Monday, June 19, 2017

A Place Called Grace by Fran Driscoll Roberts

To say that Leah McPhillen is unlucky in love would be an understatement. Every man she has ever loved has suddenly left her without explanation. When she finally meets a man who piques her interest, the date is interrupted by a horrendous crash, and Leah's father, Officer Liam "Phil" McPhillen, is blamed for it since he was the officer in pursuit of the stolen truck. Add to this a young cousin whose life is in danger and Leah McPhillen is about to find love, danger and intrigue in the little town of Ocean Shores, Mississippi.

A Place Called Grace by Fran Driscoll Roberts is a mess of a book.  I just finished it, and I am not at all sure about what I just read.  I am afraid this review is going to be a bit of a rant.
         1.  The book started with an abused child locked in a house.  She is starving and talking about her mother’s boyfriend, who is her abuser.  The child’s mother seems quite content to continue sleeping with this man.  The child has old cigarette burns on her feet.  She has no food.  Her grandmother lives THREE BLOCKS away.  Apparently, the grandma has tried to get custody of the child but to no avail.  Too bad, little abused child! This was completely unrealistic.  The child speaks of her abuse and fear.  Oh, I almost forgot!  He takes PICTURES of the little girl—not naked pictures, but provocative ones that he SELLS.  The little girl makes her way to Grandma’s house and is spirited away to another town.  While there, she runs away three times.  One time, she nearly drowns after being knocked down by a wave.  When she returns home, one of the relatives who “saved” her from her abuser threatens to “tear up her bottom”.  Really?  Really?

2.  The main character, a sad single lady, starts dating a man who she meets at a library.  He seems nice, and sad single lady goes to lunch with him.  A car crashes through the window.  It is occupied by two teenagers.  One dies.  The car was being chased by a policeman, who happens to be sad single lady’s FATHER.  The community mostly blames the cop for the wreck.  Cue nasty phone calls, poop left on the porch, etc.  The parents of the teenager who dies in the wreck are characterized as people who are just out for money during the trial of the officer.  There is no discussion whatsoever of the appropriateness of the characters’ actions.

3.  There is a Bible verse at the beginning of every chapter for no discernable reason.

4.  Toward the middle of the book, the cop dad starts working on an unsolved cold case involving two dead CHILDREN—who both have wrist tattoos.  Wait, what?  And they are obviously related to each other and there is probably a third victim.  This story line never goes anywhere.  Murders are not solved.  We have no idea who did it.

5.  Sad single lady has a best friend who is marrying the biggest douche in the world.  She is basically told not to say a word against the boyfriend and to just suck it up.  Best friend loves him—end of story.

6.  Sad single lady’s boyfriend has a dead wife that she did not know about and a shady business life.  He keeps both of these things from her.  She forgives him.  And then—MIRACLE!  He decides to get baptized (and proposes and gives bigger flowers to sad single girl).

7.  Add a sick relative, the abuser coming back to kidnap the girl, some discussions about why a cop likes a motorcycle rather than a car, and you have the sum total of this book.

This one gets a firm PASS from me.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Regina

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Cellar (The Cellar #1) by Natasha Preston

Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out…

Collin is deranged in this thinking. He has set up his cellar to be a hidden home. It has a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and a bedroom. He kidnaps girls and puts them in his cellar. They are all names after flowers and he refers to them as his flowers. They are to live and act like a family. After a while he has his way with them. Collin brainwashes the girls into thinking this is their family and that without him they have nothing or will be dead. Can the girls escape? Can Collin get the help he needs?

This book was a real page turner. I could not wait to see what happened next. Each girl tells their story and how they end up in the cellar. Collin is portrayed as having multiple personalities and psychotic. The author lays the cellar out just right that you can imagine exactly how it is and what is going on in the book.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Knevits

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter

A missing girl in the news reminds Julia Carroll of herself: nineteen, beautiful, blonde hair, blue eyes.

Julia begins to dig deeper and plans an article for her college paper. She becomes gradually more obsessed with the case, never imagining how close she herself is to danger. 

Julia is a college student who also works in journalism. When Beatrice leaves home one night and does not return home, Julia starts to do her own profiling of missing people, characteristics, and locations. Julia researches and finds that Beatrice had blonde hair and blue eyes just like Julia. Julia decides to write an article with her information to warn others. But what happens when you do not follow your own advice? Is Julia next?

If you are buying this book beware it is a real short story. There is only 76 pages total to read. The book draws you in and gets you to thinking about all these things and connecting the links. But in the end boom, then it is over with no explanation. I felt like a hanging reader when I finished the book.

*I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  Knevits

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

She Wanted It All by Kathryn Casey

Trophy wife Celeste Beard wasn't satisfied with a luxurious lifestyle and her rich Austin media mogul husband's devotion -- so she took his life!

The wife:
She wanted everything, but her husband stood in the way.

The lesbian lover:
A love-struck, middle-aged woman with a history of mental illness, she would do anything to set Celeste free.

The beauty salon receptionist:
Celeste hired her to tie up the loose ends ... in a second conspiracy to commit murder.

Celeste Beard is a mother of twin girls. She is married to a man whom is very wealthy, but what happens when he stands in the way of what she wants? She conspires many ways to kill him and to always get more money from him. Celeste never has enough money. She is a very good manipulator and even drags her twin girls into lying for her. Celeste is often in and out of the mental hospital and that is where she connects with Tracey. Celeste finds herself married to one man, in love with Tracey, and still wanting to have her night life as well. Can she have it all?

