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—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared 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—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally 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!!

 

Advertisements
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 – a 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 🙂

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!]

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

Review: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire
by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 274

Read: March 31 – April 6, 2018

Rating: 5/5

Source: Library

 

 

Blurb: Isma is free. After years of watching out for her younger siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she’s accepted an invitation from a mentor in America that allows her to resume a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream, to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. When Parvaiz surfaces half a globe away, Isma’s worst fears are confirmed.

Then handsome, charismatic Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Son of a powerful political figure, he has his own birthright to live up to – or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz’s salvation? Suddenly, two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined.

Internationally acclaimed for her riveting and ambitiously imagined novels, here Kamila Shamsie explores how secrets and family loyalty can both bind lives together and threaten to spin them out of control. Searing and suspenseful, Home Fire asks: What sacrifices will we make in the name of love?


Review: This is not the type of book I normally read. Not even close. But when I saw on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s site that it was her book club’s April selection I dug deeper into the book. I previewed the first page on Goodreads and knew immediately that I had to join the book club for this discussion and immediately get a copy of that book. (You can find that intro here if you’re curious to know what was so compelling to make me fork over money to join a virtual book club and head straight to the library.)

I had seen on the MMD website that this is actually a modern retelling of Antigone. I’m not going to lie, I had no idea what Antigone was even about. It was all I could do to not Google it before I finished the book! I’m ultimately glad that I avoided doing so since I think it would have definitely affected the way I viewed this book.

This book has so many different themes that are explored, but family and country relationships are definitely at the core. It brings forth a lot of feelings and made me really wonder what I would do in those situations. Let’s be frank: I’m an upper-middle class white woman who has no idea what the real world is really like to more underprivileged people. This book made me think more about what it would be like to be a woman trying to do everything in her power to avoid bringing attention to herself lest people think she was a terrorist. It made me think about what it would be like to be so driven in life that I would essentially deny my entire familial background. It made me think about what it would be like to be so driven in my grief that I would willingly manipulate seemingly innocent people in order to get what I ultimately wanted. It made me think about what it would be like to want to know who your father was so badly that you would (inadvertently?) join a terrorist group in order to get the answers you so desperately wanted.

Yeah, it’s that kind of book.

This book really made me think. And I’m not used to books like that. I’m used to murder mysteries where I just have to figure out who the killer is. This book opened my mind to a lot more things than I ever imagined. And it’s stuck with me. I finished this book nearly 2 weeks ago and am just now sitting down to write this review because I’ve been in a book hangover trying to wrap my mind around it.

I still do not think I can adequately put into words my feelings on this book. All I can say is that I was enamored by it. I was enthralled by it. I was engrossed in it. It’ll be in my mind for quite some time.

And I would recommend everyone to read it.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz

The Lucky OnesAbout The Lucky Ones

Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: MIRA (February 13, 2018)
They called themselves “the lucky ones”
They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast. Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.

Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She’s determined to find out what really happened that fateful night — was it an accident or, as she’s always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?

But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she’ll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.

Review

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

When I was first pitched this book, the cover and blurb immediately caught my eye. It sounded super creepy! When I first received the book and read the first page I was a little unsure about my decision to take it on. I decided to set it aside until closer to my tour date. I picked it up with about a week to go before my scheduled date. And then I couldn’t put it down!

I was intrigued by every little turn of events the entire book! First I wondered how a young woman like Allison could get involved in a relationship like she was in. Then I wondered how she could have so few memories of her time in her foster home. And then as she went out to Oregon and her memories came back to her little by little I couldn’t wait to figure out what exactly had happened all those years ago!

I fell in love with each character in their own ways. They all each had a great voice and it was interesting to see them from not only Allison’s perspective but also their own perspectives. They were all so well-developed that at one point I felt like I was right there with them all in the attic, just hanging out and catching up.

This is such an intricate novel with all the secrets of the past revealed little by little. I found it to be extremely easy to read and enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down at times. I wanted to know what happened to the “lucky ones” so many years before. This was a really good novel that I highly, highly, highly recommend! It will definitely be on my favorites list for the year!

Don’t walk …. but run …. to get your copy of this! It does not disappoint!


Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer.

Connect with Tiffany

Website | Facebook | Instagram

tlc tour host

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, S

Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls
by Riley Sager

Final Girls

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 339

Read: Jan. 4-8, 2018

Rating: 5/5

Source: Book of the Month

 

 

Blurb: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie-scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to – a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls: Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now Quincy is doing well – maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-finance, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam has sought her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.


