Monday, September 30, 2013

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Tully Hart is still reeling over the death of her best friend Kate Ryan, even though it has been quite a few years. Her career as a television personality has gone down the toilet, her life seems hopeless, and she just doesn’t know how she can live anymore. When a bad decision, and a terrible car accident, critically injures Tully and brings her to Sacred Heart hospital, it might take facing her past to keep her alive.

Many people are called to her bedside. Her best friend Kate’s husband Johnny, who has held a grudge against Tully since his wife’s death. Kate’s oldest daughter Marah, a confused and hurt teenager when her mother died, now an adult hiding behind the pain she has felt since that dark day. Tully’s mother, Dorothy, a former drug-addict and alcoholic who has hurt her only daughter more times than she cares to remember. Even Kate, who has watched from the heavenly sidelines all these years since her departure.

I mainly chose the book Fly Away by Kristin Hannah, because of its cover. With its purplish hue and starry backdrop, it instantly reminded me of nights spent outside at my childhood home…fireflies flitting about and candles illuminating the darkness. Ironic, since the author wrote a book called Firefly Lane.
Kristin Hannah is not an author who was particularly familiar to me. In fact, I can honestly say that before listening to this book (I have the audio version of it), she was nonexistent in my mind. How I could have gone so long without hearing about her wonderful stories, I shall never know. Because the book Fly Away was truly wonderful.
The story is beautiful, it is emotional, and it was a stunning novel to listen to. I loved every minute of it, and will definitely have to read more of Kristin Hannah’s books.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Trees Beyond the Grass by Robert Reeves

Agent David Leas has just caused his latest case to go five steps backward, when an outburst against a suspected murderer of a woman and her two children makes his confession null and void. The judge who is presiding over the case has decided that because his outburst occurred minutes before the confession was made, the only logical thing to do it throw out the confession due to fear and intimidation brought on by Leas.
Leas is furious but knows he can catch this guy with the evidence already in custody. The question is, can he do it in the month before the trial?

While this conflict is going on inside his head, Leas is called in for a more recent murder. In the city of Dallas, a man by the name of Tony Patrick was just found dead in his living room. He seems to have been slashed multiple times by a knife and his hands have been cut off. The reason for Leas' presence at the scene, Patrick's murder is a possible link to another killing that took place in New York. A serial killer, perhaps? Or just pure coincidence.

Cole Mouzon is taking a much needed break away from the grind of life, heading back home to catch up with family and friends. However, when his sister is contacted by the FBI concerning a crazed killer on the loose who could want him dead, he begins to fear for his life and the lives of those he loves.

P, or Poinsett as she calls herself, has a past. An ugly past that has haunted her every day of her life since. And because of that past, she has become a killer. Taking away all those she believes should not deserve to live because of what happened to her. She has already taken two down, and her next unsuspecting target could be a goner as well.

These three characters are brought together in a thriller to beat all thrillers. It is a story of pain, retribution, and hauntings of the past.

I was hooked from the very beginning, and could not stop reading until the final page. In this story, the reader is able to experience the entire story. Cop, potential victim, and killer. We get to see how each of them tick, how their individual minds work. Most importantly, we get to know that pasts of each character, so we can better understand how they mesh into the story.
This was a truly enjoyable piece of work, and I cannot wait for more from this author.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Rift by S.K.N. Hammerstone

I have to admit that I was originally going to give this book a four out of five stars. The beginning, to me, felt more explanation than anything and fell a bit flat in my eyes. However, at some point, the story began to run away with me. It turned from explanation to action to deception to WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO END!!! I am officially obsessed now with how the story will play out in the future.

Now, to tell you a little bit about the story.

Rachael Taylor attempts to commit suicide at the beginning of this novel, and succeeds, but it seems something or someone of a higher power out there doesn't want her to go just yet, since she makes a miraculous recovery and ends up in the hospital. The bad news, she has no recollection of why she got there, how she got there, or who she is. This is aggravating to anyone in that situation, right?

Well, how about if everyone was trying to keep you from remembering. Or at least telling you that you had to remember for yourself?

Rachael goes on a reluctant hunt to find out what has happened to her to make her want to welcome death so easily, but what she ends up finding out will not necessarily make her happy. In fact, she might wish she was still clueless.

Because the truth of the matter is, her life is involved in something much, much bigger than herself. And I mean GIGANTIC!!

So, after being sent to an asylum by her bleep of a mother, weirder things start to happen to her. Things involving people with glowing red eyes, guardian angels, and a strange woman named Elizabeth.

