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An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of  400-500 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger.  Enjoy ARCs and new releases. 

 

 

 

Currently reading

It Happens All the Time: A Novel
Amy Hatvany
Close Enough to Touch: A Novel
Colleen Oakley
Slightly South of Simple: A Novel (The Peachtree Bluff Series)
Kristy Woodson Harvey

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour - T. Greenwood

By: T. Greenwood

ISBN:  978-0758290571

Publisher: Kensington 

Publication Date: 2/28/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars +

 
Master storyteller T. Greenwood returns following (2016) Where I Lost Her — my Top 50 Books of 2016 with her latest masterpiece, THE GOLDEN HOUR, another gripping spellbinding suspense page-turner and complex tale of family secrets.

With finesse, a skillful blending of symbolism, metaphors, and artistry; equally, character and plot-driven, a mix of literary, historical and women’s fiction; mystery, suspense, and psychological thriller, rolled into one.

THE GOLDEN HOUR is a compelling saga with dual storylines. Greenwood ensnares you from the first page to the finale. She weaves deftly between past and present with highly charged topics. A story of friendship, lies, and dark secrets. As usual, with Greenwood’s own signature lyrical style, she uses vivid mysterious settings, strong elements of nature, and the power of art.

Wyn is a wife and mother and yet she struggles with a tragic event when she was thirteen years old. The day in the woods in New Hampshire. Her life changed. No one knows the truth about what happened. She has kept silent. Someone’s secret and her own.

Now she paints birches. (“woods” and forest, also another reference throughout the book). Living in Queens in a duplex, Wyn, is a mother to four-year-old daughter, Avery. Next door on the other side of the duplex— is her husband (ex), Gus.

She is an artist. However, she is not painting what she loves. She has turned to painting "quirky birches"(trees) to match her clients home décor. Boring, yet she was grateful for the work and the commission jobs in order to take care of the bills.

Gus is a good father, (they still love one another), and in order to share custody and keep the bills down, they are living next door to one another. He is a free-spirt and owns a sign shop. An artist as well.

Wyn knows this living arrangement cannot last forever, being this close to one another. He had inherited it from his grandmother and when the tenant moved out on the other side, Wyn moved on the other side of the wall.

She realizes something must change. Even though they were not legally divorced, or even separated for that matter. He wanted Wyn to focus on real painting and not the stupid birches. She was thirty-three years old and would not go back to working at a bar. This would have to do for now. They had split up over the stupid tree paintings. (among other things). This was the last straw.

She is feeling particularly uneasy. She has just received the news: Robert J. Rousseau. He was charged with rape years ago. A local activist solicits help from New Hampshire Innocence Project (a former social worker), who insists he was falsely accused —in the 1996 crime.

Now twenty years later, she must re-live the nightmare. They want to test for DNA. Back then, he confessed. He was never supposed to get out. He was supposed to rot in prison. That is what the New Hampshire family lawyer had promised. Her entire world was shattered. Back then and now once again.

Had she sold her soul back then, to the devil? She was a young scared girl. Now, a scared woman.

Her mom, dad, brother, friends and Gus are worried about her. The media is hovering. She wants to escape. She cannot allow this to happen. Then she begins receiving sick phone calls and emails, threatening her and her family. The caller is a man and says he knows she has a little girl. She had to get away. Gus does not know the real truth.

In the meantime, while she is in denial, her friend Pilar, had left her a message about joining her in Maine. She decides this may be a way to hide out. She and Pilar have been friends for years and in college, as well as Gus. They all attended art school together at Rhode Island School of Design fifteen years earlier.

While Wyn had resigned herself to painting those happy birches and Gus used his skills to make metal signs, Pilar’s career had moved at a steady pace and then the following year a collector fell in love with her work, and suddenly she was an artist with a capital A. The NYT had featured a showing at a gallery and all changed for her. Has Pilar changed?

Pilar has recently purchased a crumbling clapboard cottage which sits atop a rocky cliff on Bluffs Island, a remote islet far off the coast of Maine. She had bought it on a whim one summer after she sold some paintings for a high five figures.

Wyn was no longer a free-spirit as they had been back in college. She was afraid. She had been running away for twenty years. She was doing it once again. It had been twenty years since she cast the first lie. But what was the truth?

“This the thing about a lie: over time, it not only obscures the truth but consumes it . . . A lie, in collusion with time, can overpower the truth. A good lie has the power to subsume reality. A good lie can become the truth . . . However, lies are also precarious things. Each twist and, each flutter of a wing, each protest threatening to tear the intricate construction apart.”


She finally persuades Gus into allowing her to take Avery to Maine after three weeks. She, of course, does not tell him nor anyone the reason for leaving, nor about the phone calls. However, once she arrives, she discovers the home is in great need of work, very remote, and Pilar does not visit often, due to the weather, traveling, and her work.

However, instead of painting as she had planned, she has time on her hands and procrastinates. Time for worry and stress about the event years ago which changed her life. What will happen when the truth comes out?

Instead of thinking about the petition for retrial and the thought of testifying—and the possibility of this monster going free and what she may have to face— she escapes into another world, when she discovers film in a box, in the old crumbled house’s basement. She becomes protective of this person's work. It is intimate. Delicate. Sensitive.

Roll after roll of 35mm film. Undeveloped. Who takes 50 rolls of film and doesn’t get them developed? She cannot figure out this mystery. She is intrigued. This is a distraction for her.

First, let me say, the house is very mysterious, and the guy next door. (what a brilliant addition to the story and tie-in). Up to this point, the mystery is what really happened twenty years earlier. Readers know something is not right and Wyn is hiding something. Some secret. Some lie. She is worried and afraid for her family.

Rather than dwelling on this, Wyn becomes obsessed with the film and the lives in the photos. She has a few rolls developed and is further intrigued. A mysterious woman. Did this woman live in this house? She was a photographer. It appears there was possibly a lover and a baby. This is like wow, another saga! This storyline takes front and center. What happened to the woman?

Gus comes to visit to take Avery for a few weeks over the holiday and Wyn gives him the film for their friend back home to develop in his dark room. When she receives the negatives, she is further pulled into the mystery and intrigue of what happened to Sybil, the woman. (so was I) …

She and Pilar are invited to the large mansion (Gatsby) home (loving this) for a New Year’s Eve party and begins to try and piece together the mystery of the woman in the photo. Who is this wealthy man? Their second home. The wife seems very odd. However, Pilar does not visit often and now she is alone at this house, while Avery is with Gus.

However, what she learns about the woman in the photo and her discovery may just give her the strength to return to her hometown in New Hampshire and face her fears. Change her perspective. Will she finally have the courage, to tell the truth, and not be afraid? To heal from the pain.

The secrets of Wyn, Rick, Robby, Sybil, and Seamus. The cost of silence. Waiting for the lies to come unraveled. Guilt. A dangerous path. Humanity’s darker side.

“The funny thing about the truth is, it always seems to have a way to getting free. For two decades, I could practically hear the beatings of wings against those invisible threads, gossamer snapping, coming undone.”


A lot to love here! From the dark thickness of trees, path through the woods, (heart-pounding) forest, running for safety, snow, fire, water, the old Cliffside Gatsby-like mansion, mermaid tears, the rocky cliff, the bluffs, the crashing waves, the danger lurking, evil, the cottage, a death, a rape, the emotion, a mysterious man next door, and two very dark secrets. The author executes it brilliantly. Would make a great movie or series!

Greenwood is a pro at blending all these elements and palettes of color . . . (you can tell she is a photographer) . . . building suspense and keeping you on the edge-of-your-seat. All the while you are so caught up in the second mystery at the Bluffs from long ago, you almost forget about the mystery behind what happened to Wyn when she was thirteen (this comes towards the ending).

All consuming, compelling, and atmospheric. With the dual timelines-Greenwood slowly reveals in detail the events leading up to the rape, the raw emotions and fear of a young girl, her struggles, her near death experience, and the secret and guilt she has had to live with.

In addition, we learn of the Bluffs Island secret. The Epitaphs and Prophecies box. What really happened to the woman who lived in the house. A murder, scandal, a suicide? The house had been sitting for thirty-five years. Each photo captures the essence. Present. Past. End. Beginning.

Ongoing themes of before and after. At the heart, a deeply human story; a timely tragic issue of consent, rape, bullying, the scars, both literal and emotional . . . the repercussions. From memorable characters—surrounded by a web of deceit, fractured families, destructive secrets, lies . . . bringing characters to life—keeping you captivated from the first page to the last. 5 Stars ++

Am strongly reminded of Robert Frost's early poem, "Birches".

"The force behind it comes from contrary pulls—truth and imagination, earth and heaven, concrete and spirit, control and abandon, flight and return. The whole upward thrust of the poem is toward imagination, escape, and transcendence—and away from heavy Truth with a capital T. The downward pull is back to earth. . . "

Wyn is using the Maine house, her birches, her secret, and the mystery she discovers as an escape. However, like the poem, she does not wish to be left out on a limb. For the poet, he looks at bent trees and imagines another truth.


An avid Greenwood fan for years (one of my favorite authors), have read ALL her books and anxiously await the next. Each one is a rare treat. When I begin one of her books, I know it is a special gift and know to "mark out" uninterrupted time before beginning. I am like a "giddy kid" and "over the moon" when being granted an early reading copy. (thank you Kensington)

An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions (a great reading guide included). Highly recommend! For fans of Mary Kubica, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Karen White, Jodi Picoult, Heather Gudenkauf, Diane Chamberlain, and Amy Hatvany.

A VERY special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (Love the cover.)

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Congrats!!!
 
T. GREENWOOD'S RUST AND STARDUST PRE-EMPTED BY ST. MARTIN'S

Publishers Marketplace | February 23, 2017

 

T. Greenwood’s RUST AND STARDUST, when an 11-year old is kidnapped in 1948 by a convicted felon, so begins a 21-month journey exploring both the crime and criminal as well as the effect upon the girl, her family left behind, and her community; the spark upon which Vladimir Nabakov based LOLITA, a literary thriller and kaleidoscopic family portrait, to Hope Dellon at St. Martin’s, in a two-book deal, for publication in Spring 2018, by Victoria Sanders at Victoria Sanders & Associates (World).

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/19/The-Golden-Hour

The Nearness of You

The Nearness of You: A Novel - Amanda Eyre Ward

By:  Amanda Eyre Ward

ISBN:  9781101887158

Publisher: Random House 

Publication Date: 2/21/2017 

Format: Hardcover  

My Rating: 4 Stars

 
Storyteller, Amanda Eyre Ward returns following (2015) The Same Sky with another thought-provoking and gripping tale of four wounded characters in THE NEARNESS OF YOU. (Beautiful cover ).

What does it take to be a real mother? With highly charged topics, Ward delves deeply into the emotions of the human psyche and what it takes to be a family. A surrogate young girl goes missing, disrupting the lives of all that are near and dear to the unborn child.

Set in Houston, Texas –Hyland and Suzette Kendell are married and celebrating their anniversary. It is the year, 2000 and the couple have been married for fifteen years and approaching forty years of age.

Suzette is a successful heart surgeon and Hyland an architect. He came from a horrific childhood and he would love to have children and a family. His parents had been killed in a car accident when he was eleven and grew up in the foster care system. He now works from home and desperately wants a family.

However, workaholic Suzette had been upfront from the beginning, she did not want children. Her mom was mentally ill and in an institution. She most likely would always remain there until she died.

