Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant


Title:  The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant
Author:  Joanna Wiebe
Where I got it:  From NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Amazon Summary:
So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks.

One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why.

As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

You know you want to stalk the author!
Joanna’s website
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My Thoughts:
I didn't know what to expect when I started this book, but I figured it would be awesome.  I mean really, how intriguing is the word "unseemly"????  I'm not afraid to admit that I was sucked in by the title and the cover, but what kept me interested was the creepy mystery of Cania Christy and its remote island.  Not to mention the shady administration, strict and ridiculous rules, and basically everything else about this book.


It's so hard to describe this book without giving away the mystery, so I'm not going to try.  Just trust me when I say that this is completely unexpected, different from anything I've read, and definitely worth your time.  I can't wait to find out what happens next, because I just know that there's going to be more to this story!

The Giveaway!
And now for the really good part!  The publisher has generously offered one lucky reader a finished copy of The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant - and trust me, you want this in your collection, it's pretty in real life!  Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Virtual Tour: Inside Passage

 

Title:  Inside Passage

Author:  Burt Weissbourd

Amazon Summary:

Corey Logan was set up. She knows Nick Season’s terrible secret. Coming home from prison, all Corey wants is to be with her son. To get him back, she needs to make a good impression on the psychiatrist evaluating her. But Dr. Abe Stein doesn’t believe she was framed—until his well-heeled mother falls for the charming state attorney general candidate, Nick Season.


As the dogs of war are unleashed, Corey and her son run for their lives—taking her boat up the Pacific Northwest’s remote Inside Passage. Inside Passage is the first in Weissbourd’s haunting, heart-stirring Corey Logan trilogy.

Author Links:

As part of the virtual tour for this awesome sounding book, I am pleased to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a paperback copy of Inside Passage (open to US residents only)!  Please enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Book Review: Where the Stars Still Shine

Title:  Where the Stars Still Shine
Author:  Trish Doller
Where I got it:  From NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Amazon Summary:

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

My Thoughts:
I have been waiting for this book ever since I turned the last page of Something Like Normal, and holy crap you guys, it was worth the wait!  This book is gorgeous, wrenching, challenging, and engrossing in a way that’s nearly impossible to describe.  The conflict and drama of Callie’s life with her mother, and eventual return to her large family that she has absolutely no idea how to deal with are so realistic and emotional that I couldn’t put the book down for a second.  I’m not even kidding, I started this book, got a page or two in, and was like “oh, there goes anything I was going to get done…  must read faster.”

I can’t even explain all the reasons I love this book, but love it I do!  What are you doing reading my writing when you could be reading this book?!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Book Review: Close My Eyes

Title:  Close My Eyes
Author:  Sophie McKenzie
Where I got it:  From NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Amazon Summary:

Gone Girl meets Before I Go to Sleep in Sophie McKenzie's Close My Eyes, a riveting psychological thriller about a grieving mother who finds out years after her daughter’s death that her child may still be alive

When Geniver Loxley lost her daughter at birth eight years ago, her world stopped… and never fully started again. Mothers with strollers still make her flinch; her love of writing has turned into a half-hearted teaching career; and she and her husband, Art, have slipped into the kind of rut that seems inescapable.

But then a stranger shows up on their doorstep, telling Gen the very thing she’s always wanted to hear: that her daughter Beth was not stillborn, but was taken away as a healthy infant and is still out there, somewhere, waiting to be found. It’s insane, unbelievable.

But why would anyone make that up? A fissure suddenly opens up in Gen’s carefully reconstructed life, letting in a flood of unanswerable questions. Where is Beth now? Why is Art so reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or is it something more sinister? And who can she trust to help her?

Ignoring the warnings of her husband and friends, Gen begins to delve into the dark corners of her past, hopeful she’ll find a clue to her daughter’s whereabouts. But hope quickly turns into fear and paranoia, as she realizes that finding the answers might open the door to something even worse than not knowing. A truth that could steal everything she holds close – even her own life.

My Thoughts:
Art and Gen have been trying to conceive ever since their daughter was stillborn eight years ago, without any luck.  To the point that Gen isn’t convinced that it’s worth another shot at IVF and treatments.  But when a stranger shows up claiming that her baby was born alive, a brand new kind of hope blossoms, and she becomes obsessed with discovering the truth – no matter how crazy her friends and family believe she is.

But Gen’s obsession could be leading all of them into grave danger – there’s far more to the story of her daughters’ birth than she could possibly imagine, and a trail of bodies and money lead from the day she discovered that her baby had died in utero.

