August 31, 2008

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Relax and Read Weekend
Relax and Read Weekend

Book Reviews (NT)

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12/04/11

A WINTER DISCOVERY by Michael Baron
Published by The Story Plant
ISBN: 9781611880274
At the request of The Story Plant in partnership with Spread The Word Initiative, a Digital Edition was supplied, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from NetGalley): Returning to the characters of his first novel, When You Went Away,   Baron takes us again into the world of Gerry Rubato, a man who has been marked by loss and revived by love, and his son Reese, now five, who celebrates life at a remarkable level but is only now starting to understand that he was robbed of the chance of ever knowing his mother. Reese is old enough now to get caught up in the excitement of the Christmas season and he throws himself into it with abandon. His sense of celebration takes on entirely new levels of meaning, though, when it leads him to an unexpected and most remarkable discovery.
  At once buoyant and poignant, and filled with irrepressible spirit, A Winter Discovery is a story of that will take you to new places in your heart.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: As the synopsis states, this is a sequel to When You Went Away, and you may have seen that I just posted my review of that book, however, I tend to disagree a little. This is a novella that has the same characters returning and focusing on the six year old child who was an infant when his mother died. It can definitely stand alone and will tug at every heart string. It's a Christmas story for adults that will warm and touch you so deeply that it's magical. No spoilers but a few sniffles. A perfect gift for a teacher, a neighbor, mail person who delivers our books year round, etc etc. It is a fast read, only 60 pages, but it is full of emotion, love, sentiment, feeling and tenderness that this book should be on everyone's book shelf to reread at this time of year. Highly recommend!!
  My Rating: 5
(Challenges: Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)



12/03/11
WHEN YOU WENT AWAY by Michael Baron
Published by The Story Plant

ISBN-10: 0981956807
ISBN-13: 978-0981956800
This Kindle Edition is owned by me and was a personal choice of reading, that I downloaded via Amazon, during a special that was being offered.
  Synopsis (from Amazon): Baron's carefully crafted debut tale, the Story Plant's first mass market original, is too true-to-life to be interesting. Gerry Rubato's wife has died and his teenage daughter has run away from home, leaving him alone to raise an infant son. Despite the recent tragedies, the focus of the novel is on rather ordinary non-events, such as Gerry's work at a catalogue company, opinions about the Yankees and tedious descriptions of food. As Gerry struggles to confront his runaway child, he chronicles his emotional reactions in a series of journal entries. A romantic subplot involving a colleague provides predictable conflict. Buried in the minutiae is an earnest tale of a man's emotional awakening and grief, but a too-easy resolution makes this more of a tour through Gerry's processing than a story.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Once again Michael Baron pulls on the heart strings from the opening sentence to the very last page. A poignant, tender, emotional, romantic, softhearted and moving love story through the eyes of a male written by a male. A story of love on different levels and in different states of the main character's life. Gerry has everything, a wife, which is the love of his life, a teenage daughter, a brand new baby boy and then his word collapses. His daughter runs away, his wife dies suddenly, he becomes an instant single parent, and even though there is so much grief, he has to go on.
  I have read many books by this author and every time I do, I have to remind myself that it is written by a male author. The soft, compassionate, moving and touching words that the author conveys in his writing, tugs on the heart strings and allows the reader to see and feel from that of a male perspective. Ladies, I wish, all of this could be bottled and made into a vaccine for the male species, if you know what I mean. Another plus with this book was that the main character is a huge Yankees fan. When his son was just an infant, they would spend their evenings together on the couch, watching a game, while he explained the art of baseball, knowing that his son probably had no clue what he was talking about. This brought back memories. I would do the same thing, not about baseball but while I was cooking. And another plus, my oldest son is a HUGE Yankees fan, naming is dog after the team and even has a tattoo. So in my book....that gets extra points. Overall....phenomenal poignant read!!! A grand slam!!!
  My Rating: 5
(Challenge:  Reading Addict, Outdo Yourself, Just For Fun, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)



11/26/11
MEGAN'S WAY by Melissa Foster

Published by Outskirts Press
ISBN-10: 1432744429
ISBN-13: 978-1432744427
At the request of the author and WOW Tours, a digital edition was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from Amazon): What would you give up for the people you love?
When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she'll be faced with the most difficult decision she's ever had to make. She'll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she'd made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.
Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia's world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there's nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Let me tell you right up front that I am going to have difficulty reviewing this book because of the heart wrenching premise and the moving emotions that were conveyed. Miss Foster's writing style was flowing and allowed the characters to come to life from the very start. The friendships, so detailed and poignant yet flawed. Friendships that were so loving and loyal yet secretive with bits of betrayal. Decisions that are truly thought provoking, asking oneself "what would I do in that situation?". This reader, as in real life, had tears of happiness and silliness but at other times sadness and grief. There is also a spiritual connection between mother and daughter. I think if you believe in an after life, Ms. Foster, describes one that is something we all hope for. An emotional block buster!! Highly Recommend!!!
  My Rating: 4

(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself. Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)


11/22/11
A WHISPER TO A SCREAM by Karen Wojcik Barner
Published by CreateSpace

ISBN-10: 145659365X
ISBN-13: 978-1456593650

Genre: Women's Fiction

At the request of the author, Karen Wojcik Berner, and WOW Tours, a digital edition was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

  Synopsis (from WOW tours): Annie Jacobs has dreamed of the day she would become a mother since the first time she held her Baby Tenderlove doll. Unfortunately, biology has not cooperated with her plan, and she finds herself dealing with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility instead of picking out baby names. 

Across town, stay-at-home mom Sarah Anderson is just trying to make it through the grocery store without her toddler hurling a box of rice at a fellow shopper. She is exhausted from managing the house, a first grader and a toddler, all without any help from her work-obsessed, absentee husband.
A Whisper to a Scream is the story of two women on opposite ends of the child-bearing spectrum who come to realize the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. A vivid portrayal of contemporary marriage and its problems, the novel speaks to a longing in all of us, a yearning that might start as a vague notion, but eventually grows into an unbearable, vociferous cry.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: I apologize in advance because I feel I need to start this review off with a caveat. I received this request during the period of my tornado of personal issues. I vaguely remember reading the synopsis, accepted to be a part of the tour but explained that I was not sure when I would be able to read and review the book. I was also told that this was the 1st book of what was going to be a series. When things settled down a bit, I picked up my Kindle, not remembering the premise of the book (one of the negatives of the Kindle-no back cover to read), but the title grabbed me thinking it was going to be a good suspense.
  I was wrong. However, what pulled me in were the characters. Sarah and Annie, the 2 main women that the story revolved around became life like from the start. The author's description of their lives, their emotions, their families was written in such a style that this reader could actually empathize with some of their situations. I also liked and thought was a plus, especially from an avid book reader's opinion, was what and how brought these 2 ladies, from different backgrounds, 2 total strangers together and that it was a Book Club. This is the type of book where you get so engrossed with the characters' lives that you feel you become part of "the friendship". It was not a mystery, but the story held me captive due to circumstances in Annie and Sarah's lives and I needed to know what the outcome would be. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and look forward to the next in this series.
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)



11/14/11
ANY COLOR BUT BEIGE by Catherine Larose

Published by Friesen Press

ISBN 978-1-77067-490-5

At the request of WOW Tours, a TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

  Synopsis (from back of book): After years of living a beige existence, Cat Larose, international color marketing expert, finally added a little color to her own life. All it took was a Paris sunset and a little red suitcase.
  Everyone wanted Cat's life. She had a handsome husband, a stylish home and a fascinating career as an international color marketing consultant. Work took Cat to some of the world's most beautiful cities but something was missing: ironically, it was color. One day she found herself in Paris watching a sunset and, in a moment of clarity, she caught a glimpse of her sepia-toned future.
  When Cat got home, she did what she'd longed to do for years. She decided to paint her bedroom a magnificent Bordeaux red and put an end to her beige existence and her marriage. That was the beginning of a new life.
  Any Color but Beige is a bright, funny, genuine account of one woman's search for love in the deep end of the dating pool. None of the self-help books prepared Cat for the often funny, occasionally puzzling, sometimes sad but always colorful dating adventures with an international cast of frogs, princes and players. Cat makes the classic female mistake of thinking that love is a life preserver. Until one day she learns to swim.

  My Thoughts and Opinion: This was a debut novel by this author so I had no preconceived thoughts as to what type of writing style, talent, interest, character relatability I was in store for. I accepted the request for a book review solely on the synopsis and premise of the book, written as a memoir, and as the synopsis states, also a "bright and funny" account of the author's life. I was pleasantly surprised once I started reading the book and as I continued. The writing was fluid and flowed as she travels from country to country, and passes through phases of her life. There were some personal issues that I could relate to, even though, there was approximately a decade of an age difference between the author and myself.

  However, and not wanting to disclose spoilers and/or nor do I consider myself a prude, her years after her divorce and once again in the "dating scene" at times seemed to be a bit much. The underlying moral of the story, though, is true of any woman of any age and whatever stage of one's life.
  My Rating:  2
(Challenge: Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read& Review, 100+)





11/10/11
LETHAL by Sandra Brown
Published by Grand Central Publishing

Hachette Book Group

ISBN-13: 9781455501472

ISBN: 1455501476 

At the request of Grand Central Publishing, a HC was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

  Synopsis (from publisher):  When her four year old daughter informs her a sick man is in their yard, Honor Gillette rushes out to help him. But that "sick" man turns out to be Lee Coburn, the man accused of murdering seven people the night before. Dangerous, desperate, and armed, he promises Honor that she and her daughter won't be hurt as long as she does everything he asks. She has no choice but to accept him at his word.

  But Honor soon discovers that even those close to her can't be trusted. Coburn claims that her beloved late husband possessed something extremely valuable that places Honor and her daughter in grave danger. Coburn is there to retrieve it -- at any cost. From FBI offices in Washington, D.C., to a rundown shrimp boat in coastal Louisiana, Coburn and Honor run for their lives from the very people sworn to protect them, and unravel a web of corruption and depravity that threatens not only them, but the fabric of our society.
  My Thoughts and Opinion:  I have been a fan of Ms. Brown's for many years, I would even guess since from when I was in college, so we are talking many, years. However, and I don't know why, but it has been quite a while since I have read one of her novels.  So when I saw that this book was up for review, I requested to be one of the lucky reviewers.  I doubt there are many avid readers who haven't heard of this best selling author and/or read one of her many books.
  I am so glad that I did because I realized just why it was that I became a fan so many years ago. I have to start with a caveat.  Ever since I started book blogging, reviewing, meeting (through emails) and speaking to authors, publishers, and publicists, I have such a different outlook when I now read a novel.  Yes, it still is for pleasure, enjoyment and entertainment but I now also think about what and how the author creates the characters, premise, the written words so that the reader can create their own imagery and be transported straight into the story and not even realize what is going on around them or even how much time has passed.  How the author can create a cast of characters and weaves them together where they become so life like that you feel as if you know them is pure talent and Lethal had all that and more.
  Lethal was a phenomenal read!!  A pure adrenaline rush from start to finish.  A novel that was a non stop page turning, couldn't put down, white knuckle read.  This reader will not be letting so much time pass in between Sandra Brown books again because I definitely was the one missing out on some great reading.
  My Rating:  5
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)




