Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden

"When Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband Nick on a Boston sidewalk, she's furious at him for pretending he doesn't know her. She calls his cell to have it out with him, only to discover that he's in New Hampshire with his current girlfriend. But if Nick's in New Hampshire...who did she encounter on the street?
Frank Lindbergh's dreams have fallen apart. He wanted to get out of the grim neighborhood where he'd grown up and out of the shadow of his alcoholic father. Now both his parents are dead and he's back in his childhood home, drinking too much himself. As he sets in motion his plans for the future, he's assaulted by an intruder in his living intruder who could be his twin.
In an elegant hotel, Tess will find mystery and terror in her own reflection. Outside a famed mansion on Beacon Hill, people are infected with a diabolical malice...while on the streets, an eyeless man, dressed in rags, searches for a woman who wears Tess's face."

Dead Ringers is indeed the stuff of which nightmares are made. Picture it.... you are in your bed, alone in your room. You can't sleep. You take a deep breath and let it out slowly... and so does someone else. Your heart pounds, you are terrified, and then you hear a laugh. You turn on the light, and there it is, that which can not be. It looks just like you and it wants to be you. This was one scary spooky read! Well written, fast paced and reminded me of one of my all time favorite Twilight Zone episodes in which a woman sees "herself" at a bus station and is told to quit asking when the bus will show up even though she has never asked yet. This is like twilight zone on steroids, almost guaranteed to give you nightmares.
I received an advance copy for review.

Friday, October 30, 2015

A New Game (The Next Move, You're Dead Trilogy Book 2) By Linda L Barton

"Detective Lucinda Mackey has never been one to give up on a case until she brings the guilty to face judgment for their crime. She has always lived by a certain code, but she never anticipated a mysterious caller would choose her to play in a game of life and death.

Will she survive this challenge from an unknown opponent bent on her destruction, or will she meet the same fate as the others before her who played in The Game? "

This is part 2 in the Next Move You're Dead Trilogy. Even though it's been about a year since I read book one I had no trouble at all getting right into the story and the author does refresh your memory for you nicely in case you may have forgotten anything crucial from part one. I think this book would appeal not only to those who enjoy a good thriller, but to classic horror fans (like myself) as well due to the spine tingling suspense that grabs you from the first page. If you like a good scary story with lots of action but without all the gore, this is meant for you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Left To Darkness by Craig Saunders

"A meteor strikes the Earth. Dirt and dust fill the air. Only a few people remain under the setting skies, and those who still live find it's not God's England anymore.

It's the Devil's turn.

Lines are drawn between the dark and light. For the darkness, James Finley and his cult for the end of days. On the side of light, Paul Deacon, the lost policeman, and Dawn Graves, the last mother.

To survive, they must put their lives in one man's hands: Frank Liebowicz, a killer with a soft spot for lost causes. Because come Armageddon, God won't choose his champions.
They'll choose themselves"

This was a fast paced graphic and gory end of the world tale complete with blood, guts, and cannibalism. The main characters are not your typical hero types but that just served to make the story even better. I was a little surprised by what seemed to be a very abrupt ending, until I realized this book is the first in a series.

I received a free copy for review.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Singing Bone by Beth Hahn

Coming in March, available for preorder at amazon
"A convicted killer’s imminent parole forces a woman to confront the nightmarish past she’s spent twenty years escaping.1979: Seventeen-year-old Alice Pearson can’t wait to graduate from high school and escape the small town in upstate New York where she grew up. In the meantime, she and her three closest friends spend their time listening to Led Zeppelin, avoiding their dysfunctional families, and getting high in the nearby woods. Then they meet the enigmatic Jack Wyck, who lives in the rambling old farmhouse across the reservoir. Enticed by his quasi-mystical philosophy and the promise of a constant party, Alice and her friends join Mr. Wyck’s small group of devoted followers. But once in his thrall, their heady, freewheeling idyll takes an increasingly sinister turn, and Alice finds herself crossing psychological and moral boundaries that erode her hold on reality. When Mr. Wyck’s grand scheme goes wrong, culminating in a night of horrific murders, Alice’s already crumbling world falls into chaos, and she barely makes her way back to normal life.

Twenty years later, Alice has created a quiet life for herself as a professor of folklore, but an acclaimed filmmaker threatens to expose her secret past when he begins making a documentary about Jack Wyck’s crimes and the cult-like following that he continues to attract even from his prison cell. Jack Wyck has never forgiven Alice for testifying against him, and as he plots to overturn his conviction and regain his freedom, she is forced to confront the long suppressed memories of what happened to her in the farmhouse—and her complicity in the evil around her."

