The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2017

Format: Library Book

A father and a son are seeing each other for the first time in years. The father has a story to share before it’s too late. He tells his son about a courageous little girl lying in a hospital bed a few miles away. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As he talks about this plucky little girl, the father also reveals more about himself: his triumphs in business, his failures as a parent, his past regrets, his hopes for the future.

Now, on a cold winter’s night, the father has been given an unexpected chance to do something remarkable that could change the destiny of a little girl he hardly knows. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he must find out what his own life has actually been worth, and only his son can reveal that answer.

With humor and compassion, Fredrik Backman’s The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our legacy rests in how we share that gift with others.

Review –

Indeed, at just sixty-five pages with illustrations, this book is short but every word counts and that’ll hit you square in the heart. Backman’s lady in grey is worthy of sympathy; his father-character is regretful and cynical, wearing his loss like a badge he never wanted, but he’s not as savvy as he thinks he is. When that becomes apparent to both reader and character, beware.

You may shed tears over this book. You may need to savor it a second time, to feel its words again. However you read it, The Deal of a Lifetime,is an experience you’ll never trade.

The only derogatory comment I have is that sometimes during the reading of this book I felt a disconnect and had to go back and re-read some passages.

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King (King #1) by T.M. Frazier

Book Description:

Published: June 15, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

Homeless. Hungry. Desperate.

Doe has no memories of who she is or where she comes from.

A notorious career criminal just released from prison, King is someone you don’t want to cross unless you’re prepared to pay him back in blood, sweat, pu$$y or a combination of all three.

King’s future hangs in the balance. Doe’s is written in her past. When they come crashing together, they will have to learn that sometimes in order to hold on, you have to first let go.

Warning: This book contains graphic violence, consensual and nonconsensual sex, drug use, abuse, and other taboo subjects and adult subject matter. Although originally slated to be a standalone, KING is now a two part series.

Review –

OMG! I totally LOVED this book!! Dark and gritty, sweet and sexy, raw and shocking, and utterly addictive, with an unapologetic, badass Alpha male hero and unexpected twists that I never saw coming!!  Once I started listening, i found it very hard to do anything else.

I haven’t read many books by TM Frazier, but I think she writes some of the best dark romance out there. Her writing is strong and compelling. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and doesn’t hold back. Her characters hover in that mysterious and intriguing grey zone between good and bad and keep you constantly second guessing how you should feel about them. They’re incredibly complex and honestly, that’s what makes them so fascinating. And while her stories are raw and gritty, they always have a side of sweet and are woven with just enough depth and emotion to tug all your heart-strings and really make you care. 

King. Brantley King. Career criminal. Tattoo artist. Badass alpha. Fresh out of prison.

Doe was the complete opposite. Her past was a mystery to her — after waking up in a garbage dump in a heap of her own blood with no memory of who she was or where she came from, the only thing she had left was a reflection in the mirror that even she didn’t recognize. She wasn’t cut for his world. Tiny, frail, but surprisingly bold and fiesty. Everything about him screamed danger to her, but even though he scared the hell out of her, I loved the way she still didn’t take any of his shit…

They naturally got off to a rocky start. A girl like her had no place in his world and he wasn’t about to start changing things. He had a single-minded goal since getting out of prison (a secret you’ll learn as you read) and would do anything he had to to get it. She was a detour he never expected. She brought out a whole other side of him. He wanted to own her, possess her, but slowly but surely, she began to steal his heart.

There are horrible things that happen and a beloved character loses his life but this author really doesn’t hold back and many of the events are dark and gritty. I keep coming back to those two words because they really are the best descriptors for the feeling of this story. But she writes that style like no one else. Her writing is just so strong and compelling that the words flew by for me.

The ending had my heart in my throat — huge reveals, huge twists (yes, plural!) — and it’s a cliffhanger so I’ve already started  the next book, Tyrant. Can’t wait to continue this ride.

Five stars, and the cover …….

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Book Description:

Published: 1959

Format: Audio/Audible

The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre. First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror.

It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting;’ Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Review –

I first READ this book in 2009, and then LISTENED to it in 2014, so this makes my third time.

The movie is one of my all time favorites (the original with Julie Harris) and is very close to the book. The writer of the screen play did a great job. There are, of course, a few changes, but they are very subtle and don’t change the plot or outcome of the story line.

Looking for a change in reading genre – give this gem a try.

 

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

Book Description:

Published: February 2, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

What happens to us after we die? What happens before we are born? At once a riveting mystery and a testament to the profound connection between a child and parent, The Forgetting Time will lead you to reevaluate everything you believe…

What would you do if your four-year-old son claimed he had lived another life and that he wants to go back to it? That he wants his other mother?

