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Book Review: North of Here by Laurel Saville


North of Here by Laurel Saville (click on book or see below for description)
Releases 3/1/16
February Kindle First Read

Rating: 2 bones (2/5 bones)

I wasn’t expecting a happy story in picking up this book.  Actually I’m not sure what I was expecting, but let’s just say I’m happy to be finished with this book now as it got a bit to weird for my liking.

It started out ok.  It was clear by the section titles “Miranda & Dix” then “Darius & Sally” (and so on) that there would be a few stories/characters that the reader could likely assume would intersect at some point.  This was true and it was enjoyable to see how it would happen.  The first section kept my hopes high although it was a story I have read many times before.  Unapproachable, tough guy eventually opens up to naive girl after tragedy.  I’m not spoiling anything, you can see it all coming.  The second section, well there was no guessing what was going to happen when a rich boy trying to break free from his family buys a large abandoned piece of property.  And still – I didn’t see it coming, but maybe I should have?  Still holding out hope – I trucked on.

But then it just got weird.  Not good weird, just creepy, uncomfortable and I wanted it to be over.  Now don’t get me wrong, the pages kept turning, it didn’t drag on by any means, I just really didn’t care for it.  I could have handled a whole host of emotional topics, as I mentioned, I wasn’t looking for happy, this just didn’t do it for me.  The writing was decent as I had a clear picture of some of the very vivid (disturbing) scenes described, my review is solely based on the subject matter.

As to not spoil anything, I’ll keep this vague and stop here.  The ending I guess I would say is sweet, after a few more unexpected twists, but by that point, I was done.  Maybe I have piqued your interest?  It is worth reading so you can share your thoughts – I’d love to talk about it more.

Thank you to Kindle First (Amazon) for the opportunity to preview this book!

Book Description:

The sounds of unexpected tragedies—a roll of thunder, the crash of metal on metal—leave Miranda in shock amid the ruins of her broken family.

As she searches for new meaning in her life, Miranda finds quiet refuge with her family’s handyman, Dix, in his cabin in the dark forests of the Adirondack Mountains. Dix is kind, dependable, and good with an ax—the right man to help the sheltered Miranda heal—but ultimately, her sadness creates a void even he can’t fill.

When a man from her distant past turns up, the handsome idealist now known as Darius, he offers Miranda a chance to do meaningful work at The Source, a secluded property filled with his nature worshipers. Miranda feels this charismatic guru is the key to remaking her life, but her grief and desire for love also create an opportunity for his deception. And in her desperate quest to find herself after losing almost everything, Miranda and Dix could pay a higher price than they ever imagined.

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Book Review: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
Released 3/1/16
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 bones (4/5 bones)

Don’t expect to sit back and relax and read this book.  This book will have you holding your breath and waiting for relief for Tanya (or whoever she is) and wondering if it will ever come.

As the blurb starts out below, the book begins with the death of Frank, Tanya’s husband.  And she runs.  It’s apparent that she really didn’t do it right from the start – so why does she run?  The book dives right in as Tayna changes identity and begins her quest for escape (I started to write freedom, but when you’re running from the law – you learn pretty fast that freedom will never be a part of it.)

We learn bits and pieces of the past through emails with a mystery man named Ryan corresponding to a woman named Jo.  But it takes the better part of the book to determine what happened so many years ago and why she ran in the first place.

The book is broken into sections titled appropriately with Tanya’s current identity.  Some last for a few months, while others last only a day.  I’m exhausted for her as she is constantly looking over her shoulder, trying to figure out what is next, and never able to fully trust anyone.  She does let two interesting characters close to her – Blue and a local town sheriff.  Both of these relationships appear throughout the book and will keep you wondering if either of them are out to get her, use her, or maybe even help her.

It’s an exciting, yet bumpy ride, but with a good ending.  Great book!  Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to preview!

Book Review:

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

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Book Reviews: A Quick Recap

Blame it on summer, on having no schedule (and no kitchen), but I just can’t seem to keep up with book reviews.  If I don’t write one right away, it just gets put to the back burner.  So I’m organizing what I’ve been reading in a quick post here, with ratings, so I can get this off my plate.  Definitely not my usual style, but better than nothing!

