Saturday, December 30, 2017

"Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins (UPDATED)

In Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (author of The Girl on the Train which I loved), a single mother is found dead in a river.  Earlier, a young teen girl was found in the same river--dead.  Lena, the 15-yr.-old daughter of the single mom, is alone until her aunt Jules comes to look after her.  This town is the last place Jules wants to be.  The law is looking for answers.  Will the secrets people in this town are hiding come out?

Teaser from page 50:  "So two women have did in that river this year?" I said.  "Two women who knew each other, who were connected . . ."

In the Water is just as good, if not better than The Girl on the Train! There are lots of characters in this which make for tons of story lines.  I enjoyed all of them and as I read along, I tried to put the pieces together.  It took me to the very end to figure it out!  I LOVED IT!  What a great book to end with in 2017!
(Gerard's review, 5++ stars)

Karen's review:
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins is a mystery surrounding several deaths in a river running through a small town.  When Lena's mother. Nell, dies in the river, her aunt Jules comes to take care of her.  There is a lot of tension between them since the aunt hadn't talked to Lena's mother in years. 

This book has lots of characters to keep straight, including dead ones.  Much of the book hops back to the past and some of the past is told through a manuscript Lena's mother was writing.  There was enough interesting relationship drama to keep my interest but didn't really care for all the deaths which kind of creeped me out.  I admit, I did not know what really happened to Lena's mom until the very end.  I didn't like that there were some loose ends either so I give this one 3 stars.  If you are a fan of creepy things, you would probably like this book more than I did.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Friday, December 29, 2017

"Her Last Breath" by J. A. Schneider

Her Last Breath by J. A. Schneider is a page-turning murder mystery. Mari, who is separated from her husband, wakes up on a bed in a strange room with blood all over her, her dress torn and next to a dead guy she doesn’t know who has a knife in his chest! To top it off, she has asthma and cannot find her inhaler. While looking for it, she passes out and wakes to another strange man who is trying to save her. The cops arrest her for the guy’s murder because her fingerprints were on the knife. The guy who saved her life is a former cop, currently a construction worker named Jay. Mari’s husband, Ted who is a lawyer, comes to the hospital and volunteers to defend her. Mari gets to the point of being paranoid and not knowing who to trust!

Teaser from page 1: She froze; gasped. Couldn’t take in air seeing his black hair, his chest hidden under a tent of bloodied sheet.

I got hooked on this book right from the start and was surprised with the ending. I did not figure out who the murderer was although it was obvious someone was setting Mari up. I hope to find more books by this author and highly recommend this one if you enjoy a good mystery. She has a series of standalone thrillers with the same cops as are in this one.
(Karen’s review, 5 stars)


Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Before I Let Go" by Marie Nijkamp

Before I Let Go by Marie Nijkamp is about two young girls named Corey and Kyra.  They are best friends living in a small town.  Corey has to move away but promises to come back.  Days before she is supposed to come back, she learns Kyra is dead.  How?  Corey wants answers but when she returns to the small town she thought she knew, it is not the same and answers will be hard to come by.

Teaser from page 12:  Except that flower petals lie scattered across the floor, and her voice still swirls around me, singing the song that Kyra sang to me first.  Endless night, endless day, come to steal your soul away.

I thought this book was good even though it went back and forth in time, but I was okay with it.  I would have loved more action but I still give this book 5 stars because the message is important and needs to be heard!
(Gerard's review, 5 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"Merry and Bright" by Debbie Macomber

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber is a Christmas romance comedy that reminded me of a Christmas Hallmark movie. It is about two busy lonely people who find each other on a dating website. The funny thing is that they already knew each other. I enjoyed this light, quick read and highly recommend it to anyone who likes watching Hallmark movies that always have happy endings.

Teaser from page 16:  "Well, if it isn't me, then whose photo did you use?"  Patrick's glee couldn't be contained.  "We used Bogie's."
 (Karen’s review, 4 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

"Day-Day" by L.N. Cronk is About a Couple Who Works at an Orphanage in Mexico

Day-Day (Chop Chop Series Book 2) by L.N. Cronk is a Christian fiction love story about a couple who go to Mexico to work at an orphanage and supervise youth groups who come to help as a short-term mission trip.  The wife, Lacy, has a miscarriage and discover she has Cancer.  After several miscarriages, they plan to adopt from the orphanage they work at in Mexico, but then God takes them on a little detour.

