Ryan’s Bed by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: January 22, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

I crawled into Ryan Jensen’s bed that first night by accident.

I barely knew him. I thought it was his sister’s bed—her room. It took seconds to realize my error, and I should’ve left…

I didn’t.
I didn’t jump out.
I didn’t get embarrassed.
I relaxed.
And that night, in that moment, it was the only thing I craved.

I asked to stay. He let me, and I slept.

The truth? I never wanted to leave his bed. If I could’ve stayed forever, I would have.
He became my sanctuary.

Because—four hours earlier—my twin sister killed herself.

Review –

This book was an emotional roller coaster ride! This book was heart wrenchingly good. It hit me right in the heart and I was left emotionally drained. It took a while to really get into the story line  because it felt like a typical YA romance but damn the second half totally changed my mind. Ryan’s bed was completely different from Tijan’s other books.  It not only deals with loss, grief, acceptance, and healing but it also deals with  sensitive issues like suicide and depression.

The writing was beautiful and I loved the characters. My heart ached for both Ryan and Mackenzie and the loss they’d both experienced. On the surface they might’ve seemed like an odd pairing, but it just worked. They understood each other and what they were going through and I loved the bond that formed as a result of that. It gave me all kinds of feels. There was a certain amount of escapism, too, as Mackenzie used Ryan to dull her pain, but something beautiful grew as a result of it. It was really interesting to watch Mackenzie develop throughout this book as she dealt with the loss of her sister. She gutted me at times – her pain was so visceral, so real.

Ryan was a pretty special character, too. He was popular and had a certain amount of power, but he was sweet and thoughtful and absolutely all in for Mackenzie. That’s the kind of hero I can get behind so easily. He was absolutely crush-worthy. I wouldn’t call him perfect, because who is really, but he was darn close. He protected and cared for Mackenzie in a way she needed, a way he understood because he’d lost someone close to him, too.

You should give this book a try and if you do decide to read it or listen to it ,expect angst and pain and more than a few heartaches, but know you’ll also find something beautiful amongst all that heavier stuff. At the risk of saying too much, you should also expect a jaw-dropping ending. I DID NOT see that coming. Just to be clear, it’s not a cliffhanger and this is a standalone book, but W O W. It was kinda perfect, but I still couldn’t help but trying to flip further to find more story. I’ll be adding this one to my “must reread at some point” list so I can get the full experience again, knowing the ending.

Five stars!

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Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.

Review –

When her best friend commits suicide after being dumped by a worthless man, Jane, a self-described sociopath, decides revenge will be slow and sweet.

In this suspenseful, creepy thriller, Jane travels to Minneapolis after her friend, Meg, commits suicide. Jane isn’t sure she herself has ever felt love, or any emotion other than hatred for her abusive family. But college roommate Meg gave Jane her best chance at seeing how normal people lived. When Meg became involved with Steven, though, she turned from a funny, bold woman into a submissive girl who accepted Steven’s cruel comments and control, until in her despair she killed herself. Now Jane has insinuated herself at Steven’s company. She pretends  to be just the sort of woman Steve wants—meek, mousy, and needy. It’s fascinating to hear Jane, who narrates the novel, comment on her plans and observations of others. The author does a fantastic job of creating in Jane a complex character, making her both scary and more than a little appealing. As the novel progresses, our view of Jane gradually shifts. Is Jane really a sociopath or the rare woman who doesn’t care what others think? And which of us wouldn’t at least dream of sweet revenge against those who cause such pain? Stone even provides the perfect ending, which can’t be commented on without ruining its perfection.

This beautifully balanced thriller will keep readers tense, surprised, pleased, and surprised again as a master manipulator unfolds her plan of revenge.

Fantastic  read !

The Last Days of August by Jon Ronson

Book Description:

Published: January 3, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

In December 2017 the famous porn star August Ames committed suicide in a park in the Conejo Valley. It happened a day after she’d been the victim of a pile-on, via Twitter, by fellow porn professionals – punishment for her tweeting something deemed homophobic.

A month later, August’s husband, Kevin, connected with Jon Ronson to tell the story of how Twitter bullying killed his wife. What neither Kevin nor Ronson realized was that Ronson would soon hear rumors and secrets hinting at a very different story – something mysterious and unexpected and terrible.

In The Last Days of August, Ronson unravels the never-before-told story of what caused this beloved 23-year-old actress’ untimely death.

Review –

Until Ronson, a Welsh author, starts digging, the popular theory surrounding Ames’ suicide is that she died in response to being dragged on Twitter after making homophobic comments.

Ronson delves into these comments, gradually revealing what was said, who @’d whom, and whether Ames even saw the most vicious tweets before she died. Ames’ widower Kevin Moore has some cockamamie reasoning for why he doesn’t think the tweets were homophobic (they were), but that’s not the real issue in the podcast.

The real issue appears at the first episode’s end, when Ronson drops an interview with Ames’ friend and fellow porn actress Emma Hix. Hix says Moore had asked her to “hold a lot of things in” and not expose Ames’ “dirty little secrets.” And we’re off to the races! Except that Ronson opens the next episode with an attempt to contextualize the blood-chilling audio—deus ex machina-style—from his perspective at the end of the podcast’s investigation phase, 10 months in the future: “This will not turn out to be a murder mystery,” he says. I think that may be a big reason we all like Ronson so much—he’s got one hell of a story to tell us, but he doesn’t want to unfairly smear Moore as a murderer, in case you don’t finish all seven episodes.

The twists and turns of The Last Days of August exhausted me. Ronson runs back and forth between subjects like a reality show producer; Moore won’t let Ames hang out with her friends, Moore says Ames’ friends are pressuring her to do drugs, and so on. It feels like nothing solid ever comes out of the interviews. I can’t promise you’ll finish August feeling like a great veil has been yanked back from what Ames was thinking or what truly happened to her. But August is a fascinating show that manages something truly curious: It presents people from the porn industry quite nakedly, and you never even see them.

At the end of this sad tale nothing has been solved. No one truly knows by August Ames decided to hang herself on a stormy night in December of 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above, August Ames with husband, Kevin Moore in 2016.

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.

The Blood Split (Rebecca Martinsson #2) by Asa Larsson

Book Description:

Published: January 30, 2007

Format: Audio/Library Book

It’s midsummer in Sweden—when the light lingers through dawn and a long, isolating winter finally comes to an end. In this magical time, a brutal killer has chosen to strike. A female priest—who made enemies and acolytes in equal number—has been found hanging in her church. And a big-city lawyer quite acquainted with death enters the scene as police and parishioners try to pick up the pieces….

Not long ago, attorney Rebecka Martinsson had to kill three men in order to stop an eerily similar murder spree—one that also involved a priest. Now she is back in Kiruna, the region of her birth, while a determined policewoman gnaws on the case and people who loved or loathed the victim mourn or revel in her demise. The further Rebecka is drawn into the mystery—a mystery that will soon take another victim—the more the dead woman’s world clutches her: a world of hurt and healing, sin and sexuality, and, above all, of sacrifice.

Review –

Again, I hadn’t read the first book in this series so I didn’t know all the background of the character of Rebecka Martinsson and in this book she is severely damaged so I think I need to stop reading or listening to books out-of-order.

The plot/storyline was okay but a bit convoluted and there was a LOT of deaths in the book and not all were murders. This was not my favorite foreign crime drama but what really ruined it for me was the narrator.  For some reason her voice was like nails on a chalkboard for me. 

While Rebecka Martinsson was a very complex character and this book ended in a cliffhanger – I don’t plan to reading any more of this series.

 

 

A Pale Horse (Inspector Ian Rutledge #10) by Charles Todd

Book Description:

Published: December 26, 2007

In the ruins of Yorkshire’s Fountains Abbey lies the body of a man wrapped in a cloak, the face covered by a gas mask. Next to him is a book on alchemy, which belongs to the schoolmaster, a conscientious objector in the Great War. Who is this man, and is the investigation into his death being manipulated by a thirst for revenge?

Meanwhile, the British War Office is searching for a missing man of their own, someone whose war work was so secret that even Rutledge isn’t told his real name or what he did.

The search takes Rutledge to Berkshire, where cottages once built to house lepers stand in the shadow of a great white horse cut into the chalk hillside. The current inhabitants of the cottages are outcasts, too, hiding from their own pasts. Who among them is telling the truth about their neighbors and who is twisting it?

Here is a puzzle requiring all of Rutledge’s daring and skill, for there are layers of lies and deception, while a ruthless killer is determined to hold on to freedom at any cost. And the pale horse looming overhead serves as a reminder that death is never finished with anyone, least of all the men who fought in the trenches of France.

Review –

This is my first time reading/listening to a book in the  Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd and I’m sorry that it had to be number ten because I know that I’ve missed a lot of character developement that has occurred in the earlier books. Since this author was new to me I didn’t want to spend money on a book so I found number ten on OverDrive and gave it a try.

The characters are all believable and the story line held my interest all the way to the end and I particularly like that the ending is not predictable.  A great mystery for a horribly windy Oklahoma afternoon.

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Losing Hope (Hopeless #2) by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: July 8, 2013

In Hopeless, Sky left no secret unearthed, no feeling unshared, and no memory forgotten, but Holder’s past remained a mystery.

Still haunted by the little girl he let walk away, Holder has spent his entire life searching for her in an attempt to finally rid himself of the crushing guilt he has felt for years. But he could not have anticipated that the moment they reconnect, even greater remorse would overwhelm him…

Sometimes in life, if we wish to move forward, we must first dig deep into our past and make amends. In Losing Hope, bestselling author Colleen Hoover reveals what was going on inside Holder’s head during all those hopeless moments—and whether he can gain the peace he desperately needs.

Review –

This is Holder’s story. 

We see a lot of his past – it’s heart breaking and devastating but we live it with him. I went through everything with him. I felt his anger, his loss, his fears. When he fucked up, I cringed. When he was happy, my heart overflowed.

