Member Profile

Username/Login : rmarcin

My Reviews

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Inspiring
Entertaining and sweet

This book is very sweet, a nice story about a young girl coming of age with the help of people who love her.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Interesting
Epic Story of Family Struggles and Redemption

Beautiful story set in Ethiopia and later in NYC/Boston. Some parts are difficult, but overall the story is beautiful. It really makes you think about forgiveness, bonds of family, overcoming obstacles, and what is possible.

 
Romantic, Fun, Insightful
Plodding

I found this book very difficult and slow! I had heard a lot about this book, but didn't really like it. The end got much better, but I really had to struggle to get to the best parts.

The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula Mclain
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Interesting Background

This book gives you a good perspective on the early career of Ernest Hemingway while married to his first wife, Hadley Richardson.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
Psychological thriller

What happens when 2 people are psychologically intrigued with each other? Who is the scarier one? Brilliantly written, Gone Girl will have you wondering "WHAT are they thinking???" You might shudder once or twice, too!!! Diabolical!

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Inspiring, Interesting
A wild adventure

Cheryl Strayed writes beautifully about her quest to find herself as she undertakes hiking the Pacific Coast Trail.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
Beautifully written

Likely one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Intertwined story of one French girl and one German boy and their lives and how WWII affects them.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Slow
Civil Rights perspective

I really enjoyed this book, especially after I didn't expect to enjoy it. It was great to understand Jean Louise's frustration with her small town, and reflect upon what Atticus taught her.

The Nightingale: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Inspiring
WWII novel set in France

Beautifully written, moving story of 2 sisters and their struggles during the war. What happens during the war changes them, and this book depicts their lives very well.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dark, Scary
Amazing Account - True Crime

An amazing account of a woman's obsession to find a killer. Although Michelle McNamara died w years before the Golden State Killer was arrested, her impeccable notes and zeal for finding him are to be applauded. Michelle gives this horrific story some humanity by focusing much of her book on the victims, and the police departments various detective heroes who would not give up on finding this rapist and murderer.
After Michelle's death, the police arrested Joseph DeAngelo, a former police office and a supermarket distribution warehouse employee. They were able to connect his DNA to the murders and rapes.

#IllBeGoneInTheDark #MichelleMcNamara

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Addictive
Beautiful

** spoiler alert ** I loved this book - I loved the descriptive writing, the relationships, the intricate story.
Kya Clark is a young girl who lives in the marsh in North Carolina, and becomes known as The Marsh Girl. The story begins when Kya's mother walks out on the family, abandoning Kya and her siblings, due to their father's drinking and abusive nature. One by one, the siblings also abandon young Kya, and she is left alone to fend for herself, as her father only comes home sporadically. Kya learns to search for food, and to sell what she can. The black townspeople look after Kya, protecting her and providing her with food.
Kya's brother's friend, Tate, befriends Kya, and teaches her to read. With his help, Kya blossoms and although she has no formal schooling, is able to publish books on marsh life. Yet, when Tate betrays Kya, she feels she can no longer trust him.
Kya takes up with Chase, the local boy who is a hero to the town. Chase woos Kya, promising her a future. But, eventually Chase betrays Kya as well.
The story is told between 2 time frames, from when Kya was a young girl, to when Kya is in her 20s. Chase is found dead, and Kya is arrested, but she claims innocence. The trial takes its toll on Kya.
The story is beautifully told and is haunting. It is amazing to read about all of Kya's observations about the marsh and about the relationships we have.
The novel has a stunning ending.
Wonderful novel!
#WhereTheCrawdadsSing #DeliaOwens

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Beautifully written about the struggle with anorexia

Thanks to Book Movement and St. Martin's Press for an ARC of The Girls at 17 Swann Street in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely loved this book! I loved the writing style, the heartbreaking account of living with anorexia, the toll it takes on everyone, the treatment of it, and the ongoing struggle. This book really hit home with me, as someone dear to me suffers from an eating disorder. This novel opened my eyes to the emotions, the difficulties, and the impact this disease has on its victim and their loved ones.
I flew through the book - the writing style is very easy to read. While the subject is difficult, I believe it was handled beautifully, and I was hopeful for Anna and Matthias.
I highly recommend this novel!
#TheGirlsAt17SwannStreet #YaraZgheib #SwannStreetBookClub #17SwannStreet

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful

Intriguing story of 2 women, one elderly, one a teen. Both were "orphaned" and now the elderly woman tells her story of her life, traveling on the orphan train, to the younger one. Beautifully written.
Reread 3/24/19 - 3/25/19 - I enjoyed this book more the 2nd time I read it! Molly is a "juvie" in a foster home. Because she tried to steal a copy of Jane Eyre - she was sentenced to 50 hours of community service. She is assigned to Vivian, who wishes to clean out her attic. While doing so, Vivian recounts her life. Molly and Vivian both grow as part of this, and lean on each other. Molly helps Vivian to face things from her life, and Vivian helps Molly to be accepted.
The writing is just beautiful and this is a very easy, quick read.
#OrphanTrain #ChristinaBakerKline

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful
Psychotherapist and Patient - Difficult Relationship

