Book Challenge Update #1

So I started 2016 hoping to read and review 200 books this year.

I felt I had been doing a good job, but it wasn’t until I took a quick peek at my read list today that I realized I am already at 69 books for the year. (Although, I haven’t had a chance to blog about all those yet).

Wow! That’s 69 books in 74 days. That’s almost a book a day.

I’m not sure I can keep up with that number but with this start I may just blow that 200 total right out of the water. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

I better keep that quiet though or my husband may start to wonder what I do all day  😉

#BookReview
Memory Man by David Baldacci
@davidbaldacci

#BookReview Memory Man by David Baldacci @davidbaldacciTitle: Memory Man

Author: David Baldacci

Series: Amos Decker #1

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on April 21, 2015

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 416

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

Amos Decker’s life changed forever–twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect–he can never forget anything.

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare–his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.

His family destroyed, their killer’s identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.


Review:

I really enjoyed this book.

I am probably a little biased as David Baldacci is one of my favourite authors, and this book didn’t disappoint.

In Memory Man we are introduced to some new characters, Decker, Jamison, and Bogart and an entirely new series.

This novel is well written, intriguing, suspenseful, thought provoking, intelligent and interesting,

From the beginning you are hooked and even though this is a stand-alone novel, the ending only leaves you wanting more.

What more can I say. If you like mystery/suspense novels you will like this book.

Now I just have to patiently wait for the next book in the series, The Last Mile, to get my next Amos Decker fix.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on David Baldacci, visit his website at: davidbaldacci.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @davidbaldacci

 

#BookReview
The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys

#BookReview The Evening Chorus by Helen HumphreysTitle: The Evening Chorus

Author: Helen Humphreys

Published by: HarperCollins Publishers on February 3, 2015

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Downed during his first mission, James Hunter is taken captive as a German POW. To bide the time, he studies a nest of redstarts at the edge of camp. Some prisoners plot escape; some are shot. And then, one day, James is called to the Kommandant’s office. 

Meanwhile, back home, James’s new wife, Rose, is on her own, free in a way she has never known. Then, James’s sister, Enid, loses everything during the Blitz and must seek shelter with Rose. In a cottage near Ashdown forest, the two women jealously guard secrets, but form a surprising friendship. Each of these characters will find unexpected freedom amid war’s privations and discover confinements that come with peace.


Review:

This is a touching story about three characters trying to survive and find their way amongst the unpredictability of war.

The imagery is beautiful and the power of nature and the solace one can find within it is clearly depicted.

This is a quiet, understated book that is elegantly written and definitely worth a read.

 

#BookReview
The Collector by Nora Roberts

#BookReview The Collector by Nora RobertsTitle: The Collector

Author: Nora Roberts

Published by: Berkley on March 3, 2015

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 528

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a novel of a woman who needs nothing, a man who sees everything, and the web of deceit, greed, and danger that brings them together—and could tear them apart . . .

When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one. . . .

Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarified circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession. . . .


Review:

As we all know, Nora Roberts is the go-to author when you’re looking for a nice, easy, fluffy romance book.

I love her books. Sure they’re predictable, but they’re like comfort food. And I have to say she didn’t disappoint with this one.

There were a couple of things I really liked about this book. One, it was a stand-alone book. So all the characters and drama were wrapped up in this one book. And two, it had quite a bit more mystery and suspense in this book compared to some of her others, which made the story a little bit more meaty.

What else can I say. It’s Nora and it’s a good one.

 

#BookReview
Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

#BookReview Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma HealeyTitle: Elizabeth Is Missing

Author: Emma Healey

Published by: Vintage Canada on June 2, 2015

Genres: General Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also a heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, who she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?


Review:

This was an interesting book for me.

On the one hand, I feel the author did a really good job narrating the story from the perspective of an elderly woman suffering from dementia and all the disjointed thoughts, actions and images that come along with that. A task I am confident is not an easy one. 

On the other hand, there were times that I was frustrated and confused with the overall flow. 

Saying that, I think the story shows a true reflection of the affects dementia has not only on the suffers but also on their caregivers.

I would say this book is good, not great, but definitely unique.