Her father had died years earlier and her mom went a little crazy- erratic and paranoid, causing serious trauma for Suzette during her childhood. She too was sick in college; however, controls it with her meds. They continue to keep her mother in a nice facility and sometimes she tells herself her mom is really dead.

Suzette does not want to pass this sickness to children. She wants it to end here. She could not be the easy, breezy, fertile wife Hyland might have wanted; however, she would not be made to feel that she was lacking.

They are now ready for surrogacy. Hyland would sire a child. He was delighted with the opportunity of becoming a father. He would medically impregnate someone younger who would carry the baby to term. Suzette could keep working without interruption. It was a win-win. Or so she thought.

Suzette panicked and was scared, similar to PTSD, due to her own childhood dramas. They find what they think is the perfect candidate and was going to pay her $35,000 to cover the cost. However, the gal backs out due to Suzette being busy with work. She was not going to apologize for doing her job.

In the meantime, Suzette deals with life and death daily. Giving life after ending life with tragedy at the hospital. She cared deeply for her patients and she connected better with the babies than the adults. Each was a reminder.

Months pass and there is another candidate. This girl was much younger and inexperienced. She had never been married and never had a child, like the first candidate.

As a last resort, they decide on Dorrie (age 21). She gets pregnant quickly. We hear from different POVs. She worked at Sea-o-Rama feeding penguins. She wanted to escape her life and get off Galveston Island. She could finally move away from her mother and her dull disappointment—away from the stories about her deadbeat dad. It meant a bigger life: college, and a chance to succeed. When she had seen the ad, she knew this was the only way to attain money for college. A way out.

However, could she lease her body, and then hand over her child? She would trade nine months of her life. She earned less than $10.00 hour at her current job. The gift of life. It was love versus money. Which would win out in the end? Could she go through with it? Or escape?

She could drive away from Texas and make a life on Grand Isle, Louisiana. She needed to escape her own sad mom’s depression and alcoholism. However, without money, how would she live and support herself and her unborn child? How will Suzette and Hyland go on knowing their child was out there somewhere?

Dorrie is a dreamer and wants to wrap herself around books and living in a seaside cottage. She dreams of a life with her baby. She is immature and not thinking of how. She cannot live in a motel with no money, especially when this couple had money and would have the cops or PIs after her.

On the run, she meets another lonely girl, Jayne taking care of her own disturbed junkie prostitute mom. Another young girl, trying to escape her surroundings for a better life. Will they find solace in one another? Jayne is intrigued by the girl in room 29. They hit the road together.
 


Later when an illness arrives, and more problems, things change. However, there are still some secrets which are not revealed until the end.

The author takes us on a hauntingly beautiful emotional heartfelt journey. Told with compassion - from tragedy, pain, loss, and love. What it means to be a mother. A family. When matters of the heart are conflicted. From “The Nearness of You" an old Ella Fitzgerald song, to a desperate search for a mother.

Can a woman who fixes hearts mend one close to her own? Fast forward fifteen years later.

Every character is searching for a mother’s love and acceptance. Guilt. A yearning for atonement. Courage. Your heart goes out to all the flawed characters (they do make some poor choices); a situation when there seems there is no easy way out. Someone will be hurt. What it takes to be a family. They are not always the traditional ones.

I loved the quote: “The mother is the one who stays in the room.” (no matter how difficult, when she wants to run and hide).

I read two moving and beautiful books in a row about motherhood. They come in all shapes and sizes each with their own set of struggles. Highly recommend both: Amanda Eyre Ward’s THE NEARNESS OF YOU and Sally Hepworth’s The Mother's Promise.

A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/10/05/The-Nearness-of-You

Blink

Blink - K. Slater

By:  K.L. Slater

ASIN: B01NBF30MU
​Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: 2/16/2017 
Format: Other
My Rating:  4 Stars

 

K. L. Slater returns following her gripping debut, SAFE WITH ME with another twisty psychological suspense BLINK, with plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing.

Meet Toni, a woman in Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. Trapped by silence within her own body. Terrified. Screaming to be let out. She is alive- she wants to escape this nightmare. A defibrillator is keeping her alive. This cannot be happening, but yet it is very real.

No one knows she can hear what they are saying. She desperately is crying out for help. She is blinking and no one seems to notice. She needs "help" for her daughter. She is haunted, desperate, and tormented. What happened to her beautiful girl?

Had everyone given up on Evie? They only talked as they had personal knowledge about their family. Evie's terrible, neglectful mother and her unhappy home. She must think back to before it even happened.

" . . . For one day very soon, you will wake up to the realization that the horror has only just begun."

Flashing back and forth from three years earlier to the present, readers slowly learn the backstory and it unravels.

Toni Cotter’s husband Andrew was killed in a freak accident in Afghanistan. As a single mom, taking care of her daughter she is stressed, with money problems and her grief of being left alone. She takes comfort in the little pills left over from her husband’s accident to help her get through.

With the bills mounting she is forced to move, look for a job, and change Evie’s school. These life changing moments created more havoc. She had to move closer to her mom for help- for a fresh start.

As they say, when you are desperate, trouble has a way of seeking you out and sticking to you. The new neighborhood is not so safe, nor the school. Especially the teacher’s assistant. She feels guilty.

She had dragged her daughter from a respectable neighborhood to live next to a convicted criminal. She did not have very many friends or a support group to turn to. Even her own mom appears critical of her actions. She needs to keep her job to help them survive.

Between the malicious wasps, and the crazy teacher’s assistant, Harriet Watson from St. Saviour's Primary School, with her own psycho-problems — bullying Evie, Toni, and Toni’s mom, Evie’s constant whining about not wanting to go back to the school, and afraid— as well Toni trying to balance work and home life, and a new job— she begins relying more and more on the little pills. She is in a sleepy haze most of the time.

Others are watching her every move.

We slowly learn why Toni is hospitalized. Her daughter has been missing for three years. Everyone has given up on her. Toni must set things right. She must protect and find her daughter.

How will she do this when they could take her off life support. No one knows she is trying to be heard, trapped in her own body. Someone is out to get her. Are the police even still looking for her?

The question. Who, and why? There may be more than one person on her trail and now she must delve deep to solve this mystery and rescue her daughter. Take back the life which was brutally ripped from her.

In the blink of an eye, one day she receives a phone call regarding her mom. She had an accident and cannot pick up Evie from school on time. Toni must leave work to tend to her mom at the hospital and is late picking up Evie. She tried calling and no one answered. Evie is gone. No trace. How could she vanish? She had let down her own daughter.

At the time, she has no idea someone is controlling everything around her. Nothing is by accident. It is carefully planned, orchestrated, and manipulated.

A ruthless psychopath wants revenge.

Slater delivers a strong second novel, keeping the tension high; however, some parts were slow and dragging a bit--and the ending felt rushed; however, overall a solid thriller with a nice twist you are not expecting. An author to follow. Highly recommend both books.

In our day of social media where everyone’s life is on display, when in the wrong hands, of a psychopath, this could mean danger for the person in question and all those close and dear to them. Some people will go to great lengths for revenge. They can destroy. Guard you lives. A cautionary tale. Be careful of routines. They may kill you.

In addition to the reading copy, also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Lucy Price-Lewis delivering an entertaining performance especially for the characters of Toni, Harriet, and Evie.

I enjoyed reading the author's inspiration behind the book. It is true how the public and press are interested in how parental error may have contributed to events, rather than in debating the actual issue of —by whom the child has been taken.

So easy for someone to take advantage of a parent, child, teen, or anyone when they are in a bad place. Their defenses are down. Gullible. They trust, to easily when they are not thinking correctly. When someone is struggling or grieving. Someone they trust with their lives, their children. How do you cope with a tragedy and the crippling guilt? In today's world when everyone expects a parent to be perfect.

For fans of Clare Mackintosh's I See You. Someone may be watching.

A special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/01/Blink

The Mother's Promise

The Mother's Promise - Sally Hepworth

By: Sally Hepworth 

ISBN: 9781250077752

Publisher: St. Martin's Press 

Publication Date:  2/21/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating:  5 Stars 

 

Master storyteller, Sally Hepworth returns following The Things We Keep (2016) landing on my Top Books of 2016 and Secrets of Midwives (2015) all 5 stars, with an unforgettable story of courage, THE MOTHER'S PROMISE.

Richly told. Memorable and poignant. An emotionally-charged portrayal of motherhood friendship, and love — in the midst of tragedy. Hepworth digs deeply into the ties of love, between both family and strangers. Mixed with humor, the author knows how to grab you by the heartstrings and never let's go.

“With what price we pay for the glory of motherhood.” – Isadora Duncan

Set in Atherton, CA, a twenty-minute drive from Silicon Valley, Alice Stanhope is a giving and caring single mom. Barely forty. Her her job has been taking care of others.

Alice has her own business, taking care of elders. She is not a nurse; however, she offers in-home help to the elderly. She keeps them company, cleans and runs errands. Her daughter Zoe is now fifteen. They are extremely close. The dad is not in the picture and we later learn the details. Let me say, the twist surprise at 90% was an added bonus surprise, a shocker.

As the book opens, Alice receives some devastating news. She has ovarian cancer. She seemed to have a knack for attracting illnesses and ailments that required just enough investigation to be financially and emotionally draining. It was happening again. She exercises and eats well. How could she have cancer?

Both her parents have passed away. Her brother, Paul is an alcoholic. Her mother died of ovarian cancer. She has no one, except for Zoe. She has lived her life alone. Just mother and daughter. Zoe is not a normal teenager, so she has to protect her. She needs to keep the surgery, and cancer news to herself. Zoe cannot be a support person for her. Alice wasn’t going to need someone. Zoe was.

How would she get to her appointments, chemo, the surgery? How can she die? What will happen to Zoe? She could not turn to her brother since he was drunk most of the time. She did not have a single person she felt she could nominate to walk beside her in what was going to be the hardest journey of her life.

Now she has met her nurse, Kate. Kate knew there was one thing that a patient needed more than a doctor, more than a nurse, even more than medicine, and that was a mother. Someone had to fight for them. Kate had a mother only when she was a toddler, and she recalled her mom’s nurse. Now she had to be a mother to her patients.

Kate in her mid-thirties, has her own issues. From one miscarriage after another. Her husband, David, and his two children her stepchildren—of his own (Jake and Scarlett). She longed for a baby. She fantasized about the day she would have a child of her own. She currently is pregnant again; however, will she be able to carry it to term?

Zoe, age fifteen has the normal teenage issues; however, her situation is magnified. She has Social Anxiety Disorder. No one understands. Like being anchored to damp sand. Like waiting for the next wave. You want to turn and look, to see what’s coming, but you can’t move. You don’t know. You wait helplessly, envisioning the worst. She yearns to be invisible. Everyone thought she was weird. Every day is a struggle to deal with her anxiety.

Currently, due to her circumstances, the hospital is bringing in a social worker, Sonja. Sonja is not the normal social worker. She gets Botox, she is married to a wealthy man. He is abusive. However, she stays with him. She should know better. After all, she works with women in this same situation. Happiness was something you shared, chatted about, asked after. "Suffering was something that you had to do behind closed doors, in silence, all alone."

How will Zoe survive without Alice? Alice is Zoe’s safe place. How will all these characters connect? What will they learn from one another? Will Alice’s past catch up with her during the worst possible time?