Review: This was my second read of 2018 and my first 5 star rating! I mean I could gush on and on about this book! It was THAT good!

So basically you’ve got Quincy who acts like she has her act together after surviving a terrible incident which saw her best friends murdered before her eyes. She’s labeled a “Final Girl”. She’s effectively blocked it completely out of her mind and “thinks” she’s moved past it. But can one really move past something like that?! When Sam, another “Final Girl” randomly shows up on her doorstep, things start to spiral for Quincy. She’s not nearly as perfect as she wants everyone to believe. And then she begins remembering what happened that night many years ago …. Maybe some things are better left unremembered ….

I don’t want to give any more plot details about it without getting into spoilers. But really, this book caught me from the very first page and I was absolutely hooked until I finished it. And that ending …. well! It’s a crazy ending that I was not prepared for! I’m so glad that I picked this one up. It had been on my shelf since July when it was my BOTM pick. And when I saw that Samantha had really enjoyed it, I knew I had to pick it up sooner rather than later. I haven’t been caught up in a book like I was with this one in a very long time, so I really enjoyed my time with it.

I know this one has been marketed as a horror novel. I’m not sure I’m entirely on board with that classification. It definitely has a horror movie feel. But I personally think it’s more in the psychological thriller genre than horror. Maybe that’s just because I tend to correlate horror novels with scary books and this was more intense suspense than scary.

And can I just say that I really hope this book is made into a movie ASAP! I know I read online that the rights have been purchased, but I haven’t seen any more information than that. But I know this one will make an awesome movie! And I don’t usually feel that way about book to movie adaptations.

Anyway … I can only give you one solid piece of advice ….. read this book!!

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Harry Bosch, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES

Review: City of Bones by Michael Connelly

City of Bones
by Michael Connelly

City of Bones

Copyright: 2002

Pages: 421

Read: June 3 – June 7, 2017

Rating: 5/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

Blurb: On New Year’s Day, a dog finds a bone in the Hollywood Hills – and unearths a murder committed more than twenty years earlier. It’s a cold case, but for Detective Harry Bosch, it stirs up memories of his childhood as an orphan. He can’t let it go. As the investigation takes Bosch deeper into the past, a beautiful rookie cop brings him alive in the present. No official warning can break them apart – or prepare Bosch for the explosions when the case takes a few hard turns. Suddenly all of L.A. is in an uproar, and Bosch, fighting to keep control, is driven to the brink of an unimaginable decision.


Review: This is the 8th book in the Harry Bosch series. And I think this one was one of my favorites in the series so far! It was a really great book! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

There were a lot of twists and turns here and there as well as some interesting revelations and decisions. It will be interesting to see where Mr. Connelly takes Harry from here after the ending of this book…

I really felt like Harry was a different person in this book. It was probably because of that rookie cop mentioned in the blurb. He was just a lot happier for the most part.

Definitely makes me look forward to reading the next book relatively soon!

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Nina Reilly, O, RATING, Read in 2016, SERIES

Review: Invasion of Privacy by Perri O’Shaughnessy

Invasion of Privacy
by Perri O’Shaughnessy

Invasion of Privacy

Copyright: 1996

Pages: 517

Read: Oct. 19 – Oct. 24, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Source: Box trade with Carol

 

 

Blurb: The bloodstains on the courtroom floor belong to attorney Nina Reilly. Months earlier she’d been shot during a heated murder trial. She should have died that day. Instead Nina has returned to the same Lake Tahoe court. Her only concession to her lingering fear is to give up criminal law. She figures an invasion of privacy lawsuit is a nice, safe civil action that will help her support her young son and pay the bills for her one-woman law office. She figures wrong.

Nina’s client is Terry London, a filmmaker whose documentary about a missing girl is raising disturbing questions. The girl’s distraught parents believe the film invades their privacy. But Terry’s brutal murder changes everything. Breaking her promise to herself, Nina decides to defend Terry’s accused murderer, a man she’d known years before and hoped never to see again. Suddenly the secrets of Nina’s past are beginning to surface in a murder case that gets more dangerous every day. The evidence against her client is shocking and ironclad – a video of Terry’s dying words. The only chance Nina has to save the man may be illegal. And if it fails, Nina may lose the case, her practice … and even her life.


Review: This is the 2nd book in the Nina Reilly series. I read the first, Motion to Suppress, back in 2013 (oops!) I remember thoroughly enjoying that book, so I’m not exactly why it took me so long to get around to the second book. But for whatever reason …. this one was another really good book.

