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: The Forever Bridge by T. Greenwood

22544408All writers tell a story. Some simply narrate events, and some add a little bit more. And then there’s the all too rare author who takes those words and infuses them with a mystical, musical rhythm that’s as beautiful as the actual story. T. Greenwood is one of those authors.

Sylvie was once a happily married mother of two. But after one tragic night, a horrific accident, she’s suddenly no longer married. And she’s now the mother of one lost little girl who she no longer knows how to connect with. But Sylvie is not the only one who is suffering. Young Ruby misses her brother. She misses her dad as he was before the accident. And she misses her mom. When Sylvie and Ruby are forced to spend time together, the question becomes can they find their way back to each other?

I read my first T. Greenwood story a few years ago, and I was immediately struck by how eloquently the author tells her stories. She doesn’t just write the words. Instead she makes you feel them. It’s not hard to feel their pain, their struggles, their hopes as you read. This is contemporary fiction at its finest, a story that will tug on your heart strings and keep you reading with your heart and soul from beginning to end.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Forever Bridge

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne

21445463Young adult novels are all the rage these days for readers of all ages. Almost every topic has been covered, from the inevitable end of the world to bullying to love gone wrong. This first novel by Mary Jennifer Payne is both similar but different enough from others to make it worth reading.

Just as fifteen-year-old Edie is beginning to settle into a somewhat “normal” life, she and her mom, Sydney, must leave their home once again. Almost everything gets left behind, even Edie’s beloved cat, Peaches. She understands the reason they must flee yet another home, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Still, she’s a strong girl who goes along with her mom’s new plans willingly. However, when Sydney doesn’t come home after working her first shift at a new job, Edie fears the worst. Has their past caught up with them? Should Edie trust the authorities to help find her mom or is she utterly, completely on her own?

This was a quick, engaging book that had me sitting down to finish it in one evening. The author pulls you in from the moment Edie and her mom go on the run and holds you captive until the very end. It’s easy enough to guess that they’ve been victims of domestic abuse, most likely at the hands of Edie’s father. But there’s still enough of the unknown to make it an intriguing story. The characters are both likable and entirely believable, which is not very common in young adult literature these days. It’s also a fairly safe read for teens with just the hint of past and future violence. Add this one to your list of debut releases from promising new authors!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Since You’ve Been Gone

Review: Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman

17155735Never one to shy away from reading about difficult topics, it was with great anticipation that I began this book by Alyssa Brugman. And let me just say that “difficult” is putting it mildly. But in this case, that’s not a bad thing.

The story centers around 15 year old Alex Stringfellow as she tries to reconcile who she is with what her family wants her to be. You see, she’s been raised as a boy. Dressed like a boy, enrolled in school as a boy, even given hormones to help the process along. But Alex has always felt in her heart that’s she’s a girl. So begins her journey to claim both her independence and her identity.

This is a story about many things. It’s about gender identity, sexual preference, family conflict, and fitting in. It wasn’t an easy read, but life isn’t easy. It’s an important story to hear as the author’s words takes us deep into Alex’s world as she struggles to find her place in the world. A great read about a contemporary subject handled with love and care by a skilled author!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Alex As Well

Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

IMG_2194-0.JPGThere are many ways to choose a book. By its cover, by a favorite author, bestseller lists, book review sites, blogs, write ups in popular media…My all-time favorite way to pick my next book to read, however, is by looking at and listening to the books my friends are talking about.

So there’s this Muse you may know. Her name is Melpomene. And she’s a bit of a book nerd, thus explaining why we’re friends. She also is slightly obsessed with the author Colleen Hoover. She’s read everything Colleen has written, stays up until midnight to buy and read new releases, travels to author events just to meet Colleen, and can quote anything from any book ever written by her.

I on the other hand had never heard of this author until meeting Melpomene. But of course, when someone I know and trust speaks so highly of an author, I’m intrigued. So my question was, which book to start with? The answer was Slammed, so Slammed it was. And what a great first read it was!

Let me preface the remainder of this review by stating that I am in no way, shape, or form what one would consider a fan of traditional romances. My fellow Muse, however, is exactly the opposite. So it was with a slight bit of trepidation that I began this book. Would I like it enough to finish it? Would it be too mushy for me? Would I have to lie about how much I disliked it to avoid awkward moments and hurt feelings? No worries on all accounts.

When 18 year old Lake’s dad dies unexpectedly, her family leaves Texas for Michigan searching for a fresh start. They are now a family of three, and Lake knows it’s up to her to hold it together for her mom and her brother Kel. So, as miserable as she is about the move, she puts on a happy face and gives it her best shot. She’s not counting on the handsome new neighbor, though. Sparks fly instantly, and suddenly Lake’s not missing Texas any longer. Alas, happily ever after is never easy to come by…

And that’s all I’m going to say. It’s hard to give much more away without ruining the story. But I will say that it’s an amazing story, one that made me keep reading even after it was lights out on a school night. Yes, it’s a love story. But it’s also a story of loss, of grief, of resilience, of trust, of moving on. It’s a story I won’t soon forget.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Slammed: A Novel

Review: The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice

IMG_2160.JPGHorror story with supernatural elements set in the swamps of Louisiana? And an amazingly beautiful cover? You bet! When I requested this book from NetGalley I had never heard of Christopher Rice but I was intrigued by the promise of a good spooky story.