An entertaining tale of parental love, motherhood, friendship, loss. Piercing and uplifting at the same time. Well-researched, suspenseful, thought-provoking and character-driven, this cast of resilient heroines will inspire readers and renew their faith in humanity.

Even though I had to re-live some of the painful and loving times with my mom and her three- year battle with cancer (she passed away in Aug 2016), her bravery reminded me a lot of Alice. What great characters: Kate, Alice, Zoe and even Sonja. A beautifully written story –the unbreakable bonds, and characters which remain with you long after the book ends. A beautiful book for Mother’s Day and an ideal choice for books clubs and further discussions.

The author has a rare talent of taking wounded souls and pairing them with just the right person. Fans of Catherine Ryan Hyde, Diane Chamberlain, Lisa Genova and Jodi Picoult will find a lot to love here.

Highly recommend the author and all her books. Loved the inspiration behind the book. Sally is "tops" when it comes to writing about Mothers. A rare gift. She has a special way of making you fall in love with her characters.

I also listened to the audiobook, narrated by Barrie Kreinik for an outstanding performance.

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/10/04/The-Mothers-Promise

Class

Class - Lucinda Rosenfeld
ISBN: 9780316265416
Publisher: Little Brown & Co. 
Publication Date: 1/10/2017 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Lucinda Rosenfeld's CLASS features New York, Karen Kipple as she struggles to balance the demands of motherhood and career, always convinced that she was shortchanging one or the other.

Married for ten years and for the last five Karen had been the director of development for a small non-profit devoted to tackling childhood hunger in the US. For the past two years, she had been trying to write an oped which she hoped one day to publish in a major newspaper, about the relationship between nutrition and school readiness.

Matt, her husband is also a career activist in the nonprofit sector and she is always worried about Ruby, her eight-year-old daughter’s education. She encourages her former lawyer husband to quit his job and work with low-income people to assist their housing needs.

Karen had enrolled her daughter at Betts, aware that it lacked the reputation for academic excellence of other schools nearby, but Ruby would be exposed to children who were less privileged than herself. Even though the white population of the school hovered around 25%. Being in the minority in what she had chosen. However, was he sacrificing her education? Diversity or inferior education?

She had always aspired to a life of making a difference and helping those less fortunate than herself. She tried to live in accordance with the politics and principals, which of course included the notion that public education was a force for good and that without racially and economically integrated school, an equal opportunity couldn’t exist.

Ruby was smart and a voracious reading and life should be good. Karen, an advocate for non-food additives and chemicals as well as diversity. She has a nice condo, hubby, and daughter, Karen’s life seemed to be good in New York; however, she is unhappy.

“Karen’s complex and contradictory relationship to eating had also grown more in the last few years, along with weight, teeth, and marriage—somehow become a dividing line between the social classes with the Earth Day — esque ideals of the 1960s having acquired snob appeal, and the well-off and well-educated increasingly buying “natural” and “fresh” and casting aspersions on those who didn’t.”

Then when a classmate of Ruby’s transfers out of Betts to a more privileged school of white students, all of Karen’s earlier thoughts and commitments, quickly vanished. Her husband wants a divorce because she enrolled Ruby in a new school without telling him.

Following the lead, she moves Ruby and then begins an affair with a rich guy, Clay, among other things. More lies. Her emotions are all over the board. Karen is torn between social classes, seeing the poor living in shelters and the rich and their superficial ways. Hypocrisy. Guilt.

She was capable of paying hundreds of dollars for an espresso machine from Italy, Karen had a deeply ingrained cheap streak as well, which caused her to do things like go to the library and photocopy the crossword puzzle from the Sunday paper rather than pay for a subscription.

Rosenfeld kicks butt and puts it all out there. With keen insights, raw honesty, a brutal portrayal ---the truth of our unequal society in urban America. With humor and highly-charged topics, the author hits the bull's eye, with CLASS.

I especially enjoyed the wide range of topics from privilege, class, identity, entitlement, education, politics, domestic, marriage, social economics, philanthropy—to ethical dilemmas, the author does not miss a beat in this delightful satire.

A tale of one woman’s struggle between the madness of liberal and reality. The lesson liberals need to learn is that despite their arrogance, they do not have the power to alter reality. From liberals to progressive—is equality among human race the exception, and inequality the norm?

Much to like here whether you are a modern-day urban parent, grandparent, or single. Smart, witty, engaging, absorbing, and thought-provoking! The hardcover was stunning with a perfect fitting cover. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

A special thank you to Little Brown & Co., Goodreads Giveaway, and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy, in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/01/Class

I See You

I See You - Clare Mackintosh

By:  Clare Mackintosh 

ISBN: 9781101988299

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date:  2/21/2017

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Clare Mackintosh returns following her smashing debut and international bestseller, (2016) I Let You Go, landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016, with a strong follow-up. A clever, gritty, dark and twisty psychological thriller, I SEE YOU.

Someone is watching when you least expect.

FindTheOne.com is more than a dating site. An online matchmaking service for more than dating. Find the victim, and go for the kill.

A commute to work. A dreaded task. The Tube. However, someone has hacked into the system and they are watching the daily routines of women. A devious dangerous plan. Cyber Crime, coffee shops, CCTV, money laundering, greed, stalking, adverts, a killer, FindTheOne.com, an ax to grind, payback, and murder. Trust no one.

Middle-class Zoe Walker, a mother of two teens (Katie and Justin) -divorced, and dating a guy named Simon- must take the train to work. The only jobs worth taking were in zone one; the only affordable mortgages in zone four. She could only dream of working close enough to her home to walk.

On her morning commute, she is shocked to discover in the London Gazette a photo of herself in the personal ads. FindtheOne.com. What the heck? She is looking at herself. A forty-year-old woman. The woman in the advert is none other than herself. Soon other women’s photos appear, and they end in a crime.

We also are introduced to Kelly Swift, the detective who has been disgraced and back on the scene with the latest murders. Her departure four years earlier from British Transport Police’s Sexual offenses Unit had been rapid and uncomfortable. She had spent nine months off sick returning to what had been presented to her as a clean slate but was really a punishment posting.

She had thrown herself into her shift work, quickly becoming one of the most respected officers on the Neighborhood Policing Team, pretending to herself she was a uniform cop through and through when every day she yearned to be dealing with serious investigations again. Will she lose control again?

The Underground Crime soars with the investigation into crime on public transport after record increases in reported sexual offenses, violent assaults, and thefts. Terrifying enough to make you stop using the Tube altogether. Kelly is back on the case full force.

With sprinkles of spine-chilling words in italics, from the mystery person throughout the novel (the best parts). Told from three POV: Zoe, the mom; Kelly the determined police officer, and the creepy mystery person.

“I see you. But you don’t see me. You’re engrossed in your book; a paperback cover with a girl in a red dress. I can’t see the title but it doesn’t matter; they’re all the same. If it isn’t boy meets girl, it’s boy stalks girl. Boy kills the girl. The irony isn’t lost on me . . . You’re still reading. And I’m still watching.”

Zoe is worried for all the women and girls out there as well as her daughter and herself. She feels the danger. She cannot see it, but she can feel it.
She knows it is getting close.

“Routine is comforting to you. It’s familiar, reassuring. Routine makes you feel safe. Routine will kill you.”

"You never know where you might meet The One. A way of introductions between London’s commuters on FindTheOne.com. A matchmaker. A broker. A go-between. To give coincidence a head start. . ."

Soon the adverts are all-consuming for Zoe, and Kelly is determined to find the killer. They work together and believe the adverts are at the heart of the series of crime against women. What is the motive and who is stalking and preparing information on each woman? Who are the buyers/subscribers? These customers come from all walks of life.

Who are these men?

“They’re your friends. Father. Brother. Best Friend. Neighbor. Boss. The people you see every day; the people you travel to and from work with. You think you know them better than that. You’re wrong.”

The ruthless psychopath is more than a matchmaker. “Someone could be downloading your profile right now. . . A facilitator for desires hidden so deep inside they’re barely acknowledged. The chance to kill someone.”

From making notes of everything from hair color, body size, duration, availability, employment, routines, timing, locations, and a rating of easy, moderate, difficult. A cost. Chilling!

As Zoe and Kelly plan an attack, they are in danger as well as Katie. Any woman on the train could be the next victim. Once the photo appears, are they worth the amount someone is willing to pay to kill?

With a cast of characters, the author leaves you in suspense as you doubt everyone close to Zoe. Who is the sinister mastermind behind this elaborate cybercrime – a deadly scheme of cat and mouse?

Mackintosh spins an elaborate set up with the slow burning background of Zoe and her family as well as Kelly. Two interesting women. The suspense builds to a fast-paced heart-pounding climax, with an array of red herrings. Readers will be mindful of their own daily routines and possibly be looking over their shoulders, or mixing up their daily grind. I know, I will. Take a different route, a different time.

In our world of identity theft, technology, social media, and cyber-crimes, a horrifying fictional account, and yet a believable one which makes it even scarier.

I See You, would make a great movie. You never know who is watching. Are we ever safe? Highly entertaining, suspenseful, and innovative.

For me, the mystery secret person and the words in italics— "the icing on the cake." The twisty finale will leave you spinning. The secret is finally revealed. I was reminded of the final episode of Season One TV Series, Secrets and Lies. Deliciously evil!

Well crafted, Mackintosh once again uses her cop procedural expertise mixed with her fine-tuned writing abilities, to keep readers glued to the pages for a strong and gritty second installment. Highly recommend both books.

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy, in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks
Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/10/04/I-See-You

Under the Knife

Under the Knife: A Novel - Kelly Parsons

By:  Kelly Parsons

ISBN: 9781250033338

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Real life board-certified urologist and novelist, Kelly Parsons, returns following his gripping debut, Doing Harm, (2014), with his latest medical (psychological) thriller, UNDER THE KNIFE.

When a good doctor makes a mistake. A patient dies. The grieving husband takes revenge into his own hands with extreme, sinister, and terrifying measures.

Told from four POVs:

Biotechnology tycoon Morgan Finney has nothing to lose; however, since his wife Jenny’s death, his rage had grown and threatened to consume him. Grief crashed over him without warning. He was drowning in it. He would take justice into his own hands. However, he is sure Jenny would not approve.

He had grown rich from being absolutely certain about things. He had not slept in days and was exhausted. Her death was the action, and cosmic disequilibrium the reaction. Jenny had worked with deaf children in college and had delighted in the cochlear implant concept.

Flash forward a year later.

Dr. Rita Wu, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of California, was strapped to an operating-room table. Naked. She had no clue how she has gotten here. Then she starts hearing voices in her head. There is someone talking to her. The voice in her head is Finney?

The voice is telling her what she has to do. What the heck?There is no way she can operate with this voice in her head. She will go mad. A nightmare. There was no stopping the panic. She was terrified. She wished she could reach out to Spencer.

Dr. Spencer Cameron. He has not gotten over Rita. They had been broken up a year ago. He is stalking his ex-girlfriend. He likes to keep tabs on her. He still loves her.

Sebastian is the mystery man. He had taken a job. Finney had provided him with the dossiers and videos of the early test subjects. Those unlucky enough to have been the first to receive the implants. The device.

Rita had removed Jenny's ruptured appendix. There were complications and she died. Finney tells her his wife, Jenny died because of her. She also had been pregnant.

Finney was going to kill her. He would make her suffer. He would rob her of something precious. The way he had been robbed.

