3/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Fiction, MMD Book Club, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

What I Saw and How I Lied
by Judy Blunder

What I Saw and How I Lied

Copyright: 2008

Pages: 281

Read: May 3-8, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Library

 

 

Blurb: When Evie’s father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just war stories. Movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe’s company, shows up, and Evie finds herself falling for him … until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family breaks her life in two.

As she begins to realize that almost everything she believed was really a lie, Evie must get to the heart of the deceptions and choose between loyalty to her parents and feelings for the man she loves. Someone will have to be betrayed. The question is … who?


Review: This is the May book selection for the MMD Book Club. I was excited to see it available at my library and immediately fell in love with that cover! I was really looking forward to it. Young Adult isn’t necessarily a genre I’m overly familiar with, and I had never heard of this book, but I was really looking forward to digging into it!

And … it fell a little flat for me. It was very readable but I had trouble reconciling the fact that this was a National Book Award winner. I think I expected a little bit more out of this book just because it had won that award. But my feelings overall are kind of …. scattered?

As I already stated, it was extremely readable. But I couldn’t exactly figure out what the author was wanting to do with the book. Young adult, historical fiction, romance … yes! All of the above. But then near the end Ms. Blundell added in a murder mystery and that’s the part that didn’t really fit the whole book. It also didn’t help that we had at least 3/4 of the book with all this build up and then BOOM here comes the mystery part and she wraps it up in a very short 1/4 of the book. It just felt almost as if she needed something to “happen” and that’s the direction she took? I don’t know. I just felt like that entire part of the book didn’t really fit in with the vibe of the rest of the book. At least that’s my opinion on it…

Maybe it’s just because being a 30+ year old woman, I’m not really the targeted audience for this book. Maybe it’s because coming-of-age stories are not my forte. I don’t know. It wasn’t bad. Not at all! It was a fun and easy read. Ms. Blundell made me feel like I was right in the 1940s with Evie and her parents. I really loved the post-war setting. My “problem” was really with the murder part of the book. It just didn’t work for me in this book.

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First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, May 15, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a backlist title that I’m currently reading (and loving!!):

What Doesn't Kill Her

The last time she would ever go swimming, all of Seattle was baking beneath a sky of blameless blue. For two whole days, temperatures had soared while she begged her family for a quick trip to the lake. An hour? Thirty minutes?

I read the first Reeve LeClaire book (The Edge of Normal) back in 2013 and loved it. This one has been on my shelf for quite some time, so I don’t really know why it’s taken me so long to pick it up. Regardless, I’m glad that I’m reading it now because it’s really good!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, May 14, 2018

Mailbox Mondays

Two books this week, both from Book of the Month (because I couldn’t pick just one!)

How to Walk AwayMargaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked so hard and so long for: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First, there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then there’s her sister, Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best – a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious, truthful and wise, tender and brave.


The Perfect MotherThey call themselves the May Mothers – a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some much-needed adult time.

When the women go out for drinks at a hip neighborhood bar, they’re looking for a fun break from their daily routine. But on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but her fellow May Mothers insisted everything would be fine. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find Midas, during which secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are destroyed.

 

2.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Never Never by James Patterson

Never Never
by James Patterson & Candice Fox

Never Never

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 316

Read: April 27 – May 2, 2018

Rating: 2.5/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

Blurb: Meet Detective Harriet Blue of the Sydney Police Department.

Harry is her department’s top Sex Crimes investigator. But she never thought she’d see her own brother arrested for the grisly murders of three beautiful young women. Shocked and in denial, Harry transfers to a makeshift town in a desolate area to avoid the media circus. Looking into a seemingly simple missing persons case, Harry is assigned a new “partner.” But is he actually meant to be a watchdog?

Far from the world she knows and desperate to clear her brother’s name, Harry has to mine the dark secrets of her strange new home for answers to a deepening mystery – before she vanishes in a place where no one would ever think to look for her.


Review: This is the first in a new(ish) series from Mr. Patterson. It sounded good and I’m a sucker for series books, so I was excited to give it a go.

