Friday, August 30, 2019

Audio Book Review: Holding by Graham Norton

Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 7 hours 26 minutes
Narrator: Graham Norton
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Audible | Kindle 


Synopsis: 

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, but when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be those of Tommy Burke - a former lover of two different inhabitants - the village's dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated sergeant PJ Collins struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

In this darkly comic, touching and, at times, heartbreaking novel, perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters and explore - with searing honesty - the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

Review:

Witty tale about a small town in Ireland and an unexpected crime. Graham Norton's personality shines through as he reads his novel. Well written with fleshed out characters this book is more than a whodunit. Holding is more a tale of people, how we lie to ourselves and others, how we change as we age and how small towns can also hold big secrets.

Even though there are quite a few characters they are all very well developed.  Some you love and even those who aren't so nice show their humanity. The mystery itself keeps your interest and keeps you reading or in my case listening.  I was pleasantly surprised by this find.





Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Audio Book Review: Little Girl Lost A Foundlings Novel (The Foundlings Book 1) by Wendy Corsi Straub

Release Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Harper Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 11 hours 45 minutes
Narrator: Hillary Huber
Genre: Mystery/thriller
Buy: Audible | Kindle 


Synopsis: 

MAY, 1968
On a murky pre-dawn Mother's Day, sinister secrets play out miles apart in New York City. In Harlem, a church janitor finds an innocent newborn in a basket. In Brooklyn, an elusive serial killer prowls slumbering families, leaving a trail of blood and a twisted calling card. Cloaked in lies, these seemingly unrelated lives - and deaths - are destined to intersect on a distant, blood-soaked day.

OCTOBER, 1987
Reeling from shocking personal discoveries, two strangers navigate a world where nothing is as it seems. Amelia Crenshaw embarks on a search to discover the truth about the birth mother who abandoned her, never suspecting she's on a collision course with a killer. Detective Stockton Barnes, a brash young NYPD detective, trails a missing millionaire whose disappearance is rooted in a nightmare that began 20 years ago.

The past returns with a brutal vengeance as a masked predator picks off victims whose fates intertwine with a notorious murder spree solved back in '68 - or was it?

Review:

This was a complicated mystery with a lot of characters with nicknames and was often hard to follow. I really struggled with Amelia who seemed so bitter and angry at her parents for not having any money that she came off as much younger than she was supposed to be.  Even her new found friend who was also complaining about being a foundling wasn't nearly as whiny as Amelia's character although that seemed to shift at the very end.   I was very confused as to why all these people had to die, I understand that there was something about the end of days or something like that but it all didn't make much sense to me. I was also a bit confused how all the women from the first murders wound up pregnant - was he timing their cycles? it was never explained.  Overall this book was hard to get through just when I found myself following it something new was thrown in and I wasn't sure how it all fit or why.  There is a second book in this series and I am reluctant to read it but it did get better reviews than this one so I may be tempted to check it out but its not high on my to be read pile.





Friday, August 23, 2019

Audio Book Review: What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell

Release Date: October 1, 2018
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 9 hours 6 minutes
Narrator: Chris Andrew Ciulla 
Genre: Mystery/thriller
Buy: Audible | Kindle |   Paperback

Synopsis: 

When a mutilated body is found hanging in a seedy motel in Philadelphia, forensics specialist Liam Dwyer assumes the crime scene will be business as usual. Instead, the victim turns out to be a woman he'd had an affair with before breaking it off to save his marriage. But there's a bigger problem: Liam has no memory of where he was or what he did on the night of the murder.
Panicked, Liam turns to his brother, Sean, a homicide detective. Sean has his back, but incriminating evidence keeps piling up. From fingerprints to DNA, everything points to Liam, who must race against time and his department to uncover the truth - even if that truth is his own guilt. Yet as he digs deeper, dark secrets come to light, and Liam begins to suspect the killer might actually be Sean...
When the smoke clears in this harrowing family drama, who will be left standing?

Review:

This book was written prior to I Know Everything and although it has a similar feel it isn't as good as the other.  Liam Dwyer is a forensic detective, his brother Sean is a homicide detective.  When Liam is called to a horrific crime scene that seems eerily similar to his mother who went insane and tried to drown him and his brother. What I had a hard time with is despite all the mounting evidence Liam is a FORENSIC SCIENTIST!!!! Don't you think if he was going to commit a crime he wouldn't be so careless as to leave his fingerprints or DNA for the police to find?

