Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Release Day Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pub. Date: July 17th, 2018
Pages: 320

Genres: Contemporary Fiction / Suspense / Family Drama


Synopsis



Sweetness can be deceptive.


Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

 

What Did I Think About the Story?



Baby Teeth is quite a unique work of fiction. I don't think I've ever come across a character like Hannah before. The reader knows from the beginning that there's something kind of off about her, but it takes turning page after page to discover just how sinister this little girl really is. And while I can't say that this was as 'thrilling" as I was expecting I can say that it took me on an interesting ride that went places I never would have thought possible given that one of our main characters is a small child.

The story alternates between Hannah and Suzette's points of view and I can easily say that Hannah's were the most interesting. Her portions are terrifying for their simplistic and honest insanity...she simply wants her mother to go away and leave her and her daddy alone and will do anything to make that happen. It comes across as almost a game to her and she doesn't see any problem with harming someone else to get what she wants (which isn't only her mother by the way...there is a particularly horrid incident at a school that results in an injured mentally handicapped child). Her mind is just so twisted and the author did an excellent job of getting into that mind and voicing the inner monologue in an age-appropriate way.

I unfortunately didn't find Suzette's voice nearly as interesting. At first it was intriguing watching her battle between her maternal instincts and hopes for her relationship with her daughter and the little monster she actually had, but after a while this back and forth dilemma grew a little tiresome. I kept wondering why Suzette didn't set up a hidden camera to catch her daughter in action, or, when she would growl or pretend she was possessed by the spirit of a dead witch (the only time she talked, by the way), why Suzette didn't record her daughter to prove to her husband that she wasn't making her daughter's bad behavior up. I won't even go into how annoying I found the husband as he wish-washed his way through his interactions with both his wife and his daughter. It's pretty bad that things had to progress to the level they did before he believed that his daughter was, in fact, a psychopath.

Towards the end the action really picks up and I was excitedly waiting to see how everything would resolve itself....to come to the end of what felt more like a cliffhanger than any real ending. I really hope there is a sequel because, if not, the ending left me really disappointed.   

All in all, Baby Teeth is, as I said in the beginning, really unique. I love when an author comes up with something different, something that makes me remember why I like reading. Hannah is definitely a character to remember, I just wish her mother and father were as dynamic as she was. I will definitely pick up the sequel if it comes out because I need to know what surprises Hannah might have in store next!


What Did I Think About the Cover?



I think it's subtle but great! The advanced copy I received actually had the lollipop intact on the cover and, once you turned the cover over, you saw the image of the shattered candy. I love this as it perfectly represents something that looks so innocent, but that can be shattered into a million pieces - as is occurring with this family.


My Rating: 3.5/5.0


I received an ARC (advanced readers copy) of Baby Teeth from St. Martin's Press. All opinions are mine alone. To find more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy, see Goodreads HERE.
 
 


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cover Crush: A People's History of the Vampire Uprising by Raymond A. Villareal

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful!

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at
Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. You'll find my Cover Crush selection below and I'll link to everyone else's at the end of the post.
 
So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....
 
 
 
 
This is such a simple cover but I just can't stop looking at it. I think it's the eye staring out at me! I think the bright red definitely makes me think of blood, especially next to the huge words "vampire" under the eye, and I love that white is used for the wording so it really stands out. I think the uncluttered cover also gives the illusion of a history book. But there again is that eye that won't look away! I don't know, I just like it!
 
Let's see what this "history" book has to teach us...
 
 
A virus that turns people into something somehow more than human quickly sweeps the world, upending society as we know it.
This panoramic thriller begins with one small mystery. The body of a young woman found in an Arizona border town, presumed to be an illegal immigrant, walks out of the town morgue. To the young CDC investigator called in to consult the local police, it's a bizarre medical mystery.

More bodies, dead of a mysterious disease that solidifies their blood, are brought to the morgue, and disappear. In a futile game of catch-up, the CDC, the FBI, and the US government must come to terms with what they're too late to stop: an epidemic of vampirism that will sweep first the United States, and then the world.

Impossibly strong, smart, poised, beautiful, and commanding, these vampires reject the term as derogatory, preferring the euphemistic "gloamings." They quickly rise to prominence in all aspects of modern society: sports, entertainment, and business. Soon people are begging to be 're-created,' willing to accept the risk of death if their bodies can't handle the transformation. The stakes change yet again when a charismatic and wealthy businessman, recently turned, decides to do what none of his kind has done before: run for political office.

