Friday, September 30, 2016

#FRC2016 Review: Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale (audio)



Title: Everything We Keep
Author: Kerry Lonsdale
Narrator: Amy Landon
Published: August 2016, Brilliance Audio / Lake Union Publishing
Length: 9 hours, 9 minutes / 306 pages
Source: Publisher / Netgalley
 
Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancĂ©, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.

My thoughts: This is Kerry Lonsdale's debut novel and I have to say, for a debut novel...she knocked it out of the park! As soon as I started this book, I couldn't stop thinking about it - the story line, the characters, what was going to happen next, what had already happened - I was totally invested in this story and really enjoyed it.

I loved the characters in this book - in fact, that's what really sets this book apart. They are all so well-developed. Aimee just comes alive on the pages. As soon as we meet her, it's hard not to connect with her at some level. I found myself often wondering what I would do if I were in her position...would I make the same choices? This book definitely makes you ask those hard questions!

This is definitely not a light-hearted, romance, but it's also not a heavy, dark psychological thriller either. But, it does in a sense pull from both of these genres to give us a well-rounded, tightly woven story that will pull you in from the first page and take you on an emotional roller-coaster of a ride until the very last page. The twists and turns will keep you guessing as to how things are going to turn out.

I cannot wait to see what comes next from Kerry Lonsdale...I know for sure I'll be reading/listening to it without a doubt!!!
 

Audio thoughts: This is the first time I've listened to this narrator and I thought she did a great job. Her pacing throughout the story was good and she gave each character a unique voice. I will be looking to see what else she has narrated.




Everything We Keep  by Kerry Lonsdale is one of  BookSparks "Fall Reads" reading selection picks.

 

Follow the #FRC2016 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other fall books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #FRC2016 #Shelfie Grand Prize Giveaway and other fun links.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti

Title: The Vanishing Year
Author: Kate Moretti
Published: September 2016, Atria Books
Format: ARC E-book, 304 pages
Source: Netgalley
 
Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

My thoughts: While Kate Moretti has been on my radar for a while now, this is actually the first book I've read of hers...and I absolutely loved it!!! As soon as I started reading it, I found myself hooked and completely sucked into the story. Psychological suspense/thrillers have been quite popular lately, but Kate Moretti knocks it out of the park with hers, giving us just that little extra something to set hers apart!

I absolutely loved that way this story was told - alternating from the present to the past, so that we really get a sense of who Zoe is/was. This just adds to the overall atmosphere...causing you to wonder just who can you trust as you meet everyone that Zoe comes into contact with. 

The characters in this book were all so well-developed. Everyone was fleshed out and real. And the pacing - it was so fast and kept you flipping through the pages because you didn't know what was going to happen next, but you knew something big was on the verge of happening, so you didn't want to put the book down.  Nothing is as it seems.

I have two other books by Kate Moretti sitting on my shelf and now I cannot wait to pick them up...and I look forward to seeing what comes next from this author...she is definitely not one to miss!!!

 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza (audio)

Title: The Night Stalker
Author: Robert Bryndza
Series: DCI Erika Foster, #2
Narrator: Jan Cramer
Published: June 2016, Bookouture
Length: 9 hours 38 minutes
Source: Personal copy via Audible
 
If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

The global bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice is back with a heart-racing, electrifying thriller. If you love Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, you’ll be hooked on Robert Bryndza.

My thoughts: This is the second book in Robert Bryndza's DCI Erika Foster series and I am really enjoying it...it's dark and twisted and  I am so glad that I found this author and series...it's quickly becoming a favorite of mine!

I just love DCI Erika Foster...she's abrasive, yet extremely loyal, willing to go as far as necessary to solve a case. Her and her team will do whatever it takes to get the bad guys and that is clearly evident in this book. Erika is certainly a force to be reckoned with and I just love that!!! She may not always see eye-to-eye with her bosses and her co-workers - those that are equal to her - but those that work for her know her dedication to the job and are usually willing to go to bat for her.

I really liked how this story was told. Very early on we are clued in to the inner thinkings of the killer, yet we do not find out their identity until later on. This was a neat twist and really keeps you on your toes, especially as clues are revealed as to who the identity is. 

I found myself completely hooked and invested in this story right from the beginning. It's another fast-paced, shocking thriller and even though this one takes place in the sweltering heat of the summer, it's still has that chilling factor to it that all good mysteries do. I cannot wait for the next book in this series to come out...I need me some more Erika Foster!!! 

Audio thoughts: I really think Jan Cramer does a great job narrating this series...it's one of the reasons I continued with the audio after listening to the first one. Her pacing is great and she manages to give each character their own unique voice, infusing just the right amount of emotion when needed. I hope she continues narrating this series for however long it lasts!!!


Books in this series:
  1. The Girl in the Ice
  2. The Night Stalker
  3. Dark Water - due out Oct 2016
 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

#FitReaders: Weekly Check September 23

 
 
This is a really crazy time at work and I am definitely feeling all types of stress...so, I put my training on hold until for the time being. The last thing I need is to wind up really sick - and I know me, I definitely will if I push myself to do it all. So, while I did manage to get in 2 really good training walks over the weekend, that was it. The rest of the week I barely made my 10K step count and I just have to be ok with that...luckily it's only this past week and this coming week (I hope!).

 
My September Goals:


  • 10K steps M-F, at least 7,500 steps on the weekend - 4/5 and 2/2!!!
  • 30 minutes of active walking every day, M-F - 5/5 - thank goodness for the dogs!!!
  • Eat mindfully/eat enough (esp. in important while training!) - Did ok, though I tend to be a stress-eater, so this was tough this week!
  
My training plan for the Challenge Walk MS I'll be doing in March of 2017:

  • Tuesday & Thursday: 4 miles - 0
  • Saturday & Sunday: Distance walks( distances will vary) - 2/2
  • Try to attend one yoga class a week - 0
 
    
Here's how my week went:     
Sep 17:  22,482 steps (8 miles at mall - 10K)
Sep 18:  17,831 steps (6.2 miles at mall - 10K
Sep 19:  13,462 steps
 
Sep 20:  10,141 steps

Sep 21:  9,487 steps

Sep 22:  10
,064 steps 
Sep 23: 
10,174 steps 
Total Steps: 93,641 steps
 
 
Audiobooks listened to this week (since I'm not much of a music fan, I listen to books while I walk): 

  • Finished The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg, narrated by David Thorn

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.



***In March of 2017, I'll be doing the CHALLENGE WALK MS in Savannah, GA. It is a three-day, 50-mile walk that tests your strength and your spirit, and makes an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with MS and their families.


To help me reach my fundraising goal, click here :)

 
Virtual 5K /10K Tally:
     January:                               May:                             September:   
           5K  -  3                                  5K  -  9                                 5K  -  4
         10K  -  0                                10K  -  2                               10K  -  4
     February:                             June:

           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  5
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  5                  
     March:                                  July:
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  3
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  1
     April:                                    August:
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  8
         10K  -  5                                 10K  -  1


Friday, September 23, 2016

#FRC2016 Book Spotlight: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (Plus link to Review!)



Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Published: August 2016, St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
My review
 
The 2016 debut bloggers can't stop raving about. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Ice Twins

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

What readers are saying:

“Debut-novelist Paris adroitly toggles between the recent past and the present in building the suspense of Grace’s increasingly unbearable situation, as time becomes critical and her possible solutions narrow. This is one readers won’t be able to put down.” ―Booklist 

“Making her smash debut, Paris [keeps] the suspense level high. In the same vein as Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, this is a can’t-put-down psychological thriller.” ―Library Journal 

“This debut is guaranteed to haunt you ― especially if you’re about to tie the knot. Paris’s thriller asks the question: ‘The perfect marriage or the perfect lie?’ Jack and Grace, the couple at the center of this totally enthralling novel, are so clearly not what they seem you’ll have no choice but to read and read and read until their darkest secrets are revealed. Warning: brace yourself.” ―Bustle (10 New Thrillers to Read This Summer)

“A gripping domestic thriller…the sense of believability and terror that engulfs Behind Closed Doors doesn't waver.” ―The Associated Press, picked up by The Washington Post

“Behind Closed Doors takes a classic tale to a whole new level…This was one of the best and [most] terrifying psychological thrillers I have ever read…each chapter brings you further in, to the point where you feel how Grace must feel. The desperation, the feeling that no one will believe you and yet still wanting to fight because someone you care deeply about will get hurt.” ―San Francisco Book Review

“Paris grabs the reader from the beginning with a powerful and electrifying tale. Behind Closed Doors, a novel sure to make one's skin crawl, also reveals no one truly knows what does go on behind closed doors.” ―New York Journal of Books

“Newlyweds Grace and Jack Angel seem to lead a perfect life in British author Paris’s gripping debut, but appearances can be deceiving...Grace’s terror is contagious, and Millie’s impending peril creates a ticking clock that propels this claustrophobic cat-and-mouse tale toward its grisly, gratifying conclusion.” ―Publishers Weekly


**************************************************************************************


Behind Closed Doors  by B.A. Paris is one of  BookSparks "Fall Reads" reading selection picks.

Follow the #FRC2016 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other fall books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #FRC2016 #Shelfie Grand Prize Giveaway and other fun links. 


*** You can find my review here...I really enjoyed this book! If you end up reading this one, do let me know...it's quite addicting ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: Triple Love Score by Brandi Megan Granett

Title: Triple Love Score
Author: Brandi Megan Granett
Published: September 2016, Wyatt-MacKensie Publishing
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Source: Author via the Publicist


What happens when you stop playing games?
 
Miranda Shane lives a quiet life among books and letters as a professor in a small upstate town. When the playing-by-the-rules poet throws out convention and begins to use a Scrabble board instead of paper to write, she sets off a chain of events that rattles her carefully planned world.  

Her awakening propels her to take risks and seize chances she previously let slip by, including a game-changing offer from the man she let slip away. But when the revelation of an affair with a graduate student threatens the new life Miranda created, she is forced to decide between love or poetry.

My thoughts: When I was approached by the publicist to read this book, I have to admit, the cover alone peaked my interest solely because of the Scrabble tiles...I am a huge Scrabble fan!!! In fact, that was one of the items on my bridal registry that my husband and I agreed on :) Though, sad to say, life has been so busy lately, that we have not had time to play any games lately. Anyway, back to the book - I agreed to read and am so glad I did, as it was more than just a sweet romance that involved Scrabble!

I loved the characters in this book. I felt they were so richly drawn and so real. Miranda felt like she could have been a friend or even a sister, she felt that real. There were traits about her that I could identify with and problems that we have all dealt with. And while there is the love triangle, it's more than that that she is dealing with. There is substance to it all. It shows that love isn't always a neat little package or one that follows a straight line...sometimes it's quite messy and that is something Miranda can definitely attest to.

The idea of Scrabble poetry was so cool and I loved seeing how Miranda would take what was happening and create her poems. I also loved that we actually get to see some of the poetry boards throughout the book - very neat to include them!!! I would love to know how Brandi came up with this idea - how very clever on her part, that's for sure!

Once I started reading this book, I had a hard time putting it down. I quickly became invested in the story and wanted to know what was going to happen with the love story and with Miranda's new business venture. I have a feeling that after reading this book, there might be a renewed interest in Scrabble games!!! I know I have the itch to start playing again...

 

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