When You Disappeared by John Marrs

Book Description:

Published: July 13, 2017

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

When Catherine wakes up alone one morning, she thinks her husband has gone for a run before work. But Simon never makes it to the office. His running shoes are by the front door. Nothing is missing – except him.

Catherine knows Simon must be in trouble. He wouldn’t just leave her. He wouldn’t leave the children.

But Simon knows the truth – about why he left and what he’s done. He knows things about his marriage that it would kill Catherine to find out. The memories she holds onto are lies.

While Catherine faces a dark new reality at home, Simon’s halfway around the world, alive and thriving. He’s doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the truth.

But he can’t hide forever, and when he reappears twenty-five years later, Catherine will finally learn who he is.

And wish she’d stayed in the dark.

Review –

The very description of this book intrigued me, what would I do in the position of the main character Catherine?  How does she go on?  What thoughts are running through her mind when she discovers her husband has gone and never returns?  Also, and why does Simon to do this?  So much about this book just screamed “READ ME”.

The book opens on the day that Simon walks out of his life and you see the impact this has on his friends and family, watching the ground beneath their feet crumble and their lives are inexplicably changed.  But we also experience the life that Simon goes on to lead in the twenty-five years he spends estranged from his family before returning “home”, and allowing Catherine to find out who he really is and his reasons for leaving like he did.

From the onset, my heart went out to Catherine.  How awful it must have been for her to try and hold things together for the sake of her children while wanting to curl up and stop living.  Her marriage had some issues, and life wasn’t always easy with small children around but she thought that things were stable, that life was ok ay and that she and Simon were okay.  Not knowing that all the while that Simon had an ulterior motive, that he was planning to walk out on them all and not look back and leave them to try and pick up the pieces and get on with life.  From that moment I didn’t like Simon, I couldn’t help but feel a hatred towards him, yes I admit, I hadn’t read all of his story yet to find out what was driving his decisions but part of me didn’t want to find out.Part of me wanted to stop there and then, but of course I listened on. It’s always a good sign if an author can evoke such strong emotions from their readers with the characterization in their books and I have to admit that John Marrs has done that with When You Disappeared, he seems to have found a formula in his writing that makes readers hate characters but at the same time feel that they aren’t 100% sure of their gut instinct, keeping them questioning whether there may be an underlying story that might just save a character…….

Narrated from alternating perspectives, readers experience the lives of both Simon and Catherine, seeing how their lives have progressed in the intervening twenty-five years, leading up to the moment that they meet again.  I did feel that it pulled at my attention somewhat, the jumping back and forth between the two main characters did feel a little disjointed but it did add to the overall suspense and intrigue so kept me on my toes.  The pace felt that it matched the plot well, not an adrenaline packed, fast paced read, but more a slow build to increase the tension levels and keep readers wondering what might happen.

Why did Simon leave ? How did Simon and Catherine change as individuals? Did they find love again?  Were they successful and happy or did grief and hatred turn their lives into something even they wouldn’t believe possible?  To find out, you will have to read the book. 

Fantastic Five Star Read!!!!!

This book was previously published as The Wronged Sons.

Tell Me Lies by J.P. Pomare

Book Description:

Published: March 5, 2020

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Margot’s clients all lie to her, but one lie could cost her family and freedom.

Psychologist Margot Scott has a picture-perfect life: a nice house in the suburbs, a husband, two children, and a successful career. On a warm spring morning, Margot spots one of her clients on a busy train platform. He is looking down at his phone, with his duffel bag in hand as the train approaches. That’s when she slams into his back and he falls in front of the train. Suddenly, one tragedy leads to another leaving her, her family, and her patients in danger. As misfortune unfolds, listeners will soon question Margot’s true role in all of these unfortunate events.

Tell Me Lies is a fast-paced, psychological, whodunit mystery that will leave listeners wondering if anyone can actually be trusted.

Review –

This was offered free on Audible and is an Audible Original. What is an Audible Original you may ask, it’s a story that is written with the listener in mind. The story goes from thoughts in a persons head to words on a page to to words being narrated to a listener.It is never printed as a book.

This psychological thriller takes place in Australia in the home and office of psychologist Margot Scott. When her family falls victim to an arsonist, she suspects one of her clients. I won’t give any of this story away, but It will grab you by the throat from the beginning and never let go and you won’t believe the ending!

I highly recommend.

 

 

Good Girl,Bad Girl (Cyrus Haven #1) by Michael Robotham

Book Description:

Published: July 23, 2019

Format; Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy, she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Maybe she is twelve, maybe fifteen. She doesn’t appear in any missing persons file, and her DNA can’t be matched to an identity.

Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying, and no one around her is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular, Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate girl-next-door, but as Cyrus peels back the layers, a secret life emerges—one that Evie Cormac, the girl with no past, knows something about. A man haunted by his own tragic history, Cyrus is caught between the two cases—one girl who needs saving and another who needs justice. What price will he pay for the truth?

Review –

Troubled psychologist Cyrus Haven has to evaluate a girl without a past while finding out who killed a rising young figure skater.

Evie Cormac is an enigma. No one knew who she was when she was found in a secret room in a north London home, weighing less than a child half her age, which was determined to be 11 or 12. Only a few feet from her hiding place was the decomposing body of a man who had been tortured to death.

Given a new name, she ended up in Nottingham’s Langford Hall, a high security children’s home, after a series of foster homes. Now, six years later, she’s eager to be declared an adult, so Cyrus must evaluate her for possible release. Evie is rude, unruly, self-destructive, prone to occasional violence, heartbreakingly naïve, and very, very broken. She also seems to be able to tell, with remarkable consistency, when someone is lying. This intrigues Cyrus, who wrote a thesis on human lie detectors, aka “truth wizards.” When Cyrus makes an impulsive choice to temporarily foster Evie, it brings a basket of challenges to his already complicated life.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is assisting his mentor, Chief Inspector Lenny Parvel, in the investigation of the suspicious death and possible rape of fifteen-year-old Jodie Sheehan, who was called the “golden girl of British skating.” Some shocking revelations lead Cyrus and the police down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets, and Evie can’t help but involve herself in the investigation. It’s the careful and often poignant interplay between Cyrus and Evie that elevates this page turner.

Cyrus’ parents and sisters were murdered when he was just a boy, and by all accounts Evie’s childhood was nothing short of hellish. Trauma unites them, but the author seeks to show that together, they might begin to heal. Readers will adore the brilliant hot mess that is Evie, and more than a few moments are breathtakingly sad, such as Evie’s confusion about her wrinkly fingers during a long bath…because she’s never in her life had one.

This was a fantastic read/listen (my second on Scribd’s free 30 day trial) and I will look for more from this author!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scandalous (Sinners of Saint #3) by L.J. Shen

Book Description:

Published: September 21, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

They call him The Mute for a reason.
Hard, cold and calculated, he rarely speaks.
When he does, it’s with disdain.
When he does, his words aren’t meant for me.
When he does, my stomach flips and my world tilts on its axis.
He is thirty-three.
I am eighteen.
He’s a single dad and my father’s business partner.
I’m just a kid to him and his enemy’s daughter.
He’s emotionally unavailable.
And I am…feeling. Feeling things I shouldn’t feel for him.
Trent Rexroth is going to break my heart. The writing isn’t just on the wall, it’s inked on my soul.
And yet, I can’t stay away.
A scandal is the last thing my family needs. But a scandal is what we’re going to give them.
And oh, what beautiful chaos it will be.

Review –

“Scandalous is a guilty pleasure that once you start you can’t stop. You are pulled into a story that is complex, riveting, and so thought-provoking. This isn’t just a story between two individuals falling in love; it is about two individuals battling their own problems who come together in unfavorable circumstances and this chaos bred a beautiful relationship that broke all stereotypes and boundaries.

Trent Rexroth’s silent protectiveness, loyalty, and dedication towards his family and friends and business are admirable. But what isn’t known to many people is the disarray his family life has been and you can see he is trying his best to fix it and make it good for his daughter, Luna.

Edie Van Der Zee is the opposite of Trent. The daughter of Trent’s in-office rival, she is the forbidden fruit. Spontaneous, careless yet loving and loyal to the people that matter to her Edie turns Trent’s life upside down.

Secrets, lies, deceits, and manipulations are what Edie’s life is made of and when she unintentionally bumps into Trent, and what begins is a series of events that will leave you wanting more and more and more of this unconventional relationship.

