Saturday, March 30, 2013

Evidence of Life

Barbara Taylor Sissel

On the last ordinary day of her life, Abby Bennett feels like the luckiest woman alive. But everyone knows that luck doesn't last forever...

As her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lindsey, embark on a weekend camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, Abby looks forward to having some quiet time to herself. She braids Lindsey's hair, reminds Nick to drive safely and kisses them both goodbye. For a brief moment, Abby thinks she has it all-a perfect marriage, a perfect life-until a devastating storm rips through the region, and her family vanishes without a trace.

When Nick and Lindsey are presumed dead, lost in the raging waters, Abby refuses to give up hope. Consumed by grief and clinging to her belief that her family is still alive, she sets out to find them. But as disturbing clues begin to surface, Abby realizes that the truth may be far more sinister than she imagined. Soon she finds herself caught in a current of lies that threaten to unhinge her and challenge everything she once believed about her marriage and family.

My Thoughts

I thought this was an interesting story. I did find myself wondering how I would handle it if someone in my life just suddenly disappeared and was considered presumed dead. Presumed being the key word here. I think not knowing with 100% certainty would drive me nuts, and I thought the author did a good job of portraying how this impacted Abby.

I was miffed at how some of Abby’s support team treated her. I was annoyed with Abby’s wishy-washy behavior - although I think this was reflective of her desire to know what happened versus moving on with the life. I always maintain that when an author can evoke these kind of feelings from me, then they have done a good job writing the story.

This was my first book by this author and I am definitely interested in checking out some of her other writings.

My thanks to Harequin Mira, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Published date: March 26, 2013.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed(and Other Heartwarming Letters from Kitty)

Jeremy Greenberg

The cat's answer to Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe, Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed is a hilarious collection of full-color photos and letters of excuses and suggestions from cats to the people who love them—no matter what bad thing they’ve done!

Inside Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed, writer and comedian Jeremy Greenberg presents a collection of laugh-out-loud letters and photographs that offer a cat's eye view on common feline vs. human cohabitation conundrums. It's the perfect gift for crazy cat lovers and anyone who appreciates hilarious (and so true!) insights into cat—and human—nature, including:

Your cat sits on your laptop not just for warmth or attention, but to prevent you from interacting with the outside world. After all, isn’t the main reason to have a cat so you don’t have to waste time developing normal human relationships? If you spent a third of your life licking yourself, you too would occasionally forget to stick your tongue back in your face. Eating grass has medicinal purposes, and most cats believe grass should be legalized. The cat feels bad about barfing on your bed…because now it must get to up to go sleep on your clean laundry instead.(Cover image and synopsis from Netgalley)


My Thoughts

Ok - yes - I wanted to read this book because of the title and the cover.   I thought this would be a book that I would look at once and that would be that.

As it turns out, I’ve looked at this little gem of a book several times already - mostly when I need a good laugh. The author is spot on about cat behavior. The pictures go along perfectly with each little tale. This book is a keeper. Have a friend who is also a cat lover and could use a chuckle - consider giving this as a gift. You won’t go wrong!

Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: April 2, 2012.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)

Robin LaFevers

Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for? (Cover image and synopsis courtesy of Netgalley).

My Thoughts
I remember when I found out at the end of Grave Mercy - His Fair Assassin #1 (one of my most favorite reads in 2012) that book #2 would be about Sybella, I wondered exactly how the author was going to incorporate this character into the story line. Was it even possible for this to be as good as book #1?

Oh - not only was it possible, but Dark Triumph surpassed any and all expectations. It has all the mystery and intrigue of life within the Brittany court. The politics and back stabbing (both literally and figuratively). The suspense and infighting. And best of all, the story of Sybella and the Beast. This was beautiful. I don’t want to ruin it for future readers, but suffice it to say that this part of the story brought a tear to my eye. The only thing I am sad about is that I am at the end of this delightful book and have to wait patiently for book #3.

I am eternally grateful to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: April 2, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Toms River

A Story of Science and Salvation

Dan Fagin

The riveting true story of sixty years in the life of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution, Toms Rivermelds hard-hitting investigative reporting, a fascinating scientific detective story, deep historical research, and an unforgettable cast of characters into a sweeping narrative that leaves us asking: Could it happen in my town, too?

One of New Jersey’s seemingly innumerable quiet seaside towns, Toms River became the unlikely setting for a decades-long drama that culminated in 2001 with one of the largest legal settlements in the annals of toxic dumping. A town that would rather have been known for its Little League World Series champions ended up making history for an entirely different reason: a notorious cluster of childhood cancers scientifically linked to local air and water pollution. For years, large chemical companies had been using Toms River as their private dumping ground, burying tens of thousands of leaky drums in open pits and discharging billions of gallons of acid-laced wastewater into the town’s namesake river.

