Welcome to Kathy’s Book Bag

I Am Now A Blogger

With so many fun book challenges to participate in, I could no longer be without a blog.  I intend for the blog to help me keep track of my reading for the year as well as my progress on the challenges I choose to join.

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By popcorn317 Posted in Books

Book Description:

Published: July 12, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

Review-

“The traumatic memories of a teenager’s rape are medically erased, but lingering thoughts of the attack remain, infecting everyone in her close-knit community.

15-year-old Jenny Kramer thought the party she’d been invited to would be the moment when she’d finally blossom, maybe even get a moment alone with the dashing Doug Hastings. Instead she found herself drunk, in the woods, the victim of a vicious hourlong rape, of which Walker spares the reader no detail in this unnecessarily explicit debut. After she’s rushed to the hospital, Jenny’s parents—blubbering car salesman Tom and tightly put together homemaker Charlotte —decide to give her an experimental drug cocktail to erase her memories of the attack. If the process were successful, there’d be no book, so enter the skin-crawlingly smug narrator, soon introduced as psychiatrist Dr. Alan Forrester, who begins treating Jenny, along with her whole family, after her nearly successful suicide attempt. It’s difficult to empathize with a character—our narrator no less—who looks at a 15-year-old assault victim and wonders to himself “why [he] could not see the rape in her eyes.” As the well-to-do enclave of Fairview, Connecticut, tries to regroup in the wake of zero viable suspects, Tom Kramer makes it his mission to find Jenny’s rapist, jumping on every slim lead, like the sighting of a blue Honda Civic near the party and  a boy in a blue sweatshirt.  The introduction of one of Alan’s other patients, a soldier who endured the same treatment as Jenny, merely clutters an already busy story whose resolution is anything but satisfying.

A repugnant narrator, even an unreliable one, makes it difficult to focus on the true victim, one who is crushed under the weight of this ridiculous plot.” from Kirkus Reviews

I couldn’t have said it better. As the book went on I began to wonder if indeed the rape of Jenny and her well-being was the focus of the story or if it was the Doctor Forrester and his well-being. To tell you the truth, I still don’t know.

Don’t waste your time.

 

Fatal by John Lescroart

Book Description:

Published: January 24, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Kate loves her life. At forty-four, she’s happily married to her kind husband, Ron, blessed with two wonderful children, and has a beautiful home in San Francisco. Everything changes, however, when she and Ron attend a dinner party and meet another couple, Peter and Jill. Kate and Peter only exchange a few pleasant words but that night, in bed with her husband, Kate is suddenly overcome with a burning desire for Peter.

What begins as an innocent crush soon develops into a dangerous obsession and Kate’s fixation on Peter results in one intense, passionate encounter between the two. Confident that her life can now go back to normal, Kate never considers that Peter may not be so willing to move on.

Not long after their affair, a masked man barges into the café Kate is sitting in with her best friend, firing an assault weapon indiscriminately into the crowd. This tragedy is the first in a series of horrifying events that will show Kate just how grave the consequences of one mistake can be.

 

Review-

“Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive”  Sir Walter Scott

This simple statement perfectly sums up the moral of this story, and what a story it is!

This was  my first reading of a John Lescroart book and I loved it.  I found the storyline to be very on point and the characters very credible. 

In today’s society of “instant gratification” the consequences of actions are rarely considered and that was the problem with Kate having a “one night stand” with Peter.

Along with her infidelity, there is a domestic terror attack, a murder and multiple suspects, and a friend who doesn’t know her best friend as well as she thought she did.

The author  serves up a brilliant whodunit mystery that had me holding my breath until the very end, which is perfect, by the way, if not a little frustrating.

Fantastic standalone read.

Five stars!!!!!

 

No One Left to Tell (Baltimore #2) by Karen Rose

Book Description:

Published: June 2012

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A car crashes in front of rookie PI Paige Holden’s home. And suddenly, she finds one of her pro bono clients dying in her arms—from a gunshot wound. With her last breath, the woman whispers cryptic words into her ear and hands her a blood-smeared flash drive.

Five years ago, State’s Attorney Grayson Smith put a murderer behind bars. But when Paige Holden shares the flash drive with him, its contents cast doubts on the conviction—and lead him and Paige into a world of blackmail, dark secrets, and a decades-long string of murders. An investigation they’ll survive only by trusting each other—and the truth.

Review –

Bestselling author Karen Rose returns to Baltimore for this steamy follow-up to 2011’s You Belong to Me. Fledgling PI Paige Holden and Assistant State’s Attorney Grayson Smith start on opposite sides before becoming a formidable team delving into the deadly secrets behind a murder conviction. Holden hears the last words of a dying Elena Muñoz, who tells Holden cops were chasing her as she presses a flash drive into the PI’s hands. Elena’s husband, Ramon, a gardener, was framed for the murder of Crystal Jones during a party given by Rex McCloud at the estate of his grandfather, retired state senator James McCloud. Elena’s evidence and an attempt on Holden’s life prevented by Smith launch the pair on a mission for justice. Both Holden and Smith have carefully guarded secrets that keep their passions smoldering before bursting into flames. Rose’s deft combination of hot heroine and cool hero should please her many fans.
Lots of action and many unbelievable  near death attempts on Paige and Grayson but all in all it made for a great read.
 