11/09/11
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY by Henry Horenstein
Published by Little Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group
ISBN:  978-0-316-02074-9
At the request of The Hachette Book Group, a TPB was sent at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis:  This thorough, concise, and easy-to-use guide to capturing digital photographs provides an entire step-by-step course for budding digital photographers. All concepts are fully illustrated with sample work by internationally renowned professionals, representing editorial work, photojournalism, and everything in between. Topics covered include essential information for both film and digital photography, such as exposure controls and shutter speed, as well as digital-specific information on image editing, printing methods, and even file storage. The first digital textbook by legendary photography teacher Henry Horenstein, Digital Photography is the best guide yet for aspiring digital photographers, essential both for photographers transitioning from film to digital and those learning the art of photography for the first time.
  My Thoughts and Opinion:  I feel that this review needs to start with a few caveats.  I know very little about cameras.  I sometimes even forget to take it with us to special events, and then even if I do take it, we hardly use it.  Why?  The pictures do not turn out that great.  They are out of focus, off center, fuzzy, etc etc.  That's why I so enjoyed this book.  It was a how to for those, like me, that know very little and also for those who are more experienced using different lenses and lighting.  How to deal with the dreaded red eye to back lighting.  How to copy your pictures to your computer to light meters and shutter speed.
  In my opinion, the best way I can describe this book is to compare it to a cook book.  There are many "recipes" or in this book, "instructional guides".  You can read it either at the stage of a photographer you are at, a how to, a trouble shooting issue, or like me, who knows very little, where to start.  The photographs in the book are beautiful.  Now with this manual, I plan on taking my camera wherever I go, and practice taking pictures and hopefully share some with you. 
  My Rating:  4
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Just For Fun, Read & Review, 100+) 


10/22/11
ANYTHING by Michael Baron
Published by The Story Plant

Print ISBN-13: 978-1-61188-021-2

EBook ISBN-13:- 978-1-61188-022-9

At the request of the publisher, a PDF was sent at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from back of book): With Anything, Michael Baron again draws readers into a world of deep emotion, compelling relationships, and heartfelt humor, and this time he adds a touch of fantasy. Ken and Melissa are at the dawn of a magnificent life together. A passionate romance has led them to the doorstep of marriage. While searching for the perfect wedding present for Melissa, Ken stumbles into a mysterious shop. There, he is given an extraordinary opportunity - to look in on Melissa when she was a girl. Ken has always wished he could have known Melissa from the day she was born and this seems like an incredible blessing. 
Until he discovers a terrible secret in Melissa's past, one so awful she has found it impossible to mention to him.
  Now Ken has another extraordinary opportunity. He can go back in time and change the horrible event that has left an indelible mark on Melissa. He can free her of this burden - but doing so could change things so completely that they might never meet.
  Ken has repeatedly told Melissa that he would do anything for her. But would he truly do anything?

  My Thoughts and Opinion: I was introduced to this author back in December of 2009 when I read and reviewed his novel, Crossing The Bridge, and instantly became a fan. Since that time, I have read the majority of his books and have yet to be disappointed. Matter of fact, his books are like a fine wine, they seem to get better with time. I was a bit skeptical when asked to review Anything, especially after reading his last book Spinning, which I rated 5/5. Could he do it again?

  This novel had all the "Michael Baron elements" that first grabbed me, but then it also had a slight spin that had this reader wondering about once the last word was read (do not want to include spoilers). Mr. Baron's tender, masterful and descriptive writing style allows the reader to be transported and become part of the story line. The characters come to life with the ability not to just read their emotions but actually feel and experience them. The vivid descriptions of the scenes provides the reader the ability to create their own life like story line that carries the reader side by side with the characters, like a mind's movie.

  As for the premise. Haven't we all said at one time or another these words, I would do anything for (fill in the blank)? But would we? At what cost? Not only is this book poignant, emotional, with a little suspense, and even a bit of fantasy but it is also thought provoking long after the book has ended and the reader is sitting there and now wondering, Would I do anything? Just like a perfect performance by a concert pianist, I say to Mr. Baron, BRAVO!!!!!!

  My Rating: 5

(Challenges:Outdo Yourself; Romantic Suspense, Where Are You, Read& Review, 100+)


10/02/11
90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN by Don Piper
Published by Baker Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 9780800733995

This book was purchased by me, at the recommendation from my 2 cousins.

  Synopsis (borrowed from B&N): He thought it was going to be just another day. God had other plans.


Don Piper died instantly when his car was crushed by a semi. While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, Piper went to heaven. Ninety minutes after the wreck, he miraculously returned to life on earth with only the memory of heavenly bliss. His faith in God was severely tested as he faced an uncertain and grueling recovery. Now he shares his life-changing story with you.

If you've ever wondered what heaven was like, if you've ever questioned God's goodness because bad things happen, if you've had trouble believing that heaven is real--this incredible true story will change your life.

  My Thoughts and Opinion: This past December, while at a family funeral, my cousins and I started to talk about and discuss spiritual books we had read, such as The Left Behind Series. Two cousins mentioned this book and both gave very good verbal reviews on it. Once home, I hopped online and ordered it and since that time it has been in my tbr bookcase. Fast forward to September 5th when I received the news that my Mother had 2 weeks to live. But first a caveat and I apologize in advance if I offend anyone. I am of the Catholic faith and believe that there is an afterlife, Heaven, eternal life. However, I am and always have been curious as to the transition from this life to the next. That's when I felt I must and needed to read this book. I made the decision, and I have such comfort knowing that I was there, to be with my Mom when she made her transition.

  Don Piper, a Minister, retells his experience of the day he died. What he experienced, what he saw, what he felt. He also writes about the excruciating pain and 30+ operations he had to endure after the accident that took his life for 90 minutes. How for many months that turned into years of recuperation and dealing with anger, depression, hopelessness and wanting to return to Heaven again until he realized what God's plan was for him. If you are a believer, this story will strengthen and confirm that belief. It gave me great solace and reassurance in a very difficult situation.

  My Rating: 4

(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Just For Fun, Where Are You, Buy One, Read & Review, 100+)

10/01/11

THE SNOWMAN'S REVENGE by Mark Smythe

Illustrations by Mike Motz

Published by Mark Smythe
ISBN-13: 9780982270400
At the reqeust of The Cadence Group, a TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from the author): The snow's piled up high and school's cancelled, so let's play outside and, of course, build a snowman! Now, what if you were left out in the cold snow all by yourself, like that poor snowman? Would you be mad? Of course you would!
Well, this snowman is out for revenge, especially after he sees those kids in the nice warm house, eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate! So, let's see what happens in this delightful story, nicely flowing with rhymed verse, very beautifully illustrated and quite humorous indeed.
So lovable, it's sure to be an instant favorite and a timeless classic with "kids" of all ages.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: When I was approached to read and review this book, I thought it would be fun, especially with the holidays just around the corner. But in fairness to the author, I must admit, that since I did not have the opportunity to read it to a young child to obtain a reaction of a little one, it is based solely on my opinion of the book. The book is written in a rhyming fashion. I found the illustrations to be vivid and colorful which I would think would keep a child's attention. However, the premise of the story is of the revenge of one angry snowman. I thought that and the images to go along with that part of the story line, a bit scary for a child, but again, that is my opinion. Because it has been many years that I have had the pleasant experience of reading to a youngster, I don't feel that I am qualified to give this book a rating, just my opinion.

(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Read & Review, 100+)


09/14/11
MOONLIGHT RISES by Vincent Zandri
Published by StoneGate Ink
ASIN: B005HB16Y6

At the request of the author, a PDF edition was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

  Synopsis (borrowed from Amazon):

  “Life sucks. Then you die. Or, if you’re Dick Moonlight, first you die and then you live.”
  Dick Moonlight is dead.
  Really dead this time, now that three President Obama-masked thugs dressed all in black and communicating only with hand-held voice synthesizers pressed up against their voice boxes have beat the life right out of him inside a dark, downtown Albany alley. What are the thugs after? A box. Size, weight, description unknown. They also want him to stay away from his newest and only client: a handicapped nuclear engineer of dubious Russian heritage by the same of Peter Czech.
  But then, now that they’ve killed him, Moonlight’s problems seem to be over. In fact, as he undergoes an out of body experience, his soul floating above his train-wreck of a corpse inside the Albany Medical Center I.C.U., he feels pretty damned good. Great in fact. To make death all the more sweeter, his one true love, Lola, is standing by his bedside. With her long dark hair draping her chiseled face and big round Jackie O sunglasses hiding tear-filled eyes, she appears every bit the grieving sig other. Nothing could make the dead-and-gone Moonlight prouder.
  But then something happens. Something bad. A man enters into the I.C.U. Some young guy. He takes hold of Lola’s hand, and pulls her into him. Together, the two share a loving embrace over Moonlight’s dead body. Now, what seemed like a peaceful death is anything but. Moonlight wants back inside his body so he can face-off Some Young Guy and find out if his true love has in fact been cheating on him. At the same time, he wants to find out the true identity of those thugs who killed him so he can exact his revenge. No doubt about it, Moonlight needs to live if he’s going to uncover some pretty painful answers and take care of business.
  Like a little kid dropping down a playground slide, Moonlight slides right back inside his bruised and broken body. Opening his eyes the white light blinds him. He feels the pain of his wounds and the pain of his breaking heart.
  Life sucks, then you die.
  But Moonlight rises.

  My Thoughts and Opinion: If you follow my blog you already know what I think of this author. And you probably also know the two words that always come to mind when I finish one of his books are brilliant and genius!!! And you already know what the rating I will be giving this book....you got it....a 5!!!! Another winner!!!

  But for those who are new followers, if you like mystery and suspense, this is the author that you HAVE to read!!! This is the sequel to Moonlight Falls, the one that grabbed me, hook, line and sinker. However, it can also stand on it's own. Zandri. with his masterful writing, brings you up to speed with Moonlight Rises. The quirky P.I., Dick Moonlight is back with his unconventional investigations and sometimes outlandish one liners. Zandri, once again, takes you on a fast paced, action packed ride filled with twists and turns that the reader never sees coming.

  I have read every book that this highly talented author has written. Do I recommend him? ABSOLUTELY!!!!

  My Rating: 5

(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, Just For Fun, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)



08/30/11
SPACE by Emily Sue Harvey
Published by The Story Plant
ISBN  9781611880199
At the request of The Story Plant, Spread The Word Initiative, an ARC EPub Edition was sent via NetGalley, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
 Synopsis (borrowed from NetGalley):  Emily Sue delivers us a deeply moving story of a family on the brink. Dan and Deede Stowe have worked for years, planning and saving for their idyllic retirement years. Just when they finally are about to realize their dream, their adult, recovering drug-addict daughter, Faith, moves back in with them and everything changes. Their “miracle child,” complete with druggie baggage, upsets the tranquil balance of the Stowes's existence. Private romantic moments evaporate. Faith’s endless needs intrude hour by hour, devouring their finances, their emotions, and most crucially, their space. In turn, Faith finds herself bereft of everything she cherished most: her health, her marriage, her child, her family, her reputation and, most of all, a space to call her own.
 Amid chaotic challenges, all three battle to find peace with each other, a harmony that doggedly eludes them. For the sake of family solidarity, each is forced to sacrifice elemental components of self, until desperation turns them one against the other. Will love be enough to turn the tide? Is it strong enough to warm again hearts grown cold?
  My Thoughts and Opinion:  I enjoy reading novels where there are relationship dynamics as the core of the story.  The characters in this book came to life through the words of the author, Emily Sue Harvey, and there were quite a few interwoven personalities within both the immediate and extended family of the Stowes.  I was also interested, after reading the synopsis, of the premise of what happens behind closed doors when a family member is overtaken by drugs, which is so prevalent in today's society and the fracture of a family these drugs cause.
 Here is where I am torn and confused about this book, which I honestly don't quite understand.  And this is my opinion and my opinion only.  The book held my attention throughout.  However, I felt there was so much missing in the story.  It wasn't until almost the end of the novel when the reader finds out what drug Faith is using.  It doesn't describe the reality of true drug addiction, in my opinion.  But it focused more on her nicotine addiction.  I understood the underlying message of "needing one's space" and as the synopsis states but I felt that some issues that would have made it more realistic were glossed over.  Examples like the loss of her parental rights were not touched upon until almost the end of the book.
 Because it did hold my attention but it also left me disappointed as far as the overall story line, I find myself having much difficulty rating it.  
(Challenges: Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)

08/25/11
THE SANTA CLUB by Kelly Moss
Illustrated by Jim Keserich
Published by Palmary Press
ISBN 13:  978-0-9821340-1-6
At the request of The Cadence Group, a HC was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
   Synopsis (from author):   A delightful book with captivating illustrations, The Santa Club transitions your child from receiving gifts to experiencing the joy of giving. With sensitivity, faith, and love, The Santa Club tackles the serious question, “Is Santa Claus Real?” To be read with your child, this wonderful book not only answers that sometimes “dreaded” question but it also addresses the questions of why Santa comes at Christmas and who was the first Santa.  The Santa Club is a wonderful parenting resource and a stunning children’s book, and is sure to become an annual family favorite.
   My Thoughts and Opinion:  To those that follow this blog, you know that this is not the type of book that I would usually accept to review, however, when I was approached, I thought it would be different and fun.  When my boys were young, reading was an important integral of their upbringing.  From when they were infants, reading before bedtime was a nighttime ritual.  Books also played an important part during different milestones in their lives, such as bringing home a baby brother, potty training, starting school, and unfortunately, even loss.
   Since it has been many years that I have read a children's book, it was like a new experience for me.  The premise of the book is to help parents answer that hard question, Is Santa Real? Not only does it answer the question in a way that a child can understand but it also allows the child to feel special when the answer is revealed.  What also impressed me, which I am sure that some will disagree with me, is that it also explains the true meaning of Christmas.  At first, I was a bit unsure of the illustrations but the more I looked at them I could see the diversity the author was conveying to the parent and child.  I forgot to mention, this book states that a child must only read this book with a parent or guardian.  If you are a parent, grandparent or know someone with little ones, this should be in every household, tucked away for the day when that question is asked, Is Santa real?.  Highly recommend.
 My Rating:  4
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Read& Review, 100+)

08/25/11
 MINI SKIRTS AND LAUGHTER LINES by Carol Wyer
Published by Carol E Wyer at Smashwords
ISBN: (borrowed from B&N)ISBN-13: 9781908481818
ISBN: 1908481811
At the request of the author, an ARC PDF edition was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
 Synopsis (borrowed from B&N):  Amanda Wilson can't decide between murder, insanity and another glass of red wine. Facing 50 and all that it entails is problematic enough. What's the point in minking your eyes, when your husband would rather watch 'Russia Today' than admire you, strutting in front of the television in only thigh boots and a thong?
  Her son has managed to perform yet another magical disappearing act. Could he actually be buried under the mountain of festering washing which is strewn on his bedroom floor? He'll certainly be buried somewhere when she next gets her hands on him.
At least her mother knows how to enjoy herself. She's partying her twilight years away in Cyprus. Queen of the Twister mat, she now has a toy boy in tow.
  She really shouldn't have pressed that send button. The past always catches up with you sooner or later. Still, her colourful past is a welcome relief to her monochrome present; especially when it comes in the shape of provocative Todd Bradshaw, her first true love.
Soon Mandy has a difficult decision to make; one that will require more than a few glasses of Chianti.
   My Thoughts and Opinion:  During a blog hop that I participated in, I stumbled upon a blog that was not the kind that I usually follow, which are book related, however, the theme was based more on real life and I found it to be quite funny and became a follower.  Then approximately a month ago I received an email, knowing it was for a request to review a book because of the form I use on my site.  The difference being is that the email began as follows:
"Hello from 'Facing 50 with Humour'!
You very kindly gave me my very first award when I started my blog months ago and now I have a favour to request.
My debut novel, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines, humorous of course, has been published as an eBook and will be out in print in 4-6 weeks.
I am hosting a huge book launch party on September 16th at my blog and would be so grateful if you could review my work for it."
From visiting her blog and already knowing her writing style and sense of humor from her blog, I said yes.  I needed something light and fun to read.
   The book is set up to read as if you are actually reading a typical blog along with comments that have been posted.  I could relate to "the postings" as they pertained to the daily life of a 50 year old woman and dealing with relationships of her husband, son, mother, and/or aquaintances.   In my opinion, the author has a dry sense of humor and finds amusement in everyday events.  Her writing style allows you to visualize the scene, which becomes even funnier.  Without giving away spoilers, events such as her goal to get fit and taking up jogging and other exercise regimes, her husband's grocery shopping trips and her's, her son's room, her Mum's weekly phone calls, her husband's escapade with the smoke detector and so many more.  Again, without giving away spoilers, the last 100 pages or so, were even funnier but also held many surprises.  Surprises that reminded the reader that there is truly a human being sitting behind the screen of that blog.  A woman who is now an author of a light and funny book but who also faces life's ups and downs but with a great attitude and humor.  A good read when you need to add some more laugh lines.
  My Rating:  4


(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)
08/17/11
PEACE AT THE EDGE OF UNCERTAINTY by Neil Hanson
Published by High Prairie Press
ISBN 13:  978-0-9826391-0-8
At the request of Tribute Books, a TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion
  Synopsis (from tour press package):  In this story told in the first-person form of a letter from a middle-aged man to his deceased father, Hanson invites us to journey with him through the final days of the father’s life, finding a magical transition waiting at the end of that journey. The story weaves end-of-life reality and spiritual questioning into a sensitive and revealing tapestry of Truth and Wisdom. The tapestry is colored with true stories of mystical experiences that inform the spiritual path of the son.
  Most of us will face difficult and painful end-of-life decisions with the most important people in our lives. The threads of this aspect of the story are sensitive, and Hanson reveals the struggles and destinations of the son as he wrestles deeply with the journey that he must walk in making these decisions for his dying father.
   My Thoughts and Opinions:  When I was first approached to read and review this book, and after reading the synopsis above, I honestly had to step back and think about it.  Due to the fact that I am personally going through this same process, could this topic help or would it add to the stress I am already feeling.  I kept reading the 2nd paragraph and felt that, yes, being the sole person responsible, it would help, and so I accepted.
  It is a very short read (approximately 100 pages), and as the synopsis states, is a letter from a son to his father through the process of death and dying.  It is also about the journey the son takes with his own faith.  And as stated in the synopsis "difficult and painful end-of-life decisions",  yes, a decision had to be made by the writer and 2 siblings but I felt that it was glossed over.   In all fairness to the author, my expectations were set high on surviving family members having to make the "painful and difficult decisions".  Being a former nurse and now the sole family member who is making the tough decisions, I was hoping that this book would convey how important it is and to help open communication within families regarding this topic, that is so uncomfortable to talk about but a reality no less, and one conversation that should take place.
  My Rating:  2
(Challenge:Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)

08/13/11

UNREVEALED by Laurel Dewey
Published by The Story Plant
ISBN-13: 9781611880236
ISBN: 1611880238
At the request of The Story Plant, a PDF EBook Edition of a double novelette, Promissory Payback and Unrevealed were provided, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from publisher):  In UNREVEALED, Dewey gives us four indelible portraits of Jane Perry:
  ANONYMOUS: One of Jane's first AA meetings leads her to an encounter with a woman in need of her detection skills...and a secret she never expected to uncover.
  YOU CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER: Forced by her boss to speak at a high school career day, Jane meets a troubled boy and finds that his story is only the beginning of a much more revealing tale.
  YOU'RE ONLY AS SICK AS YOUR SECRETS: An early-morning homicide call introduces Jane to a mystery as layered as it is unsuspected.
  THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM: Jane finds herself sharing a 2:00 am conversation at a downtown bar with an old acquaintance. Will the bloody night that proceeded this moment complicate Jane's intentions?
  My Thoughts and Opinion:  As I stated in my previous review, I had just found a new author and had much catching up to do.  I enjoyed her writing style and most definitely her main character, Detective Jane Perry.  Ms Dewey piqued my curiosity as to the so called "birth" of this new character that I wanted to read more about.  However, on to the second novelette.  Four (4) stories within a book of 94 pages?  How in depth could it be?  Could four (4) good suspenseful stories be told in 94 pages?  To my utter amazement the answer was yes.  The author wrote 4 descriptive concise short stories in 94 pages, that were so detailed, that I was engrossed to the point that I wasn't aware of what was going on around me.  The characters came to life and it was so detailed that I was able to create a vivid visualization in my mind.  My thoughts, I need to purchase the first book starring Detective Jane Perry.  My opinion, if you enjoy reading from the genre of mystery and suspense, this is an author you need to read.
  My Rating:  4
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Where Are You. Read & Review, ARC, 100+)

08/08/11
PROMISSORY PAYBACK by Laurel Dewey
Published by The Story Plant
ISBN-10: 1611880076
ISBN-13: 978-1611880076
At the request of The Story Plant, a PDF EBook Edition of a double novelette, Promissory Payback and Unrevealed were provided, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from publisher):  In PROMISSORY PAYBACK Jane is called in to investigate the gruesome murder of a woman who profited greatly from the misfortunes of others. The case leaves Jane with little question about motive...and with a seemingly endless number of suspects.
  My Thoughts and Opinion:  This was my first introduction to both this author, Laurel Dewey and character, Detective Jane Perry.  Although it was only 80 pages, I instantly knew that I had been missing out on a very talented author.  Within 80 pages she made the characters come to life and "transported" the reader into the plot. The writing style was fluid and very descriptive, which made it quite easy to create my own vivid visualizations as if I was watching a movie.  The novelette was a stand alone read but gave hints of giving the reader to want more and to know more about this tough, street smart, but sensitive detective. 
  My Rating:  4
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)

