My Latest Reads

Trema's bookshelf: read

Gathering Blue
Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood
The Giver
Child of Grace
The Silent Girl: A Novel
The One Who Waits for Me
Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
The Blind in Darkness
Haunted Kids: True Ghost Stories (Haunted Kids)
Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918

Trema's favorite books »

Friday, December 28, 2012

Review: Still Missing

Still Missing
by Chevy Stevens
Quote: " I've tried to play women's games before, with some unfortunate results, but I won't make that mistake again." ~The Freak pg. 40
Started: December 12, 2012
Finished: December 20, 2012
352 pages, hardcover

From the cover:
On the day she was abducted, Annie O'Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old Realtor, had three goals: Sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for diner with her ever-patient boyfriend. the open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.
 Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive in a remote mountain cabin-which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist- is a second narrative recounting the nightmare that follows her escape: her struggle to piece her shattered life back together, the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor, and the disturbing sense that things are far from over.
  The truth doesn't always set you free. Still Missing  is a shocking, visceral, brutal, and beautifully crafted debut novel about surviving the unsurvivable- and living to bear witness.

My review:
I have mixed feeling about this book. There were some things I really enjoyed about it and others I couldn't believe(literally), or just couldn't understand. It seems to me there were too many holes in this story. Too many un-established characters and too much left untold. It made the story very hard to follow or to even try to solve the mystery. Which for me is half the fun of reading. Don't we "want" to figure it out? 
I felt very confused throughout most of the book. 
I did like the "idea" of the book and how it gave some detail into what she went through and had to endure. I did feel her dissociating after the event believable. Maybe this book was meant to be as confusing and unbelievable as it would actually be.
How would any human "be" after such events? Don't we all question why, how, after something evil or unjust happens? Maybe this book IS more real, simply because it makes no sense. It is about a tragic, horrible "thing" that happened and someone, many people are left to go on afterwards with unanswered questions. No quick problem solved. Yet, they must go on with whatever they do have, whatever is left of themselves.
I gave Still Missing 4 stars*

Review: The Queen of Kentucky

The Queen of Kentucky
by Alecia Whitaker

Quote: " Sometimes things feel that way. You know, you just think there must've been-must be- something you can do. but in the end, you just gotta do the best you can when you can."~ Luke pg. 198
Started: November 28, 2012
Finished: December 8, 2012
375 pages, hardcover

From the cover:
Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would prefer to be called Erika, thank you very much, is eager to shed her farmer's daughter roots and fit in with the popular crowd at her small-town high school. She trades her Bible for Seventeen  magazine, buys new "sophisticated" clothes, and strikes up an unlikely flirtation with the freshman class's resident bad boy. She's on top of the world, even though her best friend and neighbor, Luke, says he misses " plain old Ricki Jo."
  Caught between being a country girl and wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn't care what people think and who wouldn't let a good-looking guy walk all over her.
  After a serious incident on Luke's farm, Ricki Jo realizes that being a true friend is more important than being popular...and that one boy who matters most has been next door all along.

My Review:
My initial reaction to the end of this book was just.."duh". Honestly, I think you would have to either be fourteen or have the mentality of that to truly enjoy this book. It was well written, again if you actually were fourteen.
This book was way under the YA level it is classified. Other than a drunken-make-out session and the strip- truth or dare at a sleepover, I didn't see any red flags to letting my fourteen year old read it.
I will say, I pray my daughter is a lot more mature than Miss Erika Jo. In more ways than one. Her character was almost unbelievable. I just kept thinking, " Wow, are all/most fourteen- year -old girls THAT immature and naive????"
I pray not! Seriously, she seemed so superficial after seeming to have a strong start in life. Although it doesn't give much insight into her upbringing. It does seem she came from a "good" family with values and at the least a sense of worth and "what really matters."
Maybe I'm being to hard on dear Alecia Whitaker. Maybe I just didn't get it.
I gave this book 3 stars and hope it will be a better read for younger audiences. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: The Unholy(Krewe of Hunters #6)

The Unholy
by Heather Graham

Quote: " If the cops could just understand what this has done to him, how he's feeling...they'd know he couldn't have done it."~ Eddie pg. 134
Started: Nov. 1, 2012
Finished: Nov. 27, 2012
486 pages/hardcover, large print edition

From the cover:
The 1940s: Hard-boiled detectives and femmes fatale are box-office gold. In one iconic scene, set in a deserted museum, the buxom beauty is throttled by an ominous Egyptian priest. 
NOW: The Black Box Cinema immortal-izes Hollywood's Golden Age in its gallery of  film noir tributes. But the mannequin of that Egyptian priest is hardly lifeless. He walks- and a young starlet dies a terrifying death. Movie mogul Eddie Archer's son is charged with the murder and calls agent Sean Cameron. As part of an FBI paranormal forensics team, Cameron works with special-effects artist Madison Darvil- who has her own otherworldly gifts.

My Review:
This is book six in the Krewe of Hunters series. Each of these books has their own story line and setting but still very many, maybe too many similarities. While they are different enough to keep you from feeling deju vu with each book as an individual, they do seem to have the save theme. crime=krewe=2 single people=both have "otherworldly gifts"= damsel in distress= cased solve=happy ending.
You get the idea, right?
I enjoyed the setting of this one only after about half way through the book when they actually started describing the history of the property and how the ancestors were connected. That was probably the best part other than the main hunk-o was named Sean and I may have been a little too biased and kept reading solely to see what action he got.
I probably will finish out this series. Even if only to see where they send the Krewe next...
*4 stars*

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Son(The Giver Quartet #4)

by Lois Lowry

Quote: " But it was fun for me today. Part of my job is giving the newchildren to their parental units. The new mothers and fathers are always so excited."~ Nurturer  pg.77

Started: Nov. 2, 2012
Finished: Nov. 9, 2012

393 pages/ hardcover

From the cover:
" They called her Water Claire."
When the young girl washed up on their shore, no one knew she had been a Vessel. That she had carried a Product. That it had been carved from her belly. Stolen.
Claire had had a son. She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. When he was taken from their community, she knew she had to follow.
And so her journey began.
But here in this wind-battered village Claire is welcomed as one of their own. In the security of her new home, she is free and loved. She grows stronger.
As tempted as she is by the warmth of more human kindness than she has ever known, she cannot stay. Her son is out there; a young boy by now.
Claire will stop at nothing to find her child...
even if it means trading her own life.
With Son, the two-time Newberry Medal-winning Lois Lowry has spun another mesmerizing tale in this thrilling and long-awaited conclusion to The Giver.

My Review:
This was a great ending to a wonderful series. Son, tied up all the loose ends to the 3 previous books. It was very well written and made a great story even better. The main character is Claire. She was chosen to be a Vessel but something went wrong. Even with the Elders wisdom and great reputation for making the best choices, the unexpected happened. From then on Claire was changed, different and unsure of most things. The one thing she was sure of, she had to find her son.The book is divided in to three parts. Before, Between, and Beyond.  It tells everything from how each character got to where they are to where they were when they seemed "missing" in the middle books. It , for the most part ties everyone together and helps explain the how, why and whens. I would love to see these stories made into a children's movie or a mini-series.
*4 stars*

Friday, November 2, 2012

Review: The Midwife's Confession

The Midwife's Confession
by Diane Chamberlain

Quote: " I feel like I don't know her. I know I've said that a lot lately, but now I really, really feel that way." ~ Emerson pg. 138

Started: Oct. 29, 2012
Finished: Oct. 31, 2012

417 pages/ paperback

From the cover:
Dear Anna,
What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry...
The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle- her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family- described a woman who embraced life.
 Yet there was so much they didn't know.
With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives- and the life of a desperate stranger- with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.
Told with sensitivity and insight. The Midwife's Confession will have you turning pages late into the night.

My Review:
This book will definitely be among my Top 10 favorite books ever. Honestly, I couldn't tell you exactly why and yet, there are so many reasons why! Confused? Me too! I don't know. It was just such a well written book with the most intriguing characters. I could not put it down. I literally read on and off for less than 2 days and had it finished. i even went back and re-read skipping around trying to take it all in again and make sure I hadn't missed anything. I couldn't get enough of the characters!
 Everything falls into place just when it should. It gives you such insight into how complex humans truly are. How even the people we are closest to can be so much more than we ever knew or ever thought possible. 
This is such a tragic and heart wrenching story about a woman's life, mistakes, lessons learned and how she copes with the things both in and out of her control. Right, wrong or ugly this was who she was. As you read you learn which parts she chose to expose and what she kept hidden until after her death. things that even then were only found by accident and the drive to find answers. to find the truth!
Completely amazing!
*5 stars* (should be 10!)
Please check out more of  Diane Chamberlain's books.
I know I will be!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: The Diplomatic Tutor

The Diplomatic Tutor
by Sandra Elzie

Quote: "Jennifer, you had a deciding role in her selection, so I wanted you to know how much progress she had made with Kelsey."~ Trenton pg.72

Started: Oct. 24, 2012
Finished: Oct. 28, 2012

232 pages, hardcover

From the cover:
When Natalie Holmes accepts a position to tutor Kelsey, the five-year-old daughter of a British diplomat, she never expected to be the one put to the test. She never expected to fall in love with the child or her handsome father. She fights the attraction since she knows he could never love a coal miner's daughter from West Virginia.
 Trenton Lancaster is a widower with strict mandates concerning the safety and education of his daughter. Natalie and Trenton immediately clash, but he can't resist her homespun simplicity and intelligence, and she falls in love with his strength of character and devotion to Kelsey.
 When Natalie thoughtlessly breaks a rule, she thinks she'll surely be fired. Only Trenton's growing attraction for Natalie and her obvious devotion to Kelsey convince him to retain her services.
 Each must change, but when the prize is living happily ever after, it's worth any risk and sacrifice.