In an astonishing feat of investigative reporting, prize-winning journalist Dan Fagin recounts the sixty-year saga of rampant pollution and inadequate oversight that made Toms River a cautionary example for fast-growing industrial towns from South Jersey to South China. He tells the stories of the pioneering scientists and physicians who first identified pollutants as a cause of cancer, and brings to life the everyday heroes in Toms River who struggled for justice: a young boy whose cherubic smile belied the fast-growing tumors that had decimated his body from birth; a nurse who fought to bring the alarming incidence of childhood cancers to the attention of authorities who didn’t want to listen; and a mother whose love for her stricken child transformed her into a tenacious advocate for change.

A gripping human drama rooted in a centuries-old scientific quest, Toms River is a tale of dumpers at midnight and deceptions in broad daylight, of corporate avarice and government neglect, and of a few brave individuals who refused to keep silent until the truth was exposed.(Cover image and synopsis from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Who knew a book about toxic waste dumping could be such a fascinating read?

By the first 50 pages, I had lost count of the number of times I said “holy crap!”. It was hard for me to wrap my brain around the massive quantity of dumping that was going on. I know this was in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the EPA was in it’s infancy and OSHA was non existent, but even so, I found it appalling. The company responsible already had troubles for dumping in one other U.S city and in Europe, so why should things have been any different in Toms River? To me, this is the standard story of a large corporation coming into a small town and hoping that their offerings of good paying jobs would mean the locals would want to overlook any hazards that might be associated with those jobs. As was often the case, the workers and residents were often kept in the dark about their exposure to toxic chemicals and eventually had to fight tooth and nail for information.

What was so interesting about this book was how the author presented the information. Intermixed with the story of Toms River, he educates the reader on topics such as epidemiology, cancer research, cluster studies and so much more. I can’t even images how much time and effort went into writing this. And while it could have been overwhelmingly scientific, I have to say I felt the informations was presented in a very readable and understandable manner.

My thanks to Random House/Bantam and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: March 26, 2013.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Heart Like Mine
Amy Hatvany

When a young mother dies under mysterious circumstances, those she leaves behind begin looking for answers in the past—and find a long-buried secret they could have never imagined.

Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?

At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been the one taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again.

But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.

Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant and hopeful portrait about womanhood, love, and the challenges of family life.(Cover image and synopsis from Netgalley)


My Thoughts:

This was very good. I liked the way the story unfolded from the perspective of the three females - Ava, Kelli and Grace. From Kelli’s point of view, we learn about her growing up years, her search for love and acceptance in all the wrong places, and a fateful decision made by her parents that would ultimately devastate her. From Ava, we get to see the struggles of a young girl who tries to be an adult for her struggling Mom and her battle with trying to decide if she should like Grace or not. And finally, from Grace, we see her work through the issues of having being a career woman who falls in love with a man who suddenly has full time responsibility for his children.

Ms. Hatvany did an outstanding job of weaving all these different viewpoints together into a nicely told tale. This is a new author for me and I will definitely be checking out her other books.

I thank Washington Square Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: March 19, 2013.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Seven Deadly Sins
My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong

David Walsh

The story of Lance Armstrong—the cyclist who recovered from testicular cancer and went on to win the Tour de France a record seven times, the man who wrote a bestselling and inspirational account of his life, the charitable benefactor—seemed almost too good to be true. And it was.

As early as Armstrong’s first victory on the Tour in 1999, The Sunday Times (London) journalist David Walsh had reason to think that the incredible performances we were seeing from Armstrong were literally too good to be true. Based on insider information and dogged research, he began to unmask the truth. Cycling’s biggest star used every weapon in his armory to protect his name.

But he could not keep everyone silent.

In the autumn of 2012, the US Anti-Doping Agency published a damning report on Armstrong that resulted in the American being stripped of his seven Tour victories and left his reputation in shreds. Walsh’s long fight to reveal the truth had been vindicated. This book tells the compelling story of one man’s struggle to bring that truth to light against all the odds. (cover image and synopsis via Netgalley).

My Thoughts
This was a very interesting, well written book of the author’s relentless need to tell the truth. Talk about perseverance! Mr. Walsh was adamant in wanting to tell the story of doping in the world of cycling, even when most sports journalist where willing to look the other way.