I figured this one out fairly quickly and wasn't surprised by the real killer.  I was a little confused by the ending not sure what Farrell was trying to imply with the interaction between Sean and Liam at the very end.

Liam was pretty whiny and weak through most of this book, turning to his brother at every opportunity which made it hard for me to like him.  He was such a victim. Sean the charismatic older brothers character was more developed and likable. Although not many of the characters in this book were very likable.  I think I felt more for the victims than I did the people still alive trying to solve the case.

Given that Farrell's second book in this series was so much better I will still try him again.





Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Audio Book Review: Tangled Web books 1-3 by Althea Romig

Publisher: Audible Audio
Format: Audio
Narrator: Charlotte North & Jacob Morgan
Genre: Romance Suspense
Buy: my amazon store

Synopsis: 

TWISTED: The underworld of Chicago is far from forgiving. It's a world where knowledge means power, power money, and money everything.

While I paid the ultimate price to have it all, it wasn't my decision to give my life....

That doesn't mean I ceased to exist, only to live. Going where the job takes me and living in the shadows, with deadly accuracy I utilize the skills inherent to me, not knowing from where they came, not recalling what I'd lost.

And then I saw her. Laurel Carlson. I shouldn't want her, desire her, or need her, yet with each sighting I know she is exactly what I have to have. Laurel has the ability to do what I thought was impossible. She sees what others don't.

My gut tells me that it's a deadly mistake to change my plans and open my world to her. My mind says she'll be repulsed by my twisted existence.

None of that matters, because my body won't take no for an answer.

I've made dangerous mistakes before. This time, will the price be too high?

OBSESSED: Everything changed the night our eyes met across the room. His green gaze upon me prickled my skin with uncustomary warmth while my peek beneath his cuff - of a riot of color on his wrist - sparked my insatiable curiosity. Tall and mysterious, Kader was a man whose secrets I longed to know.

Little did I realize that the night we met was only the beginning - the beginning to the end of the existence I knew.

What will happen as his assignment becomes our obsession?

BOUND: With danger lurking around every corner and my life turned upside down, I struggle with who to believe and who to trust. 

Can my heart convince my mind that what was bound long ago is where I'll find love, safety, and security?

Or are the memories simply an illusion? 

Review:

This was a pretty good series. It was more mystery and thriller than steamy romance although there was a bit of that as well.  I really liked how each book started where the last one stopped and then carried forward. Secret government agencies, hit men, dark web and smart houses move the story along at a fast clip.  I may have to seek out other books by this author because I read a review that said that some of the characters in this book bleed over to another series.  Over all this was a solid good read.





Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Audio Book Review: I Know Everything by Matthew Farrell

Release Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 9 hours 17 minutes
Narrator: Cynthia Farrell
Genre: Mystery/thriller
Buy: Audible | Kindle |   Paperback

Synopsis: 

Police investigator Susan Adler is ready to close the book on a deadly car accident, but after the medical examiner discovers evidence of foul play, she knows she has a murder on her hands. The victim was the wealthy wife of Randall Brock, a renowned psychiatrist who treats patients with disturbing, brutal fantasies. And just like that, Susan’s got a suspect.

Randall has a violent past but knows he didn’t kill his wife. In the midst of his crushing grief, Randall receives a visit from a stranger with information to share about his wife’s death. But there’s a catch: in exchange for the stranger’s information, Randall must reveal dark secrets he’s kept hidden for years. As this shady figure applies more pressure and Susan closes in, Randall begins to doubt himself, clinging desperately to the pieces of his sanity.

Revelations and suspicious coincidences send shock waves through the investigation, and circumstances spin out of control. Susan must race to put it all together before it’s too late—before the next murder strikes too close to home.

Review:

This was a twisty tale.  I kind of figured it out about halfway through but apparently I was only half right.  This creepy story kept me engaged all the way through as I tried to figure out who may have actually killed Randalls wife.  Lots of twists and turns, and edge of your seat thrills, this one will keep you up all night trying to figure it all out and just when you think you have it, something happens that leads you down another path.  Excellent writing.