This book grew on me as I continued reading it. It starts off a little confusing in my opinion, but then sorts itself out. It reminded me of Stephen White's psychiatrist / patient relationship books.
Ruth Hartland is a psychotherapist dealing with trauma patients. She fails to admit to anyone that she has experienced trauma of her own - as her son, Tom, attempts suicide and then later, disappears without a trace. Ruth is consumed by guilt and anxiety. Her marriage fails, her relationship with her daughter, Carolyn who is Tom's twin, is a struggle. This spills over into Ruth's patient sessions, especially when she meets Dan Griffin who bears a striking resemblance to Tom.
All of this leads to devastating consequences when Ruth blurs the lines for proper patient / therapist relationships.
This is a taut psychological thriller. It starts slowly, but picks up speed - it was a short book, so a relatively quick read.
#AGoodEnoughMother #BevThomas

More Than Words by Jill Santopolo
 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Adventurous, Romantic
Contemporary romance

An heiress to a hotel company, Nina Gregory is hoping that she has longer to figure out her life before her father dies of cancer and she is forced to take over the company. Her life seems perfect, she is dating her best friend, Tim, and she is enjoying work as a speechwriter on a campaign for the next NYC mayor. However, as her father gets sicker, he alludes to some secrets that she may find when she reviews information about the company. Her attraction to her boss, Rafael, the mayoral candidate grows stronger, and she starts to have doubts about her relationship with Tim.
This is a contemporary romance with dilemmas about life and choices. I enjoyed it, but the opulence of Nina's life was a bit much to handle. Of course, most everything in Nina's life was wrapped up nicely at the end of the book, a bit too perfectly.
#MoreThanWords #JillSantopolo

 
Book Club Recommended
Psychological Thriller with lots of red herrings

Thanks to Goodreads for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I was very excited to read this book as it had been on several lists recommending it. I thought the book was intentionally confusing, and that bothered me a bit. There were quite a few surprises and twists in the novel, but I suspected someone quite early in the book, and I was correct. I didn't know the full extent of it, but it was clear to me that I was being given a lot of red herrings to lead me down a path that was meant to mislead me.
Overall, it was an interesting psychological study, but it wasn't the thriller that I was expecting.
Laura Heart Lochner has always felt unloved. She had a bad breakup and retreated into herself. She moved in with her sister, Rosie, and Rosie's husband, Joe. Laura, Rosie, Joe, and Gabe grew up together and have been friends forever. Now, Laura has met someone online and has a date with him. However, things about her date don't add up. When she doesn't come home, Rosie calls Gabe, an IT expert, to help find Laura. The book alternates between Laura's sessions with her therapist, Laura and her date - Jonathan Fields, and Rosie, Joe, and Gabe's attempt to find Laura.
When they finally involve the police, both Laura and Rosie come to terms with various things that don't add up - both in their past and in their current lives, as the story comes to its conclusion.
#TheNightBefore #WendyWalker #Goodreads

 
Book Club Recommended
Continuation of A Delicate Touch storyline

Wild Card is a continuation of the previous book - A Delicate Touch - continuing the storyline of the Thomas family seeking revenge against Stone and his current girlfriend, Jamie Cox, a NY Times reporter who broke a story about them. This is a quick read and all is resolved in the end. It has the usual assortment of Stone and Dino and their friends escaping dangerous situations, also traveling to many locales, and eating at fine restaurants. The Thomas family is also throwing their support behind Sen. Joe Box of FL, a Republican buffoon running for president. They intend to use him to destroy the Republican party, so that Hank Thomas can step in and take over.
There are a few new characters that have been added to the group, and I imagine we will be seeing more of them in future novels.

#WildCard #StuartWoods

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Insightful
Teacher / Student teach lessons about life

Thanks to Penguin Random House and Book Movement for sending copies of The Secret of Clouds for our book club to enjoy. I am providing this review honestly.
I really enjoyed this sweet story of a teacher and her relationship with a student who had health issues. Yuri, the student, taught Maggie, the teacher, many things about life. She grew to really bond with this student, over books, writing, and baseball.
This book also examined other parts of Maggie's life - her relationship with her parents, her boyfriends, and her co-teachers.
The book was a nice exploration of what it means to live life to the fullest.
However, there were 2 errors in the book that bothered me. One - the author constantly referred to January 1, 2000 as the new millennium. It is not - January 1, 2001 is the new millennium, December 31, 2000 is the end of the century and the old millennium. Many people thought of the change to 2000, especially after the Y2k craze, as the new millennium, but it is not. I am surprised that the editor didn't catch this and correct it. Two - the author talked about having her friend, Suzie, the art teacher move in with her, but said there was a problem in that the cottage only had one bedroom. Later in the book, she mentions that she converted the second bedroom.
This was a feel good book, with a bit that tugged at the heartstrings, but overall, very well done.
#TheSecretofClouds #AlysonRichman

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic
Heartbreaking whodunit!

This was a heartbreaking whodunit, and an amazing debut novel. I loved how Christina McDonald told the story of Olivia, a good girl teenager, who suddenly changes and is pushed over a bridge and left for dead. Now Olivia is brain dead, and her mother, Abi, tries to figure out why.
So many possible people are suspect in this novel. Abi struggles with how she raised Olivia, and what mistakes she made. She uncovers some things about Olivia which were kept secret from her, and explain why Olivia changed so much in the previous months. But, Abi also finds answers.
I really loved this book - all the possibilities, all the nuances, all the people who had reasons to be suspects, and the surprises! Well done!!
#TheNightOliviaFell #ChristinaMcDonald

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
Chinese Americans try to break into show biz

I am very glad that this novel was suggested as a book club selection. I did not like the first Lisa See Book I read, but I really enjoyed this one. I learned a lot about Chinese Americans, the prevalent racism against Asians, and the Chinese nightclub circuit. I also learned a bit about the Japanese internment camps during WWII, as well as the treatment of Japanese Americans.
This novel follows Grace, Helen, and Ruby as they struggle to break into show business, and navigate through the end of the Depression and through WWII.
This is a novel that covers a great deal of history and I thought Lisa See did a great job with it.

