The Disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A stunning story of secrets and scandal, identity and infidelity
 When Tabby Dewhurst arrives heartbroken and penniless on a picturesque, windswept island off the coast of France, her luck appears to change when she overhears a villager repeating aloud the access code to her front door. Hardly believing her own actions, Tabby waits for the woman to leave and then lets herself into the house. And so she enters the strange, hidden world of Emily Marr—or so her new friend introduces herself. Soon, however, Tabby forms suspicions about her new friend, suspicions that lead her back to England, and to revelations that will have explosive consequences for both of them.

Review –

Running from a broken relationship and low on cash, Tabby finds herself in a little village off the Coast of France. While wandering the streets wondering where she can sleep, she overhears an English woman repeating her access code to her apartment. As the woman appears to be heading off somewhere with a large bag, Tabby seizes the opportunity and lets herself in.

Meanwhile, the book splits into two stories, Tabby’s and the apartment owner’s, Emmie.
The two women become unexpected flatmates and unlikely friends. Emmie obviously has a story to tell but it is only through snooping and surfing the internet that Tabby can try to discover what is making her so reclusive and withdrawn.

The girl’s stories are set in both France and England and while there are some similarities in their lives, the reader starts to wonder if it’s a good thing that they met at all?

This is a wonderfully warm novel with a nice easy pace and enough bite to make you want to keep reading. The character of Emily Marr is well described and you genuinely feel like you may know her and why she chooses to disappear. The descriptions of her life before the disappearance are well thought out and give her some depth which I think is needed for the main storyline.

The character, Nina, is hateful. Angry, bitter and hell bent on revenge she doesn’t care who she mows down on the way. Her anger hops off the pages and becomes quite understandable as the story unfolds.

This is a great  read, full of surprises, wonderful writing and would be ideal for bookclub discussions. It also has Reading Group Questions at the end which is a nice bonus. The only fault I would have is the lack of description of the French island. I would have liked to get a bit more of the sense of the place, the smells, the sounds and the atmosphere. Other than that ,a great book with a surprising twist.

This mystery is sad yet intriguing, a definite page turner! This isn’t regular chick lit, it’s on a different level with the mystery angle.

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Book Description:

Published: January 9, 2018

Format:   Audio/OverDrive

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Review –

Murder, mayhem, and chalk figures in a sleepy English village.

“In 1986, 12-year-old Eddie Adams enjoys spending time with his group of friends: Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo, and the lone girl in the group, Nicky. He’s largely insulated from his mother’s work as an abortion provider and its accompanying risks, and it’s her income that keeps the household afloat, since his father’s freelance writing jobs are hit and miss. When Eddie finds the decapitated and dismembered body of a local girl in the woods, it stirs up terrible secrets and forbidden passions.

In 2016, Eddie is a teacher who harbors a mild crush for his much younger boarder, Chloe, and isn’t eager to revisit the traumatic events of ’86. He still feels particularly bad about his part in the downfall of a teacher with albinism who was kind to him. When he’s contacted by Mickey Cooper, who claims he knows who really killed that girl, it opens old wounds, and a body count follows.

Readers will undoubtedly be reminded of the kids of Stand by Me and even IT. The dynamics among the kids are similar, complete with Nicky’s flaming red hair, and Eddie’s first-person narration alternates between past and present, taking full advantage of chapter-ending cliffhangers. The chalk markings the group works out to communicate tap into kids’ universal love for secret code and, of course, getting one over on their parents. Things takes a creepy turn when the symbols are twisted to fit someone’s not-so-innocent agenda.

A swift, cleverly plotted debut novel that ably captures the insular, slightly sinister feel of a small village. Children of the 1980s will enjoy the nostalgia.” Kirkus Review

The ending is creepily eerie and changed my mind about Eddie. (no spoilers -you’ll have to read or listen to the book to see what I mean)

Five stars.

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Book Description:

Published: March 4, 2014

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

I generally, as a rule, don’t read books with story lines in kingdoms or empires past, present, or future.  Something about them are off-putting. Maybe it the wars that are always a part of the story. Of course, there are exceptions, like the Selection series by Kiera Cass’s   which was fantastic but I think the draw for me was that it was mostly a love story and I’m sure there are others, but they escape me now.

The Winner’s Curse is also a love story with war playing a very important part but it stays in the background for the most part. Kestrel is a General’s daughter who has only know the wealthy way of life because she was only seven when the Valorians conquered the Herran peninsula and enslaved its people. She leads a comfortable, even pampered life in the Herrani capital. Her real love is music, but with her eighteenth birthday approaching, she will soon be forced to choose between enlisting in the army or marrying.  In the first chapter of the novel, Kestrel finds herself purchasing a young male Herrani slave named Arin, who comes advertised as a blacksmith as well as a singer of some talent… little does she know that the auctioneer has expectations of placing Arin in the General’s household as a spy.

And Arin, it turns out, isn’t an ordinary slave. A son of a good family before the Valorians conquered the Herrani, he has plans of his own to get back at the foreign oppressors. Which leads to complicated places for both Kestrel and Arin when they find themselves falling in love, or at least deep adolescent lust, with each other.

I won’t go into too much detail, so as not to spoil it, but suffice it to say that things do not go well for their budding romance and there is a huge cliffhanger at the end. I have already finished book two and will report on it in the next couple of days.

Fantastic Read.

C758484C9C9106E2B09FB2547B1149C8

16069030

 

Maybe Someday(Maybe #1) by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: March 18, 2014

At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be.

Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.

A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page.

