Boar Island (Anna Pigeon #19) by Nevada Barr

Book Description:

Published: May 17, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Anna Pigeon, in her career as a National Park Service Ranger, has had to deal with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, but cyber-bullying and stalking is a new one. The target is Elizabeth, the adopted teenage daughter of her friend Heath Jarrod. Elizabeth is driven to despair by the disgusting rumors spreading online and bullying texts. Until, one day, Heath finds her daughter Elizabeth in the midst of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. And then she calls in the cavalry—her aunt Gwen and her friend Anna Pigeon.

While they try to deal with the fragile state of affairs—and find the person behind the harassment—the three adults decide the best thing to do is to remove Elizabeth from the situation. Since Anna is about to start her new post as Acting Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine, the three will join her and stay at a house on the cliff of a small island near the park, Boar Island.

But the move east doesn’t solve the problem. The stalker has followed them east. And Heath (a paraplegic) and Elizabeth aren’t alone on the otherwise deserted island. At the same time, Anna has barely arrived at Acadia before a brutal murder is committed by a killer uncomfortably close to her.

BOAR ISLAND is a brilliant intertwining of past and present, of victims and killers, in a compelling novel that only Nevada Barr could write.

Review –

Boar Island is not one of my favorite books in the Anna Pigeon series, and here’s why. There are two storylines going on at the same time but to say they were related would be a stretch. The murder of a lobsterman and the cyberbullying of a teenaged girl, is interesting, but I felt more depth was needed. Also,how does the national park plays a role? This book could have been set anywhere because  there is nothing here that ties it to Acadia directly, and with a series that has in the past made the park an important element of the story, this is a serious flaw.

I did like the fact that Anna Pigeon played a background cast member rather than the series lead, because in real  life you can only be the center of attention so may times before you start to get on people’s nerves.  She does manage to get serious danger twice which added a much-needed dose of drama to an otherwise bland book.

I hope the next book is more suspenseful.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Book Description:

Published: March 22, 2011

Jude Farraday is a happily married, stay-at-home mom who puts everyone’s needs above her own. Her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill enters their lives, no one is more supportive than Jude. A former foster child with a dark past, Lexi quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. But senior year of high school brings unexpected dangers and one night, Jude’s worst fears are confirmed: there is an accident. In an instant, her idyllic life is shattered and her close-knit community is torn apart. People—and Jude—demand justice, and when the finger of blame is pointed, it lands solely on eighteen-year-old Lexi Baill. In a heartbeat, their love for each other will be shattered, the family broken. Lexi gives up everything that matters to her—the boy she loves, her place in the family, the best friend she ever had—while Jude loses even more.

When Lexi returns, older and wiser, she demands a reckoning. Long buried feelings will rise again, and Jude will finally have to face the woman she has become. She must decide whether to remain broken or try to forgive both Lexi…and herself.

Night Road is a vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, loss, identity, and forgiveness. It is an exquisite, heartbreaking novel that speaks to women everywhere about the things that matter most.

Review –

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This is a fantastic read/listen ( I had the audio version ) and although it is slow and repetitive in places it grabs your heart-strings and doesn’t let go.

It’s a book to be equally enjoyed by young adults as well as their parents because the issues are presented from both perspectives. The main characters are twins, Mia and Zack  and Jude, their adept but hovering mother and Lexi, a lonely teen living with her aunt.

Mothers will  relate to her parenting skills and worrying. Young adults and teens will relate to the push and pull of finding independence from one’s parents and the necessity of being accepted by peers. It’s layered with issues on family dynamics, teenage angst and romance, first loves, sibling rivalry, friendship, forgiveness, grief and motherhood making it an excellent read.

I felt so sorry for Lexi who just can’t catch a break and so angry at Zack for putting Lexi in a position that  endangered all three of them and ended Mia’s life.

The ending is a bit too much HALLMARK, but I’m glad everything worked out for everyone.

All in all a great book.

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How to Tame Beasts and Other Wild Things by A. Wilding Wells

Book Description:

Published: April 11, 2016

An artsy young woman, given the impossible task by her estranged father to score her widowed brother-in-law a wife, instead finds love, self-discovery and redemption.

