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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 2017 WRAP UP! (19 Books!)

Starting off 2017 with a bang and 19 books under my belt (say whaaaaaaaaaaa......I'll be explaining how I manage to read so much in my upcoming blog post answering questions from those who entered my blog launch giveaway)!๐Ÿ‘Š

Lots of good reads this month!  With the launching of the blog and my group reads with Jessica and Samantha, things blew up faster than I thought it would.  So THANK YOU to all who have participated, entered any or all of the giveaways and to taking the time to read my blather.  Truly means a lot!

Listed in no particular order, with rankings (☆☆☆☆☆ being the highest).  Click on the title to be taken to my reviews - this month will be directing you to my Goodreads reviews as I transition into putting my long winded rants/reviews on here instead ๐Ÿ˜ˆ).  




2.  The Dry by Jane Harper ☆☆☆☆☆  (#cjsreads2017)


3.  Frostblood by Elly Blake ☆☆☆☆


4.  Adrift - Micki Browning ☆☆☆☆






7.  The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn ☆☆☆☆☆ (#cjsreads2017)


8.  Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer ☆☆☆☆☆  (#cjsreads2017)




10.  Kill The Father by Sandrone Dazieri ☆☆☆☆☆  (#cjsreads2017)


11.  Puddle - A. Renee Hunt ☆☆☆☆




13.  Under The Knife by Kelly Parsons ☆☆☆☆☆


14.  Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner  ☆☆☆☆☆  (#cjsreads2017)


15.  Sleight by Sloane Kady  ☆☆☆☆⭐  (#cjsreads2017)


16.  Pendulum by Adam Hamby ☆☆☆⭐


17.  Killing Kate by Alex Lake  ☆☆☆☆


18.  Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard ☆☆☆☆☆  (#cjsreads2017)


19.  Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens  ☆☆☆☆☆


All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda - I'll be reading this before her new book, The Perfect Stranger comes out.   We did a giveaway for this and 5 lucky bookstagrammers won - be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more giveaways coming up!! :)

Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens (inc. list of ALL her books)

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
My rating: 5 of 5 Stars
St. Martin's Press
Publishes March 14, 2017

I've been a fan of Chevy Steven's work since I read Still Missing a while back.  I was beyond thrilled to get my hands on her latest book, Never Let You Go and I was not disappointed!  A true page turner, I couldn't put this one down.  See my review below and continue reading to get a listing of all her books you can add to your TBR list - you won't be disappointed!



Liked Chevy Stevens other works? You're going to LOVE this one. Never read her before? PUT THIS ON YOUR TBR NOW!  (I'll pause while you go do that..... ok, you back?)

Lindsey meets Andrew at the age of 19. She becomes completely enthralled in her relationship with him and after their wedding day, she starts to notice signs of his possessiveness towards her. She gives up any dreams she has of a career and begins a family with him, giving birth to their daughter, Sophie. After years of abuse, in fear for her life and the life of her daughter, she finally manages to get away. Andrew ends up in jail after getting into a car accident killing the passenger in the other car and for 11 years, Lindsey finally felt safe. But now Andrew is out of jail and she is back on high alert.

The story is told between the past and present, from Lindsey and Sophie's points of view. Sophie doesn't remember much from her childhood and her relationship with her father outside of what her mother has told her. Wanting so badly to have a relationship with him, she reaches out to him. First through letters and then through secret meetings. When signs of Andrew stalking her mother start to show, things start going haywire for them all - including the people who are trying to protect them from Andrew, or are they protecting themselves?

I absolutely love Chevy's writing style. She pulls you in from page one and never lets you go (see what I did there?) An incredible psychological thriller about an abusive relationship and what a mother would do for her child, along with dope plot twist. Prepare to block out some time for this one. Once you get started, you're not going to want to stop until you reach the last page.

Huge thanks to Chevy Stevens, Astoria Bookshop and St. Martin's Press for this advanced copy in return for my honest review.

View all my reviews


#CJSReads2017 REVIEW: Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

Jessica, Samantha and I  present our reviews for Lisa Gardner's Right Behind You.

We all agree that even though this is Book 7 in the Quincy and Rainie series, it can definitely be read as a standalone... and it should definitely be read!


Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
Dutton Books


Synopsis from Goodreads:

Is he a hero?

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Is he a killer?

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun. 

All she knows for sure: He’s back.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

Jessica's Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars
I loved this book! I had been hearing so many things about this book and I couldn't wait to get a copy. I've never read any other Lisa Gardner books, and this one didn't disappoint. 

After a double murder at a local gas station, retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner are brought in to investigate. All of the evidence points to a young man, Telly Ray Nash. Which proves to be difficult for them, as he is the older brother to their soon-to-be adopted daughter, 13 year old Sharlah May Nash. Quincy and Rainie must race against the clock to find Telly because his shooting spree shows no end in sight as he makes his way through the woods of Oregon. Eight years prior, Telly had beaten their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now that Sharlah has finally moved on from that night she must now ask herself, is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will this cost her new family before they learn the final truth? 

This book had me guessing until the very end! I really enjoyed it, as well as the writing style. Going back and forth from present day to flashbacks. While this book did great as a stand alone, I feel that I would have been more invested in the main characters had I read the other Lisa Gardner books! So something to start soon!


Follow Jessica on Goodreads or Instagram

Sam's Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars


Right Behind You is the newest thriller by Lisa Gardner.  The seventh novel in the Quincy & Rainie series, this novel surrounds FBI profiling couple Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner.  Although the seventh in the series, I found that this one was incredibly easy to read as a standalone.  This one is the perfect combination of a fact-paced thriller and an intricately woven police procedural.

The novel opens with a murder; dead bodies at a gas station lead police to a foster home where the body count grows.  The main suspect is Telly Nash, a seventeen-year-old foster child with a sordid past.  From the first pages, I was hooked.  It is not a classic “whodunit” but more of a “whydidhedoit”.    As the plot develops and thickens, I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how everything was going to piece together.  Gardner provides a plethora of red herrings that had me constantly guessing.    By the end of the novel, I was pleasantly surprised to find her twists completely unexpected; they were not jaw dropping or shock inducing but were clever and masterful.  Garder is certainly a seasoned writer and this is very obvious as the plot unravels. 

 If you are a fan of a police procedural, but long for something faster paced, this would be a perfect novel.  I gave it 4/5 stars!
Follow Sam on InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and her Blog!

My Thoughts:
5 / 5 Stars
It's been eight years since Sharlah, now 13, watched her brother, Telly, kill their father with a baseball bat - saving their lives, but then turning that bat on her, breaking her arm and inevitably leading to their placement in separate foster homes. Sharlah has spent 3 years foster living with FBI profilers, Quincy and Rainie and the adoption process has been started. Can Sharlah become part of a new family while what's left of her old one is still out there somewhere? Telly, also struggling with belonging to his new foster family, is now shown on a security camera where two civilians have been shot down, shortly after his foster parents have been found murdered in their bed. Evidence? Telly's face staring straight at the security camera right before he shoots it. What prompted this spree of killing and will it stop? Is Sharlah in danger? Telly - hero or zero? 

First, let me say that I had no idea this was part of a series. This can absolutely be read as a stand alone - I never once felt lost or felt like I was missing something from the first 8 books and I'm that person who just has to read things in order or it drives me crazy. Luckily I actually didn't even realize I was walking into this one as part of a series. Never would've known! Second, let me just say that I LOVED this book. As an avid Criminal Minds fan, I kept picturing it as Hotch and JJ adopting a kid and then solving a case. A little out there? Maybe, but I don't care. 

A quick and easy read - a little bit of who.did.it strung in with some why.did.any.of.them.do.what.they.did. I love Sharlah and her family - I want to go out and adopt a dozen retired police dogs now. Five full sheriff badges for this based on entertainment value and my love for behavioral analysis. 


