Psychological thriller

img_0584   Grace and Charlie have been friends since they were 9 years old.  They are polar opposites and found comfort in their friendship.   Both of these girls have experienced tragedy in their young lives and have felt abandoned by a parent….it explains their closeness.

Suddenly, at the age of 24, Charlie dies.  Grace blames herself and cannot get over her death.  Charlie’s last words to her were I did something terrible, Grace, I hope that you can forgive me.  Grace is left wondering what Charlie did and why she died so suddenly…was it truly her fault?

Grace has been living with her high school boyfriend for a few years, and their relationship becomes quite unstable after Charlie’s death.  Grace begins to hide-away from everyone and everything while Dan copes in other negative ways.  Grace tries to make sense of everything and in the process befriends Anna.  Immediately, the two begin a friendship….yet there is something odd about Anna…something dangerous.  Can Grace put the pieces together of what has been happening in her small circle of friends before it is too late?

This is the debut novel of Louise Jensen, and it is definitely a page-turner.  I read it in a few hours.  Do yourself a favor and pick it up.

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Revenge and the modern world

img_0451  I have read several of Holly Brown’s books, and they have offered some fresh…something original.  This is Not Over does not disappoint.  It is the story about how the ever-present Internet can truly mess with our lives.  The story goes between two women:  Miranda, an older woman who is married to a doctor and has an estranged son who is a meth addict, and Dawn who is a 25 year-old newly married woman who has a troubled past.  The two become involved through getaway.com….think airbnb.com.   Miranda has a multimillion dollar home that she rents in Santa Monica, and Dawn and her husband rent it short-term.  After they have rented it, Miranda emails and informs Dawn that she will only receive half of the deposit money because of damage to the rental.  Dawn is shocked and confused…what damage?  What follows is an angry review on getaway.com by Dawn followed by rebuttal after rebuttal.   Soon Miranda fears for her life and her son’s life while Dawn’s marriage begins to crumble….all because of one bad review.

The story moves quickly  and as it is unfolds, the reader begins to unravel the truth.  Things aren’t always what they seem, and one never knows who to trust.

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Can betrayal lead to murder?

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-8-33-53-am  This is the second novel that I have read by Susan Crawford.  It is called The Other Widow, and it is another fascinating story of love, murder, and betrayal.  She writes about characters that are authentic .  The characters that she creates could be our next-door,  neighbors, our friends,  or our co-workers. The choices they make lead to mistakes which is what we all do in real life.  Especially, when it is driven by emotions.

Joe Lindsey is having an affair with his co-worker who is also married….Dorrie.  It is during one of their trysts that Joe is killed.  They are driving together during a snow storm when Joe loses control and crashes into a tree, but not before telling Dorrie that she is in danger.  He is killed, and Dorrie escapes unharmed.  She flees the accident in fear that her affair will be discovered.

However, when Maggie Brennan, ex-cop, begins to process the life insurance claim….it appears that this may not have been an accident.  Dorrie is   danger….who knew about Joe and Dorrie….and what are they after?

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Attention 80’s Fan!

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-3-03-14-pm  As someone who grew up in the 80’s watching John Hughes’ movies, I was quick to read this book.  It is written by Jason  Diamond, and it is HIS memoir and not John Hughes’ memoir.  It is an interesting take on a memoir and reads rather quickly.   Jason Diamond was born a few years after me and in Chicago where John Hughes filmed many of his movies.

Jason grew up in a violent and broken home, and he found comfort in movies like Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club.  He could relate to the characters, like Duckie and Andie, who came from broken homes and were misfits.   Jason’s story is a tale of a dark childhood told through humor and 80’s culture.  He has always written to get through his loneliness and abandonment.  He found solace in libraries and the movies of John Hughes…as well as through alcohol and drugs.  His path to becoming a successful writer and finding love was not easy and seemed to almost fizzle out.  His one goal for years was to write a biography on John Hughes…his idol.  He spends time working and researching…spending money he did not have to complete this goal that would never be, but in the end what he discovered and achieved is much richer than what he could have imagined.

