Saturday, March 25, 2017

Stacking the Shelves #62

I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

I was off from work all week which was wonderful.  I did have to deal with a few work related things but nothing that took up too much time.  My daughter just returned home from her Disney trip and had a wonderful time.  My husband and I were able to get a few things done around the house that have needed to be done for a very long time.  I didn't get as much reading done as I thought I would but it was a great week. 

Digital Books


Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire (Kindle Purchase)
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (First to Read)
A Million Junes by Emily Henry (First to Read)
About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay (First to Read)
All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg (First to Read)
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo (First to Read)
The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (First to Read)
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (NetGalley)

I went a little crazy with the latest round of books at First to Read.  I couldn't help it - they all looked so good!  I am really excited to get a chance to read an early copy of Flame in the Mist.

Current Giveaway


U.S. and Canada residents: Click here to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne!

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Review & Giveaway - The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne @GrandCentralPub

The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Date Read: March 22, 2017
Source: Publisher

THE PERFECT HUSBAND. THE PERFECT STEPSON. THE PERFECT LIE?

When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie's behavior changes, and Rachel's perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the specter of his late mother - David's previous wife. Is this Jamie's way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie's outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife's untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie's words:

"You will be dead by Christmas."

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her
My Review

I liked this book quite a bit.  This turned out to be quite the page turner and I ended up liking it even more than The Ice Twins.  This was a book that I never knew quite what might happen next.  I ended up reading this whole book in a little more than 24 hours because I had such a hard time putting it down.  I am very glad that I decided to pick this book up.

The story opens with Rachel and David as newlyweds at his family home, Carnhallow House.  Rachel is now the step-mother to David's son, Jamie, whose mother has recently died.  It is a huge adjustment for Rachel and the day to day task of caring for Jamie falls largely to her since David is away during most of the week for work.  Jamie is still grieving the loss of his mother and it is showing in some of his actions.  Rachel starts to wonder about what really happened to Jamie's mother and starts asking a lot of questions.

I thought this book had a whole lot going for it. It went in directions that I would have never imagined and I love being taken by surprise with this kind of book.  The pacing was perfectly done with enough action to really keep the pages turning.  Jamie was one of the creepiest kids that I remember reading about in a book which was a big plus.  Add in the old house and the mining tunnels running all over the place and there is a whole lot of creepy in this story.   I never really knew if I should trust Rachel.  I think that Rachel's character was written in such a way that it was hard to tell if she was actually psychotic or if these things were really happening.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of psychological thrillers.  This was one of those books that made me wonder if any of the characters should be trusted but I had to keep reading to figure out what was real.  This is the second book by S.K. Tremayne that I have read and I can't wait to read more.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Grand Central Publishing.


Giveaway

About the Author

S. K. Tremayne is a bestselling novelist and award-winning travel writer, and a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines around the world. Tremayne has two daughters, and lives in London.

Author Links: Goodreads

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spotlight - Beautiful Mess by Kasey Lane #Excerpt #Giveaway @authorkaseylane @SourcebooksCasa

Beautiful Mess by Kasey Lane
Series: Rock 'n' Ink #2
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: March 7, 2017

When attorney Jami Dillon strides into the conference room to meet her new client, she’s stopped in her tracks by an all-too familiar figure. Jackson Paige. He’s her tall, tattooed, and sexy as hell hook up from law school—who also broke her heart.

Hell’s bells.
Jackson Paige was, in fact, Jax Pain, the drummer of Manix Curse.
That thing in Jami’s chest tightened, making it hard to breathe.

Jackson Paige, aka Jax Pain, has worked hard to put that unfor-frickin-gettable fling behind him and the nasty secret that made him leave her. Truth is, life as the playboy drummer of Portland’s hottest metal band hasn’t helped him to forget the fiery, sexy woman who stole his heart. Lucky for him, Jami was just hired as his band’s new attorney. But when he sees the look on her face when she realizes who her new client is, Jax wonders if maybe being this close to her again isn’t such a great idea. The explosive chemistry is there, but so are the dark secrets…

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30612665-beautiful-mess?ac=1&from_search=true
Excerpt


Giveaway
About the Author

Award-winning debut author KASEY LANE writes sexy romances featuring music, hot guys with ink, kick ass women, and always a happily ever after. A California transplant, she lives with her high school crush turned husband, two smart, but devilish kids, two Papillions, three cats, and several chickens in the lush Oregon forest.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review - The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Date Read: March 20, 2017
Source: NetGalley & Edelweiss

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it...

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her
My Review

I thought that this book was just okay.  I have been a fan of Lisa Lutz for a long time and have a great fondness for her Spellman Files series.  I knew going into this book that this was going to be a completely different kind of story and I was really looking forward to seeing what she would do with it.  There were things that I did like about this story but other elements were not quite as enjoyable.

The book opens with the death of Tanya's husband.  Tanya immediately leaves town and starts working on assuming a new identity.  Tanya tells us that she didn't hurt her husband, Frank, but we have no idea why she feels like she needs to leave town.  I was really curious about her motivation to run.  That wasn't a small decision and she knew exactly what to do so it was very obvious that Tanya had disappeared before.  Tanya changes her name several times in the story but for the purpose of the review, I am just going to stick with Tanya.

