Source: Publisher

Review: Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes

Posted November 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review:  Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. StokesAddison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes
Series: Addison Cooke #2
Published by Philomel Books on November 14th 2017
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
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.

The Goonies meets Indiana Jones in Addison's second laugh-out-loud adventure! A journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan.
Fresh off of a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just can't seem to steer clear of rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves. But it sure beats sitting around in school all day.
Addison's aunt and uncle, on the other hand, are none too happy about their habit of attracting kidnappers. When they become pawns in a dangerous gang's plan to steal the most prized possession of the notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle of a multi-million-dollar international heist. Armed with nothing but their wits and thirst for adventure, they travel across Asia in an attempt to rescue Addison's family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands.
Brimming with round-the-clock action and tons of laughter, Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan is perfect for fans of Indiana Jones, ancient history, and James Patterson's Treasure Hunters series.
Praise for Addison Cooke
"Combines the derring-do of Indiana Jones with a genuine archaeological mystery. Stokes brings a cinematic scope to the story. This lively debut promises more seat-of-the-pants thrillsfor readers who love adventure."--Booklist
"Cinematic pacing and action drive the story, but it's Addison and his friends who will keep readers engaged. Humor is never in short supply . . . and Addison's endless optimism and irrepressible confidence in his own abilities are endearing."--School Library Journal
"Addison is often one step ahead of the adults, but his lead is constantly threatened, building steady tension throughout the novel, screenwriter Stokes's debut."--Publishers Weekly

Schools out, summer is in, and Addison and his group of friends are off to Asia!

Trouble seems to follow Addison no matter where he goes, fresh of a treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America – Addison finds himself in a whole new set of trouble out in China.

When Addison and Molly’s Aunt and Uncle get kidnapped in China by the mysterious Madame Feng, they must use their knowledge as survival skills in order to beat Madame Feng to what she really wants – the Golden Whip from the lost grave of Ghenghis Khan.

This was a really fun read. At over 400 pages, the pace was steady and exciting. Addison is a very interesting 13 year old boy, who is witty, but a bit quirky at times. He hates germs, he loves to read and seems to always have the knack of knowing how to get his friends out of trouble.

The story and the progression was kind of interesting for me, because I was always interested in Mongolia and Ghenghis Khan. I actually did not know that his tomb/grave was purposely done so not even the Mongols could find it. I had to google that bit myself and the author did mostly stick to the fact at the beginning of the book about the possible locations and how he was buried.

I thought that was fun because not only does it provide middle grade kids with a fascinating plot, fun characters, great adventure and a strong set of friendships, it also educates quiet a bit.

I did have to take my time time with the rating because I wasn’t sure about a few things. I did have to keep in mind that this was a middle grade adventure novel and a lot of it does seem a bit out there, but that’s okay, because to me, it allows the children to get caught up in the excitement and imagination. That part I am fully aware of and perfectly fine with, despite some scenes. I especially loved how the author took the fact that they are kids into consideration and during a lot of scenes he limited their capabilities of what they can or cannot do. I love how they think it would play out in their head and how it actually happens is completely different because at the end of the day, Addison and his friends are still children. That kind of line of thinking was awesome and I think something that can be related to.

I wasn’t sure how the kids would relate to Addison thought because for a 13 year old, he is witty, he can talk circles around you and get himself out of sticky situations. He is also the type of kid that will read The Art of War. But, despite being a sort of prodigy (?) Addison still uses tactics that are childlike and it just makes you giggle.

This was a great book. It was fast paced. There is action, adventure, a mystery and it is really, really well written you guys. I absolutely loved the writing, Stokes just does a wonderful job that it even makes it really enjoyable for an adult because I forgot at several places that this was a middle grade book.

My favorite character I would have to say is Dax’s (the adult in this book) copilot Mr.Jacobsen a goofy Great Dane.

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Review: Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

Posted November 27, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 25 Comments

Review:  Poison by Galt NiederhofferPoison by Galt Niederhoffer
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on November 21st 2017
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 1 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.

