The Child by Fiona Barton

Book Description:

Published: June 29, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

Review –

Although the author relies on multiple points of view to tell (and retell) the larger story of the “Building Site Baby” as the unidentified infant comes to be known. Three other female characters get drawn into this story by learning about that same news item that piqued Kate’s curiosity. First to appear is a nervous young woman named Emma who’s married to an older professor; like Kate, Emma spots the story in the evening paper and reacts in a gush of purple prose: “I keep reading it over and over. I can’t take it in properly, as if it’s a foreign language. . . . [T]error is coiling around me. Squeezing the air out of my lungs. Making it hard to breathe.”

Then there is Jude, Emma’s mother, a narcissist, who quickly puts an end to the conversation by saying, “Well, we don’t want to talk about dead babies, do we?”

And finally, Angela, an emotionally fragile older woman, is the most sympathetic of the trio. Back in 1970, she gave birth to a baby daughter whom she named Alice. The next day, Alice disappeared from her cot in the hospital. When Angela spots the building-site baby article in the newspaper, she shouts out loud and then insists to her husband, “It’s just after [Alice’s] birthday. That could be a sign.” But the couple has been down this road too many times before. “It will be more heartbreak if you get your hopes up,” advises Angela’s husband. “It’ll make you ill like before.”

How do these three women fit together or do they? Who is the “Building Sight” baby and what happened to it all those years ago?

This was a great read with a great twist at the end.

Loved It!

 

 

 

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Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

Book Description:

Published: March 17, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened …

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.

Review –

Most of the reviews that I read prior to listening to this book said NOT to read the reviews because there is a GIANT surprise twist in the story so I’m telling you the same thing: DO NOT READ THE REVIEWS!

Sal and Charlie have known each other since college and married quickly after meeting without Sal really getting to know Charlie. Even before the marriage there were signs of a controlling, short-tempered personality, but Sal choose to dismiss it.

After the marriage, Sal was cut off from friends and family and the verbal abuse became physical. Suffice it to say that the longer they are together the worse it gets. Even after the birth of their daughter, Maggie, it continues to worsen.

Finally, Sal can’t take it any longer and decides to leave, confiding in the neighbor, but Charlie finds out and there is a knife involved and this is when I will stop because the TWIST happens.

I must confess, I DID NOT see this particular twist coming and I’m glad because it made the SURPRISE even bigger.

I loved this book and applaud the author, Lisa Hall, on tackling the subject of domestic violence so well.

I highly recommend it!!!!!!  4.5 stars

 

Damaged (Rosato and DiNunzio #4) by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: August 16, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Damaged finds Mary DiNunzio, partner at the all-female law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio, embroiled in one of her most heartbreaking cases yet. Suing the Philadelphia school district to get help for a middle school boy with emotional issues, Mary ends up becoming the guardian ad litem of her minor client. As she goes up against Nick Machiavelli, her opposing counsel and the dark prince of South Philly lawyers who will use any means necessary to defeat her, she becomes more and more invested in the case—and puts everything, including her engagement to her longtime boyfriend, on the line.

Review –

Mary DiNunzio, a partner in the Philadelphia law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio, takes on a heartbreaking case involving a dyslexic fifth grader, Patrick O’Brien, who’s bullied at school and is getting no support for his language disability. Patrick, who’s being raised by his paternal grandfather, allegedly attacked a school aid with scissors, and now the aid is suing both Patrick and the school board for damages. On the brink of her wedding to college professor Anthony Rotunno, Mary becomes emotionally attached to Patrick, more so than any previous client, and finds herself pitted against a diabolical attorney, Nick Machiavelli (aka the Dark Prince), who’s determined to win a settlement, despite the emotional cost to the 10-year-old boy. In her struggle to save Patrick, Mary finds herself fighting her associates, her fiancé, and social services. Tensions mount until the story concludes with a satisfying, unexpected twist. 

This was the fourth  book in the Rosato & DiNunzio series, and it’s an excellent addition to the series although it can certainly be read as a stand-alone novel. Damaged made an excellent addition to my Scottoline collection, and I highly recommend it!

Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

Book Description:

Published: January 3, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

Review –

Five Stars !!!!!

This story pulled me in from the beginning and held me captive to the end.

