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!!!!!

 

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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!!!!

 

 

Her Last Breath (Kate Burkholder #5) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: June 18, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A rainy night, an Amish father returning home with his three children, a speeding car hurtling toward them out of nowhere.

What at first seems like a tragic, but routine car accident suddenly takes on a more sinister cast as evidence emerges that nothing about the crash is accidental. But who would want to kill an Amish deacon and two of his children? He leaves behind a grieving widow and a young boy who clings to life in the intensive care wing of a hospital, unable to communicate. He may be the only one who knows what happened that night. Desperate to find out who killed her best friend’s husband and why, Kate begins to suspect she is not looking for a reckless drunk, but instead is on the trail of a cold blooded killer amid the residents of Painter’s Mill. It is a search that takes her on a chilling journey into the darkest reaches of the human heart and makes her question everything she has ever believed about the Amish culture into which she was born.

Review –

The story opens with a horrible accident. An Amish father and his children, returning home in their horse-drawn buggy, are demolished by a speeding car that flees into the night. A scene that is so harrowingly rendered it’s as if the reader is an eyewitness.

But was it an accident? Or was it a murder of horrific proportions? If so, why? What’s the payoff for killing off a father and his children?  Nothing is apparent and as Kate digs deeper into the family and the community, a community that still resents her departure from the fold, she uncovers dark deeds and motives that defy understanding. She was best friends, as children, with the wife of the murdered family, but did she really know her at all?

Kate’s continuing and growing relationship with FBI agent John Tomasetti only complicates her life (John has bought a farmhouse about 20 minutes from Painter’s Mill and has asked Kate to move in with him) and skews her choices. Choices that could end her career. John’s too.

Excellent story.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Book Description:

Published: March 22, 2011

Jude Farraday is a happily married, stay-at-home mom who puts everyone’s needs above her own. Her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill enters their lives, no one is more supportive than Jude. A former foster child with a dark past, Lexi quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. But senior year of high school brings unexpected dangers and one night, Jude’s worst fears are confirmed: there is an accident. In an instant, her idyllic life is shattered and her close-knit community is torn apart. People—and Jude—demand justice, and when the finger of blame is pointed, it lands solely on eighteen-year-old Lexi Baill. In a heartbeat, their love for each other will be shattered, the family broken. Lexi gives up everything that matters to her—the boy she loves, her place in the family, the best friend she ever had—while Jude loses even more.

When Lexi returns, older and wiser, she demands a reckoning. Long buried feelings will rise again, and Jude will finally have to face the woman she has become. She must decide whether to remain broken or try to forgive both Lexi…and herself.

Night Road is a vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, loss, identity, and forgiveness. It is an exquisite, heartbreaking novel that speaks to women everywhere about the things that matter most.

Review –

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This is a fantastic read/listen ( I had the audio version ) and although it is slow and repetitive in places it grabs your heart-strings and doesn’t let go.

It’s a book to be equally enjoyed by young adults as well as their parents because the issues are presented from both perspectives. The main characters are twins, Mia and Zack  and Jude, their adept but hovering mother and Lexi, a lonely teen living with her aunt.

Mothers will  relate to her parenting skills and worrying. Young adults and teens will relate to the push and pull of finding independence from one’s parents and the necessity of being accepted by peers. It’s layered with issues on family dynamics, teenage angst and romance, first loves, sibling rivalry, friendship, forgiveness, grief and motherhood making it an excellent read.

I felt so sorry for Lexi who just can’t catch a break and so angry at Zack for putting Lexi in a position that  endangered all three of them and ended Mia’s life.

The ending is a bit too much HALLMARK, but I’m glad everything worked out for everyone.

All in all a great book.

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Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Book Description:

Published: August 11, 2015

I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.
The lucky one.

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.

What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

Shocking, intense, and utterly original, Black-Eyed Susans is a dazzling psychological thriller, seamlessly weaving past and present in a searing tale of a young woman whose harrowing memories remain in a field of flowers—as a killer makes a chilling return to his garden.

