2017 Book #8 – Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

514djmp1kl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Title: Everything You Want Me to Be
Author: Mindy Mejia
Date finished: 1/29/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense/thriller
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.
High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.
Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about the murder of Hattie Hoffman, a high school senior less than two months from graduation who is found murdered in an abandoned barn near a lake in her very small town. The whole town is rocked by this grisly murder, and fearing that there is now a psychotic murder somewhere in their midst the town is demanding answers. Del is the sheriff, and although the mayor is putting a lot of pressure on him to find out what happened Del’s real motivation is his best friend Bud, Hattie’s father. Del is desperate to find out what happened to his friend’s sweet daughter, who he thought he knew well. But it turns out everyone can hide secrets if they’re dark enough, and Hattie’s secret is a doozy. The reader knows that it somehow involves Peter Lund, a teacher from Hattie’s school, before the book even gets going since he has such an important role in the book. And Peter is in fact somehow involved, but the ending, and the murderer, is something that the reader won’t see coming.
Overall this book rocked. I loved the way that the story was presented, with the three separate points of view. The story line itself was riveting and I loved the way the author wrote this book, there were so many passages that stood out to me and really just made me stop and think about how wonderfully this book was written. Hattie as a character jumps off the page and really just comes so alive for the reader. And the murderer really is just not someone that I would have expected at all, I loved the way the ending was done because it keeps the reader guessing until the last minute. The whole thing was just overwhelmingly sad but I loved that the author didn’t shy away from this either. The book includes not only the suspense of what happened and trying to resolve the mystery but also deals with the raw grief that comes from losing a child and of the community that is left to deal with the aftermath of the murder. I loved this book and I would highly recommend it!

Favorite quotes: 
“I took a step closer, compelled beyond reason toward this girl who kept shedding masks like a matryoshka doll, each one more audacious that the last, a psychological striptease that rached me with the need to tear her apart until I found out who or what was inside.” (Peter)

“It wouldn’t matter if I never saw her again, never hugged her. I would cut off my hands and feet just to know her heart was beating.” (Mona, Hattie’s Mom)

The bottom line: This book was awesome, I loved the plot and the way the story was presented with the three points of view. Though jumping back and forth between past and present can be hard to follow at times, I think it was absolutely the best way to present the story. This was a great thriller and I would highly recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #7 – The Girl Before by JP Delaney

51nt2d3zgwl-_sx327_bo1204203200_Title: The Girl Before
Author: JP Delaney
Date finished: 1/24/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense/thriller
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
EMMA
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
JANE
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Jane Cavendish and also of Emma Matthews. The book outlines the lives of both these very different women, Jane in the “Now” and Emma from “Then”. Both women at their different times are looking for a new place to live. Both have recently suffered a trauma and end up applying to live at the same apartment in London. This house comes at a very discounted rent price but in exchange they have to agree to the “Rules.” These rules include not being able to bring much with them, participating in a sort of experimental data gathering, and no pets, children or any kind of mess.  The house is very high-tech and can read your personal preferences from the data that’s been collected and stored, such as what temperature you prefer your shower temperature. In fact you can’t even get in the front door unless the house knows you or you have a code on your phone to get in. And as both women fall under the spell of the building’s architect, their lives parallel each other very closely before veering off in other directions. As both women find themselves being threatened though, they will each have to fight for their lives.
Overall I really liked this book. I didn’t want to put it down and I thought that the alternating points of view made the story line really build with tension. I loved how closely the two women’s stories coincided at certain points. THere were a lot of plot twists in this book, almost too many at some points. I thought this was a good thriller though, with some great options for villains. I loved the technology aspect to this story as well. The house is constantly evolving and growing smarter and learning. It almost seems as if the house brain-washes the individual living in it. It definitely added an additional piece of the story that keeps the reader interested. I have to admit the villain definitely wasn’t who I expected it to be, and I thought the author did a great job with the surprise ending. I liked this book a lot and I would definitely recommend.

