Monthly Archives: January 2015

Book Review: Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting


Walking on Trampolines (click on book or see below for description)
By France Whiting
Releases 2/3/15
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 3 bones

This book took me a little longer than some others I have read lately.  Maybe because of that, then also seeing that it took the author 7 years to write this book, I felt like I read almost two separate books.  The stories linked and I’m having a hard time putting it in words, but disconnected is the best I can come up with.

The story bounces back and forth between the childhood of Tallulah de Longland (Lulu) and current day.  Her childhood consisted of a friendship with Annabelle Andrews and relationship with Josh Keaton.  It took me back to the awkward and awful times of being a high school girl (at least in my experience.)  First loves, tight friendships, broken hearts, parental conflicts, this first part was quite enjoyable.  It really gave a great glimpse into the lives of Lulu, her mother Rose (and her issues), her father Harry (and his plumbing business), and twin brothers.  And then also Annabelle’s family, eccentric semi-famous artist parents – Frank & Annie.  Both families with their issues, but both important in the girls lives.  Enter Josh, enter trouble.

The book then fast forwards to current day with Lulu getting some press of her own and unfortunate nickname over a certain “event”.  The book takes some time to explain just why she did what she did (sorry – leaving it vague!) and I was a bit disappointed.  I mean the reasoning kind of made sense, but I just was hoping for something bigger…(I read a lot of mysteries, so probably where my expectation stems from!)

After that “event” – there is some flash backs to what happened between childhood and then, and then just goes forward.  This is where I felt we entered into a new story.  The characters were still there, plus a lot of new ones, but I feel Lulu’s adult life was another book of its own.  Lulu held onto some friends from her childhood, Simone and Stella, each with their own set of issues.  Had a failed relationship.  Still worried about her parents.  And had a crazy boss that ended up being a crucial figure in coming into her own.  And my favorite part – a goofy big dog that changes her life!

Overall I enjoyed the stories and I feel the title was very appropriate once I completed the book.  The writing was good, characters unique, lots of drama, I never knew what was going to happen next, I just keep coming back to disconnected.  But when writing over different time periods, I would assume some of that is to be expected.  Don’t let that keep you away, – it was an enjoyable read and I would definitely look out for other titles from this author.  And I loved the ending – I really could picture it all in my head and was a beautiful way to connect it all together.

Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to preview!

Book Description:

Praised as “a tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love” (Liane Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret), this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Frances Whiting is equal parts heartwarming, accessible, and thought provoking.

“Tallulah de Longland,” she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgment. “That,” she announced, “is a serious glamorgeous name.”

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah ‘Lulu’ de Longland is bewitched: by Annabelle, by her family, and by their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small coastal town of Juniper Bay. But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgivable…

It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

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Teaser Tuesday: January 27th

Happy Tuesday!  Finished The Girl on the Train pretty quickly last week – see the review here!

And this week I’m reading another NetGalley pre-release – Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting (releases next Tuesday 2/3/15!)  A little break from my mystery/thriller ride I’ve been on, but there is definitely a bit of mystery in this book as it flashes between current time and past events, can’t wait to see what happens!


“And if people are too stupid, or don’t care enough, to see what’s going on right in front of them, Tallulah, then they get what they deserve.”  
(27% into book)

What do you think?  Do you agree?  Thanks for stopping by today – be sure to leave your teaser in the comments!

Book Description:

Praised as “a tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love” (Liane Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret), this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Frances Whiting is equal parts heartwarming, accessible, and thought provoking.

“Tallulah de Longland,” she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgment. “That,” she announced, “is a serious glamorgeous name.”

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah ‘Lulu’ de Longland is bewitched: by Annabelle, by her family, and by their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small coastal town of Juniper Bay. But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgivable…

It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


The Girl on the Train (click on book or see below for description)
By Paula Hawkins
Released 1/13/15
Won from a Goodreads contest!  (yay me!)

Rating: 4 bones

I’m really funny with my reading, obviously I read a lot, and have gained the lovely title of “professional reader” courtesy of Netgalley, but I’m not usually with the “in” crowd of reading. I read what I think I will like and usually a lot of publicity around a book turns me off, unless ofcourse I can get my hand on said book for free!  And then this case – both the description of the book and availability to that book worked out for me!  So I feel cool for once, as everyone seems to be talking about this book and it appears to be #1 on many lists.  Some have related to “Gone Girl” and here is perfect case and point – I haven’t read Gone Girl yet (ahhh!) because I haven’t wanted to pay for it (or wait for it at the library.)  But thanks to my sister-in-law – I now have a copy and shall be reading very soon.  But no comparison here for me, I feel a backwards one coming later on!