Poison is a literary psychological thriller about a marriage that follows minor betrayal into a bubbling stew of lies, cruelty, manipulation, and danger.
Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass' two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland —a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.
With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

Cass and Ryan Connor seem like a happy family on the outside. They have three children, two from Cass’ previous marriage and one between them. They have moved to Portland, have stable jobs, and a lovely family home. But the perfect marriage turns into a nightmare when Cass starts to discover that her husband had started to lie daily to her omissions and white lies that turn into a series of denials and threats. Soon Cass is in trouble as she goes up against her husband, who seemed like a loving father, but is now a completely different person and the people who are bent on believing a man’s word over the woman’s.

Okay, I hate giving one star reviews, but with this book I just couldn’t rate it higher.

I wanted to love it, but I quickly grew to despise it. If you are planning to read it and don’t want any spoilers, I’d stop reading the review now because the rant that follows is why I have such strong dislike for this wrong.

One, the format. It was all over the place. Sometimes the story jumped between present and past with no clear cut definitive line and it makes your head swim as you scramble to find out what just happened. One minute it’s in the past, the next minute the author is talking about the present, the switch is so sudden it felt like whiplash.

Second, I am not sure what the author was trying to do here. I get that she puts forth a lot of stuff she believes in and how she feels the world functions and it’s very feminist to the point of being overwhelming?

Like for example. Cass has this perfect family and out of no where, her husband grows another head and becomes a man that she no longer recognizes, capable of violence. There are odd scenes between Cass and Ryan when she confronts him about his cheating and he attacks her, and chokes her, and says your life is over now, you will leave me – something along those lines. It was the most random and weirdest thing, like… ever

Now here is the part that really starts to piss me off. Cass is being poisoned by her husband, but NO ONE believes her, with the exception of her best friend. She goes to the hospital and rather than checking her first for poison, they escort her to the psych ward because apparently hospitals don’t believe women if they come into the ER claiming that their husband is trying to murder them, only crazy people come into the hospital claiming to be poisoned. So rather than checking the person first to see if they are telling the truth, THAN sending them to loony bin if necessary, they do it automatically. Right…

So she goes to her lawyer, and he barely believes her.

She goes to the cops and they do not believe her…

She calls her father, who automatically accuses her of pissing her husband off. Oh, and does not believe her…

Even her mother turns on her.

So this well educated woman in her 30s? 40s? is suddenly being viewed by EVERYONE that she has a mental illness, because her husband said so and no one in this country believes women and they all try to discredit them, even our own parents and mothers will testify in court and say – yup this child I raised, who has a good education, has never had a mental illness is obviously mentally ill..

Excuse me? Are you KIDDING ME?

Fine… Let’s say there are hospital in the USA that will throw you into a psych ward if you come in accusing your husband with poisoning you (I’ve been told otherwise, anyone heard differently?) but it’s not like she didn’t have symptoms, she did.

But I never got the sense that her mother would turn on her, like what? Why? I mean, come on…

Also, why did he all the sudden turn on her? I understand she accused him of cheating, which we never got quiet the answer to that, or why he was trying to kill her.

It just did not work for me at all. I get the sense that the author had a strong dislike for the male population in general, including how this country is run in courts, in police, in hopsitals, there is a strong emphasis on male misogyny and was trying to spread the word (or hate) through a psychological thriller, but I never felt like it worked.

 

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Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + Giveaway

Posted November 21, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 45 Comments

Good Morning Everyone! Hope you guys are having a great week so far. Sophia Rose is back on the blog today. She has a review of a classic and if you follow the instruction and rafflecopter below she also has a great giveaway for you! Enjoy!

Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + GiveawayAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Benjamin Lefebvre, J. Courtney Sullivan
Series: Anne of Green Gables #1
Published by Penguin Classics on March 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction, Childrens
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 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.

