The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

Book Description:

Published: January 5, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

 When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother’s bachelor party, he expects a certain amount of debauchery. He sends his wife, Kristin, and young daughter off to his mother-in-law’s for the weekend, and he opens his Westchester home to his brother’s friends and their hired entertainment. What he does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom, and two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Richard’s life rapidly spirals into a nightmare. The police throw him out of his home, now a crime scene; his investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and his wife finds herself unable to forgive him for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.

Review –

Another FIVE STAR read by an author I’m coming to love!

The book starts with a bachelor party that goes horribly wrong. Not only do most of the guests have sex with the two girls who were the “entertainment”, but then two men end up dead and girls are nowhere to be found. Because, see, these strippers aren’t strippers at all, but Armenian sex slaves—and the cue-ball-headed, no-neck bodyguards are their Russian overseers.

Earlier, one of them, a beautiful Armenian girl named Alexandra, almost managed to seduce Richard before he changes his mind. In the aftermath of the murders, Richard is turned out of his house, which has become a crime scene with reporters camped outside, and forced to hire a lawyer. As the consequences of the night pile up, Richard becomes estranged from his wife, is banned from his office, and finds himself the target of a blackmailer from the party who has an incriminating cell phone video of him and Alexandra. And then there is Alexandra herself, who returns to the scene of the crime, tailed by her seriously scary Russian bosses. 

The point of view alternates, with Richard; his wife, Kristin; their daughter, Melissa; and an enslaved girl dubbed Alexandra by her captors, all get a chance to tell the story. Richard has no idea what to do with himself. Kristin is freaked out—not so much because people were slaughtered in her house, but because her husband almost had sex with a girl half their age. Melissa is frightened and bewildered, which is perfectly OK because she’s nine. This, the book says, is how people who thought they had it made come unmade.

The author makes Alexandra the conscience in this conscienceless world, a girl who manages to hold on to her innocence and compassion despite the horror of her life. Her voice, with its sometimes uncertain, quirky English, is rendered with such perfection that it’s easy to forget that the author is male. 

I gave the book five stars but I was disappointed that the author gives the reader/listener a forewarning of the ending and it took away, at least for me, the utter shock of the conclusion.

 

 

 

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Closed Circles (Sandhamn Murders #2) by Viveca Sten

Book Description:

Published: March 29, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

It’s a beautiful day for a regatta—until one of Sandhamn Island’s most prestigious residents is killed aboard his sailing yacht.

Oscar Juliander was a rich lawyer and deputy chairman of the prestigious Royal Swedish Yacht Club. While at first his death seems like a tragic accident, there is evidence of foul play. Police detective Thomas Andreasson teams up with local lawyer Nora Linde to investigate. As they work to uncover clues, they face resistance from an elite world where nothing but appearance matters.

When the rich and powerful inhabitants of Sweden’s idyllic island getaway come under scrutiny, Thomas and Nora must work closely and secretively to seek justice.

Review –

The murders destroy the island’s calm and make the resident’s anxious.  Last’s summers murder were, they were sure, an anomaly.  Now there are more.  And worse, respected members of the community.  It is also a closed community, one with plenty of secrets that they don’t want to share with the detective in charge, Thomas.

Thankfully, he’s dedicated and dogged and unlikely to give up.  He’s also really likeable and pretty well balanced, avoiding the many stereotypes of dysfunctional police officers with family issues and drinking problems.  Whilst not everything in his life is perfect, he handles it like a grown up – and manages to set it aside when working on the case.  

His best childhood friend, Nora ,a lawyer at a bank, she spends her summers on Sandhamn so it makes perfect sense for Thomas to ask for her help on the case.  They don’t team up, she is on the periphery of the investigation – though does help it come to it’s conclusion. I could have felt cheated by this if I hadn’t been so caught up in Nora’s own story, which runs parallel to the investigation and isn’t crime related at all but very personal.

This might have been a distraction but wasn’t at all,  and is a testament to how well both characters were developed and how well written (and translated) the book was.  It had a good pace and a good plot – simple but with plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing until close to the end. And, speaking of the end, it was a total surprise and added a bit of “well, there you go” to the book. 

Fantastic series!!!

A Conspiracy of Faith (Department Q #3) by Jussi Alder-Olsen

Book Description:

Published: May 28, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Detective Carl Mørck holds in his hands a bottle that contains old and decayed message, written in blood. It is a cry for help from two young brothers, tied and bound in a boathouse by the sea. Could it be real? Who are these boys, and why weren’t they reported missing? Could they possibly still be alive?

Carl’s investigation will force him to cross paths with a woman stuck in a desperate marriage- her husband refuses to tell her where he goes, what he does, how long he will be away. For days on end she waits, and when he returns she must endure his wants, his moods, his threats. But enough is enough. She will find out the truth, no matter the cost to her husband—or to herself.

Carl and his colleagues Assad and Rose must use all of their resources to uncover the horrifying truth in this heart-pounding Nordic thriller from the #1 international bestselling author Jussi Adler-Olsen.

Review –

Inspector Carl Mørck and his raffish colleagues at Copenhagen’s Department Q  go up against a truly fiendish kidnapper.

