jude reacted poorly and punished them, despite the fact that they did the right thing.

Well the kids choose to drive and a terrible accident happens, and leaves one of them dead and the events that follow changes everyone’s lives.

This was my first Kristin Hannah book and I honestly have no idea how to feel.

I had a hard time putting it down, it was engrossing, the plot was super interesting, it was emotional. This is one of those books that really takes you for a ride. We get to know Mia, Zach and Lexi as they grow up for the first half of the book and then this terrible tragedy happens and it’s hard to bear, because we actually got to know the kids before this life changing moment. I got to see them as young kids heading towards a future and for some reason books like these can be way harder to read over books that start with the tragedy because of that attachment.

But the problem for me ended up being that after the tragedy that occurs, I found that the emotion that was most prominent was anger. I found myself angry for the rest of the book. Angry about how the scene at the hospital went, angry at Jude, because if she handled the night that the twins actually called her to get picked up better – than maybe the twins wouldn’t have gotten into the car drunk and instead had called their mother. Angry at the way Jude reacted towards Lexi when there was so many factors and people at fault for the accident. I felt like both Jude, Lexi, Zach and Mia were all at fault one way or another here, but the poor girl with the dark background is the one that gets the short end of the stick.

Lexi is unable to take what she had done and ends up pleading guilty and going to prison as MADD was already trying to make an example out of her and Jude had decided to press charges for Vehicular homicide.

But the problem for me ended up being that after the tragedy that occurs, I found that the emotion that was most prominent was anger. I found myself angry for the rest of the book. Angry about how the scene at the hospital went, angry at Jude, because if she handled the night that the twins actually called her to get picked up better – than maybe the twins wouldn’t have gotten into the car drunk and instead had called their mother. Angry at the way Jude reacted towards Lexi when there was so many factors and people at fault for the accident. I felt like both Jude, Lexi, Zach and Mia were all at fault one way or another here, but the poor girl with the dark background is the one that gets the short end of the stick.

Lexi is unable to take what she had done and ends up pleading guilty and going to prison as MADD was already trying to make an example out of her and Jude had decided to press charges for Vehicular homicide.

I was discussing it with my husband and he asked me, so what is it you don’t like about this book, the fact that it’s realistic? No that is not it, I do believe it is realistic. I think Jude’s reaction is realistic for a mother that lost her child, but at the same time, it felt overwhelming for me. I spend a lot of the book being angry, and the book was a bit on the long side, so I spent a lot of time just trying to get through it. It just felt so emotionally draining that at times I just had a hard time with the book.

It feels like one of those books where the author chooses one character who already has a short end of the stick and keeps throwing punches at that character through the book, to me that is just seriously exhausting. Thought the book was well written and the story was interesting and compelling, I felt like it was also a little too long and it just felt like a little too much? Maybe I would have felt differently if Lexi wasn’t the one who kept taking those punches?

I just had a hard time with Jude at the end, her anger blended with my anger, but I felt like it was all just so unfair. Plus, I did find that Zach’s lack of involvement not very realistic. That night was honestly in part his fault, now Lexi was taking responsibility and he couldn’t even stand up for the girl he loved? He was 18 years old, he should have had a voice.

Overall, I still don’t know how to feel. It’s well done, it really draws some sort of emotion out of you. It’s suppose to be a tearjerker, but at no point in the book did I found myself able to feel that way when it was overtaken by strong anger. I was sad for what happened, it was absolutely heartbreaking and I don’t even want to imagine how that sort of thing feels, I don’t even want to know. I do believe that Jude’s emotion and the lashing out is probably true to form, but she let her grief rule her for so long, that I was honestly surprised her husband continued to stay in that relationship. She also seemed to have forgotten that she still had Zach and he needed a mother, but for years, she couldn’t even do that despite that her whole life was centered on being a mother.

But, the book did its job. It caused a real and a raw emotion and I think it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t tears, the author was able to write a novel that I felt strongly about and I applaud her for it. The writing is emotionally driven, the storytelling was well done and I really enjoyed it. As a mother this kind of a thing is terrifying and it wasn’t an easy read, but it was well worth it.