Review –

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While I LOVED the book, I have read reviews that said that the going back and forth in time between the two points of view distracted many readers. For me this was not a problem because I listened to the audio version and going back to 1995 when Tessie is  sixteen and seeing different doctors to help her cope with the trauma that she went through and then to the present as Tessa trying to help free the man serving time on death row and it flowed very smoothly.

It’s a creepy psychological thriller and will keep you hanging on to every word. There are a couple of surprise twists that you don’t see coming and that makes it even better.

Five stars *****

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A Mess of Reason by A. Wilding Wells

Book Description:

Published:  February 2016

“Scout Steele is the country music star People magazine just voted “sexiest bachelor”. More than that, he’s my best friend forever, my bff. OK, not quite my lingo – I’m almost thirty. We’ve shared everything, and then some. Even crossed the line a few times, but not too far. Well, mostly…. He’ll go to the end of the world to make me happy; he knows me inside and out. Except, that is, my most intimate and darkest defect; this he must never know. It would ruin us, and ‘us’ is the only thing that matters. So I’m marrying someone who doesn’t care about the truth or, frankly, even me.”

“She’s twisted and sexy as all get out. Brilliant and beautiful, Tess Harlow is my best friend and my forbidden fruit – the woman I’ve always known and loved the best but can never have. Between my tours (and sexy groupies) and her man-juggling, we’ve never found “our time”. I love her to pieces but she’s about to marry the bane of my existence, rocker Creed Luce. He’s a walking cliché and he treats my Tess like hell – why she stays with him I still haven’t figured out. I am always there for her…but not this time. Tess deserves better, way better, my better. The door is half-open and I have my ways. Her best friend is about to become her best lover.”

Review –

So, this book has a common story line-best friends, who have known each other for ages but want more from each other but won’t act on it. Also the girl, Tess, is engaged to a real jerk.

Tess also has a secret that no one knows about, but it’s not as bad as the build up leads you to believe, so when Scout finds out, it’s like no big deal.

The only reason they finally did act on their attraction to one other is that her fiancée had se with another woman. Who knows what would have happened if Tess actually went through with the wedding. Scout should have acted long before e did.

To me, the story didn’t flow and it felt like there were holes in it; like Tess’s accident, hospital stay and recovery. It was just glossed over, yet Tess contends it’s a secret as big as the location of the Ark of the Covenant. Overall, it’s not an award winner but it was a pleasant read and I LOVE the cover.

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Seizure (Virals #2) by Kathy Reichs

Book Description:

Published: October 18, 2011

Ever since Tory Brennan and her friends rescued Cooper, a kidnapped wolf pup with a rare strain of canine parvovirus, they’ve turned from regular kids into a crime-solving pack. But now the very place that brought them together – the Loggerhead Island Research Institute – is out of funding and will have to shut down. That is, unless the Virals can figure out a way to save it.

So when Tory learns of an old Charleston legend about a famous she-pirate, Anne Bonney, whose fortune was never found, she can’t believe her luck – buried treasure is exactly what she needs to save the Institute on Loggerhead! Trouble is, she and her friends aren’t the only ones looking for it. And this time, the Virals’ special powers may not be enough to dig them out of trouble . . .

Review –

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first because it was just WAY too improbable !

The teens being infected with a rare strain of canine parvovirus and having super powers is bad enough but I can live with that-it’s the finding of the buried treasure that had me rolling my eyes.  For hundreds of years experienced treasure hunters had looked and failed the find the treasure of the pirate Anne Bonney, but along comes four teenagers and viola they find it in a matter of days.  GIVE ME A BREAK!

While is was okay to listen to, I don’t know if I’ll  check out other books in the series.

 

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Book Description:

Published: September 15, 2015

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Review –

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This is the best “feel good” book that I have read or listened to (I did both)  that I have experienced in a long time.