I wanted to read this book because I felt like I was probably one of the last schmucks who believed Lance Armstrong and thought he was being trashed simply because he was good enough to win numerous Tour de France races. No one was more appalled than me when after numerous years of denial, Armstrong finally decided to come clean.

Bravo for you Mr. Walsh for not giving up. What a story!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster/Atria and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: December 13, 2012.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cats & Daughters
They Don't Always Come When Called

Helen Brown

Some say your previous cat chooses your new feline. If so, what in cat heaven’s name was our beloved Cleo thinking when she sent us a crazy cat like Jonah?

Helen Brown swore she’d never get another cat after her precious Cleo died. But that was before a cute Siamese with an intense blue gaze wrapped her around his paw. Demonstrating the grace of a trapeze artist—and a talent for smashing anything breakable—Jonah seduced the household with his daredevil antics and heart-melting purr.

With her son getting married, her daughter setting off on a potentially dangerous personal quest, and a recent brush with her own mortality, Helen faced a whirlwind of joys and challenges. Yet Jonah proved just the thing to ease the busy household’s growing pains. (Cover image and synopsis from Netgalley).

My Thoughts

What a lovely surprise!

I will admit that as a cat owner, I am drawn to books that have “cats” in the title. I was also attracted to the book cover. For whatever reason, I thought this would be mostly about funny cat stories. Oh - it was so much more than that!

The author really does have a delightful writing style. During the period in her life she is writing about, she has several different personal challenges going on at the same time. She presents her story with eloquence and charm - and yes - a few funny cat stories mixed in.

My thanks to Kensington Publishing and Netgalley for allwoing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: March 26, 2013.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Danielle Trussoni

A New York Times bestseller and global sensation, Angelology unfurled a brilliant tapestry of myth and biblical lore on our present-day world and plunged two star-crossed heroes into an ancient battle against mankind’s greatest enemy: the fatally attractive angel-human hybrids known as the Nephilim. WithAngelopolis, the conflict deepens into an inferno of danger and passion unbound.

A decade has passed since Verlaine saw Evangeline alight from the Brooklyn Bridge, the sight of her new wings a betrayal that haunts him still. Now an elite angel hunter for the Society of Angelology, he pursues his mission with single-minded devotion: to capture, imprison, and eliminate her kind.

But when Evangeline suddenly appears on a twilit Paris street, Verlaine finds her nature to be unlike any of the other creatures he so mercilessly pursues, casting him into a spiral of doubt and confusion that only grows when she is abducted before his eyes by a creature who has topped the society’s most-wanted list for more than a century. The ensuing chase drives Verlaine and his fellow angelologists from the shadows of the Eiffel Tower to the palaces of St. Petersburg and deep into the provinces of Siberia and the Black Sea coast, where the truth of Evangeline’s origins—as well as forces that could restore or annihilate them all—lie in wait.

Conceived against an astonishing fresh tableau of history and science,Angelopolis plumbs Russia’s imperial past, modern genetics, and ancient depictions of that most potent angelic appearance—the Annunciation of Gabriel—in a high-octane tale of abduction, treasure seeking, and divine warfare as the fate of humanity once again hangs in the balance. (Book cover and synopsis from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

As much as I liked Angelology, I must say I liked Angelopolis more. I felt book #1 seemed to lay the groundwork for understanding the idea behind angelologist’s work. Book #2 has allot more adventure and suspense. I was drawn into this story early and it moves along quickly. I did find the background information about the Romanov’s and Rasputin to be very interesting. The author really does provide an amazing level of detail and for me, this was one of those books that I did not want to skim for fear of missing something significant. I’m definitely hooked on on this story line and sure hope we will get more!

Thank you to Penguin Group Viking and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: March 26, 2012.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Keeper of the Moon
Harley Jane Kozak

Lust. Elven Keeper Sailor Gryffald's body quivers with it, but is it a symptom of the deadly Scarlet Pathogen coursing through her bloodstream or the proximity of shifter Keeper Declan Wainwright?

Sailor and Declan have had an uneasy relationship ever since they met, and now things are about to get a lot more complicated. A killer is stalking Los Angeles, intentionally infecting Elven with the deadly virus, and now Sailor and Declan must work to keep the supernatural peace while bringing the murderer to justice. But, in doing so, these powerful denizens of the Otherworld find themselves straddling a fine line between lust...and love.(Cover image and synopsis from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Thoroughly entertaining. This is book #2 of the Keeper series and it was just as much fun as book #1. Each book has been written by a different author and I thought this was a unique idea. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Kozak and I enjoyed her writing style. There was mystery, suspense and some nice romance between Declan and Sailor.

This was a light read that kept me engaged in the story line. I would like to read more from this author. I am looking forward to book #3!