You know how the saying goes by GBatiste: “Love doesn’t discriminate, only people do.”
This book is exactly it! It breaks all stereotypes and barriers; you don’t get cookie cutter individuals with just a fatal flaw, you get two individuals who are messed up because life made them so and they are trying to wade through those tides.

The age or the race do not matter because as someone once said “Love has no eyes, Love has no age, Love has no culture nor religion, Love has no disability, Love has no gender or race. It only takes two crazy individuals to make it happen.” newchicksblog.com

 

 

When She Returned by Lucinda Berry

Book Description:

Published: October 15, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

One woman’s reappearance throws her family into turmoil, exposing dark secrets and the hidden, often devastating truth of family relationships.

Kate Bennett vanished from a parking lot eleven years ago, leaving behind her husband and young daughter. When she shows up at a Montana gas station, clutching an infant and screaming for help, investigators believe she may have been abducted by a cult.

Kate’s return flips her family’s world upside down–her husband is remarried, and her daughter barely remembers her. Kate herself doesn’t look or act like she did before.

While the family tries to help Kate reintegrate into society, they discover truths they’ve been hiding from each other about their own relationships. But they aren’t the only ones with secrets. As the family unravels what happened to Kate, a series of shocking revelations shows that Kate’s return is more sinister than any of them could have imagined.

Review –

Dark and disturbing…

When Kate Bennett vanished from a Target parking lot, her husband and daughter never thought they would see her again. But eleven years later, Kate shows up dehydrated and malnourished, showing signs of severe abuse in Montana holding a baby. With Kate returning, her family’s lives are turned upside down. As they struggle to understand what happened with Kate during those years, shocking revelations come to surface and threaten to destroy their lives. The narrative shifts between past and present and is told from the perspectives of Kate(first wife), Meredith(new wife), and Abbi, (daughter). Kate’s story is chilling and full of dread as she recounts the shocking cruelty from her days/years in “captivity”. The author’s exploration of Kate’s complete entrapment in the cult community is both compelling and disturbing. The pace gets hampered in the middle from the monotony of Kate’s story, but Berry threw in another twist that invests readers’ interest until the shocking culmination and what an ending it is!!!

I listened to this while traveling from Oklahoma to Alabama last month and kept my mind off the HUGE semi-trucks that traverse I-40.

Five star read!

 

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Book Description:

Published: December 30, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 4 1/2

New York Times bestselling author Tarryn Fisher delivers a pulse-pounding, fast-paced suspense novel that will leave you breathless. A thriller you won’t be able to put down!

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.

Review –

“Businessman Seth is married to three women. Well, he’s actually only legally married to the narrator, a Seattle nurse he only sees on Thursdays. She calls the other two Monday and Tuesday since she doesn’t know their names. They’re polygamists, but Seth has no interest in a sister wife situation, and he’s done a good job so far in keeping the three lives he leads, and the women he leads them with, separate. Until now. In fact, his Thursday wife is getting downright restless. She’s tired of living only for Thursdays and is still haunted by the loss of a child. Though she truly believes she loves Seth, she frequently wonders how she lost herself so completely in such an unsatisfying and unbalanced marriage. When she finds a slip of paper with the name Hannah, who she believes is another of Seth’s wives (the pregnant one, in fact), a whole new world of snooping opens up to her. She even goes so far as to set up a meeting with Hannah—without revealing her true identity, of course—and is alarmed to see that Hannah is hiding some bruises that look an awful lot like finger marks. What she subsequently discovers leads her down a rabbit hole of startling revelations, and the narrative takes a sharp left turn that would be shocking if most genre readers hadn’t already seen similar twists before. It’s all a bit over the top, but Fisher is a slick writer who keeps a tight rein on her lightning-fast plot, and the lengths that her feisty narrator goes to in order to reclaim her life make for salaciously satisfying reading.

Derivative and shamelessly manipulative but still a lot of fun. Fisher is a writer to watch.” Kirkus Reviews

If the ending were different and not so predictable, I would have rated it 5 stars, but a great read all the same.

 

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

Book Description:

Published: February 5, 2019

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 4

n the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?