The bottom line: This was a really good book, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time waiting to find out what had happened to Emma. And I didn’t see a lot of the twists coming, which always makes for a good thriller.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #6 -The Road by Cormac McCarthy

217yaugoepl-_sx302_bo1204203200_Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Date finished: 1/21/17
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: September 26, 2006
Pages in book: 254
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

A searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.
The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (January). This book is about a man and his son, who are traveling after some sort of apocalypse in the US. They are trying to make it to the shore, from what I cal tell because its so cold everywhere and they’re trying to get south to somewhere warmer. There is a lot of danger on the open road, like people trying to kill and eat you, lack of food, lack of clean water, and the never-ending cold. The man and his son face many obstacles, at a number of times even death, but the most important thing is that they have each other. But the father is sick and his end is drawing near. Will he be able to find a way for his boy to stay safe even after he’s gone?
Overall I have to admit I didn’t like this book that much. To be honest I had a lot more questions than answers with the plot line and that tends to bother me. There were so many things left to the reader’s imagination, which may appeal to some readers but does not appeal to me. And the book was just so sad. The lives of the characters were so tragic and everything felt so hopeless. And I didn’t like how open the ending was. It just felt so random what happened in the last couple pages and I didn’t understand exactly how it came about. The book was interesting and was even a little thrilling with the danger of it, it just wasn’t my type of read.

The bottom line: I didn’t care for this one. I had so many questions even when the book was over. It was an interesting read just not for me. I would recommend to those who like post-apocalyptic fiction.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #5 – The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams

51g-d4qusfl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Title: The Wicked City
Author: Beatriz Williams
Date finished: 1/18/17
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: January 17, 2017
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: First in series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings together two generations of women inside a Greenwich Village apartment—a flapper hiding an extraordinary past, and a modern-day Manhattanite forced to start her life anew.
When she discovers her banker husband has been harboring a secret life, Ella Gilbert escapes their sleek SoHo loft for a studio in a quaint building in Greenwich Village. But her new refuge isn’t quite what it seems. Her charismatic musician neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement after midnight, when a symphony of mysterious noise strikes up—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano, the occasional bloodcurdling scream—even though it’s stood empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the building hosted one of the city’s most notorious speakeasies.
In 1924, Geneva “Gin” Kelly, a quick-witted flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin lands in the office of Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather, Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.
Sired by a wealthy New York scion who abandoned her showgirl mother, Gin is nobody’s fool. She strikes a risky bargain with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent, even though her on-again, off-again Princeton beau, Billy Marshall, wants to make an honest woman of her and heal the legacy of her hardscrabble childhood. Gin’s alliance with Anson rattles Manhattan society, exposing sins that shock even this free-spirited redhead—sins that echo from the canyons of Wall Street to the mountain hollers of her hometown.
As Ella unravels the strange history of the building—and the family thread that connects her to Geneva Kelly—she senses the Jazz Age spirit of her incandescent predecessor invading her own shy nature, in ways that will transform her life in the wicked city. . .

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of two women separated by 74 years of time but living in the same apartment building. With Ginger we find ourselves in the year 1924 during the Prohibition. Ginger likes to frequent a speakeasy next door to the apartment building, and it is here that she’s approached by a Revenue Agent who’s looking to takedown her stepfather’s booze Empire. If there’s one person that Ginger would like to avoid for the rest of her life it’s Duke Kelly, but she agrees to help Oliver Anson in order to extract her own form of revenge on an evil man. Thrown together and dangerous circumstances, Oliver and Ginger’s relationship becomes a dizzying circle of passion and protection. But Oliver isn’t quite who he claims to be engine has to decide who she can trust. Meanwhile, Ella Gilbert has just moved into the apartment on Christopher Street after she finds her husband cheating on her. It’s currently 1998 and Ella works as a forensic accountant for a large firm in New York City. At this apartment building she meets Hector, the landlord’s son and a talented musician. Hector has a girlfriend, but he and Ella spend more and more time together and neither can deny the attraction that develops.
Overall I really just love this book. I loved the two different storylines and I love both the heroine characters. I cannot wait to find out what happens, I have so many questions. The book does leave things off in something of a cliffhanger with many open issues unresolved. This is different from some of Williams’s other books, but I can’t wait to see where she takes us in the next installment in the series. There is a bit of a dark side to this novel, just to warn the reader, including torture, brass knuckles, murder, and sexual abuse. Actually all of these things happened during Ginger’s storyline, although Ella has to overcome obstacles of her own. We learn at the end of the book that the two story lines are connected in a small way. I have to admit I expected a larger connection but I’m interested to see what other revelations the new book brings. This book has something for everyone including action, adventure, romance, heartbreak and revenge. I would highly recommend everyone check this one out!!