This book was narrated from the husband's point of view and was pretty interesting.  For the type of story it is, it was good.  It was a break from the type of action-packed fun reads that I have read lately.  For Christian fiction, it was not as predictable as most and it moved along pretty well.
(Karen's review, 4 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

"Poison" by Galt Niederhoffer is a Wow!

In Poison by Galt Niederhoffer, Cass has her hands full.  She has a young daughter, a young boy, a baby and a cat.  She also has a teaching job and now she has a husband who (a) cheated on her, (b) tried to kill her or (c) she just thinks that is happening!

Teaser from page 34:  "Hey, what are you doing?" she said.  She stared at him, defiant.

WOW!  This book is good!  I really liked the character of Cass a lot and only wanted the best for her.  The pacing of the book is very good too and I enjoyed the ending very much!
(Gerard's review, 5++ stars)  

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Undivided" by Neal Shusterman (4th Book of Unwind Series) - Fantastic! (UPDATED)

Undivided by Neal Shusterman is the 4th and last book in the Unwind series.  The author saved the best for last!  Conner, Lev and Risa all have action-packed chapters in this book.  The pacing is really good in that you were on the edge of your seat for sure.  The last part of this book is pretty much unputdownable!  Well done, Mr. Shusterman!
(Gerard's review, 5++ stars)

(Karen's review 12/18/17, 5 stars:)
UnDivided by Neal Shusterman did not disappoint at all!  I LOVED it and what a fantastic finish to a thrilling series with lots of ups and downs and twists and turns!  This story is about friendship, betrayal, teamwork, sacrifice and making a difference.  It has humor, a bit of romance, lots of adventure, some very creepy things, revenge, some fighting, justice, lots of escaping and just extremely interesting characters.  The teens in this series are very brave, smart and creative!  The ending is great!

WOW!  I loved this book.  After the last one, UnSouled, I didn't think this series could get any better, but it did!  This book had my emotions covering the spectrum, from humor, to sadness, to happiness, to relief, to shock to tears of joy!  I liked how I felt the characters were real and got drawn into their story lines.  This would be a great series for a book club because there is so much to discuss and so many characters to analyze.  It was a very thought-provoking series that I wanted to read straight through.

Teaser from page 14:  "There isn't one single thing that will end unwinding," she tells them.  "It will take a hodgpodge of random events that come together in just the right way and at just the right time to remind society it's got a conscience." 



SPOILER ALERT--skip this unless you have read this book:  In this book, Connor and Grace make it to Sonia's where he and Risa are reunited and discover an invention that Sonia's husband had been working on that can manufacture human parts!  It gives them all hope that an end to unwinding is possible!  Lev does what he can to get the Indian reservation to publicly announce that it is a sanctuary for AWOLS.  Hayden, Bam and Jeeves team up to overthrow Starkey and Hayden begins podcasting again against unwinding.  Argent is betrayed by Nelson and switches sides to help Connor and Risa.  Cam brings down Roberta and the Proactive Citizenry operation all by himself.  The ending was so touching when Conner was finally reunited with his family!


Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"Being Fishkill" by Ruth Lehrer (Updated)

Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer is about a young girl who makes her first name Fishkill because it sounds tough.  She feels she has to be tough because her mom is gone, and there is no one else!  This book was way better than I thought it would be.  I really wanted only the best for Fishkill.  The pacing of this book was very good and I was always glad to get back into it!  I liked that it had twists and turns that I did not see coming.  Pick it up, you will be glad you did!

Teaser from page7:  "I'm not in your gang."  I said.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to be or not, even if it was a real gang.
(Gerard's review, 5+ stars)

Karen's review, 12/22/17:
Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer is about a 12-yr.-old girl who is poor and lives in a shack with her drunk/druggie mother and her abusive grandfather. Her father is unknown. She finally built a friendship with a girl who called herself Duk-Duk and moved in with her and her lesbian mother who was very nice to Fishkill. After the mean grandfather died, Fishkill’s mother tried to sober up so she could get back custody of her daughter. Most of this story is sad.

I liked this book all right but could have done without the Lesbian angle. I felt bad for Fishkill and her biological mother. My favorite character was Duk-Duk because I liked how she wanted to be a lawyer and tried to view everything logically. This book had some interesting situations and really addressed the emotions one feels when a loved one dies. It also had a bit of humor when Fishkill and Duk-Duk came up with their secret mission to get revenge on the girl who bullied them—that was very cool and my favorite part of the book! (4 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Friday, December 15, 2017

"UnSouled" (Book 3 in Unwind Series) by Neal Shusterman (UPDATED)

UnSouled is book 3 in the Unwind series.  Conner and Lev are on the run and new characters are introduced.  There is plenty of action for sure!  I enjoyed the characters of Cam, Risa and Starkey in this book.  One more book to go to finish this exciting series.
(Gerard's Review, 5 stars)

Karen's review 12/8/17, 5 stars:
Unsouled by Neal Shusterman (book 3 in the Unwind series) is fantastic! There is so much action and interaction among very cool characters that makes it go very fast. There are so many different parts to this novel that my mind is spinning! Connor and Lev are on their way to Ohio to find Sonia for answers to help end unwinding, but get in an accident. Cam, the rewind, escapes from Roberta to go find Risa but finds Conner instead. Meanwhile, Starky and his storks take over more harvest camps and Hayden was one scheduled to be rewound. Once he is freed, he becomes part of Starky’s gang even though he does not agree with Starky’s methods and tries to get Bam as an ally. Archer holds Cam hostage but when the Juvie authorities hunt down Conner, Archer’s sister, Grace, helps him escape in genius fashion. Grace appears to be kind of off, but is an amazing strategist and a great character who sees what most people do not.

Teaser from pg. 64: “You’re crazy! Why would I do that?” “Because,” says Grace, “if you don’t keep this secret, everyone in Heartsdale is gonna know you were outsmarted by dumb old Grace Skinner, and you’ll be a laughingstock till the cows come home, and they ain’t comin’ home anytime soon!”

This book was so good I hated to see it end and can’t wait to read the next one. I love that there are such interesting characters and how they interact with each other. This book has a lot of humor in it as well. I especially liked how Archer fooled the parts pirate, taking him on a wild goose chase in the opposite direction of where Conner was headed. My favorite character is . . . . Grace! She is awesome! This is one thrilling series for sure!



See our reviews of other books in this series:  Book 2 - UnWholly Book 1 - Unwind

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"The Reluctant Queen" by Sarah Beth Durst -- We Both Loved It!

The Reluctant Queen (Queens of Renthia) by Sarah Beth Durst is the follow-up to The Queen of Blood. Daleina is now the queen and protects her kingdom from the spirits. She has a secret though, and when it is revealed, trouble is not far behind. Only one thing can save her kingdom, but time is not on her side! I thought this book was just as good as the first one. I was lost in this book many times, and that is a good thing! Daleina is a fantastic character and her protector, Bayn the wolf, is always close by. I’m glad there is going to be a Book 3 in this series—long live the Queen!
(Gerard’s review, 5++ stars)

Karen's review (5 stars):
The Reluctant Queen (Book 2 of Queens of Renthia) by Sarah Beth Durst is about getting an heir ready to take over for the dying Queen Daleina who has the false death disease. Ven and Alet find Naelin, a housewife that has lots of raw power over spirits but needs to be trained in how to control it. She is married with two young children. After much persuasion, she reluctantly agrees to be trained and eventually becomes a candidate. Will a cure be found in time for Queen Daleina? Who is killing the candidates and why? Will Naelin ever agree to be queen?

I loved this book and did not want to put it down, even though the ending was strange! In fact, I got so lost in it on the bus that I passed up my bus stop by several stops going to work! There is a lot of action in this book and some mystery. I loved the two kids and the wolf, Bayn.



See our review of the first book in this series:  Queen of Blood

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

"This Mortal Coil" by Emily Suvada

In This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada, Catarina is very good at what she does.  In her world, people can recode their DNA allowing them to change their bodies any way they want, but she can hack into again.  Her father and best friend are on the run.  They must find a way to end the plague or all is lost!

Teaser from page 21:  "I know that, but you can't come, darling.  It's not safe."

This book was a bit too hi-tech for my taste.  The story line was good enough, just did not feel a connection to the characters.  (Gerard's review, 4 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Monday, December 4, 2017

"Welcome to My World" by Curtis Bunn

In Welcome to My World by Curtis Bunn, Brenda’s life is on a downturn. She goes to McDonald’s daily and sees a homeless man every day. She tries to do good by him. One day the homeless guy, Rodney, gives her some life advice! What? This book was so much better than I thought it would be! I enjoyed Brenda and Rodney very much. The story line kept me engaged throughout. (Gerard’s review, 5+ stars)

Teaser from page 10:  "I was so . . . so . . . shocked and appalled that I couldn't even move, much less respond."  "I'm not trying to be mean," he added. 

Karen's review (4 stars):
Welcome to My World by Curtis Bunn is the story about Brenda, a depressed woman, who becomes friends with Rodney, a homeless man with a bipolar disorder. They help each other as their friendship develops. This is a heartwarming story about how simple words between strangers can bring about great change. This book gives insight into the world of homelessness, those with bipolar disorder and how people sometimes use food to deal with depression that can lead to destroying their self-esteem.

I enjoyed this book even though it moved pretty slow since there is very little action in it. It definitely addresses some major social issues and is inspirational I loved the ending!


Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

"Keep You Safe" by Melissa Hill - To Vaccinate or Not?

In Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill, Madeleine and her husband chose not to have their two children, Clara and Conner, vaccinated.  One day though, Madeleine has an appointment she can't miss so sends Clara to school even though she was not feeling well.  Then Rosie, one of Clara's classmates, becomes very sick and that is trouble for Madeleine.  Social opinion turns against her and the next thing she knows, her and her husband are in court!  Who saw that coming?

Teaser from page 65:  For all these years, she and Tom had played them, and now that horrible realization, albeit distant and buried, rose once again to the fore. Oh, God...what have we done...

I thought this book was really good!  The pacing of the book was quick and I loved the back and forth between the two mothers.  I was into this from page 1.  Don't miss it--a must read!
(Gerard's review, 5++ stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Friday, December 1, 2017

"UnWholly" by Neal Shusterman (Unwind Series Book 2)

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman is the second book in the Unwind series. This book follows Connor, Risa and Lev after going their separate ways after their escape from the Happy Jack Harvest Camp. Several more interesting characters are added: Cam (a teen built from all unwind parts), Miracolina (a tithe who gets “rescued” against her will) and Starky (an unwanted stork who was signed over to be unwound but escaped). Some romantic interests start to develop in this book and several organizations play big parts – both those against unwinding and for unwinding as well as the black market parts pirate, Nelson.

Teaser from page 21: Within seconds, the drunk is there, not so drunk after all, with three others whose faces he can't make out.  They lift him up and shove him into the back of a waiting van.

This book started out kind of slow, but that may be because it was so long since I read the first book, it took me a while to “catch up” again. This book seems to be a lot of foundational work for setting up the next in this series. I really like all the characters except for Starky and Nelson. Lev and Miracolina’s relationship was very interesting for me and also Risa’s and Cam’s growing friendship. The second half of this book really picked up with lots of adventure and excitement. I look forward to continuing with this series.
(Karen's review, 4 stars)

Gerard's review (4 stars):
UnWholly by Neal Shusterman is the sequel to UnWind.  It was good to team up with Conner, Lev and Risa again.  Conner is trying to help kids like himself who escaped being unwound.  Lev is caught up in an underground movement, and Risa, now in a wheelchair, feels she might be a burden.  There is tons of action in this book to say the least.  I did not know what was going to happen next!  Looking forward to continuing on with Book 3 of this series.


Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!
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