Single mom Janie is trying to figure out what is going on with her beloved son Noah. Noah has never been ordinary. He loves to make up stories, and he is constantly surprising her with random trivia someone his age has no right knowing. She always chalked it up to the fact that Noah was precocious―mature beyond his years. But Noah’s eccentricities are starting to become worrisome. One afternoon, Noah’s preschool teacher calls Janie: Noah has been talking about shooting guns and being held under water until he can’t breathe. Suddenly, Janie can’t pretend anymore. The school orders him to get a psychiatric evaluation. And life as she knows it stops for herself and her darling boy.

For Jerome Anderson, life as he knows it has already stopped. Diagnosed with aphasia, his first thought as he approaches the end of his life is, I’m not finished yet. Once an academic star, a graduate of Yale and Harvard, a professor of psychology, he threw everything away to pursue an obsession: the stories of children who remembered past lives. Anderson became the laughing stock of his peers, but he never stopped believing that there was something beyond what anyone could see or comprehend. He spent his life searching for a case that would finally prove it. And with Noah, he thinks he may have found it.

Soon, Noah, Janie, and Anderson will find themselves knocking on the door of a mother whose son has been missing for eight years. When that door opens, all of their questions will be answered.

Gorgeously written and fearlessly provocative, Sharon Guskin’s debut explores the lengths we will go for our children. It examines what we regret in the end of our lives and hope for in the beginning, and everything in between.

Review –

The author  presents reincarnation against the backdrop of reality: a mother’s love and a mother’s grief. There is none of the fantasy world often found in novels based on reincarnation, so the premise seems more plausible—even to a skeptic.

What also separates The Forgetting Time from other novels based on a similar premise is that the author points out that according to case studies done by credible psychiatrists, a child troubled by the memories left over from another life begins to forget at around age six. This theme of forgetting underlies the plot. At some point one must let go of the past and live in the present.

The Forgetting Time is both a mystery and a philosophical novel, and lacks the flaws found in so many debut novels. There are no weak and unbelievable characters; the plot has no holes in its construction; and the portraits of love and grief offset one another in a balanced manner.

This book tells a sentimental story with a murder mystery at its core, and it’s interesting even if you don’t go for the premise.

 

The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault

Book Description:

Published: January 26, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A gripping blend of psychological suspense and historical true crime, this riveting novel—inspired by a sensational real-life murder from the 1800s—by critically acclaimed author Emily Arsenault delivers a heart-stopping mystery linking two young mothers from different centuries.

Frances Barnett and Abby Bernacki are two haunted young mothers living in the same house in two different centuries.

1885: Frances Barnett is in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital, telling her story to a visitor. She has come to distrust her own memories, and believes that her pregnancy, birth, and early days of motherhood may have impaired her sanity.

During the earliest months of her baby’s life, Frances eagerly followed the famous murder trial of Mary Stannard—that captivated New Englanders with its salacious details and expert forensic testimony. Following—and even attending—this trial, Frances found an escape from the monotony of new motherhood. But as her story unfolds, Frances must admit that her obsession with the details of the murder were not entirely innocent.

Present day: Abby has been adjusting to motherhood smoothly—until recently, when odd sensations and dreams have begun to unsettle her while home alone with her baby. When she starts to question the house’s history, she is given the diary of Frances Barnett, who lived in the house 125 years earlier. Abby finds the diary disturbing, and researches the Barnett family’s history. The more Abby learns, the more she wonders about a negative—possibly supernatural—influence in her house. She becomes convinced that when she sleeps, she leaves her daughter vulnerable—and then vows not to sleep until she can determine the cause of her eerie experiences.

Frances Barnett might not be the only new mother to lose her mind in this house. And like Frances, Abby discovers that by trying to uncover another’s secrets, she risks awakening some of her own.

Review –

“In 2014, high school history teacher and new mom Abby Bernacki worries over “odd” happenings in her 19th-century house, such as her baby daughter’s mysterious bruise. After consulting with a past owner, Abby obtains a historic resident’s journal and befriends a local archivist, who introduces her to a trove of puzzling artifacts. In 1878, another new mother who lived in the house, Frances Barnett, was ordered to a month’s “rest” in bed to cure her nervous condition. Once she’s out of bed, Frances fakes enthusiasm for domestic tasks while concealing from her husband her obsession with the trial of a gruesome murderer. The historic parts of the novel draw on the tale of a real-life 1879 murder and trial, even including several real New York Times articles that covered the story. Readers will squirm at the courtroom scenes involving a removed and preserved face and experiments with arsenic and donated stomachs. In another bit of historical accuracy, Frances toils in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital in Massachusetts, which at the time turned a profit on the work of its residents. The novel consists of three threads: Abby’s 2014 perspective, where she reads notes Frances kept in a cooking journal in 1878; Frances’ mental-hospital monologue to her visiting brother in 1885; and the 1998 death of a college student in Abby’s dorm. The college thread is minimally developed and seems incidental, until it ties in as the foundation of an emotionally satisfying ending. Abby’s and Frances’ mirrored stories are the stars of the show; despite their very different circumstances, both women are humbled by the pressures of new motherhood before they find empowerment in the hunt for justice.” Kirkus Reviews

I love this type of book where the past and present collide. Great read! Five stars!!!!!

