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The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Just when you think you know what you know that you know….  you discover…  you know nothing at all….  ~Sheila

When Ted Severson meets the lovely Lily Kinter at an airport bar after the flight they are both on has been delayed, Ted shares that his wife Miranda is having an affair with the contractor building their new home.  A nonchalant conversation follows, and Ted having had more than a few drinks tells Lily almost jokingly, that he would like to kill his wife.  Lily, says if he is serious, she would help him.

The two part ways but make a plan to meet up in the future at a set location if Ted is serious about killing his wife.  No judgement if either changes their mind and does not show.

They both show up.

 

I like a good mystery…. especially this time of year when the weather is cooler and a comfy chair, blanket, and a hot beverage call my name.  Curling up with a good book is a pleasure to all readers…  finding the right book, that can be another story…

The Kind Worth Killing was the right story.  I loved the format of alternating chapters between Lily and Tom.  The story unfold both backwards and forwards as you learn of what is true of the past as well as the present.  I want to tell you so much more but I am afraid to let any of this amazing book leak into my review.

Simply said –  if you love a book with multiple twists and turns … one that makes you think you got it… then shocks you when you don’t… one that surprises you long before the book is over…

I suggest giving this book a try.  I am looking to read more from this author.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

7

Sam and Clementine would define their life as full and satisfying.  They have two beautiful little girls and a life that works for them.  Sam is just starting a new job and Clementine is rehearsing for a cellist position that would be the job offer of a lifetime.

Erika is Clementines oldest friend dating back to grade school.  The two know each other so well, but if Clementine were honest… she isn’t always sure why she is Erika’s friend.  The start of their friendship still seeming a bit forced on her…..

When a barbecue invite by neighbors comes to Sam and Clementine as well as Erika and her husband, Clementine think s it is a brilliant idea.  After all the neighbors Vid and Tiffany are larger than life people who know how to entertain.  It might just be fun to get everyone together.

Two months later Sam and Clementine can barely stand to be in the same room together.  They both question everything….  and they mostly question….  what if they hadn’t gone to the barbecue?

 

I love me some Liane Moriarty.  I can add that I especially love her books on audio – they are a treat to listen to and this one was exceptional.  Narrator Caroline Lee nails it with the fun diverse personalities and voices of the characters of Truly, Madly, Guilty.  (You are going to LOVE Vid!).  The enticing way she made her way through his book just added to my enjoyment of the story line.

Secrets kept, false truths… and all through the book as the tale unwinds I kept asking, “What the heck happened at that BBQ?”  This book really does cover the choices we make can alter our worlds forever.

Thoroughly enjoyed.

 

  • 7aListening Length: 17 hours and 27 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: July 26, 2016

 

Here’s To Us by Elin Hilderbrand

7

Laurel Thorpe, a quiet natural beauty.  Belinda Rowe, a gorgeous well-known movie actress.  Scarlett Oliver an exotic eye-popping long-legged pretty girl.  All three women have two things in common.  1.  Their love of Deacon Thorpe.  2  Their loathing of one another.

All three are remarkable intelligent women who at one time were married to the famous chef, Deacon Thorpe.  They have made a career out of avoiding one another.  All of this comes to a screeching halt when Deacon is found dead and one of his final wishes is for all three women with his children come to the home on Nantucket to pay their final respects to this man.

Now all three women are trapped in the ransacked home on Nantucket that Deacon so dearly loved.  Left to face each other with all the secrets they each hold.

Over one long weekend in Nantucket the drama will reach a wave crashing level, there will be anger, and shouting, and tears… but in the end their will also be laughter and memories shared of the man who stole each of their hearts and how he did it.

 

9

June 2016 – Chicago Book expo – Elin Hilderbrand was signing this book and with every book you get a Corona… Hilderbrand tradition 🙂

It is no secret that I adore Elin Hilderbrand’s books.  Her writing of strong female friendships and Nantucket always feel like a familiar path that I am happy to travel.  After a busy summer of not as much reading as I had hoped, this book was toxic for me.  I did not want to stop listening (audio).  I LOVED the narration of Erin Bennett (who read many of Hilderbrand’s novels).  Erin maneuvers around that many voices of the Nantucket cottage with ease, I could easily flow from one person to the next and know exactly who was talking.