Between madness, insanity, and the unspeakable. This cannot be happening. What kind of sick joke?

No way out. The embedding. Complex commands. Demands.
This grieving, unbalance, crazy husband of a former patient had trapped her, in an elaborate and perfectly executed– setup? What did he want from her?

Terrifying and chilling, the author, keeps you on the edge of your seat with his heart-pounding suspense thriller and a race against time. From sinister medical technology, and human experimentation. Corruption. Murder. A psychopath. Guilt. Revenge.

Character-driven with non-stop action and intensity. Loved Rita and Spencer. For fans of medical thrillers, Michael Palmer’s Trauma and the TV series, Pure Genius. If you have not read his first book, Doing Harm, highly recommend.

I also listened to the audio version, and Nancy Wu delivered an outstanding performance.

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Under-the-Knife

Always

Always: A Novel - Sarah Jio

By: Sarah Jio

ISBN:1101885025

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Sarah Jio returns following The Look of Love (2014) with her eighth novel, ALWAYS. Written with the passion, past love, romance, relationships, the music of the 1990s, TBI, and of course the art, beauty, and charm of "spectacular" Seattle. When love never lets go.

“To old love and new, but, most of all, to the kind that lasts, always.”

It is 2008 in Seattle, Kailey Crane, a writer for the Seattle Herald has it all. A successful career, a charming new Craftsman bungalow and an upcoming wedding to the perfect guy, Ryan. He has wealth, looks, and the entire package.

As the book opens, the couple is having a leisurely dinner at the upscale French restaurant, making their upcoming wedding plans. As they are leaving, Kailey comes face to face with a homeless man and his piercing eyes. Shockingly, she recognizes him. Cade McAllister, the love of her life.

Cade was part of her past. They had dated back in the 1990s. A famous record label owner. He loved music. They had matching tattoos. Skin inked a decade prior- a glaring reminder of the past that did not become a future, of the dreams that evaporated into thin air. How he goes from success to thin, bony, and homeless? The sight of him haunts her. Why did he disappear so long ago?

Their tattoos. The word: Toujours, French for “always,” remained on her shoulder. Thinking of Cade reminded her of Tracy her best friend and former roommate. They both had been wide-eyed and idealistic. They believed in true love and happy endings. She and Cade had planned their future.

Kailey is working on an article for work, regarding a series about Pioneer Square and the homeless. Ryan, of course, does not agree with her opinions. They agree to disagree on the areas where their professional interests diverge. Ryan is a developer and thinks they should dynamite the six-block radius. He thinks there is nothing but addicts and vagrants. The homeless.

She wants to help the Hope Gospel Mission, the non-profit organization to help offer shelter to the homeless. The new proposal would entail demolishing thousands of low-income units and shelters. Currently, they were in the midst, of a gridlock with the city.

She believed these establishments needed to keep their doors open. Ryan worked with builders which were ready to throw up apartments, displacing the lifeline for hundreds of homeless people in the process.

Kailey cannot get Cade out of her mind. They had been in love and he left. She had tried to locate him and never found him. He did not recognize her. She must help him and find out what happened to him.

She begins searching the streets for him and ultimately finds him to learn, he has TBI. Traumatic Brain Injury. She puts Ryan, and her wedding plans aside since she is obsessed with helping get Cade off the streets and getting him the medical help he needs.

We revisit the 1990s and the early days of the couple's relationship. Kailey now is torn between her loyalty and love for Cade, and the man she is about to share her future with. Why did Cade leave without a word to her?

A little different novel than some of Jio’s typical historical fiction (have read them all). She brings forth all the charm of Seattle and the strong emotions of a woman, who has to make a difficult choice between two different men.

However, the story of Cade, his former business partner, and his ten years on the street were very undeveloped. The story was quite intriguing, keeping you hooked; however, like most reviewers and readers, we all were hoping for more to "fill in the blanks." I would love to have a POV from Cade. His voice would have been a nice enhancement to the overall story. The ending was tied up in a neat bow; however, left you wanting to learn more about the events leading up the night Cade lost his memory and after.

Possibly more research and discussions regarding TBI, and the homeless social issues. I am a huge fan of Seattle and have spent a lot of time in Pioneer Square, the jazz bars, quaint B&Bs, coffee shops, (ArtWalk, MusicFest), markets, as well as charming inns by the sea in Puget Sound and Snohomish. One of my favorite cities. Nice to revisit through the book.

An intriguing subject, since we learn —as in the book, every homeless person has a story. Any one of us could find ourselves in the same situation, if not for the help of others. We never know their “real” story or their journey. Instead of judging, we all need to join forces to help our communities continue with resources to assist.

The cover is stunning (received the paperback copy) as well as the digital copy. The cherry blossoms, the red scarf, the music, the setting, and the love story. As always, Sarah Jio continues to entertain, with compelling topics and those proposing critical life changing heart-wrenching questions/life choices. What would you do when faced with this difficult choice?

For fans of Colleen Hoover and contemporary romantic fiction.

A special thank you to Random House, NetGalley, and LibraryThing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 



On a side note: I reside in the urban downtown area Arts & Entertainment, West Palm Beach and walk everywhere; we have many homeless people, while surrounded by wonderful funky art, grunge, and flair and old converted lofts with a similar vibe to Pioneer Square. There are similar projects here facing the same controversial issues of billion dollar condos going up and replacing the low-income housing, leaving these people displaced and nowhere to turn.

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/06/05/Always

Must Read Books Coming February, 2017

Reblogged from JudithDCollinsMustReads:

 

February is Book Lover's Month and What a Lineup of 

New Releases to Love! 

Listed by Date.  Click on Covers for more.

 

 
 

Always 

 

 

By: Sarah Jio

ISBN:1101885025

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars


From the New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March comes a gripping, poignant novel about the kind of love that never lets go, and the heart’s capacity to remember.

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiancé, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. 
 
When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense—everything connected and felt right. But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what—and whom—she wants.
 
Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Random House, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  (Beautiful paperback cover!)   

 

 
 

The Lost Woman 

 

By:  Sara Blaedel 

Louise Rick Series 

ISBN: 9781455541072

Publisher: Grand Central 

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format:  Other  

My Rating: 5 Stars

Following the #1 international bestsellers The Forgotten Girls and The Killing Forest, Inspector Louise Rick--head of the elite Special Search Agency in Denmark's National Police Department--returns in Sara Blaedel's newest crime thriller.

THE LOST WOMAN

A housewife is the target of a shocking, methodical killing. Shot with a hunting rifle through her kitchen window, the woman is dead before she hits the ground. Though murdered in England, it turns out that the woman, Sofie Parker, is a Danish citizen--one who's been missing for almost two decades--so Louise Rick is called on to the case. Then the police discover that the woman, Sophie, had been reported missing eighteen years ago by none other than Eik, Louise Rick's police colleague and lover. Impulsive as ever, Eik rushes to England, and ends up in jail on suspicion of Sofie's murder. Unsettled by the connection, and sick with worry for Eik, it falls to Louise to find the killer in what will become her most controversial case yet...

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Grand Central and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

The Devil Crept In  

 

By:  Ania Ahlborn

ISBN: 9781476783758

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars

An unforgettable horror novel from bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn—hailed as a writer of “some of the most promising horror I’ve encountered in years” (New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire)—in which a small-town boy investigates the mysterious disappearance of his cousin and uncovers a terrifying secret kept hidden for years.

Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.

That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen...the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  

 

 

Under the Knife  

By:  Kelly Parsons

ISBN: 9781250033338

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars

Biotechnology tycoon Morgan Finney is highly intelligent but shy and emotionally fragile. When his beloved wife Jenny dies of complications during a surgery led by Dr. Rita Wu, Finney’s grief turns to rage. He vows to kill Rita just as he believes she killed his wife.

 

But first he will systematically destroy her life. He will take what is precious to her just as she did to him. Aided by a mysterious man, Finney uses advanced medical technology to ruin Rita’s reputation and bring her to the brink of madness. Alone, fighting for her sanity and life, Rita reaches out to her to former lover, Dr. Spencer Cameron, for help. Together they must fight to uncover Finney’s horrific intentions and race to stop him before it’s too late.

 

Terrifying and captivating, Under the Knife is a heart-pounding thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats up to the very last page. Ra

 

Buy the Book 

 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review 

 

 

 

 

The Good Daughter 

 

By: Alexandra Burt
ISBN: 9780451488114

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  3 Stars

From the author of Remember Mia comes the tale of a young woman in search of her past, and the mother who will do anything to keep it hidden...

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller's childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.
 
In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she'll learn that in her mother's world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered...

 

Buy the Book     

 

 

 

 

 

We Were the Lucky Ones 

 

By: Georgia Hunter 

ISBN: 9780399563089

Publisher: PENGUIN/Viking 

Publication Date: 2/14/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: TBR (pre-ordered) 

“Reading Georgia Hunter's We Were the Lucky Ones is like being swung heart first into history. . . . A brave and mesmerizing debut, and a truly tremendous accomplishment.” —Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife

An extraordinary, propulsive novel based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews who are separated at the start of the Second World War, determined to survive—and to reunite 
 
It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety. 
 
As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere. 
 
In a novel of breathtaking sweep and scope that spans five continents and six years and transports readers from the jazz clubs of Paris to Kraków's most brutal prison to the ports of Northern Africa and the farthest reaches of the Siberian gulag, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century's darkest moment, the human spirit can find a way to survive, and even triumph.

 

Buy the Book 

 

 

 

 

Blink 

 

 

By:  K.L. Slater

ASIN: B01NBF30MU

Publisher: Bookouture 

Publication Date: 2/16/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: Currently Reading

What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

A woman lies paralysed in hospital, unable to do more than blink an eyelid. A mother’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, dominated by one awful memory:

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace. 

 

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories and the overheard conversations in the hospital room, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter. 

 

A compelling, gripping thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister. 

 

Buy the Book 

 

A special thank you to special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.   

 

 

 

I See You  

 
By:  Clare Mackintosh 

ISBN: 9781101988299

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date:  2/21/2017

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: Currently Reading

The author of the smash bestseller, I Let You Go, propels readers into a dark and claustrophobic thriller, in which a normal, everyday woman becomes trapped in the confines of her normal, everyday world...

Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her...
 
It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her, a grainy photo along with a phone number and listing for a website called findtheone.com. 
 
Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they've become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including rape and murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad's twisted purpose...a discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. For now Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target. 
 
And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an ARC  in exchange for an honest review.  

 

 

 

The Mother's Promise 

 

By: Sally Hepworth 

ISBN: 9781250077752

Publisher: St. Martin's Press 

Publication Date:  2/21/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating:  TBR

With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds.


With The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment. All their lives Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two, living quietly in northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

 

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.   

 

 

 

The Nearness of You  

 

By:  Amanda Eyre Ward

ISBN:  9781101887158

Publisher: Random House 

Publication Date: 2/21/2017 

Format: Hardcover  

My Rating: TBR

In this profound and lyrical novel, acclaimed author Amanda Eyre Ward explores the deeper meanings of motherhood—from the first blissful hello to the heart-wrenching prospect of saying goodbye.

Brilliant heart surgeon Suzette Kendall is stunned when Hyland, her husband of fifteen years, admits his yearning for a child. From the beginning they’d decided that having children was not an option, as Suzette feared passing along the genes that landed her mother in a mental institution. But Hyland proposes a different idea: a baby via surrogate.
 
