Sunday, January 27, 2013

The List
by Karin Tanabe

From a former Politico reporter, a fast-paced debut novel about a young journalist at D.C.’s hottest (and most cut-throat) political rag who uncovers a scandal sure to turn the Beltway inside out.

Meet Adrienne Brown, a twenty-eight-year-old Wellesley College grad who recently left her glamorous job at Town and Country for a spot the Capitolist. Known simply as “The List” to Beltway insiders, it's the only media outlet in D.C. that’s actually on the rise. Taking the job means accepting a painful pay cut, giving up perks like free Louboutins, and moving back in with her parents, but Adrienne is certain that her new position will be the making of her career. And it is—but not at all in the way that she expects. The Capitolist runs at an insane pace: She’s up at 5:00 in the morning, writing ten stories a day (sometimes on her Blackberry, often during her commute), and answering every email within three minutes. Just when it seems like the frenetic workload is going to break her, Adrienne stumbles upon a juicy political affair, involving a very public senator—and her most competitive colleague. Discovering that there’s much more to the relationship than meets the eye, Adrienne realizes she’s got the scoop of a lifetime. But should she go public with the story? (synopsis and cover image via Netgalley).

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The first two-thirds was the set up - entertaining and frequently laugh out loud funny. The final third had a totally different tone. While still sometimes funny, this part was much more serious and suspenseful. Adrienne must decide what to do with the story she has uncovered and how to deal with the impact of her decision.

I thought the author did an excellent job of keeping the story moving. I loved the humor. I thought the ethical aspect Adrienne’s dilemma rang true for the media crazy world we live in. Bravo on this debut, Ms. Tanabe. I am looking forward to reading future books from you.

My thanks to Atria Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: February 5. 2013.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The End of All Things
Lissa Bryan

After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.

She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.

Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.

But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.

This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other (cover image and synopsis from Netgalley).

My Thoughts

When I first started reading this, I wasn’t too sure if I was going to like it. Well, guess what? I ended up loving it. Yes - a sappy, sweet, nice, often upbeat, positive, post apocalyptic love story.

I fell in love with Carly and Justin. I loved how they made each other better people and formed such a committed relationship. I enjoyed the clean story line - there were a few sex scenes, but they were appropriate for the story and not just tossed in.

Most post apocalyptic books I have read recently have left me saying - ok, if this is how it is going to go down, I would not want to be one of the survivors. This book left me saying - ok, maybe there could be hope left after devastation.

I am definitely interested in reading more from this very talented author.

Thanks to The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: January 24, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Archived SNEAK PEEK

Victoria Schwab

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard won redemption (synopsis and cover image from Netgalley).

My Thoughts

What a tease this sneak peek turned out to be - which is the intention of course. Left me wanting to get the book so I could finish the story. I really like the storyline. I thought the whole setup was very creative - the "outer" where we all live, the "archived" where souls are stored on shelves once they have passed on, and finally, the “narrows” where a History who is on the loose will show up. As a Keeper, it is Mac’s job to return Histories to the Archive.
From what I’ve read so far, I would say Ms. Schwab has quite a winner with The Archived.

Thank you to Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for allowing me to sneak a peek at this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date for the book: January 22, 2013.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cover of Snow

By Jenny Milchman

Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide.

The first few hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.

Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from Brendan’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . . and its darkest secrets hidden.(Cover image and synopsis from Netgalley)

My Thoughts


I enjoyed this book. The suspense begins right from the start. I really liked Nora. She was like a dog with a bone when it came to her determination in figuring out why her husband committed suicide. Not sure who to turn to for help or who to trust, and getting veiled threats from her husband’s former co-workers, she is still determined to get answers.

I thought the author did a great job keeping the story moving. This is a great debut and I would not hesitate to read more from Ms. Milchman.

My thanks to Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: January 15, 2013.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Kate Brian


Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived ... and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they're starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again? (Synopsis and cover image from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

I have to say I was drawn into the story from the very first page. There is that underlying creepiness when you know something is just not right but have no idea why. And since this is book one, it ends with quite a twist. While the ending helps to clarify some of the weird things that took place throughout the story, it also left me wondering what will come next. I will definately be on the look out for the next book.

I would like to thank Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: January 8, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chanel Bonfire


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

False Witness

Dorothy Uhnak
After surviving an unspeakable crime, a victim identifies a shocking attacker

Lynne Jacobi gets the call a few hours before dawn. Model-turned-television celebrity Sanderalee Dawson lies on the kitchen floor of her sumptuous Manhattan apartment, hanging on to life by a tenuous thread. The victim of a savage assault, she stuns everyone when she survives and identifies her attacker.

So begins a case that leads law enforcement down a twisting path of secrets, lies, and false leads. Lynne, bureau chief of the district attorney’s office, is fueled by ambition and her vow to bring a brutal killer to justice. But Chief Investigator Bobby Jones isn’t sure they have the right man, and he hesitates to put his legal career—and his affair with Lynne—at risk. The victim herself, as the only witness to her rape, must go up against a monster who just might get away with it.

