Preppy: The life and Death of Samuel Clearwater (King #5) by T M Frazier

Book Description:

Published: October 25, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Samuel Clearwater, A.K.A Preppy, likes bowties, pancakes, suspenders, good friends, good times, good drugs, and a good f*ck.
He s worked his way out from beneath a hellish childhood and is living the life he s always imagined for himself. When he meets a girl, a junkie on the verge of ending it all, he s torn between his feelings for her and the crippling fear that she could be the one to end the life he loves.
Andrea Dre Capulet is strung out and tired.
Tired of living for her next fix. Tired of doing things that make her stomach turn. Tired of looking in the mirror at the reflection of the person she s become. Just when she decides to end it all, she meets a man who will change the course of both their lives forever.
And their deaths.
For most people, death is the end of their story.
For Preppy and Dre, death was only the beginning.”

Review –

SORRY THESE LAST TWO ARE OUT OF ORDER, I THOUGHT I HAD ALREADY POSTED PART ONE. OOPS!!

Preppy is back, back from the dead, but he isn’t the same Preppy that we’ve grown to love over the course of the ‘King’ series. His time in captivity has really done a number on him. After everything he endured, it is nothing short of a miracle that he managed to survive…and surviving is exactly what he’s doing, no more.

When Dre seeks closure, she never imagined that she’d find Preppy alive. So much for saying “goodbye” and making her peace. She is immediately taken back to their time together, even if she’d rather forget the heartache that he left her with.

As Preppy begins to heal physically, he is plagued by the psychological after-effects of the torture. While all of his closest friends want him to face his issues, he wants nothing more than to escape from the pain. He loses himself in drugs and alcohol, racing to the bottom.

The only time that Preppy is able to find any peace is when he is with Dre. She has a calming effect on him. Despite the pain he’s caused her, she still can’t seem to give up on him. She does her best to keep him at arm’s-length, but as always, he manages to creep into her heart.

At times, I did find myself scratching my head over details related to the timeline of some events. It just didn’t seem to add up for me, but I could have been mis-reading something. At one point, Preppy’s captivity is said to have been for a few months. Yet at other points in the story, it was implied that he didn’t know about the kids that Doe and King had. He was also clueless to the fact that Bear had entered into a serious relationship and Thia was now “huge” in her pregnancy, which wouldn’t happen until the third trimester. So, I was a little confused as to how he could have missed so much if he’d only been away for “months”. I think it would be more like three or four years.

It does end with another cliffhanger, so expect to be banging your head against a wall until you can get your hands on Part Two.

 

 

 

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Preppy: The Life and Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part Two (Kind #6) by T M Frazier

Book Description:

Published: January 24, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Preppy finds himself back in a world he once loved, but no longer recognizes. His dim smile can’t hide his inner turmoil and the people he views as family all suddenly feel like polite strangers.

Except for one person. A girl with dark eyes and even darker hair.
A girl who isn’t even an option.

At least, not anymore.

Dre can’t decide who she’s going to listen to. Her heart, her head, or her body. Because two out of those three things have her heading right back to Logan’s Beach. Closure is what she tells herself she’s seeking, but when she unlocks doors that were never meant to be opened she soon discovers that when it comes to Samuel Clearwater, closure might NEVER be an option.

Review –

Preppy and Dre share a passionate and yet volatile relationship. When Preppy left Dre the first time, he broke her. Now that Preppy is back, he is struggling with learning how to live again. Dre is finally clean and sober and getting tangled up in Preppy might be the one thing that brings her back into her life of addiction and yet, is it possible that Preppy is the only drug that she needs to survive?

Told in dual POV, Preppy, is an unforgettable character. I found the circumstances in this installment to be more intense because I feared that Preppy and Dre may not be able to overcome the distance and pain between them. Although the primary emphasis is on Preppy and Dre, the supporting characters continue to enhance the overall story as they act as an ensemble driving the action. The intimacy between Preppy and Dre is raw, rough, and so so sexy! Out of all of the characters in this series, I believe Preppy and Dre are my favorite due to the complex relationship they share. The story arc is well-developed, and although I was quite frustrated with the amount of time it took for Preppy to make things right, I recognize that he remains true to his character and does everything in his own way and in his own time!

I’m listening to Part Three now and can’t wait for Preppy and Dre to have their HEA.

 

 

 

 

 

Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

The fears and horrors of being a new parent take on a shocking dimension in in this heart-stopping original story, only from Audible.

