7.5/10

After She’s Gone by Lisa Jackson

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The Official Synopsis:

In this explosive new thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson delves into the deep bond between two sisters and their shared dream that becomes a harrowing nightmare of madness, hatred and jealousy…

Cassie Kramer and her younger sister, Allie, learned the hazards of fame long ago. Together, they’d survived the horror of a crazed fan who nearly killed their mother, former Hollywood actress Jenna Hughes. Still, Cassie moved to L.A., urging Allie to follow. As a team, they’d take the town by storm. But Allie, finally free of small-town Oregon, and just that little bit more beautiful, also proved to be more talented—and driven. Where Cassie got bit parts, Allie rose to stardom. But now her body double has been shot on the set of her latest movie—and Allie is missing.

Police discover that the last call to Allie’s phone came from Cassie, though she has no recollection of making it. Instead of looking like a concerned relative, Cassie is starting to look like a suspect—the jealous sister who finally grew sick of playing a supporting role. As the tabloids go into a frenzy, Cassie ends up on a Portland psych ward. Is she just imagining the sinister figure who comes to her bedside, whispering about Allie—a visitor of whom there is no record? Is someone trying to help—or drive her mad? 

Convinced she’s the only one who can find Allie, Cassie checks herself out of the hospital. But a sudden slew of macabre murders— each victim masked with a likeness of a member of Cassie’s family—makes Cassie fear for her safety and her sanity. The only way to end the nightmare is to find out what really happened to Allie. And with each discovery, Cassie realizes that no one can be trusted to keep her safe—least of all herself…


Book Rating: 7.5/10

This book takes you on a roller coaster ride of murder, mystery, jealousy, revenge, and familial secrets.

The first half of the story, for me, started off a little slowly, and seemed to drag just a little bit. 

However, the second half of the novel was much more action-packed, suspenseful and the twists and turns were definitely captivating.

There is a reason that Lisa Jackson is a best seller in this genre, and even though I don’t think this was her best, the writing is well done, the characters are strong, complex, and flawed, and overall it was still an enjoyable read.

This is the third book in the Northwest series, and although it can definitely be read as a standalone novel, we were introduced to some of the characters in the first book of the Northwest series, Deep Freeze.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Kensington Books, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on July 26, 2016. Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

For more information on Lisa Jackson, visit her website at: lisajackson.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @readlisajackson

 

The Moment of Everything by Shelly King

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The Official Synopsis:

In the tradition of The Cookbook Collector comes a funny, romantic novel about a young woman finding her calling while saving a used bookstore.

Maggie Duprès, recently “involuntarily separated from payroll” at a Silicon Valley startup, is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly’s Used Books, a Mountain View institution, waiting for the Next Big Thing to come along.
When the opportunity arises for her to network at a Bay Area book club, she jumps at the chance-even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a book she hasn’t encountered since college, in an evening. But the edition she finds at the bookstore is no Penguin Classics Chatterley–it’s an ancient hardcover with notes in the margins between two besotted lovers of long ago. What Maggie finds in her search for the lovers and their fate, and what she learns about herself in the process, will surprise and move readers.

Witty and sharp-eyed in its treatment of tech world excesses, but with real warmth at its core, The Moment of Everything is a wonderful read.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

This was a book club read for me this month, and I have to say I enjoyed it.

To me this story is a journey of finding one’s self, discovering what makes you happy, realizing that sacrifices are not really sacrifices when we make them for love, and friendship. 

The setting is a wonderful juxtaposition, where on the one hand we have a quaint used book store. A store seeped in history and the past, right down to the musty shelves and the crinkled pages. And on the other hand we have Silicon Valley, the epitome of the future, all things new, better, faster and electronic.

The story flows nicely. The prose is subtle but lovely. And the characters are quirky, interesting and engaging.

It is a nice, heart-warming story that was a pleasure to read.

Sweet Resolve by Jill Sanders

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The Official Synopsis:

Amy Walker is steps away from her perfect job. The day she makes partner at her real estate firm will be the happiest of her life, second only to the day in junior high when her tormentor, Logan Miller, finally moved away. But fate has a warped sense of humor, because Logan is back. In her town, in her office, gunning for the same promotion. Worse, the man is sinfully hot. But that won’t keep Amy from exacting the revenge he richly deserves…

Logan had reasons for acting wild in his youth, but he still regrets the way he treated Amy. Especially once he’s sharing an office with the smart, self-controlled beauty. For one thing, she’s got a wicked sense of payback. For another, he’s realized there’s something he wants much more than a promotion. And that’s to melt the ice he helped form around her heart all those years ago and to prove that loving thine enemy can be the ultimate happy ending.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

This is a nice contemporary romance story.

It is the second story in the Lucky Series, but can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel.

The writing flows easy. The characters are sweet and engaging. And the plot has humour, romance, and a little twist to create a bit of suspense.

Overall, although predictable, this is a cute, light-hearted read, that is certainly not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Montlake Romance, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on June 7, 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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The Official Synopsis:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

I have seen this book many times but it wasn’t until I recently saw it on a “Books Becoming Movies in 2016” list that I decided to give it a try.

I actually thought from the picture on the front cover of this book that it might be a horror story, but boy was I surprised.

This is actually a highly imaginative tale about those with extraordinary abilities. It takes place in the present, and the past during the height of WWII.

I have to say, there are elements of this story that remind me a little of such classics as The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and Harry Potter. Similar to those stories, the children, themselves, are the protectors and heroes against the monsters that hunt them, and they use portals for time travel between the present and the past to survive.

The writing is simple but effective. The plot is creative, suspenseful, and magical. It truly is a very unique story.

Keep in mind, there are two other novels in the series, Hollow City and Library of Souls, where the battles and adventures of these “peculiar children” continue.

Also, the movie for this first book is set to be released in theatres in September 2016.

 

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

The Official Synopsis:

A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems. 

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

I enjoyed this story and I felt it got better as it went along.

For me what resonated throughout this novel is the ideology that “money is the root of all evil”.

The characters, in the beginning, are selfish, greedy and materialistic. They feel entitled and lack the ability to take responsibility for their own actions. And throughout the story as the plot develops, these characters each undergo a form of introspection to recognize what is truly important in life to them.

The story is well written. And the plot is full of drama, denial, deception, anger, heartache, loneliness, and acceptance. It is definitely captivating and a little sad.

It is a good, engaging, debut novel and I look forward to reading more from this author.

And from a book club standpoint, this novel is perfect. It is very thought-provoking and I think different perspectives will definitely lead to some great discussions.

 

Darkness by Karen Robards

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The Official Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards continues her penchant for “fantastic storytelling” (RT Book Reviews) with this next heart-pumping romantic suspense novel, the tale of a brilliant ornithologist trapped on the remote Attu Island in Alaska, fighting for her life—and that of a handsome stranger—before they’re swallowed up in darkness forever.

BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him.

Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?


Book Rating: 7.5/10

This book has everything you look for in a romantic suspense novel. There’s a deserted, isolated setting. A woman in danger. And of course a tall, dark, and handsome stranger that comes to the rescue.

This story is well written, action-packed and sexy.

As most people know, Karen Robards is well known in this genre, and once again she has delivered.

 

The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovich

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The Official Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Big Girl Panties and The Sweet Spot is back with a funny, sweet, and sizzling novel about the game of love, in which a hot quarterback must figure out how to score big with a beautiful and talented media analyst after a heartbreaking fumble.

Star quarterback, first-round draft-pick, and heartthrob Tyson Palmer has made a name for himself with his spectacular moves. When the head coach of the Austin Mavericks refuses to let him waste his million-dollar arm, Tyson makes a Hail Mary pass at redemption and succeeds with everyone . . . except Dani, whose negative comments about his performance draw high ratings and spectacular notices of her own.

Dani can’t forgive Tyson’s transgressions or forget the sizzling history the two of them shared in college, a passionate love Tyson casually threw away. And even more infuriating, he doesn’t realize that the bombshell with huge ratings is the cute girl whose heart he once broke.

But can a woman trying to claw her way to the top and a quarterback who knows all about rock bottom make it to the Super Bowl without destroying each other? And what will happen when Tyson—riding high now that he’s revived his career—realizes he needs to make an even more important comeback with Dani? Can he make some spectacular moves to get past her defenses—or will she sideline him for good?


Book Rating: 7.5/10

After having read Stephanie Evanovich’s other two books and enjoyed them, I was really looking forward to reading this one and it didn’t disappoint.

This story is a second-chance, comeback story, complete with humour and romance with a football backdrop.

The plot moves nicely, the characters are likeable, and the story is heartwarming, fun, and interesting.

I liked it and would definitely recommend it. I think it would be a great beach read.

 

14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

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The Official Synopsis:

Detective Lindsay Boxer and her three best friends are back and recovering from the events that pushed them all to the edge.

After her near-death experience, Yuki is seeing her life from a new perspective and is considering a change in her law career. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy has healed from her gunshot wound and has published a book on the infamous serial killers she helped to bring down. Lindsay is just happy that the gang are all still in one piece.

But a new terror is sweeping the streets of San Francisco. A gang dressed as cops are ransacking the city, and leaving a string of dead bodies in their wake. Lindsay is on the case to track them down and needs to discover whether these killers could actually be police officers. Maybe even cops she already knows…


Book Rating: 7.5/10

I liked this book.

It was an easy read, flowed nicely and was entertaining.

Is the plot somewhat weaker than some of the other WMC books? Maybe. After all it is book #14 in the series.

Saying that, however, I still think it’s worth the read.

Wildfire in His Arms by Johanna Lindsey

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The Official Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Johanna Lindsey’s passionate new tale about a gunfighter running from his past who finds his future when he escorts a beautiful outlaw to her hanging. Featuring one of Lindsey’s most intriguing heroes: the dangerous and mysterious Degan Grant from One Heart to Win.

With his work in Montana completed now that the Callahan-Warren feud has ended in marriage rather than bloodshed, Degan Grant sets out for California because it is far away from the home he wants to forget—until the US Marshal who saved his life calls in a favor. All Degan has to do is apprehend three outlaws on the marshal’s list and turn them over to the law. Easy enough, he figures, for a man no one wants to tangle with.

But then a bold young woman crosses his path. Maxine grew up so pretty and attracted so much unwanted attention in her Texas hometown that events spiraled out of control. She will try anything to escape the handsome, enigmatic gunfighter who intends to turn her over to a corrupt sheriff who will hang her instead of putting her on trial.

Saddled with a sassy, spirited young woman who insists she is innocent, Degan must hunt down a vicious killer and keep an old enemy at bay. But forced into intimate proximity with his beguiling prisoner, he finds his desire sparking into a wildfire of passion, and he can no longer deny that it is time for them to risk confronting their pasts so he can have a chance at a future with her in his arms forever.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

This is a fun, easy read.

If you like the wild west, gunslingers, bounty hunters, horses and romance, this book is for you.

Well written and entertaining.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

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The Official Synopsis:

Cody and Meg were inseparable.

Two Peas in a pod.

Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything – so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben Allister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open – until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

This book deals with the very serious subject matter of teen suicide and the affects that it has on those left behind, such as parents, friends, acquaintances.

The book is narrated by “Cody”, the best friend, and the plot involves her struggle to grieve and to rid herself of guilt, while at the same time trying to uncover the “why” of it all.

The story is written in a very real way. There is no gloss or glamour. The characters are flawed and must endure other hardships than just the main plot.

All in all, although the story is about a dark issue, I think the author does well to show the importance of hope and self forgiveness by the end of the story.

I think this is definitely worth a read, especially for all those young adults out there.

 

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