Can she handle the destiny that will soon be handed to her? Or will something happen to deter that destiny from becoming reality?

Again must gush about this book. I love it. It gets faster as you read farther and farther into the book, and I must admit that I read it in a day.
Totally recommended for anyone who loves books with angels and demons as the main characters.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris

Sir Edward Crick is loved by few and disliked by most. He has a tendency to drink too much, gamble the same, and care mostly for himself. He is a sickly man...or say they say...and takes ill quite a lot.

Gossip meanders about, like a lady of the night, when he dies abruptly and painfully, it seems, in the grand estate he lives. Most suspect his brother-in-law, the man who was known to hate Edward most of all. But, Sir Crick's sister Lydia has much faith that her husband did not, in fact, do this horrible deed. So she searches for someone who can prove to everyone who the culprit truly is.

Enter Dr. Thomas SIlkstone, an anatomist from Philadelphia, who is currently studying in England under the tutelage of a renowned and retired surgeon. He is considered an outcast in his surroundings due to the nature of his particular line of work. What does he do, you might ask? Well, he relishes in working with corpses, Relishes might be a strong word. In fact, it is not the state of the body that he relishes (be it alive or dead), it is the fascination with the human body in general.

Anyway, Lydia makes her way into Silkstone's path, hoping he can do what others have refused. An autopsy on her brother's dead body. She has been told that the decaying process is too far gone for the cause of death to be determined as anything but natural. However, her heartfelt pleas about proving her husband's innocence in the eyes of the gossipers catches Silkstone's heartstrings, and he agrees to perform the autopsy on the badly decayed corpse.

He soon finds that Edward's death was, in fact, murder. But how...and why?

Could it have been a crime of passion or could the reasons behind his death be part of a much larger plot?

The moment I laid eyes on this book, I knew I just had to read it. It somewhat reminded me of The Alchemy of Murder by Carol McCleary. Well...the cover at least. The Anatomist's Apprentice is a phenomenal story and will definitely keep you guessing until the very end.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lyons' Girl by Amber Mosby

Jade has lived the past few years seeing fear in the eyes of her classmates and teachers. Her reputation precedes her, making her a person to avoid. The reason...she is not your average 17 year old girl. She has powers. Powers that most can only dream of. And these powers of hers have been what have caused her to shelter herself from others. That and a past she does not want to delve into. But all that is about to change.

When she is called in to the principal's office one day, a woman sits inside waiting for her arrival. She informs Jade that her IQ is off the charts, and that she is there to take Jade to a special school on a private island. She will be under the tutelage of a Mr. Lyons.

However, when Jade finally arrives the truth comes out. Well...Jade kind of forces it out, but either way Mr. Lyons tells his true reasoning behind bringing her to the island. It is not, in fact, for her IQ, but for the powers she possesses. Her and five other "students" from around the world have been brought to the island to hone their talents. To bring out the full potential of their superpowers.

Living in a place with five other people who are just like you can mean having to get to know them whether you like it or not. And as reluctant as Jade is to trust other people, there is one person in the place she is the most drawn to. One person who it seems is drawn to her in the same sense.

Can she let him in, or will her distrust make her run away from the guy who seems to understand her the most?

I love the concept of this book. I love the love/hate, lust/fight relationship that goes on between the two Main(ish) characters. This is a great story, and was definitely worth reading.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Diamonds and Cole by Micheal Maxwell

Cole Sage was once a well-known journalist, gaining recognition for his various Pulitzer prize worthy pieces. Now, his life seems to be taking a downward spiral. He no longer has the drive he once had for finding news and digging up the truth. He feels alone and hopeless, all his past successes seem moot now. They seem not so important as they once were.

However, he is about to be taken back to a time when he was once happy. A time before he lost the one thing that truly mattered to him. 

After witnessing a terrible incident of hostage situation turned murder, Cole Sage begins writing yet another story for the Chicago Sentinel, the newspaper that basically jump started his career but now seems to just be a reminder of his waning enthusiasm for his job. While busy typing away at his computer, he receives some news that will change his life in a way he never imagined. A former love has called him for help. A former love he believed to be gone forever.

Cole Sage immediately heads off back to his old home town to answer that call.

With trips down memory lane, a dying wish, and a scoop or two that could very well turn Cole's career back to what it once was, this journey back could turn out to be a very eventful one.