Suzette agrees, and what follows is a whirlwind of candidate selections, hospital visits, and Suzette’s doubts over whether she’s made the right decision. A young woman named Dorothy Muscarello is chosen as the one who will help make this family complete. For Dorrie, surrogacy (and the money that comes with it) are her opportunity to leave behind a troubled past and create a future for herself—one full of possibility. But this situation also forces all three of them—Dorrie, Suzette, and Hyland—to face a devastating uncertainty that will reverberate in the years to come.
 
Beautifully shifting between perspectives, The Nearness of You deftly explores the connections we form, the families we create, and the love we hold most dear.

 

Buy the Book 

 

A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 
 

A Piece of the World 

 

By:  Christina Baker Kline

ISBN: 9780062356260

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 2/21/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: TBR

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.


"Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden." 

 

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

 

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

 

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

 

Buy the Book

 

 

 

The Drifter  

 

By: Christine Lennon 

ISBN: 9780062457578

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 2/21/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  TBR

Megan Abbott meets M.O. Walsh in Christine Lennon’s compelling debut novel about a group of friends on the cusp of graduating from college when their lives are irrevocably changed by a brutal act of violence

Present Day…

For two decades, Elizabeth has tried to escape the ghosts of her past…tried to erase the painful memories…tried to keep out the terrifying nightmares. But twenty years after graduating from the University of Florida, her carefully curated life begins to unravel, forcing her to confront the past she’s tried so hard to forget.

 

1990s, Gainesville, Florida…

 

Elizabeth and her two closest friends, Caroline and Ginny, are having the time of their lives in college—binge watching Oprah, flirting for freebies from Taco Bell, and breaking hearts along the way. But without warning, their world is suddenly shattered when a series of horrific acts of violence ravage the campus, changing their lives forever.

 

Sweeping readers from the exclusive corners of sorority life in the South to the frontlines of the drug-fueled, slacker culture in Manhattan in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, when Elizabeth is forced to acknowledge her role in the death of a friend in order to mend a broken friendship and save her own life, The Drifter is an unforgettable story about the complexities of friendships and the secrets that can ultimately destroy us.

 

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Bad Little Girl  

 

By: Frances Vick

ISBN: 9781786811202

Publisher: Bookouture 

Publication Date: 2/22/2017 

Format:  Other  

My Rating: TBR

I’m not safe – you have to help me…’

Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.

As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe. 

 

Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled? 

 

Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?

 

An utterly unputdownable and darkly compelling read that will have fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister, and Gone Girl absolutely hooked.

 

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A special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 
 

The Silent Wife  

By: Kerry Fisher

ISBN: 9781786811264

Publisher:  Bookouture
Publication Date: 2/24/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: TBR

Would you risk everything for the man you loved? Even if you knew he'd done something terrible?

A heart wrenching and gripping tale. I was hooked from the very first page.' Write Escape 

Lara’s life looks perfect on the surface. Gorgeous doting husband Massimo, sweet little son Sandro and the perfect home. Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can’t tell anyone else or everything Massimo has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage. 

Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico and lives with him and her troubled stepdaughter. She knows all of Nico’s darkest secrets – or so she thinks. The one day she discovers a letter in the attic which reveals a shocking secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep silent to protect those she loves? 

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price. 

A heart-wrenching, emotionally gripping read for fans of Amanda Prowse, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain. 

 

 

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A special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

  

 

 

The Golden Hour  

 

By: T. Greenwood

ISBN:  978-0758290571

Publisher: Kensington 

Publication Date: 2/28/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: Currently Reading

“Richly told and hauntingly beautiful, The Golden Hour was impossible to put down.” --Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author

On a spring afternoon long ago, thirteen-year-old Wyn Davies took a shortcut through the woods in her New Hampshire hometown and became a cautionary tale. Now, twenty years later, she lives in New York, on the opposite side of a duplex from her ex, with their four-year-old daughter shuttling between them. Wyn makes her living painting commissioned canvases of birch trees to match her clients’ furnishings. But the nagging sense that she has sold her artistic soul is soon eclipsed by a greater fear. Robby Rousseau, who has spent the past two decades in prison for a terrible crime against her, may be released based on new DNA evidence—unless Wyn breaks her silence about that afternoon.
 
To clear her head, refocus her painting, and escape an even more present threat, Wyn agrees to be temporary caretaker for a friend’s new property on a remote Maine island. The house has been empty for years, and in the basement Wyn discovers a box of film canisters labeled “Epitaphs and Prophecies.” Like time capsules, the photographs help her piece together the life of the house’s former owner, an artistic young mother, much like Wyn. But there is a mystery behind the images too, and unraveling it will force Wyn to finally confront what happened in those woods—and perhaps escape them at last.  
 
A compelling and evocative novel with an unsettling question at its heart, T. Greenwood’s The Golden Hour explores the power of art to connect, to heal, and to reveal our most painful and necessary truths.

 

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A special thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

Windy City Blues 

 

By: Renee Rosen 

ISBN: 9781101991121

Publisher:  Berkley

Publication Date: 2/28/2017

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: TBR

The bestselling author of White Collar Girl and What the Lady Wants explores one woman's journey of self-discovery set against the backdrop of a musical and social revolution.

In the middle of the twentieth century, the music of the Mississippi Delta arrived in Chicago, drawing the attention of entrepreneurs like the Chess brothers. Their label, Chess Records, helped shape that music into the Chicago Blues, the soundtrack for a transformative era in American History.

But, for Leeba Groski, Chess Records was just where she worked...
 
Leeba doesn't exactly fit in, but her passion for music and her talented piano playing captures the attention of her neighbor, Leonard Chess, who offers her a job at his new record company. What begins as answering phones and filing becomes much more as Leeba comes into her own as a songwriter and befriends performers like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, and Etta James. But she also finds love with a black blues guitarist named Red Dupree.
 
With their relationship unwelcome in segregated Chicago and shunned by Leeba's Orthodox Jewish family, Leeba and Red soon find themselves in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement and they discover that, in times of struggle, music can bring people together.

 

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Non-Fiction

 

Cravings



By:  Judy Collins

ISBN:  9780385541312

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Publication Date:  2/28/207 

Format:  Other

My Rating: 5 Stars 

Biographies & Memoirs

A no-holds-barred account of folk legend Judy Collins's harrowing struggle with compulsive overeating and of the journey that led her to a solution. 

Since childhood Judy Collins has had a tumultuous, fraught relationship with food. Her issues with overeating nearly claimed her career and her life. For decades she thought she simply lacked self-discipline. She tried nearly every diet plan that exists, often turning to alcohol to dull the pain of yet another failed attempt to control her seemingly insatiable "cravings."


Today, Judy knows she suffers from an addiction to sugar and grains, flour and wheat. She adheres to a strict diet of unprocessed foods, consumed in carefully measured portions. This solution has allowed her to maintain a healthy weight for years, to enjoy the glow of good health, and to attain peace of mind. 


Alternating between chapters on her life and those of the many diet gurus she has encountered along the way (Atkins, Jean Nidetch of Weight Watchers, Andrew Weil, to name a few), Cravings is the culmination of Judy's genuine desire to share what she's learned—so that no one has follow her heart-rending path to recovery.

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review. Review to follow. 

 

HAPPY VALENTINES! 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/book-blog/tag/feb-2017

The NoWhere Man

The Nowhere Man: An Orphan X Novel (Evan Smoak) - Gregg Hurwitz

An Orphan X Novel

(Evan Smoak #2)

By:  Gregg Hurwitz

ISBN: 9781250067852

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 1/17/2017 

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Greg Hurwitz returns with highly anticipated THE NOWHERE MAN following Orphan X (Evan Smoak, #1) landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016 and Buy a Bullet (Evan Smoak #1.5), also highly recommend.

“How deep do you need to bury the past before it will stay dead? “—Alan Moore, Swamp Thing

Antihero, Evan Smoak returns for the most intense task yet. “He finds himself in the tightest spot, both emotionally and literally – he’s ever been in.”

With a highly creative twist reversal, the author places Evan in exactly the kind of situation he usually rescues other people from. Readers are able to see both sides of the man.

For more than a decade, he had been the top asset in the top-secret government operation, The Orphan Program. Trained by the US military as killers. Mission: to assassinate government’s designated enemies. He is trained, skilled, intelligent, and resourceful.

Now, Evan is "The Nowhere Man." A personal mission--to help those with nowhere else to turn. The Tenth Commandment loomed above all else. Never let an innocent die.

He is known by some as Evan Smoak. To a few, Orphan X, but in general he is not known at all. The Nowhere Man. Evan has gone rogue to do right. In the previous book and novella, Evan he has been using his talents to pay it forward to those who need his skills.

Evan still faces many enemies who wish him grievous harm even while off the grid. One of them is Charles Van Sciver, the most brutal of the Orphans, who’s now running the program and is on a mission to hunt down former members of the organization.

Now he's been kidnapped, drugged, and hidden away by order of the new head of the Orphan program, who intends to have him eliminated. Trapped without hope of escape. Psychological terror.

The book starts out with the secret Facebook of Hector Contrell. Trolling the middle schools. Girls. A sales catalog. Given immigration confusion, gang influence, and splintered family trees, disappearances aren’t rare when you’re dealing with broken ethnic girls. A renewable resource.

Something awful is coming. A girl needs help. 1.855.2. NOWHERE. A magical fix-it line. The first commandment Assume nothing – demands it.

A task, a purpose, an act of empowerment that transitioned them from victim to rescuer. Evan knew all too well that some wounds never healed, not fully. But there were ways to contain the pain, to take ownership over the scars.

The seventeen-year-old girl locked inside Container 78653-B812 being delivered to Jacksonville Port Authority. Who has purchased her?

Evan has so many days to rescue the girl. He has to save himself first. A race against time. During this time he faces every danger imaginable (nail biting terror). Being held captive, taken to a secret location and tortured by a very powerful and devious man, René Peter Cassaroy who had at his disposal an army of ruthless men.

Who will be the next client to pass on the Nowhere Man’s number? How many more Hector Contrells would he face? The RoamZone vibrates. Do you need my help?

 



Classic. Bold. Innovative. Action-Packed Adventure. Explosive. Suspenseful. Non-Stop thrills. An electrifying and entertaining series! Can’t wait for the next.

Hurwitz is already under contract for three more Orphan X novels, and Bradley Cooper’s production company has picked up the film rights. (Hurwitz, who has published 16 novels, scripted comics for Marvel and DC, written for network television, and sold numerous screenplays, is penning the big-screen adaptation himself.) I would say, he knows what he is doing!

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/The-Nowhere-Man

The Lost Woman

The Lost Woman - Sara Blaedel

By:  Sara Blaedel 

Louise Rick Series 

ISBN: 9781455541072

Publisher: Grand Central 

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format:  Other  

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

The queen of Danish crime thrillers, Sara Blaedel returns following The Killing Forest (2016) and The Forgotten Girls (2015) with her latest, THE LOST WOMAN: Louise Ricks finds herself once again caught up in a web, between her personal and career life, in this highly emotional, well-researched and enthralling mystery suspense.

The saga grips you from page one with the chilling scene of a brutal murder of a forty-four-year-old woman in her home, shot outside Nailsea. Her husband drops the wine glass, and a teen daughter was just leaving. The killer is outside the window in the garden. She was killed with a hunting rifle. Motive?

