Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"The Myth Of Perpetual Summer" by Susan Crandall

I'm going to go ahead and say it. Susan Crandall's The Myth Of Perpetual Summer is a summer '18 must-read! It is Southern Gothic at it's finest. 

Tallulah James’s parents’ volatile relationship, erratic behavior, and hands-off approach to child rearing set tongues to wagging in their staid Mississippi town, complicating her already uncertain life. She takes the responsibility of shielding her family’s reputation and raising her younger twin siblings onto her youthful shoulders.

If not for the emotional constants of her older brother, Griff, and her old guard Southern grandmother, she would be lost. When betrayal and death arrive hand in hand, she takes to the road, headed to what turns out to be the not-so-promised land of Southern California. The dysfunction of her childhood still echoes throughout her scattered family, sending her brother on a disastrous path and drawing her home again. There she uncovers the secrets and lies that set her family on the road to destruction. ~taken from Goodreads

The story is told from Tallulah's perspective, alternating from present to past. While we slowly learn what is currently happening with her brother's case, we also learn why Tallulah and her family ended up where they are today.

My favorite quote that pretty much sums up Tallulah's life:

“My parents loved so wildly, they destroyed each other. My father was a tormented man. My brother betrayed my trust. My mother is a self-centered hypocrite. My grandmother has secrets so dark she’d lose me than reveal them. I’m afraid if I love you, you’ll destroy me.”

The characters in the book are one of a kind and each one uniquely interesting. From Tallulah, to her older brother, to her Gran, and to her parent's unusual relationship with each other and with their children, every single character introduced is a vital part to the story. 

The quality of writing in this story is outstanding. I could effortlessly imagine this small, southern town and its inhabitants clearly. I felt like I was there and could feel each character's emotions with every page turn. 

I give this book 5 stars, only because that's the maximum number of stars allowed. This is one of those books I could read over and over again, and fall in love with it once more, every time. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for allowing my an ecopy to read and give my honest review. This was my first book from author Susan Crandall, but I look forward to reading more form her. 

This book is out now and you can pick up your copy here or wherever you love to shop for books/ebooks! 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

"Lying In Wait" by Liz Nugent

From the international bestselling author of Unraveling Oliver, an “unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax. ~taken from Goodreads

What a dark but weirdly lovely story. The twists and turns and different points of character views really made for quite a delightful read! This novel tells the story about a girl's death and the aftermath it brings to two separate families. 

I honestly can't say much about this story without giving things away. The characters were very well developed. On one side of the story we have a highly dysfunctional, "rich" family that includes a manipulative mother with a dark past and her sheltered and timid son trying to find his place in the world.

We also are introduced to another type of family. This poor but loving family is torn to pieces when their daughter/sister goes missing. They try their best to move on and live their lives, but the tragedy of their loss seems to have trapped them all in the living hell of not knowing what happened. 

The psychological thrill in this novel is a slow burn, but worth the wait!  The ending was so satisfying yet so tragic that I was left thinking "Am I okay with this ending? It completely works, but is it justice?". 

Lying In Wait is a Summer '18 must read! You will love it! A 5-star read for me! It was just released last week here in the U.S. so get your copy now! 

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for allowing me an eARC to read and give my honest review!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Paul Southern's "Pendle Fire"

Social worker Johnny Malkin is battling a crippling workload and a hostile local community. That’s on a good day: things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Two fourteen-year-old girls are found wandering Aitken Wood on the slopes of Pendle Hill, claiming to have been raped by a gang of men. With no female social workers available, Johnny is assigned to their case. But what, at first, looks like yet another incident of child exploitation takes a sinister turn when the girls start speaking of a forthcoming apocalypse.

When Johnny interviews one of the girls, Jenna Dunham, her story starts to unravel. His investigation draws him into a tight-knit village community in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where whispers of witchcraft and child abuse go back to the Middle Ages.

One name recurs: The Hobbledy Man. Is he responsible for the outbreaks of violence sweeping across the country? ~Taken From Goodreads

This story is part folklore, part thriller, part horror, and part paranormal. It touches on many different dark topics, including rape, racism, riots and child grooming. It may not be a book for everyone, but I really did like it!