I truly thought Diamonds and Cole was very interesting and entertaining. I loved the memories that Cole has throughout the book and the fact that he seems to change as the story goes along, making amends with the past that has haunted him for the longest time.
I am happy that this will be the first in a series, because I cannot wait to see what is in store for Cole Sage in the future.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kindreds: An Alliance of Bloods by Tani Mura

What would you do if you were suddenly taken out of the world you have known all your life, and told that there was more out there? Told there was more to see, more to know, more to fight for? Well, Raine has that exact problem.

In her world, Raine, as a woman, is destined to become a breeder. However, she desperately wants to defy that destiny and become part of the Jeysh, a military-like regime that protects the people of the Rims. The people look down upon her, because they say she is shirking her duties as a female. She brushes off their remarks, and works so hard to prove them wrong.

The day of her trials to become part of the Jeysh, she succeeds. Her years of hard training pay off. But she never has a chance to put that training to use as part of the Jeysh, because she is soon stolen away from the Rims and taken to a place she never even knew existed.

The people who steal her away, also manage to take her two best friends, Leif and Jem. They bring the three to a place where people are segregated by blood. Where one King rules all, and where mixed blood is considered illegal among the common people.

It is revealed that there is more than meets the eye with Raine, Leif, and Jem, but especially with Raine. They are not average in any sense, and were brought into the world with a plan in mind. A plan to finally bring together the people of this mysterious place. To finally make them equals in blood, and take out this segregation.

However, will they agree to take part in this plan. Or will the denial that this is truly real be the undoing of the Resistance trying to put the plan into action?

I loved this book. How could I not when Chapter One starts out with swordplay. Wooden swords, but still. There is action, there is intrigue, there is a fantastic storyline that sucks you in from the beginning. There are even some passages that reflect my own beliefs about the world around me.
This felt real. It felt like the authors had reached into my soul and written this book based on what I, myself, know to be right within my own heart. I loved this book with every fibre of my being, and cannot wait for future installments.

I received this book on Goodreads from the author for an honest review.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Seph McCauley's powers as a wizard are becoming more and more out of control. So much so, that someone eventually gets hurt...seriously hurt...okay, killed. He is sent to an exclusive boys' school in Maine, one in many schools he has been sent to over time. In fact, he has been sent to so many schools, that he wholeheartedly believes this is just another temporary location until he screws up again. Boy, is he wrong.

What Seph soon finds out, is that the headmaster of the school is, in fact, a wizard himself. The school is just a facade. He created it solely for the purpose of finding people of Seph's talents...people of the Weir. He is brought in by the Alumni of the school, those who have magical power and have stayed on the grounds to help the headmaster. They treat Seph as one of their own, and tell him of the brilliance of learning under the headmaster's tutelage.

Seph soon finds that all is not as it seems. When the headmaster attempts to blood bind with him, telling him that this is the only way to become a true member of the group, Seph refuses, bringing the headmaster's wrath upon him. Seph is tormented by horrifying dreams in the time after, an attempt by the headmaster at breaking him. It will take surprising inner strength, magic spells, a much-needed escape plan, revealed secrets, and characters from the first book in this series to help Seph defeat the evil that the headmaster embodies.

This book was very well-written, and the storyline was completely amazing. I have not read the first book in this series, The Warrior Heir, but will definitely have to now. Not because I don't understand the happenings of this sequel (because this book holds its own entirely, even though it is part of a series), but because I want to know more of the story. I want to surround myself even further in the world that this wonderful author has created.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Chrysanthemum Everstar is not really the fairy godmother you would expect. She's not a doddering old lady wearing a baby blue cloak and holding a sparkly wand. In fact, she has bubblegum pink hair, loves to shop, and gets messages on her cell whenever her ward is in need of her services. She has a tendency to get wishes wrong and gets quite annoyed when anyone interrupts her fun.
This is everything sophomore Savannah Delano finds out when she discovers that her godmother is none other than Everstar.
But before we go into the goings on with this pair, let me state WHY, exactly, she was in need of a fairy godmother in the first place.
Let's see...Savannah Delano is everything I ever wanted to be when I was in high school. Okay, well, maybe not everything. She is popular, desirable, and tends not to use her brain as much as she probably could. Not saying she is dumb, more that she finds it unnecessary to study as much as she needs to.
Her sister, however, is quite the opposite in that regard. She is more reserved...more quiet...more studious.
So it is a definite surprise to Savannah when this studiousness causes her sister to catch the heart of Savannah's boyfriend, right before prom! WHAT TO DO??
Have no fear, the fair godmother is here!
Savannah learns so much throughout this book. She learns that the medieval times did not have great hair products, dragons can be killed by using a horse and gunpowder, and that goats can be very vengeful. She also learns that princes can come in the most surprising packages.
I enjoyed this book immensely, and worked myself up trying to lead the main character in the right direction. Every page was an adventure, and I cannot wait to read the next book telling of Everstar's newest assignment.