I would not be doing this review justice if I did not talk about the food.  Foodies alert!  The food mentioned in the book (along with a few recipes too!) is mouth-watering.  Each time they mentioned a specialty of Deacon’s restaurant I wanted to make it.  I already plan to nominate this book for our book club choice so we can talk about the crazy characters and make the delicious food.

Over all… this book was a fun summerish win for me.  I really enjoyed the story line, the back and forth as you learn of each woman’s relationship with the man we only get to know after he is gone… and in the end.. in the end…  hearing what happened that last day….

powerful way to close the story that’s all I can say about that.  Don’t miss this treat of a read.

 

 

  • Audio CD
  • Listening Length: 12 hours and 30 minutes
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company; Unabridged edition (June 14, 2016)
  • Language: English

 

 

 

 

 

The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovich

stephanie evanovich, book journey, the total package

Tyson Palmer has the world by the tail.   He has a winning arm, a promising football career, and is on track for that Super Bowl ring.  And then, with an addiction to alcohol and pain killers and a night that throws his marriage and career  away…

Tyson is at rock bottom.

Then, the owner of the Austin Mavericks makes Tyson an offer he can not refuse, he will be sent to a private rehab, get cleaned up of all his addictions, then go to a personal trainer to get him back on his game and make the come back of a lifetime as a Maverick player bringing them to the Super Bowl.  Tyson has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

When Tyson Palmer emerges back on his game, he is in the best shape of his life both mentally and physically.  He is determined to make the best of what he has been given.  Yet a blast from the past has the potential of derailing everything.  Dani Carr is a top reporter and working her way into playing with the big boys.  She also knows Tyson a little too well from a night of passion back in College where he left her without so much as a word before daybreak the next morning.  Now forced to work together, Tyson has to admit Dani looks better than ever, and Dani has to keep her guard up and keep her eye on her journalistic goals.

 

 

I do enjoy a good Stephanie Evanovich read so I jumped at the chance to read this one.  When I read the synopsis I was at first thinking it all sounded a little predictable, of course I thought, Tyson and Dani will wind up together and this book is just about the how.  I was thrilled to discover there was more meat to this read than I had initially anticipated.

The Total Package, really was just that, the total package.  Tyson is an interesting protagonist and I enjoyed the detailed process of his come back. I even may have learned a little about football. Dani was a bit back and forth and confused me when one thing was said and then it changed but honestly, Tyson was written so well that I can overlook that – and in the end…

well.  You are just going to have to read it.  Let me just say….. Winner Winner – chicken and brown rice dinner!

UPDATE:  A little update to my post as I see comments are thinking that this author is the author of the Stephanie Plum books…. one for the money, etc….  Stephanie Evanovich is being mistaken for Janet Evanovich (the more well known of the Evanovich’s).  Janet is actually  Stephanie’s Aunt — as Janet is married to Stephanie’s father’s brother.

Hope that helps 🙂  While I have read both authors, I have not read Janet Evanovich’s books for years and Stephanie has a different writing style which I found that I personally prefer.

 

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (March 15, 2016)

 

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Author Links: Website and Facebook
I enjoyed going through rehab with Tyson thanks to TLC Book Tours!
TLC Host

 

 

The EX by Alafair Burke

the ex, alafair burke, book journey

Jack Harris has avoided even thinking about dating ever since his wife Molly was shot and killed by a teenage boy three years ago.  Yet, one early morning while jogging he comes across a bare foot beautiful woman wearing a party dress sitting in the grass drinking champagne right out of the bottle and reading a book.  She holds the bottle up in a cheers motion, as he jogs by.  Unable to get the image out of his head, Jack shares this experience with his best friend who posts about it on-line hoping someone would be able to know who this woman is and connect her to Jack.  Days later, the mysterious woman responds to the on-line post, and a meet up with Jack is planned.

Olivia Randall is a Defense Lawyer.  When she hears that her former fiance Jack Harris has been arrested for  triple murder she knows there is no way that Jack could be guilty of such a crime.  Clearly Jack has been set up.  But by who?  And why?

Olivia chooses to represent Jack to make up for the way things had ended between them so many years ago.   Yet as the evidence comes out, there is more and more that looks like Jack may have committed this crime.  Is Olivia able to defend Jack if she is starting to have her doubts?  And if he did do it, did she ever really know him at all?

