Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline

4.5 stars Thriller

I enjoyed this book even though I thought I knew what was going on.  Thinking about this book, what I believe enticed me were the characters and the book’s timeline. I really needed to know the “why” behind the threads of this story, what was the motive?  

When Allie hurt her leg during cross-county tryouts, Sasha came back to help her.  Sasha had never said much to Allie before then, which to me was a red flag.  Sasha points out the two boys, Julian and David, who were in the distance, and wouldn’t you know it, they ended up talking to them.

There seemed to be quite a bit of trauma and drama in the lives of these four teens before they even got together.  Between the four of them, they had a recent divorce, a close family death, one teen already living alone as the parents were never home and one teen who, I thought, was too controlling. These teens become an instant four-some as they hung out together.  I started to dislike a few of them, their attitude and concern for others turned me off.  Looking into the lives of these individuals and their families, I got a good understanding of them and their situations.  I appreciated how the author included this information in the text. 

When Kyle moves into the area, Sasha invites him to hang-out with them.  Imagine that! Oh, did I mention that Kyle is nice to look at. I feel that adding him to the mix isn’t going to be good but I didn’t anticipate what actually occurred.  I have to give credit to Kyle though, he acted smart when he was first approached by the group.  They offered to let him become a member of their gang and Kyle was hesitant. I thought they were all getting along okay but I could feel some tension was building.  Three boys and two girls, that just doesn’t sound like a good combination especially when you add in their personalities. 

They don’t know what went wrong.  At least, that is what they are saying.  The four who fled the area that night, all take that same position.  The one who was left, they don’t even know what happened.  Was this a game or murder? 

We time travel in this book, as the author takes us forward in time.  One of the individuals from that night has now passed away and individuals are gathering for the funeral.  Friends are gathering and reacquainting themselves with one another. Will the three others who were in attendance that night gather and discuss what happened 20 years ago?  Will I learn anything different than what I already know?  The book is not over my friends, it’s only just beginning. 4.5 stars

Thank you, G.P. Putnam’s Sons for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. 

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

5 Stars Thriller

The deeper I got into this book, the more intense and captivated I became in finding out the truth behind this sisterhood. As the pages turned, the more my curiosity and adrenaline rose.

I loved the connection that these “sisters” had but the more that I read about them, the more removed I became to their alliance. Oh, I totally understand how they felt and the reasoning behind it BUT, there is line that they had crossed.  

When Shay witnesses a suicide on the subway, it changes her life.  Spying a piece of jewelry nearby, Shay is now connected to Amanda’s “sisters,” as Shay picks up the jewelry and takes it with her.  Shay needs to find out more about the suicide victim meanwhile, the “sisters” can’t believe that Amanda would commit suicide.  On a collusion course, Shay ends up meeting the “sisters” and to her, this is destiny. 

Shay feels a connection with the “sisters” and her life finally starts to turn around.  The “sisters” are there for Shay and take Shay under their wings.  Shay loves how everything is working out for her but dang, if only Shay knew the truth. The pages aren’t turning fast enough but I don’t want to miss a word on the pages.  

Slowly, the author reveals the details of the sisterhood and how each member became involved. It’s crazy good but it’s wicked at the same time. There’s time travel involved as we hear each member’s story but that’s important as I needed to know when these events took place.

Wow, that was an excellent, invigorating story that had me hooked from the beginning.  I have enjoyed all the books that Hendricks and Pekkanen have written together and I hope that they continue to write together! Breathe……

This book is now available and I highly recommend it.  Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. #YouAreNotAloneBook

Last Things by Jacqueline West

5 stars Fantasy

I really enjoyed the author’s use of language in this book.  I liked how they slowly explained the events occurring, without revealing too much, letting me become totally immersed into the drama.  I could feel the intensity and the energy of this book which I didn’t put down until I had finished it. 

I also liked that there weren’t many individuals to keep track of in this book.  Reading this on vacation, I didn’t want to have to resort to keeping a lot of notes on it while reading it.  I found that, I got so involved in reading it, I forgot to write down anything about it except for the first few pages.

The book centers around a girl named Thea who moved to Greenwood and lives with her Aunt Mae.  Aunt Mae has a reputation around town as being witch, or perhaps a lunatic.  Yeah, not a good one to have.  Some think it’s because she’s a drunk and when she’s like that, she likes to talk.  Her talking is not pleasant either.  Aunt Mae tries to warn individuals about things that she has seen, things that haven’t yet occurred and that doesn’t settle too well with some individuals.  Aunt Mae doesn’t move much from the couch, she keeps her bottle close to her and Thea makes sure that her aunt has a fresh supply.  

When we meet Thea, it’s Friday night and she’s headed off to the Crow’s Nest to hear the band, Last Things.  It’ll be a mixed crowd of high school kids to heavy metal fans.  Last Things is a local band and they’re becoming quite popular.  Anders started the group and when he plays, he gets lost in his music just like their fans get lost when he plays on stage. They put on quite the show and lately, the place has been packed.  

