No Exit

Have you ever picked up a book and thought it was going to be predictable, similar to all the rest or just were not expecting too much from it?

Well I hate to admit that sadly that is how I felt when I picked up No Exit by Taylor Adams. For one reason or another I feel that the synopsis of the book did not do it justice. I was blown away by this read!

First off, the female lead character is an incredibly damaged person with a lack of confidence. She is traveling to head to see her mother who is dying of pancreatic cancer. She ends up stuck in an awful blizzard and ends up having to pull over at a rest stop or risk getting stuck on the side of the road. 

She is not alone at the rest stop. There are four other people, or so she thinks just four, who are also trapped along with her. She is hesitant to even make conversation with any of them. She heads out in an attempt to find cell service to call her mother, but when she is heading back in she notices something odd in the large van next to her car. There is a small girl locked in a cage inside. 

Analyzing the situation and how she can go about saving this little girl from the person who has taken her she creates a plan. However, every step of her plan continues to be fouled up as she learns more and more about the people she is trapped with. 

Will Darby have the strength and will power to save this Jay and save herself? 

This book was very well written and so descriptive that you feel as though you are fighting alongside Darby. Be warned there are some gruesome scenes that will give you chills and make you cringe. 

This is one I gave a five-star rating as it was a book I could not put down without wanting to know what was next. 

No Exit 

By: Taylor Adams 

William Morrow (Imprint of Harper Collins Publishing) 

Five Feet Apart

As each month start I look forward to the announcements of book club selections for the various book clubs I read with. Well February didn’t disappoint, and for the first time in about four or five months I was excited for each and every one of the selections. I was eager to dive into them, and my first selection was without a doubt the perfect combination of emotions and uplifting hope that I needed during the start of this year.

I choose to start my month with Five Feet Apartby Rachael Lippincott, a story about the lives of Stella and Will and how they handle living every day with the struggles of CF (cystic fibrosis). This was not a topic I had much knowledge of going into this (and let’s be honest I still have minimal knowledge) but Lippincott was able to showcase small issues that affect a person with CF on a day to day basis. 

Some things I learned from reading was that people who have CF cannot be within six feet of other CF patients. This must be one of the most incredibly hardest things to implement in their lives. When you think of others who have health issues they are able to seek support from others with similar conditions. Yet, a CF patient can’t really go into many situations like this due to their condition. Of course, online has made it a bit easier for us to connect, but sometimes this is just not the same. This is the relationship that Stella, the main character of the book, has with Poe. Poe and Stella have been in the same hospital together on and off for years and have developed a great friendship. They are able to skype, talk on the phone and are able to keep their six feet distance within the hospital environment. 

When a new patient is introduced into the picture Stella begins to feel things she never has before. Thru her will to want to fix and help everyone in their treatments she is able to get Will to open up and fall for her. They develop a relationship that pushes the boundaries of their CF by breaking the rules and keeping five feet apart vs the six feet recommended to CF patients. 

In a twist at the end Stella and Will must take the hardest step they ever have and distance themselves completely. 

If you are looking for an emotionally gripping, teenage romance story this would be one to pick up. It reminded me lightly of John Green’s, The Fault in Our Stars

I gave this one a Four-star rating. 

Five Feet Apart 

By: Rachael Lippincott 

Simon & Schuster

2018

The Night Olivia Fell

A heartbreaking story of losing someone to soon. Abi Knight, mother to Olivia, is woken in the night about her daughter.  This is every mothers’ biggest fear as she soon finds out that her daughter has had an accident and is brain dead. To make matters worse the doctors are telling Abi that Olivia is pregnant, so she is unable to be taken off of life support. As she is sitting by her daughter in the hospital she brings to the attention of the doctors and nurses that there are unnatural bruises on her wrists. 

As time continues by it seems to Abi that no one on the police department is really taking the case seriously. She also realizes that they have dropped the ball on the investigation by not searching for her phone, computer or digging into any of the days leading up to the suspected murder. Abi takes it into her own hands with the help of Anthony an investigator from Seattle to uncover what really happened to Olivia.