Louise Rick is dating Eik. Six months earlier he moved in with her and Jonas while Louise’s friend Camilla stayed in Eik’s studio apartment with her husband and son. It had all worked out fine. Markus and Jonas had left for boarding school. Everyone was moving on.

In addition, their relationship is causing some complications at work, due to their living arrangement, since they both worked at the same place. Someone is going to need to transfer. They could not continue to being partners if they are living together.

It was awkward since she could not even mention her partner’s name to anyone else in the department without it sounding suggestive. After this discussion, Eik leaves to run down for a pack of smokes and to walk the dog. He does not return.

Flashing back to 1996, we meet Sofie Parker. A mother with MS. A woman who wants to die with dignity. Her father had died years before.

“But life can take you to a place you don’t want to be, and that’s when I want to be allowed to end it . . . . “

Louise discovers Eik is missing, and Charlie, the German shepherd remains behind. Something was very wrong.

Currently, the woman who was murdered in her home in England is none other than Sofie Parker, a Danish citizen who has been missing for years. Louise is on the case.

In the meantime, when Louise thinks about Eik, she does not know much about his past. He had been sailing in the Mediterranean when his girlfriend suddenly disappeared. Without getting into details he had told her they had quarreled and in the end, he had decided to return to Copenhagen. He learned of the tragedy upon his return to South Harbor. No sign of his girlfriend. The others were found drowned. No sign of her or her belongings.

Louise starts thinking about her relationship with Eik. Was she making him happy and had he not gotten over his love of his girlfriend. They had secrets. She knows all too well the consequences of dark secrets.

Soon the investigation links this dead woman to Sophie and Eik. How could this woman be Sophie, and what does Eik have to do with this woman and her murder? How was he linked to her?

What was he doing in southwestern England? He is arrested. Was Sofie the same woman who disappeared years ago? She had married Nigel Parker. She disappeared for some reason. Now the woman was dead.

Louise wants answers. Why was Eik at the crime scene? Erik Nordstrom was employed by the Danish Search Department. There clearly had to be a misunderstanding.

What happened when this woman disappeared from the boat in Italy? How could Eik just take off for England without telling her? She was his boss and he had disappeared in the middle of the work day, much less her live-in lover, as well. Do not mess with Louise.

Did this man know his wife from Scandinavia? He did not know much about his wife’s mysterious past. Louise is not happy with Eik’s behavior. Furious to say the least. She needed to throw him out. How are the cases connected? What is the motive?

As always, Blaedel delves deeply and tackles highly-charged topics of assisted suicide with skill and finesse, crossing moral gray lines. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

With the author’s own compelling trademark style of complex plots and her own extensive background she offers great insight into her characters and continues to address controversial social issues and topics with an engaging narrative, and intriguing settings.

No matter what part of the world you are located, Sara always transports you with vivid descriptions and fascinating, well-crafted suspense thrillers. Her extensive research is reflected throughout each of her novels. If you have not read her books, it is a good time to begin your journey! Looking forward to more Louise Ricks.

A special thank you to Grand Central and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/15/The-Lost-Woman

Must Read Books Coming February, 2017

 

February is Book Lover's Month and What a Lineup of 

New Releases to Love! 

Listed by Date.  Click on Covers for more.

 

 
 

Always 

 

 

By: Sarah Jio

ISBN:1101885025

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars


From the New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March comes a gripping, poignant novel about the kind of love that never lets go, and the heart’s capacity to remember.

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiancé, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. 
 
When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense—everything connected and felt right. But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what—and whom—she wants.
 
Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Random House, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  (Beautiful paperback cover!)   

 

 
 

The Lost Woman 

 

By:  Sara Blaedel 

Louise Rick Series 

ISBN: 9781455541072

Publisher: Grand Central 

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format:  Other  

My Rating: 5 Stars

Following the #1 international bestsellers The Forgotten Girls and The Killing Forest, Inspector Louise Rick--head of the elite Special Search Agency in Denmark's National Police Department--returns in Sara Blaedel's newest crime thriller.

THE LOST WOMAN

A housewife is the target of a shocking, methodical killing. Shot with a hunting rifle through her kitchen window, the woman is dead before she hits the ground. Though murdered in England, it turns out that the woman, Sofie Parker, is a Danish citizen--one who's been missing for almost two decades--so Louise Rick is called on to the case. Then the police discover that the woman, Sophie, had been reported missing eighteen years ago by none other than Eik, Louise Rick's police colleague and lover. Impulsive as ever, Eik rushes to England, and ends up in jail on suspicion of Sofie's murder. Unsettled by the connection, and sick with worry for Eik, it falls to Louise to find the killer in what will become her most controversial case yet...

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Grand Central and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

The Devil Crept In  

 

By:  Ania Ahlborn

ISBN: 9781476783758

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars

An unforgettable horror novel from bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn—hailed as a writer of “some of the most promising horror I’ve encountered in years” (New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire)—in which a small-town boy investigates the mysterious disappearance of his cousin and uncovers a terrifying secret kept hidden for years.

Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.

That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen...the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  

 

 

Under the Knife  

By:  Kelly Parsons

ISBN: 9781250033338

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars

Biotechnology tycoon Morgan Finney is highly intelligent but shy and emotionally fragile. When his beloved wife Jenny dies of complications during a surgery led by Dr. Rita Wu, Finney’s grief turns to rage. He vows to kill Rita just as he believes she killed his wife.

 

But first he will systematically destroy her life. He will take what is precious to her just as she did to him. Aided by a mysterious man, Finney uses advanced medical technology to ruin Rita’s reputation and bring her to the brink of madness. Alone, fighting for her sanity and life, Rita reaches out to her to former lover, Dr. Spencer Cameron, for help. Together they must fight to uncover Finney’s horrific intentions and race to stop him before it’s too late.

 

Terrifying and captivating, Under the Knife is a heart-pounding thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats up to the very last page. Ra

 

Buy the Book 

 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review 

 

 

 

 

The Good Daughter 

 

By: Alexandra Burt
ISBN: 9780451488114

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  3 Stars

From the author of Remember Mia comes the tale of a young woman in search of her past, and the mother who will do anything to keep it hidden...

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller's childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.
 
In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she'll learn that in her mother's world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered...

 

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We Were the Lucky Ones 

 

By: Georgia Hunter 

ISBN: 9780399563089

Publisher: PENGUIN/Viking 

Publication Date: 2/14/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 4 Stars

“Reading Georgia Hunter's We Were the Lucky Ones is like being swung heart first into history. . . . A brave and mesmerizing debut, and a truly tremendous accomplishment.” —Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife

An extraordinary, propulsive novel based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews who are separated at the start of the Second World War, determined to survive—and to reunite 
 
It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety. 
 
As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere. 
 
In a novel of breathtaking sweep and scope that spans five continents and six years and transports readers from the jazz clubs of Paris to Kraków's most brutal prison to the ports of Northern Africa and the farthest reaches of the Siberian gulag, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century's darkest moment, the human spirit can find a way to survive, and even triumph.

 

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Blink 

 

 

By:  K.L. Slater

ASIN: B01NBF30MU

Publisher: Bookouture 

Publication Date: 2/16/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars

What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

A woman lies paralysed in hospital, unable to do more than blink an eyelid. A mother’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, dominated by one awful memory:

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace. 

 

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories and the overheard conversations in the hospital room, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter. 

 

A compelling, gripping thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister. 

 

Buy the Book 

 

A special thank you to special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.   

 

 

 

I See You  

 
By:  Clare Mackintosh 

ISBN: 9781101988299

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date:  2/21/2017

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars

The author of the smash bestseller, I Let You Go, propels readers into a dark and claustrophobic thriller, in which a normal, everyday woman becomes trapped in the confines of her normal, everyday world...

Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her...
 
It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her, a grainy photo along with a phone number and listing for a website called findtheone.com. 
 
Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they've become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including rape and murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad's twisted purpose...a discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. For now Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target. 
 
And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…

 

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A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an ARC  in exchange for an honest review.  

 

 

 

The Mother's Promise 

 

By: Sally Hepworth 

ISBN: 9781250077752

Publisher: St. Martin's Press 

Publication Date:  2/21/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars 

With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds.


With The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment. All their lives Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two, living quietly in northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

 

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.   

 

 

 

The Nearness of You  

 

By:  Amanda Eyre Ward

ISBN:  9781101887158

Publisher: Random House 

Publication Date: 2/21/2017 

Format: Hardcover  

My Rating: 4 Stars 

In this profound and lyrical novel, acclaimed author Amanda Eyre Ward explores the deeper meanings of motherhood—from the first blissful hello to the heart-wrenching prospect of saying goodbye.

Brilliant heart surgeon Suzette Kendall is stunned when Hyland, her husband of fifteen years, admits his yearning for a child. From the beginning they’d decided that having children was not an option, as Suzette feared passing along the genes that landed her mother in a mental institution. But Hyland proposes a different idea: a baby via surrogate.
 
Suzette agrees, and what follows is a whirlwind of candidate selections, hospital visits, and Suzette’s doubts over whether she’s made the right decision. A young woman named Dorothy Muscarello is chosen as the one who will help make this family complete. For Dorrie, surrogacy (and the money that comes with it) are her opportunity to leave behind a troubled past and create a future for herself—one full of possibility. But this situation also forces all three of them—Dorrie, Suzette, and Hyland—to face a devastating uncertainty that will reverberate in the years to come.
 
Beautifully shifting between perspectives, The Nearness of You deftly explores the connections we form, the families we create, and the love we hold most dear.

 

Buy the Book 

 

A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 
 

A Piece of the World 

 

By:  Christina Baker Kline

ISBN: 9780062356260

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 2/21/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.


"Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden." 

 

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

 

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

 

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

 

Buy the Book

 

 

 

The Drifter  

 

By: Christine Lennon 

ISBN: 9780062457578

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 2/21/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  3 Stars

Megan Abbott meets M.O. Walsh in Christine Lennon’s compelling debut novel about a group of friends on the cusp of graduating from college when their lives are irrevocably changed by a brutal act of violence

Present Day…

For two decades, Elizabeth has tried to escape the ghosts of her past…tried to erase the painful memories…tried to keep out the terrifying nightmares. But twenty years after graduating from the University of Florida, her carefully curated life begins to unravel, forcing her to confront the past she’s tried so hard to forget.

 

1990s, Gainesville, Florida…

 

Elizabeth and her two closest friends, Caroline and Ginny, are having the time of their lives in college—binge watching Oprah, flirting for freebies from Taco Bell, and breaking hearts along the way. But without warning, their world is suddenly shattered when a series of horrific acts of violence ravage the campus, changing their lives forever.

 

Sweeping readers from the exclusive corners of sorority life in the South to the frontlines of the drug-fueled, slacker culture in Manhattan in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, when Elizabeth is forced to acknowledge her role in the death of a friend in order to mend a broken friendship and save her own life, The Drifter is an unforgettable story about the complexities of friendships and the secrets that can ultimately destroy us.

 

Buy the Book 

 

 

 

Bad Little Girl  

 

By: Frances Vick

ISBN: 9781786811202

Publisher: Bookouture 

Publication Date: 2/22/2017 

Format:  Other  

My Rating: 2 Stars

I’m not safe – you have to help me…’

Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.

As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe. 

 

Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled? 

 

Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?

