Posted in For Fun

Vacation reading! What I’m taking with me!

I’m headed out in vacation this week, so you know what that means – making sure I have a bunch of good books downloaded to take with me for those long plane rides and downtime relaxing by the pool.

So what am I taking with me? Here we go:


Ominous by Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush and Rosalind Noonan

Someone is watching. . .

New York Times bestselling authors Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush, and Rosalind Noonan join together in a gripping novel of suspense, as a long-guarded secret plunges three friends into a new nightmare.

NO WARNING

In the photograph, three teenaged girls splash in the lake on a sweltering summer evening. Shiloh, Kat, and Ruth are unaware of the man who spies on them from the woods. They have no idea how their lives will be changed by the brutal violence that follows—and the vow of secrecy they take.

CAN PREPARE YOU

Fifteen years later, Ruth and Shiloh have both returned to Prairie Creek, Wyoming, where Kat is deputy sheriff. Though they’ve tried to leave their shared past behind, each has the feeling that someone is lurking in the shadows. When a local girl vanishes, Kat is convinced there’s a connection to that long ago night. But as the friends unite to find the missing teenager, a killer sends a chilling message.

FOR A KILLER’S VENGEANCE

He’s still there. And he hasn’t forgotten. For so long he’s made do with other victims, but they can’t compare to the ones who got away. The ones who keep searching for him, blind to the terrifying truth that they are not the hunters, but his prey . . .

The Child by Fiona Barton

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell… 

Stasi Child by David Young

East Berlin, 1975

When Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.
Müller is a member of the national police, but the case has Stasi written all over it. Karin is tasked with uncovering the identity of the girl, but her Stasi handlers assure her that the perpetrators are from the West ­- and strongly discourage her asking questions.
The evidence doesn’t add up, and Muller soon realises the crime scene has been staged. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Muller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home . . . 

Posted in Reviews

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

I’m so excited to participate in this meme for the first time! OK, here we go:

What I read last week:

Both were excellent, 5-star reads!

What I’m currently reading:

“Deadly Friendship” by Tara Lyons – I’m about 40 percent through and completely hooked!

What’s up next:

I love thrillers that incorporate social media in some way. Makes it even more real-life creepy!

Happy reading everyone!

Posted in Lists

Thursday Musings: Recent book purchases

One of my favorite pastimes is scouting the Amazon Kindle books section for deals on some great books. My TBR pile is out of control and I love it. In recent weeks, it seems like there’s been plenty of great deals to keep me in books for a long time. Here’s some of my finds: 

The Betrayal by Laura Elliot

Nadine and Jake Saunders were married as teens. Tied to one another by a night of passion that resulted in a pregnancy neither could turn away from.

Now, years later, their children have all flown the nest and the pact they made as teenagers – to give one another the freedom to pursue their own dreams – has resurfaced. 

While Nadine and Jake begin to untangle their lives from one another, Jake embarks on a passionate affair with a beautiful woman, Karin Moylan. What he doesn’t know is the dark history Karin shares with Nadine. 

As lust spirals into dangerous obsession, Jake must break free from Karin. But he must also ask himself how well he ever really knew Nadine. What secret is she hiding? The truth, when it is revealed, could destroy them all. 
The Girl in the Maze by R.K. Jackson


When Martha Covington moves to Amberleen, Georgia, after her release from a psychiatric ward, she thinks her breakdown is behind her. A small town with a rich history, Amberleen feels like a fresh start. Taking a summer internship with the local historical society, Martha is tasked with gathering the stories of the Geechee residents of nearby Shell Heap Island, the descendants of slaves who have lived by their own traditions for the last three hundred years.

As Martha delves into her work, the voices she thought she left behind start whispering again, and she begins to doubt her recovery. When a grisly murder occurs, Martha finds herself at the center of a perfect storm—and she’s the perfect suspect. Without a soul to vouch for her innocence or her sanity, Martha disappears into the wilderness, battling the pull of madness and struggling to piece together a supernatural puzzle of age-old resentments, broken promises, and cold-blooded murder. She finds an unexpected ally in a handsome young man fighting his own battles. With his help, Martha journeys through a terrifying labyrinth—to find the truth and clear her name, if she can survive to tell the tale.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy

In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children. Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story.

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 For Fun

Goodreads Monday: “Black Chalk” by Christopher J. Yates

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!

Here’s my selection this week!:

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It was only ever meant to be a game played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University; a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares. But then the game changed: The stakes grew higher and the dares more personal and more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results. Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round. Who knows better than your best friends what would break you?