My Review:
I'll be nice and just say this book wasn't for me. I was hoping for a change from what I've been reading and while it was exactly that, it was completely ....boring. No mystery. No suspense. No real plot. Romance? Well, I guess that depends on what you'd consider romance. For me, no. 
I will give it that it was an easy read with a cute little girl character. I just think giving away pretty much any chance of a mystery at around page 5 just ruins the whole book. Seriously, by the second chapter I knew they would end up together(no subtle hints), and who the bad guy/girl was. The character just screamed "Hey, it's me!!!" If I hadn't had 100 other things to do this weekend, I probably could have finished the entire book in less than 2hrs.
*2 stars*

Review: Mothers & Other Liars

Mothers & Other Liars
by Amy Bourret

Quote: " I had no one. I wanted to go back there, to California. I guess I thought maybe I could find my mother, some of her, there on the beach." ~ Ruby pg. 64

Started: Oct. 20, 2012
Finished: Oct. 24, 2012

356 pages/ hardcover, large print edition

From the Cover:
Ten years ago, Ruby Leander was a drifting nineteen-year-old who made a split-second decision at an Oklahoma rest stop. Fast forward to the present: Ruby and her daughter Lark live in New Mexico. Lark is a precocious, animal loving imp, and Ruby has built a family for them with her wonderful community of friends and her boyfriend of three years. Life is good- until the day Ruby reads a magazine article about parents searching for an infant kidnapped by carjackers. Then Ruby faces a choice no mother should have to make.

My Review:
What an amazing, heart wrenching, sad story! I know this book is fiction, but all through out I kept wanting to ask..."What happened next?" I honestly felt like someone was telling the story, their story. It was so well written. The characters were exactly what each of them should have been. Very well developed and believable. Even on the pages that made me want to cry, scream or slap them. 
This story is all about decisions. Human logic or lack of and how each decision has a spiraling effect it has on everyone around. Was there a right/wrong answer? 
While I did love this book dearly, there were a few things I would have changed. 
1. I wanted more of Chaz ( IMO, easy-way-out was such a turn-off)
2. Someone needed to slap/punch/shake some sense into Darla!!! (man vs. child thing irritates me!!!)
3. Ruby just forgetting she wasn't biologically Lark's mother(it was mentioned to Chaz)So, not believable! Really?!?!!?
4. What was the deal with everyone's dogs???? Not an important element, too much focus on them.
Ok, I will stop there.
I would definitely recommend this book to any mother. Great show of a mother's love and determination to "save" a child!
* 5 stars*

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review:Passion Becomes Her

Passion Becomes Her
(Becomes Her #4)
by Shirlee Busbee

Quote: "As long as there was no danger to you, I saw no reason to mutter warnings like some old witch stirring a pot." ~ Mrs. Manley pg. 160

Started: Oct. 14, 2012
Finished: Oct. 19, 2012

376 pages/paperback

From the cover:
Thief of Hearts
Forced to resort to a life of crime in order to support his siblings, Asher Cordell is now ready to walk the straight and narrow path. but when an old rival, the Marquis of Ormsby, infuriates him with his insipid arrogance, Asher cannot resist stealing the pompous fool's famous diamond. However, he's shocked to discover he isn't the only intruder in Ormsby's library. The culprit is none other than his beautiful neighbor, Juliana Greeley. Asher has known Juliana since childhood and has always harbored a secret affection for her. When she asks Asher to steal letters Ormsby is using to blackmail her sister, he's happy to oblige. Embarking on a bold scheme that gives way to an equally fiery passion, the adventurous pair discover a love neither can live without...

My Review:
This is the fourth book in the Becomes Her series. I had read the first three a couple years back and I am so glad that the series continues and I picked it back up.
I really enjoy this type where each book carries over from the previous. The story always brings back the previous main characters somehow and ties them all together. For me, it is an extra bit into who they are. Helping you to get even closer and make them come alive.
This story is about Asher Cordell and Juliana Greeley. I'm not sure how to describe how I felt about Asher's past and how this book makes him the hero. While he does have a good heart and seems to have turned a new leaf for the better Busbee makes sure she slips in reminders of who he was. Leaving you with the questions, has he really changed? Can he overcome his past? Or will he live in constant fear of who may find out? The ending of this book only makes me crazy that I didn't get the fifth to continue reading. major cliffhanger and I am definitely on the hunt for the next book!
*5 stars*

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review: The Evil Inside(Krewe of Hunters #4)

The Evil Inside
by Heather Graham

Quote: "Most people do mock what they don't understand- especially when we're all taught to be brave, that ghosts don't exist and there's nothing hiding under the bed." ~ Jake pg. 146

Started: Oct 4, 2012
Finished: Oct. 13, 2012

479 pages/ hardcover, Large print edition

From the cover:
Lexington House, overlooking New England's jagged coastline, has been the witness to madness and murder throughout its history. But in recent years the malice has lain silent. Until now. Jenna Duffy is a member of the nation's foremost paranormal forensic team. Yet nothing could prepare her for the string of slayings once again plaguing Lexington House, or for the chief suspect- a boy barely old enough to drive, much less kill. With the young man's life on the line, Jenna teams up with attorney Samuel hall to pinpoint who- or what- is taking the lives of those who get too close to the past.