Unfortunately it fell flat for me. I’m not entirely sure if it was the storyline …. I didn’t like the setting … or if it was the fact that I pegged the killer entirely too early. It just didn’t work for me to be honest.

As I stated this is the first in a series. Part of me wants to read the second book just to see if we get any closure to Harry’s brother’s case … the other part of me doesn’t want to waste my time. So the verdict is still out on that. It’s not often that I’m this disappointed by a Patterson book, but this one was not up to par to some of his others.

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, May 8, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring the book that I’m reading for the May selection in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s book club:

What I Saw and How I Lied

The match snapped, then sizzled, and I woke up fast. I heard my mother inhale as she took a long pull on a cigarette. Her lips stuck on the filter, so I knew she was still wearing lipstick. She’d been up all night.

I am in love with that cover …. and I am so not a cover person! I’m just now settling in with this book. It’s a relatively short read and I can’t wait to get more into it!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, May 7, 2018

Just one book this week, a purchase from Amazon for June’s Modern Mrs. Darcy book club selection.

The Great Alone.jpgErnt 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 residence, 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.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, P, PICT Book Tours, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book

Review: Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

Hiding

by Jenny Morton Potts

on Tour May 1-31, 2018

Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

Synopsis:

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published by: Cahoots Publishing

Publication Date: February 2018

Number of Pages: 323

ISBN: 1976862817 (ISBN13: 9781976862816)

Check out Hiding onAmazon | Goodreads


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

I was immediately drawn into the blurb of this book – it really caught my attention immediately. And I really love the cover too … so I was excited to get a chance to read this book!

Overall, I enjoyed it. However, it did have a somewhat slow start for me. But let me just saw that once a certain something was revealed (maybe around 15-20-ish percent on my e-book copy?) it was like a corner had been turned and from there on out it was a race to the finish for me! I can’t go into too much detail here, because I don’t want to spoil anything.

The story that Ms. Potts weaves was intricate and intriguing. The writing was really enjoyable. That slightly slow start is my one and only negative thing I can say about this book. I have never read anything by Ms. Potts before this, but I am certainly going to keep an eye out for her works in the future! I really enjoyed this one and definitely recommend it!


Author Bio:

Jenny Morton Potts

Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realised she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with family.

She tries not to take herself too seriously.

Catch Up With Jenny Morton Potts On:
Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Monthly Wrap Up

April 2018 Wrap Up

Goodness, another month gone by…. doesn’t seem quite possible, does it?! I really stalled out in April for some reason… not exactly sure why, though, because I read some awesome books. Oh well. So I managed to finish 4 books for 1,179 total pages. Not a great month, and I did have 1 DNF… here’s to hoping May is better! Here’s what I read [my review for Hiding will go live in May]:

Home FireF is for FugitiveThe Woman in Cabin 10Hiding

I think I have two favorites this month …. for completely different reasons! First is Home Fire which I loved just for the sheer feelings/thoughts it gave me. I’m still in a little book hangover from it…. the second one is The Woman in Cabin 10 because it was a heck of a roller coaster ride! Really enjoyed that one.

To recap, here’s what all got posted this month:

Saw two movies this month…. took Garrett to see Sherlock Gnomes – it wasn’t as good as the previews made me think it was going to be. Nathan and I caught Ready Player One … I personally have never read the book and honestly, the book never interested me. I will say that I enjoyed it in movie format, but I’m not sure the book format would really work for me.

On the home front April was a pretty good month. Nathan and I held a garage sale this past weekend. We didn’t make as much as we did last year, but we didn’t have as many big baby items as we did last year either …. plus I can’t tell you how may people needed clothing in sizes that we just didn’t have. Bummer. I was about to throw down on a snooty old lady who actually had the nerve to loudly complain about our prices. I mean, I probably had a few things a little too high, but there was no reason for her to go there the way she did. Just walk out and go to the next house (we participate in the neighborhood wide sale, there were 6 sales on our street alone…) And naturally this happened early in the morning and put me in a bad mood for the rest of the sale. I hate that I let people get under my skin, but I pay good money for my things – sorry if I don’t want to give it away for 10 cents…

