Book Review of Twisted Prey by John Sandford

Twisted Prey by John Sandford

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Book Review of Twisted Prey by John Sandford

This book just showed up in my mailbox one day. Fun, right? I love surprise bookmail! This may not be my usual genre, but I like to switch things up sometimes. When I was younger I read all the John Grisham and Tom Clancy books. I thoroughly enjoyed them, and this book is the same genre. Check out my book review of Twisted Prey by John Sandford to find out if I liked it!

Blurb:

“Lucas Davenport confronts an old nemesis, now a U.S. senator and more powerful than ever, in the thrilling new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling Prey series.

Lucas Davenport has crossed paths with her before.

A rich psychopath, Taryn Grant had run successfully for the U.S. Senate, where Lucas had predicted she’d fit right in. He’d also been convinced that she was responsible for three murders, though he’d never been able to prove it. Once a psychopath has gotten that kind of rush, though, she often needs another fix, so he knew he might be seeing her again.

He’s right. A federal marshal now, with a very wide scope of investigation, he’s heard rumors that Grant has found her seat on the Senate Intelligence Committee—and the contacts she’s made from it—to be very…useful. Pinning those rumors down, however, is likely to be just as difficult as ever, and considerably more dangerous.

But they have unfinished business, he and Grant. It’s time to put an end to it, one way or another.”

My Book Review:

Lucas Davenport must work really hard because there are a bunch of books about him. I liked him as a character. He keeps things real and doesn’t completely overreact to minor situations. Lucas thinks things through, usually, before acting. I love how much he loves his wife. If I had been his wife in this book I think I would have made him stay with me longer, but she’s probably used to it. I like that he’s a strong, capable guy, yet he also has more of a sensitive side.

There were a lot of characters in this book. I hate to admit that I couldn’t keep all of them straight. Between the different government agencies and organizations, I kept forgetting who was who. For the more important characters, though, like Lucas, Bob, and Rae, I didn’t have a problem. Overall, I thought the character development was well done. It’s a bit creepy getting into the minds of psychopaths. Yes, plural. There is more than one in this book.

The plot seemed plausible, most of the time. Just like some of the current movies, they have to throw in a few things to make the hero seem a bit more powerful than he really is. I’m fine with it. Sometimes it makes me roll my eyes and laugh a little, but it’s fine. I get it. It’s a little scary to think that someone would really do something like this in order to gain power.

There’s a lot of action in this book. Murders, car crashes, disguised assassins shooting up hotel rooms, muggings, secret plots, and hidden files are just a few. Be prepared for quite a ride! It made me very happy for my nice, quiet life. Haha! Not that four kids make for a quiet life, but that we aren’t involved in anything like this. Ever. Thank goodness!

Overall, I liked the story. I liked the complexity of it, and I liked trying to figure it all out. For me personally, there was way too much profanity. I lost track of how many “f” words there are. Maybe it was to try and develop the characters, but I think the same purpose could be achieved in a different way. I also figured out that I don’t like watching people die like that. It was quite gruesome.

Content Rating RRating: R (There’s a lot of profanity, including dozens of “f” words. There isn’t any “intimacy,” but there is a lot of violence. Included are multiple murders, some of which are quite detailed and gruesome.  There is also a mugging, car crashes, and gun violence.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3/5 (I lowered my rating to 3 because of all the profanity.)

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here:

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

 

Book Review of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

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Book Review of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Have you seen the movie? Then you need to read the book! It’s better, of course! Dan Brown is so good at creating this world where you get caught up in the suspense and the mystery. He masterfully connects the mysterious to the symbolic, and then adds just enough reality to make you really wonder. Is this true? If you’re looking for a fast, entertaining, suspenseful read, then this is the book for you. I hope you enjoy my book review of The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.

Blurb:

“An ingenious code hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci.

A desperate race through the cathedrals and castles of Europe.

An astonishing truth concealed for centuries…unveiled at last.

As millions of readers around the globe have already discovered, The Da Vinci Code is a reading experience unlike any other. Simultaneously lightning-paced, intelligent, and intricately layered with remarkable research and detail, Dan Brown’s novel is a thrilling masterpiece—from its opening pages to its stunning conclusion.”

My Book Review:

This is an oldie but goodie. If you can believe it, this is one of the first books I reviewed, way back in April of 2009! My reviews looked very different back then, so I’m updating it today in hopes of making it more readable and helpful. I really enjoyed this book. If you can remember when it came out, there were lots of History Channel documentaries about the Knights of the Templar and the theory behind this book.  I have to admit that I was enthralled. Is any of it true? Probably not, but it makes for a very engaging story!

This is a definite thriller that keeps you reading. The curator of the Louvre Museum in Paris is brutally murdered and positioned in a strange and symbolic way—in the Louvre. American professor Robert Langdon happens to be in Paris and is awakened by the French police at his hotel room. They ask for his help in solving the murder. Langdon goes to the Louvre and surveys the gruesome murder scene.

Unfortunately for Langdon, this is only the beginning of his adventure. The police turn on Langdon and accuse him of the murder; Sophie Neveu, a cryptographer, helps him escape. They go together to put the pieces of the mystery together. While trying to solve the mystery, they run into many twists and turns. They also learn why they were both picked for this adventure.

I really liked this book. I had watched the movie first, so some of the surprises weren’t surprises, but it was still really good. It’s so interesting how Dan Brown meshes the symbolic with mystery, reality, and the truth. He adds just enough truth to make it seem plausible. It leaves you wondering if he found some secret, ancient document that provided him with the information.

If you’re looking for a fun, entertaining, high-action book for summer, check out The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I think you’ll enjoy it! Have you already read this book? What did you think??

Content Rating PG-13+Content Rating: PG-13+ (There’s very little profanity and no “intimacy” in this book. There is, however, some violence including a gruesome murder, fighting, and the death of several characters.)

Recommendation: 16 years-old and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2Jm1ynm

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

 Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

 
This review was first published on 4/28/09; updated on 6/7/18.
 

Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern

Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern

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Book Review of Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book, but it wasn’t the adventure I found in its pages. Wow! What a ride! I hope you enjoy m book review of Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern.

Blurb:

“A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands.  But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion.  Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.  As  Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.

Madame Tulip and the Bones of Chance is the third in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.”

My Book Review:

Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball and could predict the future. Wouldn’t that be nice? Then other times I’m happy to be surprised. If you could see what was coming would you do things differently? Would it change how you live your life, how you treat people, and how you react? Would it make you second guess yourself? A little deep, I know, but it makes me curious.

Derry is a fun character. I like how particular she is about her Madam Tulip costume and props. She has a cute personality. Derry is not particularly intuitive when it comes to herself and how others feel about her. She tends to miss major clues. When it comes to other people, though, she does a little better. Sometimes I thought she acted as a strong character, and other times I was a bit disappointed by her lack of action.

I am not one to believe in crystal balls or tarot cards. Unfortunately, Madam Tulip would not see me in her booth. She does make for a fun character though. The story line is pretty good. There were a few side stories that didn’t really add to the plot line, but I guess they gave you a little more insight into Derry’s life. It’s well written and exciting. There are some crazy twists; I thought one of them was a bit unbelievable, but by then I was into the story and couldn’t put it down.

I liked the writing style, the descriptions, and the character development. There were a lot of characters, though, and I could not keep them straight. Even at the end I had a difficult time remembering who certain characters were. I liked Bruce a lot, and think that maybe Derry should pay a little more attention to him.

Overall, this is a fun and entertaining read. I’d read more of the Madam Tulip books.

Content Rating PG-13Rating: PG-13 (There’s only a little bit of profanity in this book. There isn’t any “intimacy.” Although there is some brief violence, it isn’t overly graphic.)

Recommendation: 16+

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2J1cvdr

Disclosure: I did receive a free book in exchange for my honest review. This did not sway my opinion in any way.

