Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

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I love Kristin Hannah.  I gotta admit, though, I wasn’t sure about this one going in.  The description made it sound very much like outdoorsy adventuring type stuff.  Still, I jumped right in.  And I’m glad I did.

Leni and her family are at a crossroads.  Her dad, recently back from Vietnam, is suffering from the horrors of his past.  Leni’s mom is helpless to do anything to protect them.  And Leni, well, she loves her dad.  Unconditionally.  She remembers the good times.  So many of them, in fact, that it’s somewhat easier to overlook the bad times.  She and her mom just want to help him forget, to be the person he was before.

It’s no surprise, then, that when her dad comes home one day and says they’re all moving to Alaska that they all willingly go.  A new beginning is just what this young family needs.  A fresh start away from the pressures of society will be the cure to what ails them.  It’s nothing like a cozy family vacation, though.  Alaska is tough.  And her dad’s demons have made the journey with them.  Isolated and alone, who will help Leni and her mother when the darkness in her dad’s mind descends once again?

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story.  I shouldn’t have been, I know.  Kristin Hannah just has that brilliance that authors of her calibre do.  Grab it, dive right in, and enjoy!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Great Alone

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Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

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I absolutely love Chevy Stevens.  She’s one of my go-to authors, one of the few whose new books are definite must reads.  This latest from her didn’t disappoint.

When Lindsey met Andrew, she thought all her dreams were finally coming true.  He was loving, attentive, wealthy, handsome…basically everything you could want in a husband.  And things were very good for awhile.  But then he began to change.  Or rather, his true personality began to show.  Controlling and abusive, this wasn’t the man she fell in love with.  As things get more and more dangerous, she starts to plan her escape.

Finally it happens.  She and her daughter get away, and Andrew is sent to prison for several years.  When he’s released, though, all those feelings come barreling back.  The paranoia, the fear that she’s being followed. And has someone been in her house, messing with her things and with her mind?  Andrew swears it’s not him, but clearly he’s not the most trustworthy individual. And lest you think you’ve got it all figured out, don’t blink.

In some ways this is your typical “wife leaves abusive husband” drama.  But then it becomes more.  Because Chevy Stevens.  She has a way of taking the ordinary and weaving it into a compelling story that you just can’t put down.  Don’t miss this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Never Let You Go

Review: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

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When a book keeps me up until after midnight to finish it, it’s a keeper.  Granted, it was a Saturday night with no school the next day but still.  And yes, it’s another story about a dysfunctional family.  Just trust me when I say it’s really, really good.

Jack and Grace are the perfect couple.  He’s handsome and charming, she’s beautiful and elegant.  His job as a highly successful lawyer allows them to have an exquisite home filled with luxurious furnishings.  Their dinner parties leave nothing to be desired with Grace painstakingly preparing everything herself.  And last but not least, they appear to dote on each other with no sign of their honeymoon phase wearing off anytime soon.

But when the doors close, it’s a different story…

So this is where I’m going to stop.  Yes, I know it’s not much as far as reviews go.  The question is, did I intrigue you?  Did my brief little intro make you want to go get the book immediately?  Because you should.

~Thalia

~Buy It Now:  Behind Closed Doors

Review: If Anything Should Happen by Bonnie Hearn Hill

  
If Anything Should Happen is a cute introduction to a new mystery series. It didn’t really seem mystery-series-ish to me, but that could be because Hill is developing background and setting the scene. 

Two radio station friends lend each other emotional support through life’s ups and downs… And when Kit’s mom leaves a mysterious note that opens up a few cans of worms, her colleague is there for her every step of the way. 

The contents of the note thrust  Kit into a decades-old, small town scandal that’s serious business. Someone has already died at the hands of a psycho, and he’s not afraid to do more damage. 

I felt like the plot and subplots were a little disconnected. I didn’t get enough of Kit at the radio station to really know her personality like her colleagues do. I did see her as a daughter, and I enjoyed the exploration of her relationship with her parents. The story was more family drama than mystery, if you ask me. But book two may have a different tone, and I hope to see more of Kit’s talk radio stuff. 🙂 

-calliope

Buy IF ANYTHING SHOULD HAPPEN

Review: Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

23014603Every reader has a select group of those authors, writers whose newest releases are automatic must-reads. Each book is different, of course, but every new story must be read as soon as it comes out. Chevy Stevens is one of those authors for me. From the very beginning, with Still Missing, to the latest, That Night, her stories have not let me down. This latest offering is no exception.