Rating Report
Plot
4.5 Stars
Characters
3.5 Stars
Writing
4.5 Stars
Pacing
3.5 Stars
Cover
4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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Review: A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

Posted November 3, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review:  A Line in the Dark by Malinda LoA Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
Series: standalone
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on October 17th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Glbt, Mystery, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.
Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.
As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.
When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.
“It doesn’t even matter that she probably doesn’t understand how much she means to me. It’s purer this way. She can take whatever she wants from me, whenever she wants it, because I’m her best friend.”
A Line in the Dark is a story of love, loyalty, and murder.

A Line in the Dark is a book that came highly recommended to me, and since I was already eyeballing it in the store, I felt like this would be perfect for a November read.

I was right, because I truly enjoyed this book.

The book follows a teenage girl named Jess, who is extremely passionate about drawing. Jess has a best friend named Angie and the two have been thick as thieves for a really long time, until Jess notices a girl approach Angie at the Creamery where she works and it kind of puts a wedge between them.

Margot is gorgeous and has her eye out on Angie, which makes Jess extremely uncomfortable and jealous because of her own feelings towards her best friend that she is unable to express or too scared to. The two start dating and Angie and Jess end up in a fight because Angie notices that Jess doesn’t seem to like Margot but at the same time Angie isn’t aware of Jess’ feelings towards her.

Jess attends an art program at the school that Margot goes to (a boarding school for the wealthy) and that causes her to stumble onto some deep secrets that Margot and her best friend Ryan are hiding.

Well, this secret leads to Ryan’s death after a Christmas party and these kids end up being investigated because they are the last to see Ryan alive.

This book is done in two parts. The beginning throws you into what happened, but the first part is before the incident and the second part is the investigation following the incident. I thought this book was really well done, I really enjoyed the writing, the characters, the plot was interesting. It had diversity, but it also had a plot.

This is not a book that is meant to be spooky, and I know some people felt that way when they saw the cover. This is actually a contemporary young adult with a mystery and a twist. It’s about a girl, who is trying to sort of find herself as well as try to deal with the fact that the girl she is in love with, she cannot have.

This book, I am warning now, does not come with a happy ending. It is not a romance, even if it features a romance.

It also reads as an older Young Adult, it is sex positive, but no there are no explicit sex scenes in it. It does have drinking and some cursing.

I did have a hard time putting this down, I was completely invested in the plot line and the characters and I really wanted to know what happened. The ending threw a real curve ball and it was, I did not expect that but it explained some things.

The only issue I think I have is that, the beginning was not how the rest of the book completely unfolded and I felt that the killer should probably have been more affected maybe by what happened? But all in all, I really enjoyed this, it was an interesting read and I always appreciate a book with diversity and a good, engrossing plot line.

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Review: Sanctum by Madeleine Roux

Posted October 27, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 8 Comments

Review: Sanctum by Madeleine RouxSanctum by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #2
Published by HarperCollins on August 26th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 343
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

In this haunting, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling photo-illustrated novel Asylum, three teens must unlock some long-buried secrets from the past before the past comes back to get them first. Featuring found photographs, many from real vintage carnivals, Sanctum is a mind-bending reading experience that blurs the lines between past and present, genius and insanity, perfect for fans of the smash hit Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they'd love to move on, someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Forsaking their plan never to go back, the teens return to New Hampshire College under the guise of a weekend for prospective students, and there they realize that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it's here on campus, apparently for the first time in many years.
Sneaking away from sample classes and college parties, Dan and his friends lead a tour of their own—one through the abandoned houses and hidden places of the surrounding town. Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the influence of the asylum runs deeper than Dan ever imagined.

Sanctum opens up shortly following the events of book one. Dan is having nightmare’s and he isn’t sure how to stop them. Getting away from the Asylum, he assumed that his problems would be fixed – but they are not. It doesn’t help that his friends Abby and Jordan seem to be ignoring him, and someone is sending them weird vintage carnival pictures. When a letter shows up from his ex-roommate’s mother, asking Dan to visit her son, all clues start to point for the trio to go back to New Hampshire College.

Guys, I am just adoring this series.  I think a large part of it is due to the fact that the book is mixed media, I love asylums and old creepy vintage carnivals and atmospheric books and this had all of it mixed into one. Once I picked this one up I had a hard time putting it down, I completely devoured it, and loved falling back into this series.

