Posted in Reviews

The Drowned Girls by Loreth Anne White

The Drowned Girls (Angie Pallorino #1)The Drowned Girls by Loreth Anne White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t even know what to say about this book. It’s a roller coaster ride from start to finish – and I loved every minute of it!

If you break down the story, there’s three separate storylines going on, and each of them is intriguing and had me begging for more. And for the first time in a long time, I found myself seeking out the love scenes, having fallen madly in “shipping” with the main characters.

Before I get further: this book deals with graphic sexual assault. People wishing to avoid this topic should pick another novel.

Angie Pallorino is at a bad place in her personal life: her mother has just been institutionalized with schizophrenia, and Angie fears she may be be showing symptoms herself; Angie seeks release in dangerous, anonymous sexual encounters she describes as “hunting”; and she has some serious questions about her childhood. Then at work, where she’s still recovering from an incident which shook her to her core and claimed her partners life, a violent serial rapist has escalated to serial murderer and is leaving a string of dead, mutilated girls across the city. And Angie’s partner in this new investigation? A guy she slept with at the club, thinking it was completely anonymous.

Each of these storylines: the killer, the romance and the personal issues, all were so good I found myself waiting for the next installment in each – especially the romance. It was HOT. I seriously loved Angie and Maddocks together, I couldn’t wait to see how it all turned out.

The ending is so nuanced and well thought out – I didn’t see it coming, and I don’t know how you could. But it was satisfying and it fit. There were enough layers to keep things interesting and enough clues to make you say “oh yeahhhhh.”

This is apparently the first book in a new series, and I can’t wait for the next one! Things were wrapped up with the main storylines, but enough was left open to keep things interesting!

Mark me down for number two – STAT!

View all my reviews

Posted in Book Extras, New releases

“Girl on the Verge” Release Week Celebration: Excerpt and Giveaway!

Hello all!  Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn!

I loved this book – check out my review here! There’s an excerpt below, and 
be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Congratulations Pintip!!

Book Description:

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn
Publication Date:  June 27, 2017
Publisher:  Kensington

Google Drive | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

 

A fish swims beneath the open staircase in my Khun Yai’s house. A real live fish, with its translucent fins fluttering in the water, its belly gold-scaled and bloated from regular feedings. If I part my knees, I can catch long glimpses of its lazy swimming through the gap in the stairs.
Of course, I’m not supposed to part my knees. It’s not ladylike for a twelve-year-old girl, not here, not in Thailand. The land where my parents grew up; the place that’s supposed to be my home, too. That’s what the banner said, when my relatives came to pick us up at the airport. “Welcome home, Kanchana.”
Never mind that I only come to Thailand every couple years. Never mind that I don’t look like anyone else here, with my American build and my frizzy, out-of-control hair. Never mind that I don’t look like anyone in my hometown, either, since I’m the only Asian girl in school. Never mind that the only reason we’re here now is because my father’s dead and my mom can’t keep it together.
For a moment, pain lances through me, so sharp and severe that it might as well slice my heart in half, like in one of those video games my friends like to play. I squeeze my eyes shut, but that doesn’t keep the tears from spilling out. Neither do the glasses sliding down my nose. And so the tears drip down, down, down, past my unladylike knees, through the gap in the stairs, into the fish basin below.
The drops scare the fish, who swims away with its tail swishing in the water, no longer languid, no longer lazy. So, even this creature wants to get away from me—from my grief, from my strangeness—as quickly as possible.
“There you are, luk lak,” Khun Yai says in Thai, coming down the stairs. She is my mother’s mother, and since we arrived, she’s used the endearment—child that I love—more often than my name.
“You’re up early.” She pats her forehead with a handkerchief. It’s only seven a.m., and already sweat drenches my skin like I’ve taken a dip in the basin. No wonder they take two or three showers a day here.
“Couldn’t sleep. Jet lag.”
“I’ve been up for a couple hours myself.” She eases onto the step next to me, her knees pressed together, her legs folded demurely to one side.
Immediately, I try to rearrange my body to look like hers and then give up. My legs just don’t go that way.
“What do you want to do today?” Khun Yai asks. “More shopping?”
“Um, no thanks.” I make a face. “Didn’t you hear those salesgirls at Siam Square yesterday? They rushed up as soon as we entered and said they didn’t have anything in my size.” My cheeks still burn when I think about their haughty expressions.
She sighs. “The clothes there are just ridiculously small. We’ll go to the mall today. They should have something that will fit you.”
I stare at her diminutive frame and her chopstick legs. “One of the salesgirls asked how much I weighed. Another grabbed my arm and said I felt like a side pillow.”
“They didn’t mean any harm. It is just the Thai way to be blunt.” She catches my chin and tilts up my face. “You are so beautiful. I wish you could see that.”
I could say so many things. I could tell her that I’m ugly not only in Thailand but also in the United States. Even though I’m not big by American standards—far from it—I could confess how the boys call me Squinty. How those Thai salesgirls snickered at my poodle-fuzz hair. I could explain how I’m from two worlds but fit in neither.
But I don’t. Because my words will only make her sad, and there have been enough tears in our family.

Pintip is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip’s first novel, FORGET TOMORROW won the RWA RITA® award for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella, BEFORE TOMORROW. She is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Enter to win a copy of the book here!

 

 

Posted in Book Extras

Cover Reveal: The Missing Girls by Carol Wyer

Today, Carol Wyer unveiled the cover for her follow up to “Secrets of the Dead,” and the next Robyn Carter novel. It looks great!

The book is due out Sept. 14! I can’t wait!

