Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Release Date:
March 7, 2017
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Mystery
Buy: kindle | Hardcover 


After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.


Wow, this is a dark, twisted and disturbing book with a hopeful ending.  It seems that all the Roanoke girls have issues and die young, usually by their own hand.  After Lane's mother died Lane is brought to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra who is a strange and disturbed young woman. Though the two cousins grow close eventually Lane like other Roanoke girls flees the family home but gets called back 11 years later when her cousin goes missing.

As Lane desperately tries to discover what happened to her cousin she also is reconnecting with her past love whose heart she broke when she left.  The two are drawn to each other but this time instead of bringing out the worst in each other they may just be able to help each other break free of their pasts.  With alternating chapters from past to present you discover the mystery of what goes on in Roanoke and why there is so much tragedy in this family.

This book is tragic and yet in the end you find hope that Lane will be able to break free and be happy unlike the other Roanoke girls before her.  Amy Engel keeps you interested and slowly pulls you into the secrets of what is happening in this strange little town. Many of us are shaped by our pasts but we don't have to be defined by them.  Lane doesn't have to be a " Roanoke Girl" she can be her own person. This book really touches on that and how we don't have to let tragedy or our families control our future. Well written this book will stay with me for a while.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Audio Book: Overcoming Fears: Creating Safety for You and Your World by Louise Hay

Release date: May 10, 2006
Publisher: Hay House
Format: Audible
Length: 45 Minutes
Narrator: Louise Hay
Buy: Audio


On this audio program, best-selling author and lecturer, Louise L. Hay, helps you overcome fears through the positive strength of mediation and affirmations. By listening, you can change your negative thought patterns into healthy, positive ones.

Louise's meditation visualizes a world where it's safe to grow and love each other without fear. She stresses the importance of loving your inner child, and her vision of the world as a secure, loving place will help give you the confidence and power to make your own contribution to a productive and caring society.


There are two meditation in this audio book.  The first is a beautiful guided meditation to help heal your inner child and let go of fear.  It is a way to imagine a better world and a more peaceful planet. Great way to relax and let go of stress. Combined with long slow deep breathing this is a really helpful meditation to relax your body.  I felt that the relaxed state I was in after listening to this stayed with me for several hours afterward.  The flute music in the background was very soothing.

The second meditation is a series of positive affirmations that helps let go of negative emotions and tapes that we have playing in our heads and replace them with soft soothing words that all you to let go of the pain an turmoil that we have experienced.  It may take a few listens to buy into her theory but I have been working with Louise Hay's work for a long time and have found it immensely helpful and healing.

I may listen to this daily for a week and see what kind of changes come about.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Audio Book Review: The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike Book 1)

Release Date: May 16, 2013
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Format: Audible
Length: 15 hours 54 minutes
Narrator: Robert Glenister
Genre: Mystery
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.


I decided to read this based on the description of the story, it wasn't until I was almost finished that I found out that Robert Galbraith is the pen name of JK Rowling.  I'm almost glad I didn't know before hand so it didn't cloud my judgement.  I really love Harry Potter but they are very different books than Cuckoo's Calling.

Cormoran Strike is a flawed detective who is hired to investigate the death of a celebrity.  Despite his famous father Strike is anything but part of the "in" crowd.  Investigating the suicide of Lula Landry Strike finds himself immersed with celebrities and high fashion. He is a tall imposing man who is down on his luck but seems to be making due. He knows how to read people and is very good at his job and his luck seems to be taking a turn for the better.

Strikes new temporary secretary Robin is intrigued by detective work and by Strike.  Her job was supposed to be temporary but she begins to make herself indispensable to Cormoran and despite her fiances objections to her working for Strike she takes a full time position as his secretary.  I really liked Robin, she is a strong capable woman who really wants to help and get into detective work.

This book kept me interested and eager to listen.  I don't know if this was a product of the narrator or the actual book but either way it was very entertaining.  This is a good old fashioned detective novel and I loved it.  I have already downloaded the 2nd book in this series.  I think the narrator makes or breaks audio books and Robert Glenister is a fabulous voice actor. He changes his voice to the different characters really allowing you to become immersed in the story.

Monday, March 13, 2017

ARC Review: The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen

Release Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Group
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368 pages
Genre: Crime / Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.

She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. But she was not alone. When Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI-BCA violent crime force stumble upon the case, they discover a horror far greater than anyone expected—a string of murders on the High Line, all of them young women drifters whom no one would notice.

But someone has noticed now. Through the bleak midwinter and a frontier land of forbidding geography, Stevens and Windermere follow a frustratingly light trail of clues—and where it ends, even they will be shocked.


This is the 6th installment of Stevens/Windermere series.  I haven't read the others in this series but that didn't seem to be too big of a detriment.  The Forgotten Girls is about speaking for those who society doesn't seem to think count. The homeless, the runaways, the prostitutes.  These are the women who have been disappearing for years and no one has figured out why.  There are rumors of a ghost that hunts along the Highline, but the law just think its a myth.  Stevens and Windermere discover the connection while a young runaway tries to find evidence to get revenge for her friend.

This book is more action driven than character driven but there aren't very many twists and turns.  I wish there had been more suspense or twists to the story.  Despite the story being predictable it kept me entertained and I felt it was a good read.  I wish I had connected to the main characters a bit more but there wasn't much to connect with.  I've heard that the other books by Owen Laukkanen are quite good so I may have to give this author another shot.  Overall I enjoyed the book I just wish there had been a bit more to it.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review. 

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