Thea stays off to the side when she watches the group perform, she hasn’t missed a show, since she got in town. Back at Aunt Mae’s, Thea has been stockpiling items outside, taking great care to secure these items, hidden from sight.  Why she’s doing this, I have no idea but the idea that she doing this to “lock them out,” intrigues me. Thea attends high school, where she doesn’t really fit in but she watches and she’s aware of her surroundings.  She keeps an eye on Anders, he’s different than the guy who everyone loves on stage on the weekends. Is this a crush or it is something else?  Does Anders even know about Thea?  I was beginning to wonder what their connection was.

Thea doesn’t spend much time at home but when she does, she talks with her aunt.  Thea and her aunt have a bond with “them.” Thea feels that “they” are becoming bolder and closer and Aunt Mae understands this.  What they are talking about and how this all ties in with Anders was getting quite interesting as Thea’s behavior was getting stranger. I was all in and I couldn’t put this book down.   

Thank you to Harper Collins and Epic Reads Insiders   for supplying a copy of this book to me for an honest review. 

Game of Thrones – Duty Free Store

As always, on our way home from vacation, we stopped at the Duty Free Store, and we came across some unique bottles. This so happens to be my favorite brand but I only bought one of these unique bottles as I had already had my heart set on another of their bottles before I even walked into the store. I had to take some pictures though, as I loved how these bottles came together to make these pictures.

The sales clerk gave us a sample from the White Walker, which we both liked, so this is the bottle we bought. The White Walker bottle changes color when it’s cold. My husband is big Game of Thrones guy and this scotch is my favorite, so purchasing these sets in the future might be an option. I know there are some Game of Throne fans out there so I thought you might enjoy these.

Starting this

My vacation is almost over – dang it! I’m behind in my ARC’s but I’m determined to get caught up so I started this one this morning. I’m hooked and I know, I’ll have it finished before I go to sleep.

What they’re worried about coming, I don’t know but the few supplies Thea has stockpiled under the shed won’t last them long. Drunk Aunt Mae, whether she’s a witch or good with predictions, everyone better listen up.

Here in the Real World By Sara Pennypacker

5 stars Middle School

I really wasn’t sure how I felt about this book until I was a few chapters in and then, well I loved this book!  Ware had just witnessed his grandmother being whisked off to the hospital and now his summer plans were ruined.  He didn’t want his parent’s Plan B for his summer, that is, until he found a tree.  Climbing that tree was the beginning of Ware’s own Plan B.

Ware’s parents had a goal for the summer and they immediately found an alternative plan for Ware when his grandmother could no longer care for him over the summer.  Ware didn’t want his parent’s alternative plan, and he was now, begging and bribing his parents to change their minds. In the end, nothing worked.

Plan B. Most everything looked the same as it did years ago, as the building appeared before him.  Ware knew he couldn’t live out the rest of this summer at the Rec.  This was daycare and he was now 11 ½, this place is not for him. I loved Ware’s attitude; at times, he acted older than he was yet there’s still that child within him.  Ware finds his escape during exercise class, when he spots a huge tree in the lot next door.  Believing that the tree would provide the perfect cover, he scales it.  How long can Ware hide up in the tree?

Ware had studied medieval times at school and he was becoming obsessed with castles, knights and various items from that era.  His plans at his grandmothers to build a replica were now cancelled but now sitting in this tree, Ware remembered the church that was on this lot. Shock came over him, as he noticed that the church had been destroyed and was now lying in pieces.  Ware notices a girl digging in the dirt, behind the church.  Trying to remain undetected, Ware creeps closer yet the girls spots him immediately.

Instantly, Jolene take control of the situation. She announces that this area is hers and that Ware needs to leave immediately!  I thought this was funny when I first read it.  It totally took Ware off-guard.  I wasn’t expecting Ware to fight back but he did.  He also took control.  He told Jolene that the church was his and her response…..well, she would just have to see about that. 

I liked how the two of them fit together.  Ware needed a space and the damaged church provided that for him.  Actually, it provided more than just a space for him to hang out but I’m not going to spoil the book for you.  Jolene needed the space behind the damaged church.  You might be thinking, what is Jolene doing? Well, Jolene is having some issues at home so she needs this space behind the church. They also needed each other, sometimes more than the physical space.  There are also problems because the lot has a sign on it and the sign means problems for more than just these two.  

Jolene and Ware worked hard and tried to transform the area that they were now trying to claim as their own.  I enjoyed reading about this and how they got along.  The references to the baptistry, the “do-over tub, the “sinner” tub, and the moat made this a fun book to read.

I loved how Ware alluded his mother each day when she dropped him off at the Rec.  Ware wanted to tell his mother what he was doing but he overheard her talking one day and he now knows, that he can’t. He then tries hard to be a knight and abide by the Knight’s Code that he has memorized.  I really enjoyed it when Uncle Cy and Ashley were added to the story, they were wonderful characters and I feel that they added a great deal to the story.  

What an excellent story, I really enjoyed it.  It was crazy good!  The ending gave me goosebumps as I was shedding happy tears.

“don’t ask to be normal- you’re better than that.”