I think I’ve completely lost my mind, but I’m going to participate in a Couch to 5K program locally. We have a pretty big running club (River to River) that puts on a lot of events, including a large relay every year, and one of the club members has decided to host a Couch to 5K thing. I will probably die. I’m not a runner, I never have been and I may never be…. but I’d like to at least attempt it. In my kickboxing class, we’ve been running laps in between sets and I can already tell a huge difference in my stamina … but I’m still slow as molasses, ha! I’ve added in some serious cardio with my step class twice a week. I’m making serious gains … I’m just trying to add in something a little different. I’ve seriously plateaued on my weight loss journey and I need something to kick it back into gear. Maybe it will be running, maybe it won’t be … but I’m at least going to give it a shot!

I don’t really know what else to say right now …. be on the lookout for my tour stop review of Hiding coming May 3rd. And I’m sure I’ll have some other stuff coming up. May be a little more quiet than normal, because literally every weekend is already booked up. We’ve got both kids’ birthdays this month, our sister-in-law is graduating with her master’s degree, there’s Mother’s Day, we’re going to head to a Cardinals baseball game one Sunday, Garrett’s baseball games are starting. It’s going to be an absolute insane month!

Until next time … happy reading!

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, U-V-W

Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 340

Read: April 16-21, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Book of the Month

 

 

Blurb: In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea.

At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo hears what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers and crew members remain accounted for – and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read i n The Woman in Cabin 10 – one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.


Review: This was my August 2016 Book of the Month selection and I’m kicking myself that I’m just getting around to it….

The twists and turns in this one kept me guessing until the near end. I personally was not so fond of the main character, Lo. She spent so much time drinking and not doing her job  that it irritated me to no end. It definitely added somewhat to the intrigue of the book, but at one point I seriously considered the possibility that she was in an insane asylum!

I don’t want to go into too much detail on this book, because I firmly think that the less you know the better. Overall, I really did enjoy this book, but it was just slightly below being a 5 star read for me. But still one that I’ll recommend to anyone who loves a psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Kinsey Millhone, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton

F is for Fugitive
by Sue Grafton

F is for Fugitive

Copyright: 1989

Pages: 307

Read: April 9-15, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: When Kinsey Millhone first arrives in Floral Beach, California, it’s hard for her to picture the idyllic coastal town as the setting of a brutal murder. Seventeen years ago, the body of Jean Timberlake – a troubled teen who had a reputation with the boys – was found on the beach. Her boyfriend, Bailey Fowler, was convicted of her murder and imprisoned, but he escaped.

After all this time, Bailey’s finally been captured. Believing in his son’s innocence, Bailey’s father wants Kinsey to find Jean’s real killer. But most of the residents in this tight-knit community are convinced Bailey strangled Jean. So why are they so reluctant to answer Kinsey’s questions? If there’s one thing Kinsey’s got plenty of it’s persistence. And that’s exactly what it’s going to take to crack the lid on this case.

As Kinsey gets closer to solving Jean’s murder, the more dirty little secrets she uncovers in a town where everyone has something to hide – and a killer will kill again to keep the past buried…


Review: It’s been forever since I visited with Kinsey Millhone and so I was glad when this book popped up on my April call-out on a Goodreads challenge.

I had a lot of fun working the case with Kinsey. It definitely ended up going in a direction that I never saw coming, although there was a couple small instances that should have clued me in had I been paying more attention.

Jumping back in with Kinsey definitely made me want to read more of her and soon! I don’t remember her being so badass, but I definitely enjoyed it! She’s smart and strong, a good (and sometimes rare) combination in female protagonists. I definitely appreciate that aspect of her character.

I did jot down this quote from the very end that resonated with me:

If love is what injures us, how can we heal?

I’m seriously bummed that Ms. Grafton passed away a little while ago. I’m disappointed that the alphabet now ends with Y … but I am satisfied with the decision to not use a ghost writer to finish the series out (I hate, hate, HATE when that occurs.) I’m looking forward to getting around to G sooner rather than later!!