This book has gotten mixed reviews so far, but the cover and description intrigue me! Let me know if you’ve read this one!

Posted in Reviews

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster, #4)Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s something very exciting about seeing an author you’ve enjoyed reading in the past put out a new book. Hopefully, you get to enjoy a new tale in a style you’re familiar with and like.

Robert Bryndza is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and, like “Dark Water” previously, “Last Breath,” is creepy, suspenseful and will make you check your locks at night.

The book follows Erika Foster as she finds out about the death of a young woman, found stuffed in a trash dumpster. Soon, Erika finds a similar death in the records and begins to think there’s a sick serial killer prowling the streets of London. As she finagles her way onto the case, she not only works to deal with her personal issues, but with the knowledge that she’s working against the clock to prevent more deaths.

This book is the fourth in the series, but can be read as a standalone (though you WILL want to read the other because they’re equally as good).

The killer is revealed in the first third of the novel, but the suspense is kept high as you keep wondering what’s going to happen next and what the heck is going on. It’s really the sign of a great author that you can continue to feverishly turn pages after they’ve “revealed” big info to you. The story needs to be great at that point, and this one is.

Again, as in “Dark Water,” Bryndza draws in current themes to the writing. It’s like an episode of “Law and Order,” “ripped from the headlines!” I really enjoyed this (I’m trying to stay vague to avoid spoilers) because it really ups the creepy factor. It makes you wonder about the “ordinary” people you see walking past you on the street.

The ending ties things up nicely, though I do have some questions lingering in my head….nothing major. I guess I’ll have to read it again to try to catch anything I missed! 🙂

I’m really looking forward to more in this series – it’s a great series of stories, about characters that are realistic and likable.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Posted in Reviews

Blog Tour: Gavin by Russell – Review and Giveaway!

gavin 2

MY REVIEW

GavinGavin by Russell*

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To start: This book is dark. Very dark. It contains some very intense scenes involving sexual abuse and childhood abuse. Those that are looking for a light, warm-hearted read should pick another book. But for those that want to try a mystery/thriller with just a touch of horror: this book is an amazingly suspenseful thriller that will leave you begging the author for more.

The novel begins as Gavin Nolan and his partner – homicide detectives in the Chicago PD – are summoned to a crime scene in which two men are brutally murdered. The killer, who they’ve been investigating for weeks, also leaves a personal message for Gavin: “You could have saved me.” The investigation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere as Gavin wracks his brain for any connection between the victims. How are these seemingly random (and quite, frankly, douche-baggy men that no one seems to really miss) victims connected? And how doe Gavin fit in? We’re about to find out.

Like I said, this novel does not shy away from anything, from the descriptions of the crime scenes, to the events that ultimately connect all the dots. It is not for those with a weak stomach. But I couldn’t stop reading; I was sucked in from almost the very first page. The author leaves a trail that is intriguing and keeps you guessing, while handing you little clues throughout. For example, I had a theory that I formed about halfway through – I was wrong. But that’s part of the fun with these types of novels.

The personal storylines were also good. They contributed to the storyline, but didn’t take away from the mystery. And the author does a good job of advancing them throughout the story – the characters grow and develop throughout the novel in a way that is really satisfying – I hate when characters stay stagnant.

The ending also promises more from these characters, which is great. Normally, I’m not a fan of cliffhangery-type endings, but this one was done in a really great way that gave closure to the story at hand, while promising more excitement coming.

I’ll definitely be reading the next in this series.

View all my reviews


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

_XPR4892.jpgFor nearly two decades, Russell was an executive chef in the restaurant industry, in which he created succulent entrees and managed various types of kitchen operations. In the last seven years, he began to teach future culinarians how to achieve their professional goals in hands-on classroom and lecture settings. With his recent graduate work in the field of sociology, his interests center on organizational behaviorism, social theory, and food insecurity.

Russell has been writing for the majority of his life. Last year, he published a second edition of his freshman novel, The Tale of Old Man Fischer. Slipping into alternative universes allows Russell to enjoy the process of creativity from the novel’s conception to its final draft. Most importantly, inspiration is a continuous piece of his work and results from the world around him. Currently, he lives in Upstate New York with his wife, two children, and several cats.

Please visit Russell on these social media platforms:
Facebook: Russell (The Author)
Twitter: @Russell_Writer
Instagram: @Russell_Writer


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