Sunday, April 29, 2018

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

In the riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love and Something Borrowed, three very different people must choose between their family and their values.

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

When the gossip first reaches them, Nina and her husband Kirk are having a typical Saturday night, which for them consists of being honored at yet another gala event. Rumor has it that their son has taken advantage of an unconscious girl at a party by taking and sharing a sexually explicit and racist photo of her.
As Nina tries to find out what really happened at this party, she also begins to find that she never really knew her husband at all. His solution is to throw money at the problem to make it go away.
This domestic drama is quite relevant in today's world and shows that there are some things you just can't buy with all the money in the world.
4 out of 5 stars
I received an advance copy for review.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Bullied To Death? By Judith A.Yates

On September 5, 2015, in a public park in LaVergne, Tennessee, fourteen-year-old Sherokee Harriman drove a kitchen knife into her stomach as other teens watched in horror. Despite attempts to save her, the girl died, and the coroner ruled it a “suicide.” But was it? Or was it a crime perpetuated by other teens who had bullied her?

Sherokee’s short life and tragic death created a national media and social media frenzy much of it centered on sensationalism rather than the truth. Meanwhile in LaVergne, the community sought answers to questions about who, if anyone, should be held criminally responsible for “bullying.”

Award-winning author and criminologist Judith A. Yates peels back the layers of sensational news coverage surrounding a girl’s death, and in context with national interest in the phenomenon of internet bullying tries to answer the question of whether Sherokee Harriman was BULLIED TO DEATH.

This is a fact based account of the life and death of Sherokee Harriman, a 14 year old girl who lost her life far too soon. The question mark in the title would seem to be because nobody was charged in her death, it was not ruled that her death was a result of the bullying though it does seem to have been a factor. Much of the book was about her family life and did not really focus that much on bullying.  Sherokee had a hard time at school and was picked on by her peers, but she also had a difficult home life, a dysfunctional family, had been molested, was diagnosed bi-polar and had threatened to kill herself on numerous occasions when she did not get her way. Nobody but Sherokee can ever really know for certain whether she meant to die that day, or whether this act was a cry for help that just never came. There is some mention of her having YouTube and other social media accounts, which made me want to check to see if any were still online. I did find some of her videos which are still there, though I wish I had not watched them because they left me feeling very sad for her. I'm just not sure what the author was going for here.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ghost Virus by Graham Masterton

Samira had been staring into her mirror all morning before she picked up the small bottle of sulphuric acid and poured it over her forehead. She was a young woman with her whole life ahead of her. What could have brought her to this? DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel of Tooting Police suspect it’s suicide. But then a random outbreak of horrific crimes in London points to something more sinister. A deadly virus is spreading: something is infecting ordinary Londoners with an insatiable lust to murder. All of the killers were wearing second hand clothes. Could these garments be possessed by some supernatural force? The death count is multiplying rapidly. Now Jerry and Jamila must defeat the ghost virus, before they are all infected.

Well.. that was different! I'll say that for it.
The cringe factor starts immediately as a young woman melts her face off with a bottle of acid purposely poured over herself, and dies a grisly painful death all due to wearing a jacket from a second hand shop. Oddly she seemed to be the only one affected in this way by the "ghost virus." The others who tried on the second hand clothes developed murderous and cannibalistic traits against others instead of themselves. I guess the story could have been too easily wrapped up if everyone had only killed themselves.
This was a gruesome, gore fest of a read, and whether or not you like  it may depend on your willingness to sacrifice logic and realism for the sake of enjoyment.

I received an advance copy for review.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Clowders by Vanessa Morgan

Clervaux, Luxembourg. This secluded, picturesque town in the middle of Europe is home to more cats than people. For years, tourists have flocked to this place – also known as “cat haven” - to meet the cats and buy cat-related souvenirs.

When Aidan, Jess and their five-year-old daughter, Eleonore, move from America to Clervaux, it seems as if they've arrived in paradise. It soon becomes clear, though, that the inhabitants' adoration of their cats is unhealthy. According to a local legend, each time a cat dies, nine human lives are taken as a punishment. To tourists, these tales are supernatural folklore, created to frighten children on cold winter nights. But for the inhabitants of Clervaux, the danger is darkly, horrifyingly real.

Initially, Aidan and Jess regard this as local superstition, but when Jess runs over a cat after a night out in the town, people start dying, one by one, and each time it happens, a clowder of cats can be seen roaming the premises.

Are they falling victim to the collective paranoia infecting the entire town? Or is something horrible waiting for them? Something unspeakably evil.

Aidan and Jess' move to Europe may just have been the worst decision they ever made.

