Tuesday, January 19, 2021

#Neighbors by @daniellesteel #Netgalley #Book #Review

In Danielle Steel’s gripping new novel, a reclusive woman opens up her home to her neighbors in the wake of a devastating earthquake, setting off events that reveal secrets, break relationships apart, and bring strangers together to forge powerful new bonds.

Meredith White was one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces. But a personal tragedy cut her acting career short and alienated her from her family. For the last fifteen years, Meredith has been living alone in San Francisco with two trusted caretakers. Then, on a muggy late summer day, a massive earthquake strikes Northern California, plunging the Bay Area into chaos. Without a moment’s hesitation, Meredith invites her stunned and shaken neighbors into her mostly undamaged home as the recovery begins.

These people did not even realize that movie star Meredith White was living on their street. Now, they are sharing her mansion, as well as their most closely kept secrets. Without the walls and privacy of their own homes, one by one, new relationships are forged. For every neighbor there is a story, from the doctor whose wife and children fear him, to the beautiful young woman dating a dishonorable man, to the aspiring writer caring for a famous blind musician.

In the heart of the crisis, Meredith finds herself venturing back into the world. And thanks to the suspicions and the dogged detective work of a disaster relief volunteer, a former military officer named Charles, a shocking truth about her own world is exposed. Suddenly Meredith sees her isolation, her estranged family, and even her acting career in a whole new light.

Filled with powerful human dramas, Neighbors is a penetrating look at how our world can be upended in a moment. In a novel of unforgettable characters and stunning twists, acts of love and courage become the most powerful forces of all.
Purchase: Amazon

My Review:

Meredith White was living as recluse shortly after the death of her son.  Suddenly she had two caretakers looking after her affairs, and living in her guesthouse.  It was the perfect setup.  When they went shopping for her, they'd take extra. Sometimes things go missing and they blamed the new maid from the agency.  But things begin to change when a massive earthquake causes Meredith to open up her home to her neighbors, suddenly she learns things about her new found friends and some startling things about her old ones that will change her life forever.

To be honest, I always thought Ms. Steel was a romance author. But from the moment I started reading, I was drawn into this amazing world. Then I got halfway into the book and BOOM! Mind blown! That is all I have to say....you'll have to read it for yourself!

About the Author:

Danielle Fernandes Dominique Schuelein-Steel was born on 14 August 1947 in New York City to a German-Jewish father and a Portuguese Catholic mother, and she spent much of her childhood in France. From an education in New York and Europe to a professional background in public relations and advertising, and teaching, Ms. Steel moved on quickly to her literary career and has been hard at work writing ever since. She wrote her first book at nineteen, but she didn't publish her first novel until 1973.

Often, she works on five books at a time — researching one storyline, writing another, and editing the third. Still, she often spends two to three years researching and developing a single project. In the heat of a first draft, it is not uncommon for her to spend eighteen to twenty hours a day glued to her 1946 Olympia manual typewriter.

Since 1979, more than twenty of Ms. Steel's novels have been adapted for television, each earning high ratings and critical acclaim, including two Golden Globe nominations for JEWELS, a four-hour mini-series that starred Anthony Andrews.

Since 1981, Ms. Steel has been a permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists. In 1989, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having at least one of her books on the Times bestseller list for 381 consecutive weeks. But Guinness was premature. The fact is that one or more of Ms. Steel's novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 390 consecutive weeks.

In addition, Ms. Steel is the author of the "Max and Martha" series of books for young readers. They are ten illustrated storybooks written to comfort the young as they face problems, such as a new stepfather, new baby, new school, loss of a grandparent, and other crucial dilemmas in a child's life. She has also written the "Freddie" books, four of them, about real-life situations in children's lives, like a visit to the doctor and the first night away from home.

Ms. Steel has also written nonfiction, HIS BRIGHT LIGHT, about the life and death of her son Nicholas Traina, released by Delacorte Press in September 1998 and immediately jumped to the New York Times Non-Fiction bestseller list and "Having a Baby." She has also written a book of poetry entitled LOVE: POEMS BY DANIELLE STEEL.

In 2002, Ms. Steel was decorated by the French government as an "Officier" of the distinguished Order of Arts and Letters, for her lifetime contribution to world culture. She was awarded the second highest rank of the Order.

Ms. Steel also has a passionate interest in emerging contemporary artists. She has had an art gallery for several years, and and continues to sponsor and organize free lance art shows and events to show the work of emerging and mid-career artists. She has a degree in design herself. In addition to her writing, Ms. Steel has varied philanthropic interests. She founded and runs two foundations, one named in honor of her late son, The Nick Traina Foundation, which funds organizations involved in mental illness and child abuse. The second was established to assist the homeless. She has won numerous awards for her personal work with mentally ill adolescents and children. Ms. Steel maintains a passionate interest in the welfare and well-being of children, particularly those in jeopardy. Afther, five marriages, she has raised nine children of her own. And they continue to keep her busy, as she juggles writing and family. Her family is her first priority, despite her many interests.