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

Book Description:

Published: May 30, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Review –

Detention takes a dark turn when the student behind Bayview High’s infamous app About That dies from a peanut allergy—and every witness has a different reason for wanting him gone.

Although the author’s debut novel initially feels like a rehashing of The Breakfast Club, with five teens from very different social circles brought together through detention, there is no bonding through library dance parties or atypical lipstick application. Instead, Bronwyn, Nate, Cooper, and Addy witness Simon collapse and ultimately die after taking a sip of water. When police discover the drink was laced with peanut oil—and that Simon was going to reveal life-ruining secrets about all four students on his gossip app the next day—they go from unfortunate witnesses to top murder suspects. With each teen (“brain,” “criminal,” “jock,” and “princess,” respectively; “walking teen-movie stereotypes,” as Simon says) narrating alternating chapters, the novel offers insights into common adolescent struggles—from the pressure to succeed to an alcoholic, out-of-work father—as well as an unlikely romance and opportunities for self-reflection as the investigation escalates.

Although the language and plot sometimes border on cliché, this fast-paced blend of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and classic the  John Hughes  film, will leave readers racing to the finish as they try to unravel the mystery on their own.

The ending is surprising and makes for a very good “who-dun-it” read.

 

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.

One With You (Crossfire #5) by Sylvia Day

Book Description:

Published: April 5, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Gideon Cross. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably.

Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.

We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws … and all the beauty I couldn’t see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us.

But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free … or break us apart.

Review –

I must admit that I just love the character of Gideon Cross, he’s even on my list of Book Boyfriends” (I know, nerdy, right?) but this book did not live up to my expectations. Maybe that’s because I listened to it piecemeal, a fragment here, and a fragment there. I listened to many other books before going back to this one.  

Gideon and Eva (which he pronounces as Ava) get their “happily ever after” after having overcome old lovers, tell-all-books, rapists coming out of the woodwork, death threats, meddling family, complex relationships, secret babies and  the list can go on and on. Despite this all, Eva and Gideon get what they truly deserve, which is each other.

My favorite part of all of the Crossfire novels has been the sex scenes. The author writes great scenes and compelling dirty talk dialogue between her characters, her sex scenes are exceptionally erotic without the characters having to indulge in props or aids.

Although this was supposedly the last book in the series, there are a couple of things left hanging involving supporting characters so maybe, just maybe Sylvia Day will surprise us someday with Book Six.

Nest by Terry Goodkind

Book Description:

Published: November 15, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Kate Bishop thought she was an ordinary woman living and working in Chicago. But when she unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a police investigation into a brutal murder, Kate makes a shocking discovery: she has the ability to identify killers just by looking into their eyes.

Trying to grasp the implications of this revelation, Kate is drawn deep into a world of terror. She is tracked down by Jack Raines, a mysterious author with shadowy connections to those who share her ability. He tells Kate that her unique vision also makes her a target, and only he can help her.

Now, hot on Jack and Kate’s heels are a force of super-predators, vicious and bloodthirsty killers who will stop at nothing until Kate is dead. But even as she fights for her life, Kate still isn’t sure if Jack is really her salvation, or another killer coming to slaughter her.

An explosive mix of action and suspense, Nest is a landmark new novel from worldwide bestselling author Terry Goodkind, and a complete reinvention of the contemporary thriller. Travel with Goodkind on a dangerous journey to the back alleys of the darknet, to the darkest corners of our minds, and to the very origins of what it is to be human.

Review –

Nest is a thriller novel, bordering on horror, set in Chicago. The book follows Kate Bishop after the murder of her brother, when she finds out she has a special ability to identify a killer by looking into their eyes. The story takes the reader on a journey through how she comes to terms with this ability, and with this, discovers the evil lurking everywhere around her, impossible to escape. She meets Jack Raines, and author specialising in helping people with Kate’s particular ability in identifying evil and helping the world understand evil in a way they never thought about it before. This book will keep you up at night, even hours after you have closed the book.

This is fast-paced book full of suspense, and on the edge of your seat thrills. It ends with a semi-cliffhanger so I hope the author, Terry Goodkind, has a plan to write a sequel. It wouldn’t have to be lengthy – just let Kate and Jack find their way back to each other. Please!!!

Five stars.

 

One Second After (After #1) by William R. Forstchen

Book Description:

Published: March 17, 2009

Format: Audio/OverDrive

New York Times best-selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real … a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages … A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Months before publication, One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second. It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail Safe, and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future … and our end.

Review –

This book is too scary NOT to read. The whole time I was listening I expected the lights to go out, my computer to shut down and everything to go completely quiet. 

Our country, or any country, for that matter, is not prepared for an EMP strike. We are all too complacent to think it can happen at all, much less to us.

Reading/listening to this book made it very real and it scared me to death.

Everyone should read this book!

Five stars.