There were scenes that gave me  chills – from head to toe.  There were moments where I just closed my eyes and sat there sobbing, letting the emotions sink in, you know how I love tear-jerkers.

While so much of this book is just completely new, even the scenes that are the same as in Hopeless feel SO special when you read them because 1) they are just awesome scenes to relive period, and 2) the slightly different angle on them gives them just enough of a twist to make you fall in love with them all over again.

This book has it all -pain, devastation, love, loss, hope and closure.

Great series.

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Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: December 19, 2012

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

Review –

Five stars *****

Silly me I read the last two books in the Hopeless Series before I realized it was a series so I had to go back and read the first one and OMG what a difference  the meaning takes on.

Hope’s father physically abused her as a child after her mother died and the only brightness in her life were her friends that lived next door.The boy was a bit older and the girl younger. Hope was a sad child and one day a car pulled up outside her house when she was crying and a woman called her name and she went and got into the car. Being very young she believed everything the woman told her, that she would live with her now and never had to see her father again.

Years later Holder (first name Dean-but he doesn’t go by that now) saw a girl in line at a grocery store and thought she was Hope. It had been thirteen years since Hope disappeared and he’d looked for her ever since. This girl said her name was Sky but still Holder shake the feeling that she was Hope. They become friends(loosely at least) and one day when he sees her wearing a certain bracelet he KNEW she was Hope. The rest of the story deals with their blossoming relationship and his helping her cope with the truth.

I won’t give anything away (because if you’re a fan of YA you really need to read this) but suffice it to say that there are many twists and turns and many tears are shed before the HEA.  I loved it and cried, of course, at all the right parts.

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I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Book Description:

Published: January 27, 2015

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

Review –

 I rated this book five stars *****

This book pulls at your heart-strings from the very the very first sentence, ” The day after Meg died I received  this letter, ‘I regret to inform you that I have had to take my own life.'”, and never lets go.

Cody and Meg have been best friends all their lives and Cody considered Meg’s mother her mother instead of Patricia, who most times couldn’t be bothered with motherly things.  They were different yet everyone in town said they were like two peas in a pod, and that’s why Meg’s suicide hits Cody so hard.  They had planned to go to the same college but things didn’t go as planned and Meg got a scholarship to a private school  away from home while Cody went to the local community college. Meg’s parents ask Cody to go to the Meg’s off campus house where she shares space with a few roommates so she does and when first meeting the them doesn’t like them at all. Once inside Meg’s room she’s shocked about how neat it is and that it looks like someone has already done most of the packing.  When asked about this, her roommates say that Meg left it that way. She finds out the Meg had a boyfriend for a short time and that he had broken her heart. When she meets Ben McAllister for the first time he hates him and lets him know why. He ***ked her friend and them dumped her. 

While going through Meg’s computer Cody finds that there are missing emails and encrypted files and with the help of a nerdy roommate find out that Meg had been posting to a suicide support board and that someone was encouraging her  so she makes it her goal to find this person and make him pay. During all of this and Ben are thrown together with some of the roommates and sparks start to fly.  She dislikes Ben and likes him at the same time and feels disloyal to Meg for thinking about him.   Both Cody and Ben have baggage from the past, more so Cody, but this brings them closer and without his knowledge or anyone elses, she goes onto the suicide support board hoping to smoke out Meg’s suicide mentor.  She does and asks Ben to travel with her to the home of the man so she can confront him. He doesn’t like it but he does because he has developed strong feelings for her. She confronts the man and instead of driving back to Washington with Ben, calls her Mom and says she wants to come home NOW. Her mom arranges for a plane ticket and Cody flies home to leave Ben to drive the 1000 miles by himself. When she gets home she goes to Meg’s parents home and tells them everyone from the beginning and they tell her they knew about the suicide support board, it had been in the police report, but didn’t know the identity of the man.  They tell Cody that Meg had depression but didn’t want her friends to know and that it came to her through Meg’s Mom who had it too, so Cody should not feel any responsiblity for Meg’s death. There was nothing anyone could have done once Meg made her final choice.  Cody goes home and Ben drives up and all is forgiven and they confess their ***ked  up love for one another and I cried like a baby. This book will remain with me for a very long time.

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The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young

Book Description

April 29, 2014
Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

Review –
 I didn’t like the book for the first few chapters because, to me, it was boring and dragged, but then it picked up and I found it to be as good as the first, The Program. Sloane and James (who wouldn’t be my pick for her) are on the run from The Program and little do they know that she has THE TREATMENT in her possession in the form of the little pill that Realm gave her. The pill returns all your memories and can lead too severe depression so only the strong survive.
There is a lot of running and  driving from  safe house to safe house and Dallas is one of the new characters met along the way. She is a leader of one of the rebel groups. Even with all the precautions they take they are infiltrated by someone sympathetic to the cause of The Program and are captured.  Things get out of control but they are rescued in the nick of time by Realm (he and James are now friends) and ways of The Program are made known to the public and all is good for Sloane and James.
I like this series very much and am looking forward to reading THE REMEDY, with is a prequel to The Program Series.
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