Monday, June 27, 2016

Jack Jordan's "My Girl"

Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man. 

She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house. 

Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death? 

Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets. 

But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me.  ~taken from Amazon

This story starts out with Paige Dawson waking up on her couch from a prescription pill concoction mixed with cheap wine blackout. Her life is in shambles. Her one and only daughter was murdered years earlier and her husband committed suicide a couple months ago. 

Author Jack Jordan does a phenomenal job presenting the main character. She is a middle aged woman with nothing to live for. An alcoholic, drug addicted, depressed mess who is on the verge of completely loosing it. 

When I started the novel I hated Paige. She had absolutely no good qualities about her. Then, as the story progressed and mysterious things started happening to Paige I slowly began to understand her desperation mixed with sadness. I understood her need to block out the world and the few people who love her. I rooted her on as she tried her hardest to understand what happened to the two people she loved most in the world. 

This is a fairly short novel. I felt the first half of this book was flawless. Character and plot development flowed and kept me intrigued. Then the character development seemed to go downhill. NO SPOILERS- it was a good read, just seemed rushed once a major plot twist occurred. I felt like the author was just rushing to get to the end. I wanted a smooth, intense, slow ride to the finale. I was also looking for a better understanding of the antagonist's motives and actions. 

This book is told from a couple different character perspectives, which I enjoyed. I think it really helped to tell the overall story. It was a dark, fast, intriguing psychological thriller that I did enjoy reading. A 4-star read for me!

Thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to read and give my honest review. My Girl is due to be released on July 4, 2016 and would be perfect for a summer read! If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber you can read this for free.  

Happy Reading! 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

"The Reflections of Queen Snow White" by David Meredith

I personally think its so fun and interesting to imagine what life is like for fairy tale princesses after the story we know ends. In David Meredith's "The Reflections of Queen Snow White" we get the story of  what happens after the happy ending.

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancĂ©, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing: 

The king is dead. 

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old. 

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means? 

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.  ~taken from Amazon

This is not a book for Disney readers who are expecting a world full of flowers, rainbows, and talking animals. This book dives deep into the darkness of depression, child abuse, and suicide. This is more like a Grimm fairy tale rather than a Disny version. While this is fiction, the feelings and thoughts expressed by the characters about the dark sides of life were realistic, which I appreciated. 

Though I found Snow White to be annoying, self wallowing, and frankly a bitch. See was so caught up in her own pity that she was neglecting her daughter and everything wonderful that was happening around her. It wasn't until near the end that I had any empathy for Snow White whatsoever. 

I thought about this book for a couple days after reading, unsure of what rating to give it. I like deep, dark, and disturbing books, but fairy tales are not my usual forte. This seemed to be the best of both worlds. I did, however, get frustrated while reading. The author has a whimsical way of writing with multi-syllable words that seemed off to me considering the mood of the story. The author has a writing style that is melodic and musical that I was impressed by, it's just not my usual style of reading and what I enjoy.

What put this as a 4 star review for me was the content. The story has depth and meaning. The character building was phenomenal. I was shown a side of Snow White I had never even thought about. She wasn't the glossed over princess I remembered. She was a deeply flawed character who is mentally tormented by her own thoughts and memories.

This may not be a fairy tale for everyone to read, but for readers like myself who enjoy seeing a fictional character from their childhood all grown up, it was a refreshing read. It was great to read a book about a character I loved as a child that showed a more realistic side of what came after the fairy tale everyone knows and loves. 

Thanks to author David Meredith for allowing me a Kindle copy of the book to read and give my honest review. You can buy this ebook on Amazon for only $1.99 or Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read it for free. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Halversham" by RS Anthony

Another great read by RS Anothony! If you missed my previous post on another book by this author please click here to read my review of "Pork". Both books were sent to me by the author asking me to read and give my honest review. 

With his mother dead and his father jetting off on yet another business trip, fifteen-year-old Andy Monaghan can't stand the thought of spending summer alone in the city. Instead, he seeks a few weeks of solace in the place his mother loved the most: the rural town of Halversham where his father was raised. 

No sooner does Andy arrive in Halversham than he hears of strange incidents occurring in town, including a few too close for comfort. Before long, Andy is reluctantly reeled into a chain of events that quickly darken the rose-colored glasses he's been wearing for his mother's beloved country getaway. 