Monday, January 30, 2017

Review: Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Blackstone Publishing    
Publishes 2/2/17

An outstanding first read in our February books for #CJSReads2017!  Go to any of our IG pages: @wherethereadergrows @cluesandreviews @jessicamap @blackstonepublishing to enter our GIVEAWAY - 3 winners will win a copy of this book!  Looks for the giveaway post in our feeds. Do NOT sleep on this book - free is my favorite price, isn't it yours? ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ




What an incredible debut by Catherine Ryan Howard! Adam's girlfriend, Sarah, takes off for a business trip to Barcelona but never returns. Adam gets her passport in the mail with a note simply stating "I'm sorry - S". He then uncovers that she was actually on a cruise ship and now he's on a mission to find out why and figure out what has happened to her.

This book is mainly told through Adam's eyes as he learns truths about Sarah, himself and those around him. We also have a subplot story told through the eyes of Corrine and Romain. These stories are intricately woven and excellently written. I did NOT see a couple of the twists at the end and I LOVE it when I get surprised. When the author can make me feel empathy for a psychopath, I am a happy girl. What can I say, I love the twisted mind. Maybe my research on nature vs nurture and my love for learning about the human psyche just brings all this home for me. I am thoroughly impressed with this debut novel.

Love intrigue, mystery, suspense and two stories for the price of one? Pick up this book NOW! I never particularly cared to go on a cruise ship before - certainly am more deterred than ever. Five full nautical stars.

Huge thanks to the author and Blackstone Publishing for this advanced copy in return for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Review: Killing Kate by Alex Lake

Killing Kate by Alex Lake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Harper Publishing
Paperback publishing 1/31/17    

Kate goes on holiday to Turkey with her best girlfriends as a get away after a rough break up with her boyfriend, Phil, who she had been with for 10 years. Upon her return, she learns of a killer in her hometown. After the second and then third murder, it becomes clear that the girls look eerily like her. Phil is acting erratically as he is not taking the break up well at all. His obsession with her and the fact that one of the girls he "dated" after her was one that was murdered does not bode well for him trying to prove his innocence. Are these just coincidences, or is something more happening? Past secrets come to play and now she is in a race to save not only herself but the people closest to her.

This was a very fast and fun read. I felt the plot twists were easy to see coming and my guesses were proven quite quickly. I did like the author's writing style in the fact that every time I had a question, it's like she read my mind and addressed it within the next few pages. Recommend for anyone wanting a page-turner of a one sit read.

Thank you to the author, Harper Publishing and Edelweiss for this advanced copy in return for my review.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Review: Pendulum by Adam Hamby

Pendulum by Adam Hamdy
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I read this with the Criminally Good Book Club (hosted by @keeperofpages, @b00ksinparadise and @spinatale) (#cgbookclub) on Bookstagram.  Even voted for it when we were choosing our reads for January and February this year.  I liked this book, but didn't love it.  I think my expectations may have just been a little too high.  But look at the cover - simplicity in it's finest.  And poor John Wallace - his story is absolutely nuts.  Get in and take a peek and let me know what YOU think!



You open your door to a stranger and wake up tied up with a noose being put over your head. You have no recollection of how you got there nor why it's happening. The beam breaks and you fall to your LIFE. Do not pass go, do not collection $200, pay to get out of jail, do NOT wait for doubles because if you do, you are DEAD. Run, run, RUN.

John Wallace doesn't know who he can trust or why this man is insistent on finding him and killing him. He has to lay low because every time he does entrust someone in trying to figure out this huge puzzle, they end up dead. How many times can he evade what seems to be the inevitable?

Quite the opening of a book - I was hooked from the first chapter. However, by the end I felt my mind wandering here and there and wasn't all that engaged. I can't pinpoint where the story lost me but when it did grab me, it GRABBED me. I had to keep reading to figure out exactly what it was about John Wallace that made him a victim. The reasons for the other victims seemed fairly clear, so what did he do?? I finally did get my answer but by the time it came to me, gifted in a neat little bow, I just reacted with an ah.. ok. 3.5 stars for me.

View all my reviews

#CJSReads2017 REVIEW - Sleight by Sloane Kady

Jessica, Samantha and I  present our Non-Thriller January book read. For some reason we all thought this was a thriller book when we opted to put this on our radar for this month.  Turns out it's not at all but more of a contemporary fiction dealing with family relationships, Alzheimer's and  the road to forgiveness and understanding.  See what we thought below.

