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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Book Binge Review Round Up #4

All of these titles were acquired via Netgalley. The views and opinions are my own. 

The gripping, heart-wrenching novel of Sally Horner, the 11-year-old kidnapping victim whose abduction in 1948 inspired Nabokov's Lolita.

Camden, NJ, 1948. When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth's, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute―unless she does as he says.

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.

Based on the experiences of real-life kidnapping victim Sally Horner and her captor, whose story shocked the nation and inspired Vladimir Nabokov to write his controversial and iconic Lolita, this heart-pounding story by award-winning author T. Greenwood at last gives a voice to Sally herself.

My Review: 
5 Stars 

This book was so heart wrenching. To know that its based off true events makes it all the more tragic. 

Sally only wants to have friends. She doesn't understand why nobody likes her and when the chance appears to become friends with the popular girls, she jumps at it. Never could she have imagined what she would have to endure for years to come. 

I think what really got to me was how Sally's story ended. I won't give anything away, but it made my heart ache for her even more. 

A heart wrenching story that will leave you hugging your kids tight. 

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police--she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home--Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it's too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

My Review:
5 Stars

This was a whirlwind story. Twists and turns throughout, keeping the reader thoroughly engaged and not wanting to put it down. I'm really sad I wasn't able to meet this amazing author while he was in Vermont. 

Cassie is one hot mess. Using alcohol and men to drown out her inner demons. Those antics catch up to her when she wakes up next to her man of the night, but this time he's dead. From there she spirals down farther. Lying to officials and preforming antics that never help her case, how much farther can she fall before the repercussions are felt? 


Lylah and her friends can't wait to spend a night out together. Partying is the perfect way to let loose from the stress of life and school, and Lylah hopes that hitting the dance floor with Chace, her best friend, will bring them closer together. She's been crushing on him since they met. If only he thought of her the same way...

The girls are touching up their makeup and the guys are sliding on their coats when the doorbell rings. No one is there. An envelope sits on the doormat. It's an anonymous note addressed to their friend Sonny. A secret admirer? Maybe. They all laugh it off.

Except Sonny never comes home. And a new note arrives:


My Review: 
5 Stars

This book hits you right from the start. No easing in at you. You are at once thrust into a dangerous game by a seemingly sinister secret admirer.

Lylah hasn't had it easy. Tragedy turned her into a shelf of the person she used to be. College was supposed to be a new start. A time to rebuild in the wake of all the sadness she has endured. All the comfort and safety she has achieved slips away as soon as the notes start appearing. 

This was my first experience with this author and I was not disappointed. I'm looking forward to going back and reading her other titles. 

A handsome stranger moves to the small Pennsylvania town of Central Valley, and his name is Chris Brennan. He’s applying for a job as a teacher and varsity baseball coach at the local high school, and he looks perfect, on paper. But his name is an alias, his resume is false, and everything about him is a lie. And he has a secret plan - for which he needs a pawn on the baseball team.

Susan Sematov loves her younger son Raz, the quirky and free-spirited pitcher of the team. But Raz’s adored father died only a few months ago, and the family is grief-stricken. Secretly, Raz is looking to fill the Daddy-shaped hole in his heart.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who’s dedicated to her only son Justin, the quiet rookie on the team. But Justin’s shy and reserved nature renders him vulnerable to attention, including that of a new father-figure.

Mindy Kostis is the wife of a busy surgeon and the queen bee of the baseball boosters, where her super-popular son Evan is the star catcher. But she doesn’t realize that Evan’s sense of entitlement is becoming a full-blown case of affluenza, and after he gets his new BMW, it’s impossible to know where he’s going – or whom he’s spending time with.

The lives of these families revolve around the baseball team – and Chris Brennan. What does he really want? How far will he go to get it? Who among them will survive the lethal jeopardy threatening them, from the shadows?

Enthralling and suspenseful, One Perfect Lie is an emotional thriller and a suburban crime story that will keep readers riveted to the shocking end, with killer twists and characters you won’t soon forget.

My Review:
5 Stars 

Lisa Scottoline rarely disappoints. Her novels are often thought provoking and riveting.  One Perfect Lie was all of that and so much more. 

Small town sports and the families that live, breath and eat them. Those of us who have been unfortunate to experience it know how it goes. Those who have the right name get the good spots and those who work had have to work twice as hard to even get a chance. This is the first story that I have read that has an accurate account of what that life is like. 

The other part is what is going on behind the closed doors. Each family has a secret that will become exposed in one form or another. Whether they meant for the events that get set in motion or not, the repercussions could be explosive. 

An engaging and thought provoking story. You won't want to put it down. 

Ariel Lawhon, a rising star in historical suspense, unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson's 50-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the beloved daughter, revered icon, and Russian Grand Duchess or is she an imposter, liar, and the thief of another woman's legacy? 

Countless others have rendered their verdict. Now it is your turn.

Russia, July 17, 1918: Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed. 

Germany, February 17, 1920: A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water or even acknowledge her rescuers, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious young woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess.

As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre at Ekaterinburg, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a narrative that is equal parts The Talented Mr. Ripley and Memento, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory: the nature of identity itself. 

The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov creates a saga that spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling saga is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.

My Review:
4 Stars

I am drawn to anything that has to do with Anastasia Romanov. The history of her and the Imperial family has always fascinated me.  

This was a very well done book. Very engaging and caused you to analyze every crumb you are given. It was a unique look  at the present and memories from someone who believed they were Anastasia Romanov. 

Through it all the ending still completely got me. I really did not see it coming at all. 

What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

And now the police are watching them...

My Review:
3 Stars

The book was interesting. I enjoyed the premise and the story that the author was telling. There were times that I was confused as to what was happening and when it was happening. Sometimes the lines between past and present are a little blurred. 

Jack and Syd finally have a home of their own. After living apart for years in order to save, they are ready to start the next step in their life. What they don't count on is a sinister presence that seems to be in and around the house. 

After Syd befriends a neighbor girl, things start to get complicated really fast. 

The story was engaging enough. I finished the book because I wanted to see where the story was going, but it wasn't something I wasn't able to put down. 

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