Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Broken Grace

Broken GraceOn an icy winter’s day in southwest Michigan, Grace Abbot wakes up as the survivor of a car crash. But she’s left with a traumatic brain injury and a terrifying reality: she can’t remember anything.

Left in the care of her sister, Grace returns to the family’s secluded old farmhouse to recover—but within an hour of her return, the police arrive. Grace’s boyfriend has been murdered. Without any memory, Grace has no alibi.

With suspicion weighing heavily on her and flashes of memory returning, Grace searches for clues to her past. But with every glimpse, her anxiety grows. There is something about the house, her family, her childhood…perhaps the accident isn’t the only reason she can’t remember. Are the dark recesses of her mind hiding something even more sinister and terrifying than she could ever imagine?

                                                         And someone is watching. Someone willing to kill again to 
                                                         protect a secret.

I loved every second that I spent with this book!  The writing was well done, but not over done.  It kept the pages turning.  I'm a sucker for an unreliable main character and that's exactly what this book delivered on many levels.  While I don't think it was impossible to figure things out, I enjoyed how the book took you on a journey to get there.  It was also very believable, which sometimes doesn't happen in books like this one.  I would recommend this title to anyone who likes a realistic thriller that has multiple levels to it's mystery.  I hope to pick up other books by this author in the future. 
 
 * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Behold the Dreamers

Behold the DreamersJende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ fa├žades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.


I am so conflicted about this selection, even as I write this review.  The first two-thirds I was all in and didn't want it to end.  However, there was a shift that ended up leaving me disappointed.  Characters that we had invested in, were just gone.  Jende became a totally different person that I just didn't think accurately portrayed who the author built him to be.  I was suddenly supposed to be invested in something completely different than when I started out and I just felt disappointed.  I wanted more of what I started with and just didn't get that.  On the positive side, the writing read quick and I loved the style.  While the story line was not what I hoped for, the issues this book dealt with are very real and I appreciated how it was handled.    
        
 * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *
  
 

You Will Know Me

You Will Know MeKatie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate.

 I really enjoyed what this novel delivered.  A thriller, in a gymnastics setting, was the perfect set up.  These girls dedicate their entire lives, and the lives of their families, to this grueling sport.  So it comes down to, what are you willing to do for yourself, or your daughter to make all the sacrifices worth it.  The writing was well done and I felt that it portrayed the teenage gymnasts perfectly.  While I wouldn't label this a "whodunit" thriller, I was very interested to see where it would go and how it got there.  I think this book really created a great scenario and took it all the way to the end in a believable way.  I will be checking out other titles by this author soon!  

   * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Sugar Men

The Sugar MenSixty-four years ago, Susannah Morgan managed to flee the horrors of the Holocaust. But the memories of that childhood ordeal have proven impossible to sweep away.

For most of her new life spent settled in sleepy North Carolina, the flashbacks have been a lonely obsession—one she has hidden from her family, and about which her heart is torn. Because for all the pain and the cruelty of those terrible years, she harbours sweet memories too, of unexpected friends who risked their own lives in order to save hers. As Susannah’s time on earth draws to a close, her innermost thoughts of those long-gone days become questions—ones that demand answers.

Against the wishes of her children, Susannah returns to Germany and the scene of unspeakable crimes. There she will come face to face with the Holocaust’s terrible, wretched legacy, and will finally make peace with the ghosts of her past.

I will be the first to admit, I passed judgment on this book before I even opened it and it proved me so wrong!  I was immediately connected to the characters and felt so invested in their lives and stories.  I had to remind myself several times that while the events in history did happen, that the story was fictional.  I think anytime a story feels that real, it's accomplishing its task of being a wonderful, engaging read.  I have read countless WWII novels as well as novels set in holocaust camps, but this one was one of my favorites.  So many of those novels tend to be long and drawn out, but this author was able to pack the same punch in a much simpler way and I really appreciated it.  I requested another Ray Kingfisher novel and I will be picking it up very soon!  

 * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

   

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Girl Before

The Girl BeforeIn this powerful psychological suspense debut, when a woman’s life is shattered, she is faced with a devastating question: What if everything she thought was normal and good and true . . . wasn’t?

Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing.

In chapters that alternate between past and present, the novel slowly unpeels the layers of Clara’s fractured life. We see her growing up, raised with her sisters by the stern Mama and Papa G, becoming a poised and educated young woman, falling desperately in love with the forbidden son of her adoptive parents. We see her now, sequestered in an institution, questioned by men and women who call her a different name—Diana—and who accuse her husband of unspeakable crimes. As recollections of her past collide with new revelations, Clara must question everything she thought she knew, to come to terms with the truth of her history and to summon the strength to navigate her future.

I enjoyed the experience of reading this novel.  At times, it almost read like a memoir.  I truly believed these things were happening to Claire and it felt extremely realThe author did a phenomenal job of getting in the head of each character in order to portray them in a way I actually think would be very true to form.  While I was intrigued, nothing was shocking or "how did I not see that coming" for me.  It was more a fast-paced character study and I loved it.  As long as you don't have to have a huge surprise element, I think this is a great book to read next!  


         * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *
 


My Name is Leon

My Name is LeonLeon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to take Jake away and give him to strangers. Because Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we somehow manage to find our way home.

The description given for this book on NetGalley differs greatly from the one given above that is posted on GoodReads.  Based on the GoodReads summary, I would not have picked up this book.  I requested it because it was compared to The Language of Flowers and I don't think that's an accurate comparison at all.  While I loved the character of Leon, Maureen and Sylvia I didn't care for anything else about this book.  I felt that it had an agenda and I was not impressed.  I just wanted the story of Leon and instead I got Leon, mixed with issues that just fell flat.  I just didn't care anymore and that made me sad because I was rooting for Leon and Maureen.  I think better editing and focusing more on Leon's story and less on some agenda would have served this book much better.    


 * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

Monday, June 6, 2016

I Let You Go

I Let You Go 
On a rainy afternoon, a mother's life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .
 

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.


I had heard a lot of hype about this book and it delivered.  Since I knew how much people loved it, I must admit that I was looking for things so I wasn't as shocked as others probably were.  The writing was fast paced and engaging, so I will be looking for more books by this author.  There aren't many books that keep me up late in the night but this one definitely did.  While I have never experienced the things that Jenna did, it felt very real and raw.  I felt her pain and just connected with her right off.  If you love a good thriller, with a story beyond the excitement, this is a great choice!


 * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *