Saturday, September 29, 2012

(130)Gone Missing by Linda Castillo

Gone Missing

Publication Date: June 19,2012
Pages: 288

I have been a fan of Linda Castillo ever since I got an ARC of her first book, Sworn to Silence. Which is now about to become a movie with Neve Campbell staring as Kate Burkholder.  Her new book, Gone Missing, picks up virtually where the last book left off. 

Amish teenagers are disappearing at an alarming rate.  With her Amish background, Kate is called in by Tomasetti to consult on the case.  While off being a consultant, an Amish teen in her own jurisdiction goes missing.  A teen who is special to Kate Burkholder.  She rushes home to find out what happened to the teen and find out what kind of monster is taking Amish teens.   Will she be able to find the missing teens before it is too late?

Gone Missing really does pick up where Breaking Silence left off, especially the relationship between Kate and Tomasetti.  There relationship is moving forward at a pace that leaves Kate a bit uncomfortable, but leaves the reader saying "DO IT! DO IT!".  I also liked how the author moves the story at a nice pace and when the big discovery is about to be made, the tempo of the story picks up rather quickly.  You can't help but just whip through the pages as fast as possible.  And the end!  Oh my gosh, the end really did surprise me!   You know an author has surprised you when you literally gasp at a revelation. 

Bottom line, if you have not started reading Linda Castillo's books, then now is definitely the time.  You can pick up any of her books and get enough of a back story to not feel lost, but I think starting with Sworn to Silence is important just so you can see the growth of Burkholder, Tomasetti, and their relationship. If you are a fan of a good mystery novel, then you just can't miss Gone Missing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

(129)The Language of Sisters by Amy Hatvany

The Language of Sisters

Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Pages: 320

I am so sorry for my absence.  Between work, social activities, the kids, and the start of football season, I have been pretty busy.  I have been working on this book for what seems like forever, but I was not about to give up.

Nicole Hunter left her family ten years ago when she thought her mother chose her husband over her daughters.  Nicole has always been the protective big sister and was furious when her mother agreed to put her developmentally disabled sister in a home at the request of her father.   Now it is ten years later, Nicole's parents divorced anyway and poor Jenny is now pregnant, the result of a rape that took place in her group home.

Nicole returns to Seattle to be there for her sister, partly out of guilt for leaving her there and partly out of a sense of obligation that most big sisters feel.  Being home has opened a lot of old wounds for Nicole and she is forced to face some cold hard truths about her family.  And she is forced to make some tough decisions about her future, as well as Jenny's future.

The Language of Sisters is a re-release of a book written in 2002, so keep that in mind when reading this book.  There are a few small nuances that you might notice that indicate that the book was written a few years ago, but nothing that changes the flow of the book. Nicole's devotion to Jenny is quite admirable.  At first I thought she was doing it purely out of guilt (and maybe she was at first) but then I realized that she was taking care of Jenny and Jenny's baby just because she loved her so much.  Not only did I love the bond between Nicole and her sister, but I enjoyed seeing Nicole come to the realization that her mother was just human and had done the best that she knew how to do when it came to raising children.

Bottom line, The Language of Sisters is a sweet story about the bond between two sisters. A bond that remains strong no matter how much time has passed and the tragic events that lead to Nicole's return home eventually lead to blessings in all of their lives.  If you are looking for a good dramatic read, pick up The Language of Sisters and let me know what you think.

Monday, September 17, 2012

(128)Low Pressure by Sandra Brown

Low Pressure

Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Pages: 480

Bellamy Price is still haunted by the death of her sister eighteen years ago.  She was murdered during a tornado that ripped through the heart of Austin, Texas.  Even though Bellamy was only twelve, she has blocked out many of the events of that day.  To try and reclaim those memories Bellamy has written a nearly true fictional novel under a pseudonym.  Bellamy has every intention of staying anonymous, but a pesky tabloid reporter has made it his mission to reveal Bellamy and publicly bringing all the pain of that time to the surface.

Bellamy does not expect her late sister's boyfriend, Dent to read the book and raise all sorts of hell with her.  And she certainly doesn't expect to find herself attracted to the handsome Flyboy. With her father rapidly declining with cancer, this whole mess certainly could not have come at a worse time.  Will she ever be able to fill in the gaps of her memory and what will happen if/when she does remember?

Sandra Brown has been on my "must read" list ever since high school. Her books always seemed so scandalous to me.  The sex scenes that once seemed so salacious, now seem a bit repetitive to me. The story was a little fresh in terms of the tornado, but for the most part it seemed like a story that I had read before.  Beautiful woman is trying to solve some sort of crime and a handsome, yet roguish man gets in her way, then becomes indisposable to her. Crime solved and they live happily ever after. 

Bottom line, Low Pressure is an okay book if you are just looking for a mindless love/suspense story.  I think that I am tired of the old Sandra Brown formula and it might be time for me to move on.  Are you a fan of Sandra Brown's?  Let me know what you think of Low Pressure.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

(127)Beautiful Disaster by Jamie

Beautiful Disaster 

Publication Date:  August 14, 2012
Pages: 432

Abby Abernathy and her best friend, America are excited for college.  Abby's life hasn't really been the best, with an addicted, abusive father.  She is looking forward to starting her life in a place where no one knows who she is or what kind of family she comes from.  

They aren't at school very long when America meets the man of her dreams, Shepley, and he invites the girls to attend the campus underground "Fight Club" where his cousin, Travis "Mad Dog" Maddox is fighting. That one event changes the course of Abby's college career and life.  After losing a bet with Travis, she is forced to live with Travis for a month and she quickly realizes that there is more to Travis than the rampant campus rumors.  No matter how much she fears what falling in love with him will do to her, she can't stop herself from falling in love with Travis.  Will she be able to tame the campus bad boy or will her love destroy them both?

Beautiful Disaster is one of those novels where you want to shake both of the main characters senseless, while at the same time desperately want a happy ending. I liked both Travis and Abby in their own right, but I like them even more together. I really enjoyed the way Travis was so sweet and for the most part, good, with Abby.  A lot of girls would love to have a guy like that in their life.   Having said that, there were several times throughout the book that I just wanted to smack them silly because they were acting like dumb teenagers, especially when they were fighting. 

Bottom line, if you enjoyed Twilight, I think you will enjoy Beautiful Disaster.  Travis shares some characteristics with Edward Cullen, but not enough for you to think it was a knock-off.  Beautiful Disaster is the quintessential "good girl" meets "bad boy" novel , but with a little twist.  The "good girl" is not as "good" as she lets everyone believe. A definite must read for anyone looking for a good romance!

Monday, September 10, 2012

(126)Those We Love The Most by Lee Woodruff

Those We Love Most

Pages: 320
Publication Date: September 11, 2012

You may know Lee Woodruff because in 2006 her husband, Bob, was critically injured while reporting a story in Iraq.  Lee has been a writer all of her life, but it was the book that she co-wrote with her husband, In An Instant that really made her a household name.

Her first novel, Those We Love Most, is being released tomorrow and is a novel that you don't want to miss.  Maura is your typical suburban Stay-At-Home-Mom.  She juggles the activities of her three children, the maintenance of their home, and the care of their puppy dog, Rascal.  It is just another day when she sets out for a walk with her little family when she glances away for a second and her son is hit by a car.  In that instant life as she knows it has changed forever.   Those We Love Most takes us through that first year after the accident.  We see that year from four different view points.  Maura's, her husband, Pete.  And Maura's parents, Roger and Margaret.   The impact made on this family is absolute, but it also brings to surface some buried problems in the marriage of these two couples.  Will tragedy bridge the gaps between them or will it permanently tear them apart?

Those We Love Most is every parent's worst nightmare come to life. Lee Woodruff has written such a realistic novel that it will make your heart skip a beat in several instances.  As we follow Maura and her family you see that neither her marriage nor her parents are as strong as they lead everyone to believe.  I really like how the author made her characters flawed, it just added to the authenticity of the story.   I also really enjoyed how she included the boy behind the wheel throughout the whole story, it added that extra something that really touched my heart.

