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!

Advertisements
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.

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.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.25 REVIEW – The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

The Night Sister
by Jennifer McMahon

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 322
Rating: 5/5
Read: July 25-31, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 25
Format: E-Book
Source: Requested from Edelweiss
Series: N/A

The Night SisterBlurb:
 Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past, something that ruined their friendship forever.

Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock’s next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.


Review:I received a copy of this for free via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

I have kept Jennifer McMahon’s books on my radar since devouring The One I Left Behind and The Winter PeopleSo I was thrilled to catch this one on Edelweiss while browsing … even more excited to get approval!!

The way this book unfolds is so impressive. It’s like Ms. McMahon just lightly peels away layer after layer until you’re finally at the heart and soul of the story. The pacing is just superb. The suspense keeps you on your toes. I really, really loved this book.

I enjoyed the flashbacks. It was interesting to see the different perspectives from Rose/Sylvia to Amy/Piper/Margot and then on to Piper/Margot. The way it spanned some 50 years to reveal the intricate details of a family’s secrets … just, wow! And then when it all came to fruition at the end, there were a couple of revelations that made the book come together perfectly.

I mean, really, I don’t know what I could possibly say negative about this book. I throughly enjoyed reading it. This one will definitely make my “best of” books read at the end of the year.

Bottom line … read this book! And read some of Ms. McMahon’s backlist too – you won’t be sorry!

 

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

2015.11 REVIEW – Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent
by Veronica Roth

Copyright:2011
Pages: 487
Rating: 5/5
Read: March 8 – March 13, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 11
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new
Series: Divergent Trilogy #1

DivergentBlurb: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


Review: You may remember me mentioning in my review of Attachments that I had signed up for some Goodreads challenges, one being where we were encouraged to read outside our comfort genres. This is another book that I chose for that challenge.

So what did I think? Honest to goodness, I LOVED this book. I surprised myself by how much I truly enjoyed it. I really took to Tris’s character. And Four. I think I may have had a little bit of a crush on Four by the end of the book.

I think my only complaint about this book is the lack of background. We just jump right in. What happened to put the City in its current state? Why the factions? Why the hatred between the factions? What caused all this discontent? I hope the other two books address this.

This book was about initiations. We got to see all the training that Tris had to go through to become Dauntless. It was unrealistic, to say the least. There’s no way anyone could have survived what they had to go through. Okay, maybe some people could have – I sure wouldn’t have, ha! It’s this training that sets up for whatever is going down. We get a little bit of a preview of what is to come in the last few chapters of the book. But now I’m anxious to know what will happen next!

I am still amazed that I liked this book as much as I did. I liked it so much that I’m going out to buy Insurgent.

Highly recommended.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, M, Nonfiction, O, RATING, Read in 2014, READING CHALLENGES 2014

2014.27 REVIEW – If I Can’t Have You by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris

If I Can’t Have You: Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children
by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 322
Rating: 5/5
Read: June 5-7, 2014
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge, What’s in a Name Challenge
Yearly count: 27
Format:  Print
Source: Library
Series: None

Blurb: New York Times bestselling authors Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris investigate one of the twenty-first century’s most puzzling disappearances and how it resulted in the murder of two children by their father.

Every once in a great while a genuine murder mystery unfolds before the eyes of the American public. The tragic story of Susan Powell and her murdered boys, Charlie and Braden, is the only case that rivals the JonBenet Ramsey saga in the annals of true crime. When the pretty Utah mother went missing in December of 2009, the media was swept up in the story – with lenses and microphones trained on Susan’s husband, Josh. He said he had no idea what happened to his young wife, and that he and the boys had been camping in the middle of a snowstorm.

Over the next three years, bombshell by bombshell, the story would reveal more shocking secrets. Josh’s father, Steve, who was sexually obsessed with Susan, would ultimately be convicted of unspeakable perversion. Josh’s brother, Michael, would commit suicide. And in the most stunning event of them all, Josh Powell would murder his two little boys and kill himself with a brutality beyond belief, leaving a family destroyed and a nation in shock.