Finding out who's responsible for Halversham's many tragedies becomes Andy's main priority. As he reconnects with his father's family and dives deeper into the mysteries surrounding the town, he finds that even his own may not be safe from trouble. Is he willing to risk everything to uncover the truth of Halversham's dark secrets, and protect the people he loves? ~taken from Amazon

I was hooked on this story from the get go. Though I have never been a teenage boy who lost his mother, for some reason the main character just stuck with me. The author did a wonderful job with character description and his emotional inner dialog. I was completely swept up with all the emotions and confusion the main character, Andy, was going through. 

Though the mystery element of the novel is not instantly apparent, the beginning of this story was entertaining to read. I slowly got swept up in the weirdness and simpleness that is the town of Halversham. Meeting the townsfolk and learning about their lives in this town that seems stuck in the past was interesting. Slowly, here and there, little nuggets of mystery and oddness are dropped into the plot. 

The scene descriptions really had me imagining I was in Halversham. Such vivid detail had me lost in the little town and forgetting I was even in the 21st century. Simple life at its best is how I would describe the town and its inhabitants. RS Anthony has a magnificent way of writing.

Once the mystery gets going you will not want to put this book down! Dark secrets and twisted character thoughts and actions will leave you with chills. The ending was completely unexpected!  This is unlike any other book I have read. So dark and disturbing it left my mind swirling.

Add this to your summer reading list now! You do not want to miss this. A 4 star read for me! This title is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle. Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read this for free!

Once again, thank you to author RS Anthony for allowing me the ebook to read and give my honest opinion. 

Happy Reading!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

"The Butterfly Garden" by Dot Hutchison

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.
In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.
When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.
As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…  ~taken from Amazon

I feel I should start by saying that this book may not be for everyone. It contains rape, violence, profanity, and sexual abuse against minors. Please read at your own discretion. I am going to attempt to talk about this book while not giving away any spoilers. I LOVED this book. I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone else who is going to read it. Let's start with the plot. 

We have a rich man with a secret garden who goes by "The Gardner" throughout the novel. He loves to collect butterflies, but not your typical butterflies. He collects girls. Well, kidnaps them by drugging them. Upon their wake he begins a gruesome ordeal of tattooing huge butterfly wings on their backs in intricate detail before raping them and sending them off to live in his garden with his other "butterflies".  He makes regular visits daily to eat meals with them and spend the night with specific girls of his choosing.

Our story starts with Maya. She sits in an interrogation room. Her hands are wrapped in bandages and beneath her clothes are huge tattoo'd butterfly wings. Two FBI agents are trying to get to the bottom of this horrific discovery. Maya, through alternating first and third person stories, tries to tell them what she knows. Along the way she gives personal stories of her past, and soon the FBI agents are sure that she is not the girl she says she is.

Author Dot Hutchison's writing style was smooth and graceful. Easy to read with no choppy or clunky sentences. I found that flowing through the story from first person to third person was pretty seamless and not confusing at all. Plot twists are perfectly timed and kept me engrossed and longing for the next chapter throughout my entire read. To me, this book was unputdownable. Towards the end I purposely read slow so that I could make the novel last as long as possible.

This is a psychological thriller at its best. This book will tear through every emotion and leave you breathless.  It is available now on Amazon so buy it and add it to your summer reading list. If you are a Kindle Unlimited member you can read it for free!

Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for allowing me the ebook to read and give my honest review. It was a 5 star read for me!

***Update- Book 2 called The Roses Of May is due to be released on May 23, 2017! Preorder it now!!***

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Amanda Wylde's "Remi's Choice:The De Luca Boys"

About a month ago I was contacted via email to read and review this book, which is written by an established author under a pen name. This alone had me intrigued, but after reading the first chapter that was attached to the email I was actually even more intrigued and decided to give it a go. 

I am not a huge romance novel fan, but I love to read, so why not throw in a romance novel every once in awhile? Here's the synopsis:

Sinfully sexy Travis De Luca came into Remi's life when she
was young, inexperienced, and easily dazzled. With his
scandalous words and wickedly sexy grins, he possessed a
power no one should have over another. He was a foul
mouthed, trouble-making thug to everyone else, but she'd
witnessed the vulnerable side he hid so well. After one earth-
shattering experience and his declaration of love, her body
and soul were hooked.

When Travis is sent away without warning, Kristiano De Luca
—his equally sexy cousin—comes into Remi's life as a friend
when she needs one most. After years with no word and waiting for Travis to come back, she loses hope, and the friendship she's built with Kris grows into something beautiful that fills the void Travis left behind.

But a surprise return from Travis and one passionate night
with him throw all their lives into chaos, and nothing will

ever be the same again. 

The reason the author wrote under an assumed name was because of the "cheating factor" in this novel. So if you are a romance novel fan and aren't comfortable reading about characters cheating on each other, you have been warned. 

We follow Remi near the end of high school and into early adulthood. During her high school time she is infatuated with Travis, though I am not sure why. I never really understood the relationship between the two. We don't really get to go deep into Remi and Travis' relationship which was strange because we really got to know the relationship between Remi and Kris grew.

I have to admit I did love the crude, rude behavior from Travis. There was definitely that "bad boy" thing with this character, though I will say it seemed over the top at times.

 With Kris I felt lost. Other than being Travis' cousin we really don't know much about his past other than he grew up the complete opposite of Travis. 

The whirl of emotions and struggle to understand what Remi was feeling seemed real. I remember being that age and I feel she reacted like a typical teen girl would in the situations she was in. The author presented real life situations and real life reactions, though there were a few over the top instances that made me roll my eyes. 

I am very intrigued about who the author really is. Although this book didn't turn me into a romance novel fan, it was entertaining and a quick read. If you like love triangles than this book should be on your list!

Thanks to Amanda Wylde for the opportunity to read and review this eARC! 

Remi's Choice is due to be released June 10, 2016! 

***This is currently available for PREORDER for Kindle at a cost of only 99 cents! On and after June 10 the cost will go back up!***

A 3 star read for me! 

Happy Reading!

Paul Southern's "Daddy Dearest"

'My daughter has always had a thing about lifts. There’s something about the thrill of pressing a button and seeing the lift doors close which excites her imagination. It terrifies me. Every time she walks in, I imagine it’s the last time I’ll see her. What if she hits the button before I get there? What if the lift doors close and I can’t get her out? It drives me nuts. There are eight floors in the Sears building, nine if you count the basement, and the lift is fast: more like a fairground ride, really. It does top to bottom in twelve seconds. I’ve timed it. Taking the stairs, I’ve done it in forty-two. That leaves a gap of thirty seconds. You’d be surprised what can happen in that time. I was.'

An estranged father’s weekend with his beloved five-year-old daughter turns into a nightmare when she gets into the lift of a city centre tower block and goes down without him. She vanishes without a trace. It sets off a race against time, and a nationwide manhunt, to find her. As the police investigation closes in, suspicion falls on those closest to her - with devastating consequences. Daddy Dearest is a terrifying story of love, obsession and psychological meltdown.

Wow! What a roller-coaster ride for the mind this book was! I was contacted by the author to read and review this book and I am so glad he reached out! This what just what I needed. I haven't read a good psychological thriller in awhile. "Daddy Dearest" by Paul Southern was my first read by this author and it certainly won't be my last! 

This was written from the father's point of view and I loved this character. He's sarcastic and crude. He has OCD so he has a bit of crazy in him. He is a divorced, single father who loves his little girl fiercely. After his daughter takes the elevator without him and goes missing without a trace an investigation to her disappearance is launched.  We, the reader, start to climb into the mind of the father and learn secrets of other neighbors that live in the building and could be potential suspects.

I can't really get into a deep review of this book without giving away spoilers. There are so many little tidbits and revelations that make up the overall "what happened" of the plot. There were times that the main character went off into stories of the past that left me wondering what this had to do with the main story, but it really helped me understand more about the main character and why he was the way he was. Side note- we never learn the main character's name which has an air of mystery in itself. It kept me on my toes and was a very entertaining read. 

Excellent writing by the author. This was my first book by Paul Southern but it won't be my last! This story was intriguing and unique. A complete stirring of every emotion. The plot twists were expertly places throughout my read and building the main character was perfection. Bravo! 

A 4 star read for me! Thanks again to author Paul Southern for allowing me and ecopy to read and give my honest review!

Happy Reading!