 

 

The EX was full of surprises for me.  I liked the synopsis and the set up of the mystery woman in a party dress in the early morning hours.  The book held my interest as it reveals the history between him and Olivia and what had happened three years before when his wife was killed.  For myself, I honestly did not have a clue how it was going to end or who was the murderer. The story line was fast paced and for me, time well spent.

I recommend The EX.  It was a good book to sink into.  An excellent legal thriller.

 

 

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (January 26, 2016)

 

The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

the ramblers,aidan donnelley rowley, book journey

It is Thanksgiving weekend in New York and three 30 somethings are struggling with their past, their present, and their futures.

Clio March, avid bird watcher who has been mentioned in New York Magazine feels as though she may have found the one in Hotel Owner, Henry Kildare.  Yet when things move in a direction Clio had not anticipated past trauma rushes forward and in a panicked moment she bolts.  What does that mean?

Smith Anderson and Clio have been best friends since Freshman year at Yale.  Smith is beautiful both inside and out and enjoys helping others.  However with a recent break up that has left her reeling, her younger sisters upcoming wedding, and an irrational fear that Clio may have found the one in Henry-  where does that leave Smith?

Tate Pennington is a blast from the Yale past. Dealing with a painful divorce, he relocates to New York to gather some distance and perspective.  He recently has sold an app to Twitter for millions but as Tate is finding out, money does not provide happiness.

This Thanksgiving weekend the three learn what is means to really let go of the past, be present, and learn to be ok with a future that is never certain.

 

 

Can you fall in love with writing?

Of course you can.  I just did.  Reading The Ramblers was like opening a book that brought a rush of fresh air into my lungs.  It is visually appealing from the cover, to the chapters, to the writing itself.  I opened the book up to find a page with one of our protagonists names, a date, and quotes.  I instantly fell in love with this visually and knew I was in for a treat.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

I loved this story and I enjoyed how the book is broken into sections where each protagonist takes the lead.  While you do get to know each of the three protagonists, it is Clio who we spend the most time with.  I found this book to be a joy to read and once into it, hard to put down.  The entire book takes place over Thanksgiving weekend and I found something about that to be sort of cool – everything that is happening is not drawn out but you have that feeling of NOW.

Thoroughly enjoyable, I would recommend this book to those who love a little something out of the norm.  Author Aidan Donnelley Rowley brings forth a unique ride that I would gladly buy a ticket to ride once again.

 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for an enjoyable weekend in New York with Clio, Smith, and Tate.

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MISSOULA by Jon Krakauer Narrated by Mozhan Mamo and Scott Brick

JOn Krakauer, MISSOULA, book journey

Missoula Montana is your typical college town.  There are plenty of College antics to go around:  studying, making friends, partying, and of course the football games.  From 2008 – 2012 hundreds of students reported sexual assault.  Many of the circumstances involved alcohol, or heavy flirting gone too far.  The police in most of these cases gave little attention to the alleged victim believing it was a party and the girl was just feeling regrets after consenting to sex.  Missoula is by no means the exception, in most states alleged rape victims are treated as thought they brought on the assault themselves.  Often, due to this sad statistic, many assaults, more than we will ever know, go unreported.

In a case study, Krakauer shares what happened with 5 such cases during a four-year period in Missoula Montana.  Their stories of shame, self-doubt, ridicule, nightmares, and in some – the court case that rehashes it all again.  Some will win their case, some will not… but all five of the victims will carry with them forever what happened, one night, in Missoula.

 

 

Yes.  I am a diverse reader.  Over the years I have found myself drawn to non fiction.  Certain subjects call my attention and when I found this book on Audible.com I downloaded it immediately.  Rape, like bullying, is a huge problem in our world that leaves devastating life long marks on its victims.

I have read/listened to Jon Krakauer books before (Into Thin Air, Into The Wild, Under The Banner Of Heaven)  and find his research to be thorough.  Krakauer gets to the heart of the matter, never dragging things out unnecessarily and this book was no exception.

MISSOULA is not an easy listen.   Each assault is very detailed in how it happened, the circumstances, and what happened in the days, weeks, and years to follow.  These girls will question themselves, wondering it they deserved what they got, if they should have been more forceful in saying no, if they should have fought harder to get away… and then you have those that did not fight at all.  Instead, they gave in, afraid of what their friend or boyfriend may do if they try to stop them….

