Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Roanoke Girls: A Novel by Amy Engel

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart. ~taken from Amazon

Wow! This was an emotionally charged book written about a very taboo subject. I have to just say that I LOVED this book! Somehow this book manages to his every emotion. This is a coming of age, dark and twisted, powerful story of love. It hit every emotion cover to cover.

Every character in this book has some sort of flaw. A damage done to them that has scared them and made them even more interesting. There wasn't a single character that didn't fascinate me. 

The Roanoke Secret is revealed pretty early on. It isn't hard to figure it out, yet it isn't a secret that is flat out revealed. You know what the secret is yet the story keeps going. This books switched back and forth between present day and the summer of secrets. I finished this book in about 3 days.

There is no BIG REVEAL at the end of this twisted, messy story. Rather, all the pieces seem to fall into place letting the reader see the entire picture all at once instead of bits and pieces. The end of the story left my mouth hanging open in awe. 

I highly recommend this. I am so thankful for Netgalley and Crown Publishing for allowing me a copy to read and review! 

Get your copy now and start reading! 

A 5+ star read for me!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"I Was A Bitch" by Emily Ruben

When Lacey Jones wakes up after a horrific accident, she realizes that she’s lost all memory of the last two years. In this time, she has turned from a wallflower into the gorgeous and popular Queen Bee of her high school. Adding to the confusion, she is confronted with two guys who claim to love her; her football star boyfriend and the mysterious and attractive Finn.

Now Lacey has to figure out who she can trust as she starts to put her life back together and slowly discovers what really happened on the night of the accident.

Will she be able to resist her developing feelings for Finn and stay loyal to her boyfriend? ~taken from Amazon

What a fun read! I was gifted this ebook by the author to read and give my honest review. I was told to read it when I could fit it into my reading lineup... and then completely forgotten about it! Horrible on my part, I know. I have since reformatted my organizational ways! I started this book one evening and was finished by the next. It was a fast read!

Despite what my children think, it wasn't that long ago I too was a high school student. I remember how it felt to be a teenage girl, zigzagging my way through the halls, worrying about what everyone thought of me. Wondering what clique I actually fit in to. 

Lacey, the main character, wakes from a coma. Although she was only unconscious for a few months, her memory has been reeled back to 2 years prior. She has no memory of her current friends. She has no idea how she became the queen bee, or queen bitch, at school. She is not sure she likes what she has turned in to.

Then there is Finn. Sexy, funny Finn. She has no idea who is he or what the relationship between them is. Friends? Best friends? Gay best friend? Boyfriend? His entire existence in her life is a mystery to her.

As Lacy starts to unravel the bits and pieces of her past she realizes she was, no IS a bitch. She doesn't like it, but isn't sure how to change it. Her amnesia seems like a way to start new again, but for some reason she feels she must keep her amnesia a secret from all except her immediate family. 

Will Lacy ever remember how she ended up having a horrific accident that left her memories in pieces? Will she revert back to her old ways, or change her attitude towards her friends and life? Will Finn be more than a friend?

This was the perfect mix of mystery and romance, all wrapped up into a delightful YA story line. 

Thanks to author Emily Ruben for allowing me a copy of "I Was A Bitch" . It was a 4 star read! 

Happy Reading!

My Husband's Wife: A Novel by Jane Corry

When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe. A convicted murderer whom Lily is strangely drawn to. For whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything. 

But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets are powerful things. That they can get her whatever she wants. 

When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep sixteen years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way. ~taken from Amazon

Lily and Ed's marriage starts out exactly how new marriages should never start- shrouded in secrets and lies. They married quick, after just a brief dating period and are still trying to get the hang to life together. They agree to watch the neighbor's little girl, Carla, while her mother works on the weekends. At first it seems like a blessing, distracting them from the issues going on between the couple, but soon turns into an annoyance. Little do they know Carla will influence their futures more than they ever imagined.

Meanwhile, Lily has taken on her first big case. A man who is in prison for murdering his girlfriend has new evidence to offer to the case, stating it proves he is innocent. Against her better judgement, Lily gets too personally involved in the case. This involvement will change her life forever. 

This book is wonderfully written. I enjoyed the authors alternating points of view, giving me a first account glimpse into the different plots of the story. 

The pace was perfect, leaving me engulfed in the story line and hinting at just enough mystery to keep me turning the pages with utter intrigue. It is a novel full of suspense, sadness, spite, jealousy, hatred, and at times, twisted. 

I really enjoyed reading My Husband's Wife. It was a book that has been on my TBR list for quite some time. I am glad I finally sat down to read it! It is a quick read that took me about 3 or 4 days to finish. 

I give it a solid 4 stars!

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"My Last Lament" by James William Brown

A poignant and evocative novel of one Greek woman's story of her own and her nation's epic struggle in the aftermath of World War II.

Aliki is one of the last of her kind, a lamenter who mourns and celebrates the passing of life. She is part of an evolving Greece, one moving steadily away from its rural traditions. To capture the fading folk art of lamenting, an American researcher asks Aliki to record her laments, but in response, Aliki sings her own story...