This sweeping yet deeply intimate fictional oral history--told from the perspectives of several players on all sides of the titular vampire uprising--is a genre-bending, shocking, immersive and subversive debut that is as addictive as the power it describes.
 
 
Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):


Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired



Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede
 
 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Audiobook Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Pub. Date: October 20th, 2015

Publisher: Hachette Audio

Length: 17 hours, 58 minutes

Series: Cormoran Strike #3

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller / Crime Drama




Synopsis



When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them....


Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.


What Did I Think About the Story?




Career of Evil is my favorite Cormoran Strike novel yet! I feel like I can't get enough of Strike or Robin and love seeing each of their characters, as well as their relationship together, develop and grow from book to book. In this novel we really get to see further into their personal histories and how those experiences have influenced the development of their personalities. Both of them have gone through some very dark situations, situations that, in Strike's case, lead around to the case at the center of this story.

As you can read from the synopsis, there is a serial killer/body mutilator sending body parts to Robin along with taunting messages that tie back to Blue Oyster Cult lyrics. Strike's mother, an infamous rock groupie who died of a drug overdose years before, was a fan of the group and this instantly puts Strike on alert that the killer is somehow tied to his and his mother's past. As Strike searches for the various men who he sees as suspects we get to peek into his sad and torturous childhood with his mother and her rotating group of "boyfriends" who, often, treat Cormoran, his sister, and his mother horribly. For me this really solidified Strike's personality and why he's often somewhat withdrawn and impersonal with those that get too close to him. He's built a wall up around his heart and it isn't easy for him to let people in, even when he does, deep down, care for them and want to protect them.

While this is all going on we get to know Robin Ellacott better as well. We learn the shocking and devastating reason she quite college and the dark secret she's been trying to hide from Strike, scared that, if he knew, he'd fire her from the only job she's ever truly loved.  We see why she fights so hard to be strong and independent, and seen as such by those around her. We see her relationship with her fiancée take some unexpected turns, turns that kept me personally glued to the page as much as the investigation.

The narrator once again did an exceptional job of giving all these characters distinct voices, voices I'm very much going to miss as I wait for the (fingers crossed) next installment in this series. I should mention that Career of Evil, as well as the rest of the series, is filled with quite a bit of graphic imagery, situations, and profanity. While this doesn't bother me I wanted to mention it so people who do have a problem with those sorts of situations are aware.

I really do hope there are more books in this series to come out. I've listened to each audiobook this year and I'm now a little sad that I don't have another to listen to. I definitely recommend this series for those that enjoy a gritty murder mystery and ones that have characters that are both humorous and troubled in particular.


What Did I Think About the Cover?



Much like the cover of The Silkworm, it doesn't really represent this story very well. However, it does add that touch of mystery you'd expect from this sort of story, so I do like that.


My Rating: 4.5/5.0


I borrowed a copy of the audiobook version of Career of Evil from my library's Overdrive account. All opinions are mine alone. You can find more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy, on Goodreads HERE.
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Release Day Review: Somebody's Daughter by David Bell

Pub. Date: July 10th, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books
Pages: 432

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Mystery / Thriller / Family Drama


Synopsis



In the pulse-racing new suspense novel from the bestselling and acclaimed author of Bring Her Home and Since She Went Away, the life of a little girl rests in the hands of the father who never even knew she existed...


When Michael Frazier's ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep pleading for help, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Erica's nine-year-old daughter is missing--and Michael is the father. Unable to quickly determine if Erica is telling the truth, and unwilling to leave the little girl's fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted and never knew he had.

But finding Felicity comes at a price--the closer Michael gets to the truth, the further into jeopardy his marriage falls and the faster his family begins to unravel. As lies that span a decade bubble to the surface and the window for Felicity's safe return closes, Michael will have just a few short days to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth.


What Did I Think About the Story?



While I have a number of David Bell books on my shelves, Somebody's Daughter is, in fact, the first I've read. The synopsis makes it sound so mysterious - is Felicity Michael's daughter? Where is the girl? Why did her mother never tell Michael about her before she disappeared? - that I jumped in and entered the Goodreads giveaway for an advanced reader copy. Lo and behold I won! The story ended up being quite an interesting and twisty mystery, even though there were some aspects of it that kept me from loving the book overall.