Review –

Abigail Knight, the protagonist of this complex, emotionally intense debut novel by Christina McDonald is determined to get answers after her seventeen-year-old daughter, Olivia, who recently seemed unusually distracted and moody, is found, brain-dead and pregnant, at the bottom of an embankment below the ZigZag bridge in her hometown of Portage Point, Washington. Meanwhile, Abi manages the grief of seeing Olivia being maintained on life support just long enough to allow her granddaughter to live.

The chapters told from Olivia’s viewpoint in the months leading up to the accident, during which she struggles with friendships and romantic relationships while piecing together the truth about her absent father, convey the cadence and the awkward urgency of teenage thought and behavior without exaggerating it. Every carefully fleshed-out character behaves authentically, yielding a satisfying sense of tragedy rather than one of villainy. McDonald dives into the mother-daughter conflict without compromising the reader’s compassion for either of them. Fans of twisty domestic suspense novels will be rewarded.

A fantastic read and I can’t wait to delve into the author’s newest book, Behind Every Lie!

 

Enemies by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: December 1, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Stone Reeves was my neighbor, and I’ve hated him since sixth grade.

Gorgeous and charismatic, he became the town’s football god, while I became the town’s invisible girl.
He went to a Division 1 school for football, while my father was fired by his father.
His team won the National Championship, while my mother died the same day.

He was a first round pick for the NFL …
… while I made the worst decision of my life.

Now I’m in Texas trying to pick up the pieces of my life.
But, Stone is here.
Stone is everywhere.

It doesn’t matter that disaster has struck my life again.
It doesn’t matter that he’s the one trying to console me.
It doesn’t matter that he’s the nation’s newest football obsession.

Because for me, he always has been and always will be my enemy.

Review –

“If you’re a fan of Tijan’s books, you will love Dusty and Stone’s romance. They reminded me slightly of Sam and Mason or maybe even Alex and Jesse. There’s this whole I hate you, but I’m going to love you vibe. There’s a strong, broken young woman and a dominate, successful athlete. Tijan excels at writing these types of characters. That makes it sound like it’s the same story all over again, but it’s not. Dusty and Stone have their own unique love story. It’s filled with just the right amount of angst, sweetness, frustration, love, anger, hope, tenderness and a pinch of suspense. Tijan packed so many emotions and actions into Enemies and still I could have read more.

I fell in love with Enemies slowly but completely. I ended up loving Dusty and Stone together. I loved their friends. I didn’t want to leave them when this book was over. I know at this point Enemies is a standalone and it was wrapped up well, but I am still hoping it turns into a series. I wouldn’t complain about a book for any of the supporting characters. Colby and Cammie would be my first pick. I’m just saying…” A Novel Glimpse

 

 

Dirty English(English #1) by Lisa Madden-Mills

Book Description:

Published: October 10, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

A scarred fighter.
A girl with rules.
One night of unbridled passion.

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Bennett: she’s smart as a whip, always in control, and lives by a set of carefully crafted rules. She’s learned the hard way that people you love the most always hurt you in the end.

But then she meets Declan Blay, the new neighbor at her apartment complex.

A tattooed British street fighter, he’s the campus bad boy she’s supposed to avoid, but when he saves her from a frat party gone bad, all her rules about sex and love fly out the window.

She gives him one night of unbridled passion, but he longs for more.

With only a cardboard-thin wall separating their bedrooms, he dreams of possessing the vulnerable girl next door forever.

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.

*A modern love story inspired by Pride and Prejudice*

Review –

This story is in dual POV, so we have dual narrators for this book and I really loved both of them especially since the male narrator has the sexiest British accent, he is delicious to listen to.

Our story begins with our heroine when she was in high school and thought that she was in love. She grew up poor, in a trailer park, and had nothing except a good brain and a pretty face. But then the most popular boy in school wanted her and she thought that she was in love. And then on the night of prom, he got her drunk and drugged her and she woke up with faded memories of the man she thought she loved having abused and raped her. But he is a senator’s son and knew she didn’t want to face the ridicule of what everyone would think if they knew the truth. But it didn’t matter because that small town viewed her as the town’s slut even though she had been a virgin on that night.

So now she is in college and working on her degree and trying to forget what happened two years previous and having one night stands proves that he didn’t ruin her for sex and also that it helps keep the bad memories at bay so she can function until one night when she goes to a frat party…her first college part with her two best friends and meets up with two twin British brothers…brothers that are very different even if they look alike. But she is drawn to Declan, who is packed with muscle and has tattoos and has an intense gaze that she is compelled by. But she has some serious issues because Declan isn’t a guy that does one night stands and puts his whole heart into a relationship. But she has demons that she needs to face before she can have a relationship with Declan.  