Review: In my late teens and early twenties, I gobbled up true crime. In any way, shape, or form. I just devoured it. From books to documentaries, to CourtTV … I couldn’t get enough true crime! Then I kind of got away from it. I still occasionally catch a TV show here or there, but for the most part, I’ve really not devoted much time to my love of true crime. 

But then I had seen the pre-publication publicity for this book and I was immediately intrigued. So I put myself on my library’s wait list and was excited when it came in. But what I wasn’t expecting was to absolutely devour it. Like in 3 days.

I learned a lot of stuff by reading this book. I remember the Susan Powell disappearance. And I remember Josh’s weird behavior. And I remember the absolute heartbreaking news that Josh had killed his two precious little boys. But I didn’t know a lot of the fine details. Which, after reading the book, a lot of people didn’t because the police never released a whole lot of information until after the case was officially closed. And by then, I’m not sure how many people were still interested.

I was really surprised by how tight-lipped the police department really was. It was almost as if they didn’t want to pursue the case. Knowing what I know now, they were doing things that a lot of people didn’t know. However, I finished this book with the profound feeling that Charlie and Braden could be alive and well today had the police department done a little bit more. I know how difficult it is to progress with such circumstantial evidence. But at the same time, I think Susan’s father had it right all along … Josh would have broken down in jail. He wouldn’t have reacted to that well and I think he would have talked.

Now, do I have a strong feeling as to what really happened to Susan? No. I can’t say whether I think it was an accident, premeditated, or if Josh was just a participant, not the actual offender. I do think that there is only one person alive today that knows where Susan actually is … Steve. I think Charlie and Braden saw something that night “camping.” And they were desperately trying to process it, you could see that in their behavior after Susan was missing. I think Josh’s brother Michael knew something, why else would Josh make him beneficiary to his life insurance … and why would he commit suicide when the police focused on him?

This book left me with a lot of questions. But that’s the ultimate problem with this case. There are so many unanswered questions.

Regardless of what you know or think you know about Susan Powell’s disappearance, I can’t recommend this book enough. It reads so easily. It’s not dry or hard to read. It puts things in such a light that you heart will break over and over again before you reach the end.

5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013

2013.34 REVIEW – Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing Amelia 
by Kimberly McCreight

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 380
Rating: 5/5
Read: Aug. 2-6, 2013
Challenge: What’s in a Name 6 Challenge
Yearly count: 34
Format: Print
Source: Library

Reconstructing AmeliaBlurb: When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets an urgent phone call summoning her to her daughter’s exclusive private school, she’s shocked. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something that would be completely out of character for her over-acheiving, well-behaved daughter.

Kate rushes to Grace Hall, but what she finds when she finally arrives is beyond her comprehension.

Her daughter Amelia is dead. 

Despondent over having been caught cheating, Amelia has jumped from the school’s roof in an act of impulsive suicide. At least that’s the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. In a state of shock and overcome by grief, Kate tries to come to grips with this life-shattering news. Then she gets an anonymous text:

Amelia didn’t jump. 

The moment she sees that message, Kate knows in her heart it’s true. Clearly Amelia had secrets, and a life Kate knew nothing about. Wracked by guilt, Kate is determined to find out what those secrets were and who could have hate her daughter enough to kill. She searches through Amelia’s e-mails, texts, and Facebook updates, piecing together the last troubled days of her daughter’s life.

Reconstructing Amelia is a stunning debut page-turner that brilliantly explores the secret world of teenagers, their clandestine first loves, hidden friendships, and the dangerous cruelty that can spill over into acts of terrible betrayal.


Review: What. A. Book. Undoubtedly this book will make it on my Top Reads list at the end of the year. It’s just one of those books that really sucks you in and spits you back out when you finish the last page. There’s just so much to talk about this book, I don’t really know where to start.

I will try to keep spoilers at a minimum, but definitely read this review with caution.