The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan

Book Description:

Published: March 10, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

To everyone who knows her now, Zoe Maisey – child genius, musical sensation – is perfect. Yet several years ago, Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time. And now she’s free.

Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life.

By midnight, her mother is dead.

The Perfect Girl is an intricate exploration into the mind of a teenager burdened by brilliance. It’s a story about the wrongs in our past not letting go and how hard we must fight for second chances.

Review –

It took me forever to get into this book and I found it very convoluted and was indeed surprised by the ending but I still only gave it a three out of five stars.

Zoe’s step-brother, Lucas, had written a script for a movie/play where he revealed that his father abused his mother before she died.  Right before the concert, Lucas had emailed the script to Maria and Zoe as a warning that his father was dangerous.   Maria had kept Zoe’s criminal past from Chris and he found out about it the night she died.  It was Lucas who accidentally pushed Maria down the stairs, but he recorded everything on his cell phone.  Zoe convinced him to turn the video in and say that Chris was the murderer.  It worked.  The cops arrested Chris.

Sorry about the spoilers but if I hadn’t already read it, I would NOT read it. I really hope the next book I read by this author is better. To me, this one was a “bit of a time-waster”.

 

 

 

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Book Description:

Published: November 3, 2015  

Format: Audio/Library Book

A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.

Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.

There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”

Review –
Always a pleasure to read a Stephen King book and this one was no exception.
The principal purpose of  the stories in this book is to entertain. Mr. King  says, “Although life experiences are the basis of all stories, I’m not in the business of confessional fiction.” No, he really isn’t, and the reason “The Little Green God of Agony” is one of the strongest stories in “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” is that in this one, at least, King finds a serviceable horror metaphor for what’s on his mind, rather than trying to express it more directly. (He wrote this during his rehabilitation after his near fatal accident and all the pain he suffered)
There were some stories that I liked more than others but on the whole it was a delightful (if anything about Stephen King can be called delightful) collection of short stories concerning  various life changing subjects. What’s unusual about the tales in this volume is how many of its deaths are ordinary, mundane sorts of demises: deaths by cancer or heart failure or car accident or simple, non-­supernatural homicide. 
If you’re a “constant reader” or have never (GASP!) read Stephen King this is a great book to add to your TBR list or pile. Since it’s a collection of short stories it’s easy to commit to the book because you know you can read one story and put it down, but I doubt you will want to put it down after you start reading.
Loved it!

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison

Book Description:

Published: March 22, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on; she wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious yet strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?

In No One Knows, the New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Nicholas Drummond series expertly peels back the layers of a complex woman who is hiding dark secrets beneath her unassuming exterior. This masterful thriller for fans of Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, and Paula Hawkins will pull readers into a you’ll-never-guess merry-go-round of danger and deception. Round and round and round it goes, where it stops…no one knows.

Review –

I will not tell you what happens in this book because there are so many twists and turns and it keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end and then you are left with your mouth agape.

No One Knows will have inevitable comparisons to Gone Girl, but this is a more realistic storyline. It will have readers guessing who can be believed and what are their ulterior motives.  Ellison messes with the character’s head as well as the readers with her many directional path changes.

I will say that I thought that Opryland in Nashville as  the scene of Josh’s disappearance was genius. It is huge and so very easy to get lost in. The author has said that it is a metaphor for this story because anyone who visits there can get turned around and see different things at different times.

I loved this book all the way through and got whiplash from all the twists and turns but loved every minute of it!

YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!

Five stars.

 

 

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Book Description:

Published: July 25, 2017   

Format: Audio/OverDrive

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Review –

This is a book that will keep you guessing at every chapter.  You think you know what’s going on and in the next sentence you discover you were totally wrong.  I LOVE books this this because you never get bored and it “strains the brain” to figure out what comes next.

I have now read all three books by this author and she out does herself with every one.  Were Alfred Hitchcock still around, he surely would have snapped up the rights because it would be right up his alley. Hitch would have more of a challenge, though, making “The Lying Game” into something memorable. This story stays scrupulously within the lines: to the degree it satisfies, it does so because — like a Lifetime movie — its premise, setting and characters are so comfortably broken-in. There’s even a haunted house, a dark and stormy night, a baby in danger and climactic trials by flood and fire. But even if the story hints at being a cliché, you can’t help but be drawn in.

The plot ambles back and forth between the women’s youth and their anxious present, they are four old school friends bound together by a terrible secret. Fifteen years ago, Isa Wilde arrived at Salten House, a boarding school on the south coast. She and three other girls, Fatima, Kate and Thea, form an inseparable clique impervious to the world around them. They spend their weekends at Kate’s home, the Old Mill, a ramshackle building overlooking the nearby estuary, under the watchful eye of her father Ambrose (the school’s art teacher), and in the company of Kate’s sort-of half-brother Luc.

