Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik



Publication: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Source: Publisher
A high-stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller by a stunning new voice in fiction.
Winifred Allen needs a vacation.
Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.
What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

With intimately observed characters, visceral prose, and pacing as ruthless as the river itself, The River at Night is a dark exploration of creatures—both friend and foe—that you won’t soon forget.

Winifred (Wini), Sandra, Pia, and Rachel have been friends for eons. Their lives being so hectic, Pia plans a white water rafting trip for the four of them. Wini is hesitant to go, but she fears being left behind by her friends and ultimately decides to go. After all this could be the trip of a lifetime.

It was hard for me to connect or even care for these characters because I knew so little of them. I wished that there was more backstory for them. The story is told through Wini’s POV, so I got to know her a little bit more which was nice. It was kind of strange that one of the characters ended up sleeping with their young tour guide almost immediately and then seemed to fall for him just as fast. It was kind of weird and to me it didn’t add anything of great interest to the story. That action seems to set off a chain of cattiness and tenseness between these friends.

Whatever their differences, they learn fairly quickly that they need to work together in order to navigate the river successfully. The author does a nice job of painting a picture for the reader in regards to the atmosphere in the woods and dangers of river rafting. Especially when things take a turn for the worse and their fun girls trip turns out to be a nightmare and they have to fight for their own survival.

The River at Night was an interesting read, but not exactly what I had hoped it would be. It almost felt like I was watching a made for tv Lifetime movie instead of reading an edge of your seat adventure / thriller book.  Would I call this a suspenseful thriller? Hmmm no. All in all this story was an entertaining adventure read if not a little bit predictable at times. I love suspenseful and adventure stories,  but I think this book fell a little short for me.



RATING: 3 out of 5



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Monday, May 8, 2017

Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle



Publication: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Source: Bought/Own

I first met William McAlister when I was just a teenager.
He was handsome, had a beautiful wife and was on the verge of success, having just joined my father as his business partner. Mr. McAlister was full of smooth charm, but back then he was barely a blip on my radar. Just a family friend.
Fast forward ten years: I’m 25 years old and a single mom trying to make things right for her seven-year old son. I’ve made some mistakes, grappled with my demons and now I’m back in the city of Vancouver, getting a second chance at a better life.
I’ve started by working for my father’s production company as an executive assistant. My first day on the job and I already know I could have a promising career there.
That is until I see Will McAlister for the first time in a decade.
Now recently divorced and as sophisticated as always, Will has gone from being my father’s friend and business partner to something so much more.
We’re both older, for one thing, and he just oozes this worldly confidence and stark sexuality. Combined with his tall, muscular build and sharp suits, strong jaw and bedroom eyes, Will has turned into one hell of a distraction.
A distraction I’m having a hard time staying away from, considering his office is right across from my desk and I work with him in such close proximity.
But it’s just a harmless crush, right?
It’s just an innocent fantasy of screwing him on his desk, right?
It can’t ever be more because he’s my father’s best friend, business partner, and my boss.
Right?
Wrong.
Before I Ever Met You is a contemporary standalone romance, a light-hearted swoony read that will make you believe in love again

I absolutely loved Will.  He was a great character. And even though he had been hurt pretty badly in his marriage, he was so open to trying again with the right person. He didn’t let his experience make him a bitter person. Once he meets Jackie who is now a young woman, he is immediately attracted to her. But she is his assistant. And worse still, she is his close friend’s daughter.  The situation practically screams trouble. But staying away may be harder than either one of them had anticipated.

I loved Jackie at first, but as the story progressed, she began to wear on my nerves a little bit. It frustrated me that she was in her head way too much. She overthought everything. It took her too long to realize how much of a great guy Will was for her and her son. Even though she recognized how different her feelings were for Will compared to her bad ex, she still didn’t trust herself to make the right decision.

Before I Ever Met You was a nice slow burn romance that I ending up enjoying quite a bit. There wasn’t a bunch of unnecessary drama or over the top antics or humor, which I appreciated. It was a sweet romance with interesting characters that I couldn’t help but cheer for. This is the first light hearted romance that I’ve read from Karina Halle (I’m used to more of her darker/heavier stuff).
She is a great writer and I hope that she continues to write more stories similar to this one.


RATING: 4½ out of 5


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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough



Publication: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: Bought/Own

Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes?
Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.


David is one interesting character. He is a physiatrist specializing in addictions and yet he has a drinking and apparently a communication problem. He and his wife Adele never talk about their issues. And he seems to barely tolerate being with her. So why does he stay?

Adele is the beautiful supporting wife. She is very devoted to David. Life has not been very easy for either one of them, but especially Adele, since she lost both of her parents in a tragic fire when she was younger. She may be a little emotionally unstable, which appears to be the reason she is on medication. Is it because of her parents death or is something more going on with her?