Bottom line, Those We Love The Most, is a dramatic read.  The subject matter alone makes it a tough read, but it is most definitely worth the read.  The characters are so intricately drawn and the story so well written that you can not help but be pulled into the world of this family.   I really enjoyed Those We Loved Most and I look forward to reading more fiction by Lee Woodruff.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

(125)The Last Victim by Karen Robards

The Last Victim

Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Pages: 336

Dr. Charlotte Stone is an expert in criminal behavior, specifically the behavior of serial killers. She is an expert because she survived the serial killer that killed her best friend when she was a teenager. Because of what happened, Charlie has a connection with the deceased that at times has been a nuisance.

Flash forward fifteen years and the Boardwalk Killer is back.  The FBI visit her at the prison where she works to ask for her assistance in catching the Boardwalk Killer.  Just as she is contemplating saying yes, sexy (yet still a serial killer) Michael Garland is stabbed to death by another inmate.  For some reason his ghost has attached himself to Charlie.  And as she works with  sexy FBI Agent, Toni Bartolli,  to find the Boardwalk Killer Garland sticks with Charlie.  The line between the dead and the living becomes very blurred for Charlie as she finds herself extremely attracted to both Garland and Bartolli.  Will they be able to find the Boardwalk Killer before he kills again?  And will Charlie choose to fall in love with the living or the dead?

I am not a huge fan of paranormal romances where the "paranormal" is a dead man.  Specifically a dead man who slaughtered seven women when he was alive. I admittedly didn't realize that The Last Victim was a paranormal romance when I agreed to read/review the book. I have been a Karen Robards fan for many, many years and am willing to give any book of hers a shot, I just wish that her "bad boy" in The Last Victim was a little less bad.  Make him a bank robber or something, just not a guy who killed seven women.

Bottom Line - I enjoyed The Last Victim, despite my issues with the "Bad Boy". It was a good mystery with some steamy scenes between Charlie and living and the dead.  The author did set it up for a sequel, which I will probably read - just because now I want to see how it turns out.  Logically, I know Charlie won't likely end up with the ghost, but you never know...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

(124)The Walking Dead Volume 1 Days Gone By - by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore

The Walking Dead
Volume 1: Days Gone Bye 
by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore

Publication Date: September 7, 2006
Pages: 144

I remember when The Walking Dead first aired on Halloween two years ago.  We were still living in Casper, but David was in Utah trick-or-treating with the kids.  And I was too chicken to watch the show by myself.  Flash forward two years - we are living in Utah (to be with the kids) and David left today to go back to Casper for work.  And  I read the first volume of the comic while all alone.  I feel like such a big girl. *grin*

For those who don't know, The Walking Dead is set in the not too distant future.  Deputy Rick Grimes awakens from a coma to find the world has been turned upside down and his family is gone.  The world has been infected by something that is turning ordinary humans into Zombies.  The Walkers are every where and Rick finds himself in a few precarious positions as he heads into Atlanta, where he suspects his wife, Lori and son, Carl have gone to escape the Walkers.  Will he be able to find his family before the Walkers get him?

I have been a fan of The Walking Dead ever since the very first episode.  I have the first three novels to read and with the upcoming season, I thought I would give it a read.  It was a very fast read at just 144 pages, but it was well worth the read.  There was one major "happening" that just happened at the end of Season 2 of the show, but it happened at the end of Volume One in the graphic novel.  The other thing that really struck me was the DETAIL that the artist, Tony Moore, took with the artwork.  There are a few full page frames that made a huge impact with me.  He certainly conveyed the emotion in a way that impacts the reader. 

Bottom line, while graphic novels really aren't my normal genre, I am really glad that I read The Walking Dead. I will most certainly read more of the graphic novels and of course, I am counting down the days until the third season starts.  October 14,  just in case you were wondering...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

(123)Beneath the Glitter by Elle & Blair Fowler

Beneath the Glitter 

Publication Date: September 4,  2012
Pages: 288

I am not a "glitter" kind of girl.  I have always worked with the philosophy of "what you see is what you get."  I don't wear hardly any makeup and when I do, I get it from Wal-Mart.  And clothes?  Well the last clothes I bought came from the thrift store, so I am clearly not the target demographic here.  Now, I don't go out of the house looking like a slob, but I would rather spend my money on books than designer labels.  Having said that, I ventured into Beneath the Glitter with some trepidation. 

