4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

Our Kind of Cruelty
by Araminta Hall

Our Kind of Cruelty

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 273

Read: June 29 – July 1, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Book of the Month

 

Blurb: This is a love story.

Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely, life before he met Verity. V was the first person to understand him. To love him. In return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s secured the right job; he’s found the perfect home; he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He’s ready to start their blissful life together.

It doesn’t matter that V hasn’t been returning his e-mails or phone calls.

It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.

It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. As long as Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move, he’ll know just when to come to her rescue …

Spellbinding and seductive, Our Kind of Cruelty is a darkly twisted love story Рone that draws razor-sharp lines between love and obsession, between truth a perception, and dares you to pick a side.


Review: This was my April selection from Book of the Month. I won’t lie – I felt a little dirty selecting it because this was the quick take description from the site: “The creepy, chilling Gillian Flynn-approved tale of a twisted sex game and what happens when obsession goes too far.” A book about a “twisted sex game” is way outside my comfort zone. But then the blurb just immediately drew me in and I knew I had to have this one. ūüėÄ Then it arrived and I set it aside with all my other BOTM club selections (which heavier on the unread side than the read side…) I was still a little unsure about my selection of this one.

Then after I had read some pretty heavy books I knew I needed something snappy for my next read. Something that would be a quick and enjoying thriller. I picked this one up mainly because it started with “O” and it fulfilled a Goodreads challenge that I’m woefully behind on.

I was not prepared to be completely sucked in from the beginning. I read it in about 48 hours and was just dying to get to the end and figure out what really happened. It was an interesting look into the mind of a stalker. It definitely highlighted the problems with domestic issues between men and women at times. But really it was just an interesting view into how a stalker thinks and skews everything to fit their perspective. I enjoyed this twist on the domestic psychological thriller.

I highly recommend it! (And don’t be put off by the “twisted sex game” mentioned. Sure it’s kind of graphic in a few places, but it wasn’t over-the-top in my opinion.)

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5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, H, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book

Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts
by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 320

Read: June 9-11, 2018

Rating: 5/5

Source: NetGalley ARC

 

 

 

 

Blurb: This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong‚ÄĒone of the most popular girls in school‚ÄĒdisappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser‚ÄĒnow a detective with Seattle PD‚ÄĒfinally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?


Review:¬†This book was an impulse request on NetGalley. I tend to stay off that site as much as possible, and I’m really picky about the books I request. But between that cover and the book description I knew I¬†had to read this one! So I was pleased when I was approved for the galley.

And WOW .. what a book this was! I was on the very verge of a reading slump and so I set aside the book I was currently reading to pick up this one and I was hooked practically from the first page! I flew through this one … it was¬†that good!

There were twists and turns that I saw coming and then there were twists and turns that I never saw coming! It was really fun to watch the story unfold as the book progressed. It was a perfect blend of what was told present-day and what was revealed in the flashbacks. The pacing was great. The storyline was strong. The characters were well-developed.

Just a really great book that I would highly recommend to hard-hitting thriller lovers! It’s not an easy book to read at times, dealing with some pretty nasty stuff, but still a great book in my opinion!!

 

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, MMD Book Club, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 438

Read: May 25-June 2, 2018

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchased New

 

Blurb: Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: They are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska Рa place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.


Review: This is not a book that I normally would have picked up on my own. In fact when it came out I actually passed it up on Book of the Month. I had never read anything by Kristin Hannah and I wasn’t sure about the Alaskan setting, so I figured it was better to be safe than sorry and I chose something else. So when I saw that it was going to be June’s selection on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s book club, I was a little nervous about it. I couldn’t access it from my library in time to read it for the discussion, so I purchased a new copy. I was all in by that point ūüôā

And holy moly was I immediately sucked in by this! I mean from like the first page I was in love with the story. I immediately took to Leni’s character. She’s a wonderful voice in this story. The things that she has to see and live with can be heartbreaking at times. And let’s be honest – it would not be easy at all to be stuck in the Alaskan wilderness with no electricity and no running water in your house. I cannot even begin to imagine that! So it was no surprise just how strong Leni ended up becoming by the middle of the book – she had no real choice, if she wanted to survive.

