Saturday, February 3, 2018

Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake #2) by Rachel Caine, A Review

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

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Book Description

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.
Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…
You’re not safe anywhere now.
Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.
But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.


This installment of the Stillhouse Lake trilogy was such a good sequel to book one. It was full of even more twists - if possible and really kept one wondering exactly what side certain characters were on. I couldn't even imagine the path that the author followed in telling the story of Gwen and her battle to escape Melvin, her ex-husband serial killer. This book didn't just live up to my expectations for the sequel --- it surpassed them.
Anxiously awaiting the third book to see what happens next.

After reading the first book in 2017 and loving it, I was happy and thankful to receive an eARC copy from the publisher of this book. Here is my honest review.

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Monday, January 29, 2018

Coldwater by Samuel Parker, A Review Revell Blog Tour

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Book Description

Having forfeited his youth to the state prison system, Michael moved back to the only home he'd ever known. An empty shell of a man who now lived--if it could be called living--in the still vacant house of his parents in a town with one stoplight. A town that hated him. Had always hated him. And was ready to pick up where the prison system had let off.

Now he's on the run from men who've tried to kill him once; but Michael is more than an ex-con. A powerful, sinister force creeps inside him, threatening and destructive. Who--and what--it will destroy next is the only real question. From the bold voice that brought readers down Purgatory Road comes a new pulse-pounding, spine-rattling tale of vengeance and justice that will have them up all night.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.

This book did not meet my expectations - in some good ways, and in some other ways.

Going in to reading this book, I knew it was thriller and I knew it was published by a Christian publishing house. I expected twists and turns in an engaging plot with a conflicted main character AND I expected all of that within a very clean (no language or sex along with toned down violence) narrative.

This book hit every one of those. In fact, the story was a little darker than I anticipated and the action was quick and constantly changing. It was much stronger as a thriller than I expected from a Christian publisher.

What was surprising was the lack of Christianity in this book. God is never mentioned, nobody says a prayer, or any other typical actions one expects within a Christian fiction book. There are some elements of good versus evil or dark versus light. The way this is handled is certainly super-natural; for me, it felt a little demonic (I admit that could be my interpretation and expectation of the Christian fiction genre rather than the author's intent) and so I was hoping for the opposite to also make an appearance. I didn't really see this happen in a way that meshes with any Christian thought.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I do wish the Christian themes had been more apparent in the reading. For me, Christian fiction should point the reader to God and convey Christian values. This book completely missed that mark for me. One review I read mentioned that if you didn't know the publisher specialized in Christian fiction, you wouldn't know this was a Christian book. While this may have nothing to do with the book, it will be interesting to see if this is a change that will continue to be explored by Christian publishing houses.

I gave this book: 

The Art of the Swap, A Review

The Art of the Swap

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Book Description

Two girls trade places in time to solve a legendary art heist across two centuries! 
As the daughter of a caretaker for a mansion-turned-museum, twelve-year-old Hannah Jordan has spent nearly all her life steeped in the history of the Gilded Age of Newport, Rhode Island. The Elms, the mansion where her dad works (and they both live), is one of the most esteemed historical properties on famed Bellevue Avenue. Mysterious legends and priceless artifacts clutter every inch of the marble floors and golden walls, but Hannah is most drawn to the reproduction portrait of Maggie Dunlap, the twelve year-old subject of a famous painting stolen in a legendary art heist on the day of its scheduled unveiling in 1905.

Hannah dreams of how glamorous life must have been for the young oil-heiress, Maggie, at the turn of the century, but she never expects she’ll have a chance to experience it herself… until the day a mysterious mirror allows the two girls to change places in time!

In 1905, Hannah races to stop the art heist from happening—something she is convinced will allow the girls to trade back to their own eras—while in current times, Maggie gets a hilarious introduction to the modern digital age and a new perspective on women's roles in society while reveling in the best invention of all: sweatpants. So long corsets!

As the hours tick off to the recorded moment of the legendary art heist, something’s not adding up. Can the girls work together against time—and across it—to set things right... or will their temporary swap become a permanent trade?


I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.

Completely by chance, I read this book at the same time I was reading The Art Forger which created a unique and interesting experience.
The Art of the Swap is a middle grade heist adventure shared by Hannah, who lives in modern times and idealizes life at The Elms during the Gilded Age, and Maggie, a young woman from the Gilded Age who struggles with living up to expectations society places on her. The two girls switch places; Hannah sets out to solve the mystery of Maggie's portrait that was stolen on the day of it's debut. Maggie meanwhile flounders in Hannah's world as she realizes that women have many more freedoms than she ever imagined. 
Since this is a middle-grade book, the actual solving of the heist happens fairly easily and quickly. The power of the book is in each of the girls realizing that they can have an impact on the world around them. The writing style is pretty straightforward and I really struggled with the laid-back and almost robotic dialogue. 

Overall, this is a fun read and I enjoy that it has some basis in reality. The Berwinds did build The Elms which was an extravagant home. I didn't find mention of Mary Cassat being commissioned to paint a portrait of a niece that was then stolen but the Berwinds did have an impressive art collection. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Monday, January 15, 2018

Charlie Numbers and the Man in the Moon, A Review

Charlie Numbers and the Man in the Moon by Ben Mezrich

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Book Description

Charlie is recruited to use his mathematical prowess to discover what happened to a box of stolen moon rocks in this follow up to Bringing Down the Mouse.

Charlie Lewis is really good at math. So good, that he’s approached by a mysterious woman who needs his help. The woman is carrying an incredible item: an actual moon rock, one of the most valuable objects on Earth, and she’s investigating the theft of a box of moon rocks from NASA’s vault at the Johnson Space Center, and believes the stolen rocks are now in the possession of a former astronaut.

Although she claims to work at NASA, Charlie suspects she is something else—but he decides the adventure is too good to pass up. Charlie and the whiz kids go undercover by entering the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s paper airplane contest, and head down to the nation’s capital. Working together, they master the principles of aerodynamics, wind science, and gravity to excel in the competition.

Charlie must decide how far he’ll go to solve the mystery of the stolen moon rocks; is he willing to betray a new friendship? Or has he unwittingly been drawn into something even bigger than some missing chunks of the moon?

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Charlie Numbers. This was a great middle grade novel that was entertaining, had an interesting plot and a setting that involved a paper plane contest. How fun would that be to compete at building paper airplanes. I'm not a science whiz so I can't speak to the actuality that a paper plane could fly 180 feet or more; it certainly was believable. 

In reading this, it was apparent that Charlie had another adventure that tested his mathematical skills yet this book completely stood on its own. And I look forward to more adventures of Charlie and the Whiz Kids. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Friday, January 5, 2018

2017 Reading Year in Review

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This is my journey in books for 2017!
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I read 51,044 pages across 176 books

Battle Dress by Suzanne Guillette
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28 pages
Battle Dress: What I Wore to Con...
679 pages
Dead Lawyers Don't Lie
Dead Lawyers Don't Lie by Mark  Nolan
290 pages

people also read
Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Teaching with Story by Margaret Read MacDonald
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people also read
Teaching with Story: Classroom C...


Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig
Crown of Souls
4.72 average
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A Christmas Kiss by Susan Hatler
My first review of the year
liked it 
While this is very short and definitely a case of insta-love, I enjoyed it immensely. The message of second chances being something we all need is a great one. I especially appreciated that the book is a "clean read".

Netgalley provided an eARC to me. This is my honest review.
A Christmas Kiss by Susan Hatler
The Other Half by Sarah Rayner
The League of Delphi by Chris Everheart
really liked it
The Delphi Deception by Chris Everheart
The Delphi Revelation by Chris Everheart
Eleven by Carolyn Arnold
Anathema by Megg Jensen
Tame a Wild Bride by Cynthia Woolf
Lead Me Home by Stacy Hawkins Adams
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki
it was amazing
The Bus Ride by Marianne Dubuc
My Heart Is Laughing by Rose Lagercrantz
A Book Is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt
Unborn by Amber Lynn Natusch
Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg
Terminal Rage by A.M. Khalifa
Real Santa by William Elliott Hazelgrove
Test of Faith by Christa Allan
Dreaming on Daisies by Miralee Ferrell
Operation Valentine by Loretta Hill
Either Side of Midnight by Tori de Clare
it was amazing
Juliette and the Monday ManDates by Becky Doughty
The Darkness Visible by Tori de Clare
A Lady of Esteem by Kristi Ann Hunter
Three River Ranch by Roxanne Snopek
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
A Kiss for Luck by Grace Burrowes
Jemima J by Jane Green
The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden
Secret Sister by Emelle Gamble
really liked it
When Lightning Strikes by Brenda Novak
The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall
The Toymaker’s Apprentice by Sherri L. Smith
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
In the Light of the Garden by Heather Burch
it was amazing
The One That Got Away by Simon Wood
A Pattern for Pepper by Julie Kraulis
When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker
The Einstein Prophecy by Robert Masello
Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Dewey Fairchild, Parent Problem Solver by Lorri Horn
After You Left by Carol Mason
The Color of Secrets by Lindsay Ashford
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Lila and the Crow by Gabrielle Grimard
Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff
I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn
The Dance of the Violin by Kathy Stinson
it was amazing
A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers Jr.
A Horse Named Steve by Kelly Collier
A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen
Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau
Hope's Peak by Tony Healey
Sins of the Mothers by Caryl McAdoo
The Great Passage by Shion Miura
Signature Wounds by Kirk Russell
The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick
it was amazing
The Queen's Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler
Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer
The Neon Lawyer by Victor Methos
Dead Lawyers Don't Lie by Mark  Nolan
A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot
Motion To Kill by Joel Goldman
Beyond Belief by Helen  Smith
The River Is Dark by Joe Hart
Black Flagged Alpha by Steven Konkoly
The Last Witness by Joel Goldman
really liked it
Meet Clara Andrews by Lacey London
Deadlocked by Joel Goldman
Cold Truth by Joel Goldman
Final Judgment by Joel Goldman
A Merciful Truth by Kendra Elliot
More than Neighbors by Isabel Keats
Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde
it was amazing
The Blind Side by Michael   Lewis
Timebound by Rysa Walker
Time's Edge by Rysa Walker
Time's Divide by Rysa Walker
The Silver Suitcase by Terrie Todd
it was amazing
Maggie's War by Terrie Todd
Shakedown by Joel Goldman
The Dead Man by Joel Goldman
No Way Out by Joel Goldman
The Tracker by Chad Zunker
The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck
Code 7 by Bryan R. Johnson
12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep
The Barefoot Summer by Carolyn Brown
The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
it was amazing
Help Wanted by Allison B. Hanson
Battle Dress by Suzanne Guillette
Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller
Wish Me Home by Kay Bratt
Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
The Lilac Bouquet by Carolyn Brown
Shadow Shepherd by Chad Zunker
Anne of Green Gables by Mariah Marsden
P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
it was amazing
Silent Tears by Kay Bratt
Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown
House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright
Sweet Tea Tuesdays by Ashley Farley
Redemption of the Cube Dweller by Joanne Fox Phillips
Inside Hudson Pickle by Yolanda Ridge
Michael Gresham by John Ellsworth
The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe
it was amazing
Second Acts by Teri Emory
Rescued by Peter Zheutlin
Nick Newton Is Not a Genius by S.E.M. Ishida
Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan
Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig
All Those Things We Never Said by Marc Levy
The Thief's Daughter by Jeff Wheeler
it was amazing
Dark Signal by Shannon Baker
The Designer by Marius Gabriel
The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey
The Importance of Being Me by Caroline Grace-Cassidy
Once and Forever by Mary Blayney
The Memory of Butterflies by Grace Greene
The Uncertain Season by Ann Howard Creel
The Last Move by Mary Burton
Home to Stay by Terri Osburn
The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean
it was amazing
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren
How Dogs Love Us by Gregory Berns
Still Life by Dani Pettrey
His Third Victim by Helen H. Durrant
Edinburgh Twilight by Carole Lawrence
The Map to You by Lindy Zart
No Conscience by Phil M. Williams
The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman
Louisiana Saves the Library by Emily Beck Cogburn
The house by the river by Lena Manta
The King's Traitor by Jeff Wheeler
it was amazing
Covent Garden in the Snow by Jules Wake
Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff
Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey
Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata
The Redeeming by Tamara Leigh
Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
really liked it
The Spinster Wife by Christina McKenna
The Unremembered Girl by Eliza Maxwell
Charlie Numbers and the Man in the Moon by Ben Mezrich
The Maid's War by Jeff Wheeler
True Identity by John C. Majors
Let There Be Light by Dan Gordon
The Promise Kitchen by Peggy Lampman
Winterhouse by Ben  Guterson
it was amazing
Teaching with Story by Margaret Read MacDonald
A Nest of Sparrows by Deborah Raney
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
After She's Gone by Maggie James
The Wretched of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler
Hidden Secrets by Carolyn Brown
The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves by James Han Mattson
Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle by Natasha Lowe
really liked it
One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg
The Lost Causes by Alyssa Embree Schwartz
Blood on the Tracks by Barbara Nickless
The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas
The Blight of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler
Killing Memories by Tatiana Moore
Killing Monsters by Tatiana Moore
Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley
Love's Return by T.K. Chapin
Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
O Little Town by Don Reid
it was amazing
Read It and Weep by Jenn McKinlay
A Dream of Something More by Jane   Carter