The book is divided up into short chapters that alternate between the POV's of Michael, his wife, Angela, and one of the detectives on the case, Detective Griffin. I did very much enjoy the short chapters as they made for easy stopping places and always seemed to leave off with a little cliffhanger that made you want to keep reading. With this being said, while both Michael and Angela's chapters flowed well and felt essential to the storyline, I wasn't as captivated by Griffin's chapters. She has her own current issues that, while they make her sympathetic to what the characters are experiencing, felt, to me, like extra storyline that could have been left out of what I felt was an already too long book. So much extraneous detail and so many characters were involved that I just kept thinking that this would have been more thrilling to me if it was edited down a bit.

I don't want it to sound like I didn't enjoy the story at all, because I really did. There were a lot of delicious twists along our way to discovering where Felicity was, who had taken her, and whether or not Michael was actually her father. I, for one, was completely surprised when the characters found Felicity and discovered not only who took her but why she was taken. I always love when a book can surprise me and this one definitely did! I also really liked that the story was nicely wrapped up in the end, with all the answers I had remaining answered and a nice little hint at what the characters could look forward to in the future.

Somebody's Daughter, while not a page-turning thrill-fest for me, was a well thought out, twisting mystery that I enjoyed getting to the eventual bottom of.  I liked the ending and, by the last page, enjoyed my overall time spent with the characters. I'm still very much looking forward to my other David Bell books and am curious to see how they stack up to this one. 


What Did I Think About the Cover?



I think it's very cool. I'm not positive who the woman is, but I love how we're seeing her through a sort of kaleidoscope, giving you a sinister sort of feeling of confusion and mystery. It's a great cover for a story such as this!


My Rating: 3.0/5.0


I received an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Somebody's Daughter from Goodreads and Berkley Books. All opinions are mine alone. For more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy, see Goodreads HERE.
 
 
  

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Cover Crush: All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful!

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at
Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. You'll find my Cover Crush selection below and I'll link to everyone else's at the end of the post.
 
 
So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....
 
 
 
 
It's really hard to decide where to begin describing what I love about this cover, but I'll try! The colors are so lovely and bold that, even with all that is going on, everything feels very distinct and defined. I love the detailed, swirling vines, leaves, and curlicues around the outside, drawing the eye within it to that unwinding scroll, castle, and intriguing red profile in the center. We've even got the glass slipper and hourglass to complete the visual representation of the story within. It's just perfect!!
 
 Why don't we read the synopsis to find out more about what we have to look forward to reading...
 
 
In the vein of Wicked, The Woodcutter, and Boy, Snow, Bird, a luminous reimagining of a classic tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, Cinderella’s “evil” stepmother.

We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?

As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. . . .

A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice when she is only ten years old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenaged Agnes is seduced by an older man and becomes pregnant, she is transformed by love for her child. Once again left penniless, Agnes has no choice but to return to servitude at the manor she thought she had left behind. Her new position is nursemaid to Ella, an otherworldly infant. She struggles to love the child who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, eventually, the celebrated princess who embodies everyone’s unattainable fantasies. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises.

Lyrically told, emotionally evocative, and brilliantly perceptive, All the Ever Afters explores the hidden complexities that lie beneath classic tales of good and evil, all the while showing us that how we confront adversity reveals a more profound, and ultimately more important, truth than the ideal of “happily ever after.”
 
 
Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):


Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired




Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede
 
 
 

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Tip of My Wish List: It's Pre-Order Madness!

If you're anything like me you've got a book wish list so long there is no way you will ever be able to read through it all. And, on top of that, it's never ending because you just can't stop adding more books to it! To try and organize myself I'm sharing 5 books from my wish list that I'm most excited to get to, usually with a common theme, on the last Friday of each month. I know a number of excellent bloggers who will be doing similar posts and I'll be sure to link to their posts as well so you can see all the goodies we're excited about and, hopefully, add a few new books to your own wish list. I'll also link the titles to Goodreads where you can read reviews and find the various ways to purchase a copy of the books if they sound like your style. I really hope you enjoy and let me know if you've read any of these or have others you would add to the list.
 
I very rarely pre-order books as I never seem to find the time to read the books right when they come out. However I recently noticed that I had in fact pre-ordered a number of books from some of my favorite authors, and thus a wish list post was born! I am so excited for these books to come in and am counting down the days for all of them!
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
 
 
Why did you do that to me Mummy, don’t you love me?


Kath lives with her husband Adam and daughter Lyla in a desolate stone longhouse deep in Dartmoor National Park. She likes her life the moors are beautiful, if bleak and she counts herself as happy, even if they struggle with money, and work, and her daughter's shyness.

But one day Kath wakes up from a coma, with a vague memory of a near-fatal car accident. She hugs her daughter close, likewise her husband Adam. But there’s something wrong. Adam seems furious with her and Lyla is acting evermore strangely. They should be delighted to see her alive, snatched from certain death. But they won't meet her gaze

Then Kath learns that the car crash wasn't an accident, and her whole life collapses into a world of panic, and danger.



Watching You


Gripping psychological suspense from the number one bestselling author of Then She Was Gone, as what begins as an innocent crush develops into a dangerous infatuation.


You’re back home after four years working abroad with a brand new husband in tow.

You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now you’re living with your big brother, camped out in his spare bedroom.

And then – quite unexpectedly – you meet the man next door.

He’s the head teacher of the local high school. He’s twice your age. And he’s devastatingly attractive.
Soon you find you’re watching him. All the time.

But what you don’t know is that someone is watching you.

Or that what has started as an innocent crush is quickly turning into an obsession as dark as it is deadly.


Family secrets, illicit passion and an unexplained murder lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s gripping new novel. 




The Clockmaker's Daughter


A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House—the story of a love affair and a mysterious murder that cast their shadow across generations, set in England from the 1860's until the present day.


My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.


In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor in rural Oxfordshire. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?


Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.



Daughters of the Lake


The ghosts of the past come calling in a spellbinding heart-stopper from the “Queen of the Northern Gothic.”


After the end of her marriage, Kate Granger has retreated to her parents’ home on Lake Superior to pull herself together—only to discover the body of a murdered woman washed into the shallows. Tucked in the folds of the woman’s curiously vintage gown is an infant, as cold and at peace as its mother. No one can identify the woman. Except for Kate. She’s seen her before. In her dreams…

One hundred years ago, a love story ended in tragedy, its mysteries left unsolved. It’s time for the lake to give up its secrets. As each mystery unravels, it pulls Kate deeper into the eddy of a haunting folktale that has been handed down in whispers over generations. Now, it’s Kate’s turn to listen.

As the drowned woman reaches out from the grave, Kate reaches back. They must come together, if only in dreams, to right the sinister wrongs of the past.


A Spark of Light


The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.


Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Check out these lovely blogs for more books to add to your wish list(updated as they become available):


Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Magdalena at A Bookish Swede
 


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Cover Crush (Summertime Edition): Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful!

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at
Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. You'll find my Cover Crush selection below and I'll link to everyone else's at the end of the post.

For the month of June I've decided to gear my Cover Crushes towards all things Summer. I just can't think of much else right now and each of the covers I'll share this month will make you long to dip your toes in the water as much as I do!

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....
 
 
 
 
Can't you just feel the wind whipping through your hair?? This is such a pretty picture, with the lovely-dressed woman on her pink bike with her basket full of brightly-colored flowers! And that blue sky...not a cloud to taint the day. This looks like my ideal vacation spot and I very much wish I could just climb right in!
 
Let's see what summer secrets this story is hiding....
 
 
The queen of beach books (The Star-Ledger) returns to the shores of Nantucket in a novel about one memorable summer when flirtations flourish, family dramas play out, and scandalous secrets surface.

Memorial Day weekend means that seasonal visitors have descended on the glamorous island of Nantucket. For year-round resident Darcy Cotterill, it means late-night stargazing in the backyard of the beautiful house she grew up in and inherited from her beloved grandmother. It s also Darcy s chance to hit the beach and meet her new summertime neighbors. But the last person the thirty-year-old librarian expects to see staying next door is her ex-husband, Boyz, along with his wife, Autumn, and stepdaughter, Willow.

Darcy must also navigate the highs and lows of a new romantic relationship with local carpenter Nash Forester even as she becomes smitten with handsome vacationer Clive Rush, a musicologist in town to write a book and visit family. And she finds herself pulled into the concerns of Boyz, Autumn, a charming elderly neighbor, and an at-risk teen.

As the season nears its end, Darcy must decide her next move: retreating to the comforts of her steady and secure island life, or risking it all for a chance at true happiness. 


Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):


Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired




Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede