#BookReview: Me for You by Lolly Winston

Me for YouSummary:

The last thing Rudy expected was to wake up one Saturday morning, a widow at fifty-four years old. Now, ten months after the untimely death of his beloved wife, he’s still not sure how to move on from the defining tragedy of his life—but his new job is helping. After being downsized from his finance position, Rudy turned to his first love: the piano. Some people might be embarrassed to work as the piano player at Nordstrom, but for Rudy, there’s joy in bringing a little music into the world. And it doesn’t hurt that Sasha, the Hungarian men’s watch clerk who is finally divorcing her no-good husband, finds time to join him at the bench every now and then.

Just when Rudy and Sasha’s relationship begins to deepen, the police come to the store with an update about Rudy’s wife’s untimely death—a coworker has confessed to her murder—but Rudy’s actions are suspicious enough to warrant a second look at him, too. With Sasha’s husband suddenly reappearing, and Rudy’s daughter confronting her own marital problems, suddenly life becomes more complicated than Rudy and Sasha could have imagined.

With Winston’s trademark humor and sweetness that will appeal to readers of Jennifer Weiner and Fredrik Backman but is uniquely her own, Lolly Winston delivers a heartfelt and realistic portrait of loss and grief, hope and forgiveness, and two imperfect people coming together to create a perfect love story.

Review:

Imagine waking up and speaking to your wife as she lay in bed only to discover that she is dead! I could not! That is what drew me in to want to read this book. I thought it was going to have all kinds of drama, but it fell short.

I didn’t find the humor that was spoken of in the summary.

The storylines that had the potential to be exciting were too short! They were over as quickly as they started.

I didn’t find myself falling in love with the main character Rudy because he just fell flat for me and did not touch my heart in any way. And, I was really trying!

Sasha, his coworker was one character that I was finding myself to caring for and her backstory was more interesting than most of the book.

I am beginning to think I may have something against piano music in department stores?? A lot of time was spent there.

Maybe that was where my boredom lied.

Without giving away the ending, I will say that I was very pleased with how the book closed.

This story may appeal to some readers, but it wasn’t to my liking.

2.5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio

The Beautiful StrangersSummary:

A legendary hotel on the Pacific becomes a haven where dreams, love, and a beguiling mystery come alive.
1958. Kate Morgan, tethered to her family’s failing San Francisco restaurant, is looking for an escape. She gets her chance by honoring a cryptic plea from her grandfather: find the beautiful stranger. The search takes her to Hotel del Coronado, the beachfront landmark on the Southern California coast where filming is underway on the movie Some Like It Hot.
For a movie lover like Kate, it’s a fantasy come true. So is the offer of a position at the glamorous hotel. And a new romance is making her heart beat just as fast. But as sure as she is that Coronado is her future, Kate discovers it’s also where the ghosts of the past have come to stay. Sixty years ago a guest died tragically, and she still haunts the hotel’s halls.
As the lives of two women—generations apart—intertwine, Kate’s courageous journey could change more than she ever imagined. And with Coronado wending its way through her soul, she must follow her dreams…wherever they may lead.

Review:

Make room on our bookshelf for The Beautiful Strangers! This book is Epic! I was totally blown away!! I didn’t even realize that I have a penchant for ghost stories and old Hollywood, so I was definitely entranced with this story. I don’t want to give anything away.
I walked away wanting to know more about the main character of the book, and I am sure you will too. Or, at least a trip to Coronado!

Camille Di Maio wrote a story that I absolutely fell in love with. It was unlike any other book I’ve read. She took timelines sixty years apart and wrapped them up like a gift!

You already know the summary, so let me say that Camille really left me breathless.

Until the very last line.

5 Stars Plus.

#BookReview: Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser

Forget You Know MeSummary:

The next “masterful” (Publishers Weekly) novel from “the gifted Jessica Strawser” (Adriana Trigiani), hailed as “immensely satisfying” (Kathleen Barber) and “that book you can’t put down” (Sally Hepworth). A video call between friends captures a shocking incident no one was supposed to see.

The secrets it exposes threaten to change their lives forever.

Molly and Liza have always been enviably close. Even after Molly married Daniel, the couple considered Liza an honorary family member. But after Liza moved away, things grew more strained than anyone wanted to admit—in the friendship and the marriage.
When Daniel goes away on business, Molly and Liza plan to reconnect with a nice long video chat after the kids are in bed. But then Molly leaves the room to check on a crying child.

What Liza sees next will change everything.

Only one thing is certain: Molly needs her. Liza drives all night to be at Molly’s side—but when she arrives, the reception is icy, leaving Liza baffled and hurt. She knows there’s no denying what she saw.
Or is there?

In disbelief that their friendship could really be over, Liza is unaware she’s about to have a near miss of her own.

And Molly, refusing to deal with what’s happened, won’t turn to Daniel, either.
But none of them can go on pretending. Not after this.

Forget You Know Me is a “twisty, emotionally complex, powder keg of a tale” (bestselling author Emily Carpenter) about the wounds of people who’ve grown apart. Best friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain.

One moment will change things for them all.

Review:

I thought it was going to be a suspenseful story, which it was not. It was more of a woman’s fiction novel. In that genre I would say it would have done better, but I never knew which way this story was going. It was frustrating.

Even what should have grabbed me at the beginning of the story just did not; I got exciting for a few pages, but it did not last long.

I was disappointed to say the least. Liza and Molly were not characters that drew me in even as I kept reading.

By the end of the book I was given a lesson on relationships, and I guess that was not what I was looking for. But I do not want to say the book was bad, because Strawser is a talented writer, as far as writing skills go. She really made me connect to the scenes.
It is truly the story of friendship, love and loyalty.

It just was not for me, because it was not what I was expecting.

3 Stars.

#BookReview: The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

Summary:The Night Olivia Fell

In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?

Review:

Christina McDonald wrote an emotionally charged suspense novel introducing many characters that each grew on me; by the end of the novel I was invested in each of them and the outcome that I cried when it was uncovered.

It begins when Abi Knight is awoken in the middle of the night when her phone rings to discover that her daughter has been in an accident. She has fallen off a bridge and the accident has left her brain dead, but to everyone’s surprise she is pregnant!! So, they are to keep her on life support long enough for the baby to be born.

The story is about that fight for the baby’s life and the fight for the justice that Abi is fighting for. It is believed the fall was that of an accident, but Abi knows her daughter was involved in something much more sinister. She is not going to give up until she finds out the truth. What is the truth? Was it an accident or was she involved in a crime? I was truly gripped in the outcome.

We are told the story from both Abi and Olivia’s side which was a stunning way to tell the story and the writing was magnificent! A truly splendid story if you want to be drawn in and read a book that will not let you go!

I will be back for more by Christina McDonald!

5 Stars.

PS. I LOVED THE COVER!!

#BookReview: A Serial Killer’s Daughter by Kerri Rawson

Serial Killers DaughterSummary:

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?

In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichitacelebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.
Written with candor and extraordinary courage, A Serial Killer’s Daughter is an unflinching exploration of life with one of America’s most infamous killers and an astonishing tale of personal and spiritual transformation. For all who suffer from unhealed wounds or the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, and anger, Kerri Rawson’s story offers the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness, rebuilding a life in the shadow of death, and learning to forgive the unforgivable.
“No easy answers here. No platitudes. Only raw honesty, written with the gracious authority of one who has glimpsed hell. Kerri Rawson shares her earned wisdom and a hope that has been bought with tears and nightmares. This book is a gritty must-read in the library of hope.”
—Paul J. Pastor, author of The Face of the Deep and The Listening Day

Review:

This is such a sad story. This was a truly inconceivable story. When we watch the stories of Serial Killers, we forget that they not only have parents, but some may even have children.
This is the story Kerri Rawson tells of her life with her father Dennis Lynn Rader, the BTK Killer (Bind, Torture, Kill) He killed ten innocent people, two of them being children over three decades. During this time, he is the head of a family. Loving to his wife, Paula; to bring his daughter Kerri “to ease” when she needed to be soothed, and caring to his son, Brian. Kerri was never uncertain of her father’s love for her.
While she struggles with her faith throughout her life because their family suffers so much loss and their grief is huge, she tells us the story about how she dealt with her life and how her father seemingly dealt with the same circumstances.
You learn that the BTK Killer left behind more then ten victims. His entire family suffered the consequences of his actions.
The question is; will they recover?

3.5 Stars

#BookReview: Wildflower Heart by Grace Greene

Wildflower Heart

Summary:

Kara Hart was scarred by loss—first the loss of her mother and now her husband. She feels broken, with no will to move forward, until her father does the unexpected: he moves to the Virginia countryside to restore an old Victorian mansion. Kara decides to go with him, telling herself that it will only be temporary.
The huge house is neglected and derelict, but Kara discovers its breathtaking field of wildflowers and is stunned by their beauty. The house, the grounds, and the quirky neighbors—including a handsome one—are almost as fascinating as her father’s sudden willingness to discuss her mother and his own secret past.
Kara is finding her new normal when tragedy strikes again, forcing her to make difficult choices. Will she go back to her old life and risk losing all she has gained? Or will she face her fears and give herself the opportunity to grow?

Review:

I had to read this book because two of my favorite authors, Patricia Sands and Bette Lee Crosby were recommending it. I have to say that their recommendation was fabulous!! I am grateful I read it and look forward to the next in this series, as this is just book 1 in “The Wildflower House Book” Series. I also want to read her other novels. This is very exciting! I love being introduced to an author that I will be following.

We meet Kara who enters wildly into the story, there is no slow lead up; which I loved! Grace Greene uses the wildflower both literally and figuratively throughout the story until the very end. Her writing is very poetic, so you really feel as though are where Kara is during each scene. It is truly beautiful.

This is the story of Kara’s journey of recovery from a tragic event that occurred when she heard heartbreaking news from her husband, Niles on their anniversary. She was able to depend on her Father, even though he may have been the “king of Understatements”; he was still the one that she could count on when it really mattered. Loss. Regret. Forgiveness. Grief. Family. Love. Are all intermixed in this story, like the seeds of wildflowers. Characters you don’t want to say goodbye to; which always makes the best stories!

The way she describes the wildflower garden. Let’s just say, my 12-degree day was definitely warmer!

Well Done!

This is a great cup of tea, warm blanket or sitting by the seaside read.

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Watching You by Lisa Jewell

306e90eb-e19b-43ad-8402-64b4286b4930Summary:

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

In Lisa Jewell’s latest brilliant “bone-chilling suspense” (People) no one is who they seem—and everyone is hiding something. Who has been murdered—and who would have wanted one of their neighbors dead? As “Jewell teases out her twisty plot at just the right pace” (Booklist, starred review), you will be kept guessing until the startling revelation on the very last page.

Review:

Bravo! Lisa Jewell delivers another nail-biting thriller that unfolds with the same alluring anticipation that all of her other books do! This always invites you to never put the book down.

One thing I loved most about this story was that I never really knew who the center of the story was because there were so many interesting stories going on at once and one never lingered long enough for me to quite figure it out. It kept me guessing; On top of the guessing who has been killed!

We meet a group of people living in a town outside of London and get to know them. Intimately!

They get to know one anther intimately.

Some because they choose to, and some don’t even know they are being watched and someone is learning all about them.

I was left clapping my hands at the end.

5 Stars.

#BookReview & #GiveAway: Liar Liar by Sarah Flint On Tour

 

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Liar LiarFrom the bestselling author of Mummy’s Favourite and The Trophy Taker.

DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford returns with a superb new, brutally gripping serial killer thriller, where the hunter becomes the hunted. Perfect for the fans of Angela Marsons.
A faithful dog lies wounded beside the mutilated body of its owner.

A woman is discovered bound and gagged, dead in her own bed.

Both are police officers.

Both have a red rose at their side… worryingly more will follow…
Lies and accusations abound but who is behind the murders and why are the victims being targeted?
Charlie, Hunter and the team must find the killer targeting their own before another body is found.

Review:

I often enjoy a criminal fiction novel that is written by an author with a background in the field, and Sarah Flint was no exception. She has a career spanning over 35 years serving with the Metropolitan Police in London.
She starts off with the suspense at the very first few pages, and does not let you go until the very end. This is definitely a gripping crime novel that will keep you guessing, and we all know that is what makes these novels so intriguing. It felt as though this story was very personal for Sarah Flint. Maybe it was because the story involved police officers being murdered. I am not quite sure; but, it definitely had a realness to it.
This being the 3rd in the DC Charlotte “Charlie” Stafford Series does not make it any less understandable, so it can definitely stand alone. However, it does make me want to add the other two to my To-Read shelf; which I have done.
I really enjoyed her characters DC Charlie and DI Hunter, which made it all the more exciting. I am hoping there is more for Charlie. We shall see…

5 Stars.

GIVEAWAY: LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED INTO A GIVEAWAY OF EBOOK COPY. WINNER ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 15th.

#LiarLiar #NetGalley @McHorsky @TheWriteReview

 

#BookReview & #GiveAway: Parrot Talk by David B. Seaburn On Tour

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Parrot TalkSummary:

At the age of 14 and 11, brothers, Lucas and Grinder’s mother has left them and their alcoholic father. They never hear from her again.
Out of the blue a friend of their mother, Janice, contacts Lucas with the news that their mother has died. She asks them to come to Pittsburgh to take care of her effects, chief among them being Paul. Reluctantly, Lucas and Grinder head for Pittsburgh where they meet Janice and learn that Paul is their mother’s African grey parrot. Turns out that Paul has things to say that turn the brothers’ worlds upside down, especially regarding their mother.
This is a humorous look at matters of consequence—abandonment, alcoholism, grief and loss of a mother, living without clear answers, the relationship between brothers, separation and reconciliation and hope. It is also about a father who carries a piece of Jesus with him in a Ziploc baggie, a parrot who likes to get stoned, and a brother who cleans dead animals off the streets for a living.

Review:

David B. Seaburn captures the true essence of what children go through when one parent walks out on them leaving them with the parent that cares more about the beer bottle. The love that Lucas and Grinder have for one another is palpable throughout each page; most vividly as I got to the end of the story. I was in love with the two of these characters.
While I did not care for Martha at all, she had her place within the fabric of the story being told. I was happier once I realized that importance, because she was growing old on me. Even Pop won my heart.
Using Paul, their Mother’s African Grey Parrot as a bridge of love between Mother and son was such a genius idea. It was not only riveting; it was endearing. I only wanted that bird to be safe by the time I finished this book. I bet you will wish the same!
This was a super fast read, great for a one-nighter!

3.5 Stars.

GIVEAWAY: LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED INTO A GIVEAWAY OF YOUR CHOICE, PRINT OR EBOOK COPY. WINNER ANNOUNCED NOVEMBER 8TH.

Excerpt:

Parrot Talk by David B. Seaburn
Introduction to excerpt: Grinder discovers Paul, the parrot, lying on his back in the bathtub. Turns out Paul pilfered a bag of marijuana from a suitcase in their motel room and then proceeded to eat some of it. This leads to an emergency visit to the vet’s where Grinder immediately become enamored with their veterinarian, Grace.

