Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Quick

Lauren Oliver

London, 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society, and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Unnerved, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine city that greets her, she uncovers a secret world at the margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of one of the country’s preeminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the most ambitious, and most dangerous, men in England.(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

James and Charlotte Newbury had a fairly sheltered childhood. James moves to London by himself and get mixed up with a very different group (emphasis on different). When he disappears, his sister comes to the rescue - or at least tries.

I found the first third of this book a bit slow going. Just as I was debating whether to continue, the story really picked up and oh boy, did it end up being good. Charlotte’s search for James is relentless and full of intrigue. Lots of scary characters and good suspense. I especially like the ending.

A strong debut by Ms. Oliver.

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Better World (The Brilliance Saga #2)

Marcus Sakey

The brilliants changed everything.

Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we’d only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person’s most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional...and the rest of us.

Now a terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics are burning people alive.

Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose—because his opponents have their own vision of a better world.

And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

A small percent of the population has been born with very unusual abilities. Referred to as brilliants, abnormals or abnorms, some folks in the regular population are threatened by the idea that the abnorms will take over the world. This story is the continuing struggle between the abnorms and the norms.

I loved the first book in this saga, and was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read book two. A Better World did not disappoint. Action packed and fast paced, this had great suspense. There are lots of characters to like and a few mixed in to not like (we do need balance here). A great ending that left me wanting more. Bring it on Mr. Sakey!

Thanks to Amazon Publishing, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

That Night

Chevy Stevens

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni, is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But in That Night by Chevy Stevens, the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts
Toni Murphy and her boyfriend Ryan were convicted of murdering Toni’s younger sister Nicole. Did they really do it?


When we first meet Toni, she is just being released from prison. The following chapters alternate between the time leading up to Nicole’s murder and Toni’s time in jail. The last part of the story has to do with Toni’s time after she has been released.

This was a well written story. It hooked me from the start. I thought there was a good level of suspense. I have always enjoyed Ms. Steven’s writing and this book is another example of why. She presents realistic characters (boy - did I want to smack some of the teenage girls in the story) and knows how to hold the reader’s attention.

My thanks to St. Marten’s Press, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in wxchange for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Little Mercies

Heather Gudenkauf

Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity—the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends' couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts
Ellen Moore is a social worker who mostly works with troubled families. Ten-year old Jenny Briard comes from a troubled family. This is the story of how Ellen and Jenny are both fighting through a difficult period in their lives and how their paths cross.

I always get excited when I find out that Heather Gudenkauf has written a new novel. I find her writing to be thoughtful and relevant. She takes everyday people and writes realistic stories about them. What happened to Ellen could happen to anyone. There are probably more Jenny’s in the real world than any of us want to admit to. I loved the way the author tied the title into the meaning behind the story.

I’d like to thank Harlequin Mira, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer House with Swimming Pool

Herman Koch

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can't hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Dr. Marc Schlosser is well know with his patients for being pretty easy with writing prescriptions. This brings actor Ralph Meier to his practice. The two develop a somewhat loose relationship. One summer, Ralph invites Marc and his family to stay at their summer house with a swimming pool. Something bad happens to one of Marc’s daughters. Is it possible Dr. Marc sought his revenge via his medical treatment of Ralph?

The author has given us two despicable characters in Marc and Ralph. Marc has a blase attitude about both his medical practice and his marriage. Ralph is glutinous in every aspect of his life. It’s almost as if these two negative personalities were attracted to each other.

I will admit, I was not sure I was going to like this book. But given time, I discovered that the author wrote with strong description and a good dose of subtle humor. When I finish a book, I ask myself - would I read more from this author? With regard to Herman Koch - the answer is yes.

My thanks to Crown Publishing for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.