Beneath the Glitter is written by two sisters and is about two sisters.  Ava and Sophie are YouTube stars who have recently moved from the deep South to Los Angeles with the hopes of maximizing the exposure to their vlog, where they give beauty, fashion, and make-up tips.  It takes some time to adjust to a life where they run into their childhood crushes and run around with the offspring of billionaires.  They think that their dreams have come true when they are offered their own line of cosmetics, but that seems to be when the trouble starts.  They each have a couple of men in their lives that could either help them or hurt them.  They are struggling to remain "normal" and maintain their relationship with each other all the while they try to make their business work.  Will they find the happiness that they crave and will they find the right guys to share that happiness?  Or will the very essence of Hollywood destroy not only what they have worked for, but their bond as well?

For not really being a girly girl or having even heard of Blair and Elle before this book,  I really enjoyed Beneath the Glitter.  For the most part. I liked Ava and Sophie, they seemed really down to earth and were just trying to make it big in a city notorious eating up people and spitting them out.  I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow through the tribulation that comes with success.  I even enjoyed watching them each interact with the different men in their lives, admittedly I liked a couple more than others. (Team Dalton all the way!!)  My issue comes from the end of the book.  It was a serious WTF moment for me that I hope gets resolved before publication.  The Epilogue left me completely confused because it was really vague and that could be because it was setting up for a sequel, but the vagueness of the identity of the "bad guys" coupled with the randomness of the "bad thing that happened," really left me feeling disappointed. (Sorry I was intentionally vague to avoid spoilers)  I thought my copy was damaged or something because I literally thought "there has to be more."   Clear up that ending & I could easily be convinced to hand sell this book to anyone & everyone, but as is, my recommendation comes with a warning. 

Bottom line, between football games this weekend (see, told you I wasn't girly girl)  I was able to carve out a few hours to read Beneath the Glitter. And while I do not regret having read the book, the ending left me pissed rather than eagerly awaiting the sequel (if that was what they were going for).  I would really love to hear from some of you who have read the book - let me know if you think I am off base with my review.

Monday, September 3, 2012

(122)The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom

The Time Keeper 

Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Pages: 240

This Summer has been a bit of a reality check for me.  I am not as young as I used to be and I have been extremely nostalgic.  I guess turning thirty-seven can do that to you.  Make you long for days gone by and wish that you can turn back time.  Don't misunderstand, I LOVE the life I have, I just sometimes wish that my hair wasn't going grey and that I had a few less aches and pains.  Well, Mitch Albom addresses our general overwhelming urge to take time for granted. 

The Time Keeper is a quick little book about three people, there is the man who was banished for all of eternity for trying to measure God's greatest gift, the man you know as Father Time.  We also meet Victor, a wealthy businessman who has terminal cancer, he is exploring all of his options and that includes cryogenics.  And finally, there is Sarah.  A teenager who is humiliated when the boy she likes posts some derogatory things about her on Facebook.  She believes that life is no longer worth living and plans her suicide for New Years Eve.  Father Time is given a chance to escape his prison and redeem himself, but he must teach two people about the importance of God's Greatest Gift.   Will his lessons for Victor and Sarah have the impact required to release him from his prison?

Mitch Albom has made his living writing fantastic little novels that pack a rather large punch.  The Time Keeper just continues the tradition.  The lesson that Father Time was trying to teach Victor and Sarah is that God gave us an infinite amount of time on this planet so that we are sure to treasure each and every moment. If we were to become immortal, what is there to make us treasure each new day that comes? Father Time tries to get his message across in an "Scrooge" kind of way, but it just adds to the "feel" of the novel. 

Bottom line, The Time Keeper is a quick little novel that feels as if it were right out of a Fairy Tale.  I learned a lesson that was much needed at this time in my life.  Memories are nice to have and revisit, but it is important to cherish each and every day as if it were your last.

Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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