Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Women in the Castle

Book: The Women in the Castle
Author: Jessica Shattuck

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resistor murdered in the failed July, 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First, Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naïve Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resistor’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.-Goodreads

Review: After WWII, Marianne returns to her family castle and upholds a promise to her late husband, who was executed as a conspirator: she will find the widows of other conspirators and try to protect them. Marianne is a force of nature. She sets a goal and then goes out to achieve it. She is strong willed, principled and tenacious. She locates Martin, the son of her childhood best friend, and then locates her friend's widow, Benita. She then finds Ania, another wife and her two sons. They live together trying to rebuild and face trials and tribulations along the way. 

This was a very interesting read. I've read a lot of WWII books and this was a different perspective. Fans of WWII fiction should give this one a try. 

Grade: 4/5

Dating You / Hating You

Book: Dating You / Hating You
Author: Christina Lauren

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human?-Goodreads

Review: Carter and Evie are both talents in LA. They meet at a friend's Halloween party and hit it off. I loved how they met and loved their dynamic. Their companies end up merging and they find themselves competing for the same position at work. There is absolute tension as they try to impress their boss, serve their clients and try to ignore the sexual tension between them. 

This was cute. It was more of a book about the talent industry in LA with a side of romance. Christina Lauren books are known for their humor but other than chuckling when they first met, I never laughed again. They end up playing pranks on either other that I found mean spirited than funny. 

Overall, a cute, fast read. 

Grade: 3/5

The Autobiography of Santa Claus

Book: The Autobiography of Santa Claus
Series: The Christmas Chronicles #1
Author: Jeff Guinn

It all started when Jeff Guinn was assigned to write a piece full of little-known facts about Christmas for his paper, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A few months later, he received a call from a gentleman who told him that he showed the story to an important friend who didn't think much of it. And who might that be? asked Jeff. The next thing he knew, he was whisked off to the North Pole to meet with this "very important friend," and the rest is, well, as they say, history.

An enchanting holiday treasure, The Autobiography of Santa Claus combines solid historical fact with legend to deliver the definitive story of Santa Claus. And who better to lead us through seventeen centuries of Christmas magic than good ol' Saint Nick himself? Families will delight in each chapter of this new Christmas classic-one per each cold December night leading up to Christmas!-Goodreads

Review: The first third of this book is fantastic-we learn about a young, wealthy boy who wanted to help those around him. Eventually he became known as Saint Nicholas. I absolutely loved this section. The book started to reach eye rolling territory when he became this magical person who got help for a random assortment of historical figures throughout the years (Attila the Hun...King Arthur...Leonardo a famous person and they were probably thrown in there). I think my 9 year old would love this though, I might read it with her. 

Grade: 2/5

Tower of Dawn

Book: Tower of Dawn
Series: Throne of Glass #6
Author: Sarah J. Maas

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.-Goodreads

Review: I excitedly downloaded this book and after a few chapters realized...this is Chaol's story told during the same timeline as the previous book. Manon. Boo! I am not a Chaol fan. He went from nice but kind of boring guy to jerk pretty quickly in the previous books. I guess this was the author's attempt to rehabilitate him. Did we need almost 700 pages to do that? I don't think so. This could have been a novella or a much shorter book. Chaol and his love interest, Yrene, were about as exciting as watching paint dry. And they way she ended up healing him....nothing exciting about that. I did enjoy Nesryn's story arc and that was the saving grace of the entire book. The only important plot point was about Maeve. 

I have high hopes for book #7 in this series. 

Grade: 2/5

The Bat

Book: The Bat
Series: Harry Hole #1
Author: Jo Nesbø

Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl, who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Inger had a number of admirers, each with his own share of secrets, but there is no obvious suspect, and the pattern of the other crimes seems impossible to crack. Then a circus performer is brutally murdered followed by yet another young woman. Harry is in a race against time to stop highly intelligent killer, who is bent on total destruction.-Goodreads
Review: I was at the movies recently and saw a preview for a new Michael Fassbender thriller called 'The Snowman.' I thought it was an odd title and researched it...and was thrilled to discover it's based off of a book series called Harry Hole (oddly enough, they made book #7 into a movie but none of the earlier ones). Reading reviews, I discovered book 1 was translated into English after several of the later books were already published and several fans said book 1 isn't the best but don't give up. Okay...I went into it with low expectations. 