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

4 stars Fiction

I love a great cover and I feel that this one definitely has one. This novel sounded interesting yet when I first started to read it, I was a bit confused.  With alternating time periods and a variety of characters, it took a bit for me to get everything straightened around.  As the story began to take shape, I soared through the pages.  

Meeting Jonathan, I thought he was one of those individuals who was too-big-for-his-britches (I think I’m beginning to sound like my grandmother now).  He came off as being too sophisticated and suave and he was using that to his advantage.  I know some people like these types of people but me, I run the other way.  Anyways, Jonathan owns the Hotel Caiette which is a 5-star hotel and I thought he basically, used this hotel as bait.

Jonathan, claiming to produce high results in the finance world, begins to climb up the ladder and build-up his clientele with his former bartender, Vincent on his arm.  Afterall, he needs to keep up his image, when dealing with high-end clients. 

As Vincent places the ring on her finger, she’s ready to step into some new shoes and get out from behind the bar at Hotel Caiette.  The commitments that they made to each other had me shaking my head. It made me wonder if I would do what she did, was it really worth it?

I don’t know much about Ponzi schemes but Jonathan sure is a smooth operator as he works the players.  He has quite a few individuals working beside him, making everything run smoothly and it made me wonder who knew what he had up his sleeve.

From making drinks to wearing elegant evening gowns, Vincent’s jump in social class is quite an adjustment for her and one that I’m not sure she enjoyed every day. I enjoyed it when she was able to be herself.

As I get further into the book, each page that I turned, I wonder if and when, things would go sour.  I was just waiting for the ball to drop.

I want to thank Knopf Books and Goodreads for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

5 stars Historical Fiction

This was an excellent audio to listen to. I couldn’t understand why I was able to get the audio right off the shelf at the library while the list to obtain the physical book was miles long. Although there were a lot of discs, the novel went quickly. Before reading this novel, I wondered if this book was going to be like The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek that I had previously read and loved, since they sounded similar in nature. What I found after I read this book was, although they were similar, it was the women in each story that made the two books different.  

I really enjoyed Margery in this story.  This woman had some spit fire in her. I loved her spunk from the minute I heard her speak. I wondered if somewhere, down the road in my listening of these discs, if something would backfire and she would pay for her outspoken personality.  Afterall, considering where she was, this time in history, and her being a woman, she really was an outstanding individual. Margery was her own person; she wasn’t concerned about what others thought or said.  Margery did what she thought needed to done.  I loved how Margery encouraged the women who supported the library and how she brought all the women together.

As the women brought the books to their patrons who lived out on the mountains, they were bringing more than just books to them.  I could feel the love, compassion, and companionship that their visits provided as I listened to the author’s words.  

As the women gathered for their “library meetings,” a big grin came across my face as I wondered exactly what they would be discussing today. No topic was dismissed as their meetings became more personal and entertaining each time they met.  Was it actually an official meeting or a girl’s night out, back at the meeting house as they met and chatted?  

I was delighted as to how much these women had grown during these 11 discs.  When they first came together, they thought of this as only a job but as I put in each disc, what this position became, was much more.  This became one of those books where I didn’t want it to end.

This book wasn’t all about women either.  Relationships both sweet and sour entered the picture from the sounds coming from the next room, to crushes, to the way individuals began to soften around the edges when certain others were around.  Some men also voiced their opinion about the library and about the women working in it.  You can imagine how that went down.

It was an entertaining and fast novel to listen to and I highly recommend it.

Lenny the Lobster Can’t Stay For Dinner by Finn Buckley

5 stars Children’s

This is a cute book and I liked how the book was written, by a father and son team when the son was seven.  How cute is that? The story is written with two different endings and the reader gets to decide which ending they want to read. I liked the simplicity of the book yet, if you know nothing about eating lobster, I think you will have a hard time understanding the book.  It’s a fun story and I enjoyed it.

The story is about a lobster named Lenny who is thrilled to be invited to a dinner party.  Lenny, makes the perfect dinner guest, as when dressing for the party, he gets all snazzy and he brings gifts for everyone he thinks might be attending.

Arriving at the party, everyone is excited to see Lenny, perhaps too excited (you have to see the illustrations- they were hilarious!). They even offered Lenny a gift, which he was not expecting. At this point, Lenny should be questioning exacting what kind of party this is.  His gift can actually take on different meanings. Is Lenny optimistic or doesn’t he understand?  This begins the twist in the story. 

Before you go any further in Lenny’s story, you have to decide whether Lenny should stay or leave the dinner party.  Should he stay for the rest of the evening or should he turn around and walk out the door?

I, my friends, had Lenny walking out the door!  These people do not look very friendly towards poor Lenny, and he was really looking for a good time at this party.  To have Lenny leave the party, I had to move forward in the book to a different page.  How fun is this?  If I had chosen to have Lenny stay at the party, I would have just continued reading.

I liked how this book all came together.  It was a fun read and I really enjoyed the illustrations.  I thought the language was entertaining and children will enjoy it.  I like how there were only two options and I can see how this book would give children the idea of creating their own books based n this idea.  I think children who understand about lobsters will enjoy this book.