This story was a bit draggy at first and it took a while before it really began to hold my interest. Once it got going it was worth a read. Jack Wyck is basically a Charles Manson type who is able to manipulate a group of teens into participating in sex, drugs, fraud, and a murder spree. We are told the story  through flashbacks that begin when the teens still had "normal" lives.

I was given an advance copy for review.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

"Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who panics at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and fun- loving—full of art, science experiments, and music—and all confined to their small house.

But Will’s thirst for adventure can’t be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside.  At his new school he meets Jonah, an artsy loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedoms of skateboarding.  Together, they search for a missing local boy, help a bedraggled vagabond, and evade a dangerous bootlegger.  The adventure is more than Will ever expected, pulling him far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood, and all the risks that everyday life offers.   

In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly observed novel about mothers and sons, fears and uncertainties, and the lengths we’ll go for those we love"

This book started out fantastic but lost a bit of momentum around halfway through. This is the story of the relationship between an increasingly agoraphobic Mom and her young son. At first Diane has mild to moderate panic attacks and can only leave her house for specific reasons. When the panic becomes so intense she can no longer drive she takes taxis. When the panic increases she no longer leaves the house at all, having everything delivered. She finds that even businesses who do not normally deliver will do so if you tell them you have a "severe condition"   Diane is determined to keep her son Will safe from the "outside"  His only experience with interacting with people comes from the deliveries he accepts and signs for since his mother is no longer able to answer the door. She tries to keep Will entertained inside, Will creates what he calls "masterpieces" and they pretend different parts of the house are different countries so that they may "travel" all over the world while remaining safely inside. When this is not enough for Will and he wants to venture outside he is made to wear a helmet. He is clueless when it comes to interacting with other children since he has never been allowed to do so. This leads to quite a bit of difficulty at first. As Will becomes increasingly curious and wants to experience more of the "outside" Diane's panic and mental illness worsens. After he notices that he is the only one wearing a helmet and he survives his first encounter with the outside he begins to question whether the world is as dangerous as his mother has led him to think. This was a sometimes humorous and sometimes sad look at mental illness and it's impact on families.
I received a free copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for review.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The View From Here by Rachel Howzell

"The View from Here focuses on the beauties and hardships of marriage; the betrayals and promises made between husbands and wives; and the grief of one woman haunted by secrets.

Nicole Baxter has always tried to control every element of her life, but that control is slipping away. She has issues. Abandonment issues. Marital issues. Conception issues. And she thinks her house in the hills is haunted. It doesn't help that her husband Truman spleunks and climbs, making her worry more with each adventure he takes. As the two grow apart, Nicole makes decisions that may ultimately shatter her fragile marriage.

Her life changes on the afternoon she receives a phone call from the harbor. During a scuba dive, Truman disappears. No one -- not his diving instructor, not the Coast Guard -- can find him. Is he still alive? Or is grief making her believe the impossible?"

A very well written story of a dysfunctional marriage, and a husband who goes missing and is presumed dead. However You are never quite sure if he is alive or dead, or haunting his wife, or perhaps she is just losing her mind. Then again maybe her friends are conspiring to make her lose her mind. It will keep you guessing until the end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review

Monday, October 19, 2015

Better Left Buried by Belinda Frisch

"Something from Harmony Wolcott's past is haunting her, leaving her with nowhere to turn but the supernatural. When a session with a spirit board reveals a street address, Harmony and her best friend, Brea, investigate an abandoned house on the outskirts of town. While neither recognizes the building's importance, there's a vague familiarity that draws them into researching its history.

For Harmony, it feels like home, and reminds her of a time when her and Brea's friendship wasn't forbidden, of a place where their families' lives had intersected years earlier, and of an unspeakable tragedy that might be the town of Reston's best kept secret. Unfortunately for her, sometimes the past is better left buried."

A coming of age story with a twist.
This well written story of Harmony, a teen with a troubled past, a strung out mom, and a secret she can't quite remember will haunt your memory long after you finish the book. The well developed and true to life characters nearly leap off the page and in your face.

I received a complimentary copy to review

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Rock by Laurie Kast-Klein

"The smell of discontent oozed from her apartment. The dirty diapers, unwashed dishes and urine-stained floors were a relentless reminder that there was no escape.
Most days, Shelby felt trapped inside this world, not by a locked door but by the lack of expectation. - The Rock is a story of four very different individuals sharing a hallway at a subsidized apartment complex. You will laugh and cry along with them as they stumble along in life"

A peek into the lives of the tenants and manager of Rockefeller Hills Apartments, a rundown section 8 housing complex known as "The Rock" Not very realistic as far as portraying the struggle to even get housing, or should I say the lack of struggling. In the book you just show up and say you want section 8 housing and poof you get it just like that. Also in the book if you have no income your rent is free, when in reality if you can't pay any rent you can't get a section 8 apartment, but of course the book never claimed to be anything but fiction, and the story itself was entertaining.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When Myths Collide: Short Stories by Mark Ferry

"From foggy remains of waking dreams come visions of things otherworldly.