Review –

I don’t know how the author, Colleen Hoover, does it, but most of her books are true tear-jerkers and this one is THAT, but it’s also heart-wrenching!

You feel for Sydney, knowing that Ridge has a sick girlfriend of five years that he says he will never leave  and always love, and you feel for Ridge, knowing that he does love Maggie with his whole heart and will never leave her but that feelings for Sydney are developing in a way he never thought possible. Their story is a roller coaster of emotions and I cried and cried and almost couldn’t stand it. The pain was so real.

I had the audio version and the narrators were top-notch and made Ridge and Sydney seem completely alive.

I loved this book and I won’t give away  the ONE element of the story that made it an even bigger tear-jerker because I want you to read it or listen to it. You won’t regret it.

(I think I need to check into buying some Kleenex stock!)

Five stars *****

2FED61D33FBEDE862055F09805BBCB8C

17788403

 

Vengeance (The Blood Trail Chronicles #1) by Tara Brown

Book Description

February 19, 2015
A man once told me there are infinite places love will take you, but revenge is the business of hate and there is only one place hate will take you, the end.
The end of you and the end of everything you once stood for.
His words still echo in my mind, next to the images of the millions of places I might have gone.Vengeance

Amillia Morgentstein wants nothing but freedom.
Freedom to choose the man she marries and the life she lives.
She wants nothing but the boy she can never have, Maddox.
Her world is turned upside down when her brother betrays their whole family, in a deal to trade Amillia to a Duke named Herrick and overthrow their father.
Broken hearted and fleeing her burning village, she rides away on the back of her closest friend, Artan.
In a neighbouring city, rumours of a red-cloaked assassin flood the streets.
An assassin who targets only the rich and the wicked.
The trail of blood left behind leads back to the burned out doors of a once flourishing kingdom, now ruled by a tyrant.
Broken hearted and bound by vengeance, Amillia finds herself falling for something she never thought she would have again.
Grayson’s blue eyes and sarcastic smile have her fighting the feelings she has, just as someone from her past reappears.
She fights for her heart and the hope no one discovers her biggest secret.
How far would you go for the ones you love, the ones you lost?

Review –
This is a fantastic book and I almost read it in one sitting. The characters are very well-developed and the plot, though fantasy, is very believable. It’s a story of forbidden love, jealousy, hatred, war, secrets and mature content.  I can’t wait to read the sequel.
2FED61D33FBEDE862055F09805BBCB8C
16395341

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Book Description

January 8, 2013 
Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska, Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author, calls Elizabeth LaBan’s The Tragedy Paper “a beguiling and beautifully written tale of first love and heartbreak.”It follows the story of Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, VanessaSheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their secrets.

Review –
This was recommended to me by my Assistant Professor daughter who specializes in children’s and young adult literature as a “Wintery Themed Book” and I was hooked from the first few pages. It’s a poignant story told in two points of view, a current student, who happens to be an albino, and a former student that had the same room in a private school, the year before. The story includes forbidden romance, a tragic accident, friendships and relationships and I rated it five stars *****. Truly perfect to read on a cold wintery day with a cup of hot chocolate.
383D1D93C88C19F164B5F1B27B6F4B70
13628178

The Execution by Sharon Cramer

13511702

Book Description

Publication Date: February 14, 2012
THE EXECUTION What if you only had one night to live, and on that night, you discovered something about yourself…something that could save you? The Execution is a love story–a gripping thriller, set in the fourteenth century. It has strong elements of romance, and intrigue. This book will propel you along in ways you’ve never experienced as you follow two parallel stories that come crashing together in a stunning finale. Award winning author, Sharon Cramer, will break your heart beautifully as she compels you to recall what true hate and perfect love truly feel like. When the young priest, D’ata, faces the killer to be executed the next morning, all is not as it seems, and things quickly crash out of control for both of them. Set in fourteenth century France, it is an epic, two-sided tale. Woven amidst the cataclysms of that magnificent and wretched time, two men tell the astonishing stories of their lives, then face daybreak together. WARNING: Graphic Violence, Sexuality, Mature Adult Situations Professionally Edited-Full Novel @ 121,989 words/351 pages
Review –
This is a fantastic story and I never would have read it had it not been for my husband.  He finished it and said I might like it so I added it to my “to be read” list and forgot about it.  Then one day I was between books and decided to check out my list and saw this story and thought I’d give it a try.
I am so glad I did.  I like time period story lines and stories with a twist and this had both.  I had to get the Kleenex out near the end and I never would have thought that going into the book.
If you ever find yourself in a quandary about what to read-give this a try and you won’t be disappointed. I promise.

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

Book Description

Publication Date: March 24, 2009 | Series: Mortal Instruments (Book 2)
 
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil—and also her father.To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings—and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

Review –

The above sentence says it better than I ever could.  I have fallen in love with these characters and can’t wait to see what happens next.

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

 

 

Book Description

Publication Date: October 11, 2011
“Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She’d believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen.”

In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.

Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew — about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear — was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?

 
Review –
For me, Nicholas Sparks, has done it again.  I know not everyone is a fan of a romance novel, but the author combines so many other things into his stories that it becomes a romance on a much higher level.  I didn’t give it much thought when I started the boook(as an audiobook)that it might not end the way I wanted it to, but true to Mr. Sparks history he ended it the way he wanted and that caused me  to use a lot of Kleenex.  I love the story line, the characters, the location and everything about this book.
If you are a Nicholas Sparks fan and want a good cry pick this one up right now.  You’ll be so happy you did.