First, I guess I should talk about my experience as a teenager in high school. To a certain extent, during my junior year, I was bullied. For whatever reason there was this one girl who was absolutely out to get me. Looking back on it, I still try to figure out what on earth I ever did to her, and the only thing I can think of is that she was just plain jealous of me (why, I will never know, but whatever). However, it hurt deeply at the time. Luckily it started and stopped pretty much with this one girl, but for about 4 months it was non-stop. Then one day it stopped as quickly as it started. I never cracked under her pressure. I put on a brave face at school and pushed through it. But I was absolutely aching inside. I still had a lot of good friends behind me, but she sure did manage to wreak havoc. Having said all that, I know it could have been worse. I was in high school before the huge Facebook/Twitter/Texting explosion happened. We had cell phones (we all had those Nokia’s that had the changeable faceplates!) and MSN instant messenger. And yeah, things got around … but not in the instant that it can now. So for that, I was lucky. But I can definitely feel for those teenagers (or tweens) who are being bullied today. It hurts, no matter how it’s happening to you.

So for this reason, I take books about bullying a little differently than some might. I can definitely connect to the character being bullied more than other readers might. And it’s for this reason that I really loved Amelia’s character. When we first meet her she doesn’t care about what others think. She has her best friend, Sylvia, and a mother who, while somewhat absent, definitely loves her, and that’s all she needs. Oh and it doesn’t hurt that she’s super smart and on the field hockey team, too. She’s carved out a nice place for herself in her school. But all that changes when she gets tapped for a club. And as someone who wanted to be accepted and popular in high school more than anything, I can understand why she was curious about joining. But I felt bad for Amelia too when she got tapped. She knew something was off, she knew she had no business being there … she could have walked away, but she didn’t. And that was the beginning of her downfall. I felt like I was watching a really good girl change into someone she wasn’t as I continued to read the book. She started lying to everyone. She started doing things out of character. And then it all backfired on her.

I guess I should mention now that the book is told in alternating views between Amelia and her mother, Kate. And I felt really bad for Kate’s character. She got pregnant unexpectedly in law school. She chose to keep the baby. But something about her irritated me. I guess it was because she was so absent in her daughter’s life. I mean, I know she tried, and I know she loved Amelia … but you don’t become partner at a NYC law firm easily. She was putting in some major hours and I felt like her relationship with her daughter definitely suffered. You could tell that she felt guilty about it, and Amelia was too headstrong to ask her mom for help. Personally I don’t have an important career. Yes, I have a job outside of the home … but I work for my dad and my son comes first and that’s just how it’s going to be. I don’t really know what it would be like to try to juggle a demanding career and a family, but I can imagine that if you were a single parent, it would probably go the way it did for Kate and Amelia.

The remaining adult characters in this book. Just … wow. You would expect adults to act like adults and children to act like children. But it seems a lot of times those roles were reversed in this book. And as the book started to come to a close and things were finally revealed, it was absolutely shocking at times. I finished this book on Monday and I’m still reeling from some of the revelations.

Overall I highly recommend this book. I think it’s a really good read. But I must warn you, it’s not a sugar-coated, G-rated book. So take that into account if you have issues with reading foul language and sexual situations.

But I think that this is a book that all parents should read at some point. It’s definitely eye-opening, and while I’m still 14 years away from any situations like the ones in this book, it is truly something that we as parents need to be aware of so that we can hopefully guide our children in the right direction.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, E-Book, Fiction, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, Review Book

2013.5 REVIEW – A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins

A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate
by Susanna Calkins

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 349
Rating: 5/5
Read: Jan. 18 – 22, 2013
Challenge: 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge
Yearly count: 5
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley

A Murder at Rosamund's GateBlurb:  For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and Lucy’s brother is wrongly arrested for the crime. In a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers aren’t permitted to defend their clients, and—if the plague doesn’t kill them first—public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never see her brother alive again. Unless, that is, she can identify the true murderer.

Determined to do just that, Lucy finds herself venturing out of her expected station and into raucous printers’ shops, secretive gypsy camps, the foul streets of London, and even the bowels of Newgate prison on a trail that might lead her straight into the arms of the killer.


Review: I received this book via NetGalley. It was an impulse request, but I knew that it was a book that I really wanted to read.

I actually finished this book a few days ago, but for some reason I couldn’t immediately put my thoughts together on how to approach the review. But I’ve now gathered my thoughts and I hope that I am able to convey to my readers just how much I really did enjoy this book.

However, that’s not to say that it wasn’t without its faults. First of all, this is most definitely a historical mystery. But I was a little frustrated that it took 100 pages until we really got to the “mystery” part of it. The only reason I kept reading the book through all that was because Ms. Calkins really set the stage beautifully in my opinion. There was just something about the writing and the introduction to all the characters that really drew me farther into the story.

I really enjoyed Lucy’s character. She seemed so real to me. And I liked how Ms. Calkins made her more than just a servant – she was a young woman with thoughts and opinions of her own. It also helped that her household master was quite receptive to hearing the chambermaid’s opinions. I’m absolutely positive that this would have been almost unheard of during the time this book was set (London during the plague years).

The mystery part of the book was quite interesting to me. I will admit that I had no idea who the killer really was until he was revealed. That’s always something that I really appreciate out of a good book.

When the book reaches its conclusion the reader is left wondering where Lucy will go from there. I will admit that I was a little frustrated that it seemed to end so abruptly. I was left with a lot of questions that I wanted answers to immediately. Hopefully I will be able to meet Lucy again in another book in the future.

Either way, this is definitely a historical mystery not to be missed. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but when I do this is exactly the type of book that I’m looking for. I know this book will make a big splash in the book world – and it definitely deserves to. Highly recommended.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2013, Review Book

2013.1 REVIEW – The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

The One I Left Behind
by Jennifer McMahon

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 422
Rating: 5/5
Read: Jan. 1 – 4, 2013
Challenge: 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge
Yearly count: 1
Format: Print
Source: ARC from publisher via Shelf Awareness

The One I Left BehindBlurb: The summer of 1985 changed Reggie’s life. Thirteen, awkward, and without a father, she finds herself mixed up with her school’s outcasts – Charlie, the local detective’s son, and Tara, a goth kid who harbors a dark secret. That same summer a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother Vera – an ex-model with many “boyfriends” and a thirst for gin – the most, Vera’s hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there’s no body and Neptune disappears.

Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind after that horrific summer, Reggie doesn’t trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when she gets a call from a homeless shelter saying that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.


Review: Oh. My. Goodness.

Okay, so a few months ago I first read the description of this book. 1985? The year I was born. Character named Tara? Totally my name 🙂 Serial Killer? Sign me up! I signed up for a copy from the publisher through Shelf Awareness Pro (Oh, how I love you!) and was ecstatic when I found a copy in my mailbox shortly thereafter.

And then it sat. And sat. And sat.

For whatever reason, I kept putting off picking it up. Until January 1st. I wanted a fresh slate. And thought that since this book would be releasing in early January it would be absolutely perfect timing for me to read it.

Thank goodness I did! I was hooked from page one. I would sit down and read 50 pages before I knew where the time had gone. I couldn’t get Garrett to sleep long enough during the day for me to satisfy my reading need, lol.

Let me just say that Ms. McMahon really captured the whole “He was always so nice; I never would have imagined he could have done something like that” cliché of serial killers with Neptune. It wasn’t until about 50 pages to go that I actually started to think that it could be who it ended up being – I was convinced it was someone else the entire book!

The story was told in alternating time periods – Reggie as a 13-year-old when Neptune began killing women in her hometown and Reggie as a 39-year-old dealing with trust issues and reeling from the news that her mother, missing and presumed dead for the past 25 years, has just turned back up alive but quickly dying of cancer. I really came to enjoy seeing exactly how Reggie was shaped by her dysfunctional family and what it ended up doing to her as an adult.

I have to say that these were some of the best characters I’ve gotten to know in a long time. The whole cast was quite enjoyable. Other than Reggie, I think Tara was my favorite – she was so real. And Ms. McMahon was really able to capture the pain of adolescence. Sometimes authors struggle to really connect the adolescent characters and the readers – but I really felt for all the young characters. And it was also fun to see who they ended up becoming in the alternating storyline of present-day. It’s really amazing how a few traumatic events in adolescence can affect who you become as an adult.

I have seen some of Ms. McMahon’s other books before and have always been intrigued by the descriptions. I have a feeling that I will be reading more by her in the future.

Overall I really can’t say enough about this book. I enjoyed it that much. I know it’s only my first finished book of the year, but I have a pretty good feeling that it will make my Top 10 list at the end of 2013. It’s definitely a book that I’m going to recommend to everyone I talk to. And it’s one I won’t be forgetting very soon, either.

Highly recommended.

5/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, Review Book

2012.33 REVIEW – Low Pressure by Sandra Brown

Low Pressure
by Sandra Brown

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 343
Rating: 5/5Low Pressure
Read: Dec. 13 – Dec. 18 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense Challenge
Yearly count: 33
Format: E-book
Source: NetGalley

Blurb: Bellamy Lyston was only 12 years old when her older sister Susan was killed in a stormy Memorial Day. Bellamy’s fear of storms is a legacy of the tornado that destroyed the crime scene along with her memory of what really happened during the day’s most devastating moments.

Now, 18 years later, Bellamy has written a sensational, bestselling novel based on Susan’s murder. Because the book was inspired by the tragic event that still pains her family, she published it under a pseudonym to protect them from unwanted publicity. But when an opportunistic reporter for a tabloid newspaper discovers the book is based on fact, Bellamy’s identity is exposed along with the family scandal.

Moreover, Bellamy becomes the target of an unnamed assailant who either wants the truth about Susan’s murder to remain unknown or, even more threatening, is determined to get  vengeance for a man wrongfully accused and punished.

In order to identify her stalker, Bellamy must confront the ghosts of her past, including Dent Carter, Susan’s wayward and reckless boyfriend – and an original suspect in the murder case. Dent, with this and other stains on his past, is intent on clearing his name, and he needs Bellamy’s sealed memory to do it. But her safeguarded recollections – once unlocked – pose dangers that neither could foresee and puts both their lives in peril.

As Bellamy delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Susan’s slaying, she discovers disturbing elements of the crime which call into question the people she holds most dear. Haunted by partial memories, conflicted over her feelings for Dent, but determined to learn the truth, she won’t stop until she reveals Susan’s killer.

That is, unless Susan’s killer strikes her first…


Review: I loaded this book onto my Nook and started it on my airplane ride to Hawaii. I was immediately sucked in and I have to say that it was the perfect vacation book. I found it to be very fast paced and exciting. I could hardly stand to put it down because I kept wanting more and more of it!

I especially enjoyed how a tornado really played into the storyline. On Feb. 29, 2012, my hometown of Harrisburg, IL, was hit by an EF-4 tornado. Both of my grandparents and my parents were all in the path of this storm. And it was a killer storm too – I believe 7 people lost their lives. My family was lucky to walk away with their lives, but their homes and emotions were not as intact as their physical beings. Knowing what a storm like that can do to a person, I found it very intriguing how Bellamy’s fear of storms and her memory loss was tied to the tornado in the book.

Little by little, Bellamy’s memory came back to her. I quite enjoyed seeing how she pieced everything together – what was revealed to her by something very minute would bring back quite a chunk of her memory.

The who-dun-it part of the story, while intriguing, was not exactly surprising. About halfway through the book I began to suspect the person who did end up being the killer. Like I said, it wasn’t really all that big of a shocking twist, but it still came together quite well at the end.

This book would not be for the under 18 crowd. There was quite a bit of steamy encounters between Bellamy and Dent. Personally, it didn’t bother me, but it might not be for everyone.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I feel as if it’s another great book by Sandra Brown and one not to be missed! Highly recommended.