 

#BookReview
I Was Here by Gayle Forman

#BookReview I Was Here by Gayle FormanTitle: I Was Here

Author: Gayle Forman

Published by: Viking Juvenile on January 27, 2015

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Pages: 270

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

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.


Review:

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.

 

How Lucky Am I…

So one of my favourite things happened to me yesterday…

I had a return to drop off at my local public library, and like a true avid reader I couldn’t just drop off without popping in to see what might be out on the shelves.

That is when it occurred. First the door from the back opened, then I saw the cart full of brand new, just received books.

Really, what could I do. I couldn’t resist.

Needless to say, even though I have piles and piles of books around my house just waiting to be be read, I had to pick up a few. (Reviews to follow soon!)

I mean who wouldn’t. Brand new books. The pages crisp. The covers pristine and that new book smell. There’s only one word to describe it.

AWESOME!

Eat your heart out Neil Pastiche. Maybe you should put that in your next Book of Awesome!

#BookReview
The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern

#BookReview The Marble Collector by Cecelia AhernTitle: The Marble Collector

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Published by: HarperCollins UK on October 29, 2015

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A forgotten childhood. A discovered life.
What if you only had one day to find out who you really were?

When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her father’s possessions, she discovers a truth where she never knew there was a lie. The familiar man she grew up with is suddenly a stranger to her.

An unexpected break in her monotonous daily routine leaves her just one day to unlock the secrets of the man she thought she knew. A day that unearths memories, stories and people she never knew existed. A day that changes her and those around her forever.

The Marble Collector is a thought-provoking novel about how the most ordinary decisions we make can have the most extraordinary consequences for how we live our lives. And how sometimes it’s only by shining on a light on someone else, that you can truly understand yourself.


Review:

I really liked this book.

It was a heartwarming story that engrossed you from the get go. And like most Cecilia Ahern’s books it made you laugh, made you cry, and also made you cheer.

It has a wonderful cast of characters. Uses a past/present, back and forth, style to give depth into the father/daughter relationship between Sabrina and Fergus. And ultimately, it showcases the long-lasting effects secrets can have on those we love, and the importance of finding one’s true identity for happiness.

I’m certainly glad I picked it up. It’s definitely worth reading.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

About Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. She is now published in nearly fifty countries, and has sold over twenty-five million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.

#BookReview
Compulsion by Allison Brennan
@Allison_Brennan

#BookReview Compulsion by Allison Brennan @Allison_BrennanTitle: Compulsion

Author: Allison Brennan

Series: Max Revere #2

Published by: Minotaur Books on February 2, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

Investigative reporter Maxine Revere has a theory: that the five New York City murders for which Adam Bachman is being tried are just part of his killing spree. In probing the disappearance of a retired couple who vanished the prior summer, Max uncovers striking similarities to Bachman’s MO and develops a theory that Bachman wasn’t working alone.

Max wins a coveted pre-trial interview with the killer, whose disarming composure in the face of her questions is combined with uncomfortable knowledge of Max’s own past. She leaves the room convinced, but unable to prove, that Bachman knows exactly what happened to the missing couple. The D.A. wants nothing to jeopardize his case against Bachman and refuses to consider Max’s theory. With no physical evidence, Max has to rely on her own wits and investigative prowess to dig deep into Bachman’s past. The picture that Max puts together is far darker and more deadly than she ever imagined.

As Max gets closer to the truth, she doesn’t realize that she’s walking down a road that has been paved just for her. That every step she takes brings her one step closer to a brilliant, methodical sociopath who has been waiting for her to make just one small mistake.

And when she does, he’ll be there waiting.

Max Revere returns in another gripping, pulse-pounding thriller from New York Times bestseller Allison Brennan.

Compulsion is a gripping, pulse-pounding thriller that readers will not want to put down.”-Crimespree magazine


Review:

Allison Brennan has written numerous books and once again has produced a great mystery that’s full of suspense and intrigue. This story is the second book in the Max Revere series.

As in the first novel in the series, Notorious, the characters are complex and interesting and are further evolved throughout this story.

The plot is action-packed, well written, with numerous twists and turns and sub-plots that intermingle to leave you guessing till the end.

This was another great read and I highly recommend it.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on Allison Brennan, visit her website at: allisonbrennan.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Allison_Brennan

 

 

About Allison Brennan

Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels and many short stories. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, she lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and their five children.

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