 

An utterly unputdownable and darkly compelling read that will have fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister, and Gone Girl absolutely hooked.

 

Buy the Book 

 

A special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 
 

The Silent Wife  

By: Kerry Fisher

ISBN: 9781786811264

Publisher:  Bookouture
Publication Date: 2/24/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: TBR

Would you risk everything for the man you loved? Even if you knew he'd done something terrible?

A heart wrenching and gripping tale. I was hooked from the very first page.' Write Escape 

Lara’s life looks perfect on the surface. Gorgeous doting husband Massimo, sweet little son Sandro and the perfect home. Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can’t tell anyone else or everything Massimo has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage. 

Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico and lives with him and her troubled stepdaughter. She knows all of Nico’s darkest secrets – or so she thinks. The one day she discovers a letter in the attic which reveals a shocking secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep silent to protect those she loves? 

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price. 

A heart-wrenching, emotionally gripping read for fans of Amanda Prowse, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain. 

 

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

  

 

 

The Golden Hour  

 

By: T. Greenwood

ISBN:  978-0758290571

Publisher: Kensington 

Publication Date: 2/28/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars

“Richly told and hauntingly beautiful, The Golden Hour was impossible to put down.” --Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author

On a spring afternoon long ago, thirteen-year-old Wyn Davies took a shortcut through the woods in her New Hampshire hometown and became a cautionary tale. Now, twenty years later, she lives in New York, on the opposite side of a duplex from her ex, with their four-year-old daughter shuttling between them. Wyn makes her living painting commissioned canvases of birch trees to match her clients’ furnishings. But the nagging sense that she has sold her artistic soul is soon eclipsed by a greater fear. Robby Rousseau, who has spent the past two decades in prison for a terrible crime against her, may be released based on new DNA evidence—unless Wyn breaks her silence about that afternoon.
 
To clear her head, refocus her painting, and escape an even more present threat, Wyn agrees to be temporary caretaker for a friend’s new property on a remote Maine island. The house has been empty for years, and in the basement Wyn discovers a box of film canisters labeled “Epitaphs and Prophecies.” Like time capsules, the photographs help her piece together the life of the house’s former owner, an artistic young mother, much like Wyn. But there is a mystery behind the images too, and unraveling it will force Wyn to finally confront what happened in those woods—and perhaps escape them at last.  
 
A compelling and evocative novel with an unsettling question at its heart, T. Greenwood’s The Golden Hour explores the power of art to connect, to heal, and to reveal our most painful and necessary truths.

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

Windy City Blues 

 

By: Renee Rosen 

ISBN: 9781101991121

Publisher:  Berkley

Publication Date: 2/28/2017

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: TBR

The bestselling author of White Collar Girl and What the Lady Wants explores one woman's journey of self-discovery set against the backdrop of a musical and social revolution.

In the middle of the twentieth century, the music of the Mississippi Delta arrived in Chicago, drawing the attention of entrepreneurs like the Chess brothers. Their label, Chess Records, helped shape that music into the Chicago Blues, the soundtrack for a transformative era in American History.

But, for Leeba Groski, Chess Records was just where she worked...
 
Leeba doesn't exactly fit in, but her passion for music and her talented piano playing captures the attention of her neighbor, Leonard Chess, who offers her a job at his new record company. What begins as answering phones and filing becomes much more as Leeba comes into her own as a songwriter and befriends performers like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, and Etta James. But she also finds love with a black blues guitarist named Red Dupree.
 
With their relationship unwelcome in segregated Chicago and shunned by Leeba's Orthodox Jewish family, Leeba and Red soon find themselves in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement and they discover that, in times of struggle, music can bring people together.

 

Buy the Book  

 

 

 

Non-Fiction

 

Cravings



By:  Judy Collins

ISBN:  9780385541312

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Publication Date:  2/28/207 

Format:  Other

My Rating: 5 Stars 

Biographies & Memoirs

A no-holds-barred account of folk legend Judy Collins's harrowing struggle with compulsive overeating and of the journey that led her to a solution. 

Since childhood Judy Collins has had a tumultuous, fraught relationship with food. Her issues with overeating nearly claimed her career and her life. For decades she thought she simply lacked self-discipline. She tried nearly every diet plan that exists, often turning to alcohol to dull the pain of yet another failed attempt to control her seemingly insatiable "cravings."


Today, Judy knows she suffers from an addiction to sugar and grains, flour and wheat. She adheres to a strict diet of unprocessed foods, consumed in carefully measured portions. This solution has allowed her to maintain a healthy weight for years, to enjoy the glow of good health, and to attain peace of mind. 


Alternating between chapters on her life and those of the many diet gurus she has encountered along the way (Atkins, Jean Nidetch of Weight Watchers, Andrew Weil, to name a few), Cravings is the culmination of Judy's genuine desire to share what she's learned—so that no one has follow her heart-rending path to recovery.

 

Buy the Book

 

A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review. Review to follow. 

 

HAPPY VALENTINES!  

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/book-blog/tag/feb-2017

Right Behind You

Right Behind You - Lisa Gardner

By: Lisa Gardner

Quincy & Rainie, #7 

ISBN: 978-0525954583​

Publisher: Dutton 

Publication Date: 1/31/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars + +

 

Psychologically rich. Meticulously researched. Thought-provoking. Edge-of-your-seat thriller. Emotional. Gripping. Suspenseful. Gardner’s Best Yet! Top Books of 2017. 5 Stars +++

The "queen" of crime thrillers, Lisa Gardner returns to Bakersville, Oregon, following Find Her (2016) and the latest tantalizing prequel teaser: The 4th Man (Quincy & Rainie #6.5) with RIGHT BEHIND YOU — with fan favorites, highly anticipated retired FBI profiler and former police officer Quincy & Rainie dynamic duo: A heart-pounding, emotional, and gripping suspense crime thriller.

Fans will devour. Humans are complex. Hearts will go out to this brother and sister duo. Professional and personal lives connect. Where nothing is as it appears.

"Had a family once. Father. Mothers. Sister. Lived in our very own double-wide."

The opening takes us to a scene of domestic violence, abuse, and neglect. Two siblings. A brother and a younger sister. A brutal murder. A troubled past. Childhood trauma.

Flash forward years later, we catch up with Quincy and Rainie, retired FBI agent and former police officer, called in on a case, working with the local authorities in Oregon.

With the past books, Quincy was an FBI profiler and met Rainie, a deputy in Bakersville while working on a school shooting case. Now, both retired, they work together consulting on cold cases, or murders outside the police department’s norm.

They are experts in monsters. Homes can be broken. Can the members be mended by the love of others?

When Sharlah (5) and Telly (9) spent day and night trying to escape the violence of their parents- subjected to the unspeakable. Not a life, for an innocent and helpless boy and girl. There was no one to protect them from harm. The kids had to fend for themselves.

One night things get heated and the father tries to kill them. Telly comes to his sister’s rescue and the parents are murdered. They wind up in foster care separated.

Of course, Sharlah knows all too well about monsters. Her parents are dead, with no surviving relatives. Just a brother, four years older than her. She has not seen or heard from him since. She was very young and does not remember a lot about the night her parents died. No one talks about her brother. She has post-traumatic stress, and continues to go to therapy.

She had come to Rainie and Quincy with a case history of antisocial tendencies. They had qualified as foster parents despite Quincy's advanced years, and Rainie's continued struggle with alcohol. They plan on adoption. There is always a pull here with three different personalities.

Quincy was considered an expert in bonding. Sharlah was not easy. She was a lost girl. Broken. One who had been subjected to hardship and violence and had built the corresponding protective layers. She did not trust easily, nor reach out, with a lack of faith. However, she bonded with their dog, Luka. They were inseparable.

She was broken inside. Sharlah had been in their home for three years and they were close to adoption. She respects her soon to be parents and the work they do. However, she does not realize, nor do they, how she is connected to the case. The meaning of family. Everyone involved is part of this family unit.

Quincy is the quiet one; and Rainie, the emotional one. Sharlah really loves them, but not quite sure how to express her feelings. She has her guard up all the time. She knows they are experts in monsters, like herself. If you have read the other books in the series, you know the difficult journey this couple has traveled.

They are giving back by being foster parents to teenage daughter Sharlah, and their dog Luka. Luka is a former police officer. A trained member of law enforcement. He had to retire at five with a bum knee and not strong enough for active duty. Quincy got him for a cop friend and now he is Sharlah’s best friend. She was ten when she arrived in their home and had already been placed in many others.

We also meet Shelly the local small town Sherriff and fugitive tracker, Cal - nice added characters. There has been a shooting at the EZ Gas station in Bakersville, a backwoods town between Portland and Salem. Three victims. Multiple gun shots. A killer is on the loose.

They soon discover as the investigation is underway; there is a foster teen boy, who appears to be the perpetrator on a shooting spree. Why? What set him off? Could it possibly be Sharlah’s brother? The evidence is pointing his way.

He had been so good with his little sister, had read to her, taken her to the library and caring for her needs. Protecting her. However, upon their parent’s death, the siblings had been separated.

Quincy and Rainie fear for their daughter. Is Telly out to harm her? Where will he strike next? A psychotic break. A killer on the loose?

However, has Telly, the brother really killed his foster parents and the victims at the gas station? Or is it someone else? Why does he have photos of Sharlah?

As Quincy and Rainie fear for the safety of their own family and Sharlah, they also must dig deeper to understand what really happened all those years ago, at the murder scene to make sense of the events unfolding in the present.

The brother and sister duo have not seen or heard from one another for eight years. Why now? Did Sharlah have her own memories hidden away? Does she remember what went down that night so long ago? Is a brother trying to protect his sister, still today, after all these years?

One more person to kill. Secrets. Family is about trust.

The suspense builds as Gardner takes you back to the trailer, to the night it all began. The innocent lives of two young siblings and the painful cruel hand they were dealt. From tragedy, loss, pain, and trauma, to love, loyalty, and deep connections.

INTENSE! The author grabs you from page one (grabbed me with the preview included in The 4th Man) and never lets go, not even for a second. I knew I had to read this story. It is a "read in one sitting" kind of suspense. Psychologically rich, one of the best crime thrillers I have read this year. In addition, a vivid portrayal of the foster care system and the impact of both parents, and children have on one another.

With meticulous research and skillful crafting, Gardner combines law enforcement, profiling, cop procedures, domestic violence, foster care, social issues, juvenile system, adoption, alcoholism, at-risk kids, addiction, spree killing, fugitive tracking, crime, mystery, and suspense. It has it ALL.

In addition, to being a huge Quincy and Rainie and Gardner fan, (quickly going back to buy the previous audiobooks, to catch up); loved the relationship between Telly and Sharlah, and my favorite was the twist with Sandra and Frank (Telly’s foster parents), Sandra’s intriguing past and her relationship with Telly. Highly creative as the two families are intertwined. And let’s not forget the skill and love of a loyal dog.

Buy RIGHT BEHIND YOU, today! Gardner pulls out all the stops. Cannot wait for the next. Here’s hoping for more Quincy, Rainie, Telly and Sharlah. Gardner can flat out write complex crime, and spin a tale, like no one else.

A special thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

"Right Behind You" continues one of Gardner's frequent themes: that danger often lies close to home.

 

 




By Amy Wang | The Oregonian/OregonLive (Great interview).

