Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review: A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alice Pearse is faced with a dilemma when her husband decides to leave his job. She leaver her part-time job that she really enjoys to find full-time work. She thinks that she may have found the perfect job(I would think so too) getting to work with books all day long. It's a dream come true. Unfortunately, this job also comes at a time when there is so much going on in her personal life. Will Alice be able to still be present for her family as well as her new job? Will this job live up to the excitement that was offered to her at the beginning, or will things change?

I was very enthusiastic to read this book. Imagine a job where all you do is read books and talk to publishers all day long. That is my dream job. The story moved very slowly for me. Taking me 10 days to read this book, and I wasn't drawn to it in my down time to pick it up, although I was curious to find out the outcome of the book. The second half moved along a bit quicker for me.

The thing that really drew me to this book was the main character Alice. She is a book lover and her job is to read and vet books for a new concept of bookstore. Who wouldn't want a job like that, especially as a book lover. I'm not sure why is always seems that when one thing is going right in your life, other things seem to go terribly wrong. Alice is faced with many challenges after taking this position and they seem to be all flying at her face at the same time. From issues with her parents health, to marital problems and guilt of not being there for her kids as often as she was before she took the job. These are things we all face in life and how we handle them will determine our strength and character. How Alice handles these problems will be a test to her as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend and employee. How many balls can we juggle before they all come crashing down upon us?

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Review: The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead

The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kit Stitski is dead. He fell into the quarry during a party and drowned and ever since June no one has been able to come forward to say what really happened to him. Now that school has started, his mother is making a plea with the students to come forward with what they know. Was it just a tragic accident or did someone do something to Kit? Clementine was there, she spoke with Kit and sent him off to the bushes when he said he had to go to the bathroom. Ellie was there too, she is keeping Clementine's secret, but does she have a secret of her own? Jake was there, in fact, Kit followed him to the party. And Mac was there with Ellie, did he do something to Kit?

As a new school year starts, everyone is reflecting on the tragic night at the end of the previous school year. They've had the whole summer to think about it and now that school is back in session, Ms. Stitski wants answers and closure about what happened with her son. When she shows up for the first day of school, Jake, Clementine, Ellie, and Mac are all on edge because they feel they are responsible for Kit's death. They can't imagine that this was just an accident, something must of happened to him when he was out of their sight. But is that possible?

I really enjoyed this YA novel by Deb Loughead. I was a quick read that kept me engrossed the entire time. The author never really mentions where the story is set, and it could be any town in any country. Kids will be kids and will do what they want despite the rules set by their parents. None of the kids should have been at the quarry that night. It's a dangerous place and even more so when it is dark. Kit was mentally challenged, but loved by all in the school. The students recall happy moments with Kit that help his family to heal after this difficult situation. This is a story you could see in today's news stories. A tragic accident that took the life of an innocent person.

I think people of all ages will enjoy this book. I think it is especially important for youth to read. It has a message of honesty in the book. About being able to talk to your parents about the things that are going on in your world. The book has a strong family focus and includes diverse family structures that are seen today. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a good novel to read.

Thank you to NetGalley and to Dundurn for a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me by Gayle Forman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a mother, there are many days that I dream about packing a bag and leaving town for a few days. But I can't do that, not without a plan and a few weeks notice. Maribeth Klein, on the other hand, does just that. She packs her bags, leaves her cell phone and laptop, and a note for her husband and off she goes. When she boards the train in New York, she's not sure where exactly she is headed, but she'll figure it out when she gets there. Two weeks post heart attack and emergency bypass surgery, she's not getting the help she needs at home and so she decides, just to pack it up and move it out and doesn't communicate with anyone for weeks. Not only does she leave behind her husband, but also their two children. Will she be able to get away and find herself again? Will she ever return home? And if she does, will things just go back to being the same way they were before.