#ChinaDolls #LisaSee

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Unconvincing
Thriller that will get your heart racing!

Wow - that was a thrill ride! Completely unexpected and terrifying.
This is a story of a fictitious apartment building in Manhattan, which is very luxurious. People are being asked to apartment sit, and are paid handsomely for it. However, when Jules accepts the job, her friend, Chloe is very anxious and worried. Chloe tells Jules that many strange things have happened at The Bartholomew, and begs Jules not to take the job. Jules needs money, and since The Bartholomew job pays well, she accepts the job.
Jules then begins to notice some bizarre things about the building and its inhabitants. When someone goes missing, Jules begins to investigate, and then things turn really sinister.
My heart was racing at one point during this book, the tension is high and the story is gripping. If you like thrillers, this one fits the bill!
I have enjoyed each of Riley Sager's books, and this one is a winner, his best one yet!
#LockEveryDoor #RileySager

Dear Wife: A Novel by Kimberly Belle
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
Abused woman on the run - big twist!!

Wow!! This novel is fast paced, and you will be surprised by the twist!
“Beth” is running from an abusive husband. Jeffrey acts innocent in the disappearance of his wife. Trevor, lover of missing Sabine, is inconsolable. Marcus, the investigator on the case, is relentless.
However, everything is not what appearances suggest!!

#DearWife #KimberlyBelle

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic
Assumptions can ruin someone's life

This is a story of one journalist's thirst for a story, how her aggressive and unflagging investigation into an innocent man ruins his life, and how his vengeance ruins hers. Constance, a young girl, goes missing one night. She has a very close relationship with her uncle Karl, but Karl doesn't know what happened. Amanda, a reporter, digs into Constance's relationship with her uncle, and puts a sinister tone to it. Based on her insinuations in her reporting, Amanda turns public opinion against Karl. Amanda is unscrupulous, and stops at nothing to get what she wants. Her reckless behavior causes her to ruin Karl's life. But, later, Karl exacts his revenge.
The story was good, but it went on for too long. I think it could have been better if the story was about 100 pages shorter. It would have heightened the intensity of the novel.
This story certainly did make one thing clear to me - and that is, do not automatically assume something about someone, and check and recheck what you read!
#Guilty #LauraElliot

Fumbled (Playbook, The) by Alexa Martin
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Fun
Smart, sexy, and sassy, with a lot heart and humor

Every now and again, you need to read a sweet and sexy romance! Fumbled fits the bill. Poppy Patterson is a single mother to Ace, and is trying to make ends meet as a cocktail waitress at the Emerald Cabaret. All is going well until TK Moore walks back into her life. TK is Poppy's high school sweetheart, father of Ace (although he doesn't know it) and super hot football star.
The story is funny and sad and happy and sexy. It has great scenes between TK and Poppy, both funny and serious. It has great girl friendship scenes where Poppy's friends have her back in every situation. It has jealousy and love.
I really enjoyed Poppy and all her thoughts and emotions. I loved the way TK treated Poppy and Ace. I also appreciated the author's awareness of CTE and concussion, as well as the brain damage caused by all the hits in football. This needs to have more and more attention.
Although I am not a football fan, I do look forward to reading more of the Playbook series by Alexa Martin. The stories are smart, sexy, and sassy, with a lot of heart and humor.
#Fumbled #AlexaMartin

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Romantic
Cute, but predictable romance

Cute, but predictable romance. When Ami and her new husband, Dane, can’t go on their honeymoon, they beg Olive and Ethan to take their place. The problem is that Olive and Ethan don’t like each other- or do they?
There were moments in this book when I laughed out loud, but other times I thought the authors were trying to make every sentence funny. It seemed they were trying a little too hard at times. I also thought that about 25-50 pages could have been cut.
Overall, I did enjoy the book, and when I want to read something light, I may look for another of their books.
#TheUnhoneymooners #ChristinaLauren

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Complex mystery, quick read

Super fast read, but a very complex mystery. 10 people are brought to an island and one by one they are killed. Who did it? Very clever. It will keep you guessing, and when the final page is turned, you will be quite surprised.
#Andthentherewerenone #AgathaChristie

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Optimistic
Quirky but just OK for me

Thanks to Edelweiss.plus and abovethetreeline.com for the ARC of this book. I am leaving an honest review.
I read this book because it was on a bunch of lists of books to read. I read that if you loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, you would love this book. Not the case, not even comparable.
What I did like about the book - I liked that Nina was a book nerd and a trivia buff. I can relate to those 2 things, although I can't remember trivia the way she could. What I didn't like - the way she fell for Tom so completely, then pushed him off so quickly. I also thought her claims to be an introvert didn't ring true.
I never felt invested with Nina. The concept of the new family and how easily she integrated with them seems quite odd. Her bullet journals were often funny and quirky, but not spectacular.
It was an OK book in my opinion, I was a bit disappointed as I expected much more from the reviews I had read prior to reading this.
#TheBookishLifeofNinaHill #AbbiWaxman #Edelweiss #Abovethetreeline

 
Book Club Recommended
Well crafted but predictable

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of A Stranger on the Beach in exchange for an honest review.

I was very excited to receive this ARC as I have read all of Michele Campbell's previous books. This one grabs you from the start, but soon you start to think that something is not right. The story is told from 2 perspectives - Caroline's and Aidan's. Caroline is a wealthy woman who is stunningly beautiful, and is having marital troubles. She notices Aidan, 15 years her junior on the beach in front of her new home. She picks him up and they have a one-night stand. Then, she tries to push Aidan away, but he is enthralled with Caroline. Everything goes south.
This is a well crafted thriller, but since I read so many, I was pretty sure what was going to happen, and I was right. Since it was so predictable for me, I can only give it 3 stars.
#AStrangerOnTheBeach #MicheleCampbell #NetGalley

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Adventurous
High school drama turns deadly

I believe this is a book written for young adults, since the characters are primarily high school students. I thought it was well done, very complicated, and dealt with a lot of issues very deftly. Five students are in detention one afternoon when something goes terribly wrong. The students are then thrust into a terrible situation, with many people turning on them as their secrets are revealed.
It is a story of the difficulties of teenage years, high school, relationships, drugs, parenting, expectations, pressure, friendships, suspicion, social media, and more.
I really enjoyed reading about these characters, and what they were dealing with in their lives. I liked reading about their relationships and how they struggled to cope. I am looking forward to the next book by this author!
#OneOfUsIsLying #KarenMMcManus

Becoming by Michelle Obama
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Interesting
Highly recommend

Outstanding! I loved this intimate portrait of Michelle Obama's life. I enjoyed reading about her childhood in Chicago and how she pushed to do well and to be recognized. I enjoyed reading about her work life and her quest to become involved in activities that were more fulfilling and meaningful. I enjoyed learning about how she met Barack Obama, and how they slowly found out more and more about each other, and how they always depended on each other. While this book wasn't about Barack Obama, it still gave you a sense of how intelligent and thoughtful and kind he is.
I also enjoyed how Michelle Obama cherished her role as mother, and how she fiercely protected her children. I loved how she carefully considered how her actions would be construed (or misconstrued) and what that would mean. I loved how she described her life in the White House and the initiatives she undertook, and why they were so important to her.
Michelle Obama is an incredible woman, and her story is inspiring.
#Becoming #MichelleObama #HighlyRecommend

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Beautiful, Interesting
Lovely story of friendship, betrayal, art, and kindness

A very interesting back story of the people behind the making of the royal wedding gown for Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II. The story centers mainly on Ann and Miriam, 2 women who work to embroider the wedding dress. Ann, a poor Londoner, befriends Miriam, an immigrant from France. They quickly become friends and work together embroidering the dress each day.
Ann is lonely, as her sister-in-law, Milly, left after being widowed and moved to Canada. Miriam has horrible memories of what happened to her family during WWII. Ann encourages Miriam in her art.
Now, 60 years later, Ann's granddaughter, Heather, wants to find out more about her grandmother and goes to England to see what she can uncover.
Lovely story of friendship, betrayal, art, and kindness.
#TheGown #JenniferRobson

Unsolved (Invisible) by James Patterson, David Ellis
 
Book Club Recommended
Red Herrings will throw you off!

I was a bit surprised by this novel. It follows Emmy, a FBI analyst, who is obsessed with tracking a killer. The trouble is that no one believes that the deaths of the people are suspicious. Emmy lets the obsession take over her life to the point where she is lying to her fiance and causing disruptions in her career.
The killer uses a wheelchair to stake out his victims. He is very careful, mapping out routes without cameras. He flies under the radar for a long time. In addition to this murderer, someone is carrying out acts of violence on property to protest injustices.
You will be led to believe certain things in this book, and it will push you to think you know the answers, but you will be incorrect. The ending has a big surprise reveal that you likely would not see coming.
I liked the book a lot, but the ending wasn't the best.
#JamesPatterson #DavidEllis #Unsolved

The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Inspiring
Sweet summer read

I enjoyed this sweet summer read of Adie Lou and her reinvention of herself. When her marriage crumbles into divorce, and Adie Lou is faced with selling her summer cottage with all its memories, she can't do it. So, instead, she plans to open a B&B and change her life.
This is a sweet story of understanding the importance of family and true friendship. It is about being kind to others and going the extra mile. It is about 14 rules which help to make life easier.
This novel was a delightful read! Things work out, with a happily ever after, and we need that sometimes!

#TheSummerCottage #ViolaShipman

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Interesting
Complex detective story

Someone in my library group recommended the Bruno series to me, and so, I began with the first installment. It took me a while to get into it, all the characters confused me a bit, and the crime was complex. There was also a great deal devoted to cuisine, which I now understand is a big part of Bruno’s character.
I did enjoy the budding romance, the compassion and concern Bruno feels for his constituency, and the way the town of St. Denis takes care of its own.
Once I finished the novel, I did realize that I enjoyed the novel and will try book 2. Perhaps the series will endear itself to me as I read through it.
In this one, an elderly North African man is murdered with a swastika carved into his chest. Bruno and the inspectors have to peel back layers and research history to determine who were the murderers, and what to do when they discover the answer. Will arresting them cause the town to erupt when their motive is revealed?
#BrunoChiefofPolice #MartinWalker

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring
Sweet novel

Cute novel continuing the story of Travis McKinley, who is in danger of losing his spot on the senior tour. What happens, how does he deal with it, does he use it as an opportunity? Well, he ends up on vacation with his family in Scotland, the birthplace of golf. Sweet novel about family, friendships, integrity.
#MiracleatStAndrews #JamesPatterson

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring
New Beginnings

This book is about a man who sets out on a journey, and along the way, he rediscovers himself. He thinks back over his past, including his childhood, his marriage, and his relationship with his son. He relives all of his mistakes, and comes to accept what his life has become. However, he also finds what he had lost.
Heartbreaking at times, endearing at others, this is a story of new beginnings and releasing old sorrows.
#TheUnlikelyPilgrimageofHaroldFry #RachelJoyce

 
Confusing
Disappointed

Jude Deveraux is usually my guilty pleasure, with a lot of sass, sexy, and fun in her books. This novel definitely had these elements, but the ending killed me. I was extremely disappointed in it.
I also didn't understand why the 3 girls "confessed" when they were near the 2 boys. I didn't understand why the "book club" confessed so easily either. It just didn't ring true to me. The ending was totally unsatisfactory to me.
I will continue to read Jude Deveraux, but this one did not do it for me.