08/03/11
SCREAM CATCHER by Vincent Zandri
Published by StoneGate Ink
ISBN:
At the request of the author, an EPub galley was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from author): Life is but a scream. Then you die.
  Jude Parish was once a tough cop. But now he is afraid. For reasons even he can’t begin to fathom, the former violent crimes cop turned bestselling true crime author has acquired a fear-filled demon that’s lodged itself inside him. A demon so real, so visceral, he can only imagine a slimy reptilian beast with scaly gray skin, black eyes, and razor-sharp fangs having taken up residence inside the place where his once confident and fearless soul resided.
  Now, in the wake of his literary success, the ever anxious Jude is hoping to lead a quiet, peaceful life in the idyllic Adirondack vacation town of Lake George, New York with his new pregnant wife, Rosie, and Jack, his young son from a previous marriage. But when Jude becomes the accidental witness to a bizarre “kill game” in which the killer, video game designer and master of disguise, Hector “the Black Dragon” Lennox, insists on recording the screams of his victims prior to shooting them dead, the ex-cop’s life is turned upside down.
  When Lennox is arrested by the L.G.P.D. and Jude is asked to act as the state’s “star witness,” he has no choice but to fight his demon-fear and take on the role. But what he doesn’t realize at the time is that the killer’s arrest is actually the first chapter in what is a carefully designed and scripted kill game that will involve Jude’s entire family.
  How will the kill game end?
  It will end not with a whimper, but a scream.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Where do I begin? I'm thinking that I should apologize in advance as this is not going to be like my typical reviews where I attempt to make them short, concise, and to the point but this book has me reeling. It all started in May of 2010 when I read a debut novel, Moonlight Falls, by an unknown author to me, Vincent Zandri and I was hooked. Since that time I have read every one of his books and he doesn't disappoint.
  I wrote a pre review last week when I was quite surprised when I received this galley in my email. So I will start this review there.
(written on 07/28/11) If you are a reader of mystery's, thrillers, non stop action filled novels, mark your calendar for the release of this book!!! Vinzent Zandri has IT!!! Vincent Zandri is IT!!! Vincent Zandri is brillIanT!!! Just when you thought he reached the pinnacle in writing, he has found a higher mountain!!! He has raised the bar with Scream Catcher!! My heart was pounding at warp speed!!! And that's from reading 1/2 the book. It can only get better!!! In ten days...plan on spending the day reading....it's a page turning, can't put down novel.
  Now that I have read the book in it's entirety, I can give a full review. Fantastic!!!! Zandri is a genious at story telling. Why does this book have me reeling? His inventiveness of writing style. I noticed a deviation immediately. It has the classic Zandri flair, short chapters, cliff hanging chapters, twists and turns, non stop action and page turning suspense. However, this had more drama, less quirky, quip dialogue and more of a psychological thriller plot. Masterful!!!!
  In my pre review, I stated "it could only get better"...It did!!! Exceptional!!! His creative talent is phenomenal!!! Vincent Zandri and Scream Catcher are Champions!!!!
  My Rating:  5
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Just For Fun, Where Are You, Read &Review, ARC, 100+)


07/24/11
THE GOOD SISTER by Drusilla Campbell
Published by Grand Central Publishing
The Hachette Book Group
ISBN 978-0-44653578-6
At the request of Bestsellersworld, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from B&N): Roxanne Callahan has always been her younger sister's caretaker. Now married, her happiness is threatened when beautiful and emotionally unstable Simone, suffering from crippling postpartum depression, commits an unforgivable crime for which Roxanne comes to believe she is partially responsible. In the glare of national media attention brought on her sister, Roxanne fights to hold her marriage together as she is drawn back into the pain of her troubled past and relives the fraught relationship she and Simone shared with their narcissistic mother. At the same time, only she can help Simone's nine year old daughter, Merell, make sense of the family's tragedy. Cathartic, lyrical, and unflinchingly honest, THE GOOD SISTER is a novel of four generations of women struggling to overcome a legacy of violence, lies and secrecy, ultimately finding strength and courage in their love for each other.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Ms. Campbell was able to take a real life , often misunderstood, disease, and with her sensitive, personal experience and masterful writing style, to create a fictional story that was poignant, emotional and heart wrenching. The family dynamics profound, psyches formed from childhood make one wonder of their own family dynamics. This book, at times was very personal and hard for me to read, especially because I could relate to the character of Roxanne. With this book, comes a "Reading Book Guide", and after reading it, I agree, this novel would make an excellent Book Club Choice. If you enjoy books where relationships are woven together, then this is a must read
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)


07/02/11
NEVER KNOWING by Chevy Stevens
Published by St. Martin's Press
ISBN 978-0-312-59568-5
At the request of St. Martin's Press, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from B&N): All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara did not have an ideal home life. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and to find closure.
  But some questions are better left unanswered.
  After months of research, Sara locates her birth mother — only to be met with horror and rejection. Then she discovers the devastating truth: Her mother was the only victim ever to escape a killer who has been hunting women every summer for decades. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding out about her father is him finding out about her.
  What if murder is in your blood?
  Never Knowing is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand herself, her origins, and her family. That is, if she can survive....
  My Thoughts and Opinion: For those bloggers who were around, right around this time last year, you may remember there was a lot of buzz about debut author Chevy Stevens and her chilling novel Still Missing. A few months ago I was approached to read and review her newest book and since I was one of the bloggers blown away by her debut novel, I accepted. However, I tend to have a bit of apprehension when the first book is outstanding. Can the second book compare? Or was the author and first book a "one hit wonder"? My opinion.....Chevy Stevens is pure talent.....brilliant!!!!
  As in her first novel, the main character Sara, starts each chapter with a session with her psychiatrist but I found in this book that there was much more dialogue and interaction between the characters. Her writing style is fluid and so descriptive, which allowed me to visualize and create vivid imagery. I felt that I was transported into the story line. (Vague due to not wanting to include spoilers) Example: when Sara's cell phone kept ringing, I realized I was holding my breath waiting for her to answer the phone. Engrossing! A definite page turner! The characters came to life whereas even their emotions were felt. At times terrifying!! The ending, just when I thought it ended, another surprise!! Sara learns "be careful what you wish for". Am hoping that this time next year, I will be reading her third novel!!! Chevy Stevens delivers again!!
  My Rating: 5
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, Just For Fun, I Want More, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)


06/12/11
SILVER GIRL by Elin Hilderbrand
Published by Reagan Arthur Books/
Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group
ISBN-13: 9780316190428
At the request of The Hachette Book Group, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from publisher): Meredith Martin Delinn just lost everything: her friends, her homes, her social standing - because her husband Freddy cheated rich investors out of billions of dollars.
  Desperate and facing homelessness, Meredith receives a call from her old best friend, Constance Flute. Connie's had recent worries of her own, and the two depart for a summer on Nantucket in an attempt to heal. But the island can't offer complete escape, and they're plagued by new and old troubles alike. When Connie's brother Toby - Meredith's high school boyfriend - arrives, Meredith must reconcile the differences between the life she is leading and the life she could have had.
  Set against the backdrop of a Nantucket summer, Elin Hilderbrand delivers a suspenseful story of the power of friendship, the pull of love, and the beauty of forgiveness.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: I would like to first start with 2 caveats. This was the first book I had read by this author. After posting that it was my current read, I received mixed comments about her previous books, so quite honestly, was a bit skeptical. The second, in fairness to the author, was the length of time it took me to read the book. It had nothing to do with the writing style, it holding my interest, the characters and/or the story line. Matter of fact, quite the opposite. I really enjoyed all of the above. It was because at the present time, I am also caught up in a televised trial that has taken away from my reading time.
  As far as the novel, it is the type of read where you become part of the story. I felt that the author brought the characters to life, whereas I could feel their emotions. I enjoyed the dynamics of the relationships between the characters, including their flaws. At times, I wanted to comfort them and at times, reprimand them. The story covered a 40 year friendship and at certain times of reflection, would alternate between the present with memories of past. The setting of Nantucket was vivid. A moving novel of friendship, love, pain, forgiveness, loss, desperation, life and hope. My favorite quote in the book, which I feel is so true, was on page 313, "God, human beings were resilient, Connie thought. They were resilient!" A perfect summer read!!
  My Rating:  4
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+, Reagan Arthur)
06/02/11
THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES by Marcus Sakey
Published by Dutton, member of Penguin Group, Inc.
ISBN 978-0-525-952114
At the request of Kaye Publicity, a HC was sent, at no charge to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from B&N): Marcus Sakey returns with his most ambitious novel, a captivating story of love and memory, where the only thing more frightening than the questions are the answers.
  A man wakes up naked and cold, half-drowned on an abandoned beach. The only sign of life for miles is an empty BMW. Inside the expensive car he finds clothes that fit perfectly, shoes for his tattered feet, a Rolex, and a bank envelope stuffed with cash and an auto registration in the name of Daniel Hayes, resident of Malibu, California.
  None of it is familiar.
  What is he doing here? How did he get into the ocean? Is he Daniel Hayes, and if so, why doesn't he remember? While he searches for answers, the world searches for him-beginning with the police that kick in the door of his dingy motel, with guns drawn. Lost, alone, and on the run, the man who might be Daniel Hayes flees into the night.
  All he remembers is a woman's face, so he sets off for the only place he might find her. The fantasy of her becomes his home, his world, his hope. And maybe, just maybe, the way back to himself.
  But that raises the most chilling question of all: What will he find when he gets there?
  My Thoughts and Opinion: I feel that I need to begin this review with a caveat in fairness to the author. It took me longer than usual for me to read this book, not because of the author or plot but because of real life issues that needed to take a priority. If not for that, this novel would most definitely be a can't put down read. I did have a bit of difficulty focusing in on the characters and plot the first 1/3 of the book but again, my mindset. Once, I was able to focus, the ride was unstoppable. The characters appeared life like, however, I kept going back and forth in my mind as to who was actually the victim or victims. The plot, action packed. (Vague-do not want to include spoilers) What was real? What was the truth? After reading the last paragraph, I literally sat there, stunned, with how it ended. Will there be a sequel? I hope so!!
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)

05/23/11
THE ARRIVALS by Meg Mitchell Moore
Published by Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown and Company
The Hachette Book Group
ISBN 978-0-316-09771-0
At the request of The Hachette Book Group, a HC was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis: It's early summer when Ginny and William's peaceful life in Vermont comes to an abrupt halt.
  First, their daughter Lillian arrives, with her two children in tow, to escape her crumbling marriage. Next, their son Stephen and his pregnant wife Jane show up for a weekend visit, which extends indefinitely when Jane ends up on bed rest. When their youngest daughter Rachel appears, fleeing her difficult life in New York, Ginny and William find themselves consumed again by the chaos of parenthood - only this time around, their children are facing adult problems.
  By summer's end, the family gains new ideas of loyalty and responsibility, exposing the challenges of surviving the modern family - and the old adage, once a parent, always a parent, has never rung so true.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Having recently started my own chapter of being an empty nester, I was quite interested in the premise of this book. And along that line, I definitely could relate to the parental characters in the novel. It was very easy for me to, what I call being "transported", into the story line and become part of this family. Which was quite surprising due to the fact that this was the debut novel by this author. There was a situation, where the patriarch character became so frustrated that he finally lost his patience, because his house had been so transformed into a mess. Another plight I could relate to. And how the parents attempted to treat their children as the adults that they were. Except these adult children, never took into consideration that they were giving their parents their responsibilities and problems instead of dealing with them as the adults they were. I felt that there were some family dynamics, and this is only my opinion, that did not resemble real life. The timeframe occurred over a few months, and during that time, it was never stated to the parents why their children appeared "back home". I enjoyed this book due to the story line of the novel, but also felt that it was predictable. No matter what the rating this book gets, like the synopsis states, "once a parent, always a parent".
  My Rating: 3
(Challenges: outdo Yourself,, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+, Reagan Arthur)