I see IDENTITY as the theme running through the storyline.  Hattie wasn’t sure who see was so she became what people wanted, the seemingly loving girlfriend, the knowledgeable student, the obedient daughter, the best friend, to name a few, and she hides behinds all of these. Others in the story hid behind their identities to a point: the English teacher behind literature and the sheriff behind his badge but not to the point that Hattie does.

Hattie has an epiphany and realizes that she can not hide behind her “fake” selves and has to come to terms with her true self but it is too late.

She truly loves Peter and he loves her too but as a reader I knew their relationship was doomed  from the beginning so I was not surprised by the outcome, but there is a huge plot twist that I didn’t see coming. 

This is a captivating story and I loved it and I highly recommend it!

Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel

Book Description:

Published: April 4, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

Review –

Almost a decade has passed since the end of Sleeping Giants, yet the Earth Defence Council and all its scientists are no closer to understanding Themis and the technology that powers her. Of course, there have been advancements due to her discovery, and the tours she does over the globe continue to inspire. However, despite Themis being under the control of the EDC, some nations are still keen to use her for themselves. This is soon put to rest with the arrival in London of another robot, one similar to Themis, but not identical, though it is clear that it was built by the same beings. Now all of Earth waits to see what happens, and just what the future has in store.

Waking Gods follows the format from Sleeping Giants and tells its story through interviews, news snippets, recordings, diary entries, and other similar styles. It’s a narrative style that works really well for the series, giving first-hand information without bogging itself down with needless info-dumping. However, because of the varied characters that Neuvel tells the story through, we do learn plenty about Themis, as well as the new arrivals – it’s not just the one extra robot, but thirteen of them…

So much happens in this book and I could go on and on, but you have to read the book for yourself. The author is amazing at character development. Vincent and Kara are a great team that play well off each other, and also add little bits here and there to the answers that are swimming around. Rose is another that contributes in this way, but she’s also a very conflicted individual given her history – not only the one to discover then hand initially, but also that she died and was brought back, though without her memories of Themis. However, it’s the Interrogator that is by far my favourite – there’s just something about him that works so well at not only moving the story forward, but adding entertainment in some dark situations. 

A lot of times a sequel doesn’t live up to the majesty of its predecessor, but Waking Gods, does that and more. 

The third installment, Only Human, comes out in February 2018 and I will be sitting on pins and needle waiting to find out what happens after the jaw-dropping cliffhanger ending of this book.

Five stars!!!!!

 

 

Box 21 (Grens and Sundkvist #2) by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom

Book Description:

Published: April 1, 2010

Format: Audio

Three years ago, Lydia and Alena were two hopeful girls from Lithuania. Now they are sex slaves, lured to Sweden with the promise of better jobs and then trapped in a Stockholm brothel, forced to repay their “debt.” Suddenly they are given an unexpected chance at freedom, and with it the opportunity to take revenge on their enslavers and reclaim the lives and dignity they once had. What will happen now that the tables are turned and the victims fight back?
In this masterful thriller, the celebrated team of Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström delve into the seedy underbelly of Stockholm. There we meet Lydia and Alena as they embark on a desperate plan to expose their captor and demand justice; police officers Sundkvist and Grens, on the trail of both Lydia’s enslavers and Jochum Lang, a notorious mob enforcer; and Hilding Oldéus, a junkie on what might be his last—and most destructive—bender. At the Söder Hospital, their destinies begin to converge in unexpected and explosive ways.
Box 21 is a Scandinavian thriller of the highest order: a mind-blowing psychological drama written with powerful intensity. When it was published in Sweden, Solo called it “suspenseful, gripping, and intelligently written . . . Almost impossible to put down,” while SVT exclaimed: “Forget crime literature; this is, simply put, great literature!”
Review –
When a severely wounded woman is brought to a hospital in Stockholm, doctors are horrified to learn that her injuries are the result of a brutal whipping. She is Lydia, a victim of human-trafficking, a young girl from Lithuania sold by her boyfriend and now trapped in a Stockholm brothel, forced to repay her “debt” by serving twelve different men every day.  In the same hospital, police officer Sven Sundkvist and senior officer Ewert Grens are chasing a lead that may just expose a notorious mafia boss, a dangerous man Grens hates with a vengeance because of the connection to the death of his wife. Two stories of passionate reprisal twist together, ending in a dramatic climax,two bullet-riddled bodies and a room full of hostages in the hospital’s basement.  Ewert Grans discovers the truth about Lydia and his best friend, Bankt, who is also on the police force. He destroys evidence to save his widow from learning the horrible things he has done. Sven, finds out that his boss has covered up things and destroyed evidence to protect his friends reputation. But in the cold light of day, will Sven protect the senior officer he so admires, even from his own corruption? 
You’ll have to read the book to find out and there is also a HUGE twist at the very end that left my mouth wide open.
The only other book I have read/listened to in this series is Cell 8 which is number three. I loved it but wished I had read or listened to this one first because it would have given me a better insight into the characters of Grens and Sundkvist and their dynamic.
Fantastic book.
Five stars!