The bottom line: I loved this book, the characters were so engaging and the story line was so interesting, I didn’t want to put it down! I can’t wait until the next book comes out so I can find out what happens! Great read and I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #4 – Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

51frawx0hul-_sx328_bo1204203200_-1Title: Victoria
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Date finished: 1/14/17
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Pages in book: 416
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE:I received this book for free from BookBrowse in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Drawing on Queen Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, Daisy Goodwin―creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria and author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter―brings the young nineteenth-century monarch, who would go on to reign for 63 years, richly to life in this magnificent novel.
Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world.
Despite her age, however, the young queen is no puppet. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.
“I do not like the name Alexandrina,” she proclaims. “From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria.”
Next, people say she must choose a husband. Everyone keeps telling her she’s destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.
On June 19th, 1837, she was a teenager. On June 20th, 1837, she was a queen. Daisy Goodwin’s impeccably researched and vividly imagined new book brings readers Queen Victoria as they have never seen her before.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I received this book from Book Browse in order to participate in an online book discussion on the book. If you’ve read it please come join the discussion! This book tells the story of Victoria, Queen of England in the mid 1800’s. The book begins before Victoria is queen, when she was still Alexandrina, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. Controlled for her whole childhood by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend/advisor (Conroy), Victoria becomes Queen when she’s barely 18 and relishes the freedom this provides. This book chronicles her Victoria’s life between the ages of around eighteen and twenty as Victoria comes into her place in the regency. As a young woman she has a lot to prove though, and with so many people who’d like to control her or use her power to their advantage, she has to be careful who she trusts. As Victoria navigates through her first couple years as Queen, she makes mistakes and falls in love and causes some scandal but all in all she stands her ground, makes her own decisions, and follows her heart.
Overall I did enjoy this book. Victoria was very interesting as a main character and the story line was interesting. There were parts of the story line that I thought could have been dug into more, like the discussions of  the poor people in London and how Victoria was spoiled with riches while there were children starving in the streets.And if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t like the way the story ended. I didn’t like Victoria’s second love interest, I wanted her to end up with Melbourne despite the age difference. That probably was the thing that bothered me most about the book. Also it seemed like everyone wanted something from Victoria, which I’m sure is normal for a book about a Queen but I have to say is kind of depressing for a book about a young woman. This was a good and interesting book though and I would recommend it.

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot. Victoria was extremely interesting as a character and the book included a good deal of dramatic tension, conflict, and romance as well as political intrigue. I didn’t really like the ending but overall I thought the book was very well written. I would recommend, especially for fans of books about royalty.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Two Days Gone BLOG TOUR!!

Two Days Gone was released this past Tuesday (January 10th) and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book here. See below for more information about the book, an excerpt, a short author bio, and a GIVEAWAY! This was a very good read, I would definitely recommend checking it out! It was thrilling and interesting and I enjoyed it a lot. 

SUMMARY

The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now.
Thomas Huston, a beloved professor and bestselling author, is something of a local hero in the small Pennsylvania college town where he lives and teaches. So when Huston’s wife and children are found brutally murdered in their home, the community reacts with shock and anger. Huston has also mysteriously disappeared, and suddenly, the town celebrity is suspect number one.
Sergeant Ryan DeMarco has secrets of his own, but he can’t believe that a man he admired, a man he had considered a friend, could be capable of such a crime. Hoping to glean clues about Huston’s mind-set, DeMarco delves into the professor’s notes on his novel-in-progress. Soon, DeMarco doesn’t know who to trust—and the more he uncovers about Huston’s secret life, the more treacherous his search becomes.

BUY THE BOOK HERE

Amazon:  http://ow.ly/dr1j306TTQ3
Barnes & Noble  :http://ow.ly/eveI306TU15
IndieBound:  http://ow.ly/hupQ306TU93

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. His essays, articles, poems, and short stories have appeared in various online and print magazines. His work has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Pennsylvania.

GIVEAWAY

The publisher is holding a giveaway for two copies of the book, enter to win!!

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Two Days Gone.   Runs January 10-31 (US & Canada only)

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EXCERPT

51fpei4tytl-_sx331_bo1204203200_First Chapter Excerpt

The waters of Lake Wilhelm are dark and chilled. In some places, the lake is deep enough to swallow a house. In others, a body could lie just beneath the surface, tangled in the morass of weeds and water plants, and remain unseen, just another shadowy form, a captive feast for the catfish and crappie and the monster bass that will nibble away at it until the bones fall asunder and bury themselves in the silty floor.