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Big Fake Irish Life by Caitlin McKenna

Linda Symcox has it all: fame, fortune, the perfect boyfriend....Well, that's at least what she wants to have. In reality, she is an aspiring actress who, for the last five years, has been desperately trying to get work. The problem is she doesn't have any qualities that allow her to stand out in the crowd.

Her solution: become someone else entirely.

When her sister invites her on a free trip to Ireland, Linda jumps at the chance to put her training to good use and learn all she can about the culture, the people, the accents, and the geography. When she comes back, she is an entirely different personality altogether.

Add a new hair do, a new wardrobe, and the luck of the Irish, and she becomes Meghan O'Connell, an Irish actress who is best known for her Lucky Charms commercial. (Surprisingly, many people fall for this throughout the entire book.)

Meghan is going to help Linda fulfill her dreams of fame and fortune. However, when her Irish world begins to clash with her American one, Linda may reconsider how good of an idea this really was.

I was first drawn to this book because of the title. Having red hair myself, I have always felt close to my own Irish roots...sparse as they may be. This was a very enjoyable read, and I am definitely going to look up more of authoress Caitlin McKenna's work.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arnston

Gabriela Rivera is just your normal, everyday sixteen year old girl. She loves to hang out with her friends, she has a huge crush on a boy named Sylvester, and she has just received her death letter. maybe she is not so normal.
In this book by Steven Arnston, one percent of all fatalities in the world are brought about by these death letters. Letters sent by various deaths to unsuspecting humans letting them know they have only a certain amount of time left to live. In that time they must write their wrap-up list, A list of what exactly they want to accomplish before their remaining time comes to an end.
After the initial shock of receiving the letter, Gabriela gets to work on her own list. First kisses for her and all of her friends...and a pardon.
Everyone wishes for a pardon, because a pardon from your assigned death is the only thing that can save your life. The catch: she needs to figure out her death's secret weakness.
With the help of her friends, her dead grandfather, and her secret crush, Gabriela may just have a chance at staying alive.

I loved this book. It had a dark feel to it, but a beautifully dark feel. The concept of being escorted from the living world by an assigned death makes leaving the living behind seem a bit more bearable. In this wonderful story, you do not go alone.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Whodunnit: Murder in Mystery Manor by Anthony Zuiker

Ten guests arrive at Westlake Estate expecting a week of pampering and leisure. What they do not realize until it is too late...there is a killer among them. On their first day, during a wonderful dinner to kick off their week, one of the guests suddenly bursts into flames. The guest slumps to the floor dead, leaving the rest of the guests in horrored shock.

They are soon given the rules to a horrific game of life and death. A game that forces them to use their imaginations and their deductive reasoning skills to figure out how each grisly murder was committed. The cost of getting it wrong: becoming the next victim.

Each guest is pushed to their emotional limits as they deal with the killers ruthless attitude toward human life. They also begin to show their own true colours in the face of each tragedy. 

Sometimes, keeping your enemy close is the only answer.

Since I watched the show Whodunnit in its entirety, I was definitely intrigued and excited to read it in book form. The book does work like the show, but with one wonderful twist. Each death in the book can go so much farther than the individual deaths in the show could. Some of the bodies are actually dismembered! YAY! That is one point that made me extremely happy. I mean, you can only kill someone so many times while keeping their bodies whole, am I right?

Anyway...I actually listened to the audio book of this. Most likely because Giles the butler () was the one reading it. He was my favourite in that entire show!

Also, the audio book has some features that cannot be applied to the regular book. Mainly, the creepy music at the end. *Do not listen to at night if afraid of the dark.

So...I totally recommend this for fans of the show, and murder mystery buffs everywhere.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Sacrifice: The Only Way To God by Rev. Allen Smith

It always interests me to read anything pertaining the Bible, so I was quite excited when given the opportunity to read and review The Sacrifice by Rev. Allen Smith.
This document is very well-voiced, and brings up some very good points pertaining to sin and how God reacted to sin, and how he attempted over the years to help man make its way back to Him. From the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross, this book explains not just how God reacted to sin, but how man reacted to sin as well. While reading this, I could actually imagine it as one of those educational shows on PBS. The author obviously has a wonderful knowledge in this topic, and it shows throughout his work. I will definitely have to check out more of his work.