Leave Me is a book all women who feel overworked and underappreciated will enjoy. I know I have threatened my family many times to run away from home, but I would never do it. For starters, I don't have the courage and I would feel extremely guilty about doing it. Luckily for Maribeth, she doesn't feel that way. This book was so hard to put down. I could feel myself in Maribeth's shoes. Enjoying the feeling of not having to worry about anyone but herself and getting things done for herself. As mother's we always put ourselves last in everything that we do. There have been many days that my dinner was cold when I ate it making sure that everyone else around the table was taken care of first, or I missed out on something because there was just enough for everyone else.

This is the second book I have read by Gayle Forman. Usually her books are targeted to a slightly younger audience, but she really hit this one on the head. I hope she has plans to continue to write for women like this.

A couple of my favorite lines from the book are:
The first line of the book, "Maribeth Klein was working late, waiting to sign off on the final page proofs of the December issue, when she had a heart attack."

And this line that reminded me of my husband: "My husband used to say that scars were like tattoos but with better stories."

Overall, this is one of the best books I have read this year and will be doing on my favorites list. I hope that every woman with a family will read this book and be able to appreciate the ability to run away.

I'm offering a giveaway of Behind Closed Doors. Enter here.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Review: The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza

The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

DCI Erika Foster has just transferred to the Lewisham Row Station in London from Manchester. As soon as she is on the job, she has a case. A socialite is found frozen in the ice in the park. No one knows what happened or where she was prior to her death, but DCI Foster is determined to get to the bottom of the case. When another woman is found dead via the same means, the pressure increases to find the killer. Catching flack from her superiors on her methods of investigations, puts delays in finding the culprit. Will DCI Foster be able to solve the case? Does she have too much going on in her personal life to focus the way she should? Will she fall victim to the killer before she is able to find him?

I read this book as part of a buddy read. It has been on my TBR for a while and I was very interested to read it. For the most part I enjoyed the book, but it wasn't the first thing I grabbed. I got through it and the ending helped that along. I had no clue who the killer was and that helped to keep my interest. In my opinion DCI Foster was the kind of woman we all strive to be like, but at times it seemed like she tried to hard. Maybe that had to do with the what she had going on in her personal life. I would like to read the next book in the series to see if the character is in that same mindset or if after some time she is more focused on her job. This is also the first book I have read by Robert Bryndza and I look forward to more books from this author.

The other books in this series are:

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Review: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all I want to thank St. Martin's Press for awarding me a copy of this book through their contest on social media. I especially loved all the intriguing materials that arrived after I received the book. It helped to push this book to the top of my TBR pile.

Grace has finally met the man of her dreams(or so she thinks). Jack is attractive, intelligent, kind, and most importantly, adores her sister Millie who has Downs-Syndrome. They are first introduced when Jack starts to dance with Millie at a park they frequent on the weekends Grace spends with her. They had both noticed each other before, unaware that this was the case. They date for a few short months, as both of their jobs keep them very busy and after an even shorter engagement, they are married in a very small ceremony.

After the vows have been said, Jack shows Grace his true colors and strips her of all of her freedoms; her cell phone, her job, the ability to do anything without him, and explains the plans he has for her and especially for Millie when she moves in with them at the end of her school term. Terrified for her life and more so or Millie's, Grace tries as hard as she can to get away from Jack, but it is impossible since he has everyone convinced she has mental problems. Will she be able to get from under his control before Millie moves in or something more serious happens?

I hadn't planned on reading this book until after the first of the year, but after I received a letter

 and a postcard

from Grace, I knew I had to read it right away. The book is told from the Past and the Present and at the end they come together to reveal a harrowing tale of emotional torture I have never read about before. Grace is a character you automatically have empathy for. I'm not sure how she got herself into this situation, but its a hell of a ride to get out. Jack is always two steps ahead of her and no matter what she tries she can't get ahead of him.

I really enjoyed this book. It kept my heart racing and I kept hoping that Grace would eventually find a way out. Jack was even a couple of steps ahead of me when I thought a friend was trying to help her get out. This book is highly recommended. One of the best I have read this year.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's every parents worse nightmare. A shooting at their child's school and there is nothing you can do about it. This Is Where It Ends is told from the perspective of four senior students in the thick of the chaos during the 54 minutes Opportunity High School is under attack. Opportunity, Alabama could be any small town in American and we have seen stories like this too many times.