No means NO.

Narrators of this book are Mozhan Mamo and Scott Brick.  While Mozhan Mamo is new to me and a narrator I look forward to hearing more from, Scott Brick is a narrator I have encountered many times and find perfect for non fiction listens.  Together, the two were a perfect blend of narration for this book. Very well done.

Although there were parts of the book that were hard to listen to; often you hear her side of what happened, his side, and what the courts say so you are deep in the topic several times over having to hear about how it was done and what was said – it is a book  I would recommend every woman (especially college age) to either read or listen to.  While sometimes the evidence was not strong enough to call rape, I was surprised in some parts how rape goes back to the basic – no means no.  Even if the girl had thought it armchairaudies-300x300was what she wanted and at any point decided she does not – no means no.

Incredible listen.  And an important one.

 

Missoula is nominated by the APA for the 2016 Audie Awards in the non fiction category.

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 58 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: April 21, 2015
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (April 21, 2015)

 

 

The following note is a bit graphic.

Personal note:  Right out of high school a group of us who all worked together liked to get together after work sometimes at someones house and have a few beers.  On a particular night one of my friends who lived in the house we were partying at went up to bed pretty intoxicated late into the night.  The next morning she called me and told me this,

“I was passed out on my bed when I was awakened by someone on top of me.  I sort of woke up and seen it was _____________, who we worked with.  I was still so out of it and I mumbled for him to get off of me, but he didn’t listen.  He forced himself inside of me and I think I passed out again.  When I woke up in the morning I could vaguely remember him being there and I knew he had raped me.”

I drove to her house and picked her up and brought her to the hospital.  They took some samples, her clothes, even asked her to bring in the blanket off of her bed.  A cop came in and took a statement while I was with her and he basically told her if drinking was a problem perhaps she should get help.  By the time we left the hospital she felt sure she was some how to blame and honestly I thought maybe since she had drank so much that she had encouraged him.  She decided to drop any investigation, it was too embarrassing and what if it was her fault?  She never told anyone, not any other friends and for sure not her parents.  We all continued to work together as though nothing had happened.  Eventually she quit the job.

I share this now because after listening to this book I know that what happened to her was rape.  It did not matter that she has been drinking or even if she had been flirting.  I think this is the important message here.  How many women live with something like this for their entire life believing that it is somehow their fault for how they dressed, how they acted, how much they drank.

No means no and without verbal consent (IE.  if a person is intoxicated, sleeping, not in an awake state of mind) it is best to not do anything.  Men and women alike.

the good liar by nicholas searle

the good liar, nicholas searle, book journey, tlc book tour

Roy is not too hard on the eyes for a man in his 80’s.  He can carry on a friendly conversation and he knows how to put someone at ease.  When he meets Betty through an online dating service, that is exactly what Betty see’s in Roy.  A nice polite older man that she would not mind spending time with. In fact, much to Betty’s family surprise, Roy is soon living with her.

There is of course more to Roy than meets the eye.  Roy is a long time con artist.  He has spent a lifetime of finding ways to separate people from their money and if he does say so himself, he is good at it.  Betty is financially set and thankfully Roy thinks, she is not a bad looking woman for her age which is a little bonus while he works his way into her finances.

Betty is just happy to have someone to spend her golden years with.  She is willing to overlook the little things, like the mess that Roy makes just about every time he uses the bathroom, or how he disappears to take long walks when ever she is cleaning up around the house, and even how her grandson has a feeling that something about Roy isn’t quite on the up and up…

 

 

 

Words that come to mind:  Disconcerting, page turner, twisted.

Entering in to the pages of The Good Liar I felt I had an idea of what it was about and where it would go.

I was wrong.

While I encountered a story of deception and lies, I truly had no idea as to what length this would go in.  Roy is one of those people that ooze dishonesty.  He truly is a perfect unlikable character.  He has no qualms in who he hurts to achieve his goals and is one of those people who for the most part remain emotionless.  I am pretty sure there were many parts of this book I real with a scowl on my face.  Boo! Bad guy!  Boo!

But…

there is more to this story.