A large part of me wishes there were more books out there like this. I truly believe it adds to the reading experiences and the photos were creeptastic and perfect for this time of year.

Also, this entire book takes place close to Halloween time. So when Dan, Jordan and Abby go back to the college, there is a bunch of secrets that they are still trying to uncover. Including the fact that there seems to be a secret society that is linked to Daniel Crawford and the society seems to be after the trio.

This book isn’t without issues and I acknowledge that. I still feel like there is a bunch of holes that the author needs to fill and I hope everything wraps up in the final book. I don’t think everyone would love this book as much as I do. Because at times Dan and his friends have quiet a bit of drama going on, but they are pretty normal teenagers, so I can see how that would definitely play the part in the book, even if it is probably one of the few realistic parts of this book.

But, I still love it. It’s on an atmospheric side. It’s great for Halloween or fall. It’s creepy, and I am totally hooked. Plus there is a creepy carnival – I’m sold. Also, ghosts, yes?

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Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1) by Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Posted October 20, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 5 Comments

Review:  The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1) by Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. SheinmelThe Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Series: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1
Published by Hachette Books on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother, Kat, move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. From the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. Something about their new house is just…creepy.
In the days that follow, Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. As the spirits haunting her house become more frightening—and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger—Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

We follow a sixteenth year old girl named Sunshine Griffith as she and her mom make a move from Austin, Texas to Ridgemont Washington. From the moment the two arrive in their new home, Sunshine cannot shake off the creepy feeling that seems to follow her through the house.

It doesn’t take long for Sunshine to realize what is happening. The house feels cold, there are footsteps of a little girl in the middle of the night, sobbing, bedroom door slamming shut, and her stuff gets thrown all over the floor.

It’s not until one night where the experience what happened to the little girl that turns Sunshine’s whole world upside down. Both her and her mother Kat witness something evil that has happened in the house, but her mother does not remember what happened the next day. Now her mother is acting strange and not at all like the loving woman that Sunshine is familiar with.

This book was interesting. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I started reading it, but I found myself enjoying it.

Sunshine starts a new school and is drawn to a boy named Nolan, who becomes her really good friend. Nolan is incredibly smart and really adored his grandfather who had recently passed away. The loss had hit him hard, but Nolan holds on and believes in his grandfather’s ghost stories so he and Sunshine become really close when Nolan ends up the only person who does not look at her as if she had gone insane.

There is also a strange art teacher that is really into weird and creepy.

Together Nolan and Sunshine must find out what Sunshine really is and save her mother before time runs out.

Outside of the special snowflake alert, I found myself kind of liking Sunshine. She loves film photography – a girl after my own heart. She is very loyal to the people she really cares about and very modest. She just wants to feel like a sixteen year old girl, but she experiences things that no one else can.

The book was pretty character driven and some parts were really spooky. I was kind of hoping the rainy eeriness setting of Ridgemont, Washington would add to the atmosphere, but that part I found a bit lacking.

Overall, I enjoyed it and cannot wait to see what happens next.

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Review: The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

Posted October 4, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

Review:  The Stolen Marriage by Diane ChamberlainThe Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From perennial bestseller Diane Chamberlain, a compelling new novel
In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.
The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on.
When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?

The story

Tess DeMello was going to have the perfect life. She was going to marry the love of her life and get a nursing degree. Everything was going great, until Vincent took on volunteer work for a couple of months away from Tess and her entire world falls apart.
Unable to stop herself from feeling sad about her future husband’s long absence and a niggling feeling that he might be seeing someone else – Gina takes Tess to Washington, where a drink too many leads Tess into sleeping with a mysterious stranger and falling pregnant.

Unable to forgive herself and not knowing what to do, Tess breaks off her engagement and moves elsewhere in hopes of starting her life all over again. When the father of the child decides to do right by her and she marries the mysterious stranger and moves to his hometown of Hickory, North Caroline where she learns the struggle of racial tension and hardships imposed on the town by World War II.

Thoughts

Woah, just Woah you guys. I started this book last night, read it till the wee hours of the morning and when I woke up I had this book on my mind and had to finish it. I just finished it and still reeling from the emotional storyline.