Gardner's next book will be a follow-up to her 2016 hit "Find Her," part of her Detective D.D. Warren series and a return engagement for her character Flora Dane. "I'm working on a novel now where a family has been murdered but, to be different, the 16-year-old daughter is missing," Gardner said.

The question the police must answer is whether the girl was involved in the crime or was kidnapped. Fans can once again nominate themselves or a loved one to appear in the book by entering Gardner's Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy Sweepstakes. Read More

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Right-Behind-You

Fatal

Fatal: A Novel - John Lescroart

By:  John Lescroart

ISBN: 9781501115677

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date: 1/24/2017

Format: Other

My Rating:  4 Stars 

 

New York Times Bestselling author, John Lescroart returns following The Fall (2015) with a totally different type novel than his norm. FATAL, the unexpected, the deadly consequences of a one-night stand.

As you begin reading you will think you are embarking on another “The Affair” American television series (currently catching up with the last season); however, minus all the continuous down and dirty sex scenes.

Set in San Francisco, a gripping domestic suspense of a woman who chooses a burning desire--to commit adultery-- infidelity, leading to a dark and suspenseful journey. A dangerous web of deceit.

Kate Jameson, age 44 is married to Ron (a lawyer) with two children.

They attend a dinner party and Kate becomes obsessed with Peter, also married. Her best friend is a cop, Beth Tully. They had been friends since college and shared their thoughts. She had warned her not to act on her lustful feelings.

However, Kate does not listen. A one-night stand turns into a nightmare. The lives it touches. Crossing lines. Harmful secrets. Could she go back to normal? Shattered lives. Deadly consequences. Murder.

A gang of terrorists. A shooting. Kate and Beth are wounded, then six months later. Peter winds up dead, plus more.

Be patient, a slow start; however, about 50% the intensity heats up.

 




A shocking stand-alone tale (coming from this author), straying from the usual Dismas Hardy style---writing from a woman’s point of view, a strong driving force which navigates the novel. A different tone than the norm, character-driven, with more sensitivity and relationships between women and men.

Give Fatal a whirl! Lescroart is welcome to lead us down a different path, as long as he leads us back with another Dismas Hardy (coming soon), can’t wait! A superb storyteller (no matter the genre) from the master. Perfect cover!

A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Check out the Interview with John! 

 

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/06/11/Fatal

The Sleepwalker

The Sleepwalker: A Novel - Chris Bohjalian

By: Chris Bohjalian 

ISBN: 9780385538916

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 1/10/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 3 Stars 

 

Master storyteller, Chris Bohjalian returns following The Guest Room landing on my Top Books of 2016 with an intriguing tale of the mysterious world of parasomnia and dark family secrets. Recommend reading the novella, The Premonition, a prequel to THE SLEEPWALKER.

“I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me.” – Sylvia Plath

Set in Vermont, a young mother sleepwalks and performs complex behaviors. Now she has gone missing. Annalee is a sleepwalker. A condition, or a state, a sleep behavior somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness

Her daughter Lianna was twenty-one and her sister, Paige was twelve. The husband and father, Warren (English Professor) at the elite New England college--was away on business. They have not recovered.

Annalee embarrassed her husband. They both felt shame, but for different reasons. He because of what people saw and she because of what she could not control. The parents often fought. Annalee was smart and beautiful. She battled depression and took antidepressants.

“They tell you there is no connection between sleepwalking and dreams. Perhaps. After all, you can remember your dreams."

The girls were years apart and there had been five miscarriages between the two births. Seven years later the sleepwalking began. Lianna was in high school and Paige in the second grade.

When the mother was sleepwalking, it seemed she was oblivious, even to the weather, and no recollection of the events the follow day.

"You climb out of bed. You search out a stranger who will satisfy the craving. With any luck, you will wake before you find one. But not always."

The events only occurred when the father was out of town—including the night when she vanished once and for all. It was why the police almost instantly discarded him as a suspect. He had been at a poetry conference in Iowa City.

Both the girls are feeling guilty since neither woke up that night. No body had been found.

“It’s only when the dreams lead you from your bed; from sleep, that the amusements become dangerous.

The next morning, the patient is amnestic. They remember nothing or next to nothing or presumes it was merely a dream.

Detective Gavin Rikert with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Waterbury is on the case. Lilanna is sure her mother did not kill herself and she was not having an affair.

An accident? Did she drown? They found a scrap of nightgown; it was by the river. A concussion. They hoped she was not in the water. The Detective and the mom had attended the same sleep center. He mentioned they had not seen one another for the last several years. Lianna thinks he knows more than he is saying.

The author sprinkles first person notes in italics between chapters. The reader is unsure who is speaking-adding to the mystery.

The novel unfolds surrounding the fallout emotions of the disappearance of Annalee. Warren throws himself in work and drinking; whereas Lianna takes drugs to dull the pain, and Paige swims the river in search of the mother. Everyone handles the guilt and grief in different ways.

People go to the extremes when sleepwalking. From having sex, commit crimes, cook, drive, and drown. It also runs in the family. The ongoing mystery of what really happened to Annalee- to the final conclusion.

If you have read any of Bohjalian’s previous books, you come to expect he tackles highly charged emotional topics with informative and well-researched compelling information. Twisty, slow-burning, and absorbing.

“The earth is as rich with magic as it is with horror and sadness.”

While the subject was fascinating, I will admit this was not my favorite of his books. Felt, it was missing the intensity, suspense, and literary flair of his previous books. Not sure I enjoyed it enough, to read "book two" in the series.

In addition to the reading copy, I also purchased the audiobook, and while I enjoy Cady McClain, the other performer Grace Experience had the most irritating voice. Later discovered Grace is Chris's daughter (sorry); however, a narrator will make or break a book.

There are six common parasomnias that afflict sleepers:
* Sleepwalking. More commonly seen in children, sleepwalking (also called somnambulism) affects about 4 percent of American adults
* REM sleep behavior disorder
* Nightmares.
* Night terrors
* Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder
* Teeth grinding

A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 
Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/02/The-Sleepwalker

The Guests on South Battery

The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street) - Karen White
Tradd Street #5
ISBN: 0451475232
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley
Publication Date: 1/10/2017
Format: Other
My Rating: 4 Stars 
 
The queen of the South, Karen White returns following Flight Patterns (2016) landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016 list and (2014) Return to Tradd Street (Tradd Street, #4) with the continuation THE GUESTS ON SOUTH BATTERY (#5) with more mystery, history, spirits, a twist of paranormal and dark family secrets.
 
"There is always a way to look past the bad to see the good."

Set in the Holy City - historic Charleston, SC, we pick up from the last book with Melanie (Middleton) and Jack Trenholm, settling into marriage with a busy lifestyle and twins, Sarah and JJ (Jack, Jr), and Jack’s daughter, Nola, a sophomore at Ashley Hall. Nola is also interested in a boy named Cooper which Jack must warm up to.

They are the owners of a historic home on Tradd Street (an interesting story from previous books), with its quirks and their dogs. The restless dead had left her along for almost a year as Melanie settled into her new life as wife and mother without the distraction of spirits needing her for something.

Jack is a bestselling author (charming, funny, and irresistible) and Melanie, a successful Realtor, is returning to work after her maternity leave. They are coming up on their first year as parents. Melanie is having a hard time finding and keeping a nanny since she likes things a certain way with her routines. This has been the reason she has been delayed getting back to work, much later than she planned.

Melanie’s first day back, feeling a bit insecure, not having lost all the baby weight, she lands a new client, Jayne Smith from Alabama, who has recently inherited a prominent historic home, the Pinckney mansion. Being an orphan, she is not related to the owner and hates old homes and has never been to Charleston.

She wants Melanie to sell it and find her a new one. Something fresh and new with lots of metal, glass, and stone. Ironically, she is a qualified nanny and does not mind Melanie’s attention to order and details. A match made in heaven.

However, Jayne is not so sure she wants to move into Melanie and Jack’s house since it is also old and historic until she decides about her own living arrangements. However, she soon learns it feels like a home and feels comfortable there.

Melanie and her mom (both with psychic gifts) decide they want to try and discover the past of the house, to warn off the spirits for Jayne to possibly decide to hold on to the home since there was a lot of history. After all, it was on South Battery near the corner of Legare, a huge white house with the portico and columns.

Button Pinckney was an acquaintance of Melanie’s and a good friend of both her mother and mother-in-law. They all went to school at Ashley Hall years ago, and her mom had attended the funeral.

Why would Jayne inherit a home from a stranger? Jayne was raised in the foster care system and was never adopted. Melanie liked her and wants to help. If they can warn off and rid the house of spirits, evil, and ghosts- maybe Jayne will decide to keep the house.

Melanie had a flash of déjà vu, since a man Vanderhorst had left her his crumbling old home that she did not want or need either, not so long ago. She knows all too well about an albatross of a house left to an unsuspecting stranger.

We meet up with Dr. Sophie Wallen-Arasi, professor of historic preservation at the College of Charleston, and Melanie’s mom, Ginette, as well as Melanie’s annoying cousin and Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Rebecca—plus her husband, Marc Longo who stole Jack’s book idea, the story of a disappearance and a murder that occurred in the twenties in her house and made it into a runaway bestseller (with Jack being dropped by his publisher as a result).

An ongoing mystery of the Pickney house. Button never married. She had an older brother-Sumter. He married Anna, another classmate and they had a daughter. She died when she was a child. Anna and Sumter divorced shortly afterward and Anna remained in the house with Button. She died about ten years later. Sumter never remarried and moved to New York after his divorce.

Melanie’s parents have recently remarried and have a good relationship. In the meantime, Melanie lets her old insecurities get in the way making her jump to the wrong conclusions. We also meet up with Detective Thomas Riley and he helps Melanie run a background check on Jayne for the nanny job and he seems to like Jayne. Melanie and Ginette are curious why a generous philanthropist decided to give her entire estate to a deserving orphan.

However, Melanie and Ginette get more than they bargained for with ghosts of the past at the old Pickney mansion. From chilling spirits, haunting ghosts, a cat, a disturbing antique doll, a hanging, a past mental illness, warnings to go away, and desperate cries of help— Jayne, Melanie, and Jayne may have more in common than they may know.
 
Under the mold, falling plaster, spirits of the past, and its sadness, they soon realize there must have been happiness before the tragedy within the walls. It may be worth the chance of a new beginning. Houses are like people. They all deserve a second chance at happiness.

Old secrets which have been buried, all come to the surface. A decades-old mystery to be solved with a shocking conclusion.

As always, Karen White is multi-talented, writing southern women’s fiction, mystery, suspense, paranormal, romance, literary, and historical, crossing many genres. Always love her tales of Charleston and the dark family secrets of the South. I especially loved the reference to Wendy Wax (very cool) —another favorite.

Charleston is such a beautiful city with its historic architecture, and always love catching up with familiar landmarks. Well-crafted and engaging. An intriguing twisty mystery with paranormal elements, enjoy catching up with familiar characters. I enjoy Jack and Melanie’s relationship and the dramas of their lives. If you love history, southern fiction, and ghost stories you will enjoy the series.

Having read and enjoyed all the books in the series, highly recommend them all! In addition to the reading copy, also listened to the audio version (nicely done as always), narrated by Aimée Bruneau, with a charming southern accent.

Looking forward to the next- hoping we hear more about Jayne's mysterious past. 
 
Cannot wait for The Night the Lights Went Out (cover love), Coming April 11, 2017.

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks
Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/06/04/The-Guests-on-South-Battery