Monday, October 31, 2016

Short & Sweet Review: The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg (audio)

Title: The Stonecutter
Author: Camilla Lackberg
Series: Patrik Hedstrom /Fjallbacka, #3
Narrator: David Thorn
Published: May 2012, HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
Length: 16 hours 58 minutes
Source: Library

The remote resort of Fjällbacka has seen its share of tragedy, though perhaps none worse than that of the little girl found in a fisherman's net. But the post-mortem reveals that this is no case of accidental drowning…

Local detective Patrik Hedström has just become a father. It is his grim task to discover who could be behind the methodical murder of a child both he and his partner, Erica, knew well.

He knows the real question - and answer - lies with why. What he does not know is how this case will reach into the dark heart of Fjällbacka and the town's past, and tear aside its idyllic façade, perhaps forever.
***Short & Sweet Reviews are short, quick reviews. These will mainly be used for series books where I have already done full reviews on some of the earlier books or for books that I feel will suffice with a quick review. These will not be used for review requests or blog tours.

My thoughts: This is the third book in Camilla Lackberg's Fjallbacka/Patrik Hedstrom series and I have to admit, I did pick this one up shortly after finishing the previous book. I just can't get enough of this series.

I love trying to figure out how all the different threads will end up coming together in the end because you know that eventually they are somehow, someway going to...and this one definitely kept me intrigued and guessing! Moving back and forth in time, introducing us to a whole host of characters - there was so much going on, yet the suspense slowly builds and you know it's all going to come down to this amazing punch at the end.

I also loved all the secondary characters in this book -we are introduced to some really twisted and wicked characters as well as some that are just merely innocent and misunderstood. Patrik and Erica's relationship continues to develop and I am a big fan of them - in fact, they just might be one of my favorite couples right now! This case that Patrik is working on not only hits close to home when the daughter of Erica's friend is found murdered, but then it takes a more personal hit as the case progresses. 

This series just keeps getting better and better and I cannot wait to pick up the next book...could this possibly go down as one of my all-time favorite series? It's definitely working it's way towards the top of the list!

Audio thoughts: This marks the last book of the series that David Thorn narrates before a narrator switch. Now, while I have definitely enjoyed his narration so far - he was a new-to-me narrator before starting this series, I have to say that the narrator for the next 4 books is a narrator that I happen to like, so I have mixed feelings about this. I guess I will have to reserve judgement until after listening to book 4...but I will say this - WHY do they have to switch narrators? You get used to voices in your head when you start a series, especially when, if you are like me and are coming to the series late in the game and are listening to the books one after the other in a relatively short amount of time and not waiting a year in-between. Just my thoughts...

Anyway, I think David Thorn has done a great job with the narration of the first 3 books so far. He has made Patrik and Erica come alive in my head and I happen to like their voices as he has portrayed them. So I guess time will tell how I like this narrator switch.

Books in this series: 
  1. The Ice Princess
  2. The Preacher
  3. The Stonecutter
  4. The Stranger
  5. The Hidden Child
  6. The Drowning
  7. The Lost Boy

Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Published: August 2016, Pamela Dorman Books
Format: ARC E-copy, 320 pages
Source: Netalley
It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My thoughts: As you know, I have fallen down the rabbit hole when it comes to psychological thrillers - I just can not get enough of them, especially when they keep getting better and can you go wrong? Each time I pick a new one up, I think, is this author going to surprise is this author going to set themselves apart from the pack and I find that I am yet again surprised and astounded at their creativity and ingenuity. This one...this is good - clever, twisted and a quick read to boot!

I loved that this book is just filled with secrets - secrets that just keep coming out as the story is revealed. It clearly shows just how little you really know, or in this case, don't know, those in your life. And this story is so tightly plotted that each time I thought I had it figured out, I was thrown for a complete loop when another secret was was like being thrown back and forth in a game of catch - that's how fast things are happening. 

And the characters...boy oh boy! I certainly didn't love them, but I did need to know what was going on with them. It's almost like a car accident - you don't want to look but you can't help looking out of morbid curiosity. That's kind of how I felt about some of these characters. I'm not sure I really felt any real connection with any of them, but I desperately needed to know what happened to that baby and why.

I flew through this book - right from the beginning it hooked me and I had a hard time putting it down until I finished it. It's twisted and intense, getting under your skin. I look forward to seeing what comes next from this author!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in October 28

I feel like a broken record over here...I'm still sick with bronchitis - I can't remember the last time I was this sick. I've been on so many different meds that now I just want to be off them all! The only good thing is that I am drinking so much water because of all the coughing and one of the meds makes my throat really dry. But I really don't have much of an appetite and that's not really good - I'm basically forcing myself to eat at times.  Luckily the dogs are my motivation to get out and walk a few times during the day...they need to go out and it has been nice enough to take so good walks, albeitly very slowly!

My October Goals:

  • 10K steps M-F, at least 7,500 steps on the weekend - Didn't meet
  • 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 22:  4,547 steps
Oct 23:  7,055 steps
Oct 24:  15,177 steps
Oct 25:  16,006 steps

Oct 26:  11,424 steps

Oct 27:  10
,245 steps
Oct 28: 
8,353 steps

Total Steps: 72,807 steps

Audiobooks listened to this week (since I'm not much of a music fan, I listen to books while I walk): 
  • Finished The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg, narrated by David Thorn
  • Started & finished The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis, narrated by Tavia Gilbert

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 28, 2016

Review: In the Woods by Tana French

Title: In the Woods
Author: Tana French
Series: Dublin Murder Squad, #1
Published: May 2008, Penguin Books
Format: Paperback, 429
Source: Personal copy

A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

My thoughts: So once again, I am coming to another series late...but better late than never, right? I've heard about Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad for years, and even managed to pick up one of the later books at my first ever BEA back in 2014 - The Secret Place - but I knew this was a series I was going to have to start from the beginning and it was a series I wanted to read in print as opposed to audio, so I just needed to find the time to pick up the first book...and I'm so glad I did as I really liked it.

The characters and story line will draw you into this book right from the start. I loved Rob and Cassie and their back and forth banter. The secrets and mystery - it will leave you scratching your head and thinking about this book when you have to put it won't be able to think about anything else. Just what is going on...what happened to the 12 year old girl and, more importantly, what happened to Rob's friends when he was little. How are these tied together, if they are at all?

What I found so intriguing by this book is that you get so wrapped up in the characters, most especially Rob, and even to some extent, Cassie at times. You almost become consumed with them, more so than the case itself.  I even found myself wondering just how much I could trust Rob...quite unnerving at times considering he was the lead detective on this case. And yet, I wanted to believe in him, I wanted to see the good in him and see that he come out on top, if that makes any sense?  After all, we are relying on Rob's memories from his childhood...could they be distorted after all this time? 

I really liked this book and am definitely looking forward to continuing on with this series. My only complaint, and it's minor, is that this was a bit of a slower read than I had anticipated. But sometimes that happens. It wasn't that I wasn't hooked or wasn't enjoying the book, but it definitely wasn't a speed read by any means. I don't know if that's how it's going to be with the rest of the series, and to be honest, I'm ok with that...some books are just slow books, they just take longer to read. Do you find that?

Books in this series:
  1. In the Woods
  2. The Likeness
  3. Faithful Place
  4. Broken Harbor
  5. The Secret Place
  6. The Trespasser  
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