“Paul?” Grinder knelt down beside the tub, but Paul didn’t seem to notice he was there. In fact, Paul didn’t move. He didn’t blink. But when a drip fell from the faucet, he made what could only be called a laughing sound. “Hee eee eee eee aww.” Then he fell silent again, watching and waiting.
“Paul? Buddy?” Grinder reached for Paul but another drip was about to fall. Paul opened his mouth in delight and squealed.
“Wow.” Paul’s lids were at half-mast. The corners of his mouth were drawn up in a goofy grin. Another drip. Paul’s stomach shuddered with a deep guffaw. He blinked slowly.
Grinder reached for Paul and patted his belly. “Hey.”
Paul startled when he recognized Grinder. “Hey, man.” He stood up and then slipped and fell on his side. He laughed. “Do that thing again,” he said to the faucet.
“Paul, are you okay?” But Paul was pecking affectionately at his reflection in the chrome fixture. “Paul?” He put his hand on Paul’s back, steadying him because he was about to fall again.
“Paul hungry, Paul hungry. Dorito time, Millie. Dorito time. Millie, Millie.” Paul waddled to the back slope of the bathtub, dropped down on the porcelain and slid on his belly toward the faucet. “Oooooooooooo-eeeee!”
“What the hell.”
Paul rolled over and looked at Grinder through blood shot eyes. “Dorito time, Millie; Dorito time.”
Grinder scurried to the mini-bar and retrieved a bag of Doritos. He tore them open and held one out to Paul who grabbed the bag instead and ripped it apart. He munched furiously while watching for another drip.
When Grinder slipped out of the room to get a bag of nuts, he noticed his duffel bag, which lay open on the floor. Beside it was a Ziploc baggie, a hole gnawed through it and marijuana buds scattered on the carpet. “Shit.” He picked up the remaining pot and flushed it down the toilet while Paul stood in the bathtub, mesmerized by his shiny new chrome friend.
Grinder leafed through the phone book and found a number for the Greater Pittsburgh Animal Urgent Care Center.
“Hello…yes, it’s an emergency…uh huh, my bird…a parrot…okay, yeah, well, I think he’s ODed on some weed…yes, marijuana…no, I didn’t give it to him…no, he doesn’t smoke…ate it, uh huh…okay, okay.”
Grinder went back into the bathroom where Paul had just discovered the shower head.
“Look!” he said.
“C’mon, buddy.” Grinder took a face towel and wrapped it around Paul and cradled him in his arms, Doritos falling from Paul’s mouth.
“More crunchy, more crunchy.”
Grinder opened the mini-bar again and grabbed another bag. He reached for the car keys on the counter and tiptoed past Lucas and Martha’s room.
“Weeeeeeeeeee,” said Paul.
When they arrived at the Urgent Care Center, they were immediately ushered into an exam room where they waited for another fifteen minutes. Paul’s mood had changed. He was singin’ the blues.
“Nobody knows the trouble…”
Grinder tried to perch him on the back of a chair, hoping it would help Paul regain his balance. Wobbly at first, soon Paul was able to stand steady with barely a wing shuffle. Minutes later, he was ambulating without any visible sign of difficulty. His mood, though, hadn’t improved.
“Millie gone.”
“I know, buddy.” Grinder pulled him a little closer. Paul noticed the bag of Doritos and dove in.
When the exam room door opened, Grinder watched as a tall, waifish, middle-agey woman entered the room, her stringy brown bangs covering her ample forehead unevenly. She pushed her horn rimmed glasses up her beak-like nose and clutched a medical chart to her chest. She wore a beige shell, an indifferent knee-length dress and New Balance sneakers. Her hair was pulled back on both sides with yellow barrettes. And her eyes were large a saucers and brown as Hershey’s kisses. She smiled, her teeth as bright as piano keys, her face as welcoming as a summer sunrise. Grinder’s mouth fell open at the sight of her.
“Hello, I’m Dr. Napolitano, one of the vets. You can call me Grace.”
Grinder held his breath. His brain went all monosyllabic on him. “Uh. Wha. Ha.” She extended her hand and it hung out there for an inordinately long time. Grinder knew what it was but didn’t appear to know what to do with it. Instead he grinned a big toothy grin and then snorted when he finally took a breath. He reached for her hand just as she withdrew it. But she kindly reached out again and he took hold of her thumb. To his credit he let go almost immediately.
“Oh. I’m sorry.” Grinder was still grinning.
She laughed, a sweet, lilting laugh. “Let’s try that again.”
This time Grinder was on his game. He took her hand gently in his and shook it an appropriate number of times before letting go. Success. He slumped into his chair again, then quickly straightened his back. He combed his hair with his fingers and cleared his throat. Her hand had been soft, her palm silky and warm to the touch. She reached for Paul, scratched his head and caressed his back slowly. “Hello there, you must be Paul,” she said in a near whisper. “You’ve been through a lot.” She caught Grinder’s eye and smiled knowingly. “Both of you have, I guess.”

About David B. SeaburnDavid Seaburn
David B. Seaburn has been a Presbyterian pastor of a small country church, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at a leading university medical center, a pioneer in the field of Medical Family Therapy, and a prolific author.
Since 2005, Seaburn has published six novels. His newest, ‘Parrot Talk’, was released in May 2017 by Black Rose Writing. He also writes a blog for Psychology Today magazine, “Going Out Not Knowing.” Seaburn was a Finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards in fiction for his novel, ‘Charlie No Face’ (2011). He is currently an instructor at Writers and Books in Rochester NY. Seaburn is married with two married daughters and two wonderful granddaughters. A third grandchild is on the way.

Website: www.davidbseaburn.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/david.seaburn
Twitter: twitter.com/dseaburn

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#BookReview: The Girl without a Name by Sandra Block

YOU COULD WIN THIS BOOK AND PART 1 TO THIS ON MONDAY!!!The Girl without a NameThis book was fabulous!  I wish it was not over, and I can only hope there is more to come! Sandra Block is a magnificent story teller!! A psychological thriller at its best! I need to go back and read Sandra Blocks first story with Dr. Zoe Goldman, “Little Black Lies”.

The story begins with a patient being admitted…..

Read the rest of this review at Chick Lit Plus:

http://chicklitplus.com/bookreview-the-girl-without-a-name-by-sandra-block/