Harry Hole is a Norwegian detective who is sent to Sydney when a Norwegian woman (who is somewhat of a local celebrity) is murdered there. Harry teams up with a local detective and they work the case. 

I actually enjoyed this one. Harry Hole is an acquired taste. While he initially came off as someone with no personality, we slowly learn about his background and his past. He is a man with a lot (A LOT) of personal issues. There was a good amount of Aboriginal history that was pretty interesting and I really liked the dynamic between Harry and Andrew (the Sydney police officer he worked with).

I will definitely continue with the series. 

Grade: 3/5

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Book: Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Author: Mark Sullivan

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.-Goodreads

Review: This was my first WWII book from an Italian perspective and Pino Lella certainly lived an incredible life. The story itself is worthy of 5 stars. An Italian teenager is sent to a boys school is northern Italy and ends up smuggling people across the Alps into Switzerland. He returns home, enlists in the war and becomes the driver for a Nazi general reporting directly to Hitler. He spies on his boss while friends and family revile him for being a Nazi. Fascinating, right? I wish this story had been written by someone else because while the story and plot points are amazing, the writing was mediocre at best. At points I thought a middle school student had written it. I was shocked when I finished the book and saw Sullivan has co-authored things with James Patterson and is an award winning author. Say what?!

Overall-amazing storyline, poor execution. This would be a great movie or mini-series though. 

Grade: 2.5/5

At Her Own Risk

Book: At Her Own Risk
Author: Rachel Duncan

That’s all it was supposed to be. No strings attached, no feelings, no heartache.
But if I thought Sean Riley would be content having only parts of me, I was dead wrong. His persistence wore me down and I found myself in the one situation I was trying to avoid.
Little does he know a life with me will lead to nothing but disappointment and heartbreak. He’s a good man and deserves everything I can’t give him. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’m unable.
Pushing him away in the beginning was to protect me, now I’m trying to protect him as I gear up for the fight of my life.
A fight I could lose.
Getting into a relationship was my risk, but as things get worse, I’m not the only one who will have something to lose.
I just hope it’s worth it.-Goodreads

Review:  Wow-this was a fabulous surprise. 

I grab her wrist and pull her to me until she’s an inch from me. “I promise this is the best dumb decision you’ve ever made.”

Sean has been pursuing Paige for years with cheesy pickup lines. Paige doesn't do boyfriends but eventually, she gives into Sean's charms and they begin a 'sex only' relationship. Sean wants more, but he's willing to wait. What I thought would be a cute romance turned into a much more serious book. I loved Sean and Paige together! My only complaint was that Paige's reason for avoiding relationships was never very clear, other than she's been hurt in the past (seriously, Sean was so amazing, how she resisted him for so long is beyond me!). Turns out that while this isn't officially part of a series, there are 2 other books about Paige's friends. I will definitely be reading those and hopefully they provide more insight into Paige's prior relationships. 

Overall, awesome read!

Grade: 4/5

Missing, Presumed

Book: Missing, Presumed
Series: DS Manon #1
Author: Susie Steiner

Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?-Goodreads

Review: DS Manon Bradshaw is 39 years old and feels the clock ticking. After another failed internet date, she's called in to help on a missing persons cases. Edith, a Cambridge post-graduate student, has been reported missing by her boyfriend. Edith's father is a physician and personal friend of the Home Secretary, so there is a lot of pressure to solve this quickly. 

This book reminded me of 'Unraveling Oliver' in that is doesn't read like a typical thriller. If you are looking for a fast paced, James Patterson-esque book, you will be sorely disappointed. This is more 'fiction with a side of mystery' if that makes any sense. I enjoyed Steiner's writing style and I liked DS Manon. The victim, Edith, was a horrible, horrible person, and it's always challenging reading a book when you don't really care what happened to the individual. Overall, I liked this one and will definitely continue with the series. 

Grade: 3/5

He Said/She Said

Book: He Said/She Said
Author: Erin Kelly

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim's life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.-Goodreads

Review: Kit and Laura are eclipse chasers (Interestingly enough, I read this in August when the solar eclipse was about to happen and all things eclipse related was all over the news). Laura witnesses a rape at a festival in 1999 and testifies at the trial. She later reconnects with the victim and something happens that is so bad, Kit and Laura change their names, stay off the grid and live in fear of this woman for years. 

This was well written but my biggest challenge is that the plot was so slow and boring (and both Kit and Laura weren't that likable) that I was imaging some really crazy thing that must have happened to cause the whole 'living off the grid' thing. By the time the end came around with the 'big reveal' I was left disappointed and kept thinking "really, that's it?"