While the story bounces back and forth between the past to present and Abi to Olivia you get a sense of the relationship between them. You also get the sense that Olivia feels that a small white lie or omission of facts can keep everyone happy. She doesn’t break up with her boyfriend right away out of fear that he is already sad and depressed due to his parents’ divorce. She doesn’t tell her best friend she is dating and in love with her brother. She doesn’t tell her mother she is searching out and has found out who her biological father is. This leaves the list of potential suspects who could have caused her fall. 

If you enjoy a story that keeps you changing theories and guessing right up until the end then you will love this one. 

The Night Olivia Fell 

By: Christina McDonald 

Simon & Schuster 

February 5, 2019 

An Honest Review

Over the last few years of building my review reputation I have grown not only in my writing, but also in my thought process. I think when you start on this journey you want to make everyone happy in hopes that they will continue to want to work with you. 

There are so many questions that bounce thru your head when you go to write a review. What if I didn’t enjoy the story? What if it just wasn’t a genre I typically enjoy? What if the way the author writes doesn’t translate well in my mind? What if you are approached to do a review for a genre you don’t typically read? 

These are all very real, very honest questions you need will ask yourself thru this journey! For myself I keep a running and every changing list of genres I enjoy, specific PR agencies who work within the genres and with authors you enjoy and similar authors you are open to discovering. Building these relationships are great and so helpful within this industry as is in most industries. 

The next things I look for are the lists that arrive listing what books they are working to promote. Sometimes you are asked to select which books from a list you would be interested in reading and reviewing. Let me tell you straight up……. You do not have to say yes to everything! Especially when you are starting out do not overwhelm yourself by taking on to many at once. 

A negative review

Now this was something I was so hesitant to give a bad review. What if this causes people to not want to work together? What if I get push back from others about it? 

Well you know what…. Not every book is going to be everyone’s cup of tea. You are being reached out to give honest reviews so if you don’t give an honest review then you are not doing your part. The first time I ever wrote a review that was 1 star I was so hesitant to post it. I knew it was not the popular opinion, but it was mine. My opinion was what I was being asked for so that’s what I gave.  

Just trust yourself and your instincts. Be honest and open with what you accept and what you write. 

Sophie Last Seen

Sophie was a strange child. She had an unnatural obsession with birds which she researched and memorized constantly. She also compares any human she meets to the type of bird they most closely act like. She is always filling bird feeders all around the yard of their home, so the birds are continually drawn to her. They also bring little knickknacks she sees as gifts from the birds. 

Sophie then mysteriously disappears from the local shopping mall while she is shopping with her mother. The investigation became a cold case due to lack of evidence and no leads to continue. 

As the years go by her mother Jesse continues to collect items and trash that she is deeming potential evidence in the case that has been cold for so long. She is not giving up hope that she will find out what happened to her daughter. Her husband has left her and began a new life with a new wife, her daughters best friend has become distant and is lashing out and harming herself due to stress and hallucinations of her friend.

Together Jesse and Star begin to uncover little things that may lead to finding out what happened to Sophie. 

If you enjoy a good mystery with light twists this would be one you would enjoy. 

Sophie Last Seen 

By: Marlene Adelstein 

Red Adept Publishing 

November 2018 

The Wartime Sisters

The Wartime Sisters 

Sisterly rivalry, jealousy and possibly some relationship drama is just what I expected from The Wartime Sisters.This was all huge parts of this story, but it was so much more. It was not only about blood sisters, but those friends we surround ourselves with, and how during hard times can be so important. 

Ruth and Millie are sisters who grew up in NY. Their mother treated them so differently while they grew up causing a split and jealousy between them. She saw Ruth as the smart, studious, yet not very attractive child which were qualities she deemed necessary in life to succeed. Millie was the beautiful sister who her mother always insisted would marry a wealthy man and be taken care of thru her life. Her parent’s dreams for Millie are thrown off track as she begins dating Lenny, a high school dropout who has no motivation for life, work or to become a secure person for himself or for Millie. Her father sees this as her rebelling against her parents and figures it will run its course while her mother is incredibly vocal about her distaste for this man.  

After their parent’s untimely deaths, Millie marries Lenny, while Ruth moves to Springfield, MA with her husband to a military post. 