“My name is Matilda Pearl. My life is a non-stop riddle I hope to one day solve.
I’ve learned to protect my heart; fate has dealt me more than a few shit cards in my twenty-two years. Invisibility tops my list, not to mention tragedy.
I was yanked out of a Paris-France life by my ass of a father, and thrown into a one year journey on a farm in Wisconsin. I’ve been assigned the impossible: Wife Catcher.
Simply put, until I replace myself I’m Mary Poppins, the beast tamer, ringmaster of the unruly, complete with twin toddlers and a beast of a man. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my three-ring circus.
“The Beast – Balthazar Cox – is repulsive…as in that sexy, I-just-died-and-went-to-heaven sort of repulsive. He walks the earth like he owns it, with his tatted trunk of a body and chiseled-rough, blazing good looks. The beastly Brit – did I mention that he’s English? – also happens to be my widowed brother-in-law, a man haunted by betrayal and abandonment, and for whom I’m on task to find a wife. If I succeed I’ll be rewarded with my juicy trust fund. And, yes, it will happen. You can keep your diamonds and designer clothes…. With my bag of loot, I plan on becoming the Patron Saint of Lost and Found Animals.

“When the past resurfaces more than once for both of us, all hell breaks loose. Can you be lost and found at once? In other words, sometimes lies can be cathartic. Some people heal us; some of us heal others.
“This is mostly a love story, an unlikely sexy romance with whiplash twists, boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed, and multiple risks of losing everything. It may have more heartache, and drama than some but in the end it’s about truth, discovery and forgiveness. Maybe it was wrong to fall for him. Or maybe the hole in his heart was always waiting for me to fill it. Now there’s a riddle for you.”

Review –

Fantastically quirky with humor for good measure, is how I would describe this book. I can’t tell a lie – I chose to read this book because of the cover and really had no idea what to expect. It made me feel emotion at every turn. I loved it!

Apart from an impossibly sweet and hot romance, there are also moments of absolute hilarity. House trained donkeys, horny bees, foul mouthed parrots, chandeliered chicken coops and a possessed staircase all play a part in this crazy ride. I laughed about as hard as I swooned and I shed a tear about as many times as I had to fan myself. What an absolutely charmingly odd little gem of a book.

Highly recommended!

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Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Book Description:

Published: May 13, 2014

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Review –

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This book was very  Stephen King-like and also reminded me of Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines both of those authors are at the top of my favorites list.

There is a strange phenomenon causing people to go blind worldwide and aren’t told right away what exactly that is, but later we do find out that there are creatures from another place (world, time, parallel universe ) and they have some how found their way into our lives.

To survive one must always be blindfolded because it was discovered that just a glance at the unknown creatures causes blindness followed by madness. During the madness people kill others and sometimes themselves.

It’s the story of a mother and her “twins” and her desire to find a safer place to live.

The story is told in alternating past and present chapters and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is mesmerizing and will keep you turning pages to the end.

It is fantastic!

Five stars *****

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I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Book Description:

Published: September 16,2014

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Review –

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This is a beautifully written young adult coming of age novel that has so much happening so here are so highlights:

