Monday, September 30, 2019

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It was the perfect place to disappear...

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all..."

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed my time with this book!  I was in the mood for an atmospheric read and this one really fit what I was looking for.  The story begins with Allison getting the opportunity to house sit in this gorgeous house for a few months while she works on figuring her life out.  As the reader, we know that something major has happened to Allison in regards to her work and marriage that she is now dealing with the aftereffects of.  She moves into this house which is situated in this almost deserted beach town due to it being offseason.  Before too long, Allison is pulled into the mystery of a missing young girl and what happened to her so many years before.  This book just totally sucked me in from the very beginning.  Who knew that a deserted beach town with hints of mystery would be so intriguing?  Add in the fact that the weather (and especially the winter storms) added another element of almost darkness to the book and I was completely hooked!  I tried to take my time with this one but the pages just flew on by.  And if all of that wasn't enough for you, there were these hints of paranormal where just maybe Maureen's spirit was trying to get Allison's help as well.  It all added up to one very solid read that I wasn't ready to see end.  I especially enjoyed the fact that I thought that I had all of the answers at one point only to realize that I didn't.  I also really liked seeing Allison coming in to her own and getting stronger.  Allison's past also plays an important role in this book so it was good to see her come into her own and find both her confidence and strength.  I'm really eager to see what other readers think about this book as it was one that I enjoyed immensely!

Overall, I'm so excited to see what this author comes up with next because I thought that this was an really great read!  It was just so atmospheric and perfect for this time of year!  I loved the way that the author used the weather to build up the suspense in this book.  And I also really just loved the story that she was telling.  The book is told from both Allison's viewpoint and also from Maureen's viewpoint and it switches between the two so perfectly.  I came to care about Maureen just as much as Allison even though we the reader know that something bad has happened to Maureen.  I just wanted Allison to find the answers and to finally get some closure on the entire situation.  I obviously can't say enough good things about this one.  An easy book for me to recommend!

Bottom Line:  An atmospheric read perfect for the colder temps that are coming around the corner!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a PICT Book Tour.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery,Suspense
Published by: Graydon House Books (Harlequin)
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 1525832190 (ISBN13: 9781525832192)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

Author Bio:

TARA LASKOWSKI is the award-winning author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, which was named a best book of 2017 by Jennifer Egan in The Guardian. She has had stories published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and the Norton anthology New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, among others. Her Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine story, “States of Matter,” was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2017 Best Small Fictions anthology, and her short story “The Case of the Vanishing Professor” is a finalist for the 2019 Agatha Award. Tara was the winner of the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project’s Literary Awards Prize, has been the editor of the popular online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010, and is a member of Sisters in Crime. She earned a BA in English with a minor in writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. Tara grew up in Pennsylvania and lives in Virginia. One Night Gone is her first novel. 

Visit Tara at:
TaraLaskowski.comGoodreadsBookBub@TaraLWritesInstagram, & Facebook!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Bookstagram Made Me Do It (Edition #1)

I feel like I've been a lot more active on "bookstagram" these days compared to my blog.  And to be fair, I'm just as spotty at posting there as I am on here when it comes to keeping up with reviews of books I've read.  But I've been neglecting my blog a bit which I'm hoping to change.  Book blogging in general has really changed from my early blogging days - and that's okay.  Things evolve with time so it is to be expected I suppose.  Time also gets away from me as there is only so much of it that I'm willing to dedicate to the book-related world.  All of this rambling is to say that I've been wanting to change things up here and share more than just reviews or my occasional reading updates.  Will I ever post on here regularly and consistently again?  I don't know but I'm okay with that.  I do feel like my blog is in a posting rut though so that part needs to change (hence this post).  I used to get ALL of my book recommendations from other book blogs.  I still get book recommendations from blogs but I also get many, many more recommendations now from bookstagram.  Here are just a few of the books that are now on my radar thanks to the bookstagram world:

After The Flood by Kassandra Montag

Summary from Goodreads:

"A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water.

Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Artic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.

On their journey, Myra and Pearl join forces with a larger ship and Myra finds herself bonding with her fellow seekers who hope to build a safe haven together in this dangerous new world. But secrets, lust, and betrayals threaten their dream, and after their fortunes take a shocking—and bloody—turn, Myra can no longer ignore the question of whether saving Row is worth endangering Pearl and her fellow travelers."

This book just released this week and the reviews for this one have been rolling in like mad.  I've seen nothing but positive things so far, but I'll admit that I try to skim reviews as much as possible when the hype for a book is this big so nothing gets ruined for me.  Some of the big name bookstagrammers are really raving about it so I'm intrigued.  Add in the fact that post-apocalyptic books are something I'm almost always drawn to and I just knew that I have to read this one soon.  If I didn't have The Passage by Justin Cronin already checked out from the library this one would be on my holds list right now.  I do want to get my hands on this one though before the end of the year!

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell 

Summary from Goodreads:

"Be careful who you let in. 

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am. 

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them. 

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone."

This book has yet to be released (looks like it releases in November) but early bookstagram reviews have me itching to read this one.  I may have EVERY SINGLE one of this authors books on my TBR list now but I've yet to read a single one of them.  I'm thinking this may be the one I begin with honestly.  The premise just sounds so delightfully creepy - it also sounds like the perfect type of read for this time of year.  I do have a copy of this book thanks to NetGalley so I'm hoping to read this one before publication date.  It just sounds SO good, doesn't it?

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Summary from Goodreads:

"In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed "The Whisper Man," for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter's crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window..."

Now this book has been ALL OVER bookstagram.  So much so that even though I currently have it checked out from the library I'm a bit hesitant to read it (which is what happens to me when the hype for a book is this big).  But I also just can't resist giving this one a try to see if it is as creepy as it sounds.  And this is the perfect time of year for creepy reads just like this!  I just want to read them all....give me all of the creepy thrillers to read until the end of October!

I'm going to stick with three books this time around.  Tell me though, what books have you added to your TBR list lately?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Claire Abrams’s dreams became a nightmare when she passed on a genetic mutation that killed her little boy. Now she wants a second chance to be a mother, and finds it in Robert Nash, a maverick fertility doctor who works under the radar with Jillian Hendricks, a cunning young scientist bent on making her mark—and seducing her boss.

Claire, Robert, and Jillian work together to create the world’s first baby with three genetic parents—an unprecedented feat that could eliminate inherited disease. But when word of their illegal experiment leaks to the wrong person, Robert escapes into hiding with the now-pregnant Claire, leaving Jillian to serve out a prison sentence that destroys her future.

Ten years later, a spunky girl named Abigail begins to understand that all is not right with the reclusive man and woman she knows as her parents. But the family’s problems are only beginning. Jillian, hardened by a decade of jealousy and loss, has returned—and nothing will stop her from reuniting with the man and daughter who should have been hers. Past, present—and future converge in a mesmerizing psychological thriller from acclaimed bestselling author Kira Peikoff."

My Thoughts:

What an interesting and compelling read!  I breezed through the pages of this book in a matter of two short days because I just couldn't stop reading.  I will say that this isn't a long book which is another reason why it was such a bingeable read for me (not sure if that's a word but it should be).  What I really liked about this book though was that the author took what is a controversial issue and made me see both sides of it.  This book shows firsthand the heartache that Claire has dealt with after losing her son and the fear that having another baby with the same genetic issues causes her.  You feel for her and want for her to have that chance of a healthy child.  There's also that question present of if science is going too far and where is the line in the sand type of thing throughout the book.  I fully admit that I don't know enough about the subject to have strong opinions one way or the other which meant that I just found the story compelling.  For me, I cared about the characters and what was going to happen to them.  This is billed as a thriller from the above description, and it is a thrilling read in the fact that you can't put it down.  But really for me this was more of a suspenseful book where I just wanted everything to be okay and turn out for the best for everyone.  I'm not sure if I'm explaining that really well to be honest.  I just don't want readers to go in expecting this psychological thriller when for me at least it was different then that.  More maybe then what you usually get with thrillers.  It was thrilling though and oh so hard to put down!  I'm hesitant to say much more than that because I don't want to spoil anything for readers.  I'm looking forward to seeing what others think about this one for sure!

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book and am eager to read more by this author.  The subject matter of this book really made it stand out for me as it is so different from my usual reads.  This is my first book by this author but it certainly won't be my last!  I would recommend this book to readers to fans of suspense and thrillers as well.  

Bottom Line:  One of those books that I just couldn't set down until the very end!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Meryl Moss Media.  Honest thoughts are my own.