A few days after he and his brother Tryggve were abducted, Poul Holt managed to scrawl a plea for help in his own blood, deposit it in a bottle and toss it into the sea. Hundreds of miles away, the bottle made landfall and was turned over to Scottish police Sgt. David Bell, who made no attempt to open his discovery. Years passed. Bell died. A computer expert in his station smashed the bottle and immediately contacted Department Q, the perfect venue for the case since “it’s old, it’s unsolved, and no one else could be bothered.”

The group’s assignment begins with trying to figure out, after all this time, what the message says, who wrote it and when. These tasks are made more difficult since no one reported any children missing at the time and place the message indicates. While Carl and his crew are working feverishly on the dead case, the kidnapper is at work bringing it very much back to life by targeting another pair of children, Magdalena Krogh and her big brother, Samuel. (The reason why he prefers to snatch two victims at a time is the story’s most cunning secret, and its most disturbing.) Even after Carl and his Syrian assistant Hafez el-Assad have surmounted the obstacles thrown up by Poul Holt’s parents, who insist that he’s still alive, they’ll have to overcome a much wider conspiracy of silence the kidnapper has been counting on to make accomplices of his victims’ families for all these years.

Fantastic story that will pull at your heart-strings.

I love this series!

 

The Thousandth Floor (the Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee

Book Description:

Published: August 30, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

NEW YORK CITY AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE.

A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down….

Review –

This is a book that I found to be a fast read/listen. It’s not a deep thinking piece of literature, more like fast food instead of a steak dinner.The five main characters are teenagers, seventeen and eighteen years old. Three are rich and live on higher floors (the higher the floor the wealthier the family) and two on lower floors. I can’t remember what floor Watt lived on but Rylin lived on thirty-two and had to scrimp  for grocers and being behind on the rent.

Each in their own way has a good life and we see that having money doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re happy. Avery is secretly in love with her step-brother, Rylin loves Cord (who lives on a floor in the nine hundreds) but has stolen drugs from him to help pay for rent and get her sleazy boyfriend out of jail, Watt is a techno genius with a forbidden computer in his head and wants Avery,Eris finds out her father is not her father and she and her mother have to move down to the one hundred and third floor and live a completely different life and becomes friends  with a girl across the hall, and Leda is a drug addict who wants Atlas, Avery’s step-brother and knows everyone’s secrets. Some one dies by falling from the top floor, but who and why I will not tell  you. It’s too much fun reading or listening to find out all the details.

Some reviewers have likened the book to the Gossip Girl series, I wouldn’t know because I never watched it and I have read that the book has been picked up by Hollywood to become a movie and if done right, it should be fantastic.

Five stars and I love the cover.

Sheer Submission (Sheer Submission Part One) by Hannah Ford

Book Description:

Published: January, 2018

Format: E-Book

Stay away from her.

The words burned against my brain, searing hot. Then another thought, more dangerous than the first.

Tie her wrists, brand her, teach her.

She was wearing a dress that was a size too small, and I knew immediately she didn’t have a boyfriend waiting for her at home, because no man would have let her out of the house in that.

The dress was red. Short. A sweetheart neckline that was supposed to make her look innocent, but did nothing except push her full curves up and over the material. Her hair was dirty blond and long, tousled around her shoulders.

She was sipping a glass of champagne and looking around nervously, her wide eyes flicking from person to person at the party, as if she were afraid she was going to get caught.

What have you done, bad girl? Something you should be punished for?

My palm burned as I imagined taking her over my knee, that short little dress pushed up, the place between her legs pulsing.

The feeling of desire I had looking at her was like an electric shock to my soul.

My instincts said to leave her alone, that this would end in nothing but tragedy. My instincts had always served me well in the past.

But this time, I decided to ignore them.

An innocent girl.

A ruthless man.

An inevitable, sordid devastation…

Review –

Though the storyline has been overly used, especially when dealing with “Billionaire Dominants in Business”, Hannah Ford was able to draw me in because of the secrets being held by Landon Sheer. He is so much more than he is portraying and little by little I’m sure all of them will become known to the readers.

Landon spots Aven at one of his office party business functions and knows she doesn’t belong there. Aven and her friend have crashed the party so she can ask Landon Sheer to help find her sister, Violet, who has disappeared. Aven believes Violet is with Landon’s brother but doesn’t know how to locate him.

Landon tells her he will help IF she will give into him, sexually, and she agrees UNTIL she sees the dark blue scarf with the “V” initial on it behind Landon’s bed. At that point she gathers up her clothes and leaves the hotel and walks home.

This was the end of the first book (if you can call 45 pages a book) so I purchased the second in the series, Sheer Torment, which I will comment on later.

Be warned that there are a LOT of typos and misspelled words but for 45 pages I overlooked it although it was bothersome.

You know how I am with covers and this one looks GOOD until you learn that Landon Sheer is a clean-shaven man. Just saying!

 

 

 

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!!!!

 

 

Voodoo River (Elvis Cole #5) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: March 2, 2000

Format: Audio

In a search for a young woman’s past PI Elvis Cole discovers far more than he expected . . .