#AJustifiedMurder #JudeDeveraux

 
Pointless
Not one likable character

I struggled through this book. No one in this family is likable. Everyone has issues, they are all nursing a hurt or a wrong they felt was done to them. All of their relationships stink. Totally painful.
This book was recommended on a few lists, and by a librarian, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
#ThePeopleWeHateAtTheWedding #GrantGinder

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic
YA - Girls go missing in a small town, who is next?

I read Karen M. McManus's first book and was excited to read her second novel. This one follows some high school students in a small town, Echo Ridge, VT. The town has known tragedy multiple times. First, Sarah Corcoran goes missing, then Lacey is found dead, and now there is a threat for a 3rd girl to go missing.
Malcolm has recently moved with his mother to a big house, since Malcolm's mom has remarried, to the town's successful lawyer, Peter. Peter's daughter, Katrin, is one of the most popular girls at school. She is part of a trio-Katrin, Brooke, and Viv.
Malcolm's older brother, Declan, has been under suspicion for the murder of Lacey, but never charged. Malcolm doesn't know what to think. His only friend is Mia, an edgy girl in his class. Two new teens arrive in town - Ellery and Ezra Corcoran, who are twins, and the niece and nephew of the missing Sarah. Sadie (their mother) and Sarah are twins, and Sadie isn't able to bring herself to talk to her children about Sarah. Sadie is in rehab, so the twins were sent to live with their grandmother. The teens, Malcolm, the twins, and Mia, become friends and try to tackle the mystery of the missing girls.
I suspected the killer pretty early on, but wasn't prepared for the explosive last page. Wow. I also wasn't sure about the vandal, and why, but it made sense.
I am looking forward to more from Ms. McManus!
#TwoCanKeepASecret #KarenMMcManus

The Warning by James Patterson
 
Dramatic
Creepy Sci Fi teen novel

The Warning is about a town, Mt. Hope, where a nuclear reactor accident occurred. Now, after the "clean up", people are returning to town, and things are very strange. Jordan suddenly has super powers, animals are attacking people, people are behaving badly.
Jordan and his friend, Maggie, are trying to decipher what is happening. It seems the nuclear power plant accident wasn't an accident at all.
Creepy, sci-fi teen drama.
#TheWarning #JamesPatterson

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting
Murder and suspicion in a small town

Quick read about a small, poor town in Kansas and a few of the families that live there. Sadie, a social worker, is concerned about the death of her brother, Shane. Additionally, she is concerned about her friend, Hannah, who has a daughter and husband that are missing and presumed dead. The town has been devastated by the opioid crisis and many of the residents have drug issues.
Sadie isn't convinced that Shane's death was a heart attack, and she is trying to get answers from Shane's wife, Crystal, as well as the local detective. She doesn't seem to be getting anywhere. Crystal's family is not the most trustworthy group. They deal drugs while running an auto shop. Henley, a member of the family, is struggling to get by when her mother goes off the wagon and gets back into drugs. She is torn between her feelings for her best friend, Charlie, and Jason - the son of the wealthy grain elevator operator. Henley desperately wants to leave the town and make a better life for herself.
Sadie discovers a connection between Charlie and Shane, and as she digs deeper, uncovers the truth.
This was a quick read, and I wanted to like the book more than I did. It was well written, but I found parts of it confusing and difficult to follow. I think some of it could have been crisper, but I appreciated that the author kept the book well under 300 pages.
#TheWolfWantsIn #LauraMcHugh

 
Book Club Recommended
Light mystery, but author gives too many clues

I enjoyed this book about a professional organizer who finds herself implicated in a murder. However, the clues were way too obvious about who was responsible for framing her.
Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who is called to help an elderly woman, Mrs. Ruth Murphy, after the death of her husband. Then, on the same day, she receives a call asking her to help a young woman, Quinn, clear the clutter of her life when her husband isn't home. Both of these happen when her partner, Becca, is unavailable.
Emily is suddenly the number one suspect when Quinn's husband is assumed missing and then found dead. Emily turns to her husband, Frank, a lawyer, to help her when questioned by the police.
Emily begins to play detective and figures out the mystery.
I thought this novel was light, but it was a quick, and mostly enjoyable read. Perhaps the author could work on not putting so many obvious clues in the next book.
#CarefulWhatYouWishFor #HallieEphron

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Slow, Brilliant
Beautiful and Heartbreaking

This is a heartbreaking and beautiful novel of a young woman struggling with loss. She feels lonely and abandoned. She struggles to make sense of things.
Marin Delaney lives with her grandfather, as her mother, Claire, died years earlier. Marin and Gramps respect each other's privacy and live companionably. Then, something happens, and Marin abandons everything and leaves for college. Now it is December, and all her classmates have gone home for break, and Marin is alone again. Her best friend, Mabel, comes to visit her from California, and they rediscover their friendship, their feelings, and try to work through her loneliness.
This is a story of family, love, depression, sadness, and relationships. Beautifully written.
Thanks to BookMovement.com for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
#WeAreOkay #NinaLaCour #BookMovement

Keep You Close: A Novel by Karen Cleveland
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic
Breakneck speed of a thriller!

Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for an ARC of Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland in exchange for an honest review.
This book was an exciting thrill ride! I read it in one sitting. It was completely engrossing from the prologue to the last page.
Steph Maddox was a Senate aide when her boss did something despicable. His power prevented her from confronting him, but she made it her life's mission to protect victims. Now, an agent for the FBI as a supervisor in the Internal Affairs division, she is torn when a friend tells her that Zachary, Steph's son, is a suspect in a radical group. Steph knows this can't be possible. She is sure she knows her son.
As Steph tries to clear Zachary's name, she gets deeper and deeper into a complex web of conspiracy and realizes that she is up against a force bigger than she expected. The Russians have a deep grip on the intelligence agencies of the US. Nothing Steph does helps, but instead endangers her family and her loved ones.
No one is immune to the danger.
This novel was a breakneck speed of a thriller. I loved it!!
#KeepYouClose #KarenCleveland #NetGalley #BallantineBooks

And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic
Complex plot

Evie Clarke worms her way into the arms of Mark North, a famous photographer. His wife, Mia, had died two years earlier, and he is a bit of a recluse. Evie meets Cleo, Mark's sister, and convinces Cleo that Evie wants to commission some photos from Mark.
Everything is not as it seems. Mark is madly in love with Evie, or is he? Evie seems to be abused by Mark, but is she? Who should you believe? What really happened to Mia? Can Evie be trusted?
This is a story told in 3 parts. The first part is the story of Mark and Evie, the second part is mainly a trial, and the third part is after the verdict.
This is a novel that keeps you guessing until the end. I enjoyed it, but I did have my suspicions, however, I didn't have everything completely solved. I think this was a very complex story with a lot of planning in its storyline!
#AndSoItBegins #RachelAbbott

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Interesting, Dramatic
Wow, I didn’t see that coming!

Thanks to Celadon Books and Bookish First for the ARC of The Silent Patient. It was a well-written, well-crafted thriller. I was absolutely sure I knew who the person was that Alicia claimed was following her. I was so sure, that I checked back several times to confirm my suspicion. Her silence made the story that much more eerie. I couldn't imagine why this woman was keeping silent about the death of her husband, and why she had painted the one painting after his death.
Her psychoanalyst was trying to break through to her, and was making great strides, until something terrible happened to Alicia. And, then, everything you thought you knew turned out to be wrong!
It was a shocking conclusion to this thriller, and totally unexpected. A real shocker!!
I thought some of the story dragged on a little, otherwise this would have been 5 stars for me. But, I still really loved it!
#TheSilentPatient #AlexMichaelides #CeladonBooks #BookishFirst

Ask Again, Yes: A Novel by Mary Beth Keane
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Slow, Dramatic
Heart-wrenching Story

This was a heart-wrenching tale of two families. Two officers meet at training school and then begin their careers together. Then, the Gleesons, Francis and Lena, along with the Stanhopes, Brian and Anne, move next door to each other. They begin to raise their families, but behind closed doors, things are not always perfect.
Peter Stanhope and Kate Gleeson have always been best friends, from the time they were toddlers. Tragedy strikes one night when they are in 8th grade, and the rest of their lives revolve around how they and their families come to cope with this moment in time.
This is a very sad tale of mental illness, of healing, of redemption, of love, of forgiveness. Very moving.

#AskAgainYes #MaryBethKeane

What You Did by Claire McGowan
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic
Deception 25 years in the making!

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of What You Did by Claire McGowan. This thriller kept me guessing, although I did have my suspicions. I just couldn't reconcile the scene with my suspicions, but then it all came together in the end. The last line was particularly chilling!
Six friends attended Oxford together, and 25 years later, they have a mini-reunion. Alison and Mike, Jodi and Callum, Karen, and Bill. Two couples are married, Karen, Alison's best friend, is unmarried and flirty. Alison works on the board of a refuge for women attacked by men. Alison and Mike are married, but Ali has always wondered what would have happened if she had gotten together with Bill and not stood up for Mike all those years earlier. Jodi and Callum are expecting their first child at age 43.
The friends gather at Ali and Mike's home and proceed to get drunk and some even get high. Ali is awakened at 3 am, and is stunned when her best friend, Karen, comes in the house screaming that she was raped. Ali's life is turned upside down when secrets about all of the friendships come to light.
I was interested in finding out who raped Karen, and was shocked to read of all the indiscretions and hurt the friends caused each other over the years. I thought the author did a nice job keeping the reader guessing and tied it up nicely at the end, with a surprising chill to the bones about what some people will do to cover for others to get what they want.
#WhatYouDid #ClaireMcGowan #NetGalley

The Runaway by Hollie Overton
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic
Homeless Tribe is dangerous

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Runaway by Hollie Overton in exchange for an honest review.
This novel begins with Ash getting a tattoo from a group of homeless people called The Tribe. Ash is in love with Nate, a member of the makeshift family that calls themselves The Tribe. Once a runaway, Ash is being fostered by Becca a therapist with the LAPD. Ash is still not quite sure if Becca’s love for her, as she is torn by her love for Nate and being with him. Becca has a complicated past herself, having lost several babies by miscarriage, a divorce from the love of her life Christian, and the death of her brother Robbie. She has a fractured relationship with her mother. Sometimes, Becca has a tough time keeping a grip on reality. As Ash and Nate become more involved, Ash witnesses a beating by a member of The Tribe on another member, Eli. When Ash is turned away, the tribe feels that they need to take care of Ash in a menacing manner. From here on, Ash realizes that Mo, the leader of The Tribe is dangerous.
The book is mainly about Becca’s race to find Ash after she and Nate ran away, and to take Mo into custody. Becca makes some very poor decisions, which causes her friends to question her ability to be rational.
I thought the book was a little long, and also had some very unlikely situations. However it does deal with a lot of issues, namely mental health, homelessness, and trouble with fertility, which are all important issues. I thought much of this was a bit far-fetched. For example, I don’t know If a doctor trained in mental health, would take as many chances as she did. I was also a little frustrated by the ending, but I do feel that it was pretty realistic that Mo still had a following.
#TheRunaway #HollieOverton

We Went to the Woods: A Novel by Caite Dolan-Leach
 
Dramatic
Commune Living by entitled millennials - not for me!

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of We Went to the Woods by Caite Dolan-Leach in exchange for an honest review.
First - the good: This novel was beautifully written, with a fair amount of character development. I could feel the grittiness of the earth, the commune, the fragile relationships. I could feel the ease as well as the tension as they navigated through life on the Homestead.
Now - the bad: I could not wait for this novel to end. I just wanted it to be over! It took forever to get to the point, and to the climax of the story. I nearly did not finish this novel, but I felt that I had to since I was given an ARC. To me, the story just dragged on and on and on.
The story is about 5 millennials who are disillusioned with the world and the corporate impact on the environment. They are adamant about preserving the earth for future generations. They are all from well-to-do families, except for Mack (Mackenzie) who is a struggling former PhD candidate (anthropology) who had an unfortunate and embarrassing moment on reality television. Of course, I didn't think it was so bad that it warranted all the attention - plus it took a long time for that incident to be revealed. Plus, there is a seedy undertone to the entire commune experience that comes to light late in the book.
I feel as if this was not the book for me. I like more action, and I felt like I was watching paint dry. This just didn't do it for me.
#WeWenttotheWoods #CaiteDolanLeach #NetGalley

One Night in Georgia: A Novel by Celeste O. Norfleet
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Brilliant, Dramatic
Racial tension in 1968 leads to tragedy

This is an incredibly powerful novel. As someone who was only 8 years old in 1968, and not a person of color, much of this book described situations that were unknown to me. But, this story brought to life the racial tensions of 1968, and the fear that blacks had as they tried to live normally, but were in danger from prejudice, racism, and blind hatred from others. There were also bright spots of kindness from people who saw beyond the color of the skin, and treated them as human beings, as they should have been treated all along.
This is the story of 3 women, college friends, who decide to drive back to Georgia for their final year at Spelman College. Zelda is resistant at first, but her friends, Daphne and Veronica convince her to return with them, and make special memories. Zelda's stepfather sends the son of one of his military buddies, Daniel, to go with them. Zelda is hesitant about Daniel as she despises her stepfather. But, as the trip goes on, she and Daniel forge an easy friendship, which quickly turns to romance. Daphne reveals a troubling secret to her friends, and Veronica describes the plans her father has for her after graduation. Zelda is still very angry over the death of her father, 5 years earlier, at the hands of the police. Her anger comes out as frustration with the system, and how black people are treated.
Zelda is so strong and brave in this book, and her story is powerful. The racial tension is palpable in this novel. The romance between Daniel and Zelda is sweet. The impetuousness and poor character of another classmate, Mazie, is the cause of a tragic event which forever changes the lives of the 4 who traveled to Georgia that night.
So powerful, I believe this book will stay with me for some time.
Thanks to Edelweiss.plus for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
#OneNightInGeorgia #CelesteONorfleet
#Edelweiss.plus

 
Dramatic
Too far-fetched, disappointed in this one

This is the second Alice Vega novel and I was really looking forward to it because I absolutely loved Two Girls Down. I didn't have the same feeling about The Janes, and I am disappointed. I just couldn't get into this one, possibly because it seemed so complicated, and far-fetched. I love that Alice is very intuitive and can sense what is happening, but some of the storyline/plot development just didn't ring true for me.
This is the story of 2 girls "The Janes" who are found dead with some distinctive marking. Alice and Cap are brought in as consultants by the San Diego Police Dept and the DEA to try and solve the murders. Alice and Cap discover a bit of troublesome dealings within these organizations, and are also blindsided by what is happening to girls who are smuggled into the US and sex trafficked.
While the issues are real, I just didn't believe the storyline.
I hope the next Alice Vega story holds my interest more.
Thanks to Edelweiss.plus and Doubleday for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
#TheJanes #LouisaLuna #Edelweiss+ #Doubleday

Blossom in Winter by Melanie Martins
 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic
Erotic May December relationship