Most of the school is in the auditorium for a new semester assembly they have each year. As the principal finishes the assembly and is about to dismiss everyone, a shot rings out and everyone soon finds out that they are trapped. Why is this happening and who will make it out alive?

Story told by:
- Autumn is a dancer who is destined to follow in her mother's footsteps and go to Julliard and dance all around the world.

- Sylvia is one of the smartest students at Opportunity. She will get into any college that she applies to, but with her mother as sick as she is, will she actually be able to go.

-Claire is a star on the track team and known as "Sarge" to her fellow JROTC classmates. She is fortunate enough not to be in the auditorium during the shooting, but her little brother, Matt is.

-Tomàs is Sylvia's twin brother. He is supposed to be in detention during the assembly, but instead he is in the Principal's office with his best friend Fareed, doing something he shouldn't be doing when he hears the first shot.

Each one of these students have a different view of the terrible incident that is taking place in their school. They all have a different relationship with the shooter. They each play a significant role in helping get students to safety, risking their own lives the entire time.

This is another really good book that I have read this year. I could see myself among those students, feel their fear, and hope for their survival. I thoroughly enjoyed this Big Library Read more than others I have gotten.

I look forward to more books by this author.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Laura "Lo" Blacklock is a travel writer for Velocity magazine in London. While her boss is out on maternity leave, she is given the assignment to write about a boutique-style luxury cruise vessel, The Aurora. The Aurora only has ten cabins and this maiden voyage is for the press to take a look at the ship and show it to the world. A few days before Lo is to set sail on the exclusive reporter's retreat, she has a break-in at her house. She is determined to do her best on the assignment so that she may be able to get more gigs like this in the future. Once aboard the ship, she meets all the other reporter aboard, many of whom she knows already. At the end of the first night, Lo hears strange noises coming from cabin 10 and instantly she is worried about the woman who was staying there. After hearing a large splash and see what appears to be blood smeared on the partition between the cabins, she is frightened. Did she really hear something? Did she see something? Or is the combination of alcohol and jitters from the break-in at her house leave her on edge and seeing things?

Another great book for this year. Hard to put down. I read this as a part of a buddy read for September. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get my copy in time. It took me only a few days to read this book and it captured me from the beginning. I can't imagine what Lo had to go through. She sees someone being thrown from the boat and blood smears on the partition between the cabins, but no one believes her and no one is supposed to be in Cabin 10. So did she really see it or was this her imagination playing tricks on her from the drinking she had been doing? Either way she is determined to get to the bottom of the story and find out what is really going on on this ship. It's not big enough for someone else not to know what is going on an why can't she find the woman who was in the cabin before and loaned her the mascara?
So many unanswered questions and Lo can't seem to find anyone who believes her story. That is except for Ben, but is that because he is in on it. There is no way to contact the outside world because the wifi on the boat has stopped working ever since she told someone about what she heard.

It was hard to connect with this character, but I did feel for her. I thought I had figured out who the woman in cabin 10 was. But I quickly found out that I was wrong. This book is highly recommended for those looking for a great thriller. The last 20% of the book will leave you literally sitting on the edge of your seat. Your heart will pound and your heart will race.

Ruth Ware is also the author of 

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amy Stevenson was seriously injured 15 years ago. The person who attacked her has never been caught. Alex Dale is a journalist who has suffered a lot of loss over the past few years, but she is determined to get her life back in order and try to help to find out who hurt Amy. Will Alex be able to solve the mystery? Will she be able to keep her health under control long enough?

There are so many unanswered questions when it comes to the night Amy was attacked. With the help of her ex-husband, Matt, a police officer and Amy's ex-boyfriend, Jake, will Alex be able to find out what really happened to Amy.