I encourage you to take a chance on this book - it's raw and emotional but well worth the read, especially if you have had to deal with Alzheimer's in any way in your family.  My grandmother suffered from this disease and it's not an easy thing to see a loved one go through but to have great help and a solid support system certainly helps.  For more information on Alzheimer's please visit Alheimer's Association website: http://www.alz.org/.


Sleight by Sloane Kady


Synopsis from Goodreads:

How is love measured? By how much you're willing to bleed for another person? Do they show you one of those pain-rating scales and ask how much your relationship hurts? Point to the most anguished face and win a prize. Congratulations!

You must truly be loved. At what point is it more humane to just rip each other's hearts out instead of cutting each other open with sharp words and lies?

If love is measured in scars and sacrifices, I win. "Your dad's been in an accident, Bryce." "You're all he has, Bryce." "Do the right thing, Bryce." And I do, because I'm reluctantly good, even though my father only knows how to make me bleed.

I leave the bright colors of Seattle for my father's stagnant world and his decaying mind. He doesn't want me around, but he needs my memories. I don't want to be around, but maybe I need closure before the cloaked man takes him away forever, just like my mother and brother. Only thing is, I never learned to be careful what I asked for, and when I tear down the wall separating my father and me and find that everything I knew about him was a faรงade concealing unimaginable truths, forgiveness will come easy, but rectification might cost me everything.
 

Jessica's Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars
When I first picked up Sleight, I wasn't expecting the story that I finished. I was thinking psychological thriller, not an emotional look into the hardship that is Alzheimer's and the divide between a father and daughter from years of abuse and secrets.

Bryce is called home after her father has an accident. As she is home, she soon discovers that her father crashed his car because he had an episode. The in-home care nurse informs her that he was diagnose with Alzheimer's a year prior. The story follows Bryce and her father trying to learn to live together and really get to know who the other person is while trying to help him through his sickness.

Without giving away spoilers, Bryce learns who her father rally is and why he was the abusive and absent father that he was, Long buried secrets are unearthed that shed new light on her father and why the love of her life left her in her hour of need back in high school. Can Bryce learn to forgive her father?

I highly recommend this book to anyone that knows someone, or who has personally dealt with the hardship that is Alzheimer's. Sloane Kady did an incredible job building the characters, showing the raw emotion, and helping the readers connect to them.



Follow Jessica on Goodreads or Instagram






Sam's Thoughts:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Bryce comes home to find her ailing father suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.    Struggling between her hatred of a man who had continuously hurt her and the obligation of caring for him, Bryce works through her feelings.  As her father deteriorates and the walls between them come crumbling down, Bryce finds out secrets about her father that make her question everything she has ever known….

Sleight by Sloane Kady is not what I was expecting.   Based on the synopsis on Goodreads, I thought this one was going to be a fast paced thriller; instead, I was met with a contemporary fiction that held small mysteries and little secrets.   There isn’t a whole lot to the actual story, but plenty in the background that is slowly revealed throughout the story. 

Bryce narrates the novel in full; she is complex, jaded and damaged.  Coming
from a dysfunctional family and a childhood that left much to be desired, she is full of hate. I found it hard to really like her, but perhaps, like the other characters in the novel, she never really let me in fully. 

This novel moved extremely slowly, and since it is no surprise that I am a fan of a much faster paced novel, I struggled to keep reading this one.   I was ready to write a negative review, but in the end, this novel redeemed itself and became a very touching story of loss and redemption.  By the time the novel’s title was poetically explained, I was a mess. 

Although this novel is completely not what I was expecting, I did end up enjoying the resolution.   I gave it 3.5/5 stars. 
Follow Sam on InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and her Blog!





My Thoughts:
4.5 / 5 Stars
Bryce grew up in a shattered household where her brother died at a young age, her mother was addicted to drugs and her father was cold and abusive. Her prom night ends with her finding her mother dead in the bathtub and her first love and the one person she thought she could trust, Jackson, not showing up when she most needed him. Bryce takes off to try and make a life of her own, leave the past behind and try not to think about it again. Then one day, she receives a call that her father has been in an accident. She goes home to find that he actually has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and now she has to struggle between her lingering hatred for a man who never seemed to care and taking care of the only family she has left.

