Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra

Title: Only Daughter
Author: Anna Snoekstra
Published: September 2016, MIRA 
Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Source: Publisher
In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.

She'd been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.

Eleven years later she is replaced.

A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.

Soon the imposter is living Bec's life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends' names. Playing with her twin brothers.

But Bec's welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter—and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.

My thoughts: This is another crazy, twisted psychological thriller that had me glued to the pages, hooked from the beginning as I was desperate to find out what was going on. For a debut novel, this is a clever, intriguing read and I definitely think this author has staying power!

I loved how despite it's short length, this book gets under your skin...but, I have to say, it wasn't until the last third of the book that the suspense really picks up. Before that, the story sort of meanders along, keeping my interest, but not as suspenseful or tension-filled as I was expecting. I kept waiting for it - the suspense that I knew was coming, as it's alluded to, but it's put off, and them BAM, finally it comes and WOW, when we get to that out, because it comes full-on and non-stop!

I also liked how it flips back and forth between the two Bec's - this keeps you on your toes as you aren't sure what to expect and what clues, if any, you might miss.  Every time I thought I had things figured out, a twist was thrown in that had me scratching my head...and scrambling to reconfigure what I thought I knew.

Overall, this story starts off a little benign and then gets dark and creepy. It's twisted and definitely not least I didn't think it was! This author is definitely one to keep an eye on...another one that I am definitely adding to my ever-growing list!  


Sunday, October 23, 2016

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in October 21

So I thought I was feeling better...boy was I wrong! I ended up at the doctor's - twice and it turns out I have asthmatic bronchitis. Needless to say, while I did meet my step goals - it was from being home and walking the dogs. The one day I was feeling a little better, I did an easy 5k, but that was before the cold took a turn for the worse!

My October Goals:

  • 10K steps M-F, at least 7,500 steps on the weekend - Met
  • 30 minutes of active walking every day, M-F - Met
  • Eat mindfully/eat enough (esp. in important while training!) - Met
My training plan for the Challenge Walk MS I'll be doing in March of 2017:

* Put on hold until I get better!

  • Tuesday & Thursday: 4 miles
  • Saturday & Sunday: Distance walks (distances will vary)
  • Try to attend one yoga class a week 
Here's how my last 2 weeks went :    

Oct 15:  10,277 steps
Oct 16:  11,264 steps
Oct 17:  14,995 steps
Oct 18:  19,100 steps (5K - 3.1 Charity Miles for MS)

Oct 19:  13,513 steps

Oct 20:  16
,671 steps
Oct 21: 
11,753 steps

Total Steps: 97,573 steps

Audiobooks listened to this week (since I'm not much of a music fan, I listen to books while I walk): 
  • The Stonecutter 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:                            October:

           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  5                                 5K  -  1
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  5                              10K  -  0 
     March:                                  July:
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  3
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  1
     April:                                    August:
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  8
         10K  -  5                                 10K  -  1

Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: Nowhere Girl By Susan Strecker

Title: Nowhere Girl
Author: Susan Strecker
Published: March 2016, Thomas Dunne Books
Format: ARC e-book, 304 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher 
"The day Savannah was killed she was fifteen minutes late to meet me." So begins bookseller favorite Susan Strecker's second novel of twin sisters and the murder that left one twin behind.

Savannah was the popular bad girl skipping school and moving quickly from one boyfriend to the next, so when she didn't meet Cady as promised, Cady wasn't surprised and the truth was Cady was already a bit mad at her. When Cady suddenly becomes short of breath she realizes Savannah is in trouble, but within minutes Savannah is gone.

Years later Cady, now a bestselling author of suspense, spends her time interviewing killers, hoping each interview will help her understand what happened to her sister. Despite Savannah's death, the bond Savannah and Cady share has never been broken. Savannah still comes to Cady, but the clues her sister sends don't add up until a chance encounter while researching her latest novel provides a missing piece of the puzzle.

My thoughts: This is the second book I've read by Susan Strecker and I have to say, I am hooked on this writer! I love the way she is able to craft her tales, writing such a page-turner that had me guessing right up til the end.

One of the things I loved most about this particular book is that everyone is suspect...there wasn't anyone that was introduced that I wasn't suspicious of by the end of the book, until the final reveal! That was clever plotting and great writing to be able to pull that off - and it certainly kept me on my toes and frantically flipping pages to find out just what had happened and who was responsible for Savannah's death.

I loved all the characters - loved how they were all flawed. This makes them so much more believable and relatable, especially Cady. And I love the seamless weaving of the present with the past...this really enhanced the storyline and made all the pieces of the puzzle come together to pack an effective punch in the end. 

I cannot wait to see what comes next from this author - so far I've really enjoyed her first two books. She is an author not to be missed!!!  


#FRC2016 Book Spotlight: The Witch House of Persimmon Point by Suzanne Palmieri

Title: The Witch House of Persimmon Point
Author: Suzanne Palmieri
Published: October 2016, St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
When Byrd Whalen returns to her family’s ancestral home to uncover secrets threating to destroy a legacy she holds dear, she gets more than she bargained for. Over the course of one harrowing weekend, the dark haunted histories of the Amore women reveal themselves, leading Byrd to question everything she's ever believed about herself.

In 1890, Nan, the Amore family matriarch, was sent away to America with little more than a baby and a rocking chair, quickly finding work on the sprawling estate of the wildly eccentric Green family. This new life is one she wanted: loving and free with a family that understands and shares in her magic. But when tragedy strikes, destroying the mansion and the precious lives inside, Nan is left alone and pregnant with Reginald Green’s child. With nothing more than the deed to the property, she builds a house from the rubble and a new, pragmatic life. It would become a haunted life that would lead to other haunted lives. It would become a house both terrible and wonderful. It would become known as “The Witch House.”

An unforgettable family saga in the Gothic tradition, Suzanne Palmieri’s The Witch House of Persimmon Point is her most powerful novel yet.

What readers are saying

"Palmieri's Gothic style novel has witty, carefree and interesting characters who have secrets they will protect with their last breath. The fast paced plot is full of many layers and unexpected turns, but they never overwhelm the main storyline." - Romantic Times, Four Stars

“This dazzlingly shadowy tale of how the past always seeps into the future will leave readers tormented by mystery.” – Popsugar
“It's rare to find a novel that sends shivers up your spine. The Witch of Persimmon Point not only leaves you spooked, it'll give you chills whenever you see it on your bookshelf.” –


The Witch House of Persimmon Point  by Suzanne Palmieri 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.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Review: Field of Graves by J.T. Ellison (audio)

Title: Field of Graves
Author: J.T. Ellison
Series: Taylor Jackson, #8
Narrator: Joyce Bean
Published: August 2016, Brilliance Audio
Length: 10 hours 7 minutes
Source: Publisher

With FIELD OF GRAVES, New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison goes back to where it all began…

All of Nashville is on edge with a serial killer on the loose. A madman is trying to create his own end-of-days apocalypse and the cops trying to catch him are almost as damaged as the killer. Field of Graves reveals the origins of some of J.T. Ellison's most famous creations: the haunted Lieutenant Taylor Jackson; her blunt, exceptional best friend, medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens; and troubled FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin. Together, they race the clock and their own demons to find the killer before he claims yet another victim. This dark, thrilling and utterly compelling novel will have readers on the edge of their seats, and Ellison's fans will be delighted with the revelations about their favorite characters.

My thoughts: J.T. Ellison is still a relatively new author to me, having only read one other book of hers so far - her stand alone, No One Knows, which I absolutely loved!!! When I saw this one coming out, I knew I wanted to read it, but I was a little hesitant when I saw it was the 8th in the series - but rest assured as it actually works as a prequel to the series...perfect for me who likes to read series in order!!!

I loved this book and now I cannot wait to go back and start this series from the beginning. Yes, this book technically is listed at book 8, but it really works as an introduction to not only Taylor Jackson, but how her team came together. It also introduces us to Dr. Samantha Owens, the medical examiner, who has her own series - another series that I will definitely be looking into! And we learn how Taylor and Dr. John Baldwin wind up together...I really like their backstory - they each have their own demons and I think their is much more to tell there.

The case that Taylor and her team are called to investigate is complex and keeps you guessing as the team races to solve it before another college student is killed. I loved getting to know the individual team members and hope that they all become familiar faces as I continue on with the series.

J.T. Ellison is definitely going on my new favorite author list and that she has a few series plus she writes stand-alones is a big plus in my eyes!!! I can't wait to continue on with both these series and I also know she co-writes with Catherine Coulter on her FBI series - so many good books just got added to my tbr list - where do I start first???

Audio thoughts: I love when I find a new series that I can listen to and that I like the narrator! I've listened to Joyce Bean before and enjoy her narrating skills and this was no different - she does a great job with the voices, giving each character their own unique voice and her pacing is spot on. Being that this is the 8th book in the series, I checked and am happy to see that Joyce has narrated all prior books - that makes me one happy camper!!! I really dislike when the narrator changes mid-series and now I don't have to worry about that :)

Books in this series:

     1.  All the Pretty Girls
     2.  14
     3.  Judas Kiss
     4.  The Cold Room
     5.  The Immortals
     6.  So Close the Hand of Death
     6.5  Blood Sugar Baby
     7.  Where All the Dead Lie
     7.5  Whiteout
     8.  Field of Graves 

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