In late October, the Arctic Express begins to whisper south- eastward across the Canadian plains, driving the surface of Lake Erie into white-tipped breakers that pound the first cold breaths of winter into northwestern Pennsylvania. From now until April, sunny days are few and the spume-strewn beaches of Presque Isle empty but for misanthropic stragglers, summer shops boarded shut, golf courses as still as cemeteries, marinas stripped to their bone work of bare,splintered boards. For the next six months, the air will be gray and pricked with rain or blasted with wind-driven snow. A season of surliness prevails.

Sergeant Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop D, Mercer County headquarters, has seen this season come and go too many times. He has seen the surliness descend into despair, the despair to acts of desperation, or, worse yet, to deliberately malicious acts, to behavior that shows no regard for the fragility of flesh, a contempt for all consequences. 

He knows that on the dozen or so campuses between Erie and Pittsburgh, college students still young enough to envision a happy future will bundle up against the biting chill, but even their youthful souls will suffer the effects of this season of gray. By November, they will have grown annoyed with their roommates, exasperated with professors, and will miss home for the first time since September. Home is warm and bright and where the holidays are waiting. But here in Pennsylvania’s farthest northern reach, Lake Wilhelm stretches like a bony finger down a glacier-scoured valley, its waters dark with pine resin, its shores thick on all sides with two thousand acres of trees and brush and hanging vines, dense with damp shadows and nocturnal things, with bear and wildcat and coyote, with hawks that scream in the night.

In these woods too, or near them, a murderer now hides, a man gone mad in the blink of an eye.

The college students are anxious to go home now, home to Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukah, to warmth and love and light.Home to where men so respected and adored do not suddenly butcher their families and escape into the woods.

The knowledge that there is a murderer in one’s midst will stagger any community, large or small. But when that murderer is one of your own, when you have trusted the education of your sons and daughters to him, when you have seen his smiling face in every bookstore in town, watched him chatting with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, felt both pride and envy in his sudden acclaim, now your chest is always heavy and you cannot seem to catch your breath. Maybe you claimed, last spring, that you played high school football with Tom Huston. Maybe you dated him half a lifetime ago, tasted his kiss, felt the heave and tremor of your bodies as you lay in the lush green of the end zone one steamy August night when love was raw and new. Last spring, you were quick to claim an old intimacy with him,so eager to catch some of his sudden, shimmering light. Now you want only to huddle indoors. You sit and stare at the window, confused by your own pale reflection.

Now Claire O’Patchen Huston, one of the prettiest women in town, quietly elegant in a way no local woman could ever hope to be, lies on a table in a room at the Pennsylvania State Police forensics lab in Erie. There is the wide gape of a slash across her throat, an obscene slit that runs from the edge of her jawline to the opposite clavicle.

Thomas Jr., twelve years old, he with the quickest smile and the fastest feet in sixth grade, the boy who made all the high school coaches wet their lips in anticipation, shares the chilly room with his mother. The knife that took him in his sleep laid its path low across his throat, a quick, silencing sweep with an upward turn.

As for his sister, Alyssa, there are a few fourth grade girls who, a week ago, would have described her as a snob, but her best friends knew her as shy, uncertain yet of how to wear and carry and contain her burgeoning beauty. She appears to have sat up at the last instant, for the blood that spurted from her throat sprayed not only across the pillow, but also well below it, spilled down over her chest before she fell back onto her side. Did she understand the message of that gurgling gush of breath in her final moments of consciousness? Did she, as blood soaked into the faded pink flannel of her pajama shirt, lift her gaze to her father’s eyes as he leaned away from her bed?

And little David Ryan Huston, asleep on his back in his crib— what dreams danced through his toddler’s brain in its last quivers of sentience? Did his father first pause to listen to the susurrus breath? Did he calm himself with its sibilance? The blade on its initial thrust missed the toddler’s heart and slid along the still-soft sternum. The second thrust found the pulsing muscle and nearly sliced it in half.

The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now. Snap your fingers five times, that’s how long it took. Five soft taps on the door. Five steel-edged scrapes across the tender flesh of night.