After the Delongpre family mysteriously vanishes one night in the bayou, those left behind are forced to carry on without truly knowing what became of Noah, Millie, and Niquette. Young Niquette’s best friend Ben and boyfriend Anthem are the hardest-hit by this tragedy. A decade has passed and they both still struggle with her memory in their own ways. However, when strange events begin happening around those connected to the family, the real frightfest begins. What is causing animals and people alike to lose control of their minds? What really happened to the family along that dark stretch of swampy road years earlier? Is the family still alive?

This story was a true horror story. It was creepy and spooky but also had an engaging storyline with good character development. On a side note, I feel that any review of this book must mention the fact that the author is the son of horror story master, Anne Rice. That being said, I didn’t know that when I requested the book and it didn’t sway my opinion at all. A definite must-read if you like creepy paranormal stories!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Heavens Rise

Review: Sweet Damage by Rebecca James

51slwSQHDkL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This was one creepy and suspenseful book from the beginning until the very end. If you like scary, on the edge-of-your-seat stories, grab this one and settle in for the ride.

Tim Ellison’s an easy going fellow, happy in life for the most part. Surfing, working at his dad’s restaurant, pining over his crush on friend Lilla…he finds plenty to fill his days. But when things get a little too crowded crashing on Lilla’s floor, he’s forced to look for a new place to live. He can hardly believe his luck when he finds an affordable room in a fancy house in a posh neighborhood. Forget the fact that his new roommate is downright creepy, never leaves the house, is seriously depressed, and is likely sitting on the wrong side of sanity. But as he gets to know Anna, he discovers there’s more beneath the surface. And as he becomes closer and closer to her, strange happenings begin to occur.

It’s hard to give more of a review without giving away too much of the story, so I’ll leave it at that. This is a good story, quick and easy to read but hard to put down. There are plenty of twists and turns in this psychological thriller to keep you turning pages long after it’s bedtime.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Sweet Damage: A Novel

Review: Don’t You Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

18599667So this is one of those books that I had to sit back and think about for a time after finishing it. It’s more along the lines of, “What in the world did I just read?” And I absolutely mean that in the best possible way.

It’s the story of young Skylar, and to a slightly lesser extent her sister, Piper. They live in Gardnerville, at first glance an idyllic little town nestled in the mountains. But Gardnerville holds secrets both good and bad. And the bad definitely outweighs the good!

Every fourth year, the town’s teenagers are overcome with a compulsion to do very bad things. And Piper was one of those teens four years ago. Now Skylar is trying to come to terms with what happened. That means finding out where Piper is. Is she locked up in the town’s mysterious reformatory? Or did she make her escape that night four years ago high up on the train trestle?

To say this is a weird book would be quite an understatement. It’s the kind of story that had me stopping along the way to ponder what was happening. And, I found myself going back quite a bit to reread. It’s a challenging book because the answers are not given to you easily. There’s a ton of imagery which I’m still trying to sort out. There’s drug use, violence, and death. Still, the words are so beautifully put together that it was a joy to read even as I was trying to put it all together in my head. In this case, definitely judge a book by its cover because the words inside this one are just as appealing and beautiful as the outside package!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: (Don’t You) Forget About Me

Review: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

814W1xbdR+LI’ve read a few books by Diane Chamberlain, each one intriguing and full of a good story. This newest one didn’t disappoint.

Riley MacPherson has lived her life knowing that once upon a time she had an older sister. But just what happened to Lisa has never been completely clear. Did she die in a tragic accident? Was it suicide? Murder? Or is there something else going on, something that’s been kept secret for far too long? All of Riley’s beliefs and questions come together in a burst of confusion when, after her father’s death, she’s charged with the task of clearing out his house and settling his affairs. Brother Danny isn’t much help as he’s lost in his own solitary world after a tragic military accident. Friends and neighbors provide bits and pieces of information but each story conflicts with the other. A deep desire to find out the truth about her family leads her in a direction she could have never imagined.

This is a good story, solid and engaging until the very end. The characters are believable and likable, and the story line is entirely plausible. My only complaint is that it was mildly predictable and had me guessing the climax around halfway through. Still, Chamberlain is an author who knows how to write about contemporary issues, and she’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite contemporary fiction authors.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Silent Sister

Review: The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder

the-bridge-from-me-to-you-by-lisa-schroederDisclaimer: I am not a romance/love story person. Most “mushy” stories leave me running away as fast as I can. But sometimes the romance is secondary to a bigger plot, as was the case with this newest book from Lisa Schroeder.

Meet Lauren. As the new girl in town, she’s the object of much speculation. We find out very early on that she’s come to live with her aunt and uncle, but the suspense builds until we find out exactly why. She struggles with the loss of her immediate family, her place in her new family, and how she fits in to this small, close-knit town. Her point of view is told in prose, for the most part, which lends a poetic quality to her story.

But hers isn’t the only perspective that we hear. There’s also Colby. In this small town that’s centered around football, he’s one of the team’s rising stars. He’s going places, just not the places he wants to. His family, and the entire town for that matter, have every expectation that he’ll go on to make it big in college football. His story is told in more traditional narrative form as he tries to find the strength to stand up for what he wants, both in love and out of life in general.

This was a good, engaging book that earned a solid four out of five stars for me. The alternating writing style works completely and adds credibility to the different stories being told. It’s a love story, no doubt, so don’t go into it thinking you’ll be getting some deep, mysterious, angst-filled young adult book. My only (slight) complaint would be that it really does paint a somewhat rosy picture of high school life and small town life in general. But in today’s world of harsh headlines, sometimes that’s just what you need in a good book.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Bridge From Me to You