Guilty Minds (Nick Heller #3( by Joseph Finder

Book Description:

Published: June 7, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The chief justice of the Supreme Court is about to be defamed by a powerful gossip website called Slander Sheet, which specializes in dirt on celebs and politicians. Their top reporter has written an exposé claiming that he had liaisons with an escort, a young woman willing to appear on video and tell the world her salacious yet convincing tale. But the chief justice is not without formidable allies, and his greatest supporter is determined to stop the story in its tracks.
     
Nick Heller is a private spy—a private intelligence operative based in Boston, hired by lawyers, politicians, and even foreign governments. Known as both a maverick and a dedicated, high-powered investigator, he’s called to Washington, DC, to help out in this delicate, potentially explosive situation.
  
Nick has just forty-eight hours to prove the story about the chief justice is baseless. But when the call girl is found murdered, the case takes an unexpected and dangerous turn, and Nick resolves to find the true mastermind behind the Slander Sheet story before anyone else falls victim to the maelstrom of political scandal and ruined reputations predicated upon one carefully concealed secret.   

Review –

In his third time out, Heller is tasked with his biggest challenge yet–discrediting a news report that claims Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin has been sleeping with an expensive, upscale prostitute.

The website running the “hit piece” article is called Slander Sheet, which is a step below Gawker (who knew that was even possible!) and TMZ. You know, the kind of site that everyone checks out on a near-daily basis but will never admit to.

Heller is called in to meet with a Washington legend who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and has golfed with every president since Lyndon B. Johnson–and who also happens to be close friends with Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin. He’s told about the article that Slander Sheet is set to run, then hired to discredit the call girl’s testimony. 

Short on time, Heller gets right to work but soon discovers that the story itself may just be the tip of the iceberg. An even bigger conspiracy is hidden deep within Slander Sheet‘s report, one that nobody–not even Nick Heller–could have possibly seen coming. From there Finder takes the reader speeding down a path of twists and turns, with nonstop action and suspense along the way.

Guilty Minds is a blistering tale of deceit, corruption, and power–and Finder dazzles by delivering a story that seems all too possible in today’s world. To say the pacing is fast would be like saying Brad Pitt is just a “good looking” guy. The book starts off like a drag race and doesn’t slow down for even a second. If you love thrillers, then clear your schedule and strap in… you’re in for one hell of a ride! 

Fantastic read!

 

 

Cell 8 (Grens & Sundkvist #3) by Anders Rosalind and Borge Hellstrom

Book Description :

Published: January 3, 2012

Format: Audio

Detective Superintendent Ewert Grens of THREE SECONDS returns in a riveting mystery that centers on perhaps the most controversial subject in the modern criminal justice system: the death penalty.
In Ohio, seventeen-year-old John Meyer Frey rots on Death Row for the brutal murder of his girlfriend. The victim’s father hungers for revenge, while a prison guard is torn by compassion for the young man. When Frey unexpectedly dies of heart disease before he either receives his just punishment or achieves redemption, the wheels of justice grind to a halt.

Six years later, on a ferry between Finland and Sweden, a singer named John Schwarz viciously attacks a drunken lout harassing a woman, leaving the man in a coma. The Stockholm police arrest Schwarz for aggravated assault, but when Grens learns that the assailant has been living in Sweden under a false identity, he begins to suspect that something darker and more complex underlies the incident. Following his intuition, Grens launches an investigation that spans from Sweden to the United States and reveals a startling connection between the Frey and Schwarz cases.

Featuring a multilayered plot with a killer twist, CELL 8 takes readers on a gripping, page-turning journey that explores the devastating repercussions of the death penalty as well as the fallout from the conflicting desires for public justice and private retribution.