This is not a happy book. It is raw and emotional about a father/daughter relationship struggling with their past issues and trying to find a place of forgiveness while dealing with an illness that all but strips a man of who he is. I had moments of meh, moments of awwww and moments where I put my hand over my mouth after certain revelations were brought to fruition. It is beautifully written and by the time I came to the ending, I was fully invested in Bryce and her father. I only take a half star away because the scene with her doctor just seemed out of place and not needed for the story and for some reason that kept sticking with me as I continued to read.

I do implore you to give this book a chance as it is very emotional and deals candidly with broken families and the road to forgiveness, if it can be traveled on and what a bumpy ride it can be.
________________________________________________________________________

Huge thank you to to the publishers, Sloane Kady and NetGalley for these copies in return for our honest reviews.  



Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Sleight by Sloane Kady

Sleight by Sloane Kady
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Blackweald Press


I've always had a very close relationship with my father, so reading about father/daughter relationships always hits a soft spot for me.  While my relationship with my mother may have been tumultuous at times when I was younger, we have found a way to build our relationship as I have gotten older and we are closer now than we ever have been and for that I am grateful.  Each generation needs to understand that there are just some things you're not going to see eye to eye on with the other generation.  Although I am not a parent, I can only imagine how hard it is to make the best decisions you can for the little person(s) you've created to try and have them succeed in life and have the things you may not have had.  As a kid, these are not things you take into consideration because you are in your own little world where it likely won't make sense anyway.  Take care of yourself and remember to appreciate what you have, the relationships you create and the sacrifices your parents have made for you - whether you know about them or not.  I'm fairly certain that no matter what it looks like on the outside, 99.9% of the time, they had your best interests at heart.

And now for my review:



Bryce grew up in a shattered household where her brother died at a young age, her mother was addicted to drugs and her father was cold and abusive. Her prom night ends with her finding her mother dead in the bathtub and her first love and the one person she thought she could trust, Jackson, not showing up when she most needed him. Bryce takes off to try and make a life of her own, leave the past behind and try not to think about it again. Then one day, she receives a call that her father has been in an accident. She goes home to find that he actually has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and now she has to struggle between her lingering hatred for a man who never seemed to care and taking care of the only family she has left.

This is not a happy book. It is raw and emotional about a father/daughter relationship struggling with their past issues and trying to find a place of forgiveness while dealing with an illness that all but strips a man of who he is. I had moments of meh, moments of awwww and moments where I put my hand over my mouth after certain revelations were brought to fruition. It is beautifully written and by the time I came to the ending, I was fully invested in Bryce and her father. I only take a half star away because the scene with her doctor just seemed out of place and not needed for the story and for some reason that kept sticking with me as I continued to read.

I do implore you to give this book a chance as it is very emotional and deals candidly with broken families and the road to forgiveness, if it can be traveled on and what a bumpy ride it can be. 4.5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Blackweald Press for this copy.

View all my reviews



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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

BOOKSTAGRAMMER INTERVIEW: Sadie Hartmann

Chances are, if you're a bookstagrammer (booknerd speak for the book community of Instagram), you've run into Sadie Hartmann - @sadie_reads_them_all.  She's the type to welcome you with open arms, get you involved and introduce you to the world.

She's also the creator of #circleofbookishfriends - a photo challenge that quite a few of us participate in every month.  I'm happy to say that I'm co-hosting with her for the month of February. Keep reading to get to the prompts for the EFF YOU FEBRUARY photo book challenge that I just KNOW you've been waiting for! (Also, we realize there are TONS of good challenges out there so feel free to jump in every now and then if one or five particular prompts just tickles your fancy...)

A lover of Stephen King (co-creator and member of #kingsisters), the macabre, fantasy (but do NOT give her any romance - books that is) and life in general, this marbled crayon of black and pink is anything but ordinary.  And without further ado, I present to you... **drum roll please**... Queen Sadie.




When and how did you start your Bookstagram account?

I started in January of 2016 because I had been following some larger bookstagram accounts and really enjoyed the bookish discussions I was seeing. I posted a picture of my current Joe Hill book and Johann commented on it and we discussed our love of Stephen King. Like a few days later, I used the bookstagram hashtag and decided from that day forward to make a dedicated book account—never looked back! It’s been a year and I love this community SOOOOO much!!

