See All the Stars by Kit Frick

See All the Stars See All the Stars by Kit Frick

 

See All the Stars is a beautifully written story that I sank into like a comfortable armchair -one that bites occasionally just to keep you on your toes!

That we revolved around her was simply a fact.

The lyrical words felt like coming home and I wanted to stay surrounded by the characters long after the story was told.

Ret Johnson was the sun. Hot, bright, at the center of our universe. 

I love books that skip between the present and the past and See All the Stars does this seamlessly, trickling out the storyline slowly, strategically. Until desperate to know all the secrets, I let the story take over and gave up trying to live in the real world.

In my reality, there is only the aftermath, the nights when all I can hear are the scraps of his voice.

This is the book. My favourite 2018 read. Not without faults, I have a couple of unanswered questions and the main character was occasionally frustratingly naïve. In a way that only added to the story because in real life it’s often easier to ignore the obvious to avoid confrontation and pain.

But that day I was the moon, dark and cold without the sun’s light.

5 star

 

 

 

Title: See All the Stars See All the Stars

Author: Kit Frick

Publication Date: 14 August 2018

Publisher: McElderry Books

Source: Review copy

 

 

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Goodreads

It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.

THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.

NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.

THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.

NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.

The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The fact that I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my review copy and may not appear in the final version.

Adding to Your TBR – August 2018

TBR August 2018

Adding to Your TBR – August 2018

TBR – To Be Read tower/list 

TBR August 2018. August is here and I have escaped the South African winter to my other home in tropical Indonesia. I am struck yet again how lucky I am to have the chance to travel and am itching to get out with my camera. New inspiration everywhere.

 

Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black

Expected: 7 August 2018

With the creepy cover and the promise of the title I wonder if this a murder mystery with ghosts?

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TBR August 2018

 

Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer. 

Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

 

Goodbye, Paris by Anstey Harris

Expected: 7 August 2018

Described on Goodreads as ‘Jojo Moyes meets Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Finewhich combined with excellent good early reviews promises an emotional book that will be difficult to put down.

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TBR August 2018

 

Grace once had the beginnings of a promising musical career, but she hasn’t been able to play her cello publicly since a traumatic event at music college years ago. Since then, she’s built a quiet life for herself in her small English village, repairing instruments and nurturing her long-distance affair with David, the man who has helped her rebuild her life even as she puts her dreams of a family on hold until his children are old enough for him to leave his loveless marriage.

But when David saves the life of a woman in the Paris Metro, his resulting fame shines a light onto the real state of the relationship(s) in his life. Shattered, Grace hits rock bottom and abandons everything that has been important to her, including her dream of entering and winning the world’s most important violin-making competition. Her closest friends–a charming elderly violinist with a secret love affair of his own, and her store clerk, a gifted but angst-ridden teenage girl–step in to help, but will their friendship be enough to help her pick up the pieces?

Filled with lovable, quirky characters, this poignant novel explores the realities of relationships and heartbreak and shows that when it comes to love, there’s more than one way to find happiness– Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

A Long Time Coming by Aaron Elkins

Expected: 7 August 2018

A art themed historical fiction mystery… This story sounds like it has a little of everything. Mixed early reviews so I am not sure about this one. Let me know what you think.

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TBR August 2018

 

Art curator Val Caruso is not a happy camper. His promotion has just been nixed, his divorce has become final, and he’s dug himself into a nice little rut for his fortieth birthday. The uplift? A trip to Milan to help Holocaust survivor Sol Bezzecca recover a pair of cherished sketches by Renoir. They’d once been given to Sol’s family by the then-unknown artist, looted by the Italian Fascist militia, and now after decades in hiding have turned up for auction. It’s Val’s job to get them back.

Unfortunately, his Italian adventure takes a dangerous turn when he becomes trapped in an intricate web that reaches back to World War II—and is still very sticky with art thieves, forgers, and somebody who wants Val out of the picture permanently. When the lost Renoirs are stolen yet again, Val is more determined than ever to hunt them down. The reward for reuniting an old man with his rightful past? Priceless.

But doing it is going to be murder. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Expected: 7 August 2018

A new YA fantasy series always brings bookworms out of hiding. And this one is worth owning for the cover alone.

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TBR August 2018

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfil their own secret missions. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

Expected: 9 August 2018

A psychological thriller from the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. If that wasn’t enough the Goodreads description of sacrificing souls will seal the decision. This is a must-read.

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TBR August 2018

 

A psychological drama of cat and mouse, A Ladder to the Skyshows how easy it is to achieve the world if you are prepared to sacrifice your soul.

If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career.

A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful than him. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter entirely.

Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them – or to whom they belong – as long as they help him rise to the top.

Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

Expected: 14 August 2018

The Goodreads description ”Part love story, part thriller, We Were Liars meets Goodbye Days in this suspenseful, lyrical debut’ promises another emotional and captivating read. I love the cover too!

Update: I loved this book. My favourite 2018 read. See my 5-star review

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TBR August 2018

 

It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.

THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.

NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.

THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.

NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.

The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Expected: 14 August 2018

I love retellings and twisted stories set in familiar worlds. I haven’t read any Midas retellings and am very excited for this one. The great early reviews are very persuasive.

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TBR August 2018

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost? – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The Waiting Room by Emily Bleeker

Expected: 21 August 2018

A thriller full of secrets and mind-games.

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TBR August 2018

 

Ever since her husband’s death collided with the birth of her daughter, postpartum depression has taken hold of Veronica Shelton. She can’t sleep, can’t work, and can’t bear to touch her beautiful baby girl. Her emotional state is whispering lies in Veronica’s ear: You’re a bad mother. Your baby would be better off without you. But not everything can be reasoned away by Veronica’s despair. Can it?

After all, the break-in at her house happened. The disturbing sketches she found in her studio are real. So is the fear for her daughter’s safety—especially when Veronica comes home to a cold, silent nursery and a missing baby.

As she turns from victim into primary suspect, Veronica realizes that only she can find her daughter. Authorities aren’t helping. They’re only watching. Veronica’s concerned mother has suddenly vanished from her life. And a new friend seems to be keeping secrets from her too. Now, reality is waiting for Veronica in a dark place—because someone’s mind games have only just begun. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey

Expected: 21 August 2018

Amazing early reviews and a timeless storyline promise great things.

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TBR August 2018

 

Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Grey eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma Townsend is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker. Successful Entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Abandoned by her mother. Kidnapper.
Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the grey-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal–and when a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her, far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure she wants her daughter back.
Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now she’s gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But her real mother is at home, waiting for her to return–and the longer the search for Emma continues, Amy is forced to question if she really wants her back. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Expected: 28 August 2028

The first in a series of the same name, Mirage has had extraordinarily good early reviews of Goodreads. For both fantasy and sci-fi fans, this promises to be popular.

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TBR August 2018

 

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner

Expected: 28 August 2018

I love the sound of this dark story.

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TBR August 2018

 

Ava’s disappearance was the crack in the Rivers family glacier. I wish I could explain to you how we were before, but I can’t because the before is so filmy and shadowed with the after.

The after is all Vera remembers. When her twin sister, Ava, disappeared one Halloween night, her childhood became a blur of theories, tips, and leads, but never any answers. The case made headlines, shocked Vera’s Northern California community, and turned her family into tragic celebrities. 

Now, at eighteen, Vera is counting down the days until she starts her new life at college in Portland, Oregon, far away from the dark cloud she and family have lived under for twelve years. But all that changes when a girl shows up at the local hospital. 

Her name is Ava Rivers and she wants to go home.

Ava’s return begins to mend the fractures in the Rivers family. Vera and Ava’s estranged older brother returns. Vera reconnects with Max, the sweet, artistic boy from her childhood. Their parents smile again. But the questions remain: Where was Ava all these years? And who is she now? – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Expected: 28 August 2018

A Second World War resistance story from a very popular YA author.

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TBR August 2018

 

Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people. 

Soon Chaya joins a resistance cell that runs raids on the Nazis’ supplies. But after a mission goes terribly wrong, Chaya’s network shatters. She is alone and unsure of where to go, until Esther, a member of her cell, finds her and delivers a message that chills Chaya to her core, and sends her on a journey toward an even larger uprising in the works — in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Though the Jewish resistance never had much of a chance against the Nazis, they were determined to save as many lives as possible, and to live – or die – with honor. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Expected: 28 August 2018

I love psychological thrillers and can’t wait for this one!

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TBR August 2018

 

An accused killer insists she’s innocent of a heinous murder.

A grieving journalist surfaces from the wreckage of her shattered life.

Their unlikely alliance leads to a dangerous cat and mouse game that will leave you breathless.

Who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself? – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

The Fall of Gondolin (Middle-Earth Universe) by J.R.R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien (Illustrated by Alan Lee)

Expected: 30 August 2018

The chance to read a new J.R.R Tolkien book feels almost as exciting as if George R.R. Martin actually brought out the rest of The Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) books. A chance to return to Middle-Earth is even better. Thanks to Christopher Tolkien who gathered his father’s notes and drafts together into this book.

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TBR August 2018

 

In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar.

Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in a heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.

Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-Earth, the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo. – Abstract from Goodreads

The Date by Louise Jensen 

The Date by Louise Jensen

The Date by Louise Jensen

 

This has to be a nightmare.

 

The Date by Louise Jensen is an exceptionally scary thriller, I haven’t been this spooked by a book in a long time. 

Fear beats its wings.

 

Totally unpredictable,  the horrifying twists kept coming.

 

My bones turn to dust and I sink to the floor.

 

I loved this book which kept me captivated. Until the ending, which was disappointingly weak in comparison.

4 star tiny flash reviews

 

 

Title: The Date

Author: Louise Jensen 

Publication Date: 21 June 2018

Publisher: Sphere

Source: Review copy

 

 

Purchase this book 

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Goodreads

 

Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor. 

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future. 

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her. 

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her…  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my review copy and may not appear in the final version.

Adding to Your TBR – July 2018

TBR July 2018

Adding to Your TBR – July 2018

TBR – To Be Read tower/list 

Here is your July reading list. I hope you find a book (or two) you love. Happy holiday reading!

 

Snap by Belinda Bauer

Expected: 1 July 2018

Snap has gathered a number of incredibly high early ratings on Goodreads.

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TBR July 2018

 

Snap decisions can be dangerous . . . 

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, Jack, now fourteen, is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. . . – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger

Expected: 3 July 2018

The abstract sounds a little generic so I am not sure about this one. The early reviews on Goodreads are very good which is usually a very good indication of a great read – so long as there is more than a handful of 5-star ratings you can be sure it’s not just the author and their family punting it.

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TBR July 2018

 

On an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar, and its wreckage is later uncovered in the Alps. Among the disappeared is Matthew Lerner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind, including an encrypted laptop and a shady client list. As she begins a desperate search for answers, she determines that Matthew’s death was no accident and that she is now in the crosshairs of his powerful enemies. 

Meanwhile, ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau has finally landed at the top. Now that she’s engaged to Grant Ellis, she will stop writing about powerful families and finally be a part of one. Her entry into the upper echelons of New York’s social scene is more appealing than any article could ever be, but, after the death of her mentor, she agrees to dig into one more story. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including some who are too close to home. The story could also be the answer to Annabel’s heartbreaking search—if Marina chooses to publish it. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga

Expected: 3 July 2018

I love this cover. It’s pretty in a dark, and slightly menacing way, and will look gorgeous on my shelf. #coverlove Now I am seeing a heart-shaped sweet (candy)… perhaps it’s a bittersweet story – or maybe I am just hungry!

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TBR July 2018

 

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, Eleanor Wood

Expected: 3 July 2018

I am very excited about this book, although I am nervous about seven PVO’s (Point of Views). Although, each one is written by a different author so the voices should be unique enough to tell apart.

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TBR July 2018

 

When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn’t that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn’t match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn’t as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but who wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.  – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

Caged by Ellison Cooper

Expected: 10 July 2018

A dark, evil psychological thriller. Yes please!

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tbr July 2018

 

FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair hunts for evil in the deepest recesses of the human mind. Still reeling from the death of her fiance, she wants nothing more than to focus on her research into the brains of serial killers. But when the Washington D.C. police stumble upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who’d been slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage, Sayer is called in to lead the investigation. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a high profile senator, Sayer is thrust into the spotlight.

As public pressure mounts, she discovers that another girl has been taken and is teetering on the brink of death. With evidence unraveling around her, Sayer races to save the second victim but soon realizes that they are hunting a killer with a dangerous obsession…a killer who is closer than she thought. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Expected: 17 July 2018

Described on Goodreads as ‘A life-changing secret destroys an unlikely friendship in this “magnetic” psychological thriller’ so I am definitely looking out for this one.

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TBR July 2018

 

Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane’s academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them.

More than a decade later, Kit thinks she’s put Diane behind her forever and she’s begun to fulfil the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon enough, the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to destroy them both. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Expected: 21 July 2018

I have listened to one of Karin Slaughter’s audiobooks The Good Daughter via Audible last year and loved it! It got a rare 5-star rating for me and I have been wanting to pick up another of her books.

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TBR July 2018

 

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?

Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . . . – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Silent Hearts by Gwen Florio

Expected: 24 July 2018

Another story that has been compared to A Thousand Splendid Suns! This honour is a dubious one though because it is bound to be far more critically analysed by eager readers. Hope it can stand up for itself.

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TBR July 2018

 

For fans of A Thousand Splendid Suns comes a stirring novel set in Afghanistan about two women—an American aid worker and her local interpreter—who form an unexpected friendship despite their utterly different life experiences and the ever-increasing violence that surrounds them in Kabul.

In 2001, Kabul is suddenly a place of possibility as people fling off years of repressive Taliban rule. This hopeful chaos brings together American aid worker Liv Stoellner and Farida Basra, an educated Pakistani woman still adjusting to her arranged marriage to Gul, the son of an Afghan strongman whose family spent years of exile in Pakistan before returning to Kabul.

Both Liv and her husband take positions at an NGO that helps Afghan women recover from the Taliban years. They see the move as a reboot—Martin for his moribund academic career, Liv for their marriage. But for Farida and Gul, the move to Kabul is fraught, severing all ties with Farida’s family and her former world, and forcing Gul to confront a chapter in his life he’d desperately tried to erase.

The two women, brought together by Farida’s work as an interpreter, form a nascent friendship based on their growing mutual love for Afghanistan, though Liv remains unaware that Farida is reporting information about the Americans’ activities to Gul’s family, who have ties to the black market.

As the bond between Farida and Liv deepens, war-scarred Kabul acts in different ways upon them, as well as their husbands. Silent Hearts is an absorbing, complex portrayal of two very different but equally resilient women caught in the conflict of a war that will test them in ways they never imagined. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The Last Thing I Told You by Emily Arsenault

Expected: 24 July 2018

Another psychological thriller… I might be developing a new favourite genre!

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TBR July 2018

 

I hear myself whispering. Not again. Not again.

Why did I ever come back here? Surely because of you. Because I thought of something I’d always meant to tell you. Because you were the only one I ever really wanted to tell it to…

Therapist Dr. Mark Fabian is dead—bludgeoned in his office.