Five years later Millie writes to her sister that she and her son need a place to live now that Lenny is gone. The two sisters have had minimal contact over the time apart, but upon arrival Ruth can tell that life has not been kind to Millie. She helps Millie to attain a job in the factory, so she can earn her way. 

Millie holds secrets of her life with Lenny close to herself until he shows up unannounced demanding money or the ring that he had proposed to Millie with. This ring however is a family heirloom to Millie and Ruth and they are determined not to give it up. 


In a twist of fate Millie finds herself surrounded by strong women on the base who are watching out for her as Lenny continues to get the ring back. 

This novel really brings a light to the relationships built between women during hard times. Family is not always just those related by blood, but those we choose to bring into our circles in life. 

The Wartime Sisters 

By Lynda Cohen Loigman 

January 22, 2019 

St. Martin’s Press 

Reading/Life Balance…. Oh Yes and Work too!

For almost two years now I have been slowly building this blog to hopefully showcase some of the amazing authors I have had to pleasure of reading and in some cases getting to know. Being a book blogger, Bookstagramer, reviewer as well as maintaining a full-time workload (I am a store manager for a women’s retailer and absolutely love my job) can be challenging. There are plenty of times when I get home at the end of a long day (especially during the holidays) and all I want to do is shower, throw on sweat pants and crawl into bed. I think we all feel like this at some points during out week/and our lives, but the one thing I have realized over the past few years is that we must continue to push thru and do what we love. The outcomes are always worth the effort we put in.

I decided for my first post this year (let’s face it I have been a little MIA the past 5-6 months) should be answering some of the questions I commonly get about how I balance it all. Which is always a work in progress and evolving. I know this will be completely different for everyone, and I will include some of the tricks I use to keep myself on track and continually pushing towards my goals.

Questions:

How on earth do you read so many books?

Let’s start off with I do have my moments. There are times when I will take a week or more to finish a book due to that thing called life. If it’s a busy work week and I am exhausted, making time for the gym/yoga, events with friends, etc. then I may not have as much time to physically pick up the book and read.  If I pick up a book that I enjoy and can’t put down, then I can finish it in 1-2 days.

Also, second part of this answer is I read fast. I have always had the odd ability to fly thru reading material and retain it. I don’t know how, where or when this developed, but over time I have realized it’s such an amazing gift for me to have. (especially since reading is a huge passion)

 How do you balance a fulltime job with reading and reviews?

I actually got this question from a relative during the holidays and it really hit me hard. The way the question was presented it was made to sound more like an insult then a curious question. So of course, I got defensive. (Holidays bring out the best in us, right?)

I relate this to anything people are passionate about. You enjoy going to the gym for hours a day? How do you do that with work? You go before or after work, you go in the middle of the night.

You are someone who enjoys going to concerts? How do you manage with a full time job?  You adjust your schedule or take time off.

How do I make time to read so much? I wake up earlier, stay up a bit later or just take a half hour to step away from everything and just read. I turn my phone to silent and enjoy my peace. Sometimes on my day off I will say no to plans so I can take time for myself.

The last one is always hard for me to do, but over the past few years I have become very aware of my tendency to take on everything and leave little or no time for myself. I am now getting to a point that I understand that saying no is not a bad thing, but a necessary one.

As with anything in life, you make time for things that bring you joy and happiness. Balance.

How do you afford to buy so many books?

This one makes me laugh. Similar to the prior question we save or spend money on things we like and enjoy. Also, as a book blogger and reviewer I receive a good number of books from the publishers and public relations agencies for free to give honest reviews. I also have many authors I love who I pre order anytime they have a new release.

If you love something you buy it!

**Side note:  I do lend my books to friends, family and coworkers. This way many people are able to enjoy these incredible works. I also a few times a year clean my shelves and donate books to the local public library or local women’s shelters in the area.

Where do you keep all these books?

Another question that always makes me laugh a bit. Where do I keep them? Well on shelves, I have two book carts where I keep my ARC’s (advance reader copies) so they don’t get lost in the shuffle of other books. I even have a few books on my nightstand, one always in my car (have to have backups) and my kindle is always fully charged as well.

How do you keep track of reviews and book tours?