In Kris Calvin’s debut mystery One Murder More, a beautiful legislative aide is found stabbed to death in California’s Capitol building. Maren Kane, a lobbyist for a fledgling Sacramento-based toy company, is in the midst of a legislative fight that could make or break her career. She doesn’t have time for a coffee break let alone involvement in a murder investigation.
But when police arrest Maren’s colleague for the crime, she’s certain they have the wrong man. The cops suspect a crime of passion―love gone wrong. Maren knows that in the capital, money and power drive all things tragic and scandalous. Sex and love are little more than window-dressing.
But will she be able to prove her theory―and free her friend―before she becomes the next victim?
Released: June 1, 2015

My rating & review: 4 bones(out of five)
Provided free through InkShares (in exchange for an honest review)
This was a mystery book in its truest form.  It had you guessing and coming up with theories and although centered around a murder, managed to be on the lighter side.  I loved Maren Kane and would definitely pick up another book in this series (which it appears to be Book #1 of)  And that is saying at lot, as I’m not a series fan.  But she’s likable, clever, and fun to follow.  The reader follows Maren through the murder investigation and no one can escape suspicion.  Which I love as a reader – keeps the pages turning and theories flowing!  Great summer read – highly recommend.


 


In the early hours of a summer morning, a young woman steps into the path of an oncoming bus. A tragic accident? Or suicide?
At the center of this puzzle is Adrian Wolfe, a successful architect and grief-stricken widower, who, a year after his third wife’s death, begins to investigate the cause. As Adrian looks back on their brief but seemingly happy marriage, disturbing secrets begin to surface. The divorces from his two previous wives had been amicable, or so it seemed; his children, all five of them, were resilient as ever, or so he thought. But something, or someone, must have pushed Maya over the edge.
Released: June 9, 2015

My rating & review: 3 bones(out of five)
Downloaded free through NetGalley.
By the title, I was expecting a very different story (although I’m not entirely sure why!)  What I found was a complex story about family dynamics.  It held my interest, yet just was lacking something for me.  The story begins as Maya dies.  She is the third wife (hence the name) of Adrian Wolfe.  We come to find he has 2 ex-wives, whom he is still close with, a bunch of children already, and is trying to have more with Maya.  They all take family vacations together and like I said, the relationships which are explored within the book are quite interesting.  The book switches between a few viewpoints, one of them was Maya’s as she received cryptic threatening letters.  There was a bit of mystery as she and the reader try to figure out who sent the letters and if they really wanted her dead.  A good story, nothing to rave about, but held my interest.


I have a gardener’s inherent belief in the natural order of things.  Soft‑petalled flowers that go to seed.  The resolute passage of the seasons.  Swallows that fly thousands of miles to follow the eternal summer.
Children who don’t die before their parents.
When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.

Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.
Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love.
Released: June 30, 2015

My rating & review: 4 bones(out of five) Downloaded free through NetGalley.
I really enjoyed this book and wish I had given it more justice by reviewing it right away (it’s been just a few weeks, but with other books my mind is just not as fresh as I’d like!)  A really good mystery centered around the death of a young girl.  And a story that contains the theme that things aren’t always what they seem on the outside (pretty relevant in the world of social media.)  Through gut feelings, mysterious notes, and her own investigation, Kate gets tied up in the tangled web that appeared to be the “perfect family.”  Great story that leaves no one free from suspicion and the reader holding on to the very end.


Georgia, Charlie and Alice each arrive at Harvard with hopeful visions of what the future will hold. But when, just before graduation, a classmate is found murdered on campus, they find themselves facing a cruel and unanticipated new reality. Moreover, a charismatic professor who has loomed large in their lives is suspected of the crime. Though his guilt or innocence remains uncertain, the unsettling questions raised by the case force the three friends to take a deeper look at their tangled relationship. Their bond has been defined by the secrets they’ve kept from one another—Charlie’s love and Alice’s envy, Georgia’s mysterious affair—and over the course of the next decade, as they grapple with the challenges of adulthood and witness the unraveling of a teacher’s once-charmed life, they must reckon with their own deceits and shortcomings, each desperately in search of answers and the chance to be forgiven.
Released: July 7, 2015

My rating & review: 2 bones(out of five).  Downloaded free through NetGalley.
I’m reading some raving reviews and I almost feel as if I didn’t read the same book.  Some of it may have been the pace I was reading it, but it just didn’t hold my interest.  I felt it deviated from the story line so far at times (mostly in terms of years gone by), that I even completely missed what actually happened.  I’m embarrassed to say it, but it wasn’t wrapped up in the end for me.  I’m partly tempted to go back and re-read it, as I’m sure I missed it, but the beginning never really hooked me, so I’m just going to let this one go.  I obviously was drawn in by the description, but it just didn’t hold up for me.