Review –

This was a first time listen to this author’s work and I loved it. I will definitely  be trying to find the others in the series.

This is a heart-wrenching story of a man named John who was seventeen when he was convicted of murdering his sixteen year old girlfriend although he claims he didn’t do it.  Several years go by and now  he sits waiting for his day to be executed.

One of the main prison guards feels compassion for the young man and believes in his innocence and so with several others they fake the man’s death (really cool the way they did it) and send him on his way to Sweden with a fake identify. There he lives peacefully, marrying and having a son, until one night on his job he kicks a man in the face and almost kills him. He is arrested and little by little they find out that he is none other than a convict from Ohio who everyone thought was dead. 

This is where things become political and finally he is extradited to the United States and put to death. THEN there is a GIANT surprise twist and we find out the identity of the real killer and what was put into motion all those years ago come to fruition. 

Fantastic book.

Five stars *****

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The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly

Book Description:

Published: March 17, 2015

Caroline Cashion, a professor of French literature at Georgetown University, is stunned when an MRI reveals that she has a bullet lodged near the base of her skull. It makes no sense: she has never been shot. She has no entry wound. No scar. When she confronts her parents, they initially profess bewilderment. Then, over the course of one awful evening, she learns the truth: she was adopted when she was three years old, after her real parents were murdered in cold blood. Caroline had been there the night of the attack, and she was hit by a single gunshot to the neck. Buried too deep among vital nerves and blood vessels, the surgeons had left it, and stitched up the traumatized little girl with the bullet still inside.

That was thirty-four years ago.

Now, Caroline returns to her hometown to learn whatever she can about who her parents were and why they died. Along the way she meets a cop who worked the case, who reveals that even after all these years, the police do not have enough evidence to nail their suspect. The killer is still at large. Caroline is in danger: the bullet in her neck could identify the murderer, and he’ll do anything to keep it out of the police hands. Now Caroline will have to decide: run for her life, or stay and fight?

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

WOW !!!!

I never imagined that this book would end the way it did when I started listening to it a few days ago. I love it when an author can pull the wool over my eyes and surprise me!

This book had me hooked right away and I couldn’t listen to it fast enough.

Not only did 37-year-old Caroline discover she had a bullet lodged in her neck next to her spine but also  that she had been adopted at the age of three because her birth parents had been murdered and that the bullet that killed her mother was the one that was taking up space in her body.

I can’t begin  to imagine how she felt, but the author does an excellent job exquisitely describing all her thoughts, good and bad as the story progresses. Does she get the bullet removed, will it help with her wrist pain, should she go to Atlanta to learn about the birth parents, should she turn the bullet over to the Atlanta PD so it can be used as evidence to find the killer? All of these questions, along with more, go through Caroline’s mind as she tries to live her normal life, but with so much changing, does she still want her normal life?

There is a twist that I never saw coming and it changes everything and gets the adrenaline flying even higher. It just goes to show that we never know what we are capable of doing or do we?

Read or listen to this book and find out – you will not be disappointed.

Five stars *****

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The Last Good Girl (Anna Curtis #5) by Allison Leotta

Book Description:

Published: May 3, 2016

Emily, a freshman at a Michigan university, has gone missing. She was last seen leaving a bar near Sigma Pi, the prestigious and secretive fraternity known on campus as “the rape factory.” The main suspect is Dylan Brooks, the son of one of the most powerful politicians in the state. But so far the only clues are pieced-together surveillance footage of Emma leaving the bar that night…and Dylan running down the street after her.

Anna Curtis is on the case when she discovers the video diary Emma kept over her first few months at college, exposing the history she had with Dylan—and accusing him of rape before she disappeared.

Emily’s disappearance gets media attention and support from Title IX activists across the country, but Anna’s investigation hits a wall. Now Anna is looking for something, anything she can use to find Emily alive. But without a body or any physical evidence, she’s under threat from people who tell her to think hard before she ruins the name of an “innocent young man.” Inspired by real-life stories, The Last Good Girl shines a light on campus rape and the powerful emotional dynamics that affect the families of the men and women on both sides.

Review –

Although the subject matter is very important and definitely “ripped from the headlines”, I found the story tedious to read.  This is the first in the Anna Curtis series that I’ve read and it’s number five and maybe that’s the problem. I wasn’t invested in the characters and really couldn’t feel any chemistry between any of them. So, for me it was just okay.

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