A young married couple, Matt and Gillian have just bought a gorgeous house located next to a lake in the Catskills. They want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city to raise their baby girl, Hope, in relative peace and quiet. When night falls, however, their dream home becomes a house of nightmares. Matt and Gillian soon learn that darkness takes many forms. And sometimes, darkness is hungry.

New York Times best-selling author and Bram Stoker Award winner Jonathan Maberry delivers a haunting Audible Original that will give listeners the Halloween creeps all year round. Scott Brick, the man with the golden voice, perfectly captures the experience of hearing a classic ghost story told around the campfire.

Review –

 I was excited to grab this free horror story off of Audible last month. I’d just finished up a novel, and was in the mood for something quick to listen to while knitting a scarf, so I hit play on this short story.

Lullaby is about a husband and a wife who decide to move into a house they are told is haunted because the price was just too low to resist. They’re about to welcome into the world their new daughter, Hope, and this home seems perfect. It’s not too long before they start to see why the price was so low, and why the realtor was obliged to tell them that the place was haunted.

This short story is bleak, dark, and creepy. The haunted house presented here is not given a life of its own at all, and has no real presence itself, but the way the author described the haunted aspects of the story were unsettling. The finale that it builds towards hit me like a punch to the gut.

Scott Brick – who I’ve come to learn in my short time becoming an audiobook “connoisseur” is the most divisive narrator in the business – did an excellent job with this material. I loved his approach, which went from playful in the beginning, to haunting in the middle, and then powerful in the end. He displayed an impressive range in less than 40 minutes of narration.

Lullaby did more than I expected. It delivered on a creepy, quick tale, but it also went to much darker places than I could have imagined, and though it won’t be for everyone (trigger warning for those that don’t like to see children in peril), I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am happy I selected it for my Audible Original last month.

 

 

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Book Description:

Published: August 23, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors–a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Review –

Holy Smokes! What a roller coaster ride!

The Couple Next Door had me gripped right from the very beginning. It essentially follows the disappearance of Marco and Anne’s baby daughter Cora, who is taken from her bed one night while the couple attend a dinner party next door. The couple are racked with guilt, and as the investigation continues, more and more secrets and betrayals are revealed…

The narrative is told in the third-person and follows the experiences of Anne, Marco, Detective Rasbach and Jennings, the couple’s next door neighbour Cynthia, and Anne’s parents Richard and Alice. The narrative provides an in-depth and detailed analysis of all of the characters, as they attempt to piece together the puzzle that is Cora’s disappearance.

Anne and Marco are the central protagonists. Anne, suffering with Postpartum (or Postnatal) depression after the birth of her daughter Cora, is racked with guilt and anxiety after her disappearance. She struggles to cope emotionally, and seeks comfort from her parents and husband. Her motherly instincts take over, and she will ultimately do anything to save her daughter. But of course, she has a few secrets lurking in her own past.

Marco is strong and determined, and puts on a brave face to support his wife. But deep down he is really struggling to come to terms with what has happened, and Cora’s disappearance challenges everything he thought he knew. I flitted between hating Marco and feeling sympathy for him, and if you read the book you’ll discover why. He makes some major mistakes, and must pay the price for them. Marco is a much more complex character than he first appears to be.

The other minor characters are all excellently portrayed. Rasbach and Jennings attempt to solve the case as efficiently as they can, but when lots of new clues and curveballs are thrown in, the investigation becomes difficult. Anne’s parents Richard and Alice are incredibly rich, and it seems they will do anything to get their grandchild back. And the neighbors Cynthia and Graham are much more complex than they first appear to be.

As the narrative goes on, more and more mysteries and secrets are revealed. This is a novel where you think you know where the story is going – but then the author throws in a clever curveball, and all expectations are reversed. There is an excellent attention to detail in this highly-complex narrative – it’s a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” kind of narrative. It does require lots of concentration and attention from the reader, but is definitely worth it in my opinion.

So, let’s talk about the ending. I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with the final ending, and to me that majorly let the book down. I was pleased with what I thought was the final revelation, as it gave a sense of hope for the future of the characters. But then a new element in thrown into the story, and to me it just seemed unnecessary and too exaggerated to be deemed as realistic and for me, ruined the whole story. One minute there was a happy ending and the next there was anything but.

Overall, I highly recommend this novel to those of you who like domestic thrillers, particularly if you enjoy reading complex, multi-layered plots. It has excellently-constructed characters, plenty of mystery and suspense, and killer twists. The ending did really disappoint me, but don’t let that put you off – you might enjoy it! A great read.

 

Still Waters (Sandman Murders #1) by Viveca Sten

Book Description:

Published: October 1, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore.

Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident—until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast. But this time it is Berggren’s cousin, whom Thomas interviewed in Stockholm just days before.

As the island’s residents reel from the news, Thomas turns to his childhood friend, local lawyer Nora Linde. Together, they attempt to unravel the riddles left behind by these two mysterious outsiders—while trying to make sense of the difficult twists their own lives have taken since the shared summer days of their youth.

Review-

As you can see, I finally got around to reading the first in the Sandman Murders series and I’m kinda glad I did hear this series out of order.

I learned many things in this book that related back to the two other books that I have already read and it made it more enjoyable. Had I read the books in order the incidents in Book One would have been just that-incidents, but with the background I already have the incidents make others things become crystal clear.

The story starts with the introduction of the setting of a crime. The weather is hot, it’s July and a body is found on one of Sweden’s islands named Sandhamn. The body is a horrible sight to behold as it is entangled in a fishing net. Thomas Anderson is the police detective that has been assigned to the case. He is also the first person to arrive at the spot. A little research helps him identify the victim. The victim’s name is Krister Briggren. Krister has been missing for a number of months or so the official reports say.

Thomas’ investigation leads him to believe that the death was an accident till something happened to change his beliefs. A local bed and breakfast reported another body. The body was identified as Krister’s cousin. Thomas attempts to solve the mystery with the help of an old friend named Nora Linde! 

The story revolves around  a very intriguing plot and  are the  police  right when they believe that the death was an accident? There is a huge surprise twist in the story and makes for a very emotional discovery for  Nora and to me since through reading three books I am acquainted with the character involved and couldn’t believe it!

I love this series and HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who loves a good  murder mystery.

Soulless (King #4) by T.M. Frazier

Book Description:

Published: February 23, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Soulless, is part two of Lawless.

The finale to Bear and Thia’s epic love story.

Review –

Do not read this as a stand alone. You simply must first read them in order: King ,Tyrant and Lawless.  Call it sage advice.  Call it a moral imperative.  Call it because-I’ve-read-them-so-I-know-what-I’m-talking-about-trust-me-on-this-one-eh?  Call it what you want but please do not attempt to start this series at Soulless.  There is a reveal so utterly game changing that you probably really, really want to know why your mind is blown away so righteously.  Me- I can barely see through the chunks of grey matter siding down my forehead and between my eyes for what it’s worth.

 Lawless, left us dangling for our lives at a cliffhanger that was equal parts beautiful and sad.  I hate cliffies, but Lawless was Bear’s story and there was no way I was passing that up so there I was dangling away until Soulless dropped into my lap.  The King series builds book upon book.  To care about Soulless, you first have to understand King.  The dark story of a man lost on his own dark path and the young woman he saves along the way.  He has two friends, Bear and Preppy and together they have a brotherhood forged in blood and loyalty.  King walks his path with Doe and they both make it out alive. Bear is just starting his own tumultuous journey and when a series of events tear him away from his MC and reunite him with young, troubled Thia, both of their lives hang in the balance.

Soulless is the culmination of carefully planted seeds and plot twists that make me mighty proud of author TM Frazier.  My chief complaint regarding the first three books has been that there is so much good, gritty, dark substance that I revel in, but then, there is always a departure where the envelope is pushed too far and I am jarred out of my sweet reading spot because something completely odd or non sequitur occurred.

 It happened in every book and I shook my fists to the heavens each time.  It was akin to drawing a weird, awkward line through a masterpiece.  Never enough to turn me completely off- but enough that it absolutely bears mentioning.  Nevertheless, King was powerful stuff and the break out star Preppy captured my heart in every way, even though he is the most foul mouthed hottie I have ever run across.  The quiet force in the King series is Bear.  Bear is the son of the most awful MC President you could fathom. In fact, imagine the most depraved club president you can, then imagine him ten times more brutal and conscious-less, and only then can you begin to scratch the surface that is Chop. Walking away from the MC is by blood or casket in this world, so Soulless begins and ends with the conflict between Bear and his evil incarnate father, Chop.

Thia is Bear’s heart beat.  Drawn to her years before and reunited when she needed him most, their connection is tangible and wild.  He knows little about love, but knows he wants to care for and protect Thia.  The daughter of a deranged mother and murdered family, Thia is also searching for a home- a place where she is loved and safe.  Bear’s in every way, their bond is rock solid and the catalyst to THE BIG REVEAL.  They fight for, along side and on the behalf of the other- equals in their own way.  Thia was no whimpering willy, and she was not ridiculously courageous either.  She was just your average broken woman, trying to keep all the pieces together.  I seldom disagreed with her actions and I enjoyed her point of view.  Bear’s point  of view was so full of emotion and longing that I wanted to beat his father bloody for everything he did to ruin Bear.

It is a miracle that Bear survived his old man and was remotely salvageable as a man.  It is astonishing that these two people with royally messed up backgrounds survived at all.  Good thing they did, because their sexual chemistry is off the charts.

The best parts of Soulless lends itself to epic spoilers that I don’t dare ruin for readers.  There is a new female character that I am convinced will be prominent in the next book.  I’d like her to be a surprise, but she is a savage and the hint of her background that we do receive begs for more page time in the future!  Books 1-3 are all fast reads, so the journey to Soulless will pack a punch – but will be quick and worthwhile.  As expected, T.M Frazier did not break her pattern of “wait – what?” scenes and I spent about twenty-five pages more perturbed than I have ever been in my life.  But then I arrived at 99%- the epilogue… and all was forgiven. The who, what, where, and how- meaningless. 

Spoiling an ounce of Soulless would be such a disservice, the best I am willing to do is give you a warning.  This is a violent series and both primary couple’s road to their HEA’s are paved in blood and bones.  It is dark, but deliciously so.  You will laugh, cry, cringe and have your mind blown, so if you are game, give it a chance.  If you are looking for well dressed, polite young men courting their crushes with sweet tea and cupcakes, this is not the series for you.  The only character in this series who dressed well at all wore a bow tie, pressed shirt and slacks- and was perhaps the most visceral dangerous of them all.

Thank you TM Frazier for another mind-blowing experience.  Five stars!!!!!!!!

Two Kinds of Truth (Harry Bosch #20) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse.

Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren’t keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.

The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.

Review –

Just finished listening to this installment of the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly, and I loved it. As you may remember the character of Harry Bosch is one of my favorites.

In this one, number twenty in the series, Harry Bosch juggles yet another cold case turned flaming red hot with the sort of brand-new case that would be routine for anyone but him.

Thirty years ago, Harry  was sure that Preston Borders had raped and murdered three young women. The district attorney’s office, less confident about two of the cases, still managed to convict Borders of killing Danielle Skyler. A jury gave him the death penalty, and he’s been sitting in San Quentin ever since. Now, however, it looks as if he may get out, and not because he’s been executed. An analysis of the evidence that went unexamined back in 1988 has identified the DNA on Danielle’s pajama bottoms as that of Lucas John Olmer, who died in a different prison and never met Borders. Under the guidance of sharp-practice lawyer Lance Cronyn, Borders has filed a habeas corpus petition, made a new statement accusing Harry of planting evidence against him, and expressed a serious interest in suing everyone in sight. Harry has only nine days before the habeas hearing to defuse this ticking bomb. But how can he possibly find the time to work the case when the murder of José Esquivel Sr. and Jr., a pharmacist and his son, at their family business has swept the San Fernando Police Department—where Bosch, booted off the LAPD, is now volunteering—into a hurricane of fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions and provoked Bosch to agree for the first time in his life to go undercover as an addict and potential drug mule? You have to keep in mind in the forty years that Harry has worked in law enforcement he has never been undercover and he is now over 65. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to watch his performance!

The author, Michael Connelly, is a genius when it comes to juggling these two cases and tying up loose ends of another kind to boot. I am not a fan of courtroom scenes but Mr. Connelly has written one that had my blood pumping and standing uptown cheer.

Another great read!!!!!

 

Tonight You’re Dead (Sandhamn Murders #4) by Viveca Sten

Book Description:

Published: November 14, 2017

Format: Audio

Soon to be divorced, attorney Nora Linde is finding her way as a single mother, and even falling in love again, when she’s asked by her childhood friend Detective Thomas Andreasson to help in a disturbing investigation. Marcus Nielsen, a university student, has apparently committed suicide, but it’s what he’s left behind that’s so suspicious and damning: his research into the Coastal Rangers, an elite military group where, in 1976, a young cadet died under questionable circumstances, a sadistic sergeant went free, and a case went cold.

When two of Nielsen’s contacts are also found dead—and diaries of their tortuous training turn up missing—Thomas and Nora are certain that whatever happened three decades ago is unforgivable. And for someone who wants to keep those secrets buried—unforgettable. Now they must fight against time to expose a cover-up that hasn’t yet claimed its last victim.