This is the second book I have read by the author, and he just has an amazing knack for creating characters, both good and bad, that seem so real. So multidimensional that imagining them while reading is no problem at all. Descriptions of places and events were well done, and even I, an American that's never been to England, had no problem seeing the story in my mind. 

Overall, this book is so well written, with so many different and interesting angles, yet wrapped up perfectly. It made me think, it gave me chills, and at times scared the crap out of me! 

This book is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble so get it now! A definite 5 star book! 

Big thanks to Paul Southern for gifting me a copy to read and give my honest review! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"The Summer Children" by Dot Hutchison

This FBI agent has come to expect almost anything—just not this…

When Agent Mercedes Ramirez finds an abused young boy on her porch, covered in blood and clutching a teddy bear, she has no idea that this is just the beginning. He tells her a chilling tale: an angel killed his parents and then brought him here so Mercedes could keep him safe.

His parents weren’t just murdered. It was a slaughter—a rage kill like no one on the Crimes Against Children team had seen before. But they’re going to see it again. An avenging angel is meting out savage justice, and she’s far from through.

One by one, more children arrive at Mercedes’s door with the same horror story. Each one a traumatized survivor of an abusive home. Each one chafing at Mercedes’s own scars from the past. And each one taking its toll on her life and career.

Now, as the investigation draws her deeper into the dark, Mercedes is beginning to fear that if this case doesn’t destroy her, her memories might. ~taken from Goodreads

Here we are. Book #3 in The Collector Series. A series I have loved from the start. The series started with The Butterfly Garden, a book unlike any other you've ever read. We continued the story with The Roses Of May, and it did not disappoint. This is the third installment of the series and I don't believe it will be the last, as author Dot Hutchison's Goodreads page shows hints of a fourth book in The Collector Series! 

In this book we get a close up and personal look into the FBI agents we have grown to love in the previous books. FBI Agent, Mercedes Ramirez, begins to get deliveries to her front porch. Children, covered in blood not their own, clutching a teddy bear and claiming they were told by an angel in all white and donning a faceless white mask, that Agent Ramirez will keep them safe. The Angel has killed the  parents and saved the children from their abusive households.

While the local PD and Agent Ramirez's team try to figure out who the killer could possibly be, Agent Ramirez is battling her own past. We learn how she became and FBI agent and why she chose to work in a department that rescues children. 

We also get to continue the story of the rescued Butterflies and Priya, the former victims that the team has taken under their wing and continued to be friends with after their prior cases were closed. 

Hutchison continued the growth of previous characters while seamlessly introducing the reader to new ones. The story was the perfect mix of old and new. The intriguing premise and unexpected plot twists kept me engaged and excited for each new chapter. 

This was absolutely a 5 star read for me! If you haven't yet read this series, get started now. If you have read the first two books, you are in luck, because it's release day for this latest installment of The Collector Series! 
The Summer Children is available right now to order or pick up in your local bookstore!

Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for allowing me a copy to read and give my honest review!

Happy Reading! 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Alice Feeney's "Sometimes I Lie"

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 
1. I’m in a coma. 
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 
3. Sometimes I lie. 

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth? ~taken from Goodreads

Sometimes it's hard to read a book where the reader knows little to nothing about what happened. This is not one of those books. Believe me, you want to know as little as possible about how Amber ended up in a coma so that you can experience the full WOW factor the plot twists and surprises the author reveals. 

I will try my hardest not to give anything away. This story has 3 separate timelines: the first is current Amber, lying in a coma, yet aware of everything happening around her. She can hear nurses, doctors and family talk about her as is she isn't there. Through their words she tries her hardest to piece together what happened and bring her memories back to her. She is determined that if she can simply remember what lead to this coma, she can wake up.

Second, we get a glimpse of what I will call the "way back" past. The story of two little girls' friendship. One little girl who grows up in a house of anger and sadness. The other in a loving house, but bullied by others at school. They become friends, and their friendship grows into something else...

Third, we get a glimpse into Amber's past and what lead up to the current coma situation. Her life with her husband, her job with her horrible boss, her relationship with her sister. Slowly we are lead through twists and turns the occurred before this horrific event. 

This book did not end how I expected to at all! The author amazingly pulled out one last BIG plot twist that make my mouth hang open in awe! 

This was a fun read, perfect for summer lounging! I definitely say add it to your TBR soon list! 

Sometimes I Lie is available now so order your copy today! It's a solid 4 star read for me! 

Thanks to Flatiron books for allowing me a free copy to read and review!

Happy Reading! 

Friday, May 4, 2018

"Baby Teeth" by Zoje Stage

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.
 ~taken from Goodreads

I really thought this book would be right up my alley and that I would fall in love and recommend it to all my "weird" friends. Boy was I wrong. 

This "physiological" thriller is about a highly dysfunctional family and their disturbing child named Hanna. Hanna acts like an angel around her father, leading him to believe there is nothing wrong mentally or emotionally with his daughter. Hanna's behavior, when around her mother, is another story.

Suzette, Hanna's mom, is homeschooling her daughter while also dealing with her own health issues. She is also the target of Hanna's disturbing mental issues that cause bad behaviors, mostly aimed at her mother.

This story is told in the alternating perspectives of Hanna and Suzette. As a reader it was interesting to get into the mind of each character. 

This book seemed to be more about "shock value" in the actions and thought of a deranged Hanna than about character building. Hanna is 7 years old but acts like a much older child, which I just couldn't believe. I was also very appalled at the way Suzette spoke to her child. As a special needs mother myself, I can't imagine saying such things to my son. The lack of connection between Suzette and her husband on "what is wrong" with Hannah was also a stretch. Two parents living in the same house raising a child cannot possibly be that disconnected in how they view the child's behaviors and needs. 

Overall this book was a bust for me. From other reviews I have seen, there seems to be a mixed consensus of how readers felt about the book. While I appreciate the "hard topic" nature of the book, I just found it all so unbelievable I couldn't full immerse myself in the story being told. Very quickly I ended up hating every single character and simply read to see how it ends.

"Baby Teeth" is due to be released July 17, 2018 here in the USA. Pre-order it now if the premise sounds like a book you'd like. I am interested to see what everyone thinks, as I said before there have been such mixed reviews!

Thanks to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for allowing me the egalley to read and give my honest review.

This was a 2 star read for me.

Happy Reading! 

"Our House" by Louise Candlish

There's nothing unusual about a new family moving in at 91 Trinity Avenue. Except it's her house. And she didn't sell it.

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she's sure there's been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern coparenting arrangement: bird's nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona's children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram's not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses. ~taken from Amazon

This story starts out with a bang! Fiona returns home from holiday to find that another family is moving into her house! She lives in a prestigious, high valued, very desirable neighborhood called Trinity Avenue and is shocked to see her belongings have been removed and another family's things are being loaded off moving trucks and into HER house!

Through a series of flashbacks, told by Fiona and her ex-husband, Bram, we learn of how this situation came to be. Fiona's story is told in the format of a podcast, while Bram's is through a Word document sent via email. I do like the modern twist of how the story is told (podcast and email). We also get little bits of Twitter chatter between random podcast followers, which was fun!

Though it was interesting to hear about the house itself, the prestigious London neighborhood and the other families in the area, this book seemed to fall a bit flat. I will admit that  I read this quickly, but only because I was sure that something interesting would happen at any second. It never did.

There a twists and turns throughout, but nothing really gripping. When all was said and done it was actually a quite unbelievable story. 

The characters are very well written and each had interesting personalities, which I think is what kept me reading. Though interesting, there was not a single character I actually liked or could relate to. The behavior of both Fiona and Bram was just not believable and I rolled my eyes a lot at the things they did and said. 

All in all, this book was a quick read and despite the dissatisfying ending I can see this as a summer read for someone on vacation looking to relax. 

Our House is due to be released August 7, 2018 here in The States and is available for pre-order now. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing group for allowing me an egalley to read and give my honest review. It's was a solid 3 star read for me! 

Happy Reading!