Being a girl/woman with a bit of extra chubbiness here and there I can totally identify with Willowdean and I know just how she feels when Bo lets it be known that he “likes” her.  It’s a scary thing, especially at sixteen, and I was so afraid that she was going to let the bullies in the book win, but she didn’t.

When Willowdean entered the pageant, as a confidence builder, three other girls, all with her own physical “flaws”, entered as well and whenever they were in a scene together in the book, it was hilarious and heart warming, as well. Willowdean’s best friend El enters too, and this causes a break in their  friendship that lasts for months. El works at Sweet Sixteen, a dress shop that caters to small sizes and has made new friends there and Willowdean feels totally devastated that her best friend is now sharing secrets with girls other than her.

With the death of her Aunt Lucy, her crazy Beauty Pageant focused Mom, missing her best friend, and going from having never been kissed to having two boys that are interested in her, Willowdean’s life is brimming over with drama.

Fantastic book and I have added Bo Larsen to my Favorites Book Beaus List, (swoon)

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Stirred Up by S.E. Hall and Angela Graham

Book Description:

Published: April 26, 2014

Certain men. Certain professions. Some things are just universally sexy.

But maybe not quite this sexy…

“Lay back for me.”

Review –
Addison and Brady, who is her brother’s best friend,  fight their feelings for each other. They are best friends and never can be more, at least that’s how Addison feels. She’s afraid if the relationship went further and it didn’t work out, it would ruin their perfect, long time friendship.

Brady is constantly pushing for more because he’s had real feelings for her as long as he can remember.
Addison is trying to figure her feelings while having a secret tryst with the handsome Dr. Reynolds, who is an OBGYN and he examines her thoroughly each time she goes to his office.  He wants to take her out in public as in date, but she says she wants to keep it private and will only see him in his office.  Eventually, he tells he does not f**k his patients and refuses to see her at his office. Without  seeing him for a few days she  finally calls in to his office and uses and fake name to get an appointment. When Dr. Reynolds walks in he plays along for a while but then tells her again that he can not carry on with her in his office. So, she bites the bullet and asks him to dinner at her house.

Of course, he comes and after some wine, one thing leads to another and they have sex and Addison makes her move and tells the doctor that she loves him but was afraid it would ruin what they had.  ARE YOU READY FOR IT?  The twist is that Dr. Reynolds and Brady are the same person.  I never saw it coming and it made me smile from ear to ear.

 It’s short and doesn’t take long to read and is well worth your time.
Adult with explicit sex

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Theirs to Keep (Tangled Hearts Trilogy #1) by Maya Banks

Book Description:

Published: October 22, 2013

When Cade Winslow and Merrick Sullivan find Elle hiding in the cabinet of a gun store, they know they can’t just walk away from the fragile woman with no memory of who she is or who tried to kill her. Merrick is training for the title shot in the heavyweight division as a mixed martial artist and can’t afford distractions, but neither can he turn his back on the woman who tugs at his heartstrings.

Elle feels safe with her two protectors, and the longer she spends with them, the more she realizes that she has no desire to remember her past. Not when it could compromise her future with Cade and Merrick.

Cade has his own set of concerns when it comes to Elle, and it quickly becomes clear to the two men that for the first time in their friendship, a woman is coming between them. But what if they just kept her there? Between them. Where she belongs.

Review –

This is a MMF Menage Erotic Romance involving a mixed martial arts fighter and his best friend who jointly owns a security firm and a woman, badly beaten with amnesia, who they take into their home, hearts and beds.

Over the course of the story Elle remembers bits and pieces and thinks the man who beat her and tried to kill her might be a cop. After Merrick wins the title she remembers the name of a town where she might have been when she was beaten, so the trio decides to soon make a trip and see what else Elle can remember so that her past can be dealt with and their future can proceed.

I thought it was good and the sex scenes were tastefully done but very explicit.

This is the first of three books in the Tangled Hearts Trilogy.

Adult

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