Blossom in Winter is an erotic novel about a relationship between a 17 year old (turns 18) and a 40+ year old man, who is her godfather. The sex scenes are extremely explicit and very passionate.
Petra is a naive 17 year old who doesn't drink, do drugs, or have a boyfriend. She wears very modest clothing and her father is very protective of her. Petra has a best friend, Emma, who is quite wild but also protective of Petra. Roy is Petra's dad, Tessa is her mom, Alex is her godfather. Roy and Alex are best friends. Roy and Tessa have been divorced for years, and Tessa now works with victims of abuse. When Alex and Petra are reunited after 10 years, their mutual attraction is electric. Though they try to stay apart, it is inevitable that they will be together. However, Alex has a past that is unknown to Petra, and Tessa does not want them involved in any way.
The book moves quickly, and the sex scenes between Alex and Petra are very descriptive, so be warned if you don't like that type of reading. I was a bit uncomfortable about the relationship between someone so young and inexperienced, and an older much more experienced man. There were many times I thought that Petra's responses were immature, but then I remembered that she is only 17, and then 18, in the book. Her sexual forays were more mature than her years, so that was a bit at odds with her behavior in the real world.
I am interested in reading the next book to see what happens to this group of characters, and how their relationship will develop.
Thank you to Melanie Martins for an Advanced Reader Copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
#BlossomInWinter #MelanieMartins

The Ruins by Scott Smith
 
Dark, Graphic
Horror novel set in Mexico

This book is a horror novel. Four friends are vacationing in Cancun when they meet a German who says his brother is missing. The brother had met a woman who was on an archeological dig and went to the dig with her. He has not returned. The four friends, Eric and Stacy, Jeff and Amy, along with Mathias, go to search for the brother. The ruins are 13 miles from a town that they traveled to by bus from Cancun. When they reach the area, they are warned away from going up the hill to the ruins, however they don't heed the warnings. From there, everything goes downhill for them. They are held prisoner on the hill due to its sinister nature.
This was a very far-fetched story, but I suppose that is what made it horror. The stupidity of these 4 people to go off searching for a missing person without notifying anyone of their plans, or even having a plan, was so irresponsible.
I felt the story dragged on and on and I couldn't wait for it to be over.
This book was not for me.
#TheRuins #ScottBSmith

Someone We Know: A Novel by Shari Lapena
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Epic
Small town neighborhood has many secrets

Shari Lapena's writing has greatly improved since her first novel. In her latest book, a suburban community is upturned by the recent disappearance of a young, beautiful woman, reported missing by her husband. Not only is Amanda Pierce beautiful, but she is a flirt and has come on to many of the neighborhood men.
Olivia and Paul Sharpe are best friends with Gloria and Keith Newell. The Sharpes discover that their teenage son, Raleigh, has been breaking into houses in the neighborhood. The Newell's son, Adam, has lately struggled with alcohol, becoming drunk on many occasions. The two women confide in each other.
When Amanda Pierce's body is found, her husband becomes the main suspect. When it is found that he has been having an affair with a neighbor, the suspicion ratchets higher. Then, it is determined that other neighbors have also been having affairs, and there are many secrets in this quiet neighborhood, where everyone thought their lives were idyllic, but truthfully, they are a mess. Everyone becomes a suspect, no one knows who they can believe, and it all comes crashing down in the finale.
I do think the ending was a bit rushed - and the crime, while understandable, is also a bit extreme. I think most people will be surprised at the ending, as everyone could easily have been the murderer. Ms. Lapena does a good job of throwing a lot of suspicion on all the characters.
This was a very quick read, I read it in just a few hours one afternoon.
#SomeoneWeKnow #ShariLapena

Everything Is Just Fine by Brett Paesel
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting
Parents concerned about keeping up vs. focusing on the family

Moms and Dads are rallying around their 10-year old sons in the Beverly Hills youth soccer league. There is an over-the-top friendly coach and an enthusiastic team mom. There is an assistant coach, a divorced mom who regrets the divorce, a divorced copy with the wife resentful over her husband leaving her for the nanny, a mom who strikes her child because she is so unhappy, and a young paid kicking coach that several of the moms lust after. The team parents communicate primarily by email after each game, some overly enthusiastic and effusive after the games, while others email after drinking too much.
While some of this is humorous, much of it is a commentary on how parents place too much emphasis on the youth leagues, and competitiveness at a young age, how dissatisfied some people are in their marriages - and instead of talking to their spouse, they go elsewhere for satisfaction. It examines how children feel isolated and alone, and how parents reveal their feelings inappropriately in front of their children without understanding how young the children are to deal with these issues. It deals with anger, depression, affairs, job loss, secrets, and autism.
I enjoyed this novel, and will probably read more by this author.
#EverythingIsJustFine #BrettPaesel

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
Eerie and chilling family history

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of The Family Upstairs in exchange for an honest review.

The Family Upstairs is a thriller / mystery told from different voices. We meet Libby, who has just turned 25, and inherited a large house in a posh neighborhood. Since she was adopted as a baby, she knows nothing about her birth family. We also meet Lucy, the daughter of the people whose house Libby inherits, as well as Henry, the son of the people.
As Libby goes to view the house, she wants to know more about the family and the past. And so, we are told the story of the parents, the children - Henry and Lucy, and the people who came to live in the house with them. First it was Birdie and Justin, a pair of musicians, and then the family who came to live in their home and slowly take it over - The Thomsens, David and Sally, and their children, Clemency and Phin.
What is revealed is how and why the Lambs were found dead, along with David Thomsen, and what happened to the rest of the family. It is quite sinister indeed, and the ending is eerie, but not unexpected.
What I liked - the novel was a quick read, and the mystery was good.
What I didn't like - I felt that Libby was too accepting of the family, even after hearing all of the back story. However, the ending made it clear as to why the family was accepting of her.
Creepy!
#TheFamilyUpstairs #LisaJewell

MEMBER LOGIN
Remember me
BECOME A MEMBER it's free

Join the leading website for book clubs with over 35,000 clubs and 20,000 reading guides.

SEARCH OUR READING GUIDES Search
Search




FEATURED EVENTS
PAST AUTHOR CHATS
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...