My Review:
Ok, first off I will tell you that I am going to rate this book high. Probably higher than I should. Only because I feel this book would be amazing as a stand alone. The reason I'm so bummed is that Graham is becoming SO predictable! I really do enjoy this series but every book by chapter 2 we know that 2 people are going to fall for each other and usually have figured out which 2. :(
With that out of the way...I did enjoy The Evil Inside. This story was a great book to choose just around Halloween. Set in Massachusetts during an event called Haunted Happenings, it focuses on a number of murders and trying to determine if they are looking for one killer or possibly two. Once again the Krewe of Hunters are called in to use their talents to try and gain insight to the string of mysteries and murders. Jenna is called in to help by her Uncle a to help with a boy he once had as a patient who is now being held as a suspect in a brutal crime, the murder of his entire family.  
*4 stars*

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Sacred Evil (Krewe of Hunters #3)

Sacred Evil 
by Heather Graham

Quote: "Are you still convinced that it all has to do with Jack the Ripper and someone obsessed with him?" ~Angela pg. 196

Started: Sept. 23, 2012
Finished: Oct. 4, 2012
479 pages/ hardcover, Large print edition

From the cover:
One look and Manhattan Detective Jude Crosby recognizes the tableau: a re-creation of Jack the Ripper's gruesome work. but he also sees something beyond the actions of a mere copycat. something more dangerous...and unexplainable. As the city seethes with suspicion, Jude calls on Whitney Tremont, a member of the country's preeminent paranormal investigating team, to put the speculation to rest. Yet when Whitney and Jude delve deeper, what they discover is more shocking than either could have predicted, and twice as sinister.

My Review:
This series continues to get better and better. While I won't say this book was one of my favorites out of the series, I did love the story line and the historical theme that went along with it. I think I like these so much because they use real events from the past and put a new spin on them. many of the historical events I had heard of but never learned any of the details. With these being "cop stories" they do seem to use a lot of facts and follow the crimes in a realistic way.
This book brings the story of Jack the Ripper to modern times with a paranormal twist. Once again, the Krewe of Hunters are called in to use their personal talents to shed light on an unsolved murder case. Sacred Evil seems to focus mainly on Jude and Whitney. I like how each story lets you get to know certain characters more intimately and gives a more detailed look into each of the members.
*5 stars*
continuing on to the next book...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: Heart of Evil( Krewe of Hunters #2)

Heart of Evil
by Heather Graham

Quote: " I believe that there are spirits here, spirits of the past, of happiness and of trauma. But if we have ghosts, they're here to guard us, to watch over us. There's nothing evil at this plantation." ~ pg. 279

Started: September 17, 2012
Finished: September 23, 2012
436 pages/ hardcover, Large print edition

From the cover:
Donegal Plantation is known for its captivating atmosphere, haunting legends... and now a corpse swinging from a marble angel in its cemetery. A corpse discovered in nearly the same situation as that of Marshall Donegal, the patriarch killed just before the Civil War. Desperate for help traditional criminologists can't provide, Ashley Donegal turns to an elite team of paranormal investigators who blend hard forensics with rare intuition. Among them is Jake Mallory, a gifted New Orleans musician with a talent that stretches beyond the realm of the physical, and with a few dark ghosts of his own.

My Review:
This is the second book in what I am discovering to be a great series! I love that the first book forms the team, the Krewe of Hunters. Now each book is a new story, a new crime they must solve using logic and intuition. The team has a bond and you see them growing and the characters developing evermore.
I love anything to do with American history so these books have a bonus for me.
 The story takes you on "flashbacks" or into the minds of those long dead, showing you how they saw things.
Heart of Evil  is about an murder on the Donegal Plantation that uncovers a much darker secret and raises a lot of unfinished business. Several families and a lot of bad blood, a mystery over 150 years old and all the lives it affects. I'll definitely be reading through the rest of this series and see what becomes of the Krewe of Hunters!
*5 stars*

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Phantom Evil (Krewe of Hunters #1)

Phantom Evil
by Heather Graham

Quote: " You have the ability to find all the answers- if you let yourself do so." ~ Mama Matisse pg. 113

Started: Sept. 11, 2012
Finished: Sept. 17, 2012
493 pages/hardcover, large print edition

From the cover:
A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he's gathered know a little of the other-worldly; each has honed a psychic talent of their own. The case: In a historic mansion in New Orlean's French Quarter, a senator's wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house- once the site of a serial killer's grisly work.

My Review:
this is the first book in the Krewe of Hunters series. I had actually read #5 without knowing it was a serious. So for me this was a sort of back-tracking to the beginning.
I am so glad I did. The book shows how the team or "hunters" are formed. How each member has something special to contribute to the group. I love that it shows so much diversity and a somewhat realistic view of how they work together despite their individual backgrounds or beliefs. They pull together for the greater good and to help others. 
It's also mainly about politics and the behind-the-scenes type stuff. Great book before a big election(although it is fiction).
This book did have a few unexpected twists which made for a great mystery. I am currently on #2 and will continue to read and review this series.
Great new story-line for me to become obsessed with!
*5 stars*

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

Quote: "It's good we raised you young' uns to be tough, Because this is not a house for the faint of heart."~ Dad(Rex Walls) pg. 150

Started: Sept. 5, 2012
Finished: Sept. 11, 2012
288 pages/paperback

From the cover:
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.
 The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
 The Glass Castle is truly astonishing-a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