#circleofbookish friends is a popular and fun photo book challenge - how did you come up with this idea?  Is it hard coming up with prompts every month?

Thank you, Chandra! I participated in a bunch of challenges before I decided to venture out and do my own. I was so scared nobody would join in on it the first time but that was actually the Circle’s most successful month so it has felt really good to see it grow and take on a life of its own. So many great relationships have been formed from it. I don’t find it hard to come up with the prompts because I envision what I want to take pictures of myself and what I know my friends enjoy taking pictures of, so I just bare that in mind while I create the challenge. I’m particularly fond of the one word prompts we have been doing. (and the partnering, first with James and now with you! Fun!)

As a King fan, I love that you are one member of #kingsisters - finding a group of ladies who also appreciate the King of horror was definitely a highlight of my BG journey - how did you ladies come up with this idea?

Kingsisters was born when I hosted the Queen of Everything King photo challenge. It was a giveaway I hosted and the idea was to get the ladies to photograph their King collections—we have so many ladies with impressive King collections on BG it’s fucking rad! So I had my mom judge the whole thing, who is the original Queen of King and so that I wouldn’t chose my closest friends, ha! I made a group chat to congratulate the ladies and honor Jessica, one of the winners, and the group chat and friendship just steam rolled from there—although, I admit, some of us have been branching off in other directions but it’s still nice it was a *thing* while it lasted. *wink* I don’t think we’ll be doing another group challenge or anything in the near future—Abbie and Jo already have a very fun and successful King challenge thing going, I have the Circle and Holly does #grimdragon so we’re all pretty BIZZAY

What other genres do you lean toward?  Any genre you typically won't pick up?

I love, love Fantasy, Thrillers, Crime, Courtroom drama…you know, everything. “I read them all” but not Romance or Poetry, really. I don’t read much YA

Do you ever get reader's block?  If so, how do you overcome it?

I’ve never had reader’s block and the idea of that terrifies me. I hope that never happens to me. lol

You've mentioned on BG that you are currently doing some writing - how is the writing process coming along for you?

So James and Bev are doing that writer’s challenge next month! I hoping to participate with that and share my writing with you guys—that sounds HELLA fun! But so far, I’m working away on my dark fantasy novel. It’s a much harder thing than I imagined it being because I’m a loathsome perfectionist and I generally feel like a hack and that my writing is shit on a stick. But, other people help my sanity by reading my work and trying to convince me it’s good enough to keep going. Hahahah

If you were a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?

I’d be some kind of hybrid between BLACK and PINK because I’m very dark and moody and twisted and evil BUT, I’m also very jovial and girly and love ruffles and sparkles and lace. ( I used a lot of ANDS on purpose cuz I’m lazy!)

What's your favorite '90s jam?

Ooooh….That’s so HARD! Let’s go with No Diggity by Blackstreet!

What was the last gift you gave someone?  Last gift received?

I gave my husband a tattoo appointment for his birthday on the 23rd of January and I got a really pretty handmade mug from my daughter that she made in her high school pottery class. Super special.

What's the most interesting thing about you we wouldn't learn from your BG account?

I was literally *this close* to leaving my hometown at 19 and moving to Hollywood to become an actress—a stage actress—but I met my husband and stayed here instead. 

Any hidden talents?

That’s classified. I could show you but I’d have to kill you after. Seriously though, I could memorize lines for a play in about an hour—I have a photographic memory. 

Who would win a fight between Superman and Batman?

Fucking Batman. All day everyday.

What has been the best job you've had and why?

I actually really enjoy being in sales because I feel like I could sell sand to a desert nomad BUT the job I have currently is really nice—getting to make my own hours and create art. It’s easy peasy.

What is your favorite thing about Bookstagram?

The people. Definitely the people I have met and the relationships that have formed.

Top 5 books?

IT-Stephen King
The Shadow of the Wind- Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Summer of Night- Dan Simmons
East of Eden- John Steinbeck
I Capture the Castle-Dodie Smith

3 adjectives that would describe you?

Unpredictable
Creative
Passionate

What would the tagline be on your tombstone?

“Live your one life to the fullest—no regrets"
_________________________________________________________________________________________________


Get your stalking shoes on and find Sadie here:


Blog:           http://sadiehartmann.blogspot.com/
Twitter:        https://twitter.com/SadieLouWho




Review: Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dutton Books
Book #7 of Quincy & Rainie (can be read as a standalone)
Publishes 1/31/17


Another fantastic read for #cjsreads2017!  Stay tuned for all of our thoughts on release date.



It's been eight years since Sharlah, now 13, watched her brother, Telly, kill their father with a baseball bat - saving their lives, but then turning that bat on her, breaking her arm and inevitably leading to their placement in separate foster homes. Sharlah has spent 3 years foster living with FBI profilers, Quincy and Rainie and the adoption process has been started. Can Sharlah become part of a new family while what's left of her old one is still out there somewhere? Telly, also struggling with belonging to his new foster family, is now shown on a security camera where two civilians have been shot down, shortly after his foster parents have been found murdered in their bed. Evidence? Telly's face staring straight at the security camera right before he shoots it. What prompted this spree of killing and will it stop? Is Sharlah in danger? Telly - hero or zero?

First, let me say that I had no idea this was part of a series. This can absolutely be read as a stand alone - I never once felt lost or felt like I was missing something from the first 6 books and I'm that person who just has to read things in order or it drives me crazy. Luckily I actually didn't even realize I was walking into this one as part of a series. Never would've known! Second, let me just say that I LOVED this book. As an avid Criminal Minds fan, I kept picturing it as Hotch and JJ adopting a kid and then solving a case. A little out there? Maybe, but I don't care. I am intrigued by profiling and getting into the mind of a person, guilty or not.  Pattern recognition, behavioral analysis, taking clues and pieces of the puzzle to come to a solid conclusion.  I actually wanted to get my masters in Criminal Justice after I got my Social Work degree but never quite took that leap.

A quick and easy read - a little bit of who.did.it strung in with some why.did.any.of.them.do.what.they.did. I love Sharlah and her family - I want to go out and adopt a dozen retired police dogs now. Five full sheriff badges for this based on entertainment value and my love for behavioral analysis.

I'm curious as to the rest of the book in the series now - good books in series will do that for you - especially since these (or at least this one) can read as a standalone.  Do characters reoccur - will we know more about Telly and/or Sharlah in future books?  Will I learn more about Quincy and Rainie if I read books 1-7 that might make this book even better in my mind? AHHH - INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW - enlighten me if you've read this series please!

Like behavioral analysis? Like police procedurals?  Like red herrings?  I think you'll like this book then!

Huge thanks to Dutton Books for this advanced copy in return for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

#CJSReads2017 - The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney - Publishing TODAY!

Jessica, Samantha and I are thrilled to present our third group read for January.  The Girl Before has been one of the most anticipated books of 2017 and with good reason.  We all had different ratings for this one - look below to see our reviews and thank you again for joining us on our reading adventures - it's so fun to see your posts on IG (don't forget to hashtag with #cjsreads2017) and we have had fun discussing books with a few of you already.  Keep them coming! 

And guys and gals - please take the time to read the author's acknowledgements at the end - I probably would have ranked this higher had I seen it but it didn't come with my ebook arc unfortunately.  I would kindly suggest that everyone always read the author's acknowledgements - it really gives you an insight to their world and is always heart warming. 


The Girl Before by JP Delaney
Publishing TODAY!  1/24/17




Synopsis from Goodreads:

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

Jessica's Thoughts:
5 / 5 Stars
In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception. "Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life." The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

I loved The Girl Before! The different perspectives, timelines, and all the mystery surrounding the house of One Folgate Street. The story follows two women and their experiences with One Folgate Street. A house that was designed by an architect that believes in a minimalist lifestyle; living in this house comes with a vigorous application process and very strict rules. 

Then: Emma is a woman who seeks a safe haven after her home is broken into and she is threatened. As she tries to find a new home, she quickly realizes that there aren't any homes for rent that are safe enough or in her price range. Until she arrives at One Folgate Street. While the home itself is an architectural masterpiece, it comes with very strict rules, no books, no photos, no clutter, nothing on the floors. This space is meant to help transform the occupant - and it does. 

Now: Jane needs a fresh start in her life. After a personal tragedy she begins searching for one, and finds it in One Folgate Street. Being instantly drawn to not only the space, but also the architect. After moving in, Jane quickly learns of the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a young woman of similar age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before. 

JP Delaney does an incredible job weaving the stories together. The book is alternating between perspectives and timelines (Emma's and Jane's), which makes for fast-paced reading and short chapters. I love having to guess. Throughout the book I had different guesses and I had to keep changing my mind until the end!

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Sam's Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars

The Girl Before, by J.P. Delaney (a pseudonym), is a book that has been getting consistent amount of buzz in the book blogging world; I was dying to read this one!

I have some seriously mixed feelings about this book.  I found myself feeling equal parts mesmerized and strange while I was reading.

What I Liked:

The Narration: the novel is narrated with alternating viewpoints from tenants at One Folgate Street: Jane, the present tenant and from Emma, the woman who lived there previously. This technique kept me glued to this book.   The segmented chapters are short and sweet and use the right amount of hook to carry the story along. As the women’s experiences begin to mirror each other, things become creepy really quickly.
Throwback to Gothic Literature: Fun Fact. I have always been a fan of classic gothic fiction and this novel certainly resonates with this genre.     From the massive, sterile house to our female protagonists threatened by a powerful, tyrannical male, this one had moments where it read like Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho. I really liked how this one gave a modern twist on the gothic novel and combined it with the domestic thriller genre that has swept 2016 by storm.
What I Didn’t Like:
Kind of gave me a Fifty Shades of Grey vibe: Edward Monkford was Christian Grey to me. The novel had moments where sexual domination took the lead and the actual story took the backburner. I have a very hard time taking a book seriously when the character, which is supposed to be the antagonist, is consistently referred to as “Daddy”.   I feel like I would have enjoyed the book much more if this part of the book had taken on a smaller role.
Regardless of my feelings about that portion of the book, I cannot deny that this one kept me up, late into the night, to finish. I was consumed by the plot and need to find out what happened.   It already has the movie rights sold so I will be intrigued to see how this will play out on the big screen.

If you are a fan of a dark, twisting thriller, then I would recommend this book. However, if you hated, like really HATED, the idea of Fifty Shades of Grey, then chances are, you will not appreciate this one either!   I gave this one 4/5 stars on Goodreads.
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My Thoughts:
3.5 / 5 Stars



We follow the lives of Emma (and her boyfriend, Simon) and Jane - two damaged women who end up living on One Folger Street - a domicile of extreme minimalism and 200 rules to abide by.  The story unfolds from Emma's perspective (who lived there before Jane) parallel to Jane's perspective in her process of gaining approval and then moving into the house.  Edward is the architect who built the house and has a distinct personality - on the OCD side - in which he lives by certain rules and want his women to do the same.  If they don't, it's no longer perfect and he moves on.  He pretty much caters to no one but himself and yet women are drawn to his "nonchalant" yet take charge attitude.     

One Folger Street is affordable because whoever decides to live there are automatically test subjects.  They live by certain rules and must answer various surveys... certain features such as the shower, may be disabled until the surveys are complete.  They will be monitored and lifestyle changes will be strongly suggested to help them live a more perfect life.  But to what cost? How far will Edward go to create the perfect life?  (Side note though - a shower that automatically knows my temperature setting is a win for me!)

I was engaged throughout this entire book.  I needed to know what happened from chapter to chapter.  I did feel there was some repetitiveness but that certainly was to show the similarities in Emma and Jane's parallel world.  I was kept on my toes all the way til the end of the book and loved the little twists thrown in at the end.  However, I did feel that the ending was tied up a little too neatly in a little bow for my taste and one particular part felt a bit out there.  I am torn but will keep this at 3.5 stars.    

Good for a quick, entertaining read of a thriller that keeps you guessing until the end.
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Huge thank you to to the publishers, J.P. Delaney and NetGalley for these advanced copies in return for our honest reviews.