2017 Book #3 – Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

51fpei4tytl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title: Two Days Gone
Author: Randall Silvis
Date finished: 1/9/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense/thriller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Pages in book: 400
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now.
What could cause a man, when all the stars of fortune are shining upon him, to suddenly snap and destroy everything he has built? This is the question that haunts Sergeant Ryan DeMarco after the wife and children of beloved college professor and bestselling author Thomas Huston are found slaughtered in their home. Huston himself has disappeared and so is immediately cast as the prime suspect.
DeMarco knows―or thinks he knows―that Huston couldn’t have been capable of murdering his family. But if Huston is innocent, why is he on the run? And does the half-finished manuscript he left behind contain clues to the mystery of his family’s killer?
A masterful new thriller by acclaimed author Randall Silvis, Two Days Gone is a taut, suspenseful story that will will break your heart as much as it will haunt your dreams.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I also am participating in the Blog Tour for this book, you can see my post with an excerpt from the book and other information here. This book is about the murder of Claire Huston and her three children: Thomas Jr,  Alyssa, and little David Ryan. The small town is shocked and grieving, and Detective Ryan DeMarco is determined to find out what happened to the family. Ryan doesn’t believe his new friend Thomas, Claire’s husband and the children’s father, could really be responsible, but since he disappeared from the house the same night as the murders it’s hard not to consider him as a suspect. Thomas was a local college professor and a best-selling author, the pride of the local community and by all appearances a committed husband and father and part of a happy family. But as Ryan starts digging into the events that led up to the tragic event, he realizes there was darkness in Thomas’s life that no one knew about. And unless Ryan can find Thomas quickly, there is a chance that more will die.
Overall I really liked this book. The book is told through two alternating points  of view, Thomas and Ryan’s. I think the author did a great job of creating a well layered story line and an intriguing mystery. The story itself was so very tragic, even two days later I feel bad for everyone involved and I am still struck with sadness over the pain that these characters endured. The ending overall was very fitting for the story, just very sad. The only part that felt a little off to me was the additional party’s involvement at the end (I can’t really be more specific without giving away parts of the end). That part still doesn’t feel like it fit with the rest of the story line for me personally. Other than that though I really liked this book and I would recommend it, especially for anyone who likes a good thriller/suspense.

The bottom line: This was definitely a good book. I’m still recovering from how tragically sad it was but it definitely had an interesting/thrilling story line. I would recommend it, especially for readers who enjoy suspenseful novels. Just be forewarned, your heart will hurt.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Ready, Set, Rogue BLOG TOUR!!

ReadySetRogue_BlogTour.png

Ready, Set, Rogue was released this past Tuesday (January 3rd) and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book here. See below for more information about the book, an excerpt, a short author bio, and an author Q&A. This was a very good read, I would definitely recommend checking it out! It was a touching and romantic read and I enjoyed it a lot. 

SUMMARY

WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?
When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…
Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings―no matter how lovely they are to look at―is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match―but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?
Don’t miss Ready Set Rogue, the first in Manda Collins’ new series set in Regency England!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

manda-collinsAUTHOR BIO: Manda Collins is the author of The Lords of Anarchy series, which includes Good Earl Gone Bad and A Good Rake is Hard to Find, as well as several other Regency-set romances. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

AUTHOR Q&A

  1. Do you have any special rituals that you find yourself following when you’re writing? OR Take us through your typical work day.

My typical work day starts around 8 am. I wake up and sit down at my desk to drink my coffee and check email, and tool around on the internet for about 30 minutes to an hour. I do the New York Times Crossword, and then I get started. I’ll draft or edit for a couple of hours, stop for lunch for about thirty minutes, then start working again until around 3, sometimes 4 PM. I’ll write from between 2,000 and 5,000 words a day depending on how close it is to deadline, or whether I’ve got other plans during the week that will make me skip a day. When I’m on deadline, I’ll generally write every day Monday through Friday. Again, I’ll adjust if it’s closer to deadline and I’m running behind. But I try to give myself the weekend to refill the well. And I don’t write past 6 pm generally, just because I’m not a night person. I listen to WMVY, an internet radio station out of Martha’s Vineyard while I work, though sometimes I’ll choose my own playlist depending on my mood. In between writing sprints, I’ll let the dog in and out, let the cats in and out, and take care of small household chores like laundry or the like.