The beloved coming-of-age tale of a spunky heroine named Anne "with an E," now for the first time in Penguin Classics and packaged in a Deluxe edition. L. M. Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan mistakenly sent to a pair of siblings who intended to adopt a boy to help work on their farm in Prince Edward Island. Yet Anne's quirky personality and good-natured spirit causes the siblings to grow to love her anyway, and soon the entire town falls for the precocious little girl with bright red hair. Cherished by both children and adults, Anne of Green Gables is a celebration of fierce individualism, and the families we create, rather than the ones we are born into. This Deluxe edition is enhanced with a foreword by bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan, and an introduction and suggestions for further reading by Benjamin Lefebvre, as well as reviews and a selection of early writing by L. M. Montgomery about the process of writing Anne.

Decades later and I still count Anne of Green Gables as one of my favorite all-time books. As a young girl, it was likely one of the three most influential books I read. Over and over. I delighted in the later TV film adaption, but still gravitated to the sparkling, light-filled prose of the print copy on my shelf. I have carried around that copy over thousands of miles and years.

I was all agasp when I was offered the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition knowing that 2018 marks the 110 year anniversary of the book’s release and 75 years since the gifted author’s death. The book’s whimsical cover and end papers made me sigh with happiness to see and touch them. I’m a sucker for the rougher cut style cream colored pages. And it was fascinating reading the author biography, forward, introduction, and later the discussion of how Montgomery came to write in the author’s own words.

But the piece de resistance was the ageless story about a little red-headed orphan girl brought by mistake into the colorless, lonely lives of older siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, of P.E.I.’s Green Gables farm.

Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Like most quiet folks he liked talkative people when they were willing to do the talking themselves and did not expect him to keep up his end of it.”

You’re not eating anything,” said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming. Anne sighed. I can’t. I’m in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?”

I’ve never been in the depths of despair, so I can’t say,” responded Marilla.

Weren’t you? Well, did you ever try to IMAGINE you were in the depths of despair?”

No, I didn’t.”

Then I don’t think you can understand what it’s like. It’s very uncomfortable a feeling indeed.”

Anne with an ‘e’ makes her odd and endearing way into the hearts of many including readers because of her sincere, honest, but many times disastrous ways. Bosom friend Diana. Long bitter school rival Gilbert (at least on Anne’s part, wink). Mentor in teacher, Miss Stacy. Nosey, managing neighbor, Rachel Lynde. And oh so many more connections in the little village of Avonlea and beyond.

“Gilbert told Charlie Sloan that you were the smartest girl in school, right in front of Josie.”

“He did?”

“He told Charlie being smart was better than being good looking.”

“I should have known he meant to insult me.”

Miss Barry was a kindred spirit after all,” Anne confided to Marilla, “You wouldn’t think so to look at her, but she is. . . Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

There are no flashes of swashbuckling danger or passion in this story, but there are universal themes of childhood, family, friendship, dreams, mistakes, and growing up from a child and adult perspective with which young and old, male or female can connect. The book still brings me to laugh, cry, and sigh throughout. I’ve been quoting Anne-isms now for years like ‘tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it’ or ‘I’m having a Jonah day’ or ‘bosom friends’ or ‘we’re kindred spirits’ or ‘I’m in the depths of dispair’. So many.

My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”

I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.”

Picking up this new edition with its classic tale was sheer joy. I meandered down to the Lake of Shining Waters and gasped at the beauty of the White Way of Delight, and sighed over the loveliness of October, and girlhood fancies and dreams. I was impacted by the uplift I got from reading of a more innocent time and place, but with real people going about their normal lives.

Whether you are a newbie or a long-time Anne lover, I can definitely recommend picking it up and losing yourself in the pages.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY

I have a treat today for US residents. Penguin Classics is offering up one print copy of the book to one of our US readers. Fill in the Rafflecopter for your opportunity to win.

  • U.S. residents 13 years of age or older (if you are underage have an adult enter on your behalf)
  • Must reply within 48 hours to collect your prize

Have you read or watched a film adaption of Anne of Green Gables? Do you have a favorite Anne-ism or favorite scene?