Hired to uncover the past of Jodi Taylor, an actress in a hit TV show, Elvis leaves his native Los Angeles to head for Louisiana in search of Jodi’s biological parents.

But before he can tackle the mystery of the actress’s background, he is up against a whole host of eccentrics, including a crazed Raid-spraying housewife, a Cajun thug who looks like he’s been made out of spare parts, and a menacing hundred-year-old river turtle named Luther.

As Elvis learns about the enigmatic actress’s origins, he also discovers the real reason he’s been sent to Louisiana . . .

Review –

I have read several Elvis Cole books so I know that he was involved with an attorney by the name of Lucy Chenier and the she  has a young son, Ben. I know that it became serious between them to the point that Elvis asked Lucy to marry him.  They eventually broke up, never marrying, because his job put Lucy and Ben in trouble more than once. However, I never knew when or how they met, until reading/listening to this book. She plays a large part in this story and it marks the beginning of their relationship.

Joe Pike, Elvis’s partner in the detective agency, is also in this book and I love his character so much. He is ex-military and always wears sunglasses, day or night and is a man of few words.

This book was very entertaining, taking place mainly in Louisiana and we come across some very interesting characters. There is a secondary storyline to round out the book and make the adventures of Elvis and Joe complete.

I really enjoy this series and will continue to read them whenever I come across one.

 

 

 

 

Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray

Book Description:

Published: November 3, 2015

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You features Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book.

Review –

Since I had read the first book in the Firebird series, A Thousand Pieces of You, over a year ago I wasn’t sure that I would be able to jump into this book with the same enthusiasm. I shouldn’t have worried because from  the first few chapters I became just as engrossed as I had been previously.

It has parallel universes, drama,teen angst,romance, unrequited love,danger, suspense and ethical questions that need to be answered.

If you could jump into the body of another “you” would you be careful with the choices you make or would you haphazardly live life as if there was no tomorrow to leave the other “you” to live with the consciences of your actions when you leap back to your own body and universe?

That is one question that Marguerite is still trying to come to grips with.

Can’t wait for the next installment!

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Mistress by James Patterson and David Ellis

Book Description:

Published: August 5, 2013

Ben isn’t like most people. Unable to control his racing thoughts, he’s a man consumed by his obsessions: movies, motorcycles, presidential trivia-and Diana Hotchkiss, a beautiful woman Ben knows he can never have. When Diana is found dead outside her apartment, Ben’s infatuation drives him on a hunt to find out what happened to the love of his life. Ben soon discovers that the woman he pined for was hiding a shocking double life. And now someone is out to stop Ben from uncovering the truth about Diana’s illicit affairs. In his most heart-pumping thriller yet, James Patterson plunges us into the depths of a mind tortured by paranoia and obsession, on an action-packed chase through a world of danger and deceit.

Review –

The character of Ben Casper is more likely to go off on a tangent about scenes, dialogue and his favorite actors from the movies, or list trivia of all the presidents. I believe he does this to stay sane. When he was eight his father killed his mother and blamed it on him (later, much later-we find out why) and all these years he has hated his father.

He doesn’t have a relationship with a female now or ever that we can discern, but he would love to have one with Diana Hotchkiss, whom he finds out wasn’t the person he thought her to be. 

The story is full of intrigue, blackmail, assassins, Russians, Chinese, secrets, deception and edge of the seat action.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it if you like an action-packed mystery.

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Confess by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: March 10, 2015

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

Review –

OMG !!!!! (If you know anything about this book you’ll know why this exclamation is special)

Five stars *****

Once I started listening to this book (there was a male narrator for Owen’s part and a female for Auburn’s point of view) I couldn’t stop. It’s not a really long book to listen to-only about seven hours-but every time I had time I listened and then I forgot about other daily routine things and just listened. It’s that good.

Auburn lose’s the love of her life, Adam, through illness at the age of fifteen and has a baby out of the relationship at sixteen. Her parents wanted her to give the baby up for adoption but instead Adam’s mother have custody of the little boy and she would live with her while finishing school. But as years go by Auburn is just in a back seat position when it comes to raising AJ.

She loves to Dallas after graduating from Cosmetology School because that’s where Lydia lives with AJ and her son Trey.

She passes an art studio and sees a HELP WANTED sign and meets Owen Gentry, the artist, who is in dire need of someone to attend to the sale of his paintings at that nights showing. Owen and Auburn hit it off right away, but Owen has a secret or confession that he never plans to tell Auburn. It’s about how he knows her from before and where they met and more.

I don’t want to give anything away but suffice it to say Owen and Auburn are made for each other but things uncontrollable by both  will get in the way and cause pain for both of them. Neither can deny the feelings they have when together and Auburn knows that because of Owen’s arrest record she would have trouble getting custody of AJ so she agrees to “date” Trey, Adam’s brother, even though she has no real feelings for him. Trey is abusive, verbally and physically and something he does and has done in the past allows Auburn to get custody away from Lydia and lets him keep his job as a policeman. She and Owen re-unite and then in Owen’s words we learn the story of where and  how he met Auburn and by that time tears were rolling down my cheeks and I was sobbing. I love it when that happens.

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