Tanya meets Blue in a bar when Blue figures out that she isn't exactly who she says she is.  They find themselves in a serious situation soon after they meet and they form an interesting friendship.  Both Blue and Tanya are on the run and are both hiding who they truly are from the world.  Blue's character was one that I didn't quite trust.  Blue just seemed to have a more criminal mind than Tanya did.

I did want to keep reading so that I could learn why Tanya felt she had to run in the first place.  If she didn't hurt her husband, it didn't make sense unless she had something else from her past.  The emails that were sprinkled in the book between chapters quickly hinted that there was something from her past that we hadn't discovered yet.  I also really liked the humor that was sprinkled throughout the book.  This isn't a funny story but Lisa Lutz's sense of humor is still very evident in the writing.

I was really disappointed by the ending of this book.  Seriously disappointed.  I read all of those pages eagerly awaiting a big reveal that caused Tanya to be on the run and it just didn't do a lot for me.  The big twist that was supposed to shock me at the end just added another layer of disappointment.

I am not really sure that I would recommend this book.  I do think that a lot of readers will really enjoy this book a lot more than I did.  I did like the book and I do consider 3 stars to be a good rating.  It just wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be.  I do plan to continue reading Lisa Lutz's work in the future and commend her for writing a different kind of story.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley and Edelweiss.
About the Author

Lisa Lutz is the author of the New York Times bestselling, Edgar Award– and Macavity Award–nominated, and Alex Award–winning Spellman Files series and the novels How to Start a Fire and The Passenger. She lives and works in upstate New York.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Releases - March 21, 2017 #newreleases #newbooks



It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:


The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
The Newsroom meets Gone Girl.” —Cosmopolitan

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.


Vicious Circle by C.J. Box

Find it at:
The past comes back to haunt game warden Joe Pickett and his family with devastating effect in the thrilling new novel from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author.

The plane circled in the dark. Joe Pickett could just make out down below a figure in the snow and timber, and then three other figures closing in. There was nothing he could do about it. And Joe knew that he might be their next target.
The Cates family had always been a bad lot. Game warden Joe Pickett had been able to strike a fierce blow against them when the life of his daughter April had been endangered, but he’d always wondered if there’d be a day of reckoning. He’s not wondering any longer. Joe knows they’re coming after him and his family now. He has his friend Nate by his side, but will that be enough this time? All he can do is prepare . . . and wait for them to make the first move.

The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes the first novel in her all-new series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish. In the process, they find not only themselves, but the father they only thought they knew.

When celebrated and respected agent Fritz Hudson passes away, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Allie and Des Hudson are products of Fritz’s first marriage to Honora, a beautiful but troubled starlet whose life ended in a tragic overdose. Meanwhile, Fritz was falling in love on the Delaware Bay with New Age hippie Susa Pratt—they had a daughter together, Cara, and while Fritz loved Susa with everything he had, he never quite managed to tell her or Cara about his West Coast family.

Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had that could save Allie from her ever-deepening debt following a disastrous divorce, allow Des to open a rescue shelter for abused and wounded animals, and give Cara a fresh start after her husband left her for her best friend—but only if the sisters upend their lives and work together to restore an old, decrepit theater that was Fritz’s obsession growing up in his small hometown in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Guided by Fritz’s closest friend and longtime attorney, Pete Wheeler, the sisters come together—whether they like it or not—to turn their father’s dream into a reality, and might just come away with far more than they bargained for.

Forever a Hero by Linda Lael Miller

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | BAM!
For the youngest Carson brother, findingand fixing trouble seems to be all in a day's work

Mace Carson doesn't consider himself a hero. Back in college, he came upon a woman in trouble and intervened but he was just one irate Wyoming cowboy with his boots planted firmly on the side of right. Now a successful vintner, Mace is shocked to be reunited with the woman he saved. But it turns out she's in Wyoming on business a corporate executive representing the company that wants to buy his winery. Only, he's not selling.

Kelly Wright has never forgotten that horrible night ten years ago when Mace came to her rescue, has never forgotten him. The surprising success of a winery in the middle of ranch country has brought her to Mustang Creek, and she's secretly thrilled to discover Mace at the helm. Reluctant to mix business with pleasure, Kelly vows to keep things professional, until her attacker is released from prison and comes for vengeance against both of them.
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30753774-man-overboard?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30841908-the-arrangement?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25150798-the-tea-girl-of-hummingbird-lane?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30142139-nemesis?ac=1&from_search=true

What new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review - The Cutaway by Christina Kovac @christina_kovac @AtriaMysteryBus

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac
Atria Books - 37 Ink
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Date Read: March 17, 2017
Source: NetGalley

The Newsroom meets Gone Girl.” —Cosmopolitan

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her
My Review

I liked this story well enough even if I didn't love it.   I think that the newsroom setting was one of the strengths of this book and it did add a rather unique quality to the story.   Unfortunately, I was never completely hooked by the story.  The mystery was interesting but I just never found myself truly invested in the story.