Book Description:

One girl found dead. Another girl gone…

Long shadows danced on the tin walls. Inside the trunk lay Carrie Miller, wrapped in plastic, arms folded across her ribcage, lips sealed tight forever…

When, a girl’s body is found at a Midlands storage unit, it is too decomposed for Detective Robyn Carter to read the signs left by the killer.

No one knows the woman in blue who rented the unit; her hire van can’t be traced. But as the leads run dry another body is uncovered. This time the killer’s distinctive mark is plain to see, and matching scratches on the first victim’s skeleton make Robyn suspect she’s searching for a serial killer.

As Robyn closes in on the killer’s shocking hunting ground, another girl goes missing, and this time it’s someone close to her own heart.

Robyn can’t lose another loved one. Can she find the sickest individual she has ever faced, before it’s too late?

An utterly gripping and darkly compelling detective thriller that will have fans of Robert Dugoni, Angela Marsons and James Patterson hooked from the very start. You will not guess the ending!

Posted in Lists

Thursday Musings: The DNF Graveyard

 

I’ve had a really great streak going lately – the last several books I have read have all been great. I’ve really been on quite a roll.

Which got me thinking about books that I didn’t mesh with – specifically ones that I wasn’t able to finish. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t make them “bad,” they just weren’t for me. Usually, if I only get a couple chapters into a book and realize it’s not for me, I don’t post a review. I don’t feel I can truly review a book having only read maybe two or three chapters.

So for the first time, I’m admitting which books I couldn’t finish – at least the first time I picked them up (See more on that below).

  1. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin: After hearing all the hype about the TV series, I was really curious about the books, because that’s how I think. But I couldn’t get more than 100 pages in. Even though I knew it was a fantasy/epic/drama, it was just SO MUCH of all of that. I couldn’t stomach it, I guess for the same reasons I don’t like soap operas. Oh well.
  2. The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff: I have always been fascinated by the Salem witch trials, and have even visited Salem, Mass. But I couldn’t get into this book, which blended reality and legend and lots and lots of small details. I couldn’t follow it at all.
  3. One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell: I got about halfway through this book before letting it just drift off and finally putting it away. I just couldn’t really sympathize with others the characters here. But maybe that’s because they were just so different from me. Or the fact that I never liked “Sex and the City.” *shrugs*
  4. The Girl with the Dragin Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: Ok, so the first time I picked this book up in an airport bookstore, I let the Swedish names trip me up. I couldn’t focus on the Tory because I was distract d by the hard to pronounce names and places. But then, maybe 2 years or so later, I decided to give it another try. And I DEVOURED the entire series. I absolutely loved it. Which goes to show you: never give up on a book totally. You may change your mind.

What books have you never been able to finish? Or do you think I should give one of these another chance? Let me know!

Posted in Reviews

The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

The Lucky OnesThe Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I’ve said before, when I see that Mark Edwards has a new book out, I know to clear my schedule for the next few days. No ones better at crafting a chilling, eerie thriller that will stay with you for weeks afterward.

“The Lucky Ones” is no different.

It’s Edwards’ take on a police procedural, and it is a great twisty ride that you won’t be able to put down until the last page – which is a good thing because it doesn’t all finish up until then.

The book follows two people: Detective Imogen Evans who is chasing a serial killer who just claimed his third victim, and Ben, a single dad who is struggling in the wake of his separation from his wife. The two will cross paths as they both realize they are in the crosshairs of the most dangerous criminal to shake up their sleepy English town.

I don’t want to give away too many plot details because it’s fun to see everything unfold. Edwards has a talent for creating unique stories that will both fascinate and scare you. And this guy – “The Viper” as he’s known in the book – is very creepy indeed. There’s a feeling of something being “off” throughout the entire novel, casting a dark, suspenseful shadow over the book, which is delicious as it grows and grows.

At certain points, I thought I knew where things were headed, but the ending proved me wrong. It’s really all in the details here, and putting them together is how you can figure out this puzzle.

I still think my favorite Edwards novel is “Follow You Home,” but “The Lucky Ones” is certainly a great addition to anyone’s library.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Posted in Book Extras, For Fun

Teaser Tuesday: “The Lucky Ones” by Mark Edwards

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. The meme is hosted by The Purple Booker!

It is very easy to play along:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  •  Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

This week I’m knee-deep in “The Lucky Ones” by Mark Edwards, one of my favorite authors. I’m loving the book and am excited to share a small peak with y’all!

Here we go:

“So you took advantage of that?”

He shot her a look. “We both did.”

“And what? Was she planning to leave her husband for you?”


Book description:

When a woman’s body is found in the grounds of a ruined priory, Detective Imogen Evans realises she is dealing with a serial killer—a killer whose victims appear to die in a state of bliss, eyes open, smiles forever frozen on their faces.

A few miles away, single dad Ben Hofland believes his fortunes are changing at last. Forced to move back to the sleepy village where he grew up following the breakdown of his marriage, Ben finally finds work. What’s more, the bullies who have been terrorising his son, Ollie, disappear. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky.

But he is unaware that someone is watching him and Ollie. Someone who wants nothing but happiness for Ben.

Happiness…and death.

The Lucky Ones is the terrifying new thriller from the #1 Kindle bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Devil’s Work.

Posted in Reviews

Goodreads Monday: What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!
My selection this week is a recent purchase of mine that looks great, you know, if I can ever start to make a dent in my TBR pile, which seems to grow every day. 

This book gives me a distinct vibe similar to “The Keepers,” a documentary on Netflix which also involves a long-ago crime in Baltimore which seemed to occur out of thin air. 

Now I can’t wait to get to this one.


What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness? 

Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn’t a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end—a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household. 
In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth?