Crazy Fans

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Review: School for Psychics by K.C. Archer

***This book was provided by Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***

An entrancing new series starring a funny, impulsive, and sometimes self-congratulatory young woman who discovers she has psychic abilities—and then must decide whether she will use her skills for good or…not.

Teddy Cannon isn’t your typical twenty-something woman. She’s resourceful. She’s bright. She’s scrappy. She can also read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn’t realize: she’s actually psychic.

When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything—her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.

Set in a world very much like our own, School for Psychics is the first book in a stay-up-all night series.

5 Stars

My first thoughts upon starting this book were "What took me so long?". This book was very engaging and had a great story. 

Teddy has always felt off. She hasn't felt right in the life she is living. An encounter at the nick of time shows her the window to a whole new future. A future that could help her understand what she has been feeling all of her life. A chance to find out where she came from. 

Throughout the book you follow Teddy and her group through misadventures and boundary testing. Each outing leading them deeper down the rabbit whole. 

What follows is a thrilling conclusion that is going to leave you salivating for the next installment. I can't wait to see where this series goes.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Book Binge Review Round-Up #6

All of the below titles were provided via Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The most perfect lives can hide the darkest secrets… 
Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect. 

But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart. 

And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family… 

Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

My Review:
4 Stars

I am seriously in deep love with these suburban drama/suspense books. Can't get enough of seeing the secret lives of soccer moms these days. The Family at No. 13 is a thrilling and engaging story. 

Conner's stress level is high. Not only does he have to find a new office, but he has to find a new place to live as well. Not an easy feet when you've been putting it off for weeks. If only Air BNB's weren't the new in thing that people wanted to capitalize on. 

When he's handed a solution, Conner reluctantly accepts. He accepts knowing there could possibly be consequences, but he could never imagine how large consequences would turn out to be. 

The story follow's Conner's move and reveals the inner workings of Mary's family. Showing long buried and denied secrets, bonds that have broken and a family that needs some serious therapy. 

A great book for the beach or a lazy weekend at home. 

A split-second decision throws ordinary family man Noah’s life into chaos in this utterly gripping thriller that will have you hooked from the first page to the last. If you love James Patterson, Harlan Coben and Gregg Hurwitz, you’ll love Finders Keepers.

What if you could change your life with one little lie?

Noah Kendall loves his family, but hates his teaching job. Mortgage, bills and mouths to be fed: he’s stuck in a rut. And with more debts piling up each day, he knows that something has to change. 

As he opens yet another red letter, he has to get out and clear his head, despite the heavy Alaskan snow outside. His legs ache as he runs deeper into the forest, until he notices something in the distance – a crashed car, sitting dead still. Inside, a girl sits slumped in the driver’s seat, eyes closed, mouth open, skin grey beneath the winter frost.

And then beside her he sees it: a bag of money. And lots of it. Enough to pay off his debt and start a whole new life. And it’s just sitting there, waiting for him to take it... 

What would you do?

This book was previously published as The Dead Girl.

My Review:
4 Stars

This was an intriguing story. Not only do you see what money does to people, but you also see what a secret does to one individual. 

Noah may not have been rich, but he had everything he needed. Sure his wife hated her how many hours she worked at her job, but he hated his. They did what they had to in order to provide a good life for their little girl. 

One night while clearing his head Noah is suddenly faced with a choice. A choice that could either better his life or destroy it. What happens next are the events that follow his decision. Through twists and turns you see how Noah handles everything that he's brought upon himself. 

Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin' shootin' fishin'. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realizes that Henry's parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports - hunting, shooting and fishing - become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realization that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school...

My Review:
3 Stars

This book reminded me of a primal Pretty Little Liars. It's set in a school that doesn't have any of the modern amenities. No phones are allowed and the popular crowd goes by the name of "The Medeivals". 

Greer is very surprised to learn that she has been invited to spend the weekend at Longcross Hall. She's more intrigued by who is invited along with her. Knowing that none of them have been on The Medeivals radar, she can't help but feel that something else might be going on. Despite that feeling she soldiers on and tries to make the most of this dream weekend. 

It was a good story and had solid characters. It was a bit slow moving and action lacking for my taste. The author writes well and had great description, but I didn't find myself gripping the edge of anything throughout the tale. 

Nora Brown teaches high school English and lives a quiet life in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter. But one November day, moments after dismissing her class, a girl's face appears above the students' desks -- ''a wild numinous face with startling blue eyes, a face floating on top of shapeless drapes of purples and blues where arms and legs should have been. Terror rushes through Nora's body -- the kind of raw terror you feel when there's no way out, when every cell in your body, your entire body, is on fire -- when you think you might die.'' 

Twenty-four hours later, while on Thanksgiving vacation, the face appears again. Shaken and unsteady, Nora meets with neurologists and eventually, a psychiatrist. As the story progresses, a terrible secret is discovered -- a secret that pushes Nora toward an even deeper psychological breakdown. 

This breathtaking debut novel examines the impact of traumatic childhood experiences and the fragile line between past and present. Exquisitely nuanced and profoundly intimate, The Night Child is a story of resilience, hope, and the capacity of the mind, body, and spirit to save itself despite all odds.

My Review:
4 Stars

I really enjoyed reading this book. My only qualm with it is that it ended too soon. I wanted to know more of what happens to Nora at the end. 

The last thing Nora would have thought the face meant was a breakdown. A brain tumor? Sure. Cancer? Bring it on. A breakdown? But I'm not crazy! The one thing that Nora feels will cripple people's opinions of her. 

Once she figures out the reason behind the breakdowns she becomes even more stubborn. Especially when it comes time to tell her family what is going on. She's so afraid of their reactions that she will risk making progress in her own treatment. 

An emotional ride that will have you looking at mental health from a different angle. 

"You cannot know what light is if you have not experienced darkness" 
Ava and her people have been exiled to the planet Poseidon for reasons she can't fathom. Upon meeting a boy from a different sector, her life turns into a beautiful chaos. She begins to feel things she isn't allowed to, thus motivating her to find out the truth about why her kind are so different, and why the Council are so interested in her. Once her mind is freed, with it comes a terrible power that could either save her kind, or destroy them all. But Ava is not the perfect heroine. She will become what she hates to save the ones she loves, and the cost of such a burden is deadly at best.

My Review:
3 Stars

I really enjoyed the concept of this story. However, it was really difficult for me to get through. Even after finishing it I'm still not sure what Ava is, what powers she may possess and really what is happening in the book. 

Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district--and in their lives.

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray--the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser--faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones--the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge's top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she's stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as "this" or "that", when such complexity exists in each person?

My Review:
5 Stars

This was a very powerful story. I thought it was going to be just about racism, but it really isn't. This story is about a woman who believes that she isn't racist, but discovers that she is. 

Camille is the wonder mom of the school. PTA mom extraordinaire, she strives for the best. That does not include the kids from South Fork attending their posh school. While there are two strong supporting characters with their own stories to tell, Camille is the one with the true epiphany at the end of this journey. 

Anaya and Jen have their own different, yet intertwined stories. Showing how hard it can be sometimes to overcome even the smallest obstacle. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Book Binge Review Round-Up #5

All copies were provided by Netgalley. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

Amazon Link:

My Review:
5 Stars!

I have been sucked into the Stepford Wives, suburban mom books lately. This book was great. And would you look at that cover? It's absolutely gorgeous. 

Enter the tight knit circle of suburban moms and with that all of their secrets. Izzy is the newest member to this society. Being the only single person on the block, she befriends the wives that stay home raising their little ones. Already running from heartache, she is thrust into a world of secrets, deep friendship and lies.

Jessica Strawser does a tremendous job of creating a thought provoking and engaging story. Can't wait to read more from this author in the future.

Venus Black is a straitlaced A student fascinated by the study of astronomy—until the night she commits a shocking crime that tears her family apart and ignites a media firestorm. Venus refuses to talk about what happened or why, except to blame her mother. Adding to the mystery, Venus’s developmentally challenged younger brother, Leo, goes missing.