 

Thanks for coming by – I’ll try to keep up from now on – but no promises!!  Now to go restock in NetGalley!

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Book Review: A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White


A Dark Lure (clock on book or see below for description)
By Loreth Anne White
Released 7/1/15
June Kindle First Read

Rating: 4 bones(out of 5 bones)

Talk about a page turner.  This book was way darker than I am used to.  I’m not lying when I say that to finish the last half of this book, I stayed up WAY past my bedtime.  I could not put it down without closure (and probably some resulting nightmares!)  While I did thoroughly enjoy it, I am happy it is over, and need to move on to something lighter!

I can’t say I wasn’t warned by the description.  But just be prepared for your heart to race along with Sarah’s/Olivia’s.  You’ll want to scream at her to trust her gut and run!  Your heart will hurt for her.  And you’ll hold your breath until all is resolved.  This book never slowed down either – so set aside a few hours to dive into it.

The description roped me in promising a girl running from the past.  Sarah Baker, now Olivia West, was “the one who got away” from the Watt Lake Killer.  Despite a man being convicted and later killed at his own hand in prison, recent news and her gut are telling her different.  Now a ranch hand at the Broken Bar Ranch, Olivia has a secluded life, with her trusty partner, Ace, a German Shepard, and is getting by.  Not happy, but content after all that had happened in her past.

Throw in an aging and dying ranch owner, his two distant children, a forced-to-retire widowed cop, his very curious daughter, and a medley of other ranch workers, this book packs a lot into a fast-paced story.  Some parts I quickly figured out, others I was theorizing throughout, and others were filled in over time.  Olivia was a complex, yet likeable character.  And add in a dog, and I’m sold!  Her bond with Ace and the story of how he came to be her companion will warm anyone’s heart!

I’ll leave it vague for you to enjoy on your own, but if you are in for a dark yet very well written, very satisfying story, don’t miss this one!

Great June selection Kindle First – already picked out my read for July!

Book Description:

Twelve years ago, Sarah Baker was abducted by the Watt Lake Killer and sexually assaulted for months before managing to escape. The killer was caught, but Sarah lost everything: her marriage, her child, and the life she loved.

Struggling with PTSD, Sarah changes her name to Olivia West and finds sanctuary working on Broken Bar Ranch. But as her scars finally begin to heal, a cop involved with her horrific case remains convinced the Watt Lake Killer is still out there. He sets a lure for the murderer, and a fresh body is discovered. Now Olivia must face the impossible—could the butcher be back, this time to finish the job?

As a frigid winter isolates the ranch, only one person can help Olivia: Cole McDonough, a writer, adventurer, and ranch heir who stirs long-dormant feelings in her. But this time, Olivia’s determination to shut out her past may destroy more than her chance at love. It could cost her her life.

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Book Review: Together Apart by Natalie Martin


Together Apart
By Natalie Martin
Released in 2014 – according to Amazon (maybe re-release  June 23, 2015 according to NetGalley)
Provided free through NetGalley/Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 3 bones(out of 5 bones)

It’s easy to get roped into a book promising a “big secret.”  I think it’s an easy way to keep the reader engaged, much like a mystery.  But then also with an entire book to build it up – it better be worth it.  I flew through the pages, but when it came time for the big reveal – which was about 90%+ into the book, I found myself disappointed.  I felt there should have been more to it.  We all have pasts we don’t like, yes, Sarah’s was a bit more troubling than most, but I found her obnoxious overall and was just happy to finally find out!

The book begins with Sarah and Adam on vacation when Adam spontaneously proposes.  Sarah clams up immediately and thus begins the painful process to reveal her big secret.  Why she ran away from her family, why she feels she can’t get close to anyone, ever, even Adam who she loves.  And Adam, God love him, is hurt and just wants to know.  My heart really did feel for him, but seriously dude, sounded like some warning signs were there.  Not meeting her family, knowing virtually nothing about her past, can’t say you weren’t warned.