I recommend this book to those who are familiar with John Hughes, to those who have had a traumatic childhood, to those who purpose has seemed meaningless, and to those who know that there is always hope.  My one complaint is that the book ended suddenly, and I know that was done intentionally.  I just wanted to know more about Jason Diamond and his parents….

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I apologize….I just can’t

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-8-30-10-am   I will begin by apologizing, I have only read 123 pages in this miserable book.   This will not be a fair review to be certain, but I just can’t continue to read it.  I can count on one hand the number of books that I have started and have not finished.  It is not something that I do.  And it makes me sad that I will not be able to record this in my book journal as a completed book even though I spent more time on it than I should have.  Time that could have been spent on something more deserving.

I have never read a Patricia Cornwell novel/book/collection of rambling nonsense, so it may not have been wise for me to jump in on book #24.  But alas, that is what I did.  Dr. Kay Scarpetta is a medical examiner who married some pretentious government worker who thinks very highly of himself….he is not a likable character, or perhaps he was just having a bad day in those 123 pages.  His name is even a bit obnoxious…Benton.    Kay is walking through a park to something….somewhere.  It is really hot, but she continues to walk.  (lots of description here).  She gets a call from her boss….they fight and he reacts like a teenage boy.   She has a run-in with a young British cyclist…who I think will be the dead body in the upcoming pages.   Description of Kay walking….freshening up….going to dinner with jackass husband….description of their meal.  More weird, nonsensical phone calls…..apparently involving Interpol and a dead body.  Lots of internal monologues (which I had to skip…..just awful and random).

So I am at page 123….there is supposedly a dead body…have yet to learn anymore, and yet I will be able to sleep just fine tonight without knowing.  I went to Goodreads and discovered that I am not alone in my assessment about this book. Perhaps Cornwell has decided that she has earned enough money from her books, and she can now resort to pumping out garbage to her fans, and they will throw their money at her.  Luckily, this book was given to me for a review, so I have only lost a few hours of my life.

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Historical romantic trilogy

img_9945   For those lovers of historical fiction, here is a beautifully written trilogy that follows three Irish women in the early 1900s.  Kitty Deverill is the fourth child of Maud and Bertie Deverill.  She is loved by her father, but despised by her mother.  She grows up with her governess, tutor, and Bridie Doyle who is the daughter of the castle’s cook.   Kitty and Bridie are best of friends even though their worlds are  so different.  Kitty is Anglo-Irish where Bridie is Irish Catholic.  And to complicate matters even more,  Kitty falls in love with the son of the town’s veterinarian…though their love cannot be.

The Irish soon revolt to overthrow British rule in Southern Ireland, and their lives are thrown in turmoil.  Kitty has kept the secret that she has fallen in love with Jack from Bridie,  Bridie becomes resentful and does something scandalous that gets her sent away.  Jack then enlists to fight, and all that Kitty has come to know is falling apart.

Beautifully written with characters that will capture your heart.  There will be two more books in this trilogy to enjoy coming soon!!

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A captivating memoir

img_9512   This is Aspen Matis’ memoir of the months she spent finding her strength, and who she truly is while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail….2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada.

Debby Parker, Aspen’s name before she began her trek , grew up with loving and caring parents….both Harvard Law Graduates.  She grew up in Massachusetts in a happy town with two older brothers….life seemed good.  Yet her mother was quite overprotective of her and did not allow her much space or freedom to make her own choices and take care of herself.  This is what lead Debby to enrolling in college in Colorado….to live on her own and so far away.  On her second night at college, she is raped.  The rape is not acknowledged by the college and Debby began to feel the rape was her fault.  She lost her confidence and feared for who she truly was.  With her parents blessing and money, she quits school and heads onto the PCT for a life-changing experience.

I could not stop reading her story….her strength, her fears, her sadness, her self-doubt, and eventually her rebirth.   Such a great read!  It makes me want to explore the PCT….maybe not all 2, 650 miles of it….but maybe a week or so on the trail.

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