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

Publish date; March 5, 2013.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Dying Fall

A Ruth Galloway Mystery

Elly Griffiths

The letter tells of a great archeological discovery, but Dan also says that he is scared. Was Dan’s death linked to his find? The only clue is his mention of the Raven King, an ancient name for King Arthur.

Then Ruth is invited to examine the bones Dan found. Ruth travels to Lancashire—the hometown of DCI Nelson—with both her 18-month-old daughter, Kate, and her druid friend, Cathbad, in tow. She discovers a campus living in fear of a sinister right-wing group called the White Hand. She also finds that the bones revealed a shocking fact about King Arthur—and they’ve mysteriously vanished. When Nelson, visiting his mother in Blackpool, learns about the case, he is drawn into the investigation, especially when Ruth and his beloved Kate seem to be in danger. Who is willing to kill to keep the bones a secret?(cover image and synopsis from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

The Ruth Galloway stories continue to be one of my most favorite series. I just love the way the author let’s us get into the thoughts of all the main character. Ruth has such a dry sense of humor! She has the normal struggles of a working Mom and it is always interesting to see her relationships progress in each new book. She’s comfortable with being single and on her own with her daughter Kate. I always get excited when I find out there is a new book in the series and this one did not disappoint me.

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: March 5, 2013.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Chance
Karen Kingsbury

Years ago, the day before Ellie moved from Georgia to California, she and her best friend Nolan sat beneath the Spanish moss of an ancient oak tree where they wrote letters to each other, and sealed them in a rusty old metal box. The plan was to return eleven years later and read them. But now, as that date arrives, much has changed. Ellie, bereft of the faith she grew up with, is a single mom living in a tired apartment trying to make ends meet. Sometimes she watches television to catch a glimpse of her old friend —Nolan, now an NBA star, whose terrible personal tragedies fueled his faith and athletic drive in equal measure. But Nolan also suffers from a transcendent loneliness that nothing has ever eased.

In their separate lives, as Ellie and Nolan move toward the possibility of a reunion at the oak tree, Kingsbury weaves a tale of heart-wrenching loss, the power of faith, and the wounds that only love can heal. (Cover image and synopsis fro Netgalley).

My Thoughts:

......with God, all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

This was a very nice read. Clean, uplifting and touching. A nice story about having faith and not giving up hope, even when things seem dark. A few thoughts came to mind when I read this. First, learn to live life in God’s time (meaning - be patient Lisa). Also, that having faith doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen. It means we should use our faith to get through the difficult times. This story shared a nice message about all of this.

Thank you very much to Howard Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: March 5, 2013.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Calling Me Home
Julie Kibler

Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It's a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.

Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.

Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage son’s irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her.

Isabelle confesses that, as a willful teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell deeply in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family's housekeeper—in a town where blacks weren’t allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences makes it clear Dorrie and Isabelle are headed for a gathering of the utmost importance and that the history of Isabelle's first and greatest love just might help Dorrie find her own way.(Cover image and synopsis from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Not many stories make me cry, but the ending of this one sure did. The relationship between Dorrie and Isabelle was special because they simply liked each other for who they were, without concern for skin color or age.. What a bond between these two women!

I loved the way the author unfolded the story of Isabelle’s past in between chapters of Dorrie’s current life challenges. My heart ached for Isabelle’s lost love. I rooted for Dorrie to find peace with her struggles and worries. And the ending - OY!

This is a debut novel for Ms. Kibler. What beautiful, beautiful writing.

I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to read this in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley.

Publish date: February 12, 2013.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Touch & Go

Lisa Gardner

This is my family: Vanished without a trace…

Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family. A perfect life.

This is what I know: Pain has a flavor…

When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer. The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind. No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive. Just an entire family, vanished without a trace.

This is what I fear: The worst is yet to come…

Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect facades can hide the darkest secrets. Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices. Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family? And how far would such a person be willing to go?

This is the truth: Love, safety, family…it is all touch and go (synopsis and cover image via Netgalley)


My Thoughts 

This is the first book I have ever read by Lisa Gardner. Is that not sheer craziness? Why have I gone this long without reading her books?

Now because of Touch & Go, I am now very interested in reading her other novels. This book started off running and did not quit until the very end. It really did keep me guessing. I had a love/hate relationship with a few of the characters. Who was really good and who was really bad? I like when an author can do this with a storyline and I must say, Ms. Gardner handled it quite well.

I thank Dutton Adult and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review. I am grateful for the introduction to Ms. Gardner’s writing.

Publish date: February 5, 2013.