Friday, August 16, 2019

ARC Book Review: Consent: A memoir of unwanted attention by Donna Freitas

Release Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: Little Brown & Co
Format: ebook
Pages: 337 pages
Genre:  Memoir
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover | 

Synopsis:

Donna Freitas has lived two lives. In one life, she is a well-published author and respected scholar who has traveled around the country speaking about Title IX, consent, religion, and sex on college campuses. In the other, she is a victim, a woman who suffered and suffers still because she was stalked by her graduate professor for more than two years.

As a doctoral candidate, Freitas loved asking big questions, challenging established theories and sinking her teeth into sacred texts. She felt at home in the library, and safe in the book-lined offices of scholars whom she admired. But during her first year, one particular scholar became obsessed with Freitas' academic enthusiasm. He filled her student mailbox with letters and articles. He lurked on the sidewalk outside her apartment. He called daily and left nagging voicemails. He befriended her mother, and made himself comfortable in her family's home. He wouldn't go away. While his attraction was not overtly sexual, it was undeniably inappropriate, and most importantly--unwanted.

Review: 

I struggled through this book.  While the story was engrossing I felt that Freitas went off on tangents that just went on and on.  I don't really care how many people she kissed at prom nor does it really do much for a story about a professor's inappropriate behavior. It almost seems like she is trying to build a case for why his behavior is wrong which makes me sad.  Stalking is brutal in the sense that it takes away your sense of security, you find yourself jumpy and always looking over your shoulder.  No matter what she wore, talked about, discussed, even if she had had sex with him, his behavior is wrong because it was unwanted.  Once the relationship moves beyond consent its unwanted and creepy. 

This is an interesting story and one I think others should read, her writing style just wasn't for me. 






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

Discover other books or products I like: https://www.amazon.com/shop/readinggrrl 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Book Review: A Divided Mind by M Billiter

Release Date: July 27, 2019
Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing
Format: ebook
Pages: 322 pages
Genre:  Psychological Fiction
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | 

Synopsis:

Sometimes that little voice in your head isn’t always yours.

What if the only friend you have isn’t real? When the voices in his head begin to make sense, high school senior Branson Kovac turns to the one friend he’s still got… only to discover he’s not really there.

Review: 

There are many books out there with characters with mental illness and not all of them really show you the ripple effect that has on the family, and the people around them.   Based on Billiters own mental health family struggles this one hits it out of the ballpark.

I was drawn in from the first and as the book goes along I wanted to cry for the whole family.  The loss of who a person was to who they become when the mental illness takes hold, the struggle of the person suffering, trying to navigate through life. The blame a parent feels and the struggle to hold it together for your child is all in here and tears at your heart.

Written in alternating chapters you see the point of view of Tara the single parent to four children, and the point of view of Branson  one half of twins who has been struggling with mental health issues since 8th grade.  Now a senior in high school his symptoms are getting worse and its time for him to reach out for help.

I can't say enough about this book.  With so many families struggling with mental health issues its time we take this out and start talking about it.  Having positive conversations about it and stop shying away and looking disapprovingly at those who are struggling.  Fabulous book and I can't say enough good things about it.







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

Discover other books or products I like: https://www.amazon.com/shop/readinggrrl 

Friday, August 9, 2019

ARC Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Release Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Format: ebook
Pages: 352 pages
Genre:  Mystery/Thrillers
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover | 

Synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Review: 

Unlike many of the reviews I actually really enjoyed this book...to a point.  I was immediately sucked in trying to figure out what child was killed, how they were killed and who may have done it if it wasn't Rowan.  The writing is a little strange since it is supposed to be Rowan writing to a solicitor and telling her story, however you often forget its a letter until Ware pops in something about who the letter is to which is slightly distracting but still didn't take away from the story.  Overall I was thoroughly engrossed in this mystery trying to figure things out as I usually do, then bam it ends.  Just like that.  No real ending.  I have no real clear cut answer as to what happened to Rowan. I feel very unsatisfied and a little angry that I'm left in limbo just guessing at what may have happened.

I wish I could recommend this book because I really like the author but the ending was so disappointing that I just can't knowingly put anyone else through that.







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

Discover other books or products I like: https://www.amazon.com/shop/readinggrrl 
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