Information is slowly revealed throughout the book, which makes the reader form some theories, which always helps in keeping me engaged.  Then diaries were introduced – always fun for the reader too.  And those diaries, let’s just say I think they may have found them in my closet.  When I was 14, I probably wrote very similar things, as embarrassing as that is to admit.  Lot of “OMG I can’t believe HE looked at ME!”  Haha – very immature – but realistic (at least to me!)  I liked Sarah better as a teenager than I did in the present, then she just annoyed me to no end.  They both needed some sense slapped into them!!

I did hang on to the end, which you have to to fully find out the secret and get some resolution.  And it did end nicely.  Pretty predictable that way, but still kept me guessing.  I’d say a good summer read, not too long and although not happy, an easy read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union publishing for allowing me to preview.

Book Description:

When Adam proposes to Sarah, the last thing he expects is to be single and heartbroken less than forty-eight hours later. But Sarah has a secret – and she’s willing to sacrifice everything to keep it.

Going through a break-up is hard enough but having to live together afterwards is even worse, especially when it’s a break-up neither person wants. For Adam, there are only three ways to deal with it: sex, drugs and alcohol. For Sarah, its keeping her distance and closely guarding the lengths she’s gone to in order to keep her secret safe for the past fifteen years. And she succeeds until Adam finds a box of her teenage diaries.

Against a backdrop of lies, secrecy, passion and teenage rebellion, the delicate threads holding Sarah’s secret begin to unravel and when her first love is brutally murdered, her past and present collide in a way that makes it impossible to keep them apart.

Adam thought he knew everything about Sarah. He was wrong.

Romantic, intense and heart-breaking, Together Apart is a contemporary love story exploring what it really means to love and be loved.

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Book Review: Ruthless by John Rector


Ruthless (Click book or see description below)
By John Rector
Released 6/1/15
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 bones

Bonus Teaser (missed my usual Tuesday post the last few weeks – so here is one for you!):

“No, not the kind of doctors you’re thinking of,” she said.  “These doctors were different.  They were terrifying, and they were ruthless.”
(88% into book)

Talk about fast paced – this book started off strong, ended strong, and didn’t have any downtime in between.  It’s been awhile that I read a book in just a few sittings, but this one had me hooked, and had I not needed sleep, I could have easily finished in just one.

I like how Nick White, trying to be witty and funny, as I’m sure we all do sometimes, found that he did that at the exact wrong time, with the wrong person.  A man used to trusting his gut, soon knew this was not just witty banter with Patricia Holloway but was too far in to get out.

Nick White seemed to be your typical guy.  Separated from his wife, just trying to get by, he found himself mistaken for a hitman while drowning his sorrows over a drink one night in Mickey’s, his usual watering hole.  His emotions getting the better of him when he sees a beautiful young woman’s life at risk, he soon is on the run doing things he never dreamed of.  I love it when a book can put the reader in a position to think what they would do if that happened to them.

Quick read, on the edge of my seat (well bed where I usually read!)  Only complaint is that when we get into the “why” part of the book – I felt it got a little too high level for the book.  Definitely unexpected and not unwelcome – just a bit more than I think the book needed to go.  But overall fun read, great characters, don’t miss this summer read!

Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for allowing me to preview!

Book Description:

Nick White is the only person who can save Abigail Pierce. After uncovering a plot to have her killed, he attempts to warn her but instead puts himself squarely in the crosshairs. They know who he is, they know where he lives, they know how to get at his family.

Drawn into the conspiracy surrounding Abigail, Nick soon discovers the danger is bigger than he ever believed. Now he must uncover the truth to save her and himself. Gripping and intense, this novel is a twisted thrill ride from bestselling author John Rector (The Grove, Lost Things, Already Gone, Out of the Black, etc.)

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Book Review: Only the Brave by Mel Sherratt


Only the Brave (DS Allie Shenton Book Three)
By Mel Sherratt
Releases 5/26/15
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating:  4 bones(out of 5)

I’m usually not a fan of series, too many details for me to keep up with and with the volume I read, I honestly can’t remember!  But I stumbled upon Follow the Leader a few months back (one of my only 5-bone reads this year) and found out it was Book Two in this series!  I hadn’t read Book One – Taunting the Dead – but felt that for that one it didn’t matter.  However, for Book Three, I wish I had read the first one.