When a routine bio exam turns into an inexplicable nightmare for an interstellar science team, the ship’s pilot is faced with a grim decision that could cost him everything.

The victims of a brutal home invasion learn that even those closest to us are sometimes not what they seem.

A young drifter’s selfless act leaves his soul in a battle for salvation.

And a dying woman finds hope for the future in a simple seven-word note.

These and five other tales"

I read a lot of short stories. I especially reach for them late at night when I just want a little something to read before bed, or when I want a break from a particularly long novel but don't want to get involved in reading 2 long books at the same time. A common issue I run across with short stories is that often times the characters lack depth as it seems their creators just lack the time to properly introduce you to them and they can seem one dimensional and underdeveloped. Well not here! These stories are incredible, and the characters are rich and full bodied with an intensity of spirit and emotion. For example in my 2 favorites out of the bunch "When Troy Fell" I feel like I know Walt and Rita personally and I do not doubt their love for each other. "Vegetarian Spiders" was also an exciting story of love and betrayal. I enjoyed all of the stories but those were my personal favorites.
I received a complimentary copy for review.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hellfire's Judgment by Linda L Barton

"A simple trip to the supermarket starts a chain of events that begins with the violent rape of an innocent thirteen-year old girl. This act of violence forces a family to face the difficult decision of whether to pursue justice against the member of a powerful local family, or remain silent as so many others have in the past. Clay Jefferies has never been a man to walk away from a fight. However, after the acquittal of the man who raped his granddaughter, he finds himself forced to protect his family in the only way he knows how. Clay must now ask this question of himself. If you kill the man who brutally raped your granddaughter, is it Murder or Justice?"

I can't say this was an easy read. The subject matter will be a trigger issue for some people. As a woman, as a mom, as anyone who has ever been abused by the so called justice system or known someone who has been molested this might be a difficult read, though to her credit the author does not exploit it, or go into graphic gory detail this is still a story of a child who has been raped and the man who got away with it. I had to tell myself several times "It's just a story, It's just a story It isn't real" But the sad fact is that in this world children are hurt every single day and I was sometimes filled with such rage over what this child was put through that I had to put the book down and take some time away from it. I will say I'm glad I saw it through to the end because it had a most satisfying conclusion. This was a well written and powerful story but not for the faint of heart.

I received a complimentary copy for review

Monday, October 12, 2015

Falling Like Snowflakes (A Summer Harbor Novel) by Denise Hunter

"Speeding north through rural Maine, Eden Martelli wonders how her life came to this—on the run with her mute five-year-old son dozing fitfully in the passenger seat. When a breakdown leaves them stranded in Summer Harbor, Eden has no choice but to stay put through Christmas . . . even though they have no place to lay their heads.
Beau Callahan is a habitual problem solver—for other people anyway. He left the sheriff’s department to take over his family’s Christmas tree farm, but he’s still haunted by the loss of his parents and struggling to handle his first Christmas alone.
When Eden shows up looking for work just as Beau’s feisty aunt gets out of the hospital, Beau thinks he’s finally caught a break. Eden is competent and dedicated—if a little guarded—and a knockout to boot. But, as he soon finds out, she also comes with a boatload of secrets.
Eden has been through too much to trust her heart to another man, but Beau is impossible to resist, and the feeling seems to be mutual. As Christmas Eve approaches, Eden’s past catches up to her.
Beau will go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe. But who’s going to protect his heart from a woman who can’t seem to trust again?"

Eden is on the run, at first we don't know from who or what or why, we know only that it is imperative that she and her young child get to their destination, she needs a safe place to hide out but we don't know why. Car trouble and lack of money to fix it leave her in desperate circumstances.  Stranded on a bitter cold night with only the clothes on her back and nobody to turn to for help.

Her luck turns when she is offered a job of caring for a woman who recently had an accident, but as she begins to settle in and almost feel safe with this family they are suspecting that she is hiding a troubles past and some dangerous secrets.

This book is the first in what looks to be a promising series. I can picture this in my mind as one of those Lifetime holiday movies, it would be perfect for it. If you enjoy a little suspense and action mixed in with your romance this is the book for you.
 I received a copy from Book Look Bloggers for review

About the Author
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 20 books, including Dancing with Fireflies and The Convenient Groom. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are raising three boys. You can learn more about Denise through her website or by visiting her FaceBook page at

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Two-Family House: A Novel by Lynda Cohen Loigman

"Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins.
From debut novelist Lynda Cohen Loigman comes The Two-Family House, a moving family saga filled with heart, emotion, longing, love, and mystery."