Like most stories of this genre, everything begins with a bang. And then it quickly spirals downhill from there. When three young girls are able to finally escape their abusive father, it seems as if their lives might finally take a turn for the better. But of course it’s not to be, as one tragedy after another befalls them. Now, eighteen years later, secrets from the past threaten to rise to the surface. The fragile peace they’ve managed to craft for themselves is in danger of being upended as long-buried (literally) secrets bubble to the surface.

And if it seems like my description is ambiguous and vague, it was meant to be. This is one of those stories where you don’t want to give too much away. It’s best enjoyed by going in without too much of a clue as to what it’s going to be about. And it’s far too easy to turn a book review into a summary. So I’ll leave it at that.

When I was kicking ideas for this review around in my head, the first word that came to mind was implausible. And I don’t mean that as a criticism at all. But then as I thought about it, I realized that the same could be said for any of Chevy’s books. And that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying any of them, this one included. The characters are so strong, so relatable that it doesn’t even matter if the storyline is far-fetched. The author makes you care about them, forces you to keep reading to find out how it’s going to end. And there are so many twists and turns that you’re never truly quite sure what’s going to happen. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, it goes in a completely different direction. So grab this one and settle in for quite a ride. And if this is the first book you’ve read by Chevy Stevens, add the others to your list!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Those Girls

Review: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

burying-water-9781476774183_hrDisclaimer: An earlier review of this book was previously posted to the blog. However, in light of the second part of the story being released tomorrow, I felt that another look at this wonderful story was needed!

Almost 2 am. That’s what time I stayed awake until in order to finish this book. And at my age, that doesn’t happen very often.

When “Jane” wakes up in a hospital, she has absolutely no memory of how she got there or even of who she is. With the help of the sheriff who found her on the side of the road and his surgeon wife who saved her life, Jane begins to build a new life. But there’s something about the sheriff’ son, Jesse, that niggles at her lost memory. There’s definitely an attraction but something tells her it goes deeper than that. Told from alternating perspectives, the story also switches from past to present. We hear Jane’s present-day story as she struggles to find herself. And then there’s Jesse’s story leading us up to Jane’s brutal attack.

Although I’ve seen this book described as a romance, I’d say it falls more into the suspense/thriller genre. The romance is there, most definitely. But that’s not what kept me awake reading to find out what was going to happen next! It’s also been mentioned as the first in a new series which interests me immensely as I’d love to see where the author goes next with these intriguing characters. This is the first book that I’ve read by KA Tucker, but it definitely won’t be the last!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Burying Water: A Novel (The Burying Water Series)

Review: Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes

20131208-165741.jpgThis wonderful, touching story by Gina Holmes crosses boundaries and fits into so many categories. It’s a story about domestic abuse that also has a Christian theme running underneath. It’s a story about friendship and the support we get from others who care about us. It’s also a story of suspense that leaves you wondering what’s going to happen from one page to the next.

Penny is just barely 17 when she becomes smitten with Trent Taylor, a handsome and charismatic farmhand hired by her father. Being young and naive, Penny is easily swept off her feet. The abuse begins almost as soon as Penny leaves home with Trent. He’s both physically and emotionally abusive. The hitting is just a small part of the way he terrorizes Penny. Cut off from her family, Penny is dependent on Trent for everything and never knows when something is going to set him off. Like most abused women, Penny begins to believe that she deserves the abuse and her self-esteem is eroded more and more each day. Then an accident turns the tables and Trent is suddenly dependent on Penny. Is it possible that Trent has changed and is trying to be the husband she deserves? It’s at this point that Callie Mae and Fatima enter Penny’s life. Along with providing a friendship she didn’t know was possible, the women also challenge Penny to look within herself and examine the way she’s living. She’s also conflicted by her strong faith when she wrestles with the decision of whether she should leave Trent or “stand by her man”.

This is the second book I’ve read by Gina Holmes and I’ve loved both of them beyond belief. The author creates such strong, believable characters that you almost believe she’s writing about her own personal experiences. That’s not to say I had warm and fuzzy feelings for Penny. I found her infuriating and couldn’t believe she kept going back to Trent and falling for his lies. I just wanted to reach into the book and scream at her. How could she be so stupid? Couldn’t she see that this was bound to end badly? But the fact that I felt such strong emotions for the character just speaks volumes as to what a great story this is. This was one I couldn’t put down, and I couldn’t get this story out of my head even after I finished it. Anytime a story pulls me in that deeply it’s a must-read!

~Thalia

Buy it Now: Wings of Glass