Overall, a well-written book with a slow plot and unlikable characters. 

Grade: 2/5

The Brightest Sunset

Book: The Brightest Sunset
Series: The Darkest Sunrise #2
Author: Aly Martinez

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Words destroyed me.
“I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.”
“Daddy, he can’t breathe!”
“There’s nothing more we can do for your son.”
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
More lies.
Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me.
Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness.
“He’s gone.”
In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise.
“Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”-Goodreads

Review: It's difficult to review this book without giving away major spoilers from the first book. This was a satisfying conclusion, although not as engrossing or heartfelt as book 1. Overall, a good series that would make a fabulous Lifetime movie!

Grade: 3/5

The Darkest Sunrise

Book: The Darkest Sunrise
Series: The Darkest Sunrise #1
Author: Aly Martinez

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience.
“You’re pregnant.”
“It’s a boy.”
“Your son needs a heart transplant.”
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun.
Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky.
“He’s gone.”
For ten years, the darkness consumed me.
In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise.
“Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”-Goodreads

Review: Charlotte is taking her infant out for a walk when she stops to help a stranger. In the blink of an eye, someone steals her baby. Ten years later, Charlotte is a successful doctor but she has never been able to forget her son or form any meaningful relationships with men. When she meets Porter Reese, she finally begins open up. But are his feelings for her genuine? 

Note to whoever works at the Lifetime network-this (along with book #2) would make an excellent movie. This is heart-breaking on so many levels. Yes, it's clear what the 'big twist' will be almost immediately but I didn't even care-Martinez really wrote both Charlotte and Porter so well I couldn't wait to see how things unfolded. I also almost teared up at times, which rarely happens. This book has renewed my faith in Kindle Unlimited. 

Grade: 4/5

Friday, October 6, 2017

When I'm Gone

Book: When I'm Gone
Author: Emily Bleeker

Dear Luke,
First let me say—I love you... I didn’t want to leave you...

Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for—a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.

The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on—in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.-Goodreads

Review: Have you ever read a book and wished you had those hours of your life back? This is one of those books. The premise sounds great. When Luke's wife of 16 years dies, he starts receiving letters in the mail. Oddly enough, these letters do absolutely nothing to show the strong love or bond between Luke and Natalie and the letters stop mid-way through the book. Luke has zero (I repeat, ZERO) personality and the author threw in so many subplots (abusive relationships, teen pregnancy, etc) it was like the author had a checklist of things she wanted to throw in there. This could have been executed better and made the book interesting, but with Luke at the helm...nope, boring, contrived and there are so many coincidences it was beyond unbelievable. As for Natalie herself, when we finally learn 'the big reveal' I am not surprised her mother hated Luke. 

Skip this one unless you are looking for a Lifetime drama with boring characters. 

Grade: 1/5

The Arrangement

Book: The Arrangement
Author: Sarah Dunn

Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They've got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It's the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school's "hot lunch," dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, "chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife's version of chopping wood."

When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they've made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There's a part of her, though-the part that worries she's become too comfortable being invisible-that's intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she's known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-"real life," or the "experiment?"-Goodreads

Review: Lucy and Owen are a happily married couple in their late 30s when they learn their friends are trying an open marriage. Lucy and Owen initially laugh off the idea but soon find themselves agreeing to a 6-month trial. They agree on some ground rules: don't tell any of their friends what they are doing, don't "date" anyone in town, and keep it physical and non-emotional. Easy-peasy, what could possibly go wrong? 

In the first chapter, Lucy and Owen are hosting their friend's at their house when the friends tell them about their newly open marriage. There was nothing organic about this conversation and for the life of me, I could not imagine that conversation taking place in real life, especially because they did not seem like very close friends. The conversation was necessary for the plot of the book, so let's move forward. The book immediately picked up momentum and what I initially thought would be a popcorn type read, had some very astute observations about married life. We follow Owen, Lucy as well as several people in their small town. 

Overall, a very good read. 

Some good quotes:

You people with your “evolved” marriages, the ones with the fifty-fifty housework and shared earning power, the ones who tell each other everything, always, and don’t believe in secrets? Does that describe your marriage? Show of hands? I have a question for you: How’s that working out for you in the bedroom?

This is a divorce you guys are looking at. This is a divorce in slow motion.