This is the story of Helen and Rose, sisters-in-law and best friends raising their families and sharing their lives together. Helen has the upstairs apartment with her husband Abe and is raising a house full of boys.

Rose has the downstairs with her husband Mort and their daughters.
This struck a chord with me, as when my husband and I were first married we lived for 5 years in a 2 family house and had the upstairs. Downstairs were my parents and sisters. I felt the author quite accurately portrayed the feeling of being one big happy family and yet still wanting your own space with your own family.

Though Abe and Mort are brothers they are very different and not as close as Helen and Rose. They own a business together and work together each day but don't share much else in common. Their approach to raising children is quite different, their marriages are quite different, Mort is more cold and less demonstrative, sometimes cruel. Abe is more warm and affectionate. Rose often feels that things would be different if she had born a son instead of only daughters... Helen sometimes feels overwhelmed with her house full of boisterous boys and wishes she had a daughter to talk and laugh and share with, but they each try to make the best of things in their own way, and they could not love each other more if they were sisters by blood and not only marriage.

Sadly, choices that they make leads to a rift in their relationship. Things they thought they could live with become impossible to bear. Tragedy tears them further apart. I don't want to give away too much, but I truly felt for these characters, I sympathized, I empathized and I felt their heartbreak.
I am impressed with author Lynda Cohen Loigman and will most definitely be keeping an eye out for her future work.

I received an advance copy for review.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Dinner By Herman Koch


"It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
     Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
     Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy"
The description made me want to read this book, but while the story held my interest I found it difficult to connect with any of the characters or empathize with any of their decisions. There was not so much a "tragedy" that any one was faced with nor did it make me wonder what I myself would do if faced with such an impossible "tragedy" The characters were too unreal. The plot was too implausible and the narrative too often stated "I'm not going to tell you" As in the wife is hospitalized but "I'm not going to tell you why" She had multiple surgeries but "I'm not going to tell you" what they were. One character has a mental illness of some sort but "I'm not going to tell you" what it is (since no such condition exists) oh and this illness could have been diagnosed before birth with an amnio but "I'm not going to tell you"   This was less a story of how far you would go to protect those you love and more a story of how far you would dig yourself into a deeper hole along with someone who was never in a million years going to be able to get away with what they've done.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for review


About Herman Koch

HERMAN KOCH is the author of eight novels and three collections of short stories. The Dinner, his sixth novel, has been published in forty countries and was an international bestseller. He currently lives in Amsterdam
more info


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey

"With the “profound sense of Southern spirituality” he is known for (Publishers Weekly), Billy Coffey draws us into a town where good and evil—and myth and reality—intertwine in unexpected ways.
Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves."

I fell in love with this book! The Curse of Crow Hollow is a spine tingling story related to you slowly through a folksy down home narrative that made me feel I was a trusted friend sitting around a spooky campfire being let in on a secret.

It is a story of superstition, suspicion, mob mentality oh and lets not forget the witch! Is she or isn't she? Can she really curse a whole town or is it all in their own minds like some mass hysteria? When a birthday party gone wrong leads a group of teens to the witch's door long hidden secrets make their way to the light and evil can live not just in a witch's shack but in the hearts of men.

I received an advance copy for review.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Island Of Worthy Boys By Connie Hertzberg Mayo

"In 1889, the Boston Farm School didn’t accept boys with any sort of criminal record. Which made it the perfect place for two boys who accidentally killed someone to hide.

Charles has been living alone on the streets of Boston for the last two of his twelve years. Aidan’s mom can’t stay sober enough to keep her job. When the boys team up, Charles teaches Aidan the art of rolling drunks in the saloon and brothel district, and life starts to look up―until a robbery goes horribly wrong one night and they need to leave the city or risk arrest. When the boys con their way into The Boston Farm School―located on an island one mile out in Boston Harbor―they think they’ve cheated fate. But the Superintendent is obsessed with keeping the bad element out of his school, and as both their story and their friendship start to splinter, Charles and Aidan discover they are not as far from the law as they had hoped."  

This was an engaging, beautifully written work of historical fiction. While the main characters Charles and Aidan are fictitious, Boston Asylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys did actually exist as does Thompson Island MA.
Charles and Aidan meet quite by accident and although Charles is wary of people and used to being alone the two quickly become the best of friends. They are each suffering through their own hard times and their friendship is only solidified when things take a turn for the worse. I was totally immersed in this story and couldn't put it down.

I received an advance copy in exchange for review