This book lived up to the hype, a psychological thriller, page-turner, bone-chilling debut novel for Ms. Hawkins.  I read it pretty fast (3 sittings) and like many of the thrillers I’ve read, lots of build-up to a pretty crazy ending.  This one was unique in that there were three narrators of the story.  Rachel “the girl on the train”, an obnoxious alcoholic divorcee, living in denial, spending too much time on the train, and living vicariously through others.  The book is always present time for her, with thoughts of the past.  Megan, “Jess” as dubbed initially by Rachel, the mysterious woman Rachel becomes fascinated with is another narrator.  Megan’s story begins the year prior to give the reader some background information to catch them up to present time and introduce to a few other minor characters.  And then Anna is the third, the “other woman” who Rachel’s ex, Tom, left her for, new mother, a bit obsessive, very territorial, and very paranoid. Only bits and pieces are revealed from her when things started escalating, but another interesting viewpoint of the story.

From the description, I thought there would be a little more build-up of the fanciful life of “Jess & Jason” Rachel created from viewing them from the train, but the story doesn’t take long to jump into action.  One July night, something happens, and the book takes us through the process to figure out just what that was.  There are lots of characters to keep track of, nothing too overwhelming, just lots of sub-plots.  Definitely had me, the reader, engaged in coming up with theories, which got closer as the book went on, but there were enough twists and turns to keep it very interesting and me guessing til the very end.

The one problem I have with the book that I think is keeping me from 5 bones was the characters.  They all pretty much sucked (if they were real people).  And I’m sure that was intentional and I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the story more had they been more likable, but I had no sympathy/empathy for any of them and wanted them all to get what they had coming to them.  That sounds terrible but they all really made a lot of poor decisions and just were not good people.  But combine a bunch of people like that and great writing and it makes for an entertaining, unpredictable story!

So someday I’ll read Gone Girl and let you know, but The Girl on the Train was a face-paced, thrilling story, kept me guessing, and wanting to pick it up each night.  You won’t be disappointed if you read it, but there are some other really great thrillers out there that aren’t getting this much press that you should definitely look up too!

Book Description:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

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Teaser Tuesday: January 20th

Hello Tuesday!  It’s been quite the busy reading week!  I finished Little Black Lies by Sandra Block (from my teaser last week) and The Missing One by Lucy Atkins.  Both NetGalley reads, both 4 bones, both very good and worth your time, and both releasing in February 2015!

   

And I won a GoodReads contest of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which released just a few days ago.  The hard copy came super fast too, so why not dive in!?  Very excited about this one!  (And because this is a hard copy – I’m going back to turning to a random page – even I don’t know what is going on!!)

 “I need to get to the end of the story.  I need to tell someone, just once.  Say the words out loud.  If it doesn’t come out of me, it’ll eat me up.  The hole inside of me, the one they left, it’ll just get bigger and bigger until it consumes me.”
(Page 163)

Book Description:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

Thanks for stopping by today – be sure to leave your teaser in the comments!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Book Review: The Missing One by Lucy Atkins


The Missing One (click on book or see below for description)
By Lucy Atkins
Releases 2/3/15
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 bones

Keeping my 2015 good streak going – this book did not disappoint.  I guess true with most mysteries where someone is searching for something, but this one reminded me of my last read “Little Black Lies” in that the main character, Kali, was searching for answers on just who her mother was.

The book begins with the death of Kali’s (Kal as she prefers to be called) mother, Elena.  When Kal enters her late mother’s office in search of her birth certificate, she discovers 37 years worth of postcards from someone named Susannah, that simply say “Thinking of you.”  As she thinks on it, Kali realizes she doesn’t really know much about her parents, especially her mother.  Her father, still in the picture, is not very helpful with answers (and thinks someone’s past is their own) and her sister, Alice, who always had a very different relationship with her mother, doesn’t seem to know much more.  So Kali, in quite the mid-life crisis of her own, convinced her husband is cheating on her, acts quite impulsively, and telling no one boards a plane to Vancouver in search on answers.  And oh yeah, she brings her toddler, Finn with her.

I had a love/hate relationship with Kal.  In the beginning, I really could relate to her.  Having a young kid(s), a husband with a thriving career that keeps him away from home more than anyone would like, quite the planner, and wanting to know why her mother always had a wall up between her and even her son (not that last part personally – but wanting answers to everything!)  But then when she starts on this adventure, I tried to imagine what I would do in that situation (praying that I never would be) and just lost touch with her and wanted to scream at her (especially because she had her young child with her and you’ll find out something else later that will/may enrage you too!)  That didn’t take away from the story, as I’m not sure I can say I really liked any of the characters!  (Great for the story, bad if they were in my life!)

Once Kal gets to Vancouver, she easily locates Susannah, and upon meeting her, something is just off.  I never really trusted her, and I’m sure that was intentional.   But Kal, with Finn’s safety and comfort at the top of her list, chooses to trust her…

The anticipation in this book was so, incredibly thick.  I was frantically turning pages, possibly holding my breath, just knowing something was about to happen.   And when it does, prepare to hang on to the very end and prepare for ANYTHING!  I had some guesses throughout, some were on point, others off, but it was definitely not predictable.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the book cover (seen above) is a little teaser in and of itself.  Kal does pry (and yes I mean painfully pry) information about her mother from Susannah very slowly.  First and foremost, she found out she was a pioneering orca (killer whale) researcher and activist in the 70’s.  Some of these details hurt my heart, a lot, as an animal advocate myself.  And strange timing, one morning while reading this book, I turned on the TODAY show and the story was about a captive orca, Lolita and that her release back to the wild was still a hot topic of debate.  So much to my dismay, orcas are still facing the same issues they were 40 years ago.  But I found the topic of orcas fascinating and an intricate part of this book.

Miami_Oceanarium

I could go on, this book had so much going on and kept me hanging on to every word to the very end.  As facts filled in though, I still had a few questions at the end.  I’m one who likes everything wrapped up neatly, and while most things were, some I felt were not.  Maybe I missed it in my fast reading, but I’m usually pretty good!  Let me know if you read this book and I’d love to chat.  And do read this book, it’s a good one!

Thank you to NetGalley and Quercus (US) for allowing me to preview this great book!  Can’t wait for Ms. Atkin’s next one!

Book Description:

In her gripping debut novel The Missing One, Lucy Atkins takes us to the beautiful and rugged Pacific Northwest, where one woman endeavors to discover the dark secrets of her family’s past in order to understand and accept herself.

Kal McKenzie was never close to her mother Elena, whose coldness towards her spoiled any chance of a good relationship. When Elena dies of cancer, Kal feels forlorn; how do you mourn a mother who, inexplicably, just didn’t seem to love you?
While clearing out Elena’s art studio, Kal finds a drawer packed with postcards, each bearing an identical one-line message from a woman named Susannah Gillespie: “Thinking of you.” Who is this woman and does she hold the key to her ruined relationship with her mother?
Having recently seen a covetous text from an old girlfriend on her husband’s cell phone, Kal, dismayed over her mother’s death and disillusioned by her marriage, impulsively sets off with her toddler Finn to Susannah’s home and art gallery on a remote British Columbian island, a place of storms and killer whales.
When Kal reaches the island, the striking and enigmatic Susannah will only share a few scraps of information about Elena. Kal discovers that her mother was a pioneering orca researcher and activist.
As Kal struggles to piece together her mother’s career and relationship with Susannah, Susannah’s behavior grows more and more erratic. Most worrying of all, Susannah is becoming increasingly preoccupied with little Finn.
Told in competing narratives of past and present, The Missing One intermixes Kal’s journey with her mother’s coming of a age as a woman, scientist and activist. As these two narratives converge the novel transforms into a white-knuckle thriller where the secrets of the past threaten to tear Kal’s family apart.

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Happy 2 years; Looking forward to 2015 and back at 2014!

Hello!!  I thought I would stray from my book posts and do a quick post to wish myself a happy 2 years of blogging (coinciding with Happy New Year – 2015!) We’ve had some ups and downs, some good times and bad, lots of posts at times and few (or none) at others, but I really enjoy have MDP as an outlet.  And as I tell people when I do discuss my blog, I blog for free books (mostly).  I started with much more of a vision (you can see my very first post here) and at times go back to that, but lately I’ve been mostly focused on books.  Not saying this will be true for the future either, there will probably always be books as I can never see a time in my life that doesn’t include reading, but as life goes, I’m more motivated at certain times to review activities, or a song/bible verse that moves me.  But you’ll just have to stay tuned and keep reading to see!  (But really I have no idea!)

Last year I did a post for my 1 year blogiversary.  As I re-read this today – I think my update on finding my purpose (or actually lack-there-of) still holds 100% true for me today.   Each day I try to be the best me I can be; for my kids, my husband, my dog, and most of all my Creator.  I try not to beat myself up over the bad moments and turn to Him for guidance on how to get by.  I’m FAR from perfect on this, but find comfort in knowing that I’m not expected to be and as long as I ask, I am forgiven and can mess up again and again!  And also I need to be content where I am and keep my ears/eyes/heart open for further direction!

Last year I wanted to be more INTENTIONAL.  This year took us in a direction I never would have imagined when I wrote my post last year (to Cleveland, Ohio!!??) but I felt somewhat at peace in our transition and was very intentional in putting myself out there, out of my comfort zone at times, but to listen and think through what we were/are doing.  So this year to piggyback on continuing to be intentional, the word I have chosen is FOLLOW-UP.

1fol·low–up noun \ˈfä-lō-ˌəp\

: something that continues or completes a process or activity

Maybe you can relate, but I feel myself leaving a lot of things open.  Now don’t get me wrong, if I say I am going to do something concrete, I will do it, but I’m talking more about the “We should do ____sometime” or “Let’s have dinner/a playdate sometime” or “We need to ____” or “I really should get to know ____ better!” Taking those statements and turning them into actions.  So if you’re reading this and I’ve said something like that to you – let’s do it!

photo (21)

And just a quick recap of the last year:

  • I read 50 books!  (Up  from 47 the previous year – find me on Goodreads)
  • We moved to Cleveland, OH (from Atlanta, GA)
  • Our big family vacation was to Disney World in November (post and pictures still pending…)
  • LM turned 3 (Dec 2014)!!AK_RPWCOURTYARD1CHARACTER_7092687558
  • LL turned 5 (Jan 2015)!!IMG_4153
  • Our dogs are really loving living in OH.  The snow (in small batches), swimming in Lake Erie, tons of parks, and 100% sidewalks!photo (20)

So things are good.  I’ve started off the year with 2 great book reviews.  Here and Here.  Stay tuned for more and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead in 2015!  Thank you for reading, being a follower, or just being a friend!  God bless!

Love, Kaitlin

IMG_4393

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Book Review: Little Black Lies by Sandra Block

Little Black Lies (click on book or see below for description)
By Sandra Block
Releases 2/17/15
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 bones

This book caught me off guard a little.   It started off much lighter than most mysteries I read.  Meaning not with a murder or traumatic event.  It jumped right into life in the psychiatry ward of a Buffalo hospital and its colorful cast of doctors.  Dr. Zoe Goldman, one of those psychiatrists, is our main character.  Extremely tall, as referenced throughout the book, adopted at the young age of four by her mother’s best friend, and in a relationship with the “Frenchman”, Zoe has some issues of her own.

Recurring dreams and inconsistent information she has been receiving (or not receiving) from her mother, have Zoe questioning some things she has been told about her past.  Going only off a picture and a newspaper article, she begins diving into her past.  Her mother, in a home, suffering from Alzheimer’s, isn’t much help, and anyone else that would know anything is long gone.  With Sam, her psychiatrist (is it odd that a psychiatrist sees a psychiatrist?), she explores dream manipulation and hypnosis.  When those don’t work out, she starts her investigation.

The story moves along well, but I don’t feel like we hit the story line till at least halfway through.  And even then, I didn’t feel like I was in mystery mode.  The book goes between Zoe’s personal life, some romance, some encounters with her mom and brother, and then her work life.  She has a few patients who we come to know, but the two worlds just seem so separate.  Without spoiling anything, my brain just wasn’t scrambling to come up with guesses like I usually do in mystery books.  And this one, as I stated, from the beginning, just didn’t fit the stereotype.  Not saying this is a bad thing at all, and actually I liked it because I was really caught off guard when I got to the “big reveal”.  Really caught off guard. Emphasis added.  Maybe you will have figured it out, I honestly had no idea.  And I love that when a book can do that!