Family, children, and young people are the central focus of her life, and her passion, which frequently shows in her writing. She deals with the themes that touch on the most pressing issues of real life, which makes her books universal, and touch so many people. She is fascinated by the pressing life situations that affect us all, how people handle them and are often transformed as a result. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling #Edelweiss #Book #Review


Andy believes that she has left her past far behind her. But when she gets a call from Peter's mother to say he's gone missing, she finds herself pulled into a search for answers.

Bored and restless after their final school exams, Andy, Peter, Em and Marcus broke into a ruined manor house nearby and quickly became friends with the boy living there. Blond, charming and on the run, David's presence was as dangerous as it was exciting. The story of a diamond necklace, stolen from the house fifty years earlier and perhaps still lost somewhere in the grounds inspired the group to buy a replica and play at hiding it, hoping to turn up the real thing along the way. But the game grew to encompass decades of resentment, lies and a terrible betrayal.

Now, Andy's search for Peter will unearth unimaginable secrets - and take her back to the people who still keep them.

My Review:

Andrea and the gang all grew up together, but she and Peter were always best of friends.  Until they all parted ways for college.  Andy was the only one left behind.  She was doing okay, until Peter's mother called in a panic; she hadn't seen or heard from Peter in over a month. She then recruits Andy to locate him.  This takes Andy on a journey of discovery she didn't see coming.

This novel took my breath away.  It's a story about secrets, lies, and protecting those you love.  A fabulous mystery with an unexpected ending.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Move #Edelweiss #Book #Review


The MoveThe Move by Felicity Everett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Karen and Nick decided to move to the country for a fresh start. Karen, however seems to still have her concerns. But this quaint, little town is so welcoming and friendly. Her friends from London belittle their new friends, it's really creepy at night and Karen feels like she's being watched and followed.

The suspense in this novel was lacking. I think it could have had a little more depth. Three group gatherings does not make a romance.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 14, 2020

Black Water by @niniehammon #Book #Review


Synopsis :
From Ninie Hammon, master of psychological suspense, comes the long-awaited thrilling new series you won't be able to put down.

Bailey Donahue has to stay dead.

After witnessing her husband's murder, Bailey is ripped from her life and placed in the Witness Protection Program in the sleepy town of Shadow Rock.

Believed dead by the mafia, Bailey is trapped in a torturous limbo, unable to return to her life -- and her eighteen-month-old daughter -- without risking the lives of those she loves most.

Losing all hope, she attempts suicide, only to wake in the hospital and discover that not only is she alive, she's woken with a "gift" - she can paint portraits of events that haven't happened... yet.

Her first picture: a girl drowning. She doesn't know who or where the girl is, or how to stop her prediction from coming true.

When two locals offer their help, she feels like she must accept, even though her instincts are screaming that these good samaritans know too much about her.

Can Bailey find the girl and prevent a tragedy — without letting anyone know that she’s still alive?

My Review:
Black Water is the beginning of what I'd consider an epic suspenseful series.  Four people, from four completely different walks of life are bonded together, by of all things, an unusual painting.  A painting that may very well be a prediction.  Can they stop the tragedy from coming true?

This was one of the best summer reads this year.  It was fast paced and difficult to put down.  If you love mysteries and suspenseful novels, this is one I highly recommend.

About the Author:
I grew up in Texas, got a BA in English and theatre from Texas Tech University and snagged a job as a newspaper reporter. Didn't know a thing about journalism, but my editor said if I could write he could teach me the rest of it and if I couldn't write the rest of it didn't matter. I hung in there for a 25-year career as a journalist. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but as soon as I figured out that making up the facts was a whole lot more fun than reporting them, I never looked back.

Now, I write suspense--every flavor except pistachio: psychological suspense, inspirational suspense, suspense thrillers, paranormal suspense, suspense mysteries.

In every book I write I try to keep this promise to Loyal Reader: I will tell you a story in a distinctive voice you'll always recognize, about people as ordinary as you are--people who have been slammed by something they didn’t sign on for, and now they must fight for their lives. Then smack in the middle of their everyday worlds, those people encounter the unexplainable--and it's always the game-changer."

Friday, July 31, 2020

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire #Book #Review

The twelfth installment of the Hugo-nominated, New York Times-bestselling Toby Daye urban fantasy series!  

Things are not okay. 

In the aftermath of Amandine's latest betrayal, October "Toby" Daye's fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can't sleep, Sylvester doesn't want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest. 

What she doesn't need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn't need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There's no question of whether she'll take the case. The only question is whether she's emotionally prepared to survive it. 

Signs of Faerie's involvement are everywhere, and it's going to take all Toby's nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can't find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. 