  1. What do you do to cure writer’s block? Do you have issues with this often or hardly at all?

Before this year I would have said that Writer’s Block isn’t something I typically deal with. But politically, and just in general, 2016 has been hard and there have been moments when I simply could not make myself work. The writer’s brain is a sensitive thing, and when you’re dealing with personal trauma, or depression, it’s almost impossible to make it work. But there have been times when I’ve been on deadline and had no choice. In that case, I find that sitting down, opening my document, and beginning—no matter how much I don’t want to—will generally get the thoughts and words flowing. But you have to have the self-discipline to sit down and stay there long enough for it to work. There’re a lot of little self-deceptions involved in writing as a general rule—“just write a page; okay just one more; you can quit if you want to”—so to get out of a downturn, I might have to employ more of those. Just little fibs I’ll tell myself to get the ball rolling. It’s silly, but it works. And now that I’m writing full time for a living, it’s entirely necessary. 

  1. What (if any) research did you have to do for this novel? What was your favorite piece of research you did for this novel?

Since I’d already visited the South Downs in Sussex, where this new Studies in Scandal series is set, I was able to recall pretty well the landscape of the general area. But I did investigate locations for Beauchamp House, where all four of the books will be set. And for each of the four Bluestocking Heiresses, I had to research enough of their particular academic specialties to make them seem credible. For Ivy in particular, the heroine of READY SET ROGUE, I spent a lot of time familiarizing myself with classical poetry and what fragments of it were available during the Regency era. I was looking in particular for some fragments that would be a bit racier than young ladies would be allowed to read, and I did manage to find quite a few that put even me with my 21st century sensibilities to the blush! I also spent some time investigating poisons that would have been mistaken for common illnesses during the period. I did have some fun imagining what the NSA might think of these particular Google searches!

  1. Are there any books or authors that have really influenced you and made you want to write? What about those authors inspired or influenced you?

I started reading mysteries—Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie—when I was around nine, and didn’t discover romance until my early teens when I read Jane Austen and Marian Chesney around the same time. This means that at the heart of it, my writing tends toward the mysterious and the romantic, sometimes tending more toward one, and sometimes the other.

Also in my teens I particularly enjoyed Martha Grimes’s Richard Jury series, which were all named after English pubs. One thing I really loved about those books was that despite the fact they dealt with murder and some pretty dark issues, there was always a thread of humor running through them. It’s something I’ve tried to maintain in my own writing, in part because real life is like that. In the midst of your utmost grief, you’ll find yourself laughing at something ridiculous. And I think those moments are what make it possible to get through the dark times. So, I put them in my books as well.

Someone else who has been a big influence is Amanda Quick. I realized at one point, that all of her couples tend to work together on some larger mystery, or task, and the process of doing that is what leads them to their HEA. And I also realized that’s something I do too. I didn’t consciously set out to do this, but I do believe that my own concept of romance has to do with love as a true partnership. I want my hero and heroine to be equal partners in love as well as life, and so my stories also always feature a plot that has them working on some shared goal. They might not start out there, but before the halfway mark they’ll end up there. And realizing that that partnership is part of my core story—ie, the story that I end up telling again and again—has helped me understand what I need to focus on to write my books.

  1. Is there anything else about you that you’d like your readers to know?

Just that I’m very excited about this new series, because it features my favorite kinds of heroes and heroines: smart women and the men who are strong enough to appreciate and love them. I hope that readers will end up loving them as much as I do.

EXCERPT

513l5lczll-_sx303_bo1204203200_He’d known she was attractive—had categorized her as such almost as soon as he saw her in the Fox and Pheasant earlier that day—but even that observation hadn’t led him to imagine what she’d look like in such dishabille. Well, that wasn’t quite true, he amended. His mind had conjured her in much fewer clothes than this before he’d realized just who she was. But any such imaginings had been snuffed out as soon as he’d known her destination. The reality of facing her here, now, in her virginal bedclothes, however, with her lovely red hair framing her face like a halo was far more tempting than his fantasy had been.

So, yes. She was disturbing him, but likely in a way she didn’t even comprehend.

Suppressing the urge to tell her just that, he said instead, “I was too restless to sleep. It takes a bit for me to settle in to a new place. So there’s no harm done.”

Moving farther into the room, she set her candle down on one of the large library tables and wrapped her arms across her chest. “It’s chilly in here,” she said frowning. “I hadn’t expected it this close to the sea. I thought it was supposed to be milder here.”

Wordlessly, he looked away from her and moved over to kneel before the fireplace, stoking the embers back into a blaze. “It’s still early spring,” he said on standing, brush- ing his hands together more for something to do than to remove any soot. “The breeze off the channel keeps the air fairly cool until summer.”

But she wasn’t paying him any mind; instead she scanned the shelves that lined the walls behind him.