Uhnak has been credited with paving the way for authors such as Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Patricia Cornwell, and many others who write crime novels and police procedurals with strong heroines. This novel is being rereleased. (Synopsis and cover image from Netgally)

My Thoughts

The main story was actually very good and pretty fast paced. For me, there was a level of excitement building towards the finish.

I do think this book reflects the time when it was written. The behavior of the main character would make more sense for the 1980‘s when the book was first released than 2012. I will say that how she behaved in the final chapters really pissed me off. I kept thinking of all these different endings based on a female of today (or at least how I would have behaved).

Thank you to Open Road and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.
Rerelease date: January 1, 2012


Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Drowning House

by Elizabeth Black

Photographer Clare Porterfield's once-happy marriage is coming apart, unraveling under the strain of a family tragedy. When she receives an invitation to direct an exhibition in her hometown of Galveston, Texas, she jumps at the chance to escape her grief and reconnect with the island she hasn't seen for ten years. There Clare will have the time and space to search for answers about her troubled past and her family's complicated relationship with the wealthy and influential Carraday family.

Soon she finds herself drawn into a century-old mystery involving Stella Carraday. Local legend has it that Stella drowned in her family's house during the Hurricane of 1900, hung by her long hair from the drawing room chandelier. Could Stella have been saved? What is the true nature of Clare's family's involvement? The questions grow like the wildflower vines that climb up the walls and fences of the island. And the closer Clare gets to the answers, the darker and more disturbing the truth becomes.

Steeped in the rich local history of Galveston, The Drowning House portrays two families, inextricably linked by tragedy and time. (synopsis from Netgalley and cover image fro Goodreads).

My Thoughts

This was one of those books I call a slow burn. There were just enough unanswered questions and uncertainties to keep me reading. The story unfolds in bits and pieces until it all falls together at the end.

I loved the author’s writing style - the way she phrases her descriptions of normal, everyday things was lovely This is a debut for Ms. Black and I must say - Bravo! I will certainly be following along to see what will come next from this very talented writer.

Thank you to Doubleday/ Nan A. Talese and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: January 15, 2013.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Study in Revenge (Archie Lean #2)

by Kieran Shields

In 1893, a trail of ashen footprints leads Deputy Archie Lean to the body of a murdered thief. The man’s exposed flesh has been horribly burned and occult symbols mark the nearby walls. Most troubling of all is what Lean witnessed two days earlier: this same man being lowered into his grave without a burn mark on him. Once again, the Portland, Maine, police deputy must turn to the brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey for help.

Grey, a half-Abenaki Indian detective, faces problems of his own after agreeing to an elderly tycoon’s death-bed plea to find his long-lost granddaughter. The dying man’s family is less interested in the missing heiress than with the recent theft of an obscure heirloom carved with curious symbols. As the family’s shadowy history is revealed, the three mysteries intersect to draw Lean and Grey into a maze of murder, deceit, and revenge. Each deadly new clue points toward an even greater puzzle—one that will pit Grey against a devious murderer in a race to unlock an ancient and mysterious power. (Cover image and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)


My Thoughts:

Smart! Smart! Smart!

Why do I say this? This read like an 1893 version of CSI. I liked the way Perceval Grey used evidence, the obvious and the not so obvious, to put together clues to help Deputy Archie Lean solve a murder. The plot had a little of everything - mystery, intrigue, a tad amount of sex and even unrequited love. I particularly enjoyed the interaction between Grey and Lean - witty, intelligent and occasionally snarky (I like snarky as long as it’s not directed at me)

I have not read book #1 of the Archie Lean series (?) but do not feel that it deterred me from enjoying book #2. I’m hoping this is an ongoing series as I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s writing.

I would like to thank Crown Publishing Group and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: January 8, 2013.
Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

by Erik Larson

September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history--and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devestating personal tragedy.

Using Cline's own telegrams, letters, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the science of hurricanes, Erik Larson builds a chronicle of one man's heroic struggle and fatal miscalculation in the face of a storm of unimaginable magnitude. Riveting, powerful, and unbearably suspenseful, Isaac's Storm is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets the great uncontrollable force of nature.(Synopsis and cover image courtesy of Goodreads).

My Thoughts

This was the first book I read in 2013 and what a great way to start a new year of reading.
Mr. Larson has this amazing ability to take a historical event and turn it into a thriller. By the time the hurricane hits Galveston, my heart was pounding. Who will survive this weather phenomenon?

I liked the way the author alternated chapters between information about the time period and the track of the approaching storm. We get to learn about Isaac Cline on a personal basis, the back ground of the weather service to this point in time and even some meteorological education. The last chapters that tell the story of the hurricanes arrival, how individuals and families fight for survival, and the devastating scene post hurricane were heart wrenching.

This is the third book I have read by Mr. Larson and it did not disappoint. This is one author that I always keep tabs on to see when his next book will appear.