One question remains:
Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? No matter how this ends, Toby's life will never be the same.

My Review:
Toby thought although her life was still in shambles, at least her daughter was safe in the human world with her father and stepmother. At least, she had believed so, until her ex-husband's frantic call that Gillian was missing. He asks her to find Gillian and to also search Faerie. Unfortunately, her search uncovers more than she’s bargained for.

Because of being quarantined, and living through a pandemic that has lasted this long, I’ve been really into epic fantasy novels. This one certainly did not disappoint! Even when you think the mystery is solved, there is yet another twist. I love this series and I suggest you begin with book 1.

About the Author:

Hi! I'm Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and RueA Local HabitationAn Artificial NightLate Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I'm also Mira Grant (www.miragrant.com), author of Feed and Deadline.

Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and share my house with two monsters in feline form, Lilly and Alice (Siamese and Maine Coon).

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Shadow Garden by @alexandraburt #Book #Review


A wealthy woman suspects something is off about the luxurious complex she lives in . . . and she is right, in this riveting domestic-suspense novel from international bestselling author Alexandra Burt.

Donna Pryor lives in the lap of luxury. She spends her days in a beautifully appointed condo. Her every whim is catered to by a dedicated staff, and she does not want for anything.

Except for news of her adult daughter.

Or an ex-husband who takes her calls.

Donna knows something is wrong, but she can't quite put her finger on it. As her life of privilege starts to feel more and more like a prison, the facade she has depended on begins to crumble. Somewhere in the ruins is the truth, and the closer Donna Pryor gets to it, the more likely it is to destroy her.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

My Review:

Donna Pryor lives a life of affluence.  She and her husband have a beautiful mansion, the envy of the neighborhood.  She has been sent away to recuperate from an accident.  An accident she cannot recall nor does she understand why her daughter won't call her.

Wow!  This was an intriguing novel that captures one's interest from the very beginning and keeps you enraptured in the story until the shockingly disturbing end.  I really didn't see it coming.  The suspense just kept building and I was anxious to have my questions answered.  If you enjoy suspense thrillers, you will thoroughly enjoy this book.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

American Demon by @BurningBunnies #Book #Review


A thrilling return to the #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, continuing Rachel Morgan’s story.


What happens after you’ve saved the world? Well, if you’re Rachel Mariana Morgan, witch-born demon, you quickly discover that something might have gone just a little bit wrong. That the very same acts you and your friends took to forge new powers may have released something bound by the old. With a rash of zombies, some strange new murders, and an exceedingly mysterious new demon in town, it will take everything Rachel has to counter this new threat to the world–and it may demand the sacrifice of what she holds most dear.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

My Review:
Rachel Morgan is back and trying to pick up the pieces of her life.  Ivy has decided to work with Nina at the FIB.  The church is basically destroyed and the only thing she has is Trent, her Elven prince.  Now suddenly zombies have been let loose in the city, and Inter-species couples are trying to kill each other.  Rachel must find out who is doing this before it's too late, and there's another occurrence.

I loved The Hollows series and was extremely sad to see it end.  I was happily surprised to see this new series and my favorite characters interacting again.  My most favorite character is Jenks, he always wants to take on these big guys and he's a tiny pixie. He may be little but he's also incredibly clever.  As always, I love that Rachel is a powerful, independent female character.  Kim Harrison has created an imaginative world that makes for a great series for fantasy lovers everywhere.

About the Author:
Kim Harrison is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 best selling Hollows series, but she has written more than urban fantasy and has published over two-dozen books spanning the gamut from young adult, thriller, several anthologies, and has scripted two original graphic novels. She has also published traditional fantasy under the name Dawn Cook. Kim is currently working on a new Hollows book between other, non related, urban fantasy projects.
Kim reaches out to her audience at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KimHarrisons...
and her blog http://kimharrison.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

All of Us #Netgalley #Book #Review

All of UsAll of Us by A.F. Carter

All of Us is a riveting thriller with six compelling protagonists--who all share one body. Though legally she is Carolyn Grand, in practice she is Martha, a homemaker who cooks and cleans for her "family," Victoria, a put-together people person, Serena, a free spirit, Kirk, a heterosexual man, Eleni, a promiscuous risk-taker, and Tina, a manifestation of what is left of Carolyn after years of childhood sexual abuse. As they jockey for control of their body, all the personalities also work together to avoid being committed to a psychiatric facility. But Carolyn's tenuous normal is shattered when Hank Grand, the man who abused her and leased her out to pedophiles, is released from prison. Soon he begins stalking her, bringing back painful memories for all of the personalities.

When Hank is murdered in a seedy hotel room, Carolyn is immediately a prime suspect. But the man has other shady dealings, and the burden of proof weighs heavy on the police--especially when, propelled by demons of his own, one of the detectives assigned to the case finds his way into Carolyn's very solitary life.