I was hanging on to every word until the very end and finished this book pretty quick!  And shout out to Ms. Block for her letter and notes at the end.  That is seriously my favorite part of a book to know a little back story on where this story came from!  Definitely a great book and another shout out to NetGalley for allowing me to preview, look for it on February 17th!

Book Description:

She helps people conquer their demons. But she has a few of her own…

In the halls of the psychiatric ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is a resident in training, dedicated to helping troubled patients. However, she has plenty of baggage of her own. When her newest patient arrives – a beautiful sociopath who murdered her mother – Zoe becomes obsessed with questions about her own mother’s death. But the truth remains tauntingly out of reach, locked away within her nightmares of an uncontrollable fire. And as her adoptive mother loses her memory to dementia, the time to find the answers is running out.

As Zoe digs deeper, she realizes that the danger is not just in her dreams but is now close at hand. And she has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most. Because what she can’t remember just might kill her.

Little Black Lies is about madness and memory – and the dangerous, little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

 

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Teaser Tuesday: January 13th

Happy Tuesday!  Review for Crash & Burn is up!  AND I’m starting off the year strong with a 5-bone review!!  I think I only had 2-3 in all of 2014 – so that’s a big deal and has me very excited about the year ahead!

Today’s teaser is from another NetGalley read – Little Black Lies by Sandra Block releasing 2/17/15.  Ok so far, about halfway through, very curious as to where this is going to go…stay tuned!

 “My breath catches.  Beth Summers.
Beth Winters is my birth mother, Mom’s other best friend.  And her high school best friend is Beth Summers?
This seems perilously coincidental.”
54% into book

Book Description:

She helps people conquer their demons. But she has a few of her own…

In the halls of the psychiatric ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is a resident in training, dedicated to helping troubled patients. However, she has plenty of baggage of her own. When her newest patient arrives – a beautiful sociopath who murdered her mother – Zoe becomes obsessed with questions about her own mother’s death. But the truth remains tauntingly out of reach, locked away within her nightmares of an uncontrollable fire. And as her adoptive mother loses her memory to dementia, the time to find the answers is running out.

As Zoe digs deeper, she realizes that the danger is not just in her dreams but is now close at hand. And she has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most. Because what she can’t remember just might kill her.

Little Black Lies is about madness and memory – and the dangerous, little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Thanks for stopping by today – be sure to leave your teaser in the comments!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Book Review: Crash and Burn by Lisa Gardner

Crash & Burn (Click book or see below for description)
By Lisa Gardner
Releases 2/3/15
Downloaded free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 bones

I’ll get right to the point, I loved this book (which feels so good to say – I’m stingy with my 5-bone ratings!)  Maybe not some of the subject matter, you will never guess where this book is headed, but the fact that it kept me on my toes, up late, and trying to figure it out, made for a great book for me.  Starting off 2015 strong!  (Check out a bonus teaser HERE!)

The book jumps right into the action with a car wreck, subsequent manhunt for a supposed missing child, and then Pandora’s box begins to open.  Nicky Frank, main character, suffered some brain damage from the wreck, and as it turned out also a few other recent head injuries, so she can sense things and knows things are not what they seem but can’t quite put the story together.  Introduce her husband, Thomas, and you just know something is off.  Can he be trusted?  What is he hiding?  As Sergeant Wyatt Foster takes on this case, he has a lot more questions than answers too.  And every time he thinks he has an answer or comes up with a theory, it either is completely off or just opens up so much more.  The reader jumps right on board for this ride of finding answers and it is quite the exciting one!

And just who is Vero?  A nagging question asked up front and throughout the whole story.  In the end, I never would have guessed the answer, and believe me, I had a lot of guesses throughout the book.  The book does that with so many different characters and occurrences, it keeps the reader so engaged!  What really happened the night of the car crash?  Who is Nicky?  Who is Thomas?  Why did they move so much? Was there really a dollhouse?  Are these things just coincidence?  What REALLY happened?  SO much anticipation, I couldn’t get enough!

Like I said before, this book went to a place I did not see coming.  It became very dark at times and addressed some harder topics I wasn’t expecting.  But in the end it was all wrapped up.  With so much action and so many questions throughout the book, I was really worried one would be left out, but the author did a great job of tying it all up.  I love the book description (see below) as it really gives a great glimpse into this book.

Check out this book, just make sure you have time to finish it, my biggest complaint was having to wait in between readings (sleep trumps all with little kids!!)  Thanks to NetGalley for another great read!  I’ll definitely be looking up other titles from Ms. Gardner!