But that doesn’t stop former patient Nadine Raines from talking to him—in her head. Why did she come back to her hometown after so many years away? Everyone here thinks she’s crazy. And she has to admit—they might have good reason to think so. She committed a shockingly violent act when she was sixteen, and has never really been able to explain that dark impulse—even to Fabian. Now that Fabian’s dead, why is she still trying?

Meanwhile, as Detective Henry Peacher investigates Fabian’s death, he discovers that shortly before he died, Fabian pulled the files of two former patients. One was of Nadine Raines, one of Henry’s former high school classmates. Henry still remembers the disturbing attack on a teacher that marked Nadine as a deeply troubled teen.

More shockingly, the other file was of Johnny Streeter, who is now serving a life sentence for a mass shooting five years ago. The shooting devastated the town and everyone—including Henry, who is uncomfortable with the “hero” status the tragedy afforded him—is ready to move on. But the appearance of his file brings up new questions. Maybe there is a decades-old connection between Nadine and Streeter. And maybe that somehow explains what Nadine is doing in Fabian’s office nearly twenty years after being his patient. Or how Fabian ended up dead two days after her return. Or why Nadine has fled town once again.

But as Nadine and Henry head toward a confrontation, both will discover that the secrets of people’s hearts are rarely simple, and—even in the hidden depths of a psychologist’s files—rarely as they appear. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce Henderson

Expected: 25 July 2018

I’m taking another dive into the Second World War. I am drawn to these stories, despite the inevitable heartbreak.

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TBR July 2018

 

In 1942, the U.S. Army unleashed one of its greatest secret weapons in the battle to defeat Adolf Hitler: training nearly 2,000 German-born Jews in special interrogation techniques and making use of their mastery of the German language, history, and customs. Known as the Ritchie Boys, they were sent in small, elite teams to join every major combat unit in Europe, where they interrogated German POWs and gathered crucial intelligence that saved American lives and helped win the war.

Though they knew what the Nazis would do to them if they were captured, the Ritchie Boys eagerly joined the fight to defeat Hitler. As they did, many of them did not know the fates of their own families left behind in occupied Europe. Taking part in every major campaign in Europe, they collected key tactical intelligence on enemy strength, troop and armored movements, and defensive positions. A postwar Army report found that more than sixty percent of the credible intelligence gathered in Europe came from the Ritchie Boys.

Bruce Henderson draws on personal interviews with many surviving veterans and extensive archival research to bring this never-before-told chapter of the Second World War to light. Sons and Soldiers traces their stories from childhood and their escapes from Nazi Germany, through their feats and sacrifices during the war, to their desperate attempts to find their missing loved ones in war-torn Europe. Sons and Soldiers is an epic story of heroism, courage, and patriotism that will not soon be forgotten.

 

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Expected: 26 July 2018

A little touch of murder mystery with a side of thriller.

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TBR July 2018

 

We can’t choose the strangers we meet.

As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.

Usually, we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.

With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.

Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Expected: 31 July 2018

Another stunning cover and this time matched with a mesmerising title! I know this will be a tough read emotionally but one that shouldn’t be missed.

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TBR July 2018

 

In the vein of Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a mesmerizing debut set against the backdrop of the devastating violence of 1990’s Colombia about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both

The Santiago family lives in a gated community in Bogotá, safe from the political upheaval terrorizing the country. Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to this protective bubble, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs and assassinations hover just outside the neighbourhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation.

When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city’s guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona’s mysterious ways. But Petrona’s unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the riptide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls’ families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal. 

Inspired by the author’s own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different, but inextricable coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras sheds light on the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation. Abstract from Goodreads

 

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Expected: 31 July 2018

I haven’t found a good fantasy novel since The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, so ready to be wowed. This one has had rave early reviews – holding thumbs.

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TBR July 2018

 

Everyone knows what happens in the end.
A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss.
But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends.
One feared, one royal, and one already dead

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch. 