I was so angry with Tess at first and her mistakes because it started out badly and what looked like unforgivable, but ended up mounting until the character started growing from her mistakes into this strong-willed woman that has seen and been through so much hardship and heartbreak in such a short amount of time.

This book dealt with a lot. It dealt with Tess and her loveless marriage, leaving a cloud of mystery hanging over the entire book by making you wonder what is going on the entire time. Just as I thought I had it figured out the author takes this in a completely different direction I was not expecting.

Chamberlain also weaves so much history and everything that people have gone through during this time period with racial tension, laws, World War II, Polio, the building of the Polio hospital and all the sickness and heartbreak. It just added such a punch to the entire book and made it so riveting and hard to put down.

I spent half the book feeling like Tess deserved what she got when she made the stupid choice of leaving the love of her life and the second half respecting her and everything she went through.

I loved that Tess kept pushing and defying the customs and her husband and mother-in-law with the respect that came to her nursing license. I like that she took charge of that part of her life in order to make herself happy again.

The author throws us into the action right away with the opening of the book and the book sits in two parts. The events leading to the accident and the events following the accident. You see a lot of character growth as the story goes on and it just completely blew my mind.

I was sad, I was teary, I was enthralled in the story and the characters writing. It was so well written, the storytelling was remarkable and I was so drawn and flipping through the pages that I actually had a hard time saying goodbye to these characters.

The pacing was perfect, I never felt like there was a dull moment. The author kept me glued to the pages wanting to know what was happening, what was going to happen to these characters. I loved how she incorporated this time period into these characters lives and made them feel really genuine and human, that at times I forgot that they are fictional.

If you enjoy Historical fiction, absolutely wonderful writing, an emotionally gripping story, raw characters, I strongly recommend you read this because, I just cannot express how much I loved this book and everything about it.

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Review: The Girl in the Picture by Kerry Barrett

Posted September 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review:  The Girl in the Picture by Kerry BarrettThe Girl in the Picture by Kerry Barrett
Series: standalone
Published by HQ Digital on September 20th 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Two women. One house. Centuries of secrets.

East Sussex Coast, 1855

Violet Hargreaves is the lonely daughter of a widowed industrialist, and an aspiring Pre-Raphaelite painter. One day, the naïve eighteen-year-old meets Edwin; a mysterious and handsome man on the beach, who promises her a world beyond the small costal village she’s trapped in. But after ignoring warning about Edwin, a chain of terrible events begins to unfold for Violet…

East Sussex Coast, 2016

For thriller-writer Ella Daniels, the house on the cliff is the perfect place to overcome writer’s block, where she decides to move with her small family. But there’s a strange atmosphere that settles once they move in – and rumours of historical murders next door begin to emerge. One night, Ella uncovers a portrait of a beautiful young girl named Violet Hargreaves, who went missing at the same time as the horrific crimes, and Ella becomes determined to find out what happened there 160 years ago. And in trying to lay Violet’s ghost to rest, Ella must face ghosts of her own…

Please be advised, trigger warning for sexual assault and physical abuse.

When Ella and her husband decide to take the jump and move her family out of the city into a small town into a house on a cliff, the last thing Ella expected was the house to be tied to an unsolved murder case that happened 150 years ago. Upon finding a beautiful self portrait of a young woman who may have lived in the house a hundred years ago, Ella cannot help but immerse herself in the mysterious murder and the disappearance of Violet Hargreaves, especially since the girls history seems to resemble what Ella went through growing up.

East Sussex Coast, 1855

Violet is a lonely 18-year-old girl whose father is a widowed Industrialist and travels a lot. To fill her lonely days, Violet paints, despite her father’s disapproval of Violet painting – it is her escape.

She meets a handsome married neighbor next door who claims he knows artists in London that can help Violet get noticed and break out into their world. All Violet wants more than anything is to escape her small town and do what she loves most and that’s paint. But, when Violet ignores warnings about Edwin, she sets in motion the horrible set of events that had the town’s people wandering for years of what had occurred and a mystery that was never solved.