I found the book to be engaging.  I turned the pages quickly wondering where the story would go.  As the story unfolds many of the chapters take you back in time to Roy in previous years, in previous scams…. some of these chapters in the way they were written I found to be a bit choppy.  The time line was not always disclosed and especially in the earlier chapters as I was getting a feel for the read, I found it would take me a page or two into a chapter t get where this was taking place and when.  As I tend to like a faster paced read (mostly), there were parts of this book that felt as though it was more wordy than it needed to be.   That said, I still found The Good Liar to be worth my time.  It is the type of story that you hear about happening in real life; however I have never read any fiction based on this story line.

That, I found refreshing.

 

 

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (February 2, 2016)

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to

spend time in a bit of a twisty turny world of Roy and Betty.

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The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens – Bookie Book Club Review

bookies book club, The Life We Bury, Allen Eskens

I recently reviewed the book The Life We Bury.  This post is my book clubs review.

I was excited for this review and curious what the Bookies would think about this read by a Minnesota author, centered around a college student, an autistic brother, a non reliable mother, and a dying murderer.

Our discussion was really centered around the character development in the story.  Each of the characters are well-developed, something we agreed that we like in our reading.  We had a chance to get to know everyone represented – and each of them had something in their life that they buried.  It really made the title so appropriate, after all… don’t we all have something in our life that we bury, work to keep from resurfacing?

We felt as a whole that book was one that was easy to fall right into.  From page one many of us sank right into the smooth writing.  While the group felt over all that the story was a little predictable, no one faulted the book because it was such a well written read.

Each of the characters that surround this book have a story.  Some, as in most books, we were able to see flush out more than others.  Author Allen Eskens however gave us enough bread crumbs on the less developed characters to see who they really were as well.

Over all the book for us rated a solid 4 out of 5.  We enjoyed the book and enjoyed the Minnesota setting which we found familiar.  Plus… we learned a little more about SPAM. 😉

 

Why Does This Book Make For A Good Book Club Read?

  • The life We Bury provides a Midwestern setting that is evenly paced.  The book never feels overly hurried, giving readers a chance to really sink into the character development.
  • There are great opportunities to discuss what we feel we bury in our own lives – either past or presently.
  • The fact that our protagonist Joe is from Austin Minnesota, the home of SPAM (which Joe states in the book) opens up some fun opportunities for your group to explore SPAM either through cooking or through trivia.  Our group did a little of both 🙂

 

Discussion Questions and ideas for your group

book journey, the life we bury

Above:  We had fun finding food that went with the book.  Thai Curry spam meatballs, spam with cheese and red potatoes,  fish to represent the fishing in the book, and lots of yummy extras of wild rice soup, bread,  bars, dips, crackers, bread and cheesecake.

Note:  The sandwiches upper right were my quick recipe of wanting to make something with SPAM.  They were Hawaiian rolls, spam, and Swiss cheese.  I heated them in the oven until the cheese melted.  I called them SPAMwiches, Spliders (SPAM Sliders), and SPAM burgers.  😉

 

WILDALONE by Krassi Zourkova

wildalone, krassi zourkova, book journey

Thea Slavin from Bulgaria is about to enter Princeton.  Although she has an incredible talent for music, she has an alternative motive for attending.  Years earlier her sister Elza had also attended Princeton and was mysteriously killed and her body disappeared.  While Thea’s parents fear for her safety they trust their daughter to make good decisions.

Should they?

While Thea finds herself alone in an atmosphere she is unfamiliar with she meets two brothers, Rhyas and Jake, who both find they are drawn to her.  (Picture the way Edward was drawn to Bella in Twilight).  While Thea finds she too has an attraction to the brothers, one of them holds the answers to what happened all of those years ago and Thea is walking a very dangerous path.

 

WILDALONE had many of the elements that I enjoy in a good paranormal read.  Thea was a likable protagonist and the Bulgarian background was a nice change.  While this is a paranormal title, it took quite a while to get there. In fact for the majority of the book you really don’t know what the paranormal part is.  I kept waiting to find out what it was, knowing what it must have to do with… but not sure.  There was also a couple of small parts in the book that did not flow right…a character would be with someone and then suddenly wasn’t.  I actually went back pages to see if I had missed something.

That said, I did enjoy WILDALONE.  There is much to like about the book and the things I mentioned above were not deal breakers.  As this is a first in a trilogy, I do believe I would continue to see where this story goes.

 

 

  • Series: Wildalone Sagas (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 13, 2015)
  • Language: English