“Looking for something in particular?” he asked, not- ing the impatience flash in her gaze before she replaced it with polite indifference. “Something to read before sleep, perhaps? Something to steal?”

Her brow furrowed at his question. He’d meant it to be playful, but her response told him that it had come off more sharply than he’d intended.

“I’d hoped you’d decided to stop treating me like an op- portunist here to steal your inheritance from you,” she said, pursing her lips. “I have it on very good authority that you’ve a great many houses as part of the Kerr estate— ones much grander and more impressive than this one. I do not understand why you cannot manage to accept the loss of this one. Unless, of course, like most boys you dis- like sharing your toys.”

She said this last part dismissively over her shoulder as she stepped past him and openly began to read through the shelves on the far wall.

Turning to watch her move from shelf to shelf, he sighed. “I suppose I deserve that after the way I behaved this afternoon. But let me assure you that it’s no petty childhood jealousy that made me distrust you and your compatriots, Miss Wareham.”

This must have surprised her, for she turned and looked at him through narrowed eyes. “No? Then what?”

He thrust a hand through his hair, fighting the urge to look away. “Have you never faced the removal of a child- hood memory?” he asked, finally. “Never wished to hold onto the last bastion of somewhere that gave you comfort?”

Arrested, she tilted her head. “And that’s what this place was for you?” she asked. “A bastion of comfort?”

He wasn’t sure why, but Quill felt more exposed in that moment than he would have if he were stark naked. But he knew he owed her an explanation. Especially after the way he’d treated her earlier. “For me, for Serena, and for my cousin Dalton,” he admitted. “Our own homes were not particularly . . .” He broke off as he tried to think of a word that wouldn’t shock her. He could hardly tell her about the debauchery that had reigned in his own house before his father died. And the circumstances of Serena and Dalton’s upbringing weren’t his to reveal. “Let’s just say that we found our visits to Beauchamp House to be a relief from our own homes.”

Something flashed behind her eyes. Sympathy? Or something else? Quill wasn’t sure, but he couldn’t fail to note the way she squared her shoulders. As if she’d come to a decision.

Abandoning her scan of the bookshelves, she turned fully to face him, her hands clasped before her so tightly that her knuckles were white with it. “Lord Kerr,” she began, her green eyes shadowed with trepidation. “There is something I must tell you.”

Quill felt his stomach drop, and a pang of disappoint- ment ran through him. Now she’d admit that she and the others actually had found some way to trick Aunt Celeste into leaving them Beauchamp House. The whole business of the competition had sounded like a farce, and though he’d known his aunt to possess a playful streak, he’d never guessed it would reveal itself in such a way. Certainly he’d not supposed she would play fast and loose with the dis- position of Beauchamp House, where she’d spent so many happy years.

“Then by all means,” he drawled, allowing every bit of the world-weary ennui that cloaked him in town to settle over him. “Tell me all, Miss Wareham. I confess I am curi- ous to hear how you all managed it, never having set foot in Beauchamp House before. It must have taken a great deal of coordination amongst the four of you.”

But if he’d expected her to surrender completely, he was to be disappointed. “What?” she asked, her nose wrinkled in puzzlement. “I thought we’d just put that behind us. And yet, here you are with accusations again. You are like a dog with a bone, Lord Kerr. Honestly!”

“If not that, then what is it you wish to tell me?” he de- manded, exasperated. He’d never thought himself to be a particularly emotional man, but since he’d met this chit on the road he’d gone through more feelings than a year in London had elicited from him. He must be sickening for something. “You can hardly blame me for jumping to con- clusions when we’ve just been speaking about my earlier suspicions.”

“I can blame you all too easily,” she retorted with a scowl. “But I will not because I am tired of being at cross purposes with you. And I do not believe your aunt would like it.”

Indicating with a wave of his hand that she should go on, Quill waited.

“I found a letter from your aunt waiting for me in my bedchamber,” she said, her fine features marred by worry. “I greatly fear that Lady Celeste was murdered.”

 

Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

 

2017 Book #2 – Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

513l5lczll-_sx303_bo1204203200_Title: Ready Set Rogue
Author: Manda Collins
Date finished: 1/6/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Studies in Scandal series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?
When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…
Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings―no matter how lovely they are to look at―is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match―but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?
Don’t miss Ready Set Rogue, the first in Manda Collins’ new series set in Regency England!

