Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Woman Who Couldn't Scream by Christina Dodd

Author: Christina Dodd
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Date of publication: September 2017

From the New York Times bestselling author comes the fourth novel of suspense taking place in Virtue Falls, Washington.

Beautiful Merida is married to a wealthy older man who takes her around the world as his trophy. Merida is everything a man could want. But a traumatic accident years before left her without the ability to speak. When her husband dies, she knows it's her chance to exact revenge on those responsible for her accident—and that vengeance begins in Virtue Falls. Reinventing herself, she slips into village life, biding her time. But someone knows exactly who she is and will use this chance to finish what was started years ago. And this time an accident for Merida will mean silencing her forever.

The Woman Who Couldn't Scream is the fourth book in the Virtue Falls series.  It picks up pretty much right after the ending of the third book.  However, it can still be read as a stand alone.  There are a few plot lines going in the book, so you really have to bear with it to see how they all fit together.  I have really enjoyed this series so far and was looking forward to Kateri getting her own story.  While I liked this one, it wasn't my favorite.

My biggest issue with the book was that it wasn't as focused on Kateri and her story as I wanted it to be.  She does feature in the book a lot, but I wanted more of her and Stag.  Just more of her in general.  I also thought there was kind of a bit too much going on at once with the multiple plot lines. The alternating view points made it a bit muddled at times. Not only is there Kateri trying to catch the man who shot her and her friend, she is trying to catch a serial killer and help her mute friend from when she was younger.  A friend who now looks like someone else and has a new name.  The stories all converge in the end, but it took a while to get there.  I was also left a bit unsatisfied with Merida's ending.  I would have liked to see the aftermath of her revenge.

What I did like about the book was Kateri.  She is a great female character that really comes into her own as sheriff in this book.  I have like her from the beginning of the series.  Her native american heritage plays a big part in who she is and in her beliefs.  I was definitely rooting for her with or without Stag.    There was also a twist int he end that was surprising.

Ms. Dodd's next book, Dead Girl Running, is a spin-off from this series.  It comes out in April.  I'm not sure if this is the last book for Virtue Falls or not.  I guess we will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Blog Tour: The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Author: C.J. Tudor
Publisher: Crown
Date of publication: January 2018

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

“Readers will undoubtedly be reminded of the kids of Stand by Me and even IT…[the] first-person narration alternates between past and present, taking full advantage of chapter-ending cliffhangers. A swift, cleverly plotted debut novel that ably captures the insular, slightly sinister feel of a small village. Children of the 1980s will enjoy the nostalgia.”—Kirkus 

“I haven’t had a sleepless night due to a book for a long time. The Chalk Man changed that.” —Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow

I was super excited to read The Chalk Man.  I had seen lot of the hype about it and it made my most anticipated list of 2018. It's been a while since I have found a good thriller/horror novel that freaks me out.  This book waffles between the past when the main characters are kids and the present when is seems that the Chalk Man has come back.

So, did I love it? Sadly, no...I liked it, I just didn't love it. Don't get me wrong. For a debut novel, I found it well written and well thought out.  I liked that I didn't call all of the twists so I was surprised in the end.  As a mystery, it was pretty enjoyable.  If not a bit slow at times. I liked the main character, Eddie and the flashbacks to the kids' childhoods was most enjoyable.  However, I felt a bit deceived.  I was expecting a psychological thriller that would "keep me up at night".  It just never lived up to that expectation.  I think if you go into it knowing it's a just mystery you will be fine.  I am interested in trying out this author again in the future.

Purchase Links

About C. J. Tudor

C. J. TUDOR lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over, and dog walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. The Chalk Man is her first novel.

Connect with C. J.

C. J. Tudor’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, January 2nd: BookBub blog “18 Books for Stephen King Fans Coming in 2018”
Friday, January 5th: BookBub blog and Facebook video “16 Novels We’re Looking Forward to Reading in 2018”
Monday, January 8th: Katy’s Library blog and @katyslibrary
Monday, January 8th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, January 9th: @everlasting.charm
Tuesday, January 9th: Clues and Reviews and @cluesandreviews
Wednesday, January 10th: She Treads Softly
Wednesday, January 10th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Wednesday, January 10th: Tome Tender
Thursday, January 11th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Thursday, January 11th: Rockin’ & Reviewing
Friday, January 12th: Snowdrop Dreams
January 15th: BookBub Blog – author guest post “Eight Thrillers with Scary Children/Teenagers”
Tuesday, January 16th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, January 16th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, January 17th: Suzy Approved
Wednesday, January 17th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, January 18th: Lit Wit Wine Dine
Thursday, January 18th: Bibliotica
Friday, January 19th: Write Read Life
Friday, January 19th: 5 Minutes for Books
Monday, January 22nd: What is That Book About
Monday, January 22nd: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, January 23rd: A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, January 23rd: The Book Diva’s Reads
Wednesday, January 24th: Girl Who Reads
Thursday, January 25th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Reviews
Friday, January 26th: Lovely Bookshelf
Monday, January 29th: Novel Gossip blog and @novelgossip
Monday, January 29th: A Literary Vacation
Monday, January 29th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, January 30th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, January 31st: Staircase Wit
Thursday, February 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, January 29, 2018