This is a true crime novel and there are some graphic scenes in the book. There are 442 pages with 8 pages of photographs. I found this to be a good read. My only complaint is like other true crimes, things are often repeated in the book many times.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  Knevits

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Broken Glass (The Mirror Sisters #2) by V.C. Andrews

Haylee and Kaylee Fitzgerald are twin sisters who have been forced to be identical in every way by their domineering mother. She insists they wear the same clothes, eat the same food, get the same grades, and have all the same friends.

But both are growing weary of her obsession with their similarities, so when they finally attend high school, they find little ways to highlight their independence. The transition isn't as easy as expected, however, and soon both sisters are thrust into a world that their mother never prepared them for—a world with far more dangerous consequences than just upsetting Mother. 

Broken Glass is the second book in The Mirror Sisters series and picks up right after the cliffhanger ending from book one. If you have not read book one, this review will contain spoilers. 

Broken Glass alternates between Haylee and Kaylee's point of view. Kaylee is being held captive and Haylee is pretending to be the mourning sister who has lost her twin. It's strange how a story so disturbing can be so enthralling. Poor Kaylee goes back and forth trying to figure out if she should give in or fight back against her captor. While Haylee is happy that her sister is gone, also still feels like she hasn't quite gained back control of her own life yet since she has to pretend so often at being sad. Their mother has a psychotic break and their father moves back home temporarily to take care of both her and Haylee. He also hires a nurse to stay in the home which means more pressure on Haylee to act a certain way and remain under the radar of suspicion. 

Intense with plot twists and a big creep factor, this book was definitely a page turner. Never boring and kept me anxiously anticipating the next move all the way up to the last page. I kept hoping things would go the way I wanted and there were a few times I was afraid that they definitely weren't. Like book one, this one also ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, that makes me anxious to read the next book already. It's just so hard to believe anyone could be so evil to their own twin sister. *shivers*     

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. April K.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Baby Killer : The True Story of Christina Marie Riggs by Diane Ullmer

Christina Marie Riggs was convicted of murdering her two young children in Arkansas in 1997. Three years later, she would become the first woman executed in that state since 1845. Struggling with depression and mental health issues, Riggs succumbed to her own warped world view in a botched murder/suicide of her own children leaving an entire nation asking "why"?

Alexandra grew up with a mother that was bi-polar and would often try to kill herself. What image does that put on any child? Alexandra has a baby and one day while she is on the computer playing Farmville her baby cries. She shakes the baby and ends up calling 911. She is charged with murder, but is she a murderer or were there other things going on. She could have had post partem depression, may be bi-polar like her mom?

If you are buying this book beware, it is only 36 pages long with only 18 of them being about Alexandra Tobias. The rest of the pages is another short story about Christina Riggs and how she killed her children and why. Both stories are true crime and really short reads.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my  own opinion. Knevits

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Next by Stephanie Gangi

Is there a right way to die? If so, Joanna DeAngelis has it all wrong. She’s consumed by betrayal, spending her numbered days obsessing over Ned McGowan, her much younger ex, and watching him thrive in the spotlight with someone new, while she wastes away. She’s every woman scorned, fantasizing about revenge … except she’s out of time.

Joanna falls from her life, from the love of her daughters and devoted dog, into an otherworldly landscape, a bleak infinity she can’t escape until she rises up and returns and sets it right―makes Ned pay―so she can truly move on.

From the other side into right this minute, Jo embarks on a sexy, spiritual odyssey. As she travels beyond memory, beyond desire, she is transformed into a fierce female force of life, determined to know how to die, happily ever after.

I really enjoyed reading The Next by Stephanie Gangi! Upon receiving this novel in the mail, I read the summary of the book and couldn’t wait until I could sit down and read this book. I loved how Ms. Gangi started the novel with the main character “Joanna” mentioning everyday things going on in her life and home and stating how she feels in her role compared to her daughters’ roles. The reader would think it’s just a stereotypical story, but it isn’t. By the end of the first chapter the reader learns that something is wrong with “Joanna” and they learn a few chapters in exactly what is wrong with her. Throughout the entire story, I felt bad for “Joanna”, but at the same time I admired some of her courage and strength; I loved how she wanted to get revenge on an ex and didn’t just want to sit around feeling sorry for herself and waiting to die. Throughout the entire novel, the main character mentions how she feels around her family and how it seems to affect her. I was laughing through some parts of the story especially with some of the ideas “Joanna” had to get back at her ex and with her description of certain situations.

     I liked how short the chapters were; there was a good mix of really 1-5 page chapters and then there were other chapters that were 7-12 pages. I was sad when I finished the novel, I felt like I was experiencing and seeing everything through “Joanna’s” eyes and I could imagine what I would do in her situation. By the end of the book I was really hoping for a different outcome and I was sad with the way the story ended.  I love the way Stephanie Gangi wrote The Next and how she could get the reader entranced in not only the characters, but into the story and the overall outcome of the novel.  Out of a 10 I give The Next by Stephanie Gangi an 8 and Ms. Gangi as an author an 8 as well. I hope her next book is as easy to read and just as interesting.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Tiffany