The police and the reader are left wondering: are any of Carolyn's personalities capable of murder? A deeply suspenseful novel, with a truly unique cast of characters.
Purchase: Amazon  

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My Review:
Carolyn Grand has very distinct multiple personalities. There's Eleni, the seductive one, Serena, the timid one, Martha, the one that does all the choresss, Victoria is the well dressed one, Tina is the little girl and then there's Kirk, he feels that he is a man stuck in a woman's body.

When Eleni accidentally solicits a detective, Carolyn Grand is forced to prove she's able to care for herself. She then finds out her father, the man that abused her, was being released from prison. All of her rage comes to the forefront as she realizes her psychiatrist isn't really trying to help her and her father has been murdered. Can she prove her innocence when she has no recollection of that night?

I loved this book, it really makes you think about what someone with this disorder goes through. Imagine having days, weeks, or months missing out of your life at a time. The descriptions were so vivid that you feel the frustrations and confusion, not knowing what she did and what happened on those missing days. The only part I wasn't very happy with was the very anti-climatic ending.

View all my reviews

The Second Home by @christi_clancy #Book #Review


A debut novel set on Cape Cod that centers on a beloved family home and the summer that changed the lives of three siblings forever, perfect for readers of J. Courtney Sullivan and Elin Hilderbrand.

After a disastrous summer spent at her family's summer home on Cape Cod, seventeen year old Ann Gordon is left harboring a secret that changes her life forever, and creates a rift between her sister, Poppy, and their adopted brother, Michael.

Now, fifteen years later, her parents have died, and Ann and her sister Poppy are left to decide the fate of the old Wellfleet home that's been in the Gordon family for generations. While they both love the house, they decide to sell it and move forward. But then Michael re-enters their lives with a legitimate claim to a third of the estate. He wants the house. But more than that, he wants to set the record straight about that long ago summer.

Reunited after years apart, these very different siblings are forced to decide if they can continue to be a family--and in the process, they'll discover that the house might be the glue that holds them together.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

My Review:

The story begins in the past, when Ann, Michael, and Poppy are in high school.  Michael's mother passed away and instead of being tossed around, the Gordon's take him in.  His second summer with them, he learns that they aren't as "perfect" as everyone thinks.  Everyone has their secrets, everyone.  When Connie and Ed pass away, the kids reunite after fifteen years.  These kids, once best of friends, are now like oil and water.  So many secrets has kept them apart, can they finally clear the air?

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  It was riveting, emotional, and thought provoking. I liked the toggle from past to present as each character reflected on their past.  This book had me tearing up as the things they had been through were brought to light.  This is a fantastic beach or rainy day read, just be sure to kleenex nearby.

About the Author: 

Like the characters in THE SECOND HOME, I spent the summers of my youth on Cape Cod in the rugged and artsy town of South Wellfleet, MA. The outermost Cape is a place of steep sand dunes, pristine fresh water kettle ponds, salty air, scrub pine and oak trees. It's a place that has stayed with me everywhere I go.

My grandparents lived in a simple cove-side house that has been in our family since the 1890's. Writing this book has allowed me to imagine how other families spend their time in a place I feel I uniquely adore. It has also provided me with the opportunity to think about our fierce attachments to second homes -- from tiny, bat-filled cabins in the woods to grand seaside estates. These places we go back to again and again often define us, just as they define our families. When families change and the homes are passed down from generation to generation, these memory-filled receptacles can stress relationships or bring us closer together.

In addition to writing, I teach spin classes (the sweating, not the weaving kind) and I taught English at Beloit College for almost a decade. I've been writing short stories and essays that have appeared in The New York Times "Modern Love" column, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Magazine, and in literary journals like Glimmer Train Stories, Hobart, Pleiades, The Minnesota Review and on Wisconsin Public Radio. I have a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I live in Madison, Wisconsin with my very tall husband. We have two children, Olivia and Tim. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Killman Creek by @rachelcaine #Book #Review


Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

My Review:
Gwen Proctor was so sure after the trial and she'd gotten her kids back, that they were finally free.  Freedom from her serial killer ex-husband, free from the people in their town that accuses her of aiding him and she's now free to start over again.  Unfortunately this isn't Stillhouse Lake, and everyone wants what they had in the sleepy town of Stillhouse.  Although, Gwen had rescued her children from that monster she was married to.  The children refuse to ralk about their time with him.  Now she has received a cryptic text message and is being hunted yet again.

This is book 2 of the Stillhouse Lake series.  Once again, I was drawn in from very beginning.  The story really rips at your heart and you feel the need to protect the kids as well.  I honestly didn't think Rachel Caine would be able to tie up enough ends for this portion to conclude, but she did a fabulous job.  I'm so excited to listen to book 3, that it may well be my next Audible purchase.