05/14/11
A Drop Of The Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block
Published by Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company
ISBN-13: 9780316127332
At the request of Mulholland Books, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review.
  Synopsis (borrowed from B&N): Grandmaster Lawrence Block brings his greatest character, Matthew Scudder, back into action in his most personal case.
  Matthew Scudder is finally on the straight and narrow when he runs into "High-Low" Jack Ellery, a childhood friend from the Bronx. In Scudder, Jack sees the moral man he might have become. In Jack, Scudder sees the hard-won sobriety he hopes to achieve.
  Then Ellery, following to the letter the dictates of Alcoholics Anonymous' infamous twelve steps, is shot down while attempting to atone for past sins, and Scudder is drawn into a murder investigation that threatens to upset his path toward recovery—and get him killed in the process.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: When I initially read the synopsis of this book, I felt that it was definitely a match for me, being in the genre of suspense, which is my favorite preference of books to read. It was also the first book that I had read by this author and also not realizing that this novel was one of many in a series. Before stating my thoughts and opinion, I would like to add a caveat. I did do some research on different sites such as B&N and GR to read other reviews and the majority were very good. I say this because not every book is the same for every reader. And the following is my opinion, and my opinion only. I read 50+ pages and had to put this book aside. I felt that it was an effort to continue to read. To me, it was very dry reading, whereas nothing truly "grabbed" me. I am not sure if it could be that I never read any of the books in the series or any other books by this author. Unfortunately, this book went into the DNF pile.
  My Rating: 1
(Challenges: Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)

05/12/11
DEAD OF WYNTER by Spencer Seidel
Published by Publishing Works, Inc.,
ISBN-13: 978-1-935557-69-2
At the request of Meryl L. Moss Media, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from marketing): There is the Maine of summer — warm, picturesque, filled with vacationing families — and then there is the Maine of winter, where the cold creeps into your bones and refuses to leave. Alice Wynter Dunn thought she’d never have to go back to her hometown of Redding, Maine, where secrets are buried under a thick layer of ice and the chill emanates from people’s hearts.
  A phone call in the middle of the night. Alice’s infamous father, Edward “Papa” Wynter, is dead from a gunshot wound. Leaving her distant husband in their New Jersey McMansion, Alice races back to Redding. What at first seems like a simple case of burying her past along with her cruel, alcoholic father turns into a double mystery. Papa Wynter wasn’t a victim of suicide as originally thought — it was murder, and Alice’s abused twin brother, Chris, is missing.
  Memories begin to crack the surface as apparitions from the past appear. The winter when Chris ran wild with his bad-seed cousin, cruising from petty crimes to irreversible tragedy, is revealed. Could this be the catalyst that drove Chris to become a hard-core alcoholic like their father? And did their cousin Ray, a junior sociopath in the making, really die in a snowmobile accident?
  Supervising Lieutenant Detective Don Lambert has his suspicions. Chris and Papa were last seen arguing in their favorite townie bar the night of the murder — and they were fighting about Ray; the same Ray who tortures Alice’s memories. Things grow more complicated when the murder weapon is found and her mother, Jackie Ruth, is brought in for questioning. What is she hiding? What dark secret from Alice’s past is about to be exposed?
  My Thoughts and Opinion: The author of this debut thriller is one to put on your radar. The story takes place between the present time when Alice Wynter Dunn returns to her hometown, which she has tried to erase and rewrite her history, and 1984, the year that changed the Wynter family's lives. A year full of deep, dark secrets that has plagued them for years in varied ways. Alice, by escaping the area, her father and twin brother, by escaping with alcohol. But secrets that come back to haunt and kill them. The author was able to, with his writing style, portray the absolute evil in some of the characters in the book, but also let the reader feel the frightening emotions that other characters were feeling. A disturbing, chilling, yet intriguing read which was hard to put down, with a shocking conclusion.
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges:  Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)

05/04/11
If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I became a huge fan of this author when I read his first book Moonlight Falls back in May. Since that time, I have read his subsequent novels, The Remains, The Innocent and Godchild, and all have been exceptional. Before leaving to go on vacation, Mr. Zandri honored me by entrusting me to read and review a galley of his latest novel that will be out today.

CONCRETE PEARL by Vincent Zandri
Published by StoneGate, Ink
BNID: 2940012494825
At the request of the author, a PDF galley edition, was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
 Synopsis:  Ava “Spike” Harrison might be a beautiful, classically schooled woman, but the single, 38 year old construction business owner is also plenty ballsy. Her late father taught her long ago how to handle the rough boys in an industry that’s almost entirely filled with hard-boiled men on the make. But now, with “the business dad built” from the ground up failing due to an unusual series of job-site injuries and just plain bad luck, Spike has no choice but to take on one last project she believes can pull the fledgling commercial firm from the depths of almost certain bankruptcy and family shame: The Renovation of Albany PS 20.
  Problem is, Spike had no choice but to take the job on the cheap or, what’s known in the industry as, “at cost.” To make matters worse, she’s not only hired an asbestos removal contractor who, unbeknownst to her, low-balled his price, but she’s advanced him $10Gs from her own dwindling cash account as a “good faith” incentive to beat the project deadline.
  Now, when that same asbestos contractor goes missing and it’s discovered by OSHA officials that he’s cheated on the project exposing more than 300 students to deadly asbestos fibers for months, the ever responsible Spike takes matters into her own callused hands and goes in search of him. What she discovers along the way however, is a path paved with deception, greed, murder, and eventually, her own ultimate demise.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Another hole in one!!! Zandri, once again, proves that he is a master story teller. With this book, he lures you onto a Tower of Terror ride and buckles you in before you have the ability to get off. Brilliant!!! This is what I call a "transport" book, whereas I was so engrossed in the plot that I was unaware of my surroundings. Because of his superb writing style, both the characters and settings, I was able to create vivid visualizations in my mind. Gifted!! Ava "Spike" Harrison, the main character, was charismatic who fought on principals but also had to deal with emotions of loss (vague due to not wanting to include spoilers). Throughout the book she "wondered how a headstrong girl like me" would get into different situations, which made her a likeable character that had this reader rooting for her and hoping that there will be sequels. A nonstop read of twists and turns until the very last word!!!! And just when you think you are nearing the end of the ride, Mr Zandri catapults the reader to the top of the tower at break neck speed. Not wanting to include spoilers, all I could picture in my mind when this happened, was a theater full of people and everyone at the same time sits back in their seats and gasps, which is exactly what I did when I read it!! Zandri delivers another page turning, can't put down novel!!!!! Fantastic!!!!
  My Rating: 5
"Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 Internationally Bestselling Kindle E-Book author of THE REMAINS, THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD and MOONLIGHT FALLS. CONCRETE PEARL is his fifth thriller. A freelance photojournalist and foreign correspondent, he divides his time between New York and Florence, Italy.
For more information, please visit his website."
(Challenges: Outdo Yourself, Just For Fun, What's In A Name, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)

04/23/11
GUILT BY ASSOCIATION by Marcia Clark
Published by Little Brown
ISBN: 9780316186353
I received an ARC-EBook Bound galley Edition from NetGalley, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from NetGalley): Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.
  But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation--and her life--to find the truth.
  With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: After reading the synopsis, the vast reviews and yes, being one of the millions, glued to the infamous TV trial of the century, my curiosity was piqued as to Ms. Clark's debut novel. I was a bit leery, however, that it would be filled with a lot of legal jargon but after reading a few chapters I knew that wouldn't be the case (no pun intended). The suspense pulled me in within the first few pages. I immediately liked the strong willed main character Rachel Knight. The writing style flowed and it kept my interest for the entire read. The author created a story line that wove a cast of characters and 2 separate crimes together to the end, keeping the reader guessing to the last page. However, I felt that there was more "detective" work by the main character than her role as a D.A., not much in the way of a "legal" storyline. As I said, the book held my interest, but I wouldn't say it was a page turner, can't put down read. I also thought, and this is my opinion only, that there was too much "filler" of where and what the characters ate and drank. I expected, and again this is only my opinion, more substance.
  My Rating: 3
(Challenges:  Off The Shelf (Completed), Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, Mystery/Suspense(Completed), Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)

04/14/11
BLOOD OF MY BROTHER by James LePore
Published by The Story Plant
The Aronica-Miller Publishing Project, LLC
ISBN-13: 978-0-9819568-8-6
At the request of The Story Plant, a TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from B&N): "When Jay Cassio's best friend is murdered in a job clearly done by professionals, the walls that he has built to protect himself from the world of others begin to shatter. Dan Del Colliano had been his confidante and protector since the men were children on the savage streets of Newark, New Jersey. When Dan supports and revives Jay after Jay's parents die in a plane crash, their bond deepens to something beyond brotherhood, beyond blood. Now Jay, a successful lawyer, must find out why Dan died and find a way to seek justice for his murder.
  Isabel Perez has lived a life both tainted and charmed since she was a teenager in Mexico. She holds powerful sway over men and has even more powerful alliances with people no one should ever try to cross. She desperately wants her freedom from the chains these people have placed on her. When Jay catapults into her world, their connection is electric, their alliance is lethal, and their future is anything but certain.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: I was a bit skeptical when I picked up this book to read for a couple of reasons, one being this was my introduction to this author, never having read any of his work and the fact that this book was part of a "Tristate Triology" and not reading the first book of the series, would I be able to give this author justice, if I wasn't able to follow the story line out of sequence(I do have his latest one, Sons and Princes, also on my requested review shelf). I was proven wrong after reading the prologue, I was hooked. The plot started when the main character, Jay, and his best friend Dan were children in 1967. A story of true friendship, loyalty, betrayal, "street justice", corruption, murder, trust, love and much more. The cast of characters is quite long and at times, I would have to go back in the book to try and find them to see what their roles were. The beginning of the book hooked me, the middle of the book was a bit confusing, and the end of the book was action packed and page turning with some surprises. And as far as the triology, this book can be read as a "stand alone" novel. I look forward to reading Sons and Princes.
  My Rating: 3
(Challenges:Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Just For Fun, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)


04/07/11
DIAGNOSIS DEATH by Richard Mabry, M.D.
Published by Abingdon Press
ISBN: 07814267710216
I received an ARC-EBook Bound galley Edition from NetGalley, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from NetGalley): When her comatose husband died in the ICU while on life support, the whispers about Dr. Elena Gardner began. Another death during her training puts her under suspicion. When the pattern is repeated in the hospital where she is attempting to start over, the whispers turn into a shout: “mercy killing.” What is the dark secret that keeps Allison’s lips sealed when she should be defending herself?
  Despite her move to a new city, the midnight phone calls that started after her husband’s death follow Elena. Who is the woman who sobs out, “I know what you did?” What does she mean by “You’ll pay?” And what can Elena do to prevent it?
  Two physicians, widowers themselves, offer support, telling Elena they know what she is going through after the death of her husband. But do they? And is it safe to trust either of them with her secret?
  My Thoughts and Opinion: After reading the synopsis, I felt that this would be a good match for me. It had some of the ingredients, suspense and medicine, as it's premise that drew me to this book. However, I had never heard of this author or read any of his books before, but thought I would give it a shot (no pun intended). I must admit, by the first couple of pages and to my surprise, Dr. Mabry had pulled me in. Not only was I so engrossed into the story but he had also transported me to the patient's ICU room through his writing ability. I thought could this be possible? This early in the book? Then something happened on page 111 and I was very disappointed. It appeared to be quite obvious, that the author was exposing "the suspect" or so I thought, but kept reading anyway. I was wrong!!!!!! This book had a cast of characters that had this reader guessing from page 1, past page 111, to the end as to who really was behind the deaths, including the main character, Dr. Elena Gardner. A great read without a lot of medical jargon for those who are not in the medical profession. The suspense a page turner!!!!
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges:  Off the Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, What's In A Name, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)