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Escape by Jay Crownover

Author: Jay Crownover
Publisher: Jay Crownover LLC
Date of publication: January 30, 2018

Everything inside of him is screaming that he needs to run, he needs to go, he needs to escape.
Lane Warner is used to being overshadowed and overlooked. After all, he’s the youngest brother and the most laid back one in the family. He’s the one known for going with the flow and not making waves, even when things seem to be at their worst.

Very few things in life have had the ability to rile Lane up and get under his skin. At the top of that list is his childhood friend Brynn Fox…no…Brynn Warner. The fact that they share a last name was the one thing that has the power to light him up and spin him out of control like no other. There was no calm, cool and collected when it comes to all the reasons why Brynn had to become part of his family.

It’s slowly killing him to keep wanting what he can’t have, so Lane sees only one way to stop himself from doing something they’ll both regret…he has to leave.

Everything inside of her is calling out to find him, to follow, to bring him home.
Brynn Warner is used to being stuck between a rock and a hard place. After all, she’s the daughter of an unrepentant gold-digger who never once blinked at being the cause of her daughter’s pain and suffering.  Very few things in her life have ever brought happiness and a sense of security. At the very top of that list is Lane Warner. She has unwaveringly loved the youngest Warner since the first minute she laid eyes on him. He was everything Brynn ever wanted and everything she knew she could never have.

Sometimes the right choice is the one that hurts the most and Brynn’s had to make a few that felt like they might be the end of her.

When Lane takes off, one thing is clear, the only choice Brynn has is to go after him.

She’s going to bring her wayward cowboy home….whatever it takes.

My thoughts: 

Escape is the third book in the Getaway series.  Finally, we get to read Lane and Brynn's story.  I have been wanting to read their story since the first book.  Brynn was Lane's best friend growing up.  To get her out of a bad home situation, she married Lane's father for protection.  It was a marriage in name only.  Lane and Brynn have danced around each other for years.  It looks like they will finally get their HEA.

As I said, I was  really looking forward to reading this story.  Ms. Crownover has a way of just getting you right in the heart in every one of her books.  This one was no exception.  I thought it would be a nice meandering story of a couple finding their way back to each other while on a road trip home.  But, instead I got a heartbreaking adventure wrapped up in a story of healing and hope.  I think I ran the gambit of emotions reading this one, so that is a pretty accurate description.  

When Lane and Brynn find Bauer, nothing could prepare them for the journey they would take on the way home.  Bauer's story parallels Brynn's in a lot of ways. Can you say gut wrenching? I loved how they helped the struggling teen and in turn helped each other heal.  I won't give away any spoilers.  However, I was satisfied with the conclusion to their stories.  If you are a fan of all of her series, you may recognize some names and characters that pop up in this one.  That made it fun and nostalgic.  

In the notes at the end of the book, Ms. Crownover hints at Ten and Webb getting their own story.  Um, yes please!  You can't end a book with a cliffhanger like that one and not let us see how it plays out. 

Enjoy this excerpt:

Before she could finish the sentence and before she could drop the single word that would change the life of the blond cowboy who worked on the ranch next door irrevocably the dark-haired man pushed off the back wall, straightened and left the room. It was like every bit of confidence, and wishful thinking had vanished with him. It was almost as if he took every ounce of love and hope with him when he left. All that remained was a shaking woman, a desperate man on his knees, and a gathering of friends and family who didn’t know if they should look away or rush to prevent the inevitable train wreck that was taking place right before their eyes.

“I’ll go after him.” The deep rumble of Cyrus Warner’s voice finally broke through the stranglehold on everyone cause by the lack of an answer from Brynn. The thud of boots on hardwood sounded in time to rushing heartbeats as the oldest Warner brother went after the youngest. It was his job to protect, and that’s what he was going to do.

Lane Warner had been present for every proposal that took place on this ranch, and it seemed his reaction to every one of them was getting worse.

When Lane was eighteen, he tried to be Brynn Fox’s hero. He was the first cowboy who got on his knee and asked the beautiful girl to marry him even though they hadn’t so much as shared a single kiss. They were best friends, close in a way his brothers and several of their classmates would never understand. Brynn needed someone safe, a protector and a confidant. Lane needed someone who saw him. Someone who thought of him as more than the youngest Warner. Someone who knew he was as far as could be from the easy-going jokester that he presented to the world. They were honest with one another; they were each other’s truth. Brynn owed him too much to let him sacrifice his entire life and his youth for her, so that first proposal had ended much the way this one was going to.
The trembling hand that covered Brynn’s mouth dropped, and her spine stiffened. The tears that were threatening escaped the lush cage of her lashes and started to fall freely. She took a step back, and a collective exhale seemed to be breathed out by the rest of the people in the room. Her answer didn’t just change Jack’s life forever; it changed everyone who had watched Brynn and Lane torture each other with unrequited and unspoken love for years.

“Jack, you’re great, really. I… I had no idea you were so serious about us… about me. I… well… I’m not ready for something as big as marriage. I’m so sorry. I wish I could give you the answer you want to hear.” It was evident in her voice that there was a part of her that honestly wanted to be able to tell him yes. If anyone asked about her relationship she told them that Jack was easy. Jack was kind. Jack was a fresh start. What she never could say out loud was, Jack didn’t own the other half of her heart. Lane Warner did, and he had since she was twelve years old.

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About the author:

Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.

Jay Crownover’s ESCAPE Review Blitz:
January 29th
January 31st
February 1st

Sunday, January 28, 2018

January Mini Musings

How to Hang a Witch:   This was kind of a mean girls meets the crucible story.  I enjoyed it for the most part.  I wasn't a fan of the love triangle.  The whole being in love with a ghost was kind of ridiculous.  I mean Elijah could touch and kiss Samantha, so what was the point of making him a ghost?  I liked the characters enough to want to check out the next one.

The Blumhouse book of Nightmares: The Haunted City:  This is an anthology of horror stories written by screenwriters and actors from Hollywood.  They were given a prompt and total creative freedom in their stories.  I read all of them and honestly, I can't say this was a great set of stories.  None of them were particular scary.  None of them really stood out, except maybe the second one, Valdivia.  That was one kind of disturbing.  There were a few that made no sense to me and were more like a stream of consciousness or a movie pitch idea.  Even Ethan Hawkes story wasn't that great.

Fowl Language: The Struggle is Real This is the second collection of hilarious parenting cartoons from the imagination of the author. Seeing these come up on Facebook are often the highlight of my day.  I love these and highly recommend this book for any parent.  I'm sure you will all be able to relate to at least one of them.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Books I Didn't Finish - January Edition

The Girlfriend: I didn't make it too far into this book before I realized I would not like it.  The obsession of the mother toward her son was creepy and icky.  The son is a spoiled brat and the girlfriend was a bit over the top.  I couldn't find a likable character, so I gave up.

I'll Stay: I just didn't care for this one.  I didn't like Clare and I didn't really care to find out what happened to Lee.  I realized I wasn't up for reading someone wracked with misplaced guilt throughout her adulthood.  Getting some therapy and talking to Lee would have helped a lot.

Do Over: I really wanted to like this one. But from the opening scene with Jack debating over taking care of his kid or going to a game, I knew I would dislike it..  Neither of the main characters were very appealing.  I thought that Jack was a major douchebag.  He does admit to not being a great father, but never really made any attempts at getting better.  I hate when I hear fathers refer to taking care of their kids as babysitting.  Maddie was a real piece of work and kind of a doormat.  I got about 40% in and had to put it down.

All the Crooked Saints:  You know how sometimes in the prologue of a story there is a folk tale that ends up being an analogy for something in the book?  I thought when I started listening to the audiobook that was how the book was supposed to begin..  I kept waiting for the boring drawn out folk tale to end.  Once I realized that WAS the book, I gave up.  I was really bored.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Blog Tour: Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt

Author: Margot Hunt
Publisher: MIRA
Date of Publication:  January 23, 2018

Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they’re very different women—the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite—they’re each other’s rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat’s financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.

Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice’s direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar—the masterful manipulator behind it all.

In Best Friends Forever, Alice is taken in for questioning about the suspicious death of her best friend's husband.  The police think it may have been a homicide and suspect Alice or Kat know what really happened.  This was supposed to be a thriller, but in the end it was just an OK read for me. 

The book is quick read, but it still felt like it kind of dragged in places.  The story goes between the present and scenes during the three years of friendship between Alice and Kat.  I never really warmed up to Alice and she never struck me as a reliable narrator.  I didn't get the sense that she was truly upset over the whole ordeal.  Even when she finds out some truths about Kat, she wasn't very mad.  There are a couple of twists.  The main one I saw coming a mile away, but the other one did take me by surprise.  So, that is one thing I did end up liking about the book.  It's not a bad read, it is well written.  It's just wasn't the thriller I was expecting. 

