Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed DoorsEveryone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

This story made me sad.  Sad to think that there could be people out there in a marriage like this.  While this book is often compared to Gone Girl, I tend to disagree.  Gone Girl seemed a bit far-fetched, but this actually felt like it could happen.  It just made me think, is this happening around me and I have no idea?  I was amazed how fast I was able to read this book, it was smooth and effortless.  I found myself almost anxious at times for the place that Grace was in with no hope.  This is exactly the type of story I enjoy and I plan to seek out other similar titles in the future.        

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



Monday, October 24, 2016

The Light of Hidden Flowers

The Light of Hidden Flowers 
Book-smart Melissa Fletcher lives a predictable life in her hometown, working behind the scenes for her charismatic father in a financial career that makes perfect sense. But when her dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Missy is forced to step up and take over as his primary caregiver and the principal of the firm.

After her father’s death, Missy finds a letter from him in which he praises her for being a dutiful daughter but admonishes her for not taking any risks in life.

Devastated, Missy packs her suitcase and heads for Italy. There she meets a new friend who proposes a radical idea. Soon, Missy finds herself in impoverished India, signing away her inheritance and betting on a risky plan while rekindling a lost love.


This was a solid 4-star read for me.  In fact, I can't even tell you one thing that I would have changed to make it a 5-star, except to say that there was just a something missing for me to bump it up that extra star.  The writing was well done, I would say it was a little longer than it needed to be.  It was a beautiful story of different people finding their true self through life changes, heartache and exploration.  All this came together nicely and maybe it was just a little too nice.  I would highly recommend this novel to someone who wants more meat than the typical chick-lit provides.  Overall, I'm very glad I read this novel.
     
* I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

I am back for my second round of Dewey's 24 hour readathon.  Like last time, the hubby is at work so I will get as much reading done as my 8 and 4 year old will allow!  I am not setting a specific TBR, other than finishing The Light of Hidden Flowers by Jennifer Handford.  I would like to start The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, but I just created a spreadsheet of all the Netgalley books I need to review and realized I better buckle down on those as well.  So, that's the plan at this point.  My start time is 8 am, so I'm putting the boys to bed late with hopes that they will sleep in and I will get an early start.  Last time I was able to read a little over 3 hours and about 300 pages, so I'd like to meet of exceed that if possible and I will call it a success!  Thanks again to all who dedicate their time to running this 24 hours.  My plan is to update here with totals as often as I can as well as on Twitter if I can do that without getting distracted.  Best of luck to my fellow readers!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Things We Wish Were True


The Things We Wish Were TrueIn an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.
Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

Last year I read Marybeth Whalen's Sunset Beach series and really enjoyed it.  So I went into this novel expecting something similar.  While I enjoyed the book, I couldn't help wishing it would have followed a structure closer to the other titles I had read.  What I loved about the Sunset Beach series was the way they all revolved around a common town, but could stand independently as well.  I think I would have enjoyed this book more had she only focused on a couple characters, developed them completely and then returned to Sycamore Glen with different characters in a second book.  I wanted to feel more invested in each person and their story line, but it just changed to quickly and dealt with too much.  I would have loved to dive deeper with each person and studied them more.  For instance, the character Zell refers to her two sons throughout the book, but then all of a sudden it's implied that she has a daughter.  Her name is mentioned twice and then we never hear about her again.  I found that odd considering that Zell took a girl into her home and the fact that she had a daughter was never talked about.  I will continue to seek out titles by this author in the future.  Unfortunately this just wouldn't be one I would recommend.         
   
* I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *


Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Mother's Confession

A Mother's Confession 'He’s dead and I’m safe, but I’m still scared. Sometimes I actually miss him, but then in the very next breath I find that I hate him so much that I hope there is a hell, just so that he can be suffering like he left me here to suffer.'

Olivia and David were the perfect couple with their whole lives in front of them. When beautiful baby daughter Zoe came along, their world seemed complete.