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About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Posted November 18, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv ConstantineThe Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Series: standalone
Published by Harper on October 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 400
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.

A mesmerizing debut psychological thriller full of delicious twists about a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants.
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.
With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

A story that follows two points of views, of two very different women. First, we have Amber, a small town girl who grew up dirt poor and believes she deserves better. In fact, she believes that so much that she had set her eyes on Jackson Parrish, the husband of Daphne Parrish – who happens to be handsome and rich – the two portraying the perfect golden couple. The second woman, is Daphne, the perfect wife, the perfect mother. She is gorgeous and rich, and Amber wants her spot.

This was a really interesting story, a really quick paced read with some interesting characters. I hated Amber, but we were meant to hate her. She was so deceitful that at times I couldn’t help but have to put the book down from the anger. I felt bad for Daphne, who we later discover has enough on her plate without this snake wiggling into her life.

This book was a good read, well written, totally engrossing with fantastic character development and progression. It was exciting, as it was uncomfortable and believe me the second part of the book had some really cringe worthy scenes when Daphne unravels everything and keeps us on the edge of the seat.

Unfortunately for me, the book was super predictable down to the bone because this was exactly like The Wife Between Us, but on steroids. There was just so much that was super similar, it was kind of weird how similar the two books were? There is even an expression nervous Nellie, which was odd cause it’s not something you see often for it not to be a coincidence? And there were other similarities as far as the story went.

Umm, the difference was how it was told, how it unrevealed and the authors of this one really went farther about the dynamics between Jackson and his wife. Plus the whole Amber plot line was completely different. It was still really well done. I really enjoyed it, a lot, in fact, and why wouldn’t I, I absolutely loved the storyline.

But after reading this, I am a little confused how that happened.

Anyway, that aside. Great book, great characters. The main plot line was different, but the point where this was heading and some things that occurred, felt the same…

I still highly recommended it for fans of psychological thrillers and domestic thrillers, because I found this to be enjoyable, uncomfortable, but still well done.

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Review: Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Posted November 14, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review: Best Day Ever by Kaira RoudaBest Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
Series: standalone
Published by Graydon House on September 19th 2017
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Pages: 342
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 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.

I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…
Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he's promised today will be the best day ever.
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

Paul Strom is the perfect husband with the perfect life. He has a beautiful wife, two healthy boys, a dream career as an advertising executive, a big home and a vacation cottage. He brings home the money, he protects his family, he provides for them. Paul even planned a romantic getaway vacation to their Lakeside Cottage so he and his wife, who has recently been in poor health, can have the best day ever.

Paul has everything planned.

This book was a fast pace thrilling ride. Being in Paul’s head was hard, pulling me out of my comfort zone, made me cringe, but kept me on the edge of my seat.

Paul is a big narcissist who loves being in control and things always have to go his way.

This book was a fast pace thrilling ride. Being in Paul’s head was hard, pulling me out of my comfort zone, made me cringe, but kept me on the edge of my seat.

Paul is a big narcissist who loves being in control and things always have to go his way. As long as Paul stayed in control it was almost scary the way his thought process worked and how calmly he handled the entire day and what he had planned. To me it felt like the most chilling part of the book.

When Paul and his wife Mia hit the road, the tension starts to rise. I couldn’t seem to put this book down, the voice in the story kept me glued to the pages and devouring the book. It was fast paced, it was creepy, it was disturbing, but at the same time I needed to know how all of this was going to unfold.

It almost makes you feel a little dirty at times.

I do wish that things in the end wrapped up differently. I wasn’t a complete fan of the ending because of the way things played out. I thought Paul deserved a lot more than what he got, especially after everything that he did.

I had also wished we kind of got alternative chapter between Mia and Paul to give us some sort of a break from being inside of his head, but it wasn’t terribly needed. I think part of what made this book so interesting and uncomfortable was the fact that we got to witness how Paul’s thought process worked, the calmness until he wasn’t in control anymore, the calculative moves and motives, the ease he did everything with and holding no repercussions for his actions.