This is Holly Seddon's first book and she hit it out of the park. This mystery had you guessing who could have done it. There were a couple of times, when I was certain I knew who the culprit was, but at the end, I was wrong. I was shocked at the end by the turn of events. Alex, dives deep in to Amy's past to find out what is going on. She investigates the case more than the police did when they had the case.

This book had me intrigued from the very beginning. I was invested in Ale and was routing for her to accomplish her goal of helping Amy and the world find out who attacked her. I got worried when she hit a setback in the case, hoping it wouldn't be a setback in her quest to try to get healthy. When her doctor gives her a health update, that isn't quite what she hopes to hear, it puts a fire under her in my opinion, that makes her work harder on the case. Whether it's to beat the inevitable, or to prove that she can still do the job she loves, I'm not sure.

Working with Jacob(Jake) who has his own issues he is going through, proves to be most helpful. Jake has visited Amy quite a bit over the past 15 years. Unfortunately, his wife, Fiona has no idea. With his first child on the way, Jake has to make a decision about whether or not he can keep up this charade, but will Fiona find out before he has a chance to help Alex solve the mystery.

Overall, this was one of the best books I have read this year. It was hard to put down and it kept me captivated throughout the entire book. Highly recommended.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Review: Leaving Time: A Novel

Leaving Time: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jenna Metcalf is thirteen years old and more than anything, she wants to find her mother, Dr. Alice Metcalf. Alice is a doctor who studies the behavior of elephants, specifically, grief. She goes missing when Jenna is just three years old and there was a tragic accident at the Elephant Sanctuary where they lived and that her parents owned/worked. Jenna doesn't believe that her mother would have ever left her behind, so she enlists the help of Serenity Jones, a once famous psychic who helped to find missing people and Virgil Stanhope, a private detective, who was on the police force and was a part of the investigation of the accident at the Sanctuary. With their help, will Jenna be able to find her mother? And when she does, will she be disappointed by what she finds?

I have enjoyed reading Jodi Picoult novels for a long time. They always leave me with different kinds of emotions. Some happy, some sad, sometimes confused. Leaving Time was no exception. I felt a connection to each character. With Jenna, I felt sadness of the loss of her mother and her plight to find her. For Alice, a felt compassion for her work and the situation she was living in. For Serenity, I'm not quite sure my feelings about her, but she was a caring force in Jenna's life. For Virgil, it was pity, that he was unable to get his life together and accomplish his goals.

Listening to this book I was intrigued by the subject matter. Based on the idea that "an elephant never forgets" it was fascinating to learn about how elephants interact with humans and with each other, especially after they suffer a loss. A lot how we as humans grieve. This is another book that will make you think and keep you on your toes, covering subject matters of wildlife, mental illness and supernatural abilities. In the last 5% of the book there was a twist that I didn't see coming and it made me rethink everything I had just read/listened to. This is why Jodi Picoult is one of my favorites.

My favorite line from the book: "...there was a tear in the fabric I was made of and he was the only color thread that would match to stitch it back up."

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: Falling by Jane Green

Falling by Jane Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Emma Montague has just left the hustle and bustle of life and work in New York City and has moved to Westport, CT. She has left her job as a banker, to slow down a bit and try her hand at interior design. It's something she has always been passionate about and has a great eye for it as well. She finds a house that has a lot of potential, on the beach and the landlord, Dominic is willing to compromise on the changes she has in mind for the cute cottage. Emma sees something in Dominic that she has never seen in any man before. But, they come from two totally different worlds. Emma is from England and left there to pursue a life in the United States and Dominic has barely left Westport. A relationship between these two would never work. Would it?

I love Jane Green books. They are always so emotional and I can always find a way to connect the story and characters to something that is going on in my life. This book was no exception. It was very emotional and the last few chapters had me crying like a baby.

Emma and Dominic have the type of relationship we all wish we could have. They met and had an instant connection Their love for each other and for Dominic's son, Jesse is almost instantaneous. When an unexpected visitor comes to town, Emma thinks that her relationship with Dominic will be over just as quickly as it started. But Dominic is firm in his feelings for Emma and nothing will change that.