But now David is dead and Olivia’s world is in pieces. While she is consumed with grief, her mother-in-law Ivy is also mourning the loss of her son. Both women are hiding secrets about the man they loved. Secrets that have put the family in danger.

Something was very wrong in Olivia and David’s marriage. Can Olivia and Ivy break their silence and speak the truth? A mother should protect her child, whatever the cost…shouldn’t she?

I feel that whatever I write in this review cannot possibly do this book justice.  I am blown away, seriously.  I am on a desperate search to get anything Kelly Rimmer has ever wrote into my hands as soon as possible.  After this one novel, she will be an auto-read author for me every time!  I think I have to be vague in my review so as to not taint another reader's experience with this title.  I can say that I do fear mothers and fathers like David's. We are quickly becoming a society that feels entitled to everything and parents are constantly fighting battles for their children, even when their children are in the wrong.  After reading this story, I realize how dangerous that can truly become when these children become adults.  I will also be more careful and on the lookout for people around me like Olivia.  This book opened my eyes to a truly taboo subject that is very rarely addressed.  Wow, I am genuinely just in awe of this story! 

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fractured

Fractured Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.


This is one of those books, that when I finished the last page, I felt unsatisfied.  While I loved the story that was built originally, I think it got lost about the halfway point.  The story felt "fractured" in many ways and it was just hard to connect.  I appreciated the flawed characters the author created but just wanted more.  I realize this review may seem hard to understand, but I don't want to say too much for fear of giving anything away.  I guess I can sum it up by saying that the mystery and way the book ended was what I didn't care about and what was left completely unaddressed was what I did care about, so I felt underwhelmed.  I am giving this book 3 out of 5 stars, because it did keep my interest most of the time, I just wanted the author to finish what I thought was started.    

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

With Love from the Inside

With Love from the InsideGrace Bradshaw knows the exact minute she will die. On death row for murdering her infant son, her last breath will be taken on February 15 at 12:01 a.m. Eleven years, five months, and twenty-seven days separate her from the last time she heard her precious daughter’s voice and the final moment she’d heard anyone call her Mom. Out of appeals, she can focus on only one thing—reconnecting with her daughter and making sure she knows the truth.

Secrets lurk behind Sophie Logan’s big house and even bigger bank account. Every day when she kisses her husband good-bye, she worries her fabricated life is about to come crumbling down. No one knows the unforgivable things her mother did to tear her family apart—not her husband, who is a prominent plastic surgeon, or her “synthetic” friends who live in her upscale neighborhood. 

Grace’s looming execution date forces Sophie to revisit the traumatic events that haunted her childhood. When she returns to her hometown, she discovers new evidence about her baby brother William’s death seventeen years ago—proof that might set her mother free but shatter her marriage forever.

Sophie must quickly decide if her mother is the monster the prosecutor made her out to be or the loving mother she remembers—the one who painted her toenails glittery pink and plastered Post-it notes with inspiring quotes (“100 percent failure rate if you don't try”) all over Sophie’s bathroom mirror—before their time runs out.

Wow - this is my kind of book!  It gave me all the feels and a perfect balance of character development and plot movement.  I'm definitely going to be looking out for Angela Pisel's next novel based on everything this book had to offer.  This book explored the relationship between mother and daughter in a unique way that show just how deep that connection is.  I don't often highlight quotes or ideas from fiction, but I found myself as a mother inspired by ideas that I learned.  Grace talks about how her family used to setup their family nativity and I want to start that as a tradition in my own family.  She also made me realize that life is determined by the small things, not the big events.  A quote that specifically impacted me was "...as I go over the "good mom" checklist in my mind, I realize only a few things really matter.  Are you loved, and do you love others well?"  And I'd be lying if I didn't admit that there were many tears involved in the reading of this novel as well.  This is definitely one of my favorite reads of all 2016! 

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