Close My Eyes was creepy and suspenseful in that way that makes you doubt your sanity right along with the main character – I found myself so involved in Gen’s obsession that I would get mad when someone tried to convince her that she was wrong or insane!  Definitely a great psychological read that will keep you up well past bedtime!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Book Review: Lie Still

Title:  Lie Still
Author:  Julia Heaberlin
Where I got it:  From NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Amazon Summary:

In the tradition of Lisa Unger’s Beautiful Lies and Nancy Pickard’s The Scent of Rain and Lightning comes a twisting, riveting novel of shifting trust and shattered lives. Lie Still delves deep into the heart of an opulent Southern town, where gossip is currency and secrets kill.

When Emily Page and her husband move from Manhattan to the wealthy enclave of Clairmont, Texas, she hopes she can finally escape her haunted past—and outrun the nameless stalker who has been taunting her for years. Pregnant with her first child, Emily just wants to start over. But as she is drawn into a nest of secretive Texas women—and into the unnerving company of their queen, Caroline Warwick—Emily finds that acceptance is a very dangerous game.

It isn’t long before Caroline mysteriously disappears and Emily is facing a rash of anonymous threats. Are they linked to the missing Caroline? Or to Emily’s terrifying encounter in college, years earlier? As the dark truth about Caroline emerges, Emily realizes that some secrets are impossible to hide—and that whoever came for Caroline is now coming for her.

My Thoughts:
While I’m certain that Texas women (or any stereotypical group of wealthy, influential women) are not quite as off the charts ridiculous as the women in this book, I found them completely believable and hilariously disturbing all in one fell swoop.  I was immediately sucked into Emily’s perspective from the opening line, wanting to see where the book would go, and what the heck was going on in this small Texas town.  As the book continued, I only became more curious, to the point I *had* to stay up way past my bedtime to finish the book and find out what the heck the deal was. 

The plot of Lie Still is deliciously suspenseful and convoluted, and there’s plenty of room for rumor and conjecture to divert the reader, all the while making pages and minutes fly by like nobody’s business.  I was definitely a fan, and I’ll be looking for other books by Heaberlin in the very near future!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Series Review: Inside Out

Titles: 

  1. If I Were You
  2. Being Me
  3. Revealing Us

Author:  Lisa Renee Jones

Where I got it:

From the publisher, in exchange for an honest review

My Thoughts:

Ok, I started this trilogy during the read-a-thon last year, and then fell completely behind as books two and three released.  I finally took the time to get caught up, and I’m so glad I did! The Inside Out trilogy is mysterious, sexy, and somehow less petty and ridiculous than other similarly steamy novels.  Granted, Sara and Chris are their own brand of broken and damaged, but in many ways they seem normally damaged, rather than kind of off the wall ridiculous after a while damaged, which is definitely a plus when reading the books in rapid succession. 

While I’m also not a huge art person, I do enjoy the artistic aspects of the trilogy, and the way the mystery is blended right in without seeming contrived or random.  The entire trilogy is based around Sara’s experiences as she attempts to locate Rebecca – the woman whose journal she’s been reading, who has disappeared from her career and life, leaving an opportunity for Sara to fulfill her own dreams. 

If steamy fiction is your cup of wine, this is definitely a trilogy you need to read!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book Review: Born of Illusion

Title:  Born of Illusion
Author:  Teri Brown
Where I got it:  From Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review

Amazon Summary:

Teri Brown’s YA novel Born of Illusion launches a thrilling new series laced with romance and magic. Each book is linked to a real-life secret society founded in 1862 by Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others to study paranormal mysteries.

The first book introduces Anna Van Housen, a young woman living in Jazz Age New York, who may be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician who ever lived—Harry Houdini. Anna certainly has his talent. She is an expert illusionist. What no one knows is Anna actually has supernatural gifts.

Then a young man discovers Anna’s abilities and introduces her to members of a secret society, who are eager to study her powers and help her learn the truth about herself.

My Thoughts:
Born of Illusion is a simple, fun read that brings elements of show magic to life, with a dash of real life and the paranormal thrown in for good measure.  This is an awesome combination of magic tricks that we’re all relatively familiar with, “real” magic, and family dynamics that will keep you engaged and guessing until the very last page.  I’m definitely looking forward to more books in this series, because it’s got such a different perspective from the usual paranormal magic book, and it’s so much fun to read!

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