Tag: #bookreview

“The Dream Daughter” by Diane Chamberlain

“The Dream Daughter” by Diane Chamberlain

How far would you go to save the life of your unborn child? One young mother is about to find out. It’s 1970 and Carly has recently lost her husband to the Vietnam War. Shortly before she had found out she’s is pregnant with their first child. A few months later, her doctor tells her that her unborn child has a heart defect that will be fatal once the child is born and there is nothing that can be done. Her physicist brother-in-law thinks he has a solution, but it’s a drastic one, and will take all of Carly’s courage to give her daughter a chance at life.

This story left me breathless and in tears at several points. The intensity of the drama surrounding the birth of Carly’s daughter is quite moving. The author has written the story in a way that really makes the reader feel like they are right there living the story with the character. And the characters are ordinary people who find themselves thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Their ability to stand strong throughout is inspiring and uplifting. In particular, I really liked how the author wrote the teenage girl to be so true to what every teenage girl I’ve ever met is like. The story line is unique and full of surprises. I think a wide variety of readers will really love this book.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

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“The Burning Soul” by John Connolly

“The Burning Soul” by John Connolly

Narrated by George Guidall & Tony Ward

Book 10 The Charlie Parker series

A young girl has gone missing in Pastor’s Bay, Maine. When a lawyer friend of Charlie’s asks him to agree to a job without knowing what it is, his guard is up. The client is Randall Haight and he has a secret, a big secret. Randall lives not too far from the missing girl and he quickly becomes the prime suspect. At the same time, he’s receiving threatening mail from an anonymous source. Charlie sets out to find the person who is sending the mail, but he also thinks there is some kind of a link between Randall and the missing girl, though he doesn’t think Randall is involved in her abduction. Along the way, he comes into conflict with law enforcement and finds it necessary to call in all his resources to protect his client.

Two of my favorite people working together again, lucky me! You all know how much I love the Charlie Parker series and George Guidall is hands down my favorite narrator right now. I really enjoyed this story. I really felt for Charlie when his lawyer friend kind of tricked him into working for Randall Haight and I appreciate how John Connolly makes him such a true-to-life character. The usual associates are in this story but the plot really focuses on Charlie and Randall. I was also taken completely by surprise, in a good way, by the ending. I really didn’t see it coming but I liked the way the story wrapped up. Finally, I was pleasantly surprised that one of the main characters was from North Dakota and parts of the story took place there. Thank you John Connolly for noticing us way up here in the Northern Plains. Another great installment in a series of winners!

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Then She Was Gone” by Lisa Jewell

“Then She Was Gone” by Lisa Jewell

Narrated by Helen Duff

Ellie was beautiful, smart and had the whole world in front of her. Then she disappeared. The police had nothing to go on and the uncertainty tore her family apart. Her father has remarried and seems to be moving on, as have her brother and sister. But Mom is stuck. Ten years later and Laurel is still obsessed by the loss of her daughter and refuses to give up hope. Then she meets Floyd and suddenly she feels alive again. Soon she also meets his daughters and Poppy, his youngest, takes her breath away because of the ways she reminds her of Ellie. As their relationship develops, so does the mystery surrounding Poppy.

This was a fascinating story to listen to. I think Helen Duff did an excellent job of voicing the characters and letting the story create the drama. The author created some very unique characters in this book and developed them in a way that feels natural. When we first meet Laurel she comes off as rather pathetic for the way she is still drowning in her grief. But when she starts to participate in life again we see a totally different side to her. This story incorporates flashbacks to Ellie as a teenager and I found the contrast of how Laurel related to Ellie with how she relates to Poppy made her a very complex character. Floyd is handsome and charming and is devoted to Poppy. There something mysterious about him though that made me a little nervous for Laurel during most of the book. The plot here is unique and took me by surprise at the end. This book is a great choice for a mystery lover or someone who likes family drama. I highly recommend!

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads

“Crux” by Jean Guerrero

“Crux” by Jean Guerrero

Goodreads blurb: A daughter’s quest to find, understand, and save her charismatic, troubled, and elusive father, a self-mythologizing Mexican immigrant who travels across continents–and across the borders between imagination and reality; and spirituality and insanity–fleeing real and invented persecutors.

If you are expecting the type of memoir that is a simple recollection of life events, you’re in for a surprise with this one. This story is intense, dramatic, and at times reads like a thriller. Ms. Guerrero’s telling of her search for understanding of her past is un-put-downable. This book is really two stories in one, as the author tells us about her own life as well as her father’s. The intensity of their relationship and experiences is almost overwhelming at times. In addition to the life stories, there is also a good deal of 20th century Mexico history included. I found this quite enlightening, as I quickly realized I know next to nothing about Mexico and its history. I also have never been there but the author did a great job of describing the locations where the story took place. This memoir reads better than much of the fiction out there and I highly recommend you check it out.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Butterfly Garden” by Dot Hutchinson

“The Butterfly Garden” by Dot Hutchinson

Narrated by Lauren Ezzo and Mel Foster

Goodreads blurb: Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding.…

My thoughts: I was expecting this book to be really creepy and scary. But it turns out there’s a real story here and that story is very psychological. The Gardener almost has two personalities. At times he is very kind and considerate of the girls and yet he is holding them captive for his own pleasure. He is up in arms when he finds out one of his sons is abusing the girls but granting them their freedom doesn’t even occur to him. The story is told alternately by the girl Maya and by the FBI agents. I found Maya to be a very intriguing character. Her relationships with the girls and the Gardener are very complex. The twists and turns make the story very compelling. I think the choice to use two narrators was good one for this story and I enjoyed listening to both of them. Overall, I think this story is unique and very well written and narrated. I really enjoyed this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading and Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Sleeper” by Emily Barr

“The Sleeper” by Emily Barr

Narrated by Imogen Church

A deception, wrapped in a disappearance, wrapped in an obsession … all in one book! Lara Finch is an unhappy housewife with a dark secret in her past. When she is offered a job in London she jumps at the chance. She will have to take the sleeper train every Sunday afternoon and return on Friday night. She makes new friends among the regular travelers and loves being back in London. The only downside is the strained she relationships with everyone in her family except her godfather, who absolutely dotes on her even though she’s a grown woman. She has also recently befriended Iris, a lonely woman who lives near her. She too is hiding a deep secret. Then comes the Saturday morning that Lara does not get off the train and one of her traveling companions is found murdered. Is there a connection and where has Lara disappeared to? Iris is determined to find the answers.

Let me just start by saying that you need to read, or listen to, this book. This is a fabulous psychological thriller. Lara is a fascinating character. Sometimes, I found her to be very sympathetic and other times I just wanted to knock some sense into her. Her relationships with her husband and family are very complex and the author did a great job with the development of all the main characters. I found Iris to be the most interesting though. Her story doesn’t really begin until about halfway through the book but once it starts, it’s just irresistible. I had not paid too much attention to the description of the story before I began listening to it, and at first I thought it was just going to be another unhappy wife story. But, oh my gosh, about a third of the way through the story takes a turn that just makes it one of the most compelling thrillers I’ve read in a while. Did I mention how much I enjoyed listening to the narrator? Imogen Church was a great choice for this book. Her narration was irresistible but did not over dramatize. She let the words convey the drama more than her voice. I was very sorry when I had to stop listening to her voice. Bottom line is, I loved the story and the narration, and highly recommend both to you especially if you enjoy psychological thrillers.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading! Happy Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Whisperers” by John Connolly

“The Whisperers” by John Connolly

Charlie Parker Series Book 9

Narrated by Holter Graham

Charlie has been asked to look into the suicide of a young soldier recently returned from Iraq. The father thinks maybe it wasn’t a suicide but Charlie doesn’t really expect to find much. He agrees to look into though. As he begins to look into the young man’s relationships he uncovers a smuggling operation run by the ex-military men that he served with. Goods are moving between Maine and Canada and Charlie suspects the usual, drugs. But as the men in the group start to die it become apparent that something very dark is going on. This is about much more than drugs and if Charlie can’t stop it soon more lives will be lost.

John Connolly just continues to deliver gripping, thrilling stories with this series. The plotline is unexpected and there is nothing formulaic about this book or any others so far in this series. I continue to marvel at the author’s creativity. Louis and Angel are back in this one, but so is The Collector, a totally creepy guy that somehow seems to hover halfway between being human and inhuman. This story has a lot of PTSD in it since the guys involved were a specialized force in Iraq. I found that aspect a little bit challenging to get through but primarily because while I was listening to this a Vietnam vet in my family died, so it felt very close to home. I wouldn’t let that scare you away though, I think the topic is dealt with in a thoughtful way while at the same time highlighting the impact that participating in war can have once you return to “normal” life.

I only thing I was a little disappointed with was the narration. Not the narrator himself because he has a great voice and a great delivery. I just had a hard time picturing Charlie with his particular voice. I think that previous narrators in this series have fit my image of Charlie Parker better, that’s all. Otherwise, this was a great listen and I highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage

“Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage

Creepy, creepy, creepy!!! This is a perfect read for the month of October. Suzette Jensen is happily married to Alex and they have a beautiful 7-year old daughter Hanna. The family looks idyllic from the outside but the secrets lying under the surface may put them in mortal danger. Hanna, for reasons doctors have been unable to diagnose, is mute. She communicates through gestures and facial expressions only. She adores her father but is cool and distant with her mother. She acts out, sometimes violently, when forced to go to school. Suzette strives to be the kind of mother that she herself didn’t have but Hanna’s behavior is beginning to wear her out. In addition, she is still recovering from the most recent of several surgeries she’s had to have for her medical condition. Suzette is feeling trapped and even threatened by her own daughter but will her quest to find help make things better or far, far worse?

This book will scare you and send chills down your spine but it will also challenge your view of the mother/daughter relationship and make you wonder what really goes on in the minds of children. I really liked Suzette from the beginning. Her medical condition makes her very vulnerable but she never gives up fighting and trying to improve as a person. She agonizes over the situation with her daughter and works hard to keep it from intruding into her relationship with Alex. I also really liked Alex, he is wonderful as a father and a husband, even if it takes him a little while to really acknowledge the issues his daughter has. Hanna may be beautiful but she is not a likable child. It seems to be her mission in life to torment her mother. As a mom myself, I found this child frightening and she kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I found this book to be a perfect fit for the time of year, scarier than I had anticipated and impossible to put down.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Tin Rose” by Anne Renwick

“The Tin Rose” by Anne Renwick

An Elemental Web Tale Book 1

This is what I call a short and oh so sweet story. I just adore the world that Anne Renwick has created in this series and this story is no exception. In this one Lady Emily and Luca and racing to find a cure for a deadly poison. Readers were first introduced to these characters in “The Golden Spider” and they continue to delight. This story has romance and action, good and evil all in about 50 pages. Oh, and don’t forget all the cool steampunk contraptions. Short story perfection with this one!

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“A Measure of Darkness” by Jonathan Kellerman & Jesse Kellerman

“A Measure of Darkness” by Jonathan Kellerman & Jesse Kellerman

Clay Edison is a deputy coroner whose last case earned him a suspension. But things are going great with his girlfriend and he’s back at work. Then that middle of the night call comes. There’s been a shooting in an East Bay neighborhood and there are multiple victims, including a Jane Doe. Clay decides to take on identifying Jane, which will turn out to be quite a project. While this is going on, his brother is released from prison and shows up for Thanksgiving with a big surprise.

I think this series is a great collaboration from the Kellermans. In the beginning I wasn’t quite sure what to think about Clay but he quickly grew on me. I loved how the story was not limited to the investigation but brought in the challenges of Clay’s personal life as well. My favorite character though, may well be Clay’s girlfriend. She is so supportive but at the same time has a way of keeping him rooted in reality. I like that this story has a real life feel to it. That being said, the story is full of twists and mysteries and action enough to satisfy any mystery lover. The fact that this story is set in California is just a bonus for me. Definitely check this series out.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating 4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website