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

the book thief by markus zusak An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry  Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
 

Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan

Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan

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Book Review of Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan

I’ve always enjoyed a good mystery! When it comes to figuring it out though, I’m not usually very good at it. I just read; I don’t try to figure it out because I like the surprise at the end. With this book, though, the detectives had a difficult time figuring it out, and so I tried hard to piece it all together. I tried to help them. Nope, it didn’t work. Haha! I didn’t figure it out, but I did get that surprise at the end! I hope you enjoy my book review of Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan.

Blurb:

“In a quiet Dublin suburb, within her pristine home, Eleanor Costello is found hanging from a rope.

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan would be more than happy to declare it a suicide. Four months earlier, Frankie’s pursuit of a killer almost ended her life and she isn’t keen on investigating another homicide. But the autopsy uncovers poorly healed bones and old stab wounds, absent from medical records. A new cut is deliberately covered in paint. Eleanor’s husband, Peter, is unreachable, missing. A search of the couple’s home reveals only two signs of personality: a much-loved book on art and a laptop with access to the Dark Web.

With the suspect pool growing, the carefully crafted profile of the victim crumbling with each new lead, and mysterious calls to Frankie’s phone implying that the killer is closer than anyone would like, all Frankie knows is that Eleanor guarded her secrets as tightly in life as she does in death.

As the investigation becomes more challenging, Frankie can’t help but feel that something doesn’t fit. And when another woman is found murdered, the same paint on her corpse, Frankie knows that unraveling Eleanor’s life is the only way to find the murderer before he claims another victim…or finishes the fate Frankie only just managed to escape.

Engrossing, complex, and atmospheric, Olivia Kiernan’s debut novel will leave readers breathless.”

 

My Book Review:

Wow! This book is quite the adventure! Just when you think they’ve figured it out, they haven’t. There are many twists, turns, and surprises along the way. I like Olivia Kiernan’s writing style. It’s easy to read and understand, flows well, and is very gripping. The characters are developed well. They are real and flawed. Each character has his or her own style and characteristics. I felt like I was a part of their team, and with each passing hour I got a little more panicked that they weren’t going to figure it out. As a reader, I felt the pressure building to find the killer, and I was not able to help. I wanted to help them!

Some of the places that their investigation takes them were a little dark for me. And, they were way too out there for me. I just couldn’t relate, and it made me uncomfortable. Honestly, I had NO idea that people engaged in things like that. I wish I didn’t have those images in my head now. Ugh.

The story line captivated me; the writing sucked me right in. I loved the characters and the way the story unfolded. However, the content of the story and the premise of it were too much for me. It’s quite dark and very disturbing. Some of it is overly graphic and descriptive, and it was too lifelike for me; I found it very disconcerting. There is so much profanity, including way too many “f” words for me.

If you have thick skin, aren’t bothered by profanity, and enjoy a darker story line, though, you will enjoy this book. The writing is excellent; it’s captivating, engaging, and so lifelike.

 

Content Rating RRating: R (There’s a lot of profanity, including dozens of “f’ words, and there is also a lot of very graphic violence including murders and characters being tortured. The “intimacy,” if you can even call it that, is beyond my realm of normal. It’s disturbing for sure.) 

Age Recommendation: Adult (This book is NOT appropriate at all for anyone younger than an adult.)

Rating: 3/5 (I lowered my rating from 4 stars because of all the profanity and the disturbing nature of it.)

3 Star Rating

To purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2K8IUMR

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown Dead is the New Black by Christine D. Rice

 

Dead is the New Black (Book #1) by Christine D. Rice

Dead is the New Black by Christine D. Rice

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Recently I received an email from a reader asking me to review Dead is the New Black (Book #1) by Christine D. Rice. She said that her daughter had started this series and she hadn’t had time to preview it first. Of course! I’m always up for new books, and as I hadn’t ever heard of this book, I was excited to read it. It’s a mystery, which I enjoy but don’t read as often, so that got me even more excited. Unfortunately, it took me a little while to find. My local library didn’t carry it, so thankfully amazon did!