I love this question! Organization is a huge part of my life and always has been. I am a planner by nature and knowing what is coming down the line gives me peace of mind. In perfect planner fashion, I have a physical date book that I write in any ARC when I receive them. I write in onto the publication date while including the publisher, where I received the copy from (PR agency, Author, or publisher), and keep all book tour dates and posts scheduled out in advance.

As with anything in life it is always a work in progress that will evolve as we learn and grow. When you find something, you love and want to dedicate time and effort to then there will be no stopping you.

I would love to hear from all of you how you balance your passions and life?

Best Day Ever

best day eer

 

From the outside looking in Mia and Paul seem to be a perfect family. They have two young sons, Paul has a great career that allows Mia to stay home and raise their children. They have a summer home that was part of their dream. Yet if Mia is suffering internally at the emotional manipulation and abuse of her husband.

Paul has a very dark side within a world he has created within his head. He can be classified as a psychopath. He has created an elaborate, well thought out plan to create the best day ever for his darling wife. They are having their first weekend away without the kids at their lake house. He has every intention of ending his marriage. Well not really ending his marriage but ending his wife.

In an incredibly shocking turn of events Mia has a plan of her own, and her plan is much more thought out then his. She is always one and sometimes two steps ahead of Paul.

 

This was such a captivating and thrilling unexpected story. I started out thinking, “ok the husband is crazy, something is going to happen,” but I never saw the change of events and change of course coming in any way.

 

 

Best Day Ever

By: Kaira Rouda

Graydon House Books

Free copy VIA Get Red PR

Publication August 21, 2018

she was the quiet one

she was the quiet one

She was the Quiet one by Michele Campbell

Synopsis

High school can be some of the hardest years for some. You are growing into who you are and discovering the person you want to become, but for Rose and Bel Enright life has never been easy and their paths are taking a new turn. Their mother has recently passed away and they are entrusted into the only living relative, their fathers mother. A woman who is wealthy and lives in New England. She is able to get them into a prestigious boarding school, Odell Academy where their lives take a deadly turn.

Rose finds her place in the school quickly. She feels that she can express herself in classes and be who she always dreamed of. She is appreciated for her scholastic achievements. She has a great advisor, Sarah, who is a former Odell alumnus as well as married to Heath who is determined to become the headmaster someday.

Bell finds it easy to fit in with the upper class, mean girls who seem to rule the school.  She continues to get herself into bad situations and is not successful academically. She finds herself drawn physically to her advisor Heath who is finding himself attracted to her as well. When she is caught in a situation that may lead to her expulsion he helps her devise a plan to get her off.

In a violent turn of events Rose finds her sister murdered in the woods after receiving a message from her to meet out there. As the prime suspect in her sisters murder she must work hard to discover the truth. Sarah also begins to suspect that Heath may have been involved. She is torn between her gut feelings and her want to trust her husband.

Michele Campbell has created a captivating story of how our actions have sometimes unforeseeable consequences. I would recommend also picking up her debut novel It’s Always the Husband available now.

Happy Reading!

She Was the Quiet One 

By: Michele Campbell

St. Martins Press 

Girls’ Night Out

gno

 

There are so many great books coming out this year it has been so hard to decide what to read first. When I was sent a copy of Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke I instantly set aside what I was reading.

Synopsis:

Three best friends travel to Mexico trying to salvage their friendships that are on the edge of breaking. Each woman carrying their own bundle of secrets.  Natalie and Ashley own a business together with an offer from Revlon to buy their technology. Natalie is all in to sell, due to financial issues her husband has kept buried them with, Ashley wants nothing to do with selling. She wants to remain distracted by work as her marriage is deteriorating before her eyes. Lauren holds a grudge with Ashley and blames her for her husband’s death about a year prior.

As they attempt to mend these fences Ashley befriends a local Marco who acts as their tour guide during their vacation. He has also developed an infatuation with Ashley. On the final night of their vacation everything erupts and the next morning Ashely is missing, and Natalie has no memory of much of the previous night.

Will they be able to find out what happened to Ashley? Did she leave with Marco who is also mysteriously gone, or has something awful happened?

A great read perfect to share with friends and book clubs or just while lying on the beach!

 

Happy Reading!

Girls’ Night Out 

By: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke 

Lake Union Publishing