04/01/11
SPINNING by Michael Baron
Published by The Story Plant
The Aronica-Miller Publishing Project, LLC
ISBN-13: 978-1-61188-005-2
At the request of The Story Plant, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from author's website): Dylan Hunter has it made. At 29, he has great friends, a huge job, all the women he can handle, and no commitments. A public relations executive, Dylan has dashed up the ladder of success by mastering the art of the spin – bending the truth to his and his clients’ needs. But when a former lover steps back into his life with a three-year-old girl by her side (no, she’s not his), Dylan suddenly finds himself in a place he can’t spin himself out of. And when Dylan unexpectedly becomes the child’s sole guardian, he finds himself to be like a circus performer trying to keep all of his spinning plates from crashing to the ground. In what seems like a blink of the eye, Dylan Hunter’s life has changed completely…whether he’s ready for it or not.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: This book was the best birthday present I ever gave to myself !!! People asked what my plans for my birthday were and my answer was relax and read, and I picked the perfect book to read. I became a fan of Michael Baron's after I read Crossing The Bridge, and his next book, The Journey Home, which was just as good. Talented!!! In this book, Spinning, Mr. Baron, through his writing style and words created life like characters, whereas I fell in love with Spring, the 3 year old child in the center of the story line. Touching!!! This page turner, had this reader, actually able to feel the emotions the characters were experiencing. I had to keep reminding myself that this poignant book was written by a male author. Brilliant!! A novel from page one to the very last page was full of emotion, heart wrenching and tender, funny and sad, warm with devotion and unconditional love. An engrossing read that pulls on your heartstrings and doesn't let go even after you read the last page. Superb!!! A highly recommended must read!!
  My Rating: 5
(Challenges:  Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Whats In A Name, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)

03/29/11
MISS HILDRETH WORE BROWN by Olivia deBelle Byrd
Published by Morgan James Publishing
ISBN 978-1-60037-748-8
I originally won this book from My Reader's Block blog and then at the request of the author, was asked to read, review and offer my honest opinion. There was no cost to me and/or no monetary compensation.
  Synopsis: While Olivia deBelle Byrd was repeating one of her many Southern stories for the umpteenth time, her long-suffering husband looked at her with glazed over eyes and said, “Why don’t you write this stuff down?” Thus was born Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. If the genesis for a book is to shut your wife up, I guess that’s as good as any.
  On top of that, Olivia’s mother had burdened her with one of those Southern middle names kids love to make fun. To see “deBelle” printed on the front of a book seemed vindication for all the childhood teasing.
  With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Olivia deBelle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms.
  The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt Lottie Mae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama.
  Humorous anecdotes from a Christmas coffee, where one can converse with a lady who has Christmas trees with blinking lights dangling from her ears, to Sunday church, where a mink coat is mistaken for possum, will delight Southerners and baffle many a non-Southerner. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule—one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral.
  Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: A very light hearted, quick, funny, and at times, laugh out loud chapters read. The writing style of the author allows the reader to actually visualize the scene and gives the feeling of the author and reader engaged in a dialogue. Short chapters touching upon topics, in my opinion, everyone can relate to in some way. Her sense of humor and the way she relates events from funerals to family vacations, emergency room visits to Christmas attire is hysterical. A must read and a perfect gift for those "just because occasions"!!!!
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges: RRR, Off the Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read & Review, Books Won, 100+)

03/28/11
THE WEIGHT OF GLASS by Stuart Heatherington
Published by Stuart Heatherington
ASIN: B003WMA670
At the request of the author, an EBook edition was provided, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from author): Hidden in the words of Amy Macon’s memoir, as much a work in progress as a survival guide for a torturous childhood, is the need to stitch together the fabric of a family’s dark history.
  For Lee Macon, growing up meant you had to forget waking up inside your mother’s coffin or the memory of the man that put you there. That’s a secret he’s kept from his sister for 30 years.
  Things change, however, when Amy joins Lee at the family’s beach house to lay their sister to rest. Showing up will ease some of the scars brought on by time, if not the memory of the ones etched upon Amy’s wrists. But more importantly, Lee understands the staggering truth behind her murder.
  What they know is this: out of a houseful of children, only two of them remain alive. One is pushing to escape the past and the other hell-bent on bringing it to light. In this, Lee finds himself blindsided by a sister’s resolve, drug around by the corners of a broken heart and forced to remember what, as a boy, he so desperately fought to hide. Problem is no one said it would be easy digging up the dead. It never is. But if they’re going to sift through the bones of memory, it will mean uncovering the mystery of a family long buried in violence.
  A provocative novel of survival and redemption, The Weight of Glass is a story of one family’s struggle with forgiveness in the wake of tragedy.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: This was a very hard read due to the nature of the story line. A very disturbing and profound plot of extreme child abuse of 4 siblings, only 2 surviving to adulthood and trying to deal with the past. The story alternated between an adult brother and sister reliving and confessing to each other the torture they both endured of their childhood and how it affected them. At times, I had difficulty as to who was remembering the memories and had to reread a few pages to fully grasp which sibling it was. The characters were very hard for me, and this is my opinion only, to relate to as the abuse was so horrendous at times, that I could not imagine. A very depressing, and at times, horrific read. Unfortunately, in this day and age, we hear and see real life stories like this on the news every week.
  My Rating: 3
(Challenges:  Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Just For Fun, What's In A Name, EBook, Where Are You, Read/Review, 100+)

03/18/11
NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah
Published by St. Martin's Press (03/29/11)
ISBN 978-0-312-36442-7
I received an ARC TPB edition from LibraryThing, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from B&N):  For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows — her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close-knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy — until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time Mia and Zach leave the house, she worries about them.
  On a hot summer’s night her worst fears are realized. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget... or the courage to forgive.
  Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, Night Road raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Kristin Hannah grabs your heart, soul, thoughts and emotions from page one to the very last page. As a mother and daughter it was easy to relate to Jude Farraday, mother of twins, Mia and Zach but the author did more than that, she made you feel what Jude was feeling. Her raw emotions, her pride, her pain, her happiness, her anger. How lives can change and be destroyed in a second but can those lives be healed? And how and what does it take? How long? A heart wrenching, yet, thought provoking story that will stay with you long after you are done reading it. This was the type of book that I didn't want to end, as I was so engrossed in this family's life, I wanted to know what their future held. A touching and emotional must read! Mark your calendars for March 29th, it's release date!
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges: Off the Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read/Review, ARC, 100+)

03/09/11
SIXTY-NINE by Pynk
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Hachete Book Group
ISBN 978-0-446-56333-8
At the request of The Hachette Book Group, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis: It's New Year's Eve 2008, and best friends Magnolia Butler, Rebe Richardson, and Darla Clark, all born in 1969, are about to turn the dreaded 4-0 in January 2009. Magnolia, a New Year's Day baby, is childless, and always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Rebe, the mother of a college-aged daughter named Trinity, has just gone through a divorce from a man whose sexual appetite far exceeded her desires and abilities. Darla is also a New Year's Day baby, still mourning her husband's death after five years.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: I started reading this book thinking it was going to be about three long time friends who are facing the big 4-0 and seeing their individual perspective of what it means to each of them. Both looking into the past and what they are hoping for the future. I truly thought it was a typical chick lit read. And even though it has been a few years that I have passed that milestone, I really thought it was going to be the type of novel whereas you become part of the characters' lives. It started off that way with chapters alternating between the three ladies and their lives with some sexual undertones that were, understandably part of the story line. However, after reading over 100+ pages, I then realized that the sexual undertones were not just an undercurrent but the main premise of the book. I don't consider myself a prude by any means but when the story turned to very graphic and erotica descriptive chapters, that I felt took away from the actual concept of friendship and lives, I knew it was time to set this one to the side. I would have continued reading it if it was written with more of a substantive storyline with sexual undercurrents.
  My Rating: 1 DNF
(Challenges:  Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Where Are You, Read/Review, ARC, 100+)


03/07/11
BITCH, PLEASE! by Megan Munroe
Published by Turner Company
ISBN: 978-1-59652-806-2
At the request of Turner Publishing, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
Synopsis (borrowed from Amazon): Megan Munroe's Bitch, Please! delivers a saucy communiqué empowering nice girls to kick passivity to the curb and instead use the strength of inward kindness to shake the foundation of the bitch's empire. Bitch, Please! provides compelling answers to questions that nice girls often ask, like:

  How do I handle confrontation with the bitch in the next cubicle?
  Why does the bitch always seem to get what she wants?
  If being nice is a good thing, why do I feel like a doormat?
  From practical how-to-succeed scenarios to laugh-out-loud lessons, this humorous yet poignant dialogue has something for every woman. A unique mix of rhetoric, real-life revelations, kitschy quizzes, and food for thought, this is the perfect road map for your journey to create a successful life in a nice-girl fashion.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: I don't read self help/advice books so I really came out of my comfort zone to not only read but review this book too. There were a few reasons why I accepted, the first being, if we are honest with ourselves, we all at one time or another, have a little bit of that trait as part of our personality and living inside of us, maybe some people have more than others. Another reason, and I am guessing that 99% of us will agree that we have someone in our life who we deal with, maybe on a daily basis, be it family, friend, coworker, etc etc. Do we enable these people? Or do we take a stand? Ms. Munroe takes a hard look at what happened to "the nice girl approach" compared to the "entitled diva" that we see on TV and newspapers almost on a daily basis. Ms Munroe uses humor in her descriptions of nice girls vs. bitches.
  This is a manual for every girl and woman of any age and whatever stage of life you are in. It is filled with answers to everyday questions, funny little tests, how to deal with those that believe "nice girls" are "door mats". My copy has so many bookmarks of quotes that I wanted to share until I realized, I would be close to rewriting the book in this review. I will share a couple with you:
  "Nice is defined as "refined in manners, language" and "virtuous: respectable: decorous." Words like virtuous and respectable have been lost in today;s generation of young women'; it's as if we don't know what it means to have manners at all." page 5
  "Being a nice girl is a lifestyle dedicated to being aware of our actions, and in turn being willing to bear the consequences or enjoy the benefits of how we choose to behave.
  My Rating: Since I don't usually read self help/advice books, I had a difficult time rating it because I felt it was partially a subjective read, so with that being said, I am going to give it a middle of the road rating between a 4-3
(Challenges:  Off the Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Read/Review, ARC, 100+)

03/04/11
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY by Stacy Juba
Published by Mainly Murder Press
ISBN-13: 9780615290119
ISBN: 0615290116
At the request of the author, a PDF EBook edition, was provided, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from B&N): Kris Langley has always been obsessed with murder. She blames herself for the violent death of her cousin when they were kids and has let guilt invade every corner of her existence.
  Now an editorial assistant and obit writer for a Massachusetts newspaper, Kris stumbles across an unsolved murder while compiling "25 Years Ago Today" items from the microfilm. She grows fascinated with the case of a young cocktail waitress who was bludgeoned to death and dumped in the woods.
  Determined to solve the case and atone for the death of her cousin, Kris immerses herself in the mystery of what happened to Diana Ferguson, a talented artist who expressed herself through haunting paintings of Greek mythology.
  Not only does Kris face resistance from her family and her managing editor, she also clashes with Diana's suspicious nephew, Eric Soares - until neither she nor Eric can deny the chemistry flaring between them.
  Kris soon learns that old news never leaves the morgue and that yesterday's headline is tomorrow's danger, for finding out the truth about that night twenty-five years ago may shatter Kris's present, costing her love, her career, and ultimately, her life.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: I apologize in advance for this review since it is going to be very vague but I do not want to include any spoilers. The suspense held my interest during the entire book. It was well written with relatable characters. However, my thoughts throughout the book was how believable could the story line be with an editorial assistant cracking a 25 year old cold case that seasoned professionals couldn't? My question was answered with the explosive ending of the book. When I thought that the killer was finally exposed,or was it the real killer, and the story was winding down there was much more to come!! Surprising!!!! Well done!!!!
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges:  Off the Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, What's in A Number, EBook, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, Read/Review, 100+)