My Review:
Wow! This is definitely one of those OMG books! This is going to be hard to review. There is so much to this book, and more because it is a memoir, non-fiction, no faking, the real deal! Wow!
I have always been intrigued to learn real stories about real people. I am fascinated with learning about other people, places, times. Also, being a parent myself I love reading about people's childhoods. What they perceive their parents done right or wrong. As a parent what did they feel was the right choice at the time and so forth. 
This book would be the "What NOT to do" as a parent handbook!
Seriously, some of the things these children went through(hunger, poor living conditions, criminal activity, injuries untreated, sexual abuse...) that were ALL well known by BOTH parents! These things were brushed off or even laughed at as "learning experiences" that would "toughen them up" while running out of money for booze, cigarettes or art supplies were major issues. To me it was a classic case of book smart, intelligent people who have absolutely NO common sense or the mental ability to deal with any "real life" situations.
I have heard so many people's reviews about how RoseMary(Mom) was raised by a distant, rough around the edges, fearless mother who seems to have taught her daughter(however unintentional) to be a free-spirited, make your own rules up as you go kind of parent. Well, I think that is pure BS! I did read Half Broke Horses and I never got any clue as to that type of parenting. RoseMary(and Rex) were two of the most selfish people I have ever heard of. They had SO many chances, opportunities, ways of making a much better, easier life for themselves and their children who had no choice in the matter. Yet, they CHOSE to live in poverty, involve themselves and their children in criminal activity and let them be exposed to so many things no human, let alone a child should ever have to face. For what? All because they wanted to be greedy, make their own rules, and defy laws and society and how they felt society viewed and judged them. To prove a point to who? America, civilized people, their parents....
I will call this book sad, tragic even, but I have absolutely NO pity for RoseMary or Rex Walls.
*5 stars* for an amazing story written with complete honesty and heart

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Those Across The River

Those Across The River
by Christopher Buehlman

Quote: "Mother wasn't to talk about her family to me. And she didn't. But when I got to college, i started digging it up for myself."~ Frank pg. 90

Started: Aug: 29, 2012
Finished: Sept. 5, 2012
357 pages/hardcover

From the cover:
Haunted by memories of the Great War, failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate-the Savoyard Plantation-and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But under the facade of summer socials and small-town charm, there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice. 
 It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of the Savoyard Plantation still stand. Where a long-smoldering debt of blood has never been forgotten...
 Where it has been waiting for Frank Nichols.

My Review:
I loved almost everything about this book. It was such a wonderful suspenseful, mysterious book based on old rituals and revenge. It is set in the south, Georgia, where traditions and superstitions run high and deep. Coming from the north you never know how to take things or how true they can be. Sometimes there are things happening all around you whether you believe in them or not. When you are face to face with them and believing is still a question you are unsure of the answer to, it makes for a terrifying experience! 
I definitely loved this book, but will give only *4stars* due to so much profanity! I think Buehlman had #1 characters and detail of their personalities and reactions to situations without the unneeded swearing throughout the entire book.(major turn-off). Also, warning to some. There is some detailed sexual experiences between the characters. For some this is also a "TMI" story. I personally enjoyed those "scenes". It did help develop the characters for me and added a little "heat" to a chilling story!

Review: The Hunt for the Seventh

The Hunt for the Seventh
by Christine Morton-Shaw

Quote: "This one, he sees her. This one, he knows where her name, it is written down. All of the children's names, six names in total, they are written in the church." ~ Henry aka Einstein pg. 63

Started: Aug. 23, 2012
Finished: Aug. 27, 2012
273 pages/ paperback

From the cover:

A haunted mansion.
Six dead children.
A garden of statues.
With every step he takes around the carefully manicured grounds of Minerva Hall, Jim is haunted by the ghosts of children, long dead, whom no one else can see. Urging him to "find the Seventh," the children leave him cryptic clues pointing to a devastating ancient prophecy that only he can stop from being fulfilled.
If Jim doesn't figure out the clues, innocent people will die. But how can Jim find the answers while the dangers of the Hall grow ever more threatening? And even if he can, the real question is- is Jim already too late?

My Review:
This was a great little MG book. It has just enough mystery and "scare" factor to be enjoyed by any middle school reader. The main character is an eleven-year-old who has recently lost his mother. Now his father, sister and himself are starting over. New home, job, school, friends and life. The changes they experience are not what any of them had in mind. This is not what Jim had imagined when he dreamed of more adventure and excitement in what had become a dull, routine life of  feeling alone and overlooked. I give it *4 stars*

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's 
Home For 
Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Quote: " I bet there's a lot of things about this place she wouldn't like you to know." ~ Enoch pg. 214

Started: Aug.18, 2012
Finished: August, 22, 2012
348 pages/ hardcover

From the cover: 
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear the Miss Peregrine's children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow- impossible though it seems- they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

My Review:
this was a neat little book with vintage photos to go along. It was very different from anything I have read in quite awhile. Sort of like a fairy tale with photos for adults or YA. although it still left quite a bit of room for your own imagination to fill in the blanks. Each character has their own "talent". Some much more unimaginable than others. The story had a good amount of mystery and suspense throughout. Which I enjoyed. I kept questioning whether what Jacob had heard and was now seeing really were his imagination or were they real as his grandfather had tried to tell him. I also enjoyed the "loop" or time traveling aspect. it was a great way to explain the past through new eyes in Jacob. I gave this book * 4 stars*. well written and very entertaining!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper
by Sarah Addison Allen

Quote: " We are friends, She's still here. I'm still here. And as long as we are, we'll always be friends." ~ Agatha pg. 130

Started: August 15, 2012
Finished: August 17, 2012
273 pages/ hardcover

From the cover:
Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town's famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.
 It's the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam- built by Willa's great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water's heyday, and once the town's grandest home- has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries between the haves and the have-nots.
 But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate-socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood, of the very prominent Osgood family- has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property's lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it. For the bones- those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of water seventy-five years ago- are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town. Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families-and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.
 Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that- in good times and bad, from one generation to the next-endure forever.