Because this was what he came home to every night: A woman wearing saggy old workout clothes that she never worked out in, that had somehow become her pajamas and the clothes she went to the grocery store in and the clothes she wore around the house all day, with her dirty hair pulled back in a ponytail and who looked like she’d just been run over by a sedan.

Grade: 4/5

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Book: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.-Goodreads

Review: Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She wakes up, she goes to work, she eats and she sleeps. On the weekends she treats herself to pizza and vodka, and once a week she talks to her mother on the phone. She has no friends but that's okay, Eleanor is fine with that. When Eleanor and Raymond, the IT guy at work save a man who fell on the sidewalk, Eleanor's life is changed forever. 

Have you ever a read a book that kind of sneaks up on you and surprises you? This book did. I honestly don't know where I ever heard about this book, I think my kindle recommended it to me based on something I had read so I downloaded it without even reading what it is about. It was a slow burn. Eleanor annoyed me at first, she's very cut and dry and brutally honest about things (I'm not sure if she was supposed to have Asperger syndrome but I think it's a possibility). There was some humor in her bluntness which I appreciated though as the book went on. I really loved this, it was sad but uplifting and makes me want to hug all the office loners next time I go to corporate. 

Some of the quotes I highlighted:

I do not light up a room when I walk into it. No one longs to see me or to hear my voice. I do not feel sorry for myself, not in the least. These are simply statements of fact.

If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.

I have often noticed that people who routinely wear sportswear are the least likely sort to participate in athletic activity.

Grade: 5/5


Book: Wildfire
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
Author: Ilona Andrews

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.-Goodreads

Review: If you know me, you know I love the writing team of Ilona Andrews. I am always excited to read their books and I hope readers can look past the cheesy covers of this particular series and give it a try. It's a ton of fun. It's a perfect mix of urban fantasy, romance and mystery. I wasn't sure anyone could top Kate Daniels for me, but Nevada is giving her a run for her money. 

I thought the central plot in this book (Rogan's ex-fiance's husband has been kidnapped) was a more interesting storyline than the previous book. Cornelius is a good addition to Nevada's team and I love her sisters and cousins. I was worried about the Nevada/Rogan dynamic since they were 'together' the entire book but their relationship was handled well (i.e. I wasn't bored with them as a couple). My only complaint about this book was...where was Augustine?? He's one of my favorite side characters, I hope he has a role in the next installment. 

Overall, loved it!

Grade: 5/5

Unraveling Oliver

Book: Unraveling Oliver
Author: Liz Nugent

Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children’s books; their life together one of enviable privilege and ease—until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious, and subsequently beats her into a coma.

In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death, the couple’s friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such a horrific act. As his story unfolds, layers are peeled away to reveal a life of shame, envy, deception, and masterful manipulation.-Goodreads

Review: "I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her."

Best opening sentence ever? Quite possibly. And yes, I'm quoting this like every other reviewer but this is such an explosive way to start off a book, I can't help myself. 

Oliver and Alice have been married for over 30 years and are a successful writing/illustrating team for a popular children's book series. They seem to have a good life until Oliver snaps one day and beats her into a coma. Now, readers expecting a fast paced thriller will be sorely disappointed. This is not a thriller in any conventional sense. We know who and what, but we don't know why. The book is more of a character study of Oliver, told in alternating narratives of people who knew him at different points in their lives, as well as Oliver himself. 

So why did Oliver do it? Is he a sociopath? Personally, I don't think so.While reading this I kept thinking "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Make no mistake-Oliver is a not a good man.  But Nugent was successful in creating a backstory for him that earned my pity. 

Overall-very interesting read. 

Grade: 4/5

The Good Daughter

Book: The Good Daughter
Author: Karin Slaughter

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville's notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case that unleashes the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried forever…-Goodreads

Review: What a ride! From start to finish, I was engaged in the story and wanted to drop everything to read. The book begins in a small town in north Georgia where the Quinn family is forever changed when a horrible murder takes place. 28 years later, Charlie Quinn, who was 13 year when original crime took place, is now an attorney. She soon finds herself involved in another case and things soon get complicated.

This was fast paced and engaging. I seriously loved almost everything about this book. Charlie's father, a defense attorney in town who has no qualms about representing the most heinous criminals, is not well liked. He came off as a caricature at times and not a real person but there was a scene toward the end that humanized him. Overall, which the present day 'crime' was not difficult to figure out, this was a fun read. 

Grade: 4.5/5