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Expected: 31 July 2018

Yes I know, this post is full of murder stories. This story has a dark, creepy tinge that for some reason really appeals…

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TBR June 2018

 

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First, there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the centre of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe. – Abstract from Goodreads

Misleading Book Covers #2

Misleading covers

Misleading Book Covers #2

 

Another fun round of misleading book covers. At least 90% of what I choose to read is based on the cover of the book and sometimes I wonder just what the author/publisher was thinking…

 

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

I was pretty sure this was going to be a thriller or at least a murder mystery. I was looking forward to a bunch of hapless, naïve fools (maybe from a knitting club?) charging off to their death… like the supposed ending of the poor Dodo.

 

What it’s actually about

A rather more sedate YA contemporary about a girl too afraid to take chances and the boy who inspired changes in her life.

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository   Worderly   Loot.co.za(SA)

 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

I was hoping for a retelling of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with exploding candy, but I guess I should have realised from the title that was one of the big lies.

 

What it’s actually about

It’s a suburban ‘behind the scenes’ story with explosive secrets *suddenly realising why the lollipop is exploding*, and evil undertakings.

PS: to those who have watched the miniseries without reading the book – go back and read it, it’s really worth it!

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)  Book Depository   Worderly   Loot.co.za(SA)

 

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A massacre where a murder of crows descends on the pile of blood-splattered corpses… or maybe a red cloud at night as in a shepherd’s delight…?

 

What it’s actually about

A sad, but with unexpected humour, the story is about a lonely, insecure girl who corresponds via letters with a stranger on death row. He just happens to be an older man (yes I thought it was creepy too).

My review

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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Drowned girls under the ice on a frozen lake – maybe a mass suicide? Or very cold and somewhat creepy mermaids…

 

What it’s actually about

A YA contemporary about two girls with anorexia competing with each other to be the thinnest.

It’s relatable, emotional, horrifying and I loved it.

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)   Book Depository   Worderly    Loot.co.za(SA)

 

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers

Misleading Book Covers

 

 

What I thought it was going to be about

This cover really threw me totally off! I was expecting a friendship/romance, possibly a fatal one like Romeo and Juliet, and surely somehow the goldfish were involved? Maybe they are poisonous…

 

What it’s actually about

A YA contemporary featuring a dyslexic boy who persuades an author to write his love letters.

I really liked the way dyslexia was handled positively with sensitivity and respect.

My review

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository   Worderly    Loot.co.za(SA)

 

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Really badly behaved children whose babysitter tried out staring them before wiping them out one by one… *suddenly realising that murder is on my mind – should I be worried?*

What it’s actually about

Toxic high school friendships, jealousy, disappearances and a whole bunch of lies.

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)   Book Depository   Worderly   Loot.co.za(SA)

 

 

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Misleading Book Covers

 

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A lonely girl left behind by the winter girls and is about to throw herself into the water to join them.

 

What it’s actually about

Complex family relationships and adoption.

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository   Worderly    Loot.co.za(SA)

 

 

Midnight at the Electric

Misleading Book Covers

 

 

What I thought it was going to be about

I was so wrong about this one! I was expecting a carnival or night circus, possibly magical or haunted…

What it’s actually about

This was a really odd book that combined sci-fi and historical fiction and seriously lacked the carnival atmosphere.

My Review

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Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

Misleading Book Covers

 

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A cottage on the edge of a dark scary wood where predators are stumped by the characters camouflaging ability – you know like zebras stripes… Perhaps a Hansel and Gretel retelling?

 

What it’s actually about

This children’s book stars adventure, escaped fugitives and family secrets.

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)   Book Depository   Worderly   Loot.co.za(SA)

 

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Again with the drowning. A girl who drowned her friend and is just having a relaxing moment with their memories while waiting to make sure the body stays down.

 

What it’s actually about

A girl with amnesia following a car accident.

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)  Book Depository   Worderly    Loot.co.za(SA)

 

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