My Review: 
 This book was a nice easy read. It had great characters and a nice storyline. I enjoy books that are set in 2 different times and show lineage or different generations and how they are connected. Through hardships and joys these characters became real. Willa and Paxton learn to get past their high-school awkwardness between them and come together for a bigger purpose. They join together to un-expectantly and learn more than either could have dreamed. This book was magical, southern, chick-lit at the least. Add in a little crime, mystery, ...even romance. I like a little mix between the covers!
Great read!
*5 stars*

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: The Weight of Silence

The Weight of Silence
by Heather Gudenkauf

Quote: " I did not misplace my daughter. We put her to bed at eight-thirty last night and when I awoke this morning she was not in her bed.~ Martin pg. 64

Started: Aug. 11, 2012
Finished: Aug. 14, 2012
paperback/373 pages

From the cover:
It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.
Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler. Calli's mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter's voice.
Petra Gregory is Calli's best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child. Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professional demeanor. 
Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

My Review: 
This is one of those books that I absolutely couldn't put down. From cover to cover awesomeness! It is the second book of Heather Gudenkauf's that I have read and I am more impressed with each read. 
Again, Gudenkauf writes each chapter from a character's point of view. I really think it helps keep things in order and show the story as a whole from different angles. Amazing story line and wonderful, very real, believable characters. this book could be made into a great movie or even a series book The Weight of Silence has just enough mystery, suspense and distant characters to keep you reading, guessing and discovering!
Total *5 stars*

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: Half Broke Horses

Half Broke Horses
by Jeannette Walls

Quote: " We're not so darned broke that we need our daughter digging around in someone's garbage for a two-sent bottle." ~ Jim pg. 160

Started: Aug. 8, 2012
Finished: Aug.11, 2012

Hardcover/272 pages

From the cover:
" Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith. Jeannette Wall's no-nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town-riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get her job. She learned to drive a car("I loved cars even more than I loved horses. They didn't need to be fed if they weren't working, and they didn't leave big piles of manure all over the place.") and fly a plane. And, with her husband, Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.
  Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds-against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit. Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa or Beryl Markham's West with the night. Destined to become a classic, it will transfix readers everywhere.

My Review:
I loved this book from cover to cover. I could rarely put it down and when i wasn't reading it, i was thinking about it. This entire book was real! There was never a question of its accuracy. Walls did a wonderful job of retelling the life of her grandmother. I loved that it was written in first person and made you feel as if she herself were telling you a story, her story. This book included a few pictures of the actual characters, which was a wonderful addition. You could actually picture them living, doing the things she tells you about. From the adventure, blessings and tragedies, her life was real. She never sugar-coated how things were and how it made her who she was.
I only wish it had told more about her brother and possibly her own parents. It seems after moving away she had a faded relationship with them. although she does tell that she visited them roughly twice a year. I also felt that lil Jim got left out. I know he was away at school most of the time after a certain age. It just felt like there was too much emphasis on Rosemary(author's mother). Almost as if she were an only child. Otherwise it was a nice read.
 Awesome book!
* 4 stars*

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: The Unseen( Krewe of Hunters #5)

The Unseen
by Heather Graham

Quote: " Bodies with no names. and now a name with no body." ~ Logan Raintree pg. 101

Started: Aug. 4, 2012
Finished: Aug. 8, 2012

Hardcover/ 337 pages

From the cover:
1800s. San Antonio, Texas:  In room 207 at the Longhorn Saloon, in the long shadow of the Alamo itself, a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered. Her killer was never found.
One year ago:  In that same historic room, another woman vanished without a trace. Her blood was everywhere...but her body was never recovered.
Now:  In the last month, San Antonio has become a dumping ground for battered bodies. All young women, many of them long missing, almost all forgotten. Until now.

Texas Ranger Logan Raintree cannot sit by and let his city's most vulnerable citizens be slain. So when he is approached to lead a brand-new group of elite paranormal investigators working the case, he has no choice but to accept the challenge. And with it, his powerful ability to commune with the dead.

Among Logan's new team is Kelsey O'Brien, a U.S. marshal known for her razor-sharp intuition and a toughness the belies her delicate exterior. Kelsey has been waiting all her life to work with someone who can understand her ability to "see" the past unfolding in the present. Now she has her chance.

Together, Kelsey and Logan follow their instincts to the Alamo and to the newly reopened Longhorn, which once tempted heroes with drink, cards and women. If the spirits of those long-dead Texans are really appearing to the victims before their deaths, only Kelsey and Logan have the skills to find out why.

And if something more earthly is menacing the city's oldest, darkest corners, only they can stop it- before more innocent women join the company of San Antonio's restless ghosts...

