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!  

Thursday, April 19, 2018

"Jar Of Hearts" by Jennifer Hillier

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it? ~taken from Goodreads

You have been warned! Pre-order this book now because in June this book will be flying off shelves at your local bookstore! 

This was my first time reading a book by author Jennifer Hillier, but it certainly will not be my last. I have already added other books of hers to my list. But, I'm getting ahead of myself... let me explain to you why this book was AMAZING!

This story revolves around 3 (former) best friends. Georgina (Geo) and Kaiser are now both grown adults, but no longer friends. They drifted apart in their late teen years when Angela, the final piece to their teen trio of BFFs, went missing. Now Geo is headed to prison for her part in killing Angela all those years ago and Kaiser is the one who arrested her. Though Geo is in prison, Kaiser just can't shake his detective instinct that there is more to this story than what he has been told.

The story alternates between past and present and also from third person point of view of both Geo and Kaiser. The characters are very well developed, easy to relate to, and despite the horrific event of murder, both characters are very likable. 

We get glimpses into the past and are slowly given clues on how these teens' life were before the murder and what lead up to it. I loved reading the parts of Geo's life in prison. Even the small, seemingly insignificant characters in the story are so well developed and interesting. The story flows seamlessly and little plot twists dropped throughout kept me guessing up until the end!

You all know I hate ruining a good story, so I won't give any spoilers away! I will tell you it's a 5 star read! Hands down one of my favorite books of 2018 so far! I can't wait to read other books from this author.

Jennifer Hillier's "Jar Of Hearts" is set to be released on June 12, 2018 here in the United States. Like I mentioned before, pre-order it now!  You'll want this book in your hands to gobble up the second it's released! 

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press (I received both the egalley and printed ARC) to read and give my honest review. 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Stephanie Garber's "Legendary (Caraval #2)

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more―and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about―maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun. ~taken from Amazon

I finished this book a week ago and I still can't stop thinking about it!!!! It's perfection. When I started this read I was honestly worried and concerned that the second book in the series just wouldn't live up to the amazingness of the first book, Caraval, but I am so glad I was wrong!

This review will be short and without spoilers. This is a fascinating young adult fantasy series that I can't get enough of. The world and characters that Garber has created suck the reader in and keep them engaged throughout the entire book. 

The characters are simple and yet complex at the same time. In this book we get the story from the point of view of Tessa (Book 1 was from Scarlett's POV).I wish I was as good at writing as Garber so I could explain to you the feeling of reading this book. I guess "purely magical" will suffice the feelings I experienced. Like the first book, Stephanie Garber's talent (besides inventing this imaginary world and complex game in her head and perfectly translating it onto paper) is her way to create a plot twist. She is a genius at misleading the reader and surprising them in the next chapter or two with a twist no one ever saw coming but her. 

All in all, this book is a 5 star read for me. Pre-order it now. If you haven't read the first book yet, DO IT NOW! You will not be disappointed! Legendary is due to be released here in the USA on May 29, 2018. 

Thanks to Flat Iron Books and Netgalley for allowing me an egalley to read and give my honest review. 

Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sara Shepard's "The Elizas"

When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.

Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?

The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins. ~Taken from Goodreads

I was very excited to read this new novel by Sara Shepard! I fell in love with the Pretty Little Liars series. This new novel, "The Elizas" is geared more towards the adult audience, as opposed to her previous novels in the Young Adult genre. 

My full review will be added to this post closer to the release date of April 17, 2018. For the meantime, I will tell you I really enjoyed this read! 

This thriller was easy to get into from the start. The cast of characters are interesting, diverse and relatable. Mysteries and plot twists kept coming and I stayed engaged throughout the story. I honestly didn't see the end coming! 

If you are looking for a vacation read, this is a must! I think Sara Shepard did a great job transitioning to adult fiction. I look forward to her next novel! 

Thanks to Atria Books and Netgalley for allowing me a free copy to read and give my honest review! It was a 4 star read for me! Look for my complete review next month and pre-order this new novel now! 

Happy Reading!