Louise is a single mom who adores her son. She also likes her job as a part-time secretary. At least she does up until she discovers that her new boss is David, the man she made out with in bar one night.  Both David and Louise agree to put the accident behind then pretend like nothing happened. That might work..
Except Louise and Adele strike up an unlikely friendship one day. And Louise finds that she likes spending time with Adele. She sees Adele as fragile and possibly scared of David.  And the more time Louis spends with David the more time she realizes her attraction to him has not faded. But I couldn’t really understand why she was attracted to David. I thought maybe she was a little desperate to have a guy in her life. She was needy and a bit stupid IMO. There was no way any of this could end well. And that’s why I kept reading. I wanted to see it all unfold.


Behind Her Eyes promised to be an edge of your seat psychological thriller. And that’s exactly what I was hoping for.
I wasn’t on the edge of my seat with anticipation, but what I actually got was a good suspenseful novel. Though at times it felt like the story went on a little longer than it needed to. But having said that, I did found myself wanting to know what would happen next and how all of the puzzle pieces would fit together. Nothing is as it seems with this story. The characters were alright. I did not like any of them. But I don’t think the reader is really supposed to. The story is told from both Adele and Louise’s POV, which I enjoyed. I got to see what their thought process was. Though it did not help me figure out what was going to happen. And believe me, I tried.
That ending though...The ending was creative. And also a  little crazy if not somewhat ridiculous. I kept thinking...really? Did that just happen? It took me even several days to figure out how I felt about not just the ending, but the whole book. Behind Her Eyes will keep you guessing and have you talking about it with anyone and everyone who has read it.


RATING: 3½ out of 5


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Monday, January 23, 2017

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs



Publication: January 31, 2006
Publisher: Penguin Group / Ace
Source: Bought/Own

Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

Mercy Thompson was a great character to discover. She is strong, resilient, independent, with just a slight penchant for trouble.  For several years she has lived a somewhat quiet life under the radar. Occasionally annoying her next door neighbor Adam, who also happens to be a sexy werewolf and Alpha of the local pack.
Mercy’s quiet life suddenly changes when people attack Adam and kidnap his 15 year old daughter Jess. Mercy has no choice but to get involved.

Okay, this book took me by surprise. It’s something that I kept seeing pop up on Amazon, but it didn’t seem like the usual book I go for. I’m glad I decided to buy it, because I ended up liking it so much that I read the first three books within a week. The plot was well paced and the mystery and characters kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed it so much, I immediately purchased the second book to the series, Blood Bound. If you enjoy a good paranormal with vampires, werewolves, walkers, and some action, take a look at this series.


RATING: 4  out of 5

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton



Publication: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Source: Bought/Own

He’s a serial killer. A murderer of young women, all killed in brutal attacks.
But despite Hamish Wolfe’s conviction, he’s always stuck to his story—he’s innocent and he’s been wrongly imprisoned. And now he wants someone to investigate and, more importantly, to write his story.
Maggie Rose is a notorious defense attorney and writer whose specialty is getting convictions overturned. At first, Maggie is reluctant to even acknowledge Hamish’s requests to meet, ignoring his letters. But this is a very charismatic and persuasive man, good-looking and intelligent.
Eventually even she can’t resist his lure…

Hamish Wolfe has been sitting in jail, waiting for the right moment to make his move. He knows there is only one person that can save him. And that person is Maggie Rose. Maggie is very good at her job. She has been able to get convictions overturned no matter if the person was guilty or innocent. Which is why Hamish wants Maggie in his corner. This story is not black and white though. And it soon becomes apparent that both of these characters have something to hide.

I really enjoy Sharon Bolton’s writing. She has a way of creating interesting and complex characters and inserting them into equally interesting and complex stories. I liked how  newspaper articles and case information was interspersed throughout the story. And the POV switched between Maggie and Hamish and even the Detective on a few occasions. I’ve always said it and I will say it again...I love a good suspense/mystery. Daisy in Chains is a great suspenseful tale. It kept me guessing, every step of the way. I was surprised by the twist towards the end. I definitely did not see everything coming. And days after I finished reading the book, I was still thinking about it.  So far, this author has not disappointed me with any of her books that I have read. I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next.



RATING: 5  out of 5





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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For


It has been quite a while since I last participated in Top Ten Tuesday. I thought why not start again in 2017. There are so many books releasing this year that it almost seems impossible to keep track of what I want to read. This week’s list focuses on the top ten 2017 debuts I cannot wait to get my little hands on. The books are in no particular order. Clicking on the book image will take you to Goodreads. Are any of these books on your list??


F.Y.I: Top Ten Tuesday is sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish.



1. Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George. There is no image for this book yet. It sounds like a cool retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.




 

      

 




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