This was so interesting. It’s a historical fiction but those who are afraid of slow moving Historical Fiction don’t be. Kerry Barrett delivers a beautiful if not horrific story about two women set years apart with centuries worth of secrets. She spins a lovely tale of a girl named Violet, who just wanted something more than a lonely marriage out of life and Ella a thriller-writer who might be just curious enough to uncover it.

The entire time I was reading Violet’s story I found myself rooted to my seat, finding it completely riveting and thoroughly heartbreaking.

I wanted to know how it all ended for the young girl so naive, yet so full of passion.

The ending had me gasping, because I did not expect that to go the way it did. Not only was it completely heart wrenching, but also quite a bit horrifying. You can’t even tell that it’s coming until a certain point and at that point you get to know Violet enough to really feel for the girl and her outcome.

I wasn’t sure how plausible the ending was to be honest, but I guess I could see it happening. It felt original, unexpected and definitely creative. Ella’s obsession with Violet was strange and at times it did feel hard to believe because I did not know why she was so consumed in a mystery that happened so long ago, with not much to go on, but her prodding really paid off in uncovering the ugly truth that was hidden all these years unanswered.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys an engrossing story that builds up in tension and mystery, with characters that will stick to your heart long after it is finished.

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Review: Southern Fried by Tonya Kappes

Posted September 22, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

Review:  Southern Fried by Tonya KappesSouthern Fried by Tonya Kappes
Series: Kenni Lowry Mystery #2
Published by Henery Press on April 4th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 300
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the South, it’s better when the food is fried and the secrets kept buried…
After the dead body of a beloved Cottonwood resident is found tangled up in an electric fence, Sheriff Kenni Lowry has a hunch that somethin’ ain’t right. Her investigation heats up with a fierce cook-off competition, a euchre game where the intel is sweeter than the brownies, and a decades old family recipe that may just be the proof in the pudding.
The icing on the cake: Kenni is fighting an attraction to her recently sworn-in deputy sheriff, and election season is hot on her tail. When the killer comes after who she holds most dear, even her poppa’s ghostly guidance might not be enough to keep her and her own out of the frying pan.

Owen Godfrey is dead and his murder might revolve around a certain family cookbook that everyone is just dying to get their hands on because of a secret okra recipe. When Sheriff Kenni is forced to investigate another murder of a local Cottonwood resident, she and her new deputy Finn, her Poppa and trusted pooch Duke must uncover the secrets behind the cookbook that were worth killing over.

This was such a great read. I never read a Kappes book, but it definitely won’t be my last. Kenni has a lot on her plate, she is still trying to prove that she is fit to be the town sheriff, meanwhile with the re-election coming up the retired sheriff decides to throw his name in the hat, so Kenni must solve this new murder as quickly as possible.

I loved Kenni and I loved Duke and Finn. This book has a lot of Southern charm, wit and humor along with meddling mothers and busy body neighbors, if you like books set in the south you will enjoy this gem.

I found the writing to be fun and fast paced, I found myself just flying and enjoying this book. There is a bit of romance and a ghost of Kenni’s grandfather who was an ex-sherrif who still lingers in order to help Kenni protect the town. There is a lovable pooch named Duke that just melts your heart and a wonderful cast of characters.

If you like cozy mysteries but have not read this one I recommend it. It’s engaging, has a lot going on, and never a dull moment. I just kept flipping through the pages. It was nice to get lost in the town of Cottonwood and I cannot wait to go back.

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2 Young Adult Book Reviews

Posted September 21, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 30 Comments

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsThe Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkest Powers #1
Published by HarperCollins on July 1st 2008
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 390
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.
All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me.
Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House... before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

I am still having trouble believing that I have not read all of Armstrong books, none of the ones that I have picked up have disappointed me and every time I open the cover I know I am going to be pulled into the story.

The Summoning delivered just that on top of some nights of lost sleep.

The book follows Chloe Saunders, and how her life changes when she finally hits puberty and all the sudden she starts to see ghosts. She ends up in a house for troubled children and is told she has a medical condition and needs to be treated. When her secret comes out a few of the teens in the house come forward and Chloe starts to realize maybe it’s not a house for children with a medical condition and maybe not everything is as clean cut as it seems.