Book Description:

My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t.

Nicole Frank shouldn’t have been able to survive the car accident, much less crawl up the steep ravine. Not in the dark, not in the rain, not with her injuries. But one thought allows her to defy the odds and flag down help: Vero.

I’m looking for a little girl. I have to save her. Except, most likely, she doesn’t exist.

Sergeant Wyatt Foster is frustrated when even the search dogs can’t find any trace of the mysterious missing child. Until Nicky’s husband, Thomas, arrives with a host of shattering revelations: Nicole Frank suffers from a rare brain injury and the police shouldn’t trust anything she says.

My husband claims he’ll do anything to save me. Except, most likely, he can’t.

Who is Nicky Frank, and what happened the night her car sailed off the road? Was it a random accident or something more sinister given the woman’s lack of family and no close friends? The deeper Wyatt digs, the more concerned he becomes. Because it turns out, in the past few months, Nicky has suffered from more than one close accident. . . . In fact, it would appear someone very much wants her dead.

This is my life. Except, most likely, it’s not. Now watch me crash and burn.

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Book Review: The Ripper’s Wife by Brandy Purdy


The Ripper’s Wife (click book or see below for description)
By Brandy Purdy
Released 10/28/14
Downloaded free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:4 bones

I’d been sitting on this one for a while, the fact that I chose to read over Christmas is a bit puzzling, but none-the-less, I’m glad (in a twisted way) that I finally picked up!  Admittedly, I was hoping this story would go differently as it actually started quite how I liked, but it was overall (not surprisingly) a pretty dark, depressing story.

Let me explain.  I’ve heard of Jack the Ripper, murderer of prostitutes in London in the late 1800’s, and curiosity got the better of me to request this book.  But what a wonderful idea to hear it from the viewpoint of his wife!  And I did do some research after I read the book, which I will quickly summarize.

Jack the Ripper to this day is not known.  There are some theories, and James Maybrick, as Jack, is a working theory.  A diary was found of his maybe 20 years back, and is referred to in this book, that held some never publicized details.  His wife, Florence, Florie, is a real person as well, who was in fact convicted of killing her husband, and the main facts in the story are true.  So this book goes back and forth between Florie’s viewpoint, James’ (Jack’s) diary, and between present day (in the storyline) and how they courted, married, and lived (the time of the murders.)  It was quite confusing to keep track of, especially since there were no paragraphs in my ARC (maybe there are in the hard copy?)

That all being said, I pushed through.  The book started out how I wanted it to.  A beautiful romance between James and Florie.  When I stated earlier that I had hoped things would go differently, I really wanted Jack to be a true alter-ego of James (loving husband at home, murdered at night), when actually James was a pretty rotten person, at least to his wife.  But I enjoyed going back and forth between his home life and his murdering life and living it through Florie’s eyes.  You can’t help but feel for her at times, but no one was truly innocent.  The working theory throughout the book is that Florie, his wife, is the reason Jack the Ripper existed.

The book continues the story long after Jack’s death, which as I mentioned, Florie was convicted of, but the reader gets all the facts and can decide for themselves what they think (I’ll hold it there on this one!)  It bounces back and forth between good times and bad for her and does have a settling ending.  Florie possesses the knowledge of who her husband really was and is very calculating in what she should or shouldn’t do with that knowledge, which is fascinating.

Overall definitely not a happy read, but one that challenged me, kept me interested, and I would highly recommend if this subject peaks your interest at all!

Book Description:

A suspenseful, spellbinding novel of love, jealousy, and murder, The Ripper’s Wife reimagines the most notorious serial killer in history through the eyes of the woman who sealed his fate.

“Love makes sane men mad and can turn a gentle man into a fiend.”

It begins as a fairytale romance–a shipboard meeting in 1880 between vivacious Southern belle Florence Chandler and handsome English cotton broker James Maybrick. Courtship and a lavish wedding soon follow, and the couple settles into an affluent Liverpool suburb.

From the first, their marriage is doomed by lies. Florie, hardly the heiress her scheming mother portrayed, is treated as an outsider by fashionable English society. James’s secrets are infinitely darker–he has a mistress, an arsenic addiction, and a vicious temper. But Florie has no inkling of her husband’s depravity until she discovers his diary–and in it, a litany of bloody deeds. . .

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