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was lucky enough to do an author interview with Manda, you can see my post with that, an excerpt from the book, and other information here. This book was about Ivy Wareham, the daughter of a professor and an extremely talented linguist/translator who has recently been granted a partial inheritance from someone she’s never met. Lady Celeste Beauchamp has left her estate to 4 intelligent young women, all of whom are extremely eager to use Lady Celeste’s extensive library and other resources to continue expanding their knowledge and the body of their own work in their separate fields of study. But Celeste’s nephew (Quill) is determined to fight this as he is not happy about his aunt giving away his childhood refuge to four strangers. Then Ivy and Quill discover Celeste was murdered and they must join together to solve the mystery of who murdered her and why. And as they spend more and more time together trying to solve this particular mystery, they realize that fate may have brought them together for a reason: true love.
Overall I really liked this book. I loved that the heroines in this series are all extremely intelligent young ladies, and after being introduced to them all in the first book I can already see how different and interesting each of their characters will be. Ivy was fierce and intelligent and I just loved her as a character. And the relationship that developed between her and Quill was passionate but it was more than that too, it was full of real emotion and love. This book did have a lot of characters to keep track of but I think that will only add more depth to the other girl’s stories when they each get told. I think this was a good read and a great start to a new series. I would definitely recommend.

The bottom line: This was a great book! I loved that the author chose to portray such intelligent heroines, they were all very interesting. The plot was creative and kept me interested. And the tension between the hero and heroine was emotional and heart-warming. Loved it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #1 – Waiting For An Earl Like You by Alexandra Hawkins

51arl4wnaal-_sx303_bo1204203200_Title: Waiting For An Earl Like You
Author: Alexandra Hawkins
Date finished: 1/4/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: #3 in Masters of Seduction series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

LOVE ISN T ALWAYS WHAT IT SEEMS.
Get lost in Waiting for an Earl Like You, the next lush, sensual Regency romance in the Masters of Seduction series by USA Today bestselling author Alexandra Hawkins.
Justin Reeve Netherwood, Earl of Kempthorn a.k.a. Thorn has never cared much for his neighbor’s daughter. But his twin brother, Gideon, befriended the wild, reckless, and wholly inappropriate Miss Olivia Lydall in youth, and two have been close ever since. So when Olivia finds herself in a state of romantic conflict and seeks out Gideon for advice, he is only too pleased to oblige. Only problem: The man Olivia is speaking to is Thorn. And now it is too late for him to tell Olivia the truth.
Thorn always believed that Olivia was too smitten with Gideon for her own good. So what s the harm in steering her away from him? But Thorn s charade turns out to be anything but harmless once he begins to see Olivia for who she really is: A woman full of spirit and passion and someone he can t live without. But how can Thorn claim Olivia s heart when their deepening connection and burning desire is built on lies and deceit?

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.This book tells the story of Olivia Lydall, who has been neighbors and friends with Lord Kempthorn (Thorn) and his twin brother (Gideon) since they were children. Being the heir, Thorn was forced to devote more time to his studies and less time on enjoying his youth, plus his arrogance always made Olivia wary of him, so it was Gideon that she was close with. After Gideon returns home after spending time at sea, Thorn sees Olivia for the first time in years at Gideon’s welcome home party. And during the evening of the party, when Thorn comes across Olivia in a secluded setting and she mistakes him for Gideon, he dances with her under the stars and kisses her. But can Thorn convince Olivia to kiss her while he’s himself? Or is she in love with his brother?
Overall I liked some parts of this book. There were a couple twists at the end that I didn’t see coming and were good surprises in the plot. I have to admit, though, that this wasn’t my favorite book by this author, the plot line just wasn’t appealing to me. I didn’t like that no one in the book, not even the heroine, could tell the twins apart. And there was a piece at the beginning about an old lover of Thorn and Gideon’s, and I thought it was pretty gross that they were sleeping with the same person at the same time. And what the hell was Gideon’s problem? Jeez that guy was cranky through like the whole book and we never really find out what was wrong with him. And Olivia’s father was a neglectful jerk who never has to apologize for that fact for some reason. Just in general, the men in this book all seemed like they were being led around with their penises and I thought they could’ve used more time thinking with their brains instead. I think this book would’ve appealed more to readers who like a bossy hero in their historical romances.

The bottom line: This was an ok book. Not my favorite in the series, the plot line was just a little weird/unappealing for me. I think its good to try if you’re reading the series or if you as a reader enjoy a hero that has a lot of arrogance and likes being in control.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page