First the good..
This was a creative and creepy tale with a decent back story that tells the legend of this cursed village. Personally I love stories about creepy little towns with strange inhabitants who are all in on a secret that leaves the newcomers in peril.
This picturesque town of Clervaux delivers that along with a demonic being who will take revenge on anyone who kills a cat. The main characters are Aidan, a controlling, selfish, yet weak willed veterinarian who expects his wife to just go along with every whim he has, and Jess the put upon wife who can't be bothered to stand up for herself..
The not so good..
The characters behavior sometimes came across as unnatural. There were some strange choices that defy the logic of what someone would do in certain situations. Some things just lacked a natural flow and resolution, like angry villagers chasing you with murderous intent but then you get home and..nothing. I guess they gave up and went home. It didn't really say.There were also some strange bits of narrative, for example "He plucked a strand of hair from behind her face and put it tenderly behind her ear."
All in all not a bad story, and some very creative ideas.
3 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy for review.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey

In this book, former FBI director James Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.

Mr. Comey served as director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. He previously served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the U.S. deputy attorney general in the administration of President George W. Bush. From prosecuting the Mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change the Bush administration's policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history.

If you watch the news at all or read the 1 star Amazon reviews by people who appear not to have read the book you will be led to believe this is a book about Trump, and bashing him, or outing him as unfit in some way. Especially if you know that the RNC has gone out of their way to create a website just ahead of the book release for the sole purpose of Comey bashing. So let me bust that myth. This is not a book about Trump. There are no big jaw dropping Trump secrets here. This is a book about James Comey, from his early childhood until the here and now. Comey touches on childhood memories, being bullied, later on participating or at least turning a blind eye to bullyng himself. He speaks on his experience being home alone with his brother when the "Ramsey Rapist" broke into his house. He tells you how and why he decided to pursue law as a career instead of becoming a doctor. There are humorous anecdotes about his first job in the grocery store and yes some about his final days as FBI director. You do not have to be a fan of Comey or any of his decisions to enjoy this book. You may or may not be satisfied with his explanation of why he decided to make such public announcements on Hilary's emails, but that is a small part of this book. Personally I was not satisfied and he does admit that others may have handled it differently. If you are only looking for bombshells this book is not for you. By the time it gets to the visit to alert Trump to the salacious allegations the book is 70% over, because as I said this is not a book about Trump.
Even if I do not agree with Comey's decisions to publicly give his opinion on one candidate while withholding the fact that there is an investigation surrounding the other even with the "classified info" that he says we still do not know about I was still able to enjoy this book. I agree with his assessment in the last televised interview he gave, that if Comey is an idiot he is at least an honest idiot.
4 out of 5 stars from me.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Paranoia Tango by Ray Garton

Some claim we are living in the “last days.” Some believe that extraterrestrials have been controlling world events for ages and now, having grown weary of us, are hitting the reset button. Others suspect that a sinister cabal has somehow wrested control from the hands of all the world powers and are steering us toward doom. The only thing everyone agrees on is this:

Something is not right. Something seems to be sucking the hope out of the world.

Hector Graham sees it in the gradual death of his hometown, Seabreeze, where he was born and grew up, where he married and raised a son. He sees it in the arrival at night of strange children who go door to door, demanding to be let inside. For some, the children bear gifts . . . but they come with a terrible price.

Jeff Duggins sees it in the sudden disappearance of an online friend known as Lizard Man. Jeff and his friend Darryl take a road trip to Sacramento to check up on Lizard Man and make sure he’s okay. They are concerned because he’s been making some strange claims about a pet iguana that has grown to enormous size and started to talk . . . and say some scary things.

Ray Garton brings his unique brand of fear to these two novelettes of modern dread in the digital age . . . a time when nothing is as it seems and everyone has a theory about what’s really going on.

The music has begun. It’s time to dance the . . . PARANOIA TANGO.

Paranoia Tango contains two creepy stories "The Last Days of Seabreeze"
and "Lizard Man Dispatches" based on urban legend and the crazy world of conspiracy theories.

I am a sucker for creepy kids in horror, be it books, movies, or urban legends. I think it goes back to my fear of dolls as a child. So Seabreeze was my favorite  as the mist rolls in and the town is taken over by those  black eyed children that have been all the rage since the 90s.
I'm not as big a fan of conspiracy theories or reptiles but somehow when you combine them it just works. It's easy to ignore people who go on and on about Roswell and the Illuminati but I suppose if a lizard wanted to bend my ear on the subject I would sit up and take notice!
5 stars from me.
If you can get hold of a copy give it a read, mine was a limited edition copy and I'm not sure if they're still around.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst

From the No.1 bestselling author of HOW I LOST YOU, which Clare Mackintosh called 'utterly gripping', comes a chilling new novel. Perfect for fans of Louise Jensen's THE SISTER and Katerina Diamond's THE SECRET, Linda Green and Paula Hawkins.