This was wonderful. I enjoyed Chloe and the other “troubled teens” I loved the writing. Yes, it felt a bit slow initially but it did pick up for me. Still, I cannot complain, I savor Armstrongs writing, it’s just so amazing, I really need to read all of her books.

If you are looking for a series to start this fall, enjoy books about ghosts and teenagers with special abilities in the supernatural I highly recommend this book. There even seems to be a slow burn romance. There were parts in here that I would not recommend reading in the dark if you are easily scared.

Already waiting for book 2.

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Published by Harper Teen on July 24th 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Steampunk
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

There's something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .
Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.
Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she's just read in the newspaper:
The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.
And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.
Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she'll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Oops, I am a little behind on this author. I own her Truthwitch series book, but I decided to pick up this one due to the fact that I love a good paranormal during this time of year.

Something Strange and Deadly did not disappoint. It gripped me and threw me into the world from chapter 1 and I found it hard to put it down.

This follows a young girl named Eleanor fit and her brother is missing, her mother wants to marry her off because they are running out of money, and a necromancer has raised the dead that come out and attack the public once in a while.

Eleanor does not believe that her brother would abandon them so she sets out to find him and get’s involved with the spirit-hunters because she feels that the necromancer has her brother.

Overall, this was a great read, perfect for the season and even a bit atmospheric. It is also quiet character driven and you really had to like Eleanor. There is also a slow burn romance.

I did like Eleanor but I also found her reckless at times. I understand why she did the things she did, but yeah. Interesting series. Will be looking forward to book two.

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2 Mini Book Reviews

Posted September 15, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 19 Comments

2 Mini Book ReviewsSerenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point #6
Published by HQN Books on June 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 377
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the town of Haven Point, love can be just a wish — and one magical kiss — away…
Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he’s arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realises there’s more to sexy, wary Bo.
Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he’s ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there’s room in it for him, too…

A story about a young teacher who is in the process of re-evaluating her life and in the middle of adopting a special needs girl from Columbia when she meets Bowie Callahan – a computer-tech millionaire and his special needs brother.

Reading a Thayne book is like coming home to a sweet cup of warm chocolate. The story is lovely, warm and sweet. I found myself drawn to the two people who were trying hard to find a way to deal with the new developments in their lives.

Katrina had sworn off men due to her boyfriend dumping her on their trip to Columbia and all she wants to do is adopt a little girl she met on her trip and become her mother. Bowie just found out about Milo his young brother who has a possible case of Autism and hopes that Katrina could help him while he awaited the Autism specialist. The attraction between the two had a rocky start, but I loved watching it grow between them through the story and enjoyed seeing these two develop as characters.

The ending was super sweet and heart touching.

2 Mini Book ReviewsThe Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere
Series: Mad for Mod Mystery #4
Published by Henery Press on April 18th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 264
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons.

She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life.

“If you love Doris Day, you’ll love Madison Night, decorator extraordinaire. She specializes in restoring mid-century homes and designs, and her latest project involves abductions, murder and vengeance.” – Books for Avid Readers

“Diane Vallere…has a wonderful touch, bringing in the design elements and influences of the ’50s and ’60s era many of us hold dear while keeping a strong focus on what it means in modern times to be a woman in business for herself, starting over.” – Fresh Fiction

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), humorous murder mysteries, book club recommendations, amateur sleuth books, southern humor, Doris Day, chick lit.

Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with her beau and handyman Hudson James. The two travel to Hudson’s sister and brother-in-law to help with the new development that his brother-in-law is in
Charge of.

Things were suppose to be easy with designing by day and romantic get away at night, but when Madison spots a body in the water – things prove a little more difficult. Now Madison finds herself tangled in deeper secrets, and a few of them are pointing back towards the new development.

Cute, cozy mystery, really awesome easy to love main-character and this entire book was just an easy read. The story was interesting, it kept me hooked. The writing was entertaining and has made the series sound extremely promising.

I have not read the other books in the series but I loved this enough to make sure I pick up any other follow-up because Madison Night and her Doris Day wardrobe obsession is my kind of girl. Her personality alone was charming and addictive.

If you are looking for a good cozy mystery, I recommend this one for you to try.

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