03/01/11
THESE THINGS HIDDEN by Heather Gudenkauf
Published by Harlequin Mira Books
ISBN 9780778328797
I received an ARC-EBook Bound galley Edition from NetGalley, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from NetGalley): Allison Glenn tried to hide what happened that night...and failed.
The consequence? Five years in prison. Now she’s free. But secrets have a way of keeping you imprisoned.
When Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’s golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces the whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their
small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her sister.
Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Could not put this book down!!! One fateful night, five years ago, a secret of a sixteen year old, many lives of those associated with her will change. This story follows four of the women that are most affected by what happened that night at Druid River and how it comes to be that they all have something in common and the one thing that they are trying to protect. The novel alternates chapters with each of the characters' perspectives of then and now. A heart wrenching novel whereas I was so engrossed it felt that I was transported into the storyline. Each and every character relatable. The suspense was constant but on many different levels and for different reasons (do not want to include spoilers). The ending was shocking. This is the first book I ever read by this author but she is definitely going on my tbr author list.
  My Rating: 5
(Challenge:  RRR, Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Ebook, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, Read & Review, ARC, 100+)

02/25/11
HEARTACHE & SIN by Charles Soto
Published by BookSurge
ISBN-13: 978-1439202401
At the request of the author, a TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (provided from author): When diabetic Karen Wheaton learns she is pregnant, she is unable to come to grips with the effects the ripples of life within her will have on her body. She desperately wants to have a baby-perhaps even more than she wants to live. For her husband, Steven, there is no question. Steven loves his wife, and would do anything to protect her including wanting to terminate her pregnancy if need be.
  While Steven struggles to save his wife and his marriage, He must also match wits with their pastor, Ryan McDonald in a trail to save Karen’s life or solidify her death. With a plot twist around every corner, readers will open one door only to find another in this rich plot of drama and suspense, Can Steven save his wife and his baby’s life? If he can’t which will he choose?
  My Thoughts and Opinion: I am literally at a loss for words for this book. I was quite skeptical when I read the synopsis thinking that I might be a little biased due to my own personal beliefs but wanted to challenge myself, step out of my comfort zone and try to read this novel with an open mind. Then when I received it and saw the thickness (512 pages), my initial reaction was "oh no" lol especially since it was from a debut author. Not only did Mr. Soto pull me in within the first few pages, he proved me wrong on both of my original thoughts. This book has everything!! A fluid yet solid writing style, an unconditional love story, good versus evil, faith, family, trust, suspense, deception, honesty and even murder. Characters that became life like, whereas I didn't want the story to end but on the other hand, I couldn't put the book down. The suspense and drama surprised me to the very last page. Put this author on your radar!!!! Impressive!!
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges:  Off the Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, Whats In A Name, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, Read/Review, 100+)

02/22/11
TOYS by James Patterson & Neil McMahon
Published by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 978-0-316-09736-9
At the request of The Hachette Book Group, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from publisher): James Bond and Jason Bourne have just been topped! A battle for the world is set into unstoppable motion and Hays Baker is the only one who can save it. Hays Baker and his wife Lizbeth possess super-human strength, extraordinary intelligence, stunning looks, a sex life to die for, and two beautiful children. Of course they do--they're Elites, endowed at birth with the very best that the world can offer. The only problem in their perfect world: humans and their toys!
The one with the most toys--dies
The top operative for the Agency of Change, Hays has just won the fiercest battle of his career. He has been praised by the President, and is a national hero. But before he can savor his triumph, he receives an unbelievable shock that overturns everything he thought was true. Suddenly Hays is on the other side of the gun, forced to leave his perfect family and fight for his life.
Now a hunted fugitive, Hays is thrown into a life he never dreamed possible--fighting to save humans everywhere from extinction. He enlists all of his training to uncover the truth that will save millions of lives--maybe even his own. James Patterson's Toys is a thriller on a hyper plane--with a hero who rivals both James Bond and Jason Bourne.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: This book had all the typical Patterson traits, short chapters, fast read, etc. However this takes place in the year 2061 whereas there is a war between the "elite" and the "humans". I felt it was more of a science fiction novel as compared to his usual mystery suspense that I enjoy reading. And to be quite honest during descriptions of certain scenes, even those that were action packed, my mind would visualize "The Jetsons". I have been struggling with the rating for this novel, but truthfully have to say it was jusk an OK for me, but then, that's only my opinion.
  My Rating: 2
(Challenges: Patterson, Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, Reading From My Shelves, Read/Review, ARC, 100+)

02/20/11
Georgia Bottoms by Mark Childress
Published Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 978-0-316-03304-6
At the request of The Hachette Book Group, a ARC HC was sent to, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (from Publisher): Georgia Bottoms is known in her small community of Six Points, Alabama, as a beautiful, well-to-do, and devoutly Baptist Southern belle.
Nobody realizes that the family fortune has long since disappeared, and a determinedly single woman like Georgia needs an alternative, and discreet, means of income. In Georgia's case it is six well-heeled lovers-one for each day of the week, with Mondays off-none of whom knows about the others.
But when the married preacher who has been coming to call (Saturdays) decides to confess their affair in front of the whole congregation, Georgia must take drastic measures to stop him. In GEORGIA BOTTOMS, Mark Childress proves once again his unmistakable skill for combining the hilarious and the absurd to reveal the inner workings of the rebellious human heart.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Loved it!! The reader first gets to meet the character as she is preparing for the annual "high society" luncheon in a small town in Alabama, that she hosts every year except no one is showing up. It happens to be 9/11 and she can't understand how that could interfere in her luncheon and now the huge problem it has created, what does she do with all this food? At times I found myself laughing out loud at the antics of the main character, Miss Georgia Bottoms, who, at times, would come across as a "ditz" and other times "sly as a fox". The dysfunctional family dynamics between her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's, her alcoholic brother and her illegitimate son that no one knows about but shows up on her door step with a very big surprise is hysterical. I could not put the book down to see what trouble she would find herself in next and more importantly, how would she get herself out of it. A fun read!!!!
  My Rating: 5
(Challenges:  Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Just For Fun, Where Are You, Reading From My Shelves, Read/Review. ARC, 100+)

02/17/11
SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH by J.T. Ellison
Published by Harlequin Mira Books
ISBN 9780778329435
I received an ARC-EBook Bound galley Edition from NetGalley, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from NetGalley): TALENT BORROWS. GENIUS STEALS. EVIL DELEGATES.
  It’s a hideous echo of a violent past. Across America, murders are being committed with all the twisted hallmarks of the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer and Son of Sam. The media frenzy explodes and Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows instantly that The Pretender is back…and he’s got helpers.
  As The Pretender’s disciples perpetrate their sick homages—stretching police and the FBI dangerously thin—Taylor tries desperately to prepare for their inevitable showdown. And she must do it alone. To be close to her is to be in mortal danger, and she won’t risk losing anyone she loves. But the isolation, the self-doubt and the rising body count are taking their toll—she’s beside herself and ready to snap.
  The brilliant psychopath who both adores and despises her is drawing close. Close enough to touch…
  My Thoughts and Opinion: After reading the synopsis, my thinking was this was a good match for me, and even more so with the main character being a female. Knowing that I was not completely focused, and it is only fair to give the author and her work my undivided attention, I reread from the beginning of the book three times. However, on the third time and reading 140 pages, I felt that I wasn't completely pulled into the storyline. There were hints of the premise, but nothing solid that made me want to really run back and pick up the book. Also there was a lot of interaction between the main character and her SO, that appeared to be important to the plot but was fluffed over. There were other scenes, and this is my opinion only, that were a far stretch from reality. I am putting this book in the DNF pile but am not saying that someday it may be moved back to my tbr pile.
  My Rating: 1
(Challenges:  Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, EBook, Where Are You, Read/Review, ARC, 100+)

02/13/11
MIDNIGHT CALLER by Leslie Tentler
Published by Harlequin--Mira Books
ISBN: 9780778329343
I received an ARC-EBook Bound galley Edition from NetGalley, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from NetGalley): Late-night radio-show psychologist Rain Sommers is used to the crazies who call in to rage from the back alleys of the French Quarter and the shadows of the bayou. But one caller’s chilling obsession with her and her long-ago murdered mother—an iconic singer beloved among the city’s Goth community—has even the jaded Rain running scared as a sadistic serial killer known as the Vampire prowls New Orleans.
  FBI agent Trevor Rivette is convinced her midnight caller and the killer are one and the same. As it becomes disturbingly clear that the Vampire has a sick bloodlust only Rain can satisfy, she allows Trevor to get closer and closer. But he soon discovers that his secretive past and troubled present are intertwined—and that he may die trying to keep Rain’s fate out of a madman’s control.
  My Thoughts and Opinions: This book has a little of everything ranging from suspense, romance, past childhood trauma, family bonds, a serial killer on the loose, psychological terror and even vampire voodoo. Which, and this is my opinion only, is why I am not a fan of the newest genre rage of paranormal. For me, and again my opinion, it took away the believability factor of the story and how I couldn't relate to that portion of the plot. I also thought that some scenes and/or chapters lacked substance and were improbable. The suspense sustained me, the main characters with their past traumas and how it affected them in the present were plausible.
  My Rating: 2
(Challenges:  Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, EBook, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, Read/Review, ARC, 100+)

02/03/11
WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING by Joseph Hayes
Published by Synergy Books
ISBN-13: 978-0-9843879-4-6
ISBN-10: 0-9843879-4-3
At the request of Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists, a TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (back of book): On the eve of announcing his run for Congress, a charismatic Chicago politician causes a deadly accident. Panicked, he frames his best friend, a good-hearted alcoholic, and flees the scene. As one man tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered life, the other embarks on a meteoric rise to political stardom. But when a dogged detective digs deeper into the case, the political superstar must decide just how far he is willing to go to keep his dark secret. Author Joseph combines page-turning suspense with a poignant tale of inspiration and redemption as he asks, is "the greater good" just a lie we tell ourselves to justify the sins we commit when no one is watching?
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Wow!! Where do I start without including any spoilers? This book pulled me in as fast as the Porsche was going the night of the accident. A page turning, suspenseful book full of real life characters, some you instantly feel for, cry with, despise, empathize with, some you want to hate but can't, and those that you cheer on. A can't put down book that at times has you holding your breath. This would be a great pick for a book club selection as it includes some very profound discussion questions. Full of lies, secrets, integrity, forgiveness, love, and friendship. Outstanding!!
  My Rating: 4
(Challenge:  Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)