My Review:
I have to admit this is my first time reading Heather Graham. A friend of mine has been reading her books for quite awhile and I stumbled upon this one by chance. I loved it! I'm kinda bummed that I read this one first since it was her latest. Now my TBR list will go up by 5 more. I will have to start at the beginning of the Krewe of Hunters series. I can't wait to find out how it got started and learn more about Jackson Crowe, since he became a minimal character in this book.
I would compare this book to works of Tess Gerritsen, one of my favorite authors. Some similarities are: lots of characters, the crime, medical and paranormal/mythical feelings, the facts within the story, and the way the characters end up being connected throughout the events.
This story was very well written. I loved the suspense, the characters and all the elements it included. Mostly, I think I liked the history aspects of the story. I'm always excited when I can learn more historical facts, even when the book is fiction. It makes learning fun and keeps me interested. I will definitely be checking out more of Graham's work!
*5 stars*
Here is a link to Heather Grahams website including list of books:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review: Hidden

by Cathy Glass

Quote: " Isn't it incredible, when you think about the amount of paperwork that follows us around here, that they've managed to live with none of it and survive for five years?" ~ Cathy pg. 92

Started: July 20, 2012
Finished: August 4, 2012

paperback/ 350 pages

From the cover:
As soon as Tayo was brought to Cathy's home for placement, she was puzzled. The social worker had no records for Tayo: no school files, family history or medical records. It was as if Tayo didn't exist.
Tayo maintained strict silence when Cathy asked about his past. Only when she glimpsed a scar on his arm did Tayo's story gradually begin to unfold. Cathy learned of his abduction by his drink- and drug-dependent mother, and the sinister van with blackened windows that picked him up every morning at daybreak and ferried him across London.
In her twenty-three years as a foster carer, Cathy had never seen a case as horrific as Tayo's nor had she met a boy with such loyalty, inner resolve and strength.

My Review: 
Another great book from Cathy Glass. I really admire what she has done and continues to do. I am so glad she decided to write and share all the stories/cases with readers. she truly has seen some amazing children. It only validates the evil vs. good in this world. She gives us hope through her works that for some children there really is a light at the end of a dark tunnel. It Hidden she shows us how a child's mind works. how whether positive or negative the action is, children will follow by example. While luckily for Tayo, he did have a good start and held on to most of the basics, he was still influenced by his mother and his reactions showed this. Children are such wonderful creatures. It still is beyond me how anyone could choose to put their own child in danger for such selfish reasons. Addictions have such an effect on so many, rarely ever just the one abusing the substance. Sadly, something bad usually  has to happen before the abuse is addressed.
This is one more case of how many situations go unnoticed and unresolved for way too long. How many children suffer abuse and neglect before something triggers an alarm? Before the right person, situation or mistake make people aware! Hooray! for Cathy Glass and making us more aware!
* 5 stars*

Review: The List

The List
by Robert Whitlow

Quote:  " The inn hasn't changed much, and neither has the List, but something makes me think change is coming." ~ Eicholtz pg. 129

Started: July 9, 2012
Finished: July 19, 2012

paperback/ 394 pages

From the cover: 
Fresh out of law school and full of hope for the future, Renny Jacobson is stunned by his father's sudden death- and then by the terms of the will: the elder Jacobson has left the bulk of his considerable estate to charity. For his only son, he has left nothing more than the contents of a safe deposit box and interest in a company no one has ever heard of- the Covenant List of South Carolina, Ltd.
  When Renny, in rapid succession, encounters lovely Jo Johnston, meets the members of "The List" and discovers the staggering value of his father's mysterious bequest, his hope is resurrected. But why is Jo, to whom he is deeply attracted, so reluctant for him to claim his rightful share in the windfall?
  Against Jo's advice, Renny accepts his inheritance and discovers there is more to the Covenant List than meets the eye. "There is a power in the List," Renny's new business partners advise him. "Let us show you how to use it for your good."
  Renny feels the power of the 140-year-old covenant- feels it and wants it for himself. But when his life and Jo's begin to unravel, he is forced to face the truth: the power residing in the List is not a force for good, but for unimaginable evil...
  And nothing short of a miracle will save them from its grasp.

My Review:
 My first thought after finishing this book was.."reality check". It seriously is a wonderful, well written book. Again, while this is a work of fiction, it also has very real "emotional wars". Maybe it is God's way of putting things in the right place at the right time, or maybe it's just my way of dealing, coping. I'm going through a lot of my own "emotional wars" right now and this book was a great tool for me to review, rethink, and re-prioritize. While what I'm going through is far off from the plot to the book, we all have something we need help with. Some part of ourselves we are either unsure of or unhappy with. For many Christians we lapse, or even fail completely at letting God lead while we follow as we are taught to do. 
This book takes us through Renny's journey from the very beginning. For me it was a reminder that we aren't alone. Most will struggle with, question and even defy what is meant to be. Free will can be a very dangerous thing. Sometimes even more so for those unsure of so much in an evil world. 
Awesome book! 5 stars!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Don't Forget To Write

Don't Forget to Write
By Pam Hobbs

Quote: " More likely we'll be sold for half price tomorrow. ~ Iris pg. 70

Started: June 29, 2012
Finished: July 8, 2012

paperback/ 347 pages

From the Cover:
In June 1940, ten-year-old Pam Hobbs took the long journey from her council home in Leigh-on-Sea to faraway rural Derbyshire.
 In some foster homes Pam found a second family, with babies to look after, car rides and picnics. But other billets took a more sinister turn, as the adults found it easy to exploit the children in their care.
 Returning home, the war was far from over. Making do with rations, dodging bombs and helping with the war effort, Pam and her family struggled to get by.
  In Don't Forget To Write, Pam describes a time that was full of overwhelming hardship and devastation; yet also of kindness and humour, resilience and courage.

My Review:
 I loved this book for many reasons. First off I enjoyed reading a book based on World War II from a non-Jewish view point. I have always been fascinated with the subject but have rarely if ever seen it wrote from this side of the fence. It was wonderfully written by an child evacuee that shares her experiences and daily life throughout such a traumatic and uncertain time for anyone, let alone a ten-year-old child.
 This story made me feel as if a grandmother or old friend was right there with me, telling their story. It brought this story to life! 
 Some may get mixed up with all the characters(7 children, 2 parents, aunts, uncles, foster families), but it is well worth it to read it through. Coming from a large family of story tellers, this book was wonderful for me!
*4 stars!*

Review: Blame

by Michelle Huneven

Quote: " You'd think they could come up with something, said Patsy. So we could come out more educated, or at least less crazy, than we were going in." ~ Patsy pg. 73

Started: June 22, 2012
Finished: June 27, 2012

291 pages/ hardcover

From the cover:
The story: Patsy MacLemoore, a history professor in her late twenties with a brand-new Ph.D. from Berkeley and a wild streak, wakes up in jail-yet again-after another epic alcoholic blackout. "Okay, what'd I do?" she asks her lawyer and jailers. "I really don't remember." She adds, jokingly: "Did I kill someone?"
  In fact, two Jehovah's Witnesses, a mother and daughter, are dead, run over in Patsy's driveway. Patsy, who was driving with a revoked license, will spend the rest of her life-in prison, getting sober, finding a new community(and husband) in AA-trying to atone for this unpardonable act.
  Then, decades later, another unimaginable piece of information turns up.
  For the reader, it is an electrifying moment, a  joyous, fall-off-the-couch-with-surprise moment. For Patsy, it is more complicated. Blame must be reapportioned, her life reassessed. What does it mean that her life has been based on wrong assumptions? What can she cleave to? What must be relinquished? 

My Review: My thoughts on this book lead me to have more questions than answers. I won't say that is  going on any of my favorites lists, it is a good read that makes you think. It makes you question just who is to blame? How many times in life have we been at least somewhat responsible for something but passed the buck so to speak because someone else played a bigger part? I guess what I'm trying to say is, we may not be solely or completely to blame, but even our unintended involvement may leave part of the blame on ourselves. Whether we acknowledge it or not. 
Patsy had evidence, patterns in her behavior and a guilty conscience that helped form what she used to determine who, what she was and had become. She had family, friends, cellmates and professionals telling her how to deal, how to move on, how to live. She had both support and judgement. Sometimes from the same person. 
 Sometimes during the book I felt she was naive in her thinking and other times I thought she was being more realistic than others around her in dealing with what she knew and what she had done. There are parts of the book that are sad to me. I felt she did get screwed out of things she may otherwise have felt worthy of. I won't go into details due to spoiling the book, but she could have had a very different life after the events surrounding the plot. 
*4 Stars for Blame*

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Teasers

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by shouldbereading. Anyone can play along, simply do the following:
  1. Grab your current read.
  2. Open random page.
  3. Share 2 teasers from somewhere on that page.
  4. Be careful not to include spoilers (make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others.
  5. Share tittle and author too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teasers. 
Now here are my teasers for today:

" What pills was she on. said Brice. Do you have any idea?" pg. 15

Lying on her bunk in sticky October heat, what Gloria said drifted back to her, about drinking till you were done. Done. Could she ever be done with alcohol? pg. 55

These are from Blame by Michelle Huneven

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

Quote: " You're... not fighting, that's not  really the right word for it, but there's something unseen, something shadowed that's hidden from you." ~ Isobel pg. 242

Started: June 1, 2012
Finished: June 21, 2012
607 pages/ hardcover
large print edition

From the cover:
 The circus arrives without warning. It is simply there. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Reves(The Circus of Dreams), and it is only open at night. 
  But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway- a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. They don't realize that this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love- a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
  True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

My Review:
 This is definitely a fairy tale romance.  It has magic, love, entertainment, mystery, deceit, and rivalries. I really enjoyed it. There were a few parts that really didn't click at first but eventually became clearer. Which is a good thing. I didn't want it too be a mushy, predictable blah from the beginning. To me a good love story is all about the struggle, the suffering. I like to feel the emotions of each characters. This book makes you feel like you could really be there. The characters are very personable and realistic. 
 I only gave it 3 stars because there were a few parts that I felt were left unfinished. I wanted to learn more about the "after". I'm hoping this book becomes a series. It will definitely be recommended to friends!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by shouldbereading. Anyone can play along, simply do the following:
  1. Grab your current read.
  2. Open random page.
  3. Share 2 teasers from somewhere on that page.
  4. Be careful not to include spoilers (make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others.
  5. Share tittle and author too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teasers. 
Now here are my teasers for today:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

" I told him as much as I thought he needed to know. He's fond of pushing boundaries, and I offered to help him push them further. ~ Celia pg. 177


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