  • Noah and Jude Sweetwine are identical twins and the book follows them from ages  13, 14, and 16. Noah and Jude live on the California coast in the town of Lost Cove with their parents, Benjamin, a conservative science professor, and Dianna, a liberal art professor. 
  • Their home environment is stable and they are taught love of knowledge, art, reason and emotion.
  • Their mother insists they both apply to a private high school, the California School of the Arts. Noah and Jude get along very well together, and do everything together, until they are 13.
  • When they turn 13, differences between them become apparent. Noah positions himself as the better artist of the siblings (and as his mother’s favorite), the more rational of the siblings, and is secretly gay. To prepare for acceptance into CSA, Noah spends his summer sketching nudes through the school’s windows, where he meets an English model named Oscar. 
  • Jude, herself far more emotional and feeling, falls in with a popular crowd of girls who are more interested in makeup and skimpy clothing than anything else.
  • Things are further complicated by the appearance of a new kid, Brian, whom Noah quickly develops a crush on, though they keep their feelings for each other quiet. Brian and Noah both pretend to be straight, and later have a falling out when Noah cannot accept Brian’s charade.
  • The sky comes crashing down for both Noah and Jude when they learn their mother is having an affair, and she intends to leave their father.
  • When they are 14, their mother prepares to serve Benjamin with divorce papers, only to lose control of her car after a rainstorm, and plummet to her death off a cliff.
  • Both twins reel from the loss. Noah lies and tells his father and sister that Dianna was actually on the way to make things right with Benjamin when she died. Jude, long feeling invisible compared to Noah, only mails her application to CSA when her father requests she mail both hers, and her brother’s.
  • When they are 16, Noah is attending the local public high school while Jude attends CSA. She cannot get her sculptures right, and so is sent out to mentor with famed sculptor Guillermo Garcia. Guillermo himself is reeling from heartache. He also mentors to 19-year-old Oscar, whom is heartbroken years after the death of his own mother. Oscar and Jude take an instant liking to one another, and Jude later learns that Guillermo is the one who was having an affair with her mother, something for which she forgives him.
  • Meanwhile, Noah has been making dangerous dives from the rocky coastal cliffs near Lost Cove, believing that his mother’s ghost guides him down into the ocean to safety. While attempting one such jump while drunk, it is Oscar who saves Noah. Oscar and Jude soon after become an item. 
  • As the novel ends, both twins confess the truth to each other – about their mother and CSA – and reconnect. Noah, Jude, and their father decide to sell their house and live on a houseboat. Noah comes out as gay, and begins officially dating Brian – something acknowledged and accepted by Benjamin.

Phenomenal book!!!!!!

Five stars *****

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Private #1 Suspect (Private #2) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Description:

Published: January 2, 2012

Unsolvable cases

Since former Marine Jack Morgan started Private, it has become the world’s most effective investigation firm–sought out by the famous and the powerful to discreetly handle their most intimate problems. Private’s investigators are the smartest, the fastest, and the most technologically advanced in the world–and they always uncover the truth.

Impossible murders

When his former lover is found murdered in Jack Morgan’s bed, he is instantly the number one suspect. While Jack is under police investigation, the mob strong-arms him into recovering $30 million in stolen pharmaceuticals for them. And the beautiful manager of a luxury hotel chain persuades him to quietly investigate a string of murders at her properties.

The #1 suspect is Jack Morgan

While Jack is fighting for his life, one of his most trusted colleagues threatens to leave Private, and Jack realizes he is confronting the cleverest and most powerful enemies ever. With more action, more intrigue, and more twists than ever before, PRIVATE #1 SUSPECT is James Patterson at his unstoppable best.

Review –

This subject of this book is primarily Jack Morgan. Someone is framing him for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and he doesn’t know why or who but he has a pretty good idea, his twin brother Tommy.

As usual, the story is a combination of multiple stories going on at the same time and all being solved by Private, a private investigating firm that can get away with things others can’t.

It fast paced, action-packed but sometimes frustrating.  All in all, a great read or listen.

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Desperate Domination (Bought by the Billionaire #3) by Lili Valente

Book Description:

Published: July 28, 2015

WARNING: This is a white-hot, panty-melting, boundary-pushing read. Not intended for the faint of heart.

“You’re mine. You belong to me. You will always belong to me. Because no one has ever made you feel the way I have.”

Jackson Hawke might be a monster, but he’s Hannah’s monster. They belong together and she’s determined to show Jackson she can love every part of him-light and dark, cruel and gentle, lost soul and Dominant man.

Jackson knows he doesn’t deserve her. He is broken and twisted and wrong inside, but when Hannah touches him it feels right, he feels right in a way he hasn’t in so long.

Can a monster learn to become a man again? Or will dark forces from the past claim Hannah’s life before she can claim his heart?

* * Desperate Domination is the 3rd in the Bought by the Billionaire romance series and ends in a CLIFFHANGER. For maximum enjoyment it should be read after books one and two.* *

Review –

“DESPERATE DOMINATION, the third book in this series, picks up right where the second left off. And, oh, how I had been waiting for this one, because my hair was standing on end at the end of Book 2, just waiting to see what Jackson Hawke had up his sleeve. And, in true Lili Valente fashion, she picked right back up with this mind-blower of a story and ran with it.

