Friday, September 15, 2017

Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes

My rating: 4.8

BE WARNED:  TWISTED AND VERY DARK!

Annabel discovers her next door neighbour’s decomposing body and is appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed that anything was wrong. At her job as a police analyst, she feels compelled to investigate and discovers that this isn't an isolated case. As she’s drawn deeper into the mystery and becomes convinced she’s on the trail of a killer, she also must face her own demons. Told in alternating chapters between Annabel and Colin, a socially awkward individual who is trying a tad too hard to meet the ladies, but is he a dangerous psychopath?



Oh my. This was the most deeply disturbing, disgusting, gross thing I have ever read....and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I admit that I did skim over some of the more revolting parts but I still couldn't stop devouring it to find out what was going to happen.  So incredibly dark and creepy! I think Into The Darkest Corner was amazing (was UK's best book of 2011) and will definitely be reading more by Haynes

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Playing Dead by Julia Heaberlin

My rating; 2.7

Days after her father's death, Tommie McCloud gets a letter from a woman claiming that Tommie is her daughter who was kidnapped as a baby.




I felt that this couldn't decide what the story wanted to be - a romance, a mystery, a thriller, a psychological thriller, a Western, a Mafia Witness Protection Program or a cowgirl gone heroine.

I absolutely loved Heaberlin's most recent novel Black Eyed Susans - in fact, it made my 'Best of' list for 2015. You can tell that Playing Dead was written earlier as her skill isn't as honed but it does show the promise of what is to come.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

My rating: 4.3

Sarah Cook disappears on the same night her parents are brutally murdered.  Her boyfriend, Brad Stockton is convicted and on death row. With Brad's execution date set, his sister Danielle hires Private Investigator Roxane Weary in a last ditch effort to help her brother,


This has a more 'detective/mystery' feel to it than a Thriller. I enjoyed Roxane and her imperfect ways including drinking and trying to go with here gut in figuring things out. This was a very strong first novel and a definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys Sue Grafton types of mysteries (although not as comical).

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

My rating: 4.4

Agatha and Meghan are both pregnant. Meghan is chic, married with 2 kids and seems to have it all. Agatha is single and works at a grocery store and when she catches glimpses of Meg thinks she has the perfect life.

It felt like every character was competing for the gold in the Dysfunctional Olympics. If I could change two things it would be that at least one or two of the characters were 'normal'/likable and that he didn't write the last chapter. Other than that, a fun beach read / thriller.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

My rating: 4.6

Louise is a tired single mom who finally gets a rare night out. She meets a man in a bar and flirts, has fun and even shares a kiss. When she shows up for work on Monday, the man from the bar turns out to be David, her new boss. Then she runs in to David's wife Adele and they end up striking up a friendship. As Louise gets pulled in more, she starts to learn things about David and Adele and you are soon drawn into their crazy world.


This kept me turning the pages and guessing who was the one who was crazy (was it me?!) and who I could trust. I definitely didn't have it figured out. Very enjoyable and I loved the ending.

Monday, September 4, 2017

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

My rating: 4.6

Jess is raising Nick, her teenage stepson who is being bullied, and Tanzie, her math-whiz daughter, while she struggles to make ends meet by cleaning peoples homes. Tanzie has the opportunity to go to an elite school that she can't afford.  Enter "Geeky Ed", a millionaire sleeze that she happens to clean his home.



I loved every character in this book (ok, I hated Ed at first but he grew on me!) and laughed so much along the way. Jess' struggles were real and so were her quirky dysfunctional family. I cheered for them all the way. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

After You by Jojo Moyes

My rating: 4.2

Louisa Clark is trying to move on after the loss of Will Traynor, the love of her life. This is the sequel to "Me Before You" although it can be read as a stand alone I wish I would have read the two books closer together to remember more of the details and characters from the first book.


IMO, this wasn't on par with "Me Before You" but it had the same wit and was very entertaining. This is a good beach read and I loved the audio version.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

My rating: 4.7

In a remote Yunnan village, Li-yan and her family live their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. They also carry on the old traditions and customs of the Akha. One day a stranger arrives in the village wanting to buy tea. Li-yan's life unfolds and you come to understand her, her family, the stranger as well as the way of tea.

This book took a while to get in to for me....not sure if it was due to the audio or ??  Once I got in to it, I enjoyed it. There were also a few parts in the middle that dragged and I felt that the overall book could have been shorted a bit.  Still, this was an enjoyable read and I loved understanding the Akha ways. There were MANY layers to this story beyond Li-yan's interesting journey including Chinese adoption by American parents. Very well done. I defy you to not crave a cup of tea while reading this book!

Monday, August 28, 2017

We Never Asked For Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

My rating: 3.8

Letty works while her mother raises her two children but now, after 14 years, her parents are returning to Mexico and Letty has to figure out how to be a parent on her own.


This deals with undocumented immigrants, poverty, being a single mother and so much more. While these are all weighty issues, this had a lighter feel to it and definitely had a nice bow on it to tie it up at the end. Definitely wasn't as fabulous as The Language of Flowers but still enjoyable.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

My rating: 4.0

Will & Iris have a fabulous marriage including a beautiful house, great careers and are trying for a baby.  Will leaves on a business trip for Orlando but Iris gets a phone call from the airlines informing her that her husband was on a flight that crashed and was going to Seattle.  What follows is Iris trying to figure out why her fabulous husband was or wasn't on a different plane. Is she a widow or is the airline mistaken?


This thriller/mystery was an entertaining read and I enjoyed the ending. Definitely a fun light popcorn type beach read. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bookmarks Magazine Sept/Oct 2017

Being off work + being in the pool + Bookmarks Magazine arriving = Perfection! Here are the picks I found on my first pass through. I will take this magazine with me this weekend on the plane. Although I found 9 books to add to my queue (see below), they didn't seem as amazing as usual (in fact, a couple sound downright bizarre) - was it just me or did you feel the same way? I will be interested when I start reading them how I will feel.

Let me know what your picks are...and if you don't get Bookmarks, please share if you are reading anything good.


      


         

These two were already in my library hold list:
   

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

My rating: 4.2

In the depth of winter in the Russian wilderness, Marina tells her husband that she is pregnant with their fifth child and she believes it is a girl who will be bestowed with the magic that her mother had. The girl is raised with her sibblings huddled around the fire listening to her nurse's fairytales...which cross with reality. Evil creatures in the forest become demons that cannot be controllled.



This is reality intermingled with fantasy. This is poetry. This is beautiful. It did drag a bit for me in parts but I would definitely read more by this author.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

My rating: 3.0

Newlyweds, Alice and Jake, are given a wedding gift to join a mysterious group know as The Pact. The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. .until one of them breaks the rules and it turns into their worst nightmare.


There is a lot to 'get past' with this book. If you can get past a bright couple agreeing to stupid things, an attorney not reading a contract before signing it and several other implausible things in this story, then this is a light easy read where you just have to go to with it and enjoy the ride. The implausibility and sci-fi feel aside, this was a very readable book.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Beartown by Frederik Backman

My rating: 5.0

In a tiny community set deep in the forest, a Junior ice hockey team is about to compete for the semi-finals. All the hopes and dreams of the town rest on the shoulders of these teenage boys. This is about the boys, the coaches, GMs, managers and the town - everyone's life hopes and dreams revolve around the team.


This reads somewhat like a thriller with flashbacks. Not only was I brought up with hockey but my niece Olivia played goalie for a AAA team in a remote town this past winter.  I can say that this NAILED hockey, a hockey town and their mentality perfectly. IMO, this is Backman's best book yet. Stunning! Don't read too much about it as there is a spoiler.....which I was shocked was in the description of the book - don't read anything more about it!  Just get the book..

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

My rating: 4.7

Two women - Eve & Charlie - two different times:

1915: Young Eve Gardner gets the chance to fight the Germans...as a spy.
1947: After WWII, Charlie St. Claire finds herself pregnant, with her beloved cousin missing.

These two worlds intersect with Eve trying to drink away her memories and Charlie trying to find her missing cousin.

I really enjoyed the character and story of Eve.  Charlie's character was mediocre for me but did get better as the book went on. Reminiscent of Rose Under Fire and Code Name Verity. I would definitely read more by this author.