It was a page turner, and a plot well done. If you enjoy domestic thrillers, I definitely recommend giving this one a try.

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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: Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

Posted November 9, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review:  Blood Sisters by Jane CorryBlood Sisters: A Novel by Jane Corry
Series: standalone
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on January 30th 2018
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 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 the bestselling author of My Husband's Wife, a new thriller featuring three girls, one accident, and a lifetime of lies.

Three little girls set off to school one sunny morning. Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Kitty lives in an institution. She can't speak, and has no memory of the accident that put her there, or her life before it.

Nearby, Alison, a local artisan, struggles to make ends meet and to forget her past. When a job opens up in a prison as an art teacher, she takes it. Soon, though, she starts to receive alarming notes--followed by a frightening prisoner-on-prisoner assault while her back is turned. When an impressive new student arrives in Alison's class, things seem to settle down. But not for long.

For someone is watching both Kitty and Alison. Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day. And only another life will do. . .

Phew! This book took a lot longer to finish than I would have liked.

Oops, not a great way to start a book review.

Let’s back track a little.

One school day, three girls go to school, but a terrible accident happens, one girl is dead, one girl gets a head injury and the third girl walks away carrying an abundance of secrets.

Years later, those secrets come back to stalk Alison, who walked away. Ali is a teacher at a college doing glass classes. She feels something about what happened years ago, guilt, guilt for what happened to her sister Kitty and the secret she carries with her about what really happened that day.

Meanwhile, Kitty has a brain injury. She cannot speak, because the only thing coming out of her mouth is babbles that no one understands, so Kitty is stuck in her own mind. She doesn’t remember what happened, why she is the way she is. In a way, Kitty is trapped in a child’s mind, with tantrums and quiet a bit of profanity.

This book not only alternates between Kitty and Alison, but it also throws us back and forth between the past and present.

Okay, I am not 100% sure how to feel about this book. I didn’t like either of the characters, I honestly did not care for them, which seems harsh because Kitty underwent this traumatic experience. I am fully sympathetic about it and sad, it’s a horrible thing for anyone to go through and it’s a lifelong injury, that’s not something that you can always recover from. Thought Kitty was really hard to read, I really hope the author did her research when she wrote her character, I cannot vouch for the validity in this situation , it just seemed plausible.

Alison on the other hand, I just did not like her. I almost care by the end because of the twist, but the second part of the twist just nailed that coffin for me.

The writing itself was good. The story itself was enough to keep me somewhat interested and reading. I did enjoy the first part of the reveal/twist. I also really adored Ali and Kitty’s mom, she was probably my favorite person in all of this because she just tries so hard and has so much on her plate.

Overall, I found this okay, but it just wasn’t completely for me. Things just did not work. This is a story where you have to completely suspend your disbelief.

 

Favorite Quote

Love is close to hate when it comes to sisters. You’re as close as two humans can be. You came from the same womb. The same background. Even if you’re poles apart, mentally. That’s why it hurts so much when your sister is unkind. It’s as though part of you is turning against yourself.

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Review: The Lost Children by Helen Phifer

Posted November 6, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review:  The Lost Children by Helen PhiferThe Lost Children by Helen Phifer
Series: Detective Lucy Harwin #1
Published by Bookouture on March 24th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 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.

Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…
For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to an ancient gurney...
Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging the asylum’s wrongs.
What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.
As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose?
An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.

On her first day back to work after her last case ended in a devastating murder, Lucy Harwin is thrown into another case where a ruthless killer seems to be out to get everyone who did wrong back when The Moore Asylum was open. Past blends with the present as Lucy must figure out what had happened in the Asylum all those years ago and who would be responsible in committing such brutal murders before they strike again.

I don’t know how to feel about this book. It started out strong and interesting. I liked the flash back to the past and learning about the Asylum, even thought what they did to those kids made my stomach turn it was weaving to be an interesting ARC.

Half way through the flashbacks stopped prematurely I feel and I never got the feel scope of why the killer decided to avenge, I felt like we did not get the full story of what drove the killer and the author probably should have stuck with it.

On top of it, I did not really know how Lucy came to the conclusion of who the murderer is because I felt like it could have been a number of people from the flashbacks. This of course leads back to me feeling like that particular part was left undeveloped. There was also one clue that threw me off, because when we get the murders perspective, the second murder smelled aftershave, which you would assume is usually associated with a man?

I also wished the characters were more likable, but outside of Mattie – Lucy’s partner – who I tolerated, everyone else was really hard to like. Lucy in particular was hard to like. She is a workaholic who spends a lot of time focusing on her work, which is expected with the type of work she is doing. But Lucy also drinks a lot and has a really rocky relationship with her teenage daughter. There was one scene in particular that made me dislike Lucy more when she came home to a ransacked bedroom and automatically assumed that her teenage daughter was responsible for it. Based on what? Her daughter does not live with her. So she drives to her ex-husband’s house and lays into her daughter without bothering to give her even one brief benefit of a doubt.

Lucy started to become redeemable at the end as she did her best to fix her relationship with her daughter, but I wasn’t sure I was feeling her character anymore.

The story does feel like you are thrown into a middle of the series because Lucy is in the middle of a therapy session after her last case goes haywire. Unfortunately, we only get bits and pieces of this later on in the book.

Overall the plot could have been more interesting, a killer taking out revenge from the past? Sure. Flashback to the Asylum? Sure. But it all somehow fell flat in the end and a bit underdeveloped. I enjoyed myself when I wasn’t frustrated but it could have been so much more and it wasn’t.

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Guest Review: This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

Posted October 28, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 10 Comments

Morning everyone! Sophia Rose is back on the blog today with a guest review and she has an interesting one for you. A historical mystery set in England of 1919. That sound fun already. Read on to see what Sophia Rose thought of the book.

Guest Review: This Side of Murder by Anna Lee HuberThis Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber
Series: Verity Kent #1
Published by Kensington Publishing on September 26th 2017
Genres: Historical Mystery
Pages: 304
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.

The Great War is over, but in this captivating new series from award-winning author Anna Lee Huber, one young widow discovers the real intrigue has only just begun . . .
An Unpardonable Sin?

England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.
Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . .

I first noticed this author’s regency era mysteries and they seemed good. Then I noticed that she was starting a whole new series of historical mysteries and they were to be set post WWI with a clever former Secret Service heroine. Immediately, I chose to go with the shiny new series though after reading, This Side of Murder, I do very much need to go back for the older, Lady Darby series, too.

The book was an engaging blend of history and mystery with a whiff of romance. The heroine, Verity Kent, is a war widow who is living on the edge as a way to push back the shadows of grief. This island house party hosted by a friend of her dead husband is not one she would have attended save for the cryptic letter accusing Sidney of treason. Nothing feels right about the party from the atmosphere to the other guests to the hosts themselves and then someone dies…

I was bowled over by this author’s gift for time, setting, and atmosphere. I had no trouble believing this story was from the ’20s or that the characters had all been touched by the horror of war in their own ways. Verity was a character gem and I enjoyed exploring her world and watching her backstory and personality develop as things progressed. She wants to move on with her life after Sidney and the war, but she can’t seem to let go. And now there is Max who seems to awaken feelings in her even while he is also a suspect in the current situation and so cannot be trusted entirely.

The mystery was complex. It was a current murder mystery that was strongly connected to a secret past incident that ties all the house party guests together and makes them suspects. Just when I thought I had a grip on the answer there was this huge twist at the end that showed me I only had a partial answer.

All in all, I was thrilled with my first encounter with the author and her new lady sleuth. I will definitely be exploring further mysteries with Verity and also want to go back for the Lady Darby ones as well. Historical mystery fans should definitely give this a try.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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3 Quick Novella Reviews

Posted October 17, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

3 Quick Novella ReviewsThe Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
Series: Molly Southbourne #1
Published by Tor.com on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Horror
Pages: 128
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 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.