Another book for me that was impossible to put down. I may get in trouble from the library for the tear-soaked pages I left behind, but it would be well worth it. If you have never read a book by Jane Green, you don't know what you're missing and I suggest you pick one up right away.

Some of my favorite lines from the book:
This was so me as a kid!

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Review: Hunted by Dominique L. Watson

Hunted by Dominique Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Detective Scarlett Fry is taking a much needed vacation with her husband in Spain, but she just can't seem to escape work. When two dead bodies are discovered in the room across from hers, she has to find out what happened. But this isn't her jurisdiction, so she continues her vacation, but it's hard to get it out of her mind. Upon returning home, she gets a case of a murdered man and a missing family. Ironically her case at home and the murders in Spain are connected. Will she be able to find the killer or killers and will she be able to find the missing family?

This is the first book I have read by Dominique L. Watson, but I will definitely read more. I'm really looking forward to reading Murder for Justice, which is the first Scarlett Fry book. I devoured this book in a few days.

Detective Scarlett Fry can't seem to get a break. Even on vacation, as a homicide detective, work seem to fall at her feet. Or right across the hall from her hotel room in Spain. She could never imagine that thousands of miles away in her jurisdiction, a murder was taking place there as well. And a kidnapping. I was on the edge of my seat as Fry traveled the southwest part of the country from San Diego, California to small town Arizona hunting the killer. Twists and turns all along the way make this book very hard to put down. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a great fast paced thriller.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Review: Serpents in the City by H.N.Wake

Serpents in the City by H.N. Wake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I enjoyed this book so much, I also purchased a copy from Amazon.

Mac Ambrose just wants to start living a normal life, but getting away from the CIA is not an easy task. Asked by one of her closest friends to investigate a leaked sex tape of a U.S. Senator, Mac is reluctant to take the case. When she finds something not quite fitting the description of what she was looking for, she regrets her decision to take this case on. The Senator isn't telling the whole truth about this tape and now that Mac is involved, she has to find out why.

Mac Ambrose seems like the kind of woman we all could be friends with. She cares about those who are close to her and those she works with But, don't cross her because you don't want to be on her bad side. The thing I liked most about this boo is how quickly it drew me in It was a hard bookk to put down and a book I would recommend firsts to all of my female friends. Mac Ambrose will make you fell empowered and in fact, she does make another female in the book feel empowered.

There were a few twists and turns in the book that made you wonder what was going to happen next. I would have given the book five stars, but there were a few times when there were new characters introduced that I had to go back to figure out who they were and how they fit into the story. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I look forward to see what will happen to Mac next.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nick Young and Rachel Chu are both professors at NYU and have been dating for a couple of years. With the summer off, Nick invites Rachel home with him to Singapore to attend his best friend's wedding and spend the summer exploring the place he grew up. Nick hasn't told Rachel much about his family and she has only met his cousin, Astrid, but she is ready to take this next step in their relationship. What Rachel doesn't know is that Nick's family is among some of the wealthiest in Singapore and when Rachel steps off that plane, her life will never be the same.

I feel as though I cheated myself a bit when I read this book because, I had already read the sequel China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians #2) by Kevin Kwan so I knew what was going to happen. Although it was very interesting at this point to get the back story. I'm not quite sure what I would do if I were in Rachel's shoes. Nick didn't tell her about the status of his wealth, because he was sure she would be able to handle it. But after being constantly asked about her family and where she comes from and finding fish guts in her hotel room, Rachel decides that she might not be cut out for this kind of life. She loves Nick a lot, but having to deal with his family is a whole other ballgame.

I really like the characters Kevin Kwan has created in this series. The book made me laugh out loud and cry to myself. It make me want to travel to Singapore or China and see this first hand. Although, with my financial status, I would never be able to come close. I hear there are talks of a movie for this http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/book... and I would definitely go to see it. Not sure if there are more books to come for this series, but I'm looking forward to reading more by Kevin Kwan.

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