Blurb:

 (Taken from amazon.com) “Fashion designer Jeremy St. James is everything Laura Carnegie could want in a man. He’s gorgeous, rich, and talented. The fact that everyone says he’s completely unavailable doesn’t stop her from dreaming of being in her boss’s arms. As a matter of fact, she suspects his inaccessibility is part of his charm.

When Jeremy’s backer is found dead in his office and he’s accused of the crime, he trusts Laura, and only Laura, with the keys to the design room. She wants him back and out of jail, and in the process of exposing a counterfeiting ring and finding the real killer, she uncovers the secretive man under the temperamental artist; a man who is most definitely available, and a man who might not be that inaccessible after all.

If you love Project Runway, or enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada, try Dead Is the New Black.”

 

My Book Review:

Let me start out by saying that I know NOTHING about fashion. Seriously. I’m always deciding I like a trend about a year after it’s popular. I couldn’t tell you any of the famous brands or designers, and the terminology is way over my head. The same goes with sewing. I can sew a straight line (a flannel blanket or pajama pants), but patterns? They scare me!

Needless to say, I’m glad I read this on my Kindle because I had to look up the definitions of a bunch of fashion terminology. There are colors I had no idea existed, and acronyms I still don’t know the meaning of. If you are into the fashion scene or sewing then I think you’ll fit right in and enjoy that part of the story.

I found the writing style witty and smart. Laura is mostly a likable character. She drove me crazy some of the time because of her affection for her off-limits boss and her tendency to throw caution to the wind. She also didn’t have a very high self confidence. I liked the relationship she had with her sister Ruby and her mother. I definitely don’t live in a big city like Manhattan, so a lot of that style of living is new to me. It’s so fun to learn about how people live.

As far as the story line goes, it seemed plausible. Like I said, I’m not involved with the fashion scene at all, so someone who is may have a different opinion. I didn’t think the mystery was all that great. I kept waiting for Laura to prove herself as an amateur detective, and I just didn’t think she really did that. She figured it out in the end, but her sleuthing skills never shone bright.  

There were a lot of characters, and I had a difficult time remembering who was who, and what job they did. I did learn a lot about how patterns are made, the steps in producing an article of clothing, and all the different skills needed.

Right from the start I figured out that the cover art does not match the style of this book. The cover art is cartoon-ish and makes it seem like a YA book. Yep, not true. It’s very deceptive, I think. Overall, this book was ok for me. If you’re into fashion, though, I think you’ll enjoy it more.

 

Content Rating RRating: R (There’s quite a bit of profanity, including several “f” words and taking the Lord’s name in vain. Although there’s not an “intimacy” scene, it is discussed quite a bit. There is a homosexual character and that is also discussed. A murder takes place, although that part is not too graphic or descriptive. There is also some other violence with a beating.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating
To purchase this book click here: https://amzn.to/2IxECgh
 

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry
 
 

[Book Review] An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

[Book Review] An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry

One day last fall, this book just showed up in my mailbox. Best day ever, right? I’m assuming it came from the publisher, but I’m not sure? So, thank you to the mystery sender! I hope you enjoy my book review of An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry. And feel free to send me books any time you want to!

Blurb:

“In this riveting new William Monk novel, Anne Perry delves into the diverse population of Victorian London, whose disparate communities force Monk to rethink his investigative techniques—lest he be caught in the crosshairs of violent bigotry.

In the course of his tenure with the Thames River Police, Commander Monk has yet to see a more gruesome crime scene: a Hungarian warehouse owner lies in the middle of his blood-sodden office, pierced through the chest with a bayonet and eerily surrounded by seventeen candles. Suspecting the murder may be rooted in ethnic prejudice, Monk turns to London’s Hungarian community in search of clues but finds his inquiries stymied by its wary citizens and a language he doesn’t speak. Only with the help of a local pharmacist acting as translator can Monk hope to penetrate this tightly knit enclave, even as more of its members fall victim to identical brutal murders. But whoever the killer, or killers, may be—a secret society practicing ritual sacrifice, a madman on a spree, a British native targeting foreigners—they are well hidden among the city’s ever-growing populace.

With the able assistance of his wife—former battlefield nurse Hester, who herself is dealing with a traumatized war veteran who may be tangled up in the murders—Monk must combat distrust, hostility, and threats from the very people he seeks to protect. But as the body count grows, stirring ever greater fear and anger among the Hungarian émigrés, resistance to the police also increases. Racing time and the rising tide of terror all around him, Monk must be even more relentless than the mysterious killer, or the echoes of malice and murder will resound through London’s streets like a clarion of doom.”

 

My Book Review:

I haven’t read a murder mystery in a long time, so I enjoyed this fun change of pace. As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed delving back into Victorian London and learning about the Hungarian population there. Monk and his wife Hester seem like they’re very good for each other. It would be difficult to be a detective, especially when a murder is so gruesome. Consequently, having a good support system around you would be a necessity.

Along with the murder mystery comes the story of Crow and Will. Will is the adopted son of Monk and Hester, and he is one of my favorite characters. Will works as an apprentice for Crow, who is a doctor in a clinic. When they need a translator, Will finds Fitz, and he turns out to be quite helpful. I liked both Crow and Fitz as well. They work well together, and it’s fun to see Will learn and gain more responsibility.

At first, all the different characters confused me, but it didn’t take long to figure it out. I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well, was easy to read and understand, and did a good job of grabbing hold of your attention. Ms. Perry developed the characters very well. Although each has a hint of mystery with an uncertain past, I thought that added to the story. The title, An Echo of Murder, fits the story well. It doesn’t smack you in the face, but it doesn’t take a long time to figure out either.

I kept changing my mind about who I thought committed the murder, which is a sign of a good writer. There was a bit of a twist at the end, which made figuring it all out more difficult. I enjoyed this book a lot; it made me remember how much I enjoy reading mysteries.  

 

Content Rating PG-13+Rating: PG-13 + (There’s some profanity, and although there aren’t any “intimacy” scenes, there are a few innuendos and things are implied.  There is a little bit of violence, but the thing that warrants the higher rating is that the murder scenes are quite graphic and gruesome.)

Age Recommendation: 16 years-old and up

Rated 4/5 Stars

4 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten  The Last September by Nina de Gramont
 
 

The Gates of Evangeline

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

Blurb:
“When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children in danger, she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent. They are warnings that will help her and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them. After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams, asking for her help, she finds herself entangled in a world-famous thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust–and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could have imagined.”

My Review:

This book is one of the SheReads.org books of winter. I’m so glad I was able to review this book! I love the writing in this book. I was captivated from the beginning. I love the descriptions, the flow of the story, the language of the book, and the writing style. This book grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go. Of course, I’m not sure if any mom, anywhere, could read about the children in Charlie’s dreams and not get involved. It’s heart wrenching. If I suddenly start seeing children in my dreams, I hope it’s not because they’re in danger; I hope it’s because they’re happy and thankful I was their teacher, or something. I like Charlie’s voice. I like her personality, and I feel for her after her loss. The characters in this book are well developed and realistic. They come to life on the page. The story of young Gabriel is compelling and draws the reader in.  The description of what Charlie feels at the boat dock is so well done that it had my skin crawling.

Rating: R (This book is not for younger readers. There is profanity in the book; not a ton, but enough to up my rating, including a couple of “f” words. There is also “intimacy”-there are scenes and talk of it as well. There is also some violence; there are descriptions of some not nice things that happen to children.)

Recommendation: Adult

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Last September

The Last September by Nina de Gramont 

Blurb:
“Brett has been in love with Charlie ever since he took her skiing on a lovely Colorado night fourteen years ago. And now, living in a seaside cottage on Cape Cod with their young daughter, it looks as if they have settled into the life they desired. However, Brett and Charlie’s marriage has been tenuous for quite some time. When Charlie’s unstable younger brother plans to move in with them, the tension simmering under the surface of their marriage boils over. But what happened to Charlie next was unfathomable. Charlie was the golden boy so charismatic that he charmed everyone who crossed his path; who never shied away from a challenge; who saw life as one big adventure; who could always rescue his troubled brother, no matter how unpredictable the situation. So who is to blame for the tragic turn of events? And why does Brett feel responsible?”
My Review:
This book is one of the shereads.org books of fall. I was excited to read this book because the ladies at shereads usually pick great books to read. I was not disappointed! I loved the writing style of this book; I got sucked in right from the beginning. I liked how the author incorporated the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson in her story. I have always enjoyed her poetry, and I liked how it was woven into the story of Brett and Charlie. The characters were well developed, real, and interesting. There were times I liked Brett and times I didn’t. I felt the same way about Charlie and Eli too. That is what made the characters life-like, I thought, was that they weren’t perfect. They made mistakes, like we all do, and how they learned from or reacted to those mistakes told you a lot about their character. The relationship between Brett and Charlie made me crazy at first because it was so one-sided. However, I came to see how they fit together and complimented each other. I didn’t like how they treated each other at times, but no one is perfect, right? The relationship between Brett and Eli was fascinating. Eli’s character was well done. I’m not going to give it away, but he was written well, and with everything going on, it would be hard to accurately describe a character with those characteristics. I’ve never been around someone with his diagnosis, but as an uninformed reader, it seemed accurate. The transitions between the flashbacks and reality were seamlessly done, and I never got confused. You all know me, I do not read to figure out what’s going on, I just read. So I didn’t see the surprise at the end coming. It was a good and bad twist. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the twist: Did it make you feel better or worse about the situation? I enjoyed this book! I thought it had some great lessons on marriage and never letting your guard down. Marriage is something you constantly need to work on and work for–together. It’s also something you should not take for granted. You aren’t ever going to change someone, so you need to love what you have, even with idiosyncrasies and shortcomings. Forgiveness in marriage is a necessity. Life is short, so live life to the fullest each day, and love those around you with all you have because you never know what tomorrow brings. Wow. That’s a little deep, but that’s what I got out of this book. Also, mental illness is real, and those with mental illnesses need love, support, and good doctors. We’ve come a long way with mental illness in the past few years, but I think it is something that still needs more research, and a change in how we view people that struggle with it. So anyway, it’s a good book. 🙂
There is some profanity in this book. I was excited because there wasn’t a lot at all, and then when you get to about page 120ish, there are several “f” words all at once. Ugh…..I hate that. And then, that was it. Once you get through those few pages it’s fine. Weird. I hate it when authors just throw them in to throw them in. It’s irritating. There is some violence as well. There’s some domestic violence and death. Some of the scenes are graphic. There is some “intimacy,” but it doesn’t go into a lot of detail. You know it happens, but it isn’t described in detail. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it with the above warnings. 
Rating: R (This book is not appropriate for younger readers. Profanity, including a few “f” words; violence, including domestic violence and death; “intimacy” scenes and innuendos. They aren’t too graphic or descriptive, but you know it happens.)
Recommendation: Adult
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Blurb:

“During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future when she sees her mother speak to a stranger. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy. Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, she begins to unearth the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds–Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy–who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a spellbinding mix of mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love told in Morton’s signature style.”

My Review:

I loved The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, and so I’ve been excited to read something else by her. Needless to say, I was really happy when my book group decided to read The Secret Keeper this month. I had high expectations, so I hoped this book would live up. Did it? Ummmm….yes, mostly. How’s that? Maybe it’s because I was reading a large print edition (it’s the only copy the library had), but it took me awhile to get into this book. However, as I read it I became more and more intrigued by this story. The characters were well developed and were real. They all had something in their past or present that made them imperfect, and more real-to-life. Each one had a story, and it was fascinating how the story unfolded and their lives became intertwined. Some of it was a little predictable, but there were some surprises and some “Aha!!” moments. I think the character I had the most difficult time relating to was the young Dorothy. Wow. She drove me crazy most of the time; with her fantasies, her vengeance, and her belief that she was so exceptional, I had a hard time with her. The older Dorothy, however, I understood. I can understand the devoted and happy wife and mother. Ms. Morton did a great job of tying it all together, and bringing it to life. Even though it was not a happy time in England, I did enjoy learning a little about WWII England. I wish I could see some of Jimmy’s photographs. I didn’t love the title of this book. I thought it was bland and could have been a little more creative. Overall, I enjoyed it. I didn’t like it as much as I liked The Forgotten Garden, but I enjoyed it and am glad that I read it.

There is some profanity in this book, but not a lot, really. There is some minor war violence, and some characters do die; there is a murder. There is also some domestic violence, and a brutal scene with that. There is an “intimacy” scene, along with some talk about it, and a few innuendos. The scene is a little detailed, but not overly so. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it with the above warnings.

Rating: R (This book is not appropriate for younger readers. There is war violence, with a murder and the death some characters, along with a domestic violence scene. There is some minor profanity. There is also an “intimacy” scene along with some talk about it and a few innuendos.)

Recommendation: 18 years-old and up

That Night

THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens
*This post was originally written on 7/9/14. I’m reposting it because it is now out in paperback AND…..I have a copy to give away! The first person that comments below saying they would like it, gets it!) 
(Summary taken from shereads.org)
They said she was a murderer.
They said she killed her sister.
But they lied.
As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.
Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.
Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.
But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.”
July’s SheReads selection is “That Night” by Chevy Stevens. This is the first time SheReads has selected a suspense, murder mystery, and I was excited to read it. Chapter One intrigued me. There is this woman who is getting out of prison after what sounds like a very long sentence. I wondered what she had done to be imprisoned for so long. I wondered why she didn’t have any family to pick her up or get her new clothes to wear. I wanted to know more of the story. And then I got to Chapter Two. Chapter Two flashes back to this same woman when she was in high school. Her name is Toni, as you later figure out. And that is where I lost interest. Seriously. I’ve read a bunch of the SheReads reviews of this book, and so far I’m the only one who didn’t enjoy it. I think this is why: I am 100% opposite of Toni. I’m opposite in every way. I could not relate to her at all. Yep, I’m the one who was called “good-goody” and “teacher’s pet” in school. I’m the one who would study rather than go to a party. I’ve never done drugs, smoked, or tasted alcohol. Those things never interested me in school, and they don’t now. I know I’m in the minority in this so others may feel differently, but I just couldn’t relate to her. I found her extremely unlikable and disagreeable. I cringed at all the things she did and started praying that my kids won’t do those things. I didn’t relate to Ryan either. Or Nicole. Or the friends. Or her parents. Ok, Toni’s dad is probably the one person I kind of liked. But he wasn’t that great either. It’s not that I judge her, or anyone, for choosing those things, I don’t, I just do not do them myself, and therefore can’t relate to those experiences. The writing style was ok; there were some twists and turns that I hadn’t anticipated. The character development was good. Even though it flashed back and forth between the present and the past it was fairly easy to follow, so that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I didn’t like Toni or Ryan or really anyone. I couldn’t find a way to like them or care about them. I also felt like Toni being bullied in high school, prison, the half-way house, and after was unrealistic. I didn’t like her victim mentality. It just kept going and going. I did feel bad that they had been in prison if they were innocent, like they claimed, but that’s as far as it went. And if she were that worried about being bullied, why would she go back there? Why not move somewhere completely different and get a fresh start? The other problem for me was the language. There is so much profanity in this book that I found it distracting. And it’s not that easy to skip words, it’s them plus dozens of the “f’ word. And the teen-age intimacy, drug use, smoking. All of it put together just made this book completely unappealing to me. 
There is a gruesome murder, lots of teen-age intimacy, smoking, drug use, stealing, lying, fighting, and way too much profanity. There are dozens of “f” words and lots of the other words. I guess it did do a few things for me: if I had ever thought of wanting to go to prison (which I haven’t)–I FOR SURE don’t want to now! Also, Toni does realize that her drug use was a problem and she ends up quitting. So that was a positive.

Rating: R (Murder, teen-age intimacy, smoking, drug use, stealing, lying, fighting, lots of profanity, including many “f” words)
Recommendation: Adult (This book is NOT appropriate for YA or anyone younger than an adult.)

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.