Every time she bleeds a murderer is born. Experience the horror of Tade Thompson's The Murders of Molly Southbourne.The rule is simple: don't bleed.
For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she's been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction.
Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she'll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

For as long as Molly can remember, she has been watching herself die. Whenever Molly bleeds, another molly is born and is set on trying to destroy her.

Because of this, Molly lives on a farm with her parents and isn’t allowed to go anywhere. She also has to follow a certain set of rules.

But as Molly gets older, she trains to take care of herself and eventually her parents – although reluctantly – allow Molly to attend college. Unfortunately for Molly, she cannot escape who she is, no matter where she goes.

If you are looking for something bloody for Halloween, this is a good quick novella to pick up. I found the story interesting, albeit a bit on
a stomach turning side, as some of the scenes for me personally were a little much to read.

The story was quick and the concept I felt was really good, but it left me with a lot of questions. I know this is part of a short novella series, but I didn’t understand why this isn’t a fully composed book. I really wanted to know why this was happening to Molly, why the molly’s kept coming even if she wasn’t bleeding at some parts, and also why the one molly was different. Plus, why they want to kill her?

Too many whys.

Also, there is a bit of a language translation issue for me. The mother is supposed to speak Russian and Ukranian and keeps calling Molly Dorogoy. This isn’t conjugated properly, as Molly is a female the female version of that endearment would have been Dorogaya. It might not matter to some, but it is suppose to be the feminine version if used correctly.

3 Quick Novella ReviewsGwendy's Button Box by Stephen King, Richard T. Chizmar, Maggie Siff
Series: standalone
Published by Simon Schuster Audio on May 16th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Pages: 2 hrs and 42 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

INCLUDES KING'S EDGAR AWARD-NOMINATED STORY "THE MUSIC ROOM" AND A CONVERSATION BETWEEN STEPHEN KING & RICHARD CHIZMAR!
Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the town of Castle Rock—paired on audio with King’s Edgar Award–nominated story “The Music Room.”
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong—if time-rusted—iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.
Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…
The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told—until now.

12 years old Gwendy Peterson takes the suicide stairs every day in hopes to eventually lose weight. One day she meets a strange man at the top of the stairs, who offers her a Button Box, insisting that the box belongs to Gwendy. In her gut, Gwendy believes that the Button Box is truly hers and spends years protecting the box, knowing that if fell into the wrong hands it could destroy everything.

This was a great quick listened. I enjoyed the story a tell, reminiscent of Pandora’s Box. Gwendy was an easy character to like and I enjoyed her growth through the years and how her age effected her reaction to the Button Box.

The story is set in Castle Rock and a large part of me was hoping this would be a more atmospheric kind of read.

Overall, the story was quick and enjoyable. I was a bit confused by the ending and it did leave me wanting more. I was expecting a lot more to happen as far as the box was concerned, and I also wanted to know more about the mysterious stranger.

Maggie Stiff did an amazing job narrating the story. I hope she does more audibooks in the future.

3 Quick Novella ReviewsHalloween Carnival Volume 1 by Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Lisa Morton, Mark Allan Gunnells, Brian James Freeman
Series: standalone
Published by Random House Publishing Group - Hydra on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Short Stories
Pages: 165
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 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.

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammonChocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.
THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin LuciaFather Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.
DEMON AIR by John R. LittleFear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.
LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa MortonTrick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.
#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan GunnellsSome people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing.

Not sure I have much to say about this. Some of it was enjoyable. The story about the author and Halloween Murders was interesting, albeit a bit confusing in the end. I wanted the book to be more Halloweenish in it’s feel, but some of the stories were just downright sad. The first story was sad and the story about the father and his son was really sad.

I liked the last story in the book about the Mexican ghost. I thought it was creepy enough to be interesting. Even so, the story had a few problematic concepts.

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