01/23/11
EVERY LITTLE THING by Pamela Klaffke
Published by Harlequin/ Mira Books
ISBN 13: 9780778329237 0778329232
I received an ARC-EBook Bound galley Edition from NetGalley, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from NetGalley): If it's not one thing, it's her mother.
  Before there were mommy bloggers, there was Britt. San Francisco's brassy scandal queen filled her newspaper column with juicy details of her many marriages, cosmetic surgeries and everything about her only daughter, Mason.
  Then Britt dies. Suddenly and in spectacularly embarrassing fashion. So Mason-now thirty-five and vehemently un-Britt-like in every way-returns home to settle her affairs...though some affairs are not so easy to settle.
  Now caught in her own sordid debacle, Mason finds herself thrust back into the spotlight, and this time it's her own doing.
  Struggling to define herself as anything other than Britt Junior, Mason soon discovers that Britt's intensely public life still held some secrets. And though the overgrown teen rebel has always favored combat boots, she may yet walk a mile in her mother's shoes.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: After reading the above synopsis, I thought this would be a perfect match for me to read. It was categorized as a humorous adult read and I assumed it was also going to be a "chick lit" book. When I first started accepting requests, I would read a minimum of 100 pages to decide if a book would go into a DNF pile, until an author and I had a discussion about my policy. He told me that a reader should be pulled into the story line a lot sooner than 100 pages so I changed my policy to 50 pages. I was very much looking forward to reading this book after have just completing a few in the mystery genre. However, to much disappointment, I struggled even to get to page 50. It was not at all what I thought it was going to be. For 50 pages, I was searching for what the plot was because all I was reading about were 5 adults, that were in their late twenties early thirties, and related by being step brothers and/or sisters. And in those first 50 pages what I did learn of these 5 adults was that they enjoyed drinking, where they were drinking and what they were drinking and what their actions were from drinking. Unfortunately, this book had to go in the DNF pile. It was not a book for me. Maybe if I had my old "Review Policy" of 100 pages, I would have been pulled into the story line, but the 50 page limit did not grab me. Or then maybe it is because I am not a twenty or thirty something and will leave it at that!
  My Rating: 1

01/19/11
TO HAVE AND TO KILL by Mary Jane Clark
Published by Harper Collins
ISBN 978-0-06-199554-5
At the request of LibraryThing, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from back of book): The delicious first book in the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author's new Wedding Cake Mystery series.
  Piper Donovan never imagined that decorating wedding cakes could be so dangerous! A struggling actress with no immediate prospects and a recently broken engagement, Piper moves back in with her parents to take stock of her life. She steps tentatively into the family bakery business, and finds herself agreeing to create the wedding cake for the acclaimed star of a daytime television drama. But soon someone close to the bride-to-be is horribly murdered and it seems that somebody is ruthlessly determined to stop the wedding.
  With the help of her former neighbor, Jack, a handsome FBI agent with a soft spot for the gorgeous cake maker, Piper moves closer to the truth. As she narrows in on a suspect, Piper realizes that it's hot in in the kitchen that she may be able to handle.......
  My Thoughts and Opinion: Before I give my thoughts and opinion, I have to be quite honest with you regarding some issues. This is the first book I have ever read by this author. And if you have followed this blog in the past, you know that I mainly read a more thriller-type mystery than a cozy. And I will now admit.....I have been missing out on some good books. Ms. Clark is definitely now on my radar and I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to her books. I loved her writing style. Short chapters with tidbits of cliff hangers. Introducing characters with small hints of their personalities throughout the story line that could or would make them the prime suspect. In some cases, the reader knows what the outcome of a certain scene will be but it is still heart pounding waiting for it to happen. I would definitely put this in the category of "a couldn't put down", which I didn't. I am now an official member of the cozy mystery genre thanks to Mary Jane Clark!! Bravo!!
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges: Off The Shelves, Oudo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, ARC, Read & Review, 100+)

01/15/11
GODCHILD by Vincent Zandri
Published by StoneGate, Ink
ASIN: B004KSR25O
At the request of the author, a galley PDF version was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Snyopsis (borrowed from Amazon): He wanted justice, truth, revenge...whichever came first.
  Prison-warden-turned-P.I. Jack "Keeper" Marconi understands the criminal mind. And he knows what it takes to break a man. His own life came apart the day a black Buick broadsided his car--and his wife died horrifically in the seat beside him.
  Years later, on the eve of his second marriage, Marconi catches a split-second glimpse of the driver who killed his wife. Suddenly hurtled back into the past, he is determined to take one last shot at hunting him down. That is, until he is offered a job he can't refuse: to bust a beautiful woman out of a hellish Mexican prison. Now Keeper's chase through Mexico follows a trail of bodies and lies back home: to the truth about a woman on the run, to a man sitting behind the wheel of a black Buick, and to a story that someone will kill to bury....
  My Thoughts and Opinion: If you have followed my blog since May of 2010, when I was first introduced to this author, Mr. Vincent Zandri and I read his novel Moonlight Falls, this review will not come as a surprise. I was hooked and became even more so with his subsequent novels, The Remains and The Innocent and even his digital short, Pathological, and this latest book, Godchild, didn't disappoint. This is a sequel to The Innocent, picking up with former Warden (Keeper) Jack Marconi but is a story that can stand on it's own. The story starts off slow like a train departing an Albany station and picks up speed nonstop across country at warp speed to Mexico with a short lay over to break into a Mexican jail to rescue an American female writer who is incarcerated and then back to Albany. The story line takes place over a 2 week period. But does someone really want her rescued? Why is it that someone wants Keeper Marconi to be the one to rescue her? Where, why and how does the drug cartels have anything to do with rescuing Renata Barnes? And what does all this have to do with the accident that tragically killed Keeper's wife, a case that he has never solved?

Godchild is a pure Noir thriller, not to be read if you are alone, especially at night unless your doors are bolted, the windows locked and the drapes closed. Zandri is a genius story teller, alternating chapters between characters, whereas you have to keep reading to find out where he left you off with his cliff hanging chapters. Bone chilling!! Frightening!! By far his scariest!! Hitchcock and Stephen King combined. Brilliant!!! I can't wait to see what's next. He just keeps getting better!!!!
  My Rating: 5
(Challenges:  Oudo Yourself, EBook, Mystery/Suspense, Where Are You, ARC, Read & Review, 100+)

01/10/11
RESURRECTING ANTHONY by Linda and Tony Cole
Published by Alexandra Publishing, LLC
ISBN 978-0-9843226-0-2
At the request of Meryl L. Moss Media, a TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (back of book): Tony and Linda Cole were living the American Dream-a successful national training and consulting company, a nice home, a close-knit circle of friends and a loving family.
  Then came the call every parent dreads.
  Their twelve-year-old son Anthony had collapsed on the school playground. In the ensuing panic-stricken moments Anthony lay motionless, unconscious, not breathing. These critical minutes without oxygen left his brain damaged. In one heartbreaking afternoon their idyllic world was shattered and the son that Tony and Linda Cole knew was gone.
  Resurrecting Anthony is the true, inspiring story of an unexpected tragedy that steals a child from his family and initially leaves them full of grief and sorrow. It reveals the Cole family's incredible devotion and determination-despite the medical evidence and advice of health professionals-to return Anthony to his previous self.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: If you have followed my blog for a while you will know that this is not the typical book that I either read or review. However, when Tricia contacted me and I read the synopsis, I thought it would be an interesting read on so many levels and I accepted. And I'm glad I did for many reasons. This book should be on everyone's tbr list, for if and when you or someone you know, has to face a challenge . Hopefully, not something like the Cole's had to endure but any of life's trials. This book shows the resolve and personal strength that these parents exhibited in a time of a crisis and the honest emotions that they went through. It taught me, how not to take each and every minute for granted because, life as we know it, can change drastically in the next minute. This thought provoking and heart wrenching story was told through the father's perspective, which at first took me by surprise but after thinking about it, how often do we get to understand a male's emotions through a traumatic experience. The courage, love, perseverance and hope that these parents reveal is extraordinary. The ending, as a mother, could I let go of the past and accept the future? The ending is the beginning!!!
  My Rating: 4
(Challenges:  Off The Shelf, Oudo Yourself, Just For Fun, Where Are You, Read & Review, 100+)

01/07/11
TICK TOCK by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
Published by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 978-0-316--03791-4
At the request of The Hachette Book Group, an ARC TB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis: (from back of book): NYC's #1 Detective, Michael Bennett, has a huge problem-the Son Of Sam, The Werewolf of Wisteria, and The Mad Bomber are all Back. The City ha never been more terrified!
Tick-A Killer's Countdown Begins
A rash of horrifying crimes rips through the city, throwing it into complete chaos and terrorizing everyone living there. Immediately it becomes clear that the are the work not of an amateur but of a calculating, efficient, and deadly mastermind.
Tick-Michael Bennett Is On The Chase
The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside retreat with his ten adopted children, their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine, and his grandfather. Not only does it tear apart their vacation, it leaves the entire family open to attack.
Tock-Your Time Is Up
Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI agent Emily Parker. As his affection for Emily grows into something stronger, his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. All too soon, another appalling crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: If you are a fan of Mystery/Suspense, then I can sum this book up in 2 words and the majority of readers will know exactly what I mean. And those two words are James Patterson!!! Patterson is true to form, with his short chapters, the kind that I call "just one more chapter" reads and you have read 10. Cliff hanging chapters whereas you just have to continue reading. Suspense that takes your breath away like on a wild roller coaster ride with twists and turns. Two words!!! James Patterson!!!
  My Rating: 5
(Challenges:  Patterson, Off The Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Romantic Suspense, Mystery/Suspense,
Where Are You Reading, Reading From My Shelves, Review, ARC, 100+)

01/01/11
The Innocent by Vincent Zandri
Published by StoneGate Ink
ISBN-13: 2940011815430
ISBN: 0011815434
At both the author's and blog owner's request, an EBook edition was purchased by me, for my honest opinion.
  Synopsis (borrowed from Amazon): Getting caught is simply not an option.
  It's been a year since Jack Marconi's wife was killed. Ever since, he's been slipping up at his job as warden at an upstate New York prison. It makes him the perfect patsy when a cop-killer breaks out--with the help of someone on the inside. Throwing himself into the hunt for the fleeing con, Jack doesn't see what's coming.
  Suddenly the walls are closing in. And in the next twenty-four hours, Jack will defy direct orders, tamper with evidence, kidnap the con's girlfriend--and run from the law with a .45 hidden beneath his sports coat. Because Jack Marconi, keeper of laws, men, secrets, and memories, has been set up--by a conspiracy that has turned everyone he ever trusted into an enemy. And everything he ever believed in into the worst kind of lie.
  My Thoughts and Opinion: It is ironic that today, the first of the year, that I am reviewing the first book that started it all. Even though this version has been rewritten, the original was Mr. Zandri's first. I became hooked by this author when I read his other books, Moonlight Falls, The Remains, and the digital short, Pathological. Reading The Innocent, for me was like watching a toddler start to walk. Amazing!!!!
  What did I think of The Innocent? A heart pounding read!!! Non stop suspense!!!. Zandri is a genius when it comes to writing. He grabs you from the first few pages and doesn't let go until the last word!! Masterful writing, whereas, he incorporates the present day plot and then transports the reader to another page turning subplot of the past and back to the present making it a page turning, can't put down read!!! Due to one continuous spoiler, that I do not want to give away, the story line had this reader fleeing and breathless with the main character, Keeper Marconi. Phenomenal!!! Chilling!!! The only negative I am finding with Vin Zandri's books is this, when I finish reading one, I want more!! Vincent Zandri and The Innocent are a Grand Slam!!!!!!
  My Rating: 5
(Challenges:  Off The Shelf, )





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