This book deals with some pretty heavy hitting things. Domestic violence is at the heart of it. It was very difficult reading at times. I’ve been extremely lucky in that I have never been directly or indirectly impacted by domestic violence, but I know that’s not necessarily the norm. I felt like Ms. Hannah handled the situation in a very respectful manner. It was stomach churning at times, but it was also riveting.

At the end there were multiple times that I actually cried. Like legit cried my eyes out. It was that powerful to me. It made me feel things about a book like I haven’t felt in a very long time. I am not usually that attached to a book like I was with this one. And ugh, the book hangover – it’s real!

I just cannot say enough good things about this book! Like I said this book is way outside my comfort zone. And I devoured every single page. It was a great book with wonderful characters and an amazing setting. Just a wonderfully powerful book that really made me think.

HIGHLY recommended!

[Honestly, joining the MMD Book Club has been the absolute best thing I have done for my reading. June marks my 3rd month as a member and the three selections so far have been amazing in their own way for differing reasons. I have expanded my reading in ways that are way out of my comfort zone. It’s been wonderful and I am always looking forward to the next book!]

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES, Sookie Stackhouse

Review: All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

All Together Dead
by Charlaine Harris

All Together Dead

Copyright: 2007

Pages: 323

Read: March 9-14, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased at the Used Book Store
Blurb: Betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse must now not only deal with a possible new man in her life – the oh-so-handsome shape-shifter Quinn – but also contend with a long-planned vampire summit. With her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans, the local vampire queen is vulnerable to those hungry for a take-over. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she’ll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe…


Review: This is the 7th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I read the 6th installment back in early 2016. Oops? No wonder I was a little out of sorts trying to remember what had happened in a few places….

Most of this particular book is dealing with the actions that happened in the 6th book, so I definitely recommend reading that one before this one to save some serious confusion.

I enjoyed this one though. It was interesting and kept me entertained throughout the entire book. It definitely renewed my interest in this series and I hope I get to the 8th book sooner rather than later.

 

A, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, F, Fiction, H, Lucas Davenport, M, Mini Review, Nina Reilly, O, Read in 2017, S, SERIES

September & October 2017 Reads

Well….. it’s obviously been awhile ūüė¶ September saw a HUGE reading slump…. I went from reading anywhere from 6-9 books to a whopping 3 in September…. October wasn’t that much better….. Here’s to hoping November is better ūüôā

So I’ll do a quick mini-review round up of my September and October reads. It’s so impressive, I tell ya …. ::eyeroll::

Sate of the Onion
Title: State of the Onion
Author: Julie Hyzy
Read: Sept. 3-6, 2017
Pages: 325
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the first in the White House Chef Mystery series …. it was a fun read that I enjoyed! It was cute, but not cutesie …. if that makes sense? I definitely am looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Where They Found Her
Title: Where They Found Her
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Read: Sept. 10-19, 2017
Pages: 326
Source: Purchased New
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: So this one I found in the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble. I had my eye on it when it first came out because I had read and LOVED her previous book,¬†Reconstructing Amelia, so I think I had high hopes for this one. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t grab me right off the bat and I struggled to really get into it. And when it was all revealed in the end, it wasn’t as surprising as I had hoped for. So good, but not great.
Obstruction of Justice
Title: Obstruction of Justice
Author: Perri O’Shaughnessy
Read: Sept. 20-29, 2017
Pages: 512
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the 3rd book in the Nina Reilly series. I have read and enjoyed the previous two so I was looking forward to this one! I enjoyed it and it definitely left me wanting to read the fourth book … if only they weren’t so long, I often find myself too intimidated by longer books these days….
Her Last Breath
Title: Her Last Breath
Author: Linda Castillo
Read: Oct. 2-5, 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the 5th book in the Kate Burkholder series. I read and LOVED the first 4 in 2016 and had tried to pick this one up shortly after I read the 5th, but realized that I was a little burned out on the series. In fact, I can recall feeling like the books were all too similar to each other. So I set it aside and decided I’d come back to it later. Apparently a year later I decided it was time …. I’m glad I waited because I thoroughly enjoyed it! I had no trouble jumping right back into Kate’s life and I can’t wait to see where her and Tomasetti go in the future. I definitely recommend this series!
Pop Goes the Weasel
Title: Pop Goes the Weasel 
Author: M.J. Arlidge
Read: Oct. 8-13, 2017
Pages: 390
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: I read the first book in this series, Eeny Meeny,¬†¬†back in January of this year and I absolutely adored it! So I had high hopes for this one, but I wanted to let it sit for awhile (series burnout is real!) … and while I did enjoy this one, it definitely didn’t grab me as fast as the first book did. It was gruesome and a roller coaster ride, but I felt like it was a letdown from the first book. Yet I still want to continue on with this series, so it wasn’t terrible either. A solid thriller.
Beautiful Storm
Title: Beautiful Storm 
Author: Barbara Freethy
Read: Oct. 6-25, 2017
Pages: 321
Source: B&N Serial Reads
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: This book was October’s selection for Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads…. I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense, mainly because I don’t read a lot of romance. So I was a little unsure going into this one, but I was immediately intrigued by the storyline – the missing person’s case. If only it had been a little more on the intrigue and less on the romance (which really, wasn’t overbearing honestly…) it would have been a lot more interesting to me. So not something I would ever pick up on my own, but definitely a decent freebie read.
Winter Prey
Title: Winter Prey
Author: John Sandford
Read: Oct. 21-27, 2017
Pages: 400
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I remember very clearly thoroughly loving the previous book in this series, Silent Prey, so I was looking forward to getting to this 5th book in the Lucas Davenport series. Why did I wait so long between books?!? I really enjoyed this book. It was so creepy and suspenseful. I know I’m only on the 5th book in the series, but other than #2 they’ve all been home runs for me! Definitely makes me look forward to continuing on sooner rather than later!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book