Just when it seems that Hannah and Jackson have reached a turning point in their twisted but crazily sexy and oddly romantic relationship, all bets are off. With one scene, Lili turns the mood of the story completely around, keeping me guessing with all of the shifts in action. Has Jackson realized who Hannah is? Is Hannah safe from Jackson? What will be the outcome for the two of them?

Darkness made the light shine brighter, pain made pleasure that much sweeter, and what was the point of angels if not to save beautiful devils like Jackson Hawke?

Jackson believes that he is beyond redemption, that nothing, not even Hannah’s love, can change the man that he has become. Hannah, unwilling to write him off, trusts him with everything that she is, all of her deepest secrets. But when Jackson just can’t forget about the past, a chain of events are set in motion that neither one could anticipate

And, there it is, THE END. I was not believing that Lili could do this again. This series is Cliffhanger Central, but I am not done, not nearly so. This book, like the rest of the series, is 5+ crazy, twisted, star-crossed, redemptive stars, and I cannot wait for DIVINE DOMINATION to answer all of my questions.” by Smut Book Junkie

 

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The Prodigal Son by Danielle Steel

Book Description:

Published: February 24, 2015

In a matter of days, Peter McDowell loses everything he has worked so hard for—his wealth, his property, his livelihood as a star investment banker. And then it gets worse. The stock market crash not only plunges Peter into joblessness, it causes a rift in his marriage that he cannot repair. Stripped of everything, he has only one place to retreat: a lakeside cottage he inherited from his parents, who left most of their modest estate to Peter’s twin. With no other choice, the prodigal son goes home.

A beloved small-town doctor, a devoted family man, and a pillar of his community, Michael McDowell serves others without regard to personal gain. Only Peter knows how Michael manipulated their parents when the boys were young, ultimately driving Peter away. At first, he dreads seeing Michael again. But, to his surprise, their reunion is tender and real. Only later, as Peter mulls over his late mother’s journals, does the truth begin to emerge, as realization and panic begin to set in. Who is his twin? Is the façade real, or does something terrifying lie beneath? Imagination or a reality too terrifying to believe?

In a race for time, Peter throws caution to the winds to find the truth. What he discovers will change their lives forever, the lives of their children, and an entire town.

Powerful, poignant, and filled with complex and layered characters, Prodigal Son is a riveting novel of secrets, salvation, and redemption from master storyteller Danielle Steel.

Review –

Not my favorite because of it’s predictability,  but it was a pleasant book to listen to while driving the highways and byways of Oklahoma.

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Think Twice (Rosato and Associates #11) by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: March 16, 2010

From the blockbuster New York Times bestselling author of Look Again comes a novel that makes you question the nature of evil: is it born in us or is it bred? Bennie Rosato looks exactly like her identical twin, Alice Connolly, but the darkness in Alice’s soul makes them two very different women. Or at least that’s what Bennie believes, until she finds herself buried alive at the hands of her twin. Meanwhile, Alice takes over Bennie’s life, impersonating her at work and even seducing her boyfriend in order to escape the deadly mess she has made of her own life. But Alice underestimates Bennie and the evil she has unleashed in her twin’s psyche, as well as Bennie’s determination to stay alive long enough to exact revenge.Bennie must face the twisted truth that she is more like her sister Alice than she could have ever imagined, and by the novel’s shocking conclusion, Bennie finds herself engaged in a war she cannot win;with herself.

Review –

Alice, is one twisted twin sister! She buries her sister alive miles from anywhere while taking over her life, bank accounts, AND boyfriend. She seems to be the much smarter twin because who would keep a written record all of your passwords within reach and sight of anyone. Bennie, maybe be the attorney but obviously not very computer savvy.

The story line was predictable and it was just too easy to fool all of Bennie’s friends and co-workers. Even her boyfriend didn’t know he was in bed with an impersonator.

I’m glad I listened to the book but I hope it’s a long time before the author writes another installment involving  Alice. And yes, she is so smart she escaped capture yet again!

 

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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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