In this book, the family of a Terry Ryder is involved, who I’ve come to learn was the center of the case Allie worked in Book One.  It alluded to a very traumatic time for Allie, that I feel would have helped me/the reader, understand the animosity held by some of the current characters and Allie’s apprehension entering into this case.  But, that’s neither here nor there as I didn’t read it, so I’ll focus on the current story, but I would like to go back and read it now!  And if you are new to this series – I would suggest starting from the beginning.

The book begins with the murder of a local man as well as a bag of cash found.  Tangled in his own mess already, now Allie’s team is involved, as well as a whole host of characters that live in the adjacent apartment building, Harrison House.  Soon this man, Jordan Johnson, is tied to Terry Ryder’s (now in jail from a previous case Allie worked on) daughter, and the whodunit case begins.  From nosy neighbors, to local troublesome teenagers, to notorious thugs, to colleagues, even family, no one is safe from the suspicion of guilt in this case.  I really enjoy books that keep you guessing until the very end, really brings out the mystery spirit that has me hooked!  And as the description said, lots of double-crossing, you never know who you can trust!

And again, as I did in Follow the Leader, Detective Allie Shenton is just a very likeable, down to earth character and very easy to relate to.  I can’t help but route for her.  I feel tense when she is tense, scared when she is scared, you get the point, I want her to succeed and be safe.   I like her relationship with her husband Mark, and the details of her sister Karen, tied in with the main story line of each book.  Attacked many years ago, with her attacker still on the lose, in the background of all Allie’s cases, Allie is working on solving her sister, Karen’s.  Not without additional prompting of course, as she receives cryptic messages from him/her.  And with both books I’ve read, the tension continues to build as Karen gets worse and her killer gets closer.

I can’t help but compare this book to the first book I read in the series, Follow the Leader, in that I felt that was a better stand along book and it had me a bit more captivated than this story line.  Maybe because the action kept coming, in terms of murders (sounds awful typing it out), whereas this one, it was just (not said lightly) one murder being investigated!  I just wasn’t as invested in the actual case.  Not to say it still wasn’t good, just not AS good (the bar is set high!)

But what did hook me and earn this review an extra star was the last 10%.  Talk about action.  I think my heart was in my throat.  I was worried things wouldn’t be wrapped up and I’d have to wait for another book in this series, but an action packed ending was exactly what this book needed for me to walk away content.  And that I’m happy to say, I did!

I have definitely found an author to follow in Ms. Sherratt.  I was honored that she approached me to review this book and as always appreciate being able to preview through NetGalley and Amazon Publishing.  Don’t miss this one – actually don’t miss all 3 – I think this series would make for some great summer reads!

Book Description:

When one of the notorious Johnson brothers is murdered and a bag of money goes missing, a deadly game of cat and mouse is set in motion.

DS Allie Shenton and her team are called in to catch the killer, but the suspects are double-crossing each other and Allie has little time to untangle the web of lies.

As she delves deeper into the case, things take a personal turn when Allie realises she is being stalked by the very same person who attacked her sister seventeen years ago and left her for dead.

Set over forty-eight tension-filled hours, Only the Brave is the latest gut-churning police procedural from acclaimed author Mel Sherratt.

 

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Book Review: Maggie by Marie Maxwell


Maggie: A gripping saga set in the swinging sixties
By Marie Maxwell
Releases 5/1/15 (TODAY!)
Provided Free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 3 bones(out of 5 bones)

Quick read.  I would probably put this more in the Young Adult category as I was a bit disappointed at the lack of historical details of this book (the reason I had chosen this read.)  It was set in the 60’s, but other than a few references to record players, it could have really been set anywhere at anytime.

It’s a story about a young girl, Maggie Wheaton, who loses everything she knows and loves and discovers secrets about her past.  It makes me dread having a 16-year-old someday!  The reader sways back and forth between feeling sympathy for Maggie and wanting to slap some sense into her.  It was also very predictable.

It includes many issues facing teenagers, both now and I’m guessing in the 60’s too.  Wanting independence, to be heard, and to decide things for themselves.  But ultimately realizing that grown-ups may have a bit more wisdom than they want to admit and there is a reason 16-year-olds shouldn’t be making decisions for themselves.

Not a bad read, just not what I was expecting and it left me wanting more.  A common theme for me these days! So I’ll leave it at that, a short story that maybe would be good for teenagers and their parents alike to open up communication.

Thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for allowing me to preview.