Most of the girls’ time, however, is spent playing the Lying Game, competing with each other to get away with increasingly outrageous untruths: to “outwit everyone else – ‘us’ against ‘them’”. Then one day something terrible happens, and henceforth they’re “lying not for fun, but to survive”.

What is the secret they are hiding, who else knows about it, who is blackmailing Kate, who killed the sheep and is the note Ambrose wrote really a suicide note? These are just a few of the questions in this fantastic read.

  Five stars!!!!

 

 

Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

Book Description:

Published: September 26, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

Review –

I don’t know if Mr. Coben plans to make Napoleon “Nap” Dumas into a series but I sure have my fingers crossed.

He’s a well-adjusted (well, sometimes) police detective whose twin brother, Leo, died when he was 18 years old along with his high school girlfriend, Diana. During most of the book he talks to Leo but by the end has decided that fifteen years is long enough to keep up this practice.

He finds out that members of a “conspiracy club”, of which he was not a member, are being murdered and sets out to find the killer and discover the reason behind the deaths. His brother was a member but Diana, Leo’s girlfriend, was not. Do the current murders have to do with the “club” or to a”secret” missile base not far from town.

Nap discovers many dark  secrets along the way to finding the killer of the club members AND his brother and it is a shocker.

Loved this book and highly recommend it.   Five stars!

Devil’s Advocate (Book Two) by Carla Coxwell

Book Description:

Published: June 4, 2015

Format: E-Book

Kristie has finally graduated from college. With a new boyfriend in tow, Gray’s rival, Armand, and moving back into her mother’s house, it feels as if life might finally fall back into place. But Gray, the love of her life and her cousin by marriage, happens to return after hiding out of town. He’s been freed of being suspected of a murder he didn’t commit and is now looking to reclaim glory in his gang, the Devil’s Advocates, once again.

But both Kristie and Gray are in for surprises. People aren’t always what they seem. Kristie struggles to work through her relationship problems with Armand while Gray struggles to fall back into a position of power in the life he left behind. As the two of them are drawn closer together, both must choose the life they want – with each other, or alone. No matter what they end up picking, the risks in their lives can end up costing the two of them everything.

***Due to sexually graphic content and language that some may find offensive, this book is intended for mature readers only***

Review –

I can’t believe that Kristie would fall for Armand. He’s a slimy fake and I feel he’s just using her to get back at Gray.

Speaking of Gray, things don’t go so well for him in Book Two. While he was on the run from being falsely accused of a hit and run, Armand is trying to take over the Devil’s Advocates MC club and working for the Infernos. 

The Infernos  beat Gray almost to death and later Armand tries again. Both times it’s close but he able to take the reign of the club again and convince Kristie that he does love her.

He even proposes marriage, she accepts and the wedding goes off without a hitch, but while getting into the cab to head to the airport to start their honeymoon Kristie is shot twice by a masked assailant and is near death when the book ends.

Gray has promised Kristie he is done with the MC gang life but since Armand is still lurking out there I have a feeling that promise will go by the wayside.

Not sure if I’ll read books three and four, but probably will down the road.

 

Devil’s Advocate (Book One) by Carla Conwell

Book Description:

Published: May 16, 2015

Format: Free Digital Book

Gray is rash, impulsive and breaks the law. Kristie finds herself falling for him but will her attraction to Gray prove fatal?

When Kristie comes home from college, the last thing she expects is her world to be turned upside down by the appearance of a handsome, gruff stranger, Gray. He is the head of a biker gang in town called the Devil’s Advocates.

Kristie’s mom asks if she can befriend Gray in hopes of getting him on the straight and narrow. The plan backfires, however, as Kristie finds herself falling for Gray. Is it possible he feels the same way? The connection between them threatens to tear down everything Kristie has ever held dear.

The more she falls for Gray, the more messy things get. As Gray gets yanked further and further into the world of his gang, Kristie finds herself having to make a choice: stay on her own path or risk everything to be with Gray. Will she be able to make it out unscathed?

***Due to sexually graphic content and language that some may find offensive, this book is intended for mature readers only***

Review –

You know I’m a sucker for a motorcycle club/bad biker boy/contemporary romance and when I ran across the blurb for this one AND it was free, I couldn’t resist.

It’s the typical good girl/bad boy contemporary romance BUT with a twist. Kristie and Gray are cousins by marriage and they are hugely attracted to one another. The story deals with Gray’s uncle  trying to get him to change his ways and his dealings with a motorcycle gang and Kristie coming home for a college break , meeting her new step-father and his nephew, Gray. There is also a policeman, John, who becomes attracted to Kristie and uses her to get the goods on Gray so he can be arrested for a hit and run/murder that he did not commit and a motorcycle club member, Armand, whose intentions are anything but honorable, when it comes to Gray.

There is of course a few sex scenes but they are on the mild side(compared to some) and by the end of the book Gray has told Kristie he was just using her, but in reality he doesn’t want to involve her anymore deeply into his chaos  and so he skips town and Kristie starts dating Armand. (I also gagged when I read that because he is so slimy )If anyone is using Kristie, it’s Armand.

All in all, a great read. Looking forward to Book Two.