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. 

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