Purchase Links

About Margot Hunt

Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling writer of twelve previous novels. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is her first psychological thriller.

Connect with Margot

Wednesday, January 3rd: What is That Book About
Thursday, January 4th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, January 5th: Broken Teepee
Monday, January 8th: Books and Spoons
Tuesday, January 9th: The Sassy Bookster
Wednesday, January 10th: Clues and Reviews
Thursday, January 11th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Friday, January 12th: A Holland Reads
Monday, January 15th: The Literary Llama
Tuesday, January 16th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, January 17th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Thursday, January 18th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, January 19th: Suzy Approved
Saturday, January 20th: Books a la Mode

Monday, January 22nd: Girls in Books blog and Instagram
Monday, January 22nd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, January 23rd: The Literary Llama on Instagram
Wednesday, January 24th: Katy’s Library blog and Instagram
Thursday, January 25th: Clues and Reviews
Friday, January 26th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, January 29th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Tuesday, January 30th: LiteraryJo Reviews blog and Instagram
Wednesday, January 31st: Bibliotica
Thursday, February 1st: Books and Bindings
Friday, February 2nd: Chick Lit Central
Monday, February 5th: Caryn, The Book Whisperer
Tuesday, February 6th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Wednesday, February 7th: Girl Who Reads
Thursday, February 8th: A Holland Reads
Monday, February 12th: Novel Gossip blog and Instagram
Monday, February 12th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, February 14th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, February 15th: Bookchickdi
Friday, February 16th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Blog Tour: Sister Like Us by Susan Mallery

Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: Mira
Date of publication: January 23, 2018

The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…

Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.
Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.
Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.

Sisters Like Us is the fourth book in the Mischief Bay series.  Besides this one, I had only read the first book, The Girls of Mischief Bay, before going into this one.  It definitely stood up well as a stand alone, so I don't think it's necessary to have read the other books in the series before this one.  of the two, I have to admit I liked this one more than the first.  It wasn't as heavy as I remember the first book being.  There were a lot of funny and light hearted moment with great characters that had a lot of room for growth.

I will also admit I didn't care for any of the women in the story at first.  Harper was too much of a miss perfectionist in everything (think Martha Stewart on steroids) and Stacey was in almost complete denial she was having a baby.  I mean she was over 6 months and hadn't told her mother.  Becca reminded me of why I hated high school and thought she was kind of a brat. Then I was introduced to Bunny and I understood why both sisters turned out the way they did.  She was a piece of work and I never warmed up to her. 

I am happy to say that I ended up being sucked into the story and before I knew it, I was over 65% in and loving it.  I found myself rooting for all of the characters (not Bunny though) and enjoyed watching them grow and change. I especially loved Stacey's "moment" after returning to work.  It was so sweet. This book also reminded me that sometimes you have to trust in the author and their process because you might just end up with another great read.  I definitely recommend this one.

Purchase Links

About Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women’s lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan’s books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.

Critics, too, have heaped praise on “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!”

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month, January of 1992. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they’re an integral component to a happy life.

Connect with Susan

Excerpt Tour:

Tuesday, January 2nd: Romantic Reads and Such
Wednesday, January 3rd: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, January 4th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, January 5th: Books a la Mode
Monday, January 8th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, January 9th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Wednesday, January 10th: Reading Reality
Thursday, January 11th: The Sassy Bookster
Friday, January 12th: OMG Reads
Saturday, January 13th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Monday, January 15th: Suzy Approved
Tuesday, January 16th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Wednesday, January 17th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, January 18th: Books & Spoons
Friday, January 19th: Moonlight Rendezvous

Review Tour:
Monday, January 22nd: Reading Reality
Tuesday, January 23rd: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, January 23rd: Chick Lit Central
Wednesday, January 24th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Thursday, January 25th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, January 26th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, January 29th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, January 30th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Wednesday, January 31st: OMG Reads
Thursday, February 1st: Novel Gossip and @novelgossip
Friday, February 2nd: Girls in Books and @girlsinbooks
Monday, February 5th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, February 7th: Palmer’s Page Turners and @palmerspagesandposes
Thursday, February 8th: Stranded in Chaos and @sarastrand9438
Friday, February 9th: Not in Jersey
Monday, February 12th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Tuesday, February 13th: Book Mama Blog
Wednesday, February 14th: Deborah Blanchard
Friday, February 16th: Book Nerd
Monday, February 19th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, February 21st: Why Girls Are Weird
Thursday, February 22nd: Thoughts on This ‘n That