Book Description:

1960s. Maggie Wheaton’s life is almost perfect. Confident, bright and popular, she lives with her loving, wealthy parents in a close-knit Cambridgeshire village. But, just days after her sixteenth birthday, her world falls apart: an accident kills both her parents, and then she suffers the ultimate betrayal when she learns a life-changing family secret. Maggie has no choice but to go and live with her appointed guardian, Ruby Riordan, in the seaside town of Southend, where she sets out on a deliberate path of self-destruction. Will Ruby be able to save her from herself, or is it all too little too late?

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Book Review: When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord


When We Were Animals
By Joshua Gaylord
Released 4/21/15
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 3 bones(out of 5 bones)

This book was definitely a page turner, but left me wanting more at the end.  A very interesting premise led me to choose this book, but I never really could get comfortable with it, if that makes sense.  I like books to challenge me, but this one was just a bit too odd for my liking (I lean more towards reality; things that could really happen.)

In this little town, a strange things happen to kids as they reach puberty.  They go breach.  Coinciding with full moons, at dark, teenagers are drawn from the comfort of their own beds to run wild for 3 nights, returning home bruised and many times much worse.  This is an accepted way of life, as everyone else draws their curtains, locks their doors, and doesn’t interfere.  And for the most part never really talks about it.

The story follows Lumen Fowler, described as a bit behind schedule, as she waits for her “time” to come.  She secretly hopes it never will, as she had been told happened to her mother.  Raised by her father, throughout the book Lumen tries to uncover what really happened about her mother, while dealing with all the normal teenage angst.  A time I know I never care to relive, on top of all the hormones, what-ifs, insecurities, Lumen also has to worry about going breach, or becoming an “animal” as this book is very appropriately titled.

I liked getting inside Lumen’s head, as she is very bright for her age and tries hard to stay on top of, if not in control of, all that is going on.  It took me back to those uncomfortable teenage years wondering what friendships were real, if that boy really liked me, and what my future holds.  She was a very realistic character most of the time.  The book switched back and forth between her life in the present as a wife and mother and to those teenage years, in hopes of explaining why she is who she is.

It was well written and like I said before, had me up turning pages, but just was overall odd and I could never decide if I liked it.  After sitting on it for a few days, which I do enjoy when I book stays with me, I decided it was worth my time and a nice break from the predictable, but nothing to rave about.  I would say to pick it up if you are up for a wild ride.  It did have me hanging on to the very end that included another weird twist – so predictable, it definitely was not!

Thank you to NetGalley and Mulholland Books for allowing me to preview.

Book Description:

A small, quiet Midwestern town, which is unremarkable save for one fact: when the teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild.
When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn’t have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact, she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown. When We Were Animals is Lumen’s confessional: as a well-behaved and over-achieving teenager, she fell beneath the sway of her community’s darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident “breaches” during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path.
Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community’s traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town’s past, the more we realize that Lumen’s memories are harboring secrets of their own.
A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times, When We Were Animals is a dark, provocative journey into the American heartland.

 

 

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Video Book Review: The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak


The Book With No Pictures
By B.J. Novak
Released 9/30/14
Received as a gift

Rating: 5 bones(5 bones out of 5)

Trying something new today here.  I’ve attempted to review kids books in the past and need to start doing that again as we do read a lot over here!  This one was received as a gift, actually by my husband for his birthday.  While that might seem a bit odd, this book has given the kids, in turn us, so much joy, with the laughter that results each time we read it.

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It’s a very simple, silly premise.  There are no pictures, but that will be remedied in very silly words/sounds, that the reader, presumably a parent or grown-up has to say, no matter what.

The words make no sense, but to a 3 & 5-year-old, that doesn’t matter.

You may recognize the name, B.J. Novak, as Ryan from The Office.  Also received by my husband is his other book One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories (Vintage Contemporaries).  Maybe he’ll stop back by and do a review of that too!?

But I will leave you with my kids and their favorite parts and thoughts on this silly book.  Great gift idea (Thanks Aunt K!) that I can see us passing along to many unsuspecting friends and family members!

 

Book Description:

A #1 New York Times bestseller, this innovative and wildly funny read-aloud by award-winning humorist/actor B.J. Novak will turn any reader into a comedian.
You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .
 
BLORK. Or BLUURF.
 
Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY.
 
Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again. (And parents will be happy to oblige.)

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