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review 2016-09-01 01:48
The StepMother
The Stepmother: A gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist - Claire Seeber
ISBN: 9781786810496
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date:  7/15/2016 
Format: Other 
My Rating:  4.5 Stars


A special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Nice cover!

Claire Seeber delivers a nightmare of a fairy tale, THE STEPMOTHER A gripping domestic and twisty psychological suspense, with more red herrings than you can imagine.

A perfect read for Halloween.

Is the stepmother as bad as you think, or is someone making her appear to be?

With a devilish twist of Snow White, Cinderella, old houses and creepy—join the disturbing stepfamily to learn which one is really evil.

From violence, rage, jealousy - a psychopath. Inflicting pain on the helpless. The horror of the Malum House.

Jeanie believed in fairy tales. She subscribed to the myth. However, the fantasy life crumbled. The beautiful idyllic stuff fell away. Shiny and unreal. She always looked for the best in people. An optimistic. Jeanie marries Matthew. They have a blended family.

"Why do you think little Snow White’s stepmother struggled with her? Was it merely because the girl was young and youth is always to be coveted? Was it because the girl was the queen’s daughter, who was first recipient of the king’s great love? Was it perhