Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 14 2015)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00N6PENN6

Book Description

Akin to Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People and Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box, House of Echoes is a debut thriller populated by achingly sympathetic characters, charged with psychological suspense, and rich with a small town’s strange history.

A young New York City couple with a boy and a baby in tow, Ben and Caroline Tierney had it all…until Ben’s second novel missed the mark, Caroline lost her lucrative banking job, and something went wrong with 8-year-old Charlie. When Ben inherits land way upstate from his grandmother, the two of them began to believe in second chances. But upon arriving in Swannhaven, a town that seems to have been forgotten by time, they’re beset by strange sights and disconcerting developments…and they begin to realize they might have made their worst mistake yet. But what dark secret is buried in this odd place? And will Ben and Caroline figure it out soon enough to save their young family?

 “Brendan Duffy's House of Echoes is one of those wonderful stories that come along only once in a while, a beautifully nuanced and riveting family drama set within a terrifying landscape that has you turning pages long past bed time. But keep the light burning and read to the end. That's when you realize you've been in the hands of a very clever storyteller, and that what you thought you'd been reading was all along something else.”—Carla Buckley, author of The Deepest Secret

About the Author


 Brendan Duffy is an editor. He lives in New York, where he is at work on his second novel.

My Review

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy is a well written tale that will keep the reader riveted to its pages. What a fabulous thriller. I could not go to sleep last night until I had finished it.

House of Echoes is a brilliant thriller. I was so wrapped up in the main characters with all of their flaws and idiosyncrasies that I missed a few clues about the true depth of terror in the novel. 

Ben and Caroline along with their two young sons move to a small town in upstate New York. Ben's family were original settlers in the area but all of his family had moved on from the area. Caroline's banking career was stalled due to the economic slowdown and they were looking for a change. Purchasing a huge home to turn into an inn was an incredibly ambitious project that wore on both of them.  Caroline's bipolar condition did not help with the situation.

The dark woods surrounding them held hidden terrors and provided a menacing tone. What was in the woods? And was it the woods that they should be wary of?

Fabulous thriller from a new-to-me author. I loved Houses of Echoes. I know you will too!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review: The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1800 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (March 11 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F8FA30E

Book Description

For fans of Gillian Flynn and Daniel Woodrell, a dark, gripping debut novel of literary suspense about two mysterious disappearances, a generation apart, and the meaning of family-the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

The Dane family's roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn't keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy's few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn't protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri's necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri's death could be linked to her mother's disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.

 Praise for The Weight of Blood

“[An] expertly crafted thriller.”Entertainment Weekly, “The Must List”

“Haunting . . . [a] riveting debut.”Los Angeles Times

“Laura McHugh’s atmospheric debut . . . conjures a menacingly beautiful Ozark setting and a nest of poisonous family secrets reminiscent of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone.”—Vogue

“Fantastic . . . a mile-a-minute thriller.”The Dallas Morning News

“Gripping . . . Her prose will not only keep readers turning the pages but also paints a real and believable portrait of the connections, alliances, and sacrifices that underpin rural, small-town life. . . . Strongly recommended for readers who enjoy thrillers by authors such as Laura Lippman and Tana French.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“The sinister tone builds relentlessly.”—The Plain Dealer

“Rich in character and atmosphere . . . This is one you won’t want to miss.”—Karin Slaughter

“Daniel Woodrell better watch his back. . . . Weight of Blood is a tense, taut novel and a truly remarkable debut. . . . A suspenseful thrill ride that satisfies in all the right ways.”BookPage

"[An] expertly crafted thriller."--Entertainment Weekly, "The Must List"

"With her riveting debut, The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh makes a strong bid at cementing a new tradition of regional crime fiction while keeping tourism low in the Ozarks. . . . [A] powerful sense of place is the anchor of The Weight of Blood. The well-drawn townspeople and oppressive, dread-soaked atmosphere sprout from the soil of Henbane. . . . The prose is strong, with evocative paint strokes in all the right places. McHugh is an artful, efficient writer who tells her story in vicious blows. . . . McHugh has crafted a sharp, haunting tale of blood in the Ozarks, as substantial as it is pleasurable to read."--Los Angeles Times

"Laura McHugh's atmospheric debut, The Weight of Blood . . . conjures a menacingly beautiful Ozark setting and a nest of poisonous family secrets reminiscent of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone."--Vogue

"Fantastic . . . a mile-a-minute thriller."--The Dallas Morning News

"Gripping . . . Her prose will not only keep readers turning the pages but also paints a real and believable portrait of the connections, alliances, and sacrifices that underpin rural, small-town life. . . . Strongly recommended for readers who enjoy thrillers by authors such as Laura Lippman and Tana French."--Library Journal (starred review)

"The sinister tone builds relentlessly."--The Plain Dealer

"A fantastic novel, rich in character and atmosphere . . . This is one you won't want to miss."--Karin Slaughter, author of Unseen

"A suspenseful thrill ride that satisfies in all the right ways . . . Daniel Woodrell had better watch his back. . . . The Weight of Blood is a tense, taut novel and a truly remarkable debut."--BookPage

"Laura McHugh's vivid and enthralling The Weight of Blood centers on a mother and daughter in a seemingly benign yet deeply horrifying small town. It kept me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last."--Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of The Language of Flowers

"The Weight of Blood pulled me in and wouldn't let go. What starts as Lucy's coming-of-age story becomes a chilling tale about the price of secrets. As the menace deepens, so does the tension. Laura McHugh has written a terrific novel."--Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award–winning author of The Shadow Tracer

"McHugh's debut is as lush and evocative as its Ozark setting, with luminous prose and characters you can't help rooting for, even as the mystery surrounding them intensifies and the odds against them grow more and more harrowing. I couldn't put it down."--Carla Buckley, author of The Deepest Secret

"In this clever, multilayered debut, McHugh deftly explores the past of an Ozark Mountain family . . . with plenty to hide and the ruthlessness to keep their secrets hidden. . . . This is an outstanding first novel, replete with suspense, crisp dialogue, and vivid Ozarks color and atmosphere."--Publishers Weekly

"In this riveting debut, Laura McHugh weaves together the stories of two women, separated by a generation, who each reveal pieces of a story that gains momentum and power as its shape becomes clear. This novel will keep you up all night."--Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train

"Once I picked up Laura McHugh's The Weight of Blood, I couldn't put it down. I kept turning pages long into the night, bewitched by the enchanting Ozark landscape and the haunting murder mystery at its heart. The Weight of Blood is the kind of novel that leaves the reader breathless and wanting more."--Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot

"An elegant time bomb of a novel, a coming-of age story that holds you captive from the first sentence and doesn't let go of you after the last."--Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds

"[A] suspenseful novel, with a barn burner of a plot . . . McHugh shows herself to be a compelling writer intimately familiar with rural poverty and small-town weirdness."--Booklist

About the Author

 Laura McHugh is the author of the novel The Weight of Blood (Spiegel & Grau, 2014). McHugh lives in Missouri with her husband, children, and large furry dog.

My Review

The Weight of Blood is an excellent debut novel by Laura McHugh. Blood as in family. Weight as in the heavy burden that they sometimes can be. The Weight of Blood is intense and intriguing. It is always a pleasure to read a well written novel.

The Weight of Blood is set in the Ozarks in the small hamlet of Henbane. McHugh is a great writer in that the reader can feel the dark mood of the Ozark setting. The poverty and the beauty of the Ozarks is vividly portrayed. The characters are fascinating...dark, brooding, mysterious, and poor yet others with hearts of gold. Kind people that only want to help. It is rural setting where the lack of opportunity to make a decent living is prevalent. 

The Weight of Blood goes back and forth between the lives of a mother and daughter...Lila and Lucy. Lila who disappeared when Lucy was a baby...haunting her forever. Is her mother out there somewhere..or did something terrible happen...

The Weight of Blood revolves around family. Those ties that bind and suffocate as well as love. It is a spellbinding novel that is hard to put down. Highly recommend. It is easy to see why it is on so many best novels of 2014 lists.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Rachel Hauck Fires Up the Romance with “A Brush with Love” Kindle Giveaway!

"Fire" up the romance in the new year with Rachel Hauck's newest book, A Brush with Love, by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway! And be sure to catch a sneak peek of the soon-to-be-released How to Catch a Prince!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway only runs for a week, 12/30 – 1/5. Winner will be announced January 6th on Rachel's blog.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: The Forsaken (Quinn Colson #4) by Ace Atkins

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2438 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399161791
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (July 24 2014)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G3L11BM

Book Description

The extraordinary new novel in New York Times-bestselling author Ace Atkins' acclaimed series about the real Deep South—“a joy ride into the heart of darkness” (The Washington Post).

Thirty-six years ago, a nameless black man wandered into Jericho, Mississippi, with nothing but the clothes on his back and a pair of paratrooper boots. Less than two days later, he was accused of rape and murder, hunted down by a self-appointed posse, and lynched.

Now evidence has surfaced of his innocence, and county sheriff Quinn Colson sets out not only to identify the stranger’s remains, but to charge those responsible for the lynching. As he starts to uncover old lies and dirty secrets, though, he runs up against fierce opposition from those with the most to lose—and they can play dirty themselves.

Soon Colson will find himself accused of terrible crimes, and the worst part is, the accusations just might stick. As the two investigations come to a head, it is anybody’s guess who will prevail—or even come out of it alive.

About the Author

Ace Atkins is the author of eight novels, including his latest, Infamous, from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

A former journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of The Tampa Tribune, he published his first novel, Crossroad Blues, at 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30.

While at the Tribune, Ace earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a forgotten murder of the 1950s. The story became the core of his critically acclaimed novel, White Shadow, which earned raves from noted authors and critics. In his next novels, Wicked City, Devil’s Garden, and now Infamous, Ace continues to carve a new a niche as both a talented storyteller and a meticulous journalist, blending first-hand interviews and original research into police and court records with tightly woven plots and incisive characters. Ace’s novels tell great American stories, weaving fact and fiction into a colorful, seamless tapestry.

Infamous, Devil’s Garden, Wicked City, and White Shadow are all very personal books for Atkins, all set in his former and current homes: San Francisco, where he lived as a child; Alabama, his family’s home and where he was born and went to college; and Tampa, where he embarked on his career as a writer and now the MidSouth where he now calls home.

Each novel contains bits of himself—friends and colleagues he once knew, people he respected or admired, family members, and personal heroes.

Right now, Ace is developing a new series for his longtime publisher—home to Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Robert Crais, John Sandford, and Robert B. Parker—set in rural Mississippi. The first of these novels will hit stores in Spring 2011.

Ace lives on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi with his family.

My Review

I have really been enjoying the Quinn Colson series by Ace Atkins. Quinn Colson is the county sheriff in a small county in northeast Mississippi. It is a county of good old boys. Quinn returned to the town of Jericho after serving in the military. Events surrounding the death of his uncle who had been the long time county sheriff based out of Jericho, caused Quinn to stay and run for sheriff himself in earlier books. Quinn faces continual challenges from the locals who like things to stay the same as always which was pretty corrupt and where everyone knew their place.

The Forsaken is book 4 and I think it is probably best if a reader has read the previous 3 so that the reader understands all the background stories. That being said, The Forsaken could stand on its own. I like that Quinn Colson is similar to Jack Reacher except that he is settled down. There is something about ex military men who solve situations of corruption in small town America that I really enjoy.

There is lots of action and twists in this fast moving story. I really enjoyed The Forsaken and I think it is a great addition to Ace Atkins's Quinn Colson series.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1) by Susan Mallery

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (Feb. 24 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is world renowned for her "insightful, funny, and poignant" stories (Booklist). With her brand-new Mischief Bay series, Susan brings to vivid color the story of three friends on the brink of a new life.

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time at her Mischief Bay Pilates studio. Can she say enough is enough without losing the man she loves?

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg rose to become vice president in her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she can have it all. And if she can, does she want it?

Although Pam Eiland has a beautiful house and a husband she adores, she feels… restless. She wonders who a stay-at-home mom becomes after the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise her husband brings the heat and the humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, three very different women will discover that friends can become family, and that life is richer with sisters at your side.

About the Author

 With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.

My Review

Great first book in a new series by one of my favorite romance authors Susan Mallery. Mischief Bay is a brand new series from Susan that is set in Southern California in a California beach community. In The Girls of  Mischief Bay we are introduced to three women: one in her twenties, one just turning 40 and one just past 50. They are all at different stages in their life and all facing different challenges.

The Girls of Mischief Bay is a story about friendship and the enduring bonds of friendship. It is a story about women facing challenges. It is a great introduction to this new series.

If you are a fan of romances then this is a series that you will want to try. Highly recommend.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Review: W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone #23) by Sue Grafton

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 808 KB
  • Print Length: 497 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399158987
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (Sept. 10 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C5R73JC
Book Description

 Two dead men changed the course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other I’d never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue.

The first was a local PI of suspect reputation. He’d been gunned down near the beach at Santa Teresa. It looked like a robbery gone bad. The other was on the beach six weeks later. He’d been sleeping rough. Probably homeless. No identification. A slip of paper with Millhone’s name and number was in his pants pocket. The coroner asked her to come to the morgue to see if she could ID him.

Two seemingly unrelated deaths, one a murder, the other apparently of natural causes.

But as Kinsey digs deeper into the mystery of the John Doe, some very strange linkages begin to emerge. And before long at least one aspect is solved as Kinsey literally finds the key to his identity. “And just like that,” she says, “the lid to Pandora’s box flew open. It would take me another day before I understood how many imps had been freed, but for the moment, I was inordinately pleased with myself.”

In this multilayered tale, the surfaces seem clear, but the underpinnings are full of betrayals, misunderstandings, and outright murderous fraud. And Kinsey, through no fault of her own, is thoroughly compromised.

W is for . . . wanderer . . . worthless . . . wronged . . .

W is for wasted.

About the Author

 Connect with Sue herself on Facebook! www.facebook.com/suegrafton

Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievement award) in 2003.

Family History:

Father: C.W. Grafton, born 1909, third son of Presbyterian Missionaries, born and raised in China, educated Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina; practicing attorney in Louisville, Kentucky with a 40-year specialty in municipal bonds. Author of THE RAT BEGAN TO GNAW THE ROPE, THE ROPE BEGAN TO HANG THE BUTCHER, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, MY NAME IS CHRISTOPHER NAGEL. Died, 1982.

Mother: Vivian Harnsberger, oldest daughter of Presbyterian Missionaries; born 1908 in Spruce, West Virginia, raised in China, educated at Radford State Teachers College with a degree in secondary education; taught high school chemistry before her marriage in 1932 to C.W. Grafton, a childhood sweetheart. Died 1960.

Siblings: one sister, Ann; a retired librarian who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Personal History:

Subject born in Louisville, Kentucky April 24 1940; graduated University of Louisville, BA 1961 with a major in English Literature, minors in Humanities and Fine Arts.

Subject married to Steven F. Humphrey with three children from previous marriages: a daughter, Leslie; a son, Jay; a daughter, Jamie; and three granddaughters, Erin, age 21, Kinsey, age 13, Taylor, age 4, and Addison, age 2.

Employment History:

Subject has worked in the medical field as an admissions clerk, cashier, and clinic secretary, St. Johns Hospital, Santa Monica; medical secretary to a GP and later medical education secretary, Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara, California.

Subject has written numerous movies for television: "Walking Through the Fire" for which she won a Christopher Award, 1979, "Sex and the Single Parent," "Mark, I Love You," and "Nurse." In addition, with Steven Humphrey, she adapted two Agatha Christie novels, "Caribbean Mystery" and "Sparkling Cyanide." The two also cowrote "Killer in the Family," and "Love on the Run." Previous mysteries include: 'A' IS FOR ALIBI (1982), 'B' IS FOR BURGLAR (1985), 'C' IS FOR CORPSE (1986), 'D' IS FOR DEADBEAT (1987), 'E' IS FOR EVIDENCE (1988), 'F' IS FOR FUGITIVE (1989), 'G' IS FOR GUMSHOE (1990), 'H' IS FOR HOMICIDE (1991) 'I' IS FOR INNOCENT (1992), 'J' IS FOR JUDGMENT (1993), 'K' IS FOR KILLER (1994), 'L' IS FOR LAWLESS (1995), 'M' IS FOR MALICE (1996). Early novels include; KEZIAH DANE (1967) and THE LOLLY-MADONNA WAR (1969), both out of print.

My Review

W is for don't waste your time. Worst book in the series. So disappointed. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Review: Greater Devotional by Steven Furtick

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 755 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (Sept. 9 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JI58U7S

About the Book

In Greater, Pastor Steven Furtick challenged us to dream bigger, start smaller, and ignite God’s vision for our lives. In this devotional designed for daily guidance, you’ll begin your journey toward the greater life God wants for you.

Over the next forty days of teaching, scripture readings, and prayer, your life will change. You’ll find the confidence to believe that nothing is impossible with God, the clarity to see what He’s calling you toward, and the courage to take your next step.

Dream bigger. Start smaller. Ignite God’s vision for your life.

About the Author

 Steven Furtick is the New York Times best-selling author and the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church, a multi-site church based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Steven holds a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Holly live in the Charlotte area with their three children, Elijah, Graham, and Abbey.

My Review

I have not read author Steven Furtick's book Greater but I am still able to derive meaning from the Greater Devotional. Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church (where Lysa TerKeurst worships). It is a mega church based out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Greater Devotional contains 40 devotionals for the reader. Each devotion includes a bible verse, commentary and a prayer focus. There is also a section each day with text that is available for tweeting. I really am not into tweeting so that part is not going to happen.

Greater Devotional encourages the readers to think bigger and to do more in their Christian walk. In this, Furtick is very inspiring. This is a very good 40 day devotional.

 As Steven Furtick says:  Dream bigger. Start smaller. Ignite God’s vision for your life.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1224 KB
  • Print Length: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (July 29 2014)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English

Book Description

 Check out the #1 New York Times bestseller Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, called “a surefire hit” by Entertainment Weekly.

"The secrets burrowed in this seemingly placid small town...are so suburban noir they would make David Lynch clap with glee...[Moriarty] is a fantastically nimble writer, so sure-footed that the book leaps between dark and light seamlessly; even the big reveal in the final pages feels earned and genuinely shocking.” —Entertainment Weekly

"Reading one [of Liane Moriarty's novels] is a bit like drinking a pink cosmo laced with arsenic... [BIG LITTLE LIES] is a fun, engaging and sometimes disturbing read” –USA Today

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .

A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Praise for Big Little Lies:

“Ms. Moriarty’s long-parched fans have something new to dig into….in ways that may give Big Little Lies even more staying power than The Husband’s Secret.” —The New York Times

“Funny and thrilling, page-turning but with emotional depth, Big Little Lies is a terrific follow-up to The Husband’s Secret.” —Booklist (starred review)

Big Little Lies tolls a warning bell about the big little lies we tell in order to survive. It takes a powerful stand against domestic violence even as it makes us laugh at the adults whose silly costume party seems more reminiscent of a middle-school dance.”—The Washington Post

“Moriarty demonstrates an excellent talent for exposing the dark, seedy side of the otherwise “perfect” family unit…. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal  (starred review)

“Irresistible…Exposing the fault lines in what looks like perfection is a specialty of Liane Moriarty… Moriarty’s sly humor and razor-sharp insights will keep you turning the pages to find out.” —People Magazine

"The secrets burrowed in this seemingly placid small town...are so suburban noir they would make David Lynch clap with glee...[Moriarty] is a fantastically nimble writer, so sure-footed that the book leaps between dark and light seamlessly; even the big reveal in the final pages feels earned and genuinely shocking.” —Entertainment Weekly

 “A novel that will turn you into a compulsive book-finisher…Moriarty has produced another gripping, satirical hit.”
Huffington Post

“If you're looking for a novel that will turn you into a compulsive book-finisher look no further. Moriarty has produced another gripping, satirical hit…. It’s can’t-put-downability comes from its darker subplots… A book that will make you appreciate the long days of summer.” —Oprah.com

"Reading one [of Liane Moriarty's novels] is a bit like drinking a pink cosmo laced with arsenic... [BIG LITTLE LIES] is a fun, engaging and sometimes disturbing read…Moriarty is back in fine form." –USA Today

“A juicy drama.” —People Stylewatch

“Not your average mommy novel. It’s a juicy, twisted murder mystery replete with themes of marital abuse and self-denial….The perfect mindless beach read.” —Purewow.com

“Suburbia is about to get a lot more scandalous.”  —Closer Weekly 

"The Aussie author of last year’s runaway hit The Husband’s Secret comes back with another winning and wise novel that intertwines the lives of three women." —EW.com

"It’s no mystery why Liane Moriarty is a summer staple: with wit and compassion ... [she] keeps it real." —Family Circle

“Riveting and insightful….Moriarty has crafted a great summer read full of perceptive glimpses into the many guises of human relationships: mother-child, husband-wife (and ex-wife) and above all, the strong bond of female friendships.” —Bookpage

"Deservedly popular Moriarty invigorates … women’s fiction through wit, good humor, sharp insight into human nature and addictive storytelling." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

About the Author

 Liane was born on a beautiful November day in 1966 in Sydney. A few hours after she was born, she smiled directly at her father through the nursery glass window, which is remarkable, seeing as most babies can’t even focus their eyes at that age.

Her first word was ‘glug’. This was faithfully recorded in the baby book kept by her mother. (As the eldest of six children, Liane was the only one to get a baby book so she likes to refer to it often.)

As a child, she loved to read, so much so that school friends would cruelly hide their books when she came to play. She still doesn’t know how to go to sleep at night without first reading a novel for a very long time in a very hot bath.

She can’t remember the first story she ever wrote, but she does remember her first publishing deal. Her father ‘commissioned’ her to write a novel for him and paid her an advance of $1.00. She wrote a three volume epic called, ‘The Mystery of Dead Man’s Island’

After leaving school, Liane began a career in advertising and marketing. She became quite corporate for a while and wore suits and worried a lot about the size of her office. She eventually left her position as marketing manager of a legal publishing company to run her own (not especially successful) business called The Little Ad Agency. After that she worked as (a more successful, thankfully) freelance advertising copywriter, writing everything from websites and TV commercials to the back of the Sultana Bran box.

She also wrote short stories and many first chapters of novels that didn’t go any further. The problem was that she didn’t actually believe that real people had novels published. Then one day she found out that they did, when her younger sister Jaclyn Moriarty called to say that her (brilliant, hilarious, award-winning) novel, Feeling Sorry for Celia was about to be published.

In a fever of sibling rivalry, Liane rushed to the computer and wrote a children’s book called The Animal Olympics, which went on to be enthusiastically rejected by every publisher in Australia.

She calmed down and enrolled in a Masters degree at Macquarie University in Sydney. As part of that degree, she wrote her first novel, Three Wishes. It was accepted by the lovely people at Pan Macmillan and went on to be published around the world. (Her latest books are published by the equally lovely people at Penguin in both the US and the UK)

Since then she has written two more novels for adults, as well as a series of books for children.

Liane is now a full-time author. She lives in Sydney with her husband, her new baby daughter Anna, and her son George, who likes to sit on her lap while she works, helpfully smashing his fist against the keyboard and suggesting that she might prefer to be watching the Wiggles instead.

My Review

Wow! Don't know why I waited so long to read one of Liane Moriarty's books. What a compelling addictive read. Big Little Lies is a well-written and well-told story that was impossible to put down. I can see why it has already been optioned for a movie.

Big Little Lies is a story of friendships. It is a story that reflects the reality of relationships between parents of young children. But most importantly, it is the story about the abuse that people can inflict on one another. And the big little lies that they tell to cover it up. Big Little Lies is about the reality that is life for so many people. People you could never imagine living in fear and terror but do so every day.

Big Little Lies is also a fun book. It really is. The characters are written so beautifully and so realistically by author Liane Moriarty. Great story. Highly recommend.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible Explore the King's Love for His People on a Cover-to-Cover Journey Through the Bible

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5198 KB
  • Print Length: 1536 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Lea edition (Sept. 9 2014)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English

Book Description

A new read-through-the-Bible Bible divided in manageable portions and featuring deep and relevant devotionals that bring readers close to the heart of God.

As they journey through the Bible from cover to cover, readers will appreciate how the NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible will help them through tough spots such as Numbers and Leviticus while giving them deeper understanding of the Scriptures and connecting them with the heart of its Author. Readers will experience rich insights into the original contexts of Scripture, and God's heart will be unveiled in new ways.

This Bible includes 365 engaging devotions to serve as your tour guide, walking you through Genesis to Revelation in manageable portions. Each devotion includes a summary section of the Scripture passage, an application section that reveals God's good heart, and an insight section that ties each passage into the rest of God's great story.

As you experience God's Word through this devotional Bible, you'll see his divine fingerprints from beginning to end, even in the most unexpected places. And you'll encounter a deeper, fuller picture of the Jesus you thought you knew.

Whether you are starting out on your first steps or a seasoned traveler, let the NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible open your eyes to God's good heart. Join him in his story. And experience a more intimate walk with him.

My Review

This review is for the ebook version of the NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible Explore the King's Love for His People on a Cover-to-Cover Journey Through the Bible. 

I enjoy devotional bibles that are available as ebooks as you can have them on your Kindle (or Nook), your tablet and your phone. I like that they are readily available to the reader. I randomly checked hyperlinks in the ebook and they all worked. This is always a plus!

I like devotional bibles as they provide insight into the bible that is different than a study bible. There are 312 devotions which is devotions for six days of the week for a full year. Each book of the bible also has an introduction which is helpful as it is always nice to be able to get a quick summary of the book.

There are several study plans at the end of the ebook:
  • 90 day reading plan (A Tour of the Bible Reading Plan)
  • 30 days for new Christians reading plan
  • 30 days with Jesus reading plan
  • 30 themes in Psalms
  • 30 stories you’ve probably never heard
  • 30 stories of Love and Friendship

Check out Walk Thru the Bible's web site:  http://www.walkthru.org/about-us

Zondervan site:  http://store.faithgateway.com/niv-discover-god-s-heart-devotional-bible-1

Review: A Haunting of the Bones: A Bell Elkins Novella (Bell Elkins #3.5) by Julia Keller

  • File Size: 1696 KB
  • Print Length: 79 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 2, 2014)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English

Book Description

 From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Julia Keller comes A HAUNTING OF THE BONES, another suspenseful and provocative story that will keep readers up all night...Bell Elkins, prosecuting attorney for Raythune C1ounty, West Virginia, had always believed what she’d been told: Her mother abandoned the family when Bell and her sister, Shirley, were children. Later, Teresa Dolan died somewhere out West.

And then comes a shattering discovery.

During an excavation in a remote area of the county, a skeleton is found. DNA testing proves it is related to DNA already on file: that of a convicted felon named Shirley Dolan. Along with the age and approximate time of death, the DNA link leads to a chilling conclusion: These are the remains of Bell’s mother, Teresa Dolan. She didn’t run away. She was here all along. And further examination reveals that she was a homicide victim.

Bell automatically pins the blame on her late father, Donnie Dolan. But evidence emerges that it could not have been him. And so Bell must solve the most agonizingly personal case of her career: Who murdered her mother?

About the Author

Julia was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. She graduated from Marshall University, then later earned a doctoral degree in English Literature at Ohio State University.

She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has taught at Princeton and Ohio State Universities, and the University of Notre Dame. She is an essayist for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. In 2005, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Julia lives in a high-rise in Chicago and a stone cottage on a lake in rural Ohio.

My Review

I am a big fan of Julia Keller's books. The Bell Elkins series set in rural West Virginia is a compelling series. Keller has been utilizing novellas to tell some of Bell Elkins stories. This one, A Haunting of the Bones, is set in the present with flashbacks to the past. What happened to Bell's mother? It had been assumed that Bell's mother ran off to get away from her abusive husband. Now bones are discovered by archaeology students. Could it be Bell's long lost mother? Was she murdered? And who murdered her? Initially Bell assumes that her abusive father killed her mother...but is it that simple?

Very enjoyable book for fans of Julia Keller Bell Elkins series. I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review: Die Again (Rizzoli & Isles #11) by Tess Gerritsen

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (Dec 30 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English

Book Description

The latest enthralling case in Tess Gerritsen's New York Times bestselling Rizzoli & Isles series, the blockbuster books behind the smash hit TNT series.

Boston Detective Jane Rizzoli is on the case of a big game hunter found dead in his apartment, alone with a the body of a beautiful white snow leopard he had recently been commissioned to procure and stuff for a high-profile museum in the area. Medical examiner Maura Isles connects the case to a number of seemingly unrelated deaths where the victims have all been found hanging upside down, the hallmark of a leopard's kill. Rizzoli follows the puzzling trail of clues all the way to Botswana, where she uncovers the unsolved mystery of a deadly camping safari four years prior. When she realizes the two cases are connected, Rizzoli must track down the sole survivor of the tragic trip to discover who - or what - is behind these gruesome deaths.

Advance praise for Die Again

“With Die Again, Tess Gerritsen proves that she is still at the top of her game. I love this fantastically gripping story and can’t wait for more.”—Karin Slaughter

“Tess Gerritsen always delivers, and this is Gerritsen at her dark, addictive best. What gives Die Again its peculiar charge is the idea, never far from the surface, that we humans are predatory animals like any other. Perhaps we should not be so surprised to find hunters among us.”—William Landay

“Animal instinct turns savage—and man is an animal. A Rizzoli and Isles thriller is a guaranteed great read, but this time out Gerritsen really brings on the scary!”—Sandra Brown

“Tess Gerritsen once again proves her masterful dominance in stories delving into the criminal mind and forensic sciences. Die Again left me breathless as Rizzoli and Isles investigate a horrific murder, one with ties to an unsolved massacre in years past. Here is a story both harrowing and as intellectually sharp as a dagger’s edge. I dare you to try to stop reading this once you’ve started.”—James Rollins

“Harrowing! Seamlessly melding the gritty streets of Boston with the golden plains of Africa, Tess Gerritsen sets up a cunning predator who’s spent years perfecting his game. Now enter Rizzoli and Isles, two of Boston’s best determined to catch one of the world’s worst in a battle of wits where only the strong can survive. This is Tess Gerritsen at her finest!”—Lisa Gardner

About the Author

Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, "Adrift", which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.

Tess's first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), and The Bone Garden (2007). Her books have been translated into 31 languages, and more than 15 million copies have been sold around the world.

As well as being a New York Times bestselling author, she has also been a #1 bestseller in both Germany and the UK. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon.) Critics around the world have praised her novels as "Pulse-pounding fun" (Philadelphia Inquirer), "Scary and brilliant" (Toronto Globe and Mail), and "Polished, riveting prose" (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the "medical suspense queen".

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

My Review

Tess Gerritsen is an excellent author and I really enjoy her mysteries. I do not watch the television show, Rizzoli and Isles, but do enjoy the books.

Die Again is the eleventh book in the Rizzoli and Isles series. It is well plotted and has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. Though the main action takes place in the present, the background story is set in Botswana six years ago. I love how Gerritsen melded the two stories together.

With each book we learn more and more about the characters of Rizzoli and Isles. I also enjoyed Millie's story in Botswana six years ago. I was very satisfied with the ending to Millie's story. I found this to be a fascinating book that I had trouble putting down. Mostly I wanted to know what was going to happen to Millie.

Excellent addition to the Rizzoli and Isles series! Already looking forward to the next one!