Review: Knoll by Stephen Hillard

Knoll
by Stephen Hillard

Knoll

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 274

Read: May 22-29, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

 

Blurb: Bus McIntyre, small-town lawyer and Sixties survivor, is presented with evidence from the cold-case murder of his father Dean, a hard-drinking cop, four decades ago. It reveals Dean’s ties to a dead Mafia kingpin – and the assassination of JFK. Meanwhile, Banner McCoy, a young NSA data analyst assigned to a project code-named KNOLL, goes into hiding when she learns its objective: eliminate anyone with information on what really happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963. When Bus falls into the agency’s sights, all paths lead to a small Louisiana town full of secrets, where the late don’s aged but indefatigable hit man awaits, determined to tie up all loose ends.¬†


Review: If you have followed my blog for any time, you know by now that I am a sucker for anything JFK related. It’s a strange obsession I have. I gobble everything up about him, his life, his family, his presidency, his assassination, etc. So it was no surprise that when I was pitched this book I immediately jumped on the opportunity.

I will say that this book started out really slow for me. I had a hard time getting into the flow of the writing. It was a little bit of a strange start, really. But once I finally got into the book, I found it to be quite enjoyable.

I think my main complaint (if you can even call it that…) is that this book could have been a lot longer. I felt like there were a lot of things that could have been expanded upon. First of all¬†there could have been a lot more to Banner’s story. This book kind of opens up and you’re just thrown into everything. I think that’s what had me so confused in the beginning. I felt like there could have been a lot more meat to the story than there actually was. A lot more background would have been nice as well. It’s¬†a fine line sometimes, though. I know I have complained numerous times that a book could have been 100 pages shorter … this one I just feel could have been 100 pages longer!

Even so, without that “meat” I would have preferred a little more of, I still enjoyed this book. It was an interesting spin on the JFK assassination. I would definitely recommend this book to JFK junkies like myself as well as mystery fans.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.32 REVIEW – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 316
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 13-20, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 32
Format: Print
Source: Cruise Ship Library
Series: N/A

The Girl on the Train Blurb: Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens.

She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses, “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see: she’s much more than just the girl on the train…


 

Review: When this one first came out it had so much buzz surrounding it. But I was intrigued. I wanted to read it so badly. But¬†I usually end up hating buzz books. So I chose to hold off and let the buzz die off a little bit. When I went on my cruise recently, I finished the only two books I took with me. On the last night of the cruise, I decided I’d pop into the cruise ship’s library and see what they had. And I saw this book. I got so excited I nearly knocked my husband down to get to it. So I made a little trade¬†with one of the books I had finished for this one.

I started reading this one on my plane ride home. I read 100 pages. Actually, I should say I flew through 100 pages, because that’s more accurate. What I really found about this book was that it was an addictive read.