More than five years later, Venus is released from prison with a suitcase of used clothes, a fake identity, and a determination to escape her painful past. Estranged from her mother, and with her beloved brother still missing, she sets out to make a fresh start in Seattle, skittish and alone. But as new people enter her orbit—including a romantic interest and a young girl who seems like a mirror image of her former lost self—old wounds resurface, and Venus realizes that she can’t find a future while she’s running from her past.

Amazon Link:

My Review:
5 Stars!

This was an amazing story. It shows what happens when a girl feels like she has been failed by one of her parents. What happens when she tries to unveil the truth, but does it in a way that is perceived as a horrible act. 

One night is all it takes for Venus' dreams to come to a crashing halt. All she was doing was trying to shed some light on unspeakable acts, but instead is found guilty of a crime that will stay with her forever. 

Once she is release from prison, all Venus wants is to find a quiet life. She wants away from the media that has followed her and her story for years, away from all the prying faces of home and just somewhere to belong. 

She achieves that at first, but then is found out in a way that she hadn't counted on. Suddenly forced into the spotlight again, she had to decide if she still wants to run or if facing the past and claiming her future is a better idea. 

A great story of pain, love, growth and the reality of family dynamics. One of the best books I have read this year. 

A powerful novel about a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas--and finds unexpected fortune, friendship, and love.

It was unimaginable. When she was eight years old, Lily Decker somehow survived the auto accident that killed her parents and sister, but neither her emotionally distant aunt nor her all-too-attentive uncle could ease her grief. Dancing proves to be Lily's only solace, and eventually, she receives a "scholarship" to a local dance academy--courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.

Grown and ready to leave home for good, Lily changes her name to Ruby Wilde and heads to Las Vegas to be a troupe dancer, but her sensual beauty and voluptuous figure land her work instead as a showgirl performing everywhere from Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana to the Stardust's Lido de Paris. Wearing costumes dripping with feathers and rhinestones, five-inch heels, and sky-high headdresses, Ruby may have all the looks of a Sin City success story, but she still must learn to navigate the world of men--and figure out what real love looks like.

With her uncanny knack for understanding the hidden lives of women, Elizabeth J. Church captures both the iconic extravagance of an era and the bravery of a young woman who dances through her sadness to find connection, freedom, and, most important, herself.

My Review: 
4 Stars 

This book was more heart wrenching than I originally thought it would be. Lily is really put through the wringer, both emotionally and physically. 

Having lost her parents at a young age doesn't stop Lily. With the help of a mysterious individual she pursues her dream of dance. Leaving the home she was raised in once she's of age, she embarks on the life she knows she's meant to lead. What she doesn't count on is how hard it is going to be to obtain that life. 

While on her journey she's offered a different option. She'll still be able to do what she loves, but not in the environment that she has imagined for all her life. While she views it as a form of selling out, those who have become part of her life assure her that its a great opportunity. 

A wonderful story that follows each of Lily's decisions and the consequences of those decisions. Beautifully written and thoroughly engrossing. 

Bestselling, beloved author of The Charm Bracelet spins a tale about a lost young woman and the family recipe box that changes her life.

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha "Sam" Mullins felt trapped on her family's orchard and in their pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star's New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family's orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life--including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family's history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.

My Review:
5 Stars

This book was such a lovely surprise. I really enjoyed the story-line and I cannot wait to test out some of the recipes that were included in the book. A lot of them sound too good to pass up. 

Sam is struggling with finding her place in life. She loved where she was raised, but can't help but feel that she is bigger than that life. Wanting to make her own mark on the world she embarks on her own adventure away from home, leaving behind the ones she loves the most. 

When an unexpected decision is made, Same returns home. Not ready to relay the news to her family she muddles through the days, slowly remembering why she loves this place she calls home so much. Those emerging feelings confuse her even more, making the upcoming decisions her hardest yet. 

Through family drama and life decisions, Sam navigates this story with determination. Knowing that everything she has worked for will reveal itself in due time.