Karen is meant to be the one who fixes problems.
It's her job, as a psychiatrist - and it's always been her role as a friend.
But Jessica is different. She should be the patient, the one that Karen helps.
But she knows things about Karen. Her friends, her personal life. Things no patient should know.
And Karen is starting to wonder if she should have let her in . . .

Karen, Bea, and Eleanor have been the best of friends since they were kids. Karen was always the one Bea and Eleanor could count on, come hell or high water. One day a threat presents itself to this friendship, in the form of a new patient who seems to know far too much about Karen and the lives of her friends. Wanting to protect them as she has always done, Karen struggles with how much information she is able to share since giving away too much would breach patient confidentiality. Tensions mount under the stress of too many secrets that even these best of friends have kept hidden from each other, and the dangers that lurk may threaten not only friendships but lives.
This was a brilliant psychological thriller full of suspense and domestic drama.
5 out of 5 stars
I received an advance copy for review.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Sound of Broken Ribs by Edward Lorn

Lei Duncan has it all: the ideal life, the perfect career, a loving husband. What more could someone ask for? It is with this in mind that Lei takes her morning run.

Belinda Walsh has just lost it all: her home, her husband, her sanity. Everything she’s known to be true is a lie. It is with this in mind that she goes looking for something—or someone—to destroy.

When the lives of two strangers intersect, something will be born of the connection. For one of these two women, the truth of the world will shift and morph into something powerful and dangerous. A darkness of the mind. A rip in sanity.

And something will peek through that darkness, beckoned by the sound of broken ribs.

I have never read an Edward Lorn that I didn't enjoy. There are very few authors I can say that about.
The Sound Of Broken Ribs is as twisted as it's title. I'm not sure there's a lot I can say without giving away too much plot so I will stick with how it made me feel, because for me the best books are those that make you feel something.
For the briefest moment I felt sympathy for Belinda who had just had her ordinary hum drum life ripped out from under her, and then BAM I spent the rest of the book wanting to beat her to a pulp for making me feel sorry for her. Lets face it, lots of us have at some point been screwed over by a man we expected to live happily ever after with, but we didn't pull a Belinda.
The depth and scope of Lei's pain literally made my heart hurt. The suspense of not knowing for sure whether there were supernatural elements afoot or who would survive to the end kept me up turning pages until long past my bedtime. The ending was spectacular.
5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Gorilla in My Room by Jack Ketchum


Jack Ketchum is back with a brand new short story collection, full of the horror and terror we've come to love and expect from the author Stephen King has called, "one of the best in the business."

What Ketchum has crafted in these stories are portrayals of the starkest, darkest aspects of the human condition. These stories are enthralling, expertly constructed, and very very powerful. Some will put a lump in your throat. Some will have you squirming. Some might be so intense and disturbing that they leave you no choice but to put it aside for awhile, catch your breath, and finish when you've worked up the guts.

This is fiction that does far more than "entertain," and it goes far beyond what we expect when we read "horror." No haunted houses here, no pitchfork-wielding devils with horns on their heads. The only monsters are the very worst kind: humans.

Table of Contents:
Introduction by Edward Lee
Gorilla in My Room
The Western Dead
Squirrely Shirley (with Lucky McKee)
Group of Thirty
Winter Child
Cow (with Lucky McKee)
The Transformed Mouse
The Right Thing
That Moment

Shortly after this book was published, we lost Jack Ketchum. I put off reading it for a while because I hated that it would be the last of his work that I would ever read, and I was not ready for it to be over. Now I wish I had started it sooner so that I could have asked him what in the world the title story was about. I didn't know him in person, but we were Facebook friends, and had I asked he would have answered because that is the kind of guy he was. He always had time for his fans, It was probably genius and whooshed right over my head? I don't know but it was a head scratcher for me. I loved the rest. My favorites were Squirrely Shirley, Group of Thirty, Winter Child, Cow, Oldies, and Seconds. Writing this review is harder than I expected it to be. The world has lost a master story teller. Thank you for the fears, the tears, the suspense and the gut wrenching horrors over the years.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris


I enjoyed The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris so I already knew that this would be a good read for me as soon as I saw her name on it.
I love being right!
Finn was head over heels for Layla from the minute she wandered, lost and lonely into his life and interrupted his plans. He was devastated when she disappeared.
Time may forge ahead but do we ever really escape the past? Finn had a secret all those years ago  that caused him to lie to the police when Layla went missing in order to avoid being a suspect.
B.A. Paris has a knack for turning domestic bliss into a suspenseful roller coaster ride. I was over halfway finished before I suspected the real twist, and even then the ending was a bit of a surprise.

4 out of 5 stars.
I received an advance copy for review.