Another thing that I found was that the characters are horrible. Actually, they’re probably a bit beyond horrible, they’re¬†that bad.

I wanted to slap Rachel upside her head on more than one occasion. I could hardly tolerate her near the end – either make the change in life you need to or stop whining about it and deal with what you’ve gotten yourself into. I had very little sympathy for her. Anna irritated me to no end. She was too proud of herself for breaking up a marriage – not something that’s really brag-worthy in my opinion. Then you had Megan, Scott and Tom. They were all screwed up too. Every single person in this book was screwed¬†up to the max, to be completely honest. It was just a little over the top in places, and I hated every single one of them. But yet, I kept reading. I had to know what really happened. It really was an addictive read.

I don’t know why I loved this one so much. It was irritating to me in so many places. I hated the characters. Yet I loved it. It’s such a strange thing to try to describe. But definitely a book I’d recommend.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.19 REVIEW – The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

The Silent Wife
by A.S.A. Harrison

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 326
Rating: 3/5
Read: June 18 – June 27, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 19
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Series: N/A

The Silent WifeBlurb:
¬†Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices,¬†The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.


Review: I purchased this book new in 2014. And then I proceeded to do as I always do … I let it linger on my shelf. I have no idea what made me pick this one up, but it caught my eye when I went searching for my next read after finishing up¬†Misery.

So what did I think ….hmm. This is a tough one. What do you get when you absolutely hate both main characters? Because one is so stupid and the other is in such denial you want to slap her upside the head? Yeah. That’s where I’m at on this book. Todd is a class-A jerk wad. A cheater. Jodi needs to get her head out of the sand. Even after Todd leaves her for Natasha she’s in such denial that I wanted to strangle her.

But for some reason I kept reading this book. I was sucked in for whatever reason. I couldn’t tear myself away from the book (when I got the chance to pick it up … reading with 2 little ones is a whole different ball game). I had to know what happened. Little by little the book unfolds and I was left holding my breath until the very end. This is not necessarily a fast-paced thriller. It’s more slow-paced, but every bit as intriguing.

Bottom line … I enjoyed this one, but ultimately it was my distaste for Todd and Jodi that is keeping my opinion of this one more on the “okay” side than the “awesome” side.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2015, SERIES, Sookie Stackhouse

2015.8 REVIEW – Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Dead as a Doornail
by Charlaine Harris

Copyright:2005
Pages: 295
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 20 – Feb. 25, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 8
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #5

Dead as a DoornailBlurb:¬†Small-town cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has had more than her share of experience with the supernatural – but now it’s really hitting close to home. When Sookie sees her brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a were panther for the first time – a transformation he embraces more readily than most shape-shifters she knows. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population, and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks – unless the killer decides to find her first…


Review: This is the 5th book in the Sookie series and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long before starting this series.

I find these books to be fun escapes. There’s not much thinking involved in them and sometimes that’s exactly what I need. Even though paranormal will never be my favorite genre, these books really appeal to me.

I found this book to be interesting. Sookie is always finding herself in trouble. And this installment is no exception. I’m so intrigued by the world Ms. Harris has created in this series. There’s so much pomp and circumstance regarding the vamps and weres and shifters. It’s just so interesting.

Overall, I liked this book and I enjoy this series. Definitely recommended.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2014, READING CHALLENGES 2014, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

2014.46 REVIEW – Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World
by Charlaine Harris

Copyright: 2004
Pages: 291
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 25 – Nov. 1, 2014
Challenge: RIP IX
Yearly count: 46
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #4

Dead to the WorldBlurb:¬†It’s not every day that you come across a naked man on the side of the road. That’s why cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse doesn’t just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn’t a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It’s Eric the vampire – but now he’s a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life. Sookie’s investigation into who and why leads straight into a dangerous battle among witches, vampires, and werewolves. But a greater danger could be to Sookie’s heart – because this version of Eric is very difficult to resist…


Review: Paranormal is not normally my cup of tea, but for some reason I really enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse series. This book is another good installment, in my opinion.

What gets me every single time is just how much trouble Sookie manages to find herself in. And how she gets out of it is even more remarkable!

There’s not much that I could possibly say about this book that hasn’t been mentioned a gazillion times before.

I enjoyed it. And I would recommend this series to just about anyone.