Review –

I have found another foreign crime fiction series that I really like and again I’m reading the books out of order. The reason is that when I find one available I latch on to it and read or listen to it. I like to have the physical audio book and now they are hard to find so I have to rely on library apps like OverDrive and Libby and audio book apps like Audible.

Tonight You’re Dead is the fourth in the  Sandhamn Murders series of books – a place I love the sound of (multiple murders aside).  It sounds beautiful, set on the coast of Sweden and home to a mix of fascinating characters – not least of which (and central to all the books) is Nora, a single mom to two boys and best friend of Thomas, a local detective (and another central character in the books).

I can tell from the back story that Nora and Thomas have worked together on the solving of the crimes in the previous three books (even though she works for a bank). In this one Nora is hardly mentioned and Thomas works with a another police person, Margit.

The case itself was simple but cleverly conceived.  It starts with a young student found hanged, an apparent suicide.  Thomas is convinced by the young man’s mother to look into it further and, when he does, he finds a connection to another group of young men, Coastal Rangers who trained to be part of an elite fighting unit in the 1970s but are now also turning up dead, again looking like they have taken their own lives.

As Thomas and Margit try to find the connections, time seems to be running out for the men left alive.  It leads to a tense ending, one I didn’t see coming – which is always a plus.

I highly recommend this series.

The Last Thing She Ever Did by Gregg Olsen

Book Description:

Published: January 1, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The community along Oregon’s Deschutes River is one of successful careers and perfect families. For years, up-and-comers Liz and Owen have admired their good friends and neighbors, Carole and David. They appear to have it all–security, happiness, and a beautiful young son, Charlie.

Then Charlie vanishes without a trace, and all that seemed safe is shattered by a tragedy that is incomprehensible–except to Liz.

It took one fleeting moment for her to change the lives of everyone she loves–a heartrending accident that can’t be undone. Neither can the second-worst mistake of her life: concealing it. As two marriages crack and buckle in grief and fear, Liz retreats into her own dark place of guilt, escalating paranoia–and betrayals even she can’t imagine. Because there’s another good neighbor who has his own secrets, his own pain, and his own reasons for watching Liz’s every move.

And only he knows that the mystery of the missing boy on the Deschutes River is far from over.

Review –

This novel is crazy! I mean crazy in a good way.  

 I will warn you that there are some uncomfortable scenes in this book, so if you don’t like gritty suspense novels, you might want to pass on this one.  

Charlie, a young boy, is out of his mother’s sight for several minutes and vanishes.  A neighbour and close friend to his mother knows what happens but coming forward will ruin their lives.  Other than Charlie, all the characters were pretty much selfish jerks.  Yet, I couldn’t wait to see where the story would go ands mesmerised listening to the chapters go by.  There was a twist to the ending, I for once didn’t expect and while I am not sure if I liked the ending it was interesting.  This novel had be glued till the end and that’s what I love!

I highly  recommend this one to any suspense fans.

The Reunion by Samatha Hayes

Book Description:

Published: February 9, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

They were all there the day your sister went missing…Who is lying? Who is next?

Then–In charge of her little sister at the beach, Claire allowed Eleanor to walk to the shop alone to buy an ice cream. Placing a coin into her hand, Claire told her to be quick, knowing how much she wanted the freedom. Eleanor never came back.

Now–The time has finally come to sell the family farm and Claire is organising a reunion of her dearest friends, the same friends who were present the day her sister went missing.

When another girl disappears, long-buried secrets begin to surface. One of the group hides the darkest secret of them all…

Review –

Have you noticed that there seems to be an abundance of children going missing crime/psychological thrillers on the market at the moment, and wasn’t convinced that author would be able to put an original spin on a well used subject, but somehow she does.

The book begins with the disappearance of teenager Eleanor, while spending the day at the beach with her brother, sister and their friends. Fast forward twenty one years and her family are still no closer to knowing what happened to her all those years ago. Dad, Patrick is now suffering from Alzheimers, and daughter Claire decides that a reunion of friends and family could help her dad with his memory issues. As the group of friends are reunited they find themselves plunged into a further nightmare as shocking secrets are slowly revealed.

If I’m honest I thought the first half of the book was very slow, the time is spent introducing an array of characters and building on the mystery and suspense surrounding Eleanor’s disappearance. None of the characters were extremely likable, but that said it did not stop me enjoying this book. The author manages to ramp up the tension by creating characters that are almost impossible to trust.

The Reunion has some great twists and misleading clues to make this an intense and a heart pounding  read. If I had anything negative to say it would be that a few things were left unanswered by the time I reached the end, but never the less it still made for an intriguing read and I gave it five stars!