This story is told from the point of view of TV new producer, Virginia.  When Virginia sees a missing poster for Evelyn, she knows that she has seen her face before.  She remembers Evelyn being in another piece on the news station as a cutaway shot and she is drawn to her story.  As Viriginia works to find out what happened to Evelyn, she soon realizes that the case may be much bigger than she originally thought.

This book actually had a whole lot going on.  Probably too much if I am being honest.  While Viriginia was working on this case, it seemed that her whole world was falling down around her.  There is a big shake-up at the news station that makes everything tense.  Virginia's personal life is also a major focus with past relationships, new relationships, and family making an appearance.  These topics were interesting but it seemed to change the focus from the mystery so often that I had a hard time keeping track of everything and I don't think that it always added a lot to the overall story.

The overall mystery was rather complex.  This book did take a lot of twists and turns that I didn't see coming but there was nothing that was truly unexpected.  I thought that the mystery did make sense in the end.  As the mystery really started to unfold, the excitement levels increased.  I did enjoy the newsroom perspective and thought this felt rather authentic.

This is a book that I am glad that I read and I think that mystery readers will enjoy the newsroom point of view.  I thought that this was a solid debut novel from Christina Kovac and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Atria Books - 37 Ink via NetGalley.
About the Author

Christina Kovac worked for seventeen years managing Washington, DC newsrooms and producing crime and political stories in the District. Her career as television journalist began with Fox Five’s Ten O’Clock News, and after that, the ABC affiliate in Washington. For the last nine years, she worked at NBC News, where she worked for Tim Russert and provided news coverage for Meet the Press, the Today show, Nightly News, and others. Christina Kovac lives with her family outside of Washington, DC. The Cutaway is her first novel.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Audiobook Review - The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper @sknipper @HighBridgeAudio

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper
Narrated by Andi Arndt and Cassandra Campbell
HighBridge Audio
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Date Read: March 9, 2017
Length: 9 hours 20 minutes
Source: Won - LibraryThing Early Reviewer

Written with great heart and a deep understanding of what it feels like to be “different,” The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin is a novel about what it means to be family, and about the lengths to which people will go to protect the ones they love.

Sisters Rose and Lily Martin were inseparable when they were kids. As adults, they've been estranged for years, until circumstances force them to come together to protect Rose's daughter. Ten-year-old Antoinette has a severe form of autism that requires constant care and attention. She has never spoken a word, but she has a powerful gift that others would give anything to harness: she can heal things with her touch. She brings wilted flowers back to life, makes a neighbor's tremors disappear, and changes the normal course of nature on the Kentucky flower farm where she and her mother live.

Antoinette's gift, though, puts her own life in danger, as each healing comes with an increasingly deadly price. As Rose—the center of her daughter's life—struggles with her own failing health, and Lily confronts her anguished past, they, and the men who love them, come to realize the sacrifices that must be made to keep this very special child safe.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

My Review

This was really a great story.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I started listening to this audiobook but I soon found myself hooked.  The story touched on so many difficult topics and everything worked together in a way that I wouldn't have expected.  I really liked that the story was told from multiple points of view and I thought that each perspective really added an important piece to the overall puzzle.  I really ended up enjoying this book.

This is a book that is really about a lot of things.  It is a book that tells the story of two sisters, Lily and Rose, mending their relationship.  Lily and Rose have seen very little of each other in the years leading up to the start of the book but when Rose needs Lily, she comes to help.  That is just one part of the story.  This book also focuses on a little girl with disabilities who has a special gift.

Antoinette was a great character.  She is nonverbal but she still says so much.  She is her mother's world and the feeling is mutual.  She is a caring child that doesn't want to see anyone or anything ill or in pain.  She is willing to do anything she can to help take care of those that she loves.   Unfortunately, Antoinette's gift comes with a price that those who love her work to protect her from.

I loved how so many different elements came together to tell this story.  I loved the parts from Rose's point of view that really demonstrated her love for Antoinette.  Lily's struggle to fit in and the things she struggles with in her life every day was very well told.  Seth and Will both added to the story with their actions in the present and they both had really interesting pasts.  I enjoyed the magical realism elements that helped to tell this story.

I loved the narration.  I have listened to Andi Arndt several times in the past and have always enjoyed her work.  This was the first time that I have listened to Cassandra Campbell and I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the book that she narrated.  I think that using two narrators really added to the impact of the story.  Andi Arndt did narrate the bulk of the story but they both did an equally wonderful job.  This was an emotional story and both narrators really did a great job expressing a lot of strong feelings.

I would recommend this book to others.  This is the first book by Stephanie Knipper that I have read and I am really impressed by her ability to write wonderful characters dealing with a lot of difficult issues.  I would definitely like to read from this author in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from HighBridge Audio via LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
About the Author

Stephanie Knipper based much of the story of The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin on her own experience in raising a daughter with severe disabilities. She lives with her family in Kentucky.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
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