There is some drama between these two, but more out of the heroine’s lack of trust and honesty with Declan more than anything else. Declan is such a solid hero and I have hardly any complaints about him except that he could have had a bit more patience with Elizabeth because of her past and the trauma she had to deal with and that it would cause her serious commitment issues. But I also understood why Declan couldn’t keep be so understanding when Elizabeth kept pushing him away and never giving him a chance to prove to her that he isn’t like her ex. But everything does get resolved in the end quite nicely and I ended up with plenty of good feels that I would expect from a story with some drama like this in it.

Another element that I found somewhat delightful was the use of Pride and Prejudice in this book. Now I wouldn’t say that this story is a Pride and Prejudice retelling because it didn’t feel like that to me at all. However our heroine’s name is Elizabeth Bennett, both hero and heroine LOVE the book and take an English Lit class together which focuses on the story of Pride and Prejudice. So there is a few fun takes on this story that we see that I found to be a charming element to the story.

Sexy read!

 

Angry God (All Saints High #3) by L.J. Shen

Book Description:

Published: February 15, 2020

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars:5

From #1 Amazon Bestseller L.J. Shen comes a new, emotional standalone about first love, second chances, and overcoming breathtaking losses at a young age.

Vaughn Spencer.
They call him an angry god.
To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.
His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.
All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.
Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.
I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.
But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.

A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.
They say this place is haunted, and it is.
Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.
Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.

Angry God is a stand-alone, DARK High School Romance. It deals with sensitive subjects some may find triggering.

Review-

I am a firm believer that this book needs to be gone into completely blind. Vaughn’s story is not an easy one he was always special, and this book proves why. I have never anticipated a story to the extent that I have this one and I was completely blown away by the flawless execution and delicacy with which the author handled his book. Interlacing his storyline with her uniquely LJ sense of humor that lightens up the darkest of situations and puts a smile on your face, brings this story to the next level for me. 

Leonora’s character was unlike any heroine that I’ve seen. She had this fire inside her that burned bright and fierce. Her flames and talent danced with Vaughn’s with such intricacy and emotion you could feel it burn from the pages and light your soul on fire. You think Vaughn is ice, but he is anything but, Vaughn is fire feeling everything and burning from the inside. These two couldn’t have been more perfect together and watching as they evolved into what they ultimately became was like watching two shooting stars collide and become one; singularly unique but together something more beautiful and charged with another level of intensity.

LJ Shen continues to grow and expand as an author, with every new story that she creates being better than the last. She has this unique way with words, drowning you in them as if they are poison soaking into your blood and becoming forever a part of you, ultimately seeping into what is your very essence. Every time I pick up one of her books, I’m immediately carried into that story utterly and completely. Nothing else matters but finishing that book and finding out what happens, that story becomes your nourishment until you are done. 

Like every single book in this series, Shen tackles major issues, topics, themes, and she did it with integrity and respect to the content. There are triggers in this book, for sure, but I am believer that literature (and romance is) should be a reflection of issues that we experience and plague the world, and sadly the issues in Angry God are rampant still today. Addressing these issues makes us more empathetic, more aware, more humane. Vaughn and Lenora’s story absolutely does that. The pain they suffer, the antagonism of a young romance as they stumble through their feelings, and the final HEA shows reader so many things – that light can bloom in the darkest of places, that love can shatter darkness and heal wounds, and that real family, blood or not, will love all your broken pieces and hold you together when you fall apart.

L.J. Shen started this journey with Vicious and it ends with his son, Vaughn, the 8th and final book (as of now) in the Todos Santos world. This series has brought us full circle. These characters and this world has taught me so much. I’ve grown, laughed, loved with this fictional people, and that is the power of a phenomenal romance.

Vaughn’s story tore me to shreds, each page was a slice to my very soul until I was left completely ruined by this book. Then slowly and with delicacy that only the author possesses she puts you back together mending you with parts of this story permanently imbedded. I could not have asked for a more perfect ending to my time here in Todos Santos, these character’s will forever be a part of me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I guess you can tell that I loved this book!!!!!