I really enjoy the courtroom scenes in this book. They’re well written and easy to read even by a non-attorney. There were a few places where some of the legal descriptions got a little more involved than I preferred, but for the most part, it was really an enjoyable, easy read. Clocking in at 517 pages, this is definitely a little longer of a book than I usually take on, but I really didn’t notice it being too daunting while I was reading it. It probably could have been cut down by 75 or so pages, but really, don’t let the length of this book intimidate you – it’s a really interesting read that kept my attention throughout.

I definitely recommend this book. And I can say that having taken so long between reading the first book and this second one, it really didn’t hurt much in terms of being confused anywhere. So you could definitely pick this one up as a standalone if you preferred. Either way, I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from this series – hopefully it doesn’t take me 3 more years before I get around to the third book…

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Lucas Davenport, RATING, Read in 2016, S, SERIES

Silent Prey by John Sanford

Silent Prey
by John Sanford

Silent Prey

Copyright: 1992

Pages: 388

Read: Aug. 22-Aug. 25, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Once, Bekker indulged his brilliant obsession with death; now he is in prison. Once, he was hunted by a man who understood the genius of murder; now he wants revenge…

Lieutenant Davenport should have killed Bekker when he had the chance…

Because today, Bekker escapes.


Review:  What. A. Book.

I mean, seriously!! What a freaking book! This is the fourth in the Lucas Davenport and is kind of a sequel to the third, Eyes of PreyI read that one a couple of years ago and remember loving it. So why on earth did I wait so long to pick this one up?! I can’t answer that, but I sure am glad I read it now!

The blurb above doesn’t really do justice to the book. It doesn’t mention that there’s actually a dual storyline. The one with Bekker – who escapes and makes his way to New York City. And then the one where Lucas goes to New York in order to surreptitiously hunt down  the “Robin Hoods” (vigilantes killing criminals in NYC) under the auspices of the Bekker case. I personally enjoyed both storylines – they were both interesting.

So yeah, there’s not much I can say about this book except that I loved it! And I’m looking forward to continuing on with Lucas Davenport!

Highly recommended.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

Breaking Silence
by Linda Castillo

Breaking Silence

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 302

Read: July 23-27, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane-gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers evidence of foul play. Who would want to make orphans of the Slabaugh children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?

Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. The state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship, and together they search for the link between the crimes – and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.


Review: This is the third book in the Kate Burkholder series. I absolutely loved the first book in the series and the second one was good, but just a little flatter. But Ms. Castillo came out guns blazing with this one! I absolutely loved every minute of it! Just when I thought I had it all figured out, she threw a curve ball .. and then another!

I really like Kate’s character. She’s a good cop with some baggage, but she’s very relatable. And John, he’s just a male version of her. Their relationship works really well and makes for some enjoyable moments throughout the book.

I can’t believe I have waited this long to start this series… and I’m looking forward to reading the fourth book soon!

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, RATING, Read in 2016, Review Book, S

Review: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls
by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 573

Read: May 15 – 23, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Source: Publicist for Review

 

 

Blurb: It’s been more than twenty years since Claire and Lydia last spoke. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire; Lydia, a single mother dating an ex-con, struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the disappearance of their sister Julia two decades earlier – and the shocking murder of Claire’s husband brings the horror and heartbreak of the past roaring back into their lives.

The vanishing of a teenage girl and the killing of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: What could connect them? As they form a wary truce, the surviving sisters unearth the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago … and find the astonishing truth where they least expected it.


Review: Oh for the love of everything holy, this book is one hell of a ride! I read Julia’s story, Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes last year and loved it. So when I was given the opportunity to read this one, I knew I had to know what happened to Julia!

Let me just preface this with the fact that this book is gruesome. I mean, gruesome. It’s not for the faint of heart. That being said, I loved every deliciously disgusting moment of it! It sucked me in and spit me back out at the end. It was one heck of a ride. And can I just say that I was chugging along nicely and about the halfway mark the reader is thrown a curve ball that I never saw coming and hit me like a Mack truck. From that moment on I had to know what happened. I had to know how this ended up. It was just that good!

The characters are enjoyable, and some of them will surprise you in the end. You see a lot of growth in them throughout the book. You see a family torn apart come together. You see what a madman can do to one family. The plot is so intricate it’s amazing. Everything is woven together so perfectly. One little thing mentioned could mean something big later on in the book. It’s not a book to skim through, it’s one to devour. It’s just such a great book I don’t know how much more gushing I can possibly do.

This book will definitely be one of the best ones I read all year long. It was that good in my opinion.

Read. This. Book. Now!

**I received a copy of this book for review, all opinions expressed are my own.