It begins in a village in northeast Greece, where Aliki witnesses the occupying Nazi soldiers execute her father for stealing squash. Taken in by her friend Takis's mother, Aliki is joined by a Jewish refugee and her son, Stelios. When the village is torched and its people massacred, Aliki, Takis and Stelios are able to escape just as the war is ending.

Fleeing across the chaotic landscape of a post-war Greece, the three become a makeshift family. They are bound by friendship and grief, but torn apart by betrayal, madness and heartbreak.

Through Aliki's powerful voice, an unforgettable one that blends light and dark with wry humor, My Last Lament delivers a fitting eulogy to a way of life and provides a vivid portrait of a timeless Greek woman, whose story of love and loss is an eternal one. ~taken from Goodreads

This was such a heart wrenching story. I LOVE LOVE LOVE historical fiction, which all my blog followers probably know by now. This was by far the most emotionally draining piece I've read lately. 

As a young girl, Aliki, witnesses her father's murder during WWII. From there she tells her story about the struggles of war. Death, poverty, hunger, and time of pure fear gripped me with every page I turned. 

The author does an amazing job at making it feel like the story is being told directly to the reader. This story is told via "cassette tapes" which gave it a real feel of being captured for historical purposes. Very descriptive writing. I had no problem imagining every little detail of the story. I liked the little bits of dark humor added throughout the storytelling. 

The characters are very unique and quite interesting, though appealing is not a word I would use to describe most. You definitely will not forget them. This is a book to be read slowly so that you can take in every little word. It is a view of WWII from Greece, a point of view not often seen in historical fiction writing, which I enjoyed. 

My Last Lament is available now. It is not for light reading. Be ready to be overwhelmed with emotions. A 4 star read for me! 

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for allowing me to read and give my honest review.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sana Krasikov's "The Patriots"

When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow—and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.

The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations, The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another. ~taken from Goodreads

Historical Fiction. My favorite book genre of all time. Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down. The author does a splendid job setting scenes, I felt like I was there in the story watching it unfold before my eyes. The characters are well developed, complex and believable. 

This story switches back and forth between modern day Russia and the Soviet Union of the 1930s and 1950s. It is an impressive, fearful look at day to day lives of Russians living under the reign of both Stalin and Putin. 

There were times in the story that I felt dragged on a bit much. I think the author could have gotten the point across with fewer words. There were instates that certain parts of the story seemed repetitive or just not relevant to the overall plot. I found myself skimming over entire pages.

I felt Krasikov did an amazing job showing the both the immediate and long term aftermath that a single decision can make. It is amazing to be able to look at a family and see the different mind sets between generations based on the society a person grows up in and how they are raised. 

This was a 4 star read for me! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for allowing me to read and give my honest review. 

This book is available now. Buy it here, you will not be disappointed! 

Happy Reading!

"The Perfect Stranger" by Megan Miranda

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own? ~taken from Amazon

I have so many mixed feeling about this book. The overall plot was interesting and unique. I think that was the only thing that kept me reading. Otherwise, I would have quit not even half way through. 

There is just too many things going on in this book, it got confusing. Add to the fact that some plot lines didn't even seem relevant to the story. I was confused and bored during most of the book. Willing myself to keep reading. Hoping that the ending would bring it all full circle and I would have that "ah-ha!" moment where it would all make sense. 

The author does a wonderful job of writing. Scene and character descriptions were not lacking and it was easy for the story to play out in my head. The problem for me was too many characters. I didn't feel loyal to a single one. They were all just a flit in my head depending on what scene I was reading. 

The ending was very anticlimactic. There was no "Oh my goodness" moment when everything came together and it all made sense. It actually left me confused and wanting to know more. All the loose ends didn't get tied up. 

The Perfect Stranger will be available in the U.S. April 11, 2017. It was a 3 star read for me. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me the eARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Happy Reading!

"Everything You Want Me To Be" by Mindy Mejia

No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?

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 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? ~taken from Goodreads

This book starts with the murder of Hattie Hoffman. She is a high school senior in a very small town where everyone knows everyone. This murder shakes the town, as no one believes anyone a part of the community could have done such a thing. 

Switching characters and time periods we are introduced to characters in this small town and start to get a glimpse into the real life of Hattie. Who is she exactly? depending on who she is talking to, she transforms into exactly who that person expects her to be. Does anyone actually know the real girl inside? 

We also get flashbacks from Hattie's points of view. How she acted, what she said, and what she thought about her life leading up to the murder. What secrets she kept, and who she shared them with, if she shared them at all. 

It was a very unique and interesting way to tell the story. I really enjoyed the multiple points of view. To be honest, this mystery kept me guessing right up to the end! It was very engaging and kept me intrigued. Usually, a reader thinks they have figured it "who done it" mid-story. I thought I had too, but I was wrong!

"Everything You Want Me to Be:A Novel" is a fast paced, thriller that I recommend. It is available on Amazon now. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for allowing me to read and give my honest review. 

Happy Reading!