Book Reviews, Lists, Discussions, and Displays

Tag: October 2016

Book Review: The Row

The Row

The Row – J.R. Johansson – Farrar, Straus, and Giroux – Published 11 October 2016

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Synopsis

A death sentence. A family torn apart. One girl’s hunt for the truth.

Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent.

Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves.

My thoughts

Who suffers in the aftermath of a horrible crime? The victims? The victims’ families? The man who may have been wrongly charged and imprisioned? The perpetrator’s family? The Row gives an inside look at the cost of defending your family, even when the world says they are unworthy, when the world judges you along with the guilty.

Riley’s father is on death row for a series of murders he says he didn’t commit. Riley has never doubted his innocence. To her, he is her father. The smart and kind man who taught her chess during her weekly visits and wrote her a letter for everyday she couldn’t visit him. But with his execution date drawing near, Riley’s father unexpectedly confesses to Riley. He retracts his confession, tells Riley it was only to help her move on, but the only thing Riley knows now is that he has lied to her – she’s just not sure if the lie is about being guilty or innocent. When she meets Jordan, the son of the man responsible for putting her father in jail, Riley is surprised to find she enjoys spending time with him. Together they attempt to discover the truth about Riley’s father once and for all.

It is interesting to have a story told from the guilt party’s family’s perspective. If you are looking for a book that supports the victims’ families then look elsewhere, because this is Riley’s story. She is just as much of a victim in what appears to her to be a faulty justice system and a world in which people seek to punish her along with her father.

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Book Review: Warrior’s Seal

Warrior's Seal

Warrior’s Seal – Ronie Kendig – The Tox Files #0.5 – Bethany House Publishers – 1 October 2016

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Synopsis

Special Forces operator Cole “Tox” Russell and his team are tasked in a search-and-rescue—the U.S. president has been kidnapped during a goodwill tour. The mission nosedives when an ancient biblical artifact and a deadly toxin wipe out villages. Tox must stop the terrorists and the toxin to save the president–and his team–before it’s too late!

My thoughts

The Warrior’s Seal is a novella that starts the explosive new series, The Tox Files. Action, history, ancient artefacts, the President’s life in danger, and a mysterious toxin killing hundreds.

Cole ‘Tox’ Russell is a Special Forces operator. When the President is kidnapped, Tox and his team are tasked with his retrieval. But a deadly toxin is spreading and killing everyone in its path. Tox will have to determine if the two events are connected and how to stop the terrorist, keep from becoming infected, and save the President.

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New Book Releases November 2016

New Book Releases for November 2016

Due for release in November 2016, this is a list of books that have made it on to my to-read list – and there are some very exciting new releases!

Young Adult Fiction

The Best Possible AnswerThe Best Possible Answer – E. Katherine Kottaras – St Martin’s Griffin – Published 1 November 2016

Is this book:
A) about family, family implosion and how to ride the chaos of family
B) a story of strong friendship and how it can hold you together
C) about second chances and learning to trust yourself again
D) a fun story of summer friendship and romance
E) all of the above

“Hint: test-prep research shows that you should actually always pick E.”

Young adult fiction – Contemporary.


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Book Review: Where Two Hearts Meet

Where Two Hearts Meet

Where Two Hearts Meet – Liz Johnson – Prince Edward Island Dreams #2 – Revell – Published 18 October 2016

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Synopsis

In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen–and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful.
Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He’s also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he’s falling in love with the island’s red shores and Caden’s sweets.
When Caden discovers Adam isn’t who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he’s writing could do more than ruin the inn’s chances for survival–it might also break her heart. 

My thoughts

The day I started reading this book I made a batch of cinnamon (and apple and coffee) scrolls. It was just a coincidence, but a very nice one, especially when the first line of Where Two Hearts Meet is: “There was only one thing better than the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls in the morning. The taste of freshly baked cinnamon rolls in the morning.”

This book made me very hungry – for cinnamon rolls, lobster pasta, muffins, eggs Benedict, you name it. I was reading this just after eating dinner thinking about what meal I could eat next. But it also made me hungry for sea air and small towns, rugged coastlines and good friends.

Caden is the executive chef at Rose’s Red Door Inn. She loves her job, but the future of the B&B may be in danger if they don’t find a way to increase their bookings. When Marie discovers that a travel writer will be staying at the Inn, she and Caden are sure it is the handsome Adam Jacobs. Marie asks Caden to make sure Adam sees the best of the Inn and Prince Edward Island, and they forge a strong friendship as they spend time in Caden’s kitchen and exploring the Island.

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New Book Releases October 2016

New Book Releases for October 2016

Due for release in October 2016, this is a list of books that have made it on to my to-read list – an exciting mix of contemporary, mystery, fantasy and sci-fi novels.

Young Adult Fiction

Everyone We've BeenEveryone We’ve Been – Sarah Everett – Knopf Books – Published 4 October 2016

Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy that no one else can see. It gets so bad that she’s worried she’s going crazy.

Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits a shadowy medical facility that promises to “help with your memory.” But at the clinic, Addie unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased. She had a boy erased. But why?

Young adult fiction.


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Book Review: Wild Montana Skies

Wild Montana Skies

Wild Montana Skies – Susan May Warren – Montana Rescue #1 – Revell – Published 18 October 2016

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Synopsis

Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn’t realize is that someone else is also back in town. 

Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that’s on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he’s fully recovered. It doesn’t take long, though, to discover his father’s ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart. 
With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwaters turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?

My thoughts

This book has enough action, adventure, mystery, romance and plenty of family tangles and drama to keep any reader glued to the page. There are also a whole host of new characters to fall in love with and a rugged mountain setting that perfectly offsets the dangerous conditions the characters face.

I really enjoyed reading Wild Montana Skies, not quite as much as I loved the all-consuming Christiansen series, but I think it is a great start to what will be a thrilling series. And the romance promises to be just as exciting as the rescues.

Kacey is returning home to Mercy Falls after another stint on duty in the army but this time she’s shaken and a little broken over what transpired while deployed overseas. In Mercy Falls her thirteen-year-old daughter is waiting for her, along with a new job as helicopter pilot for the Mercy Falls search and rescue team. Ben King, too, is on his way home to Mercy Falls, a crumbling music career in his rear-view mirror. Ben just wants to help his ailing father regain his feet before hightailing it back to Nashville. Neither Ben nor Kacey expect to see the other or to dredge up the past and all the hurts and misunderstandings that go with it.

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Book Review: Can’t Help Falling

Can't Help Falling

Can’t Help Falling – Kara Isaac – Howard Books – Published 11 October 2016

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Synopsis

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.

Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter façade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.

Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.

When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.

My thoughts

A truly magical story. From the cover and the title to the summary and the fact that I absolutely adored Close To You, I just knew that I was going to love Can’t Help Falling. And I was right, because this book is fantastic.

Emelia longs for a second chance. She has moved to England, left her old life behind and intends to make restitution for her past. But she doesn’t expect it to be so hard and when hiding in an antique wardrobe she happens to meet Peter Carlisle. As they continue to meet, they cannot deny their attraction, but the secrets of Emelia’s past may prevent a future between them.

This book might start with a teacup, an antique shop and a wardrobe, but there is so much more to this story. Can’t Help Falling has a magical quality, much like pushing through the coats at the back of the wardrobe and finding yourself in a magical wood. There are a number of Narnia quotes and references in this book, as to be expected, but even someone who has only seen the movies or has a faint idea of Narnia will understand and love this book. And, of course, the avid Narnia-obsessed reader will adore the way this story is steeped in all things Narnia. Then there is the romance. Beautiful, complicated, meant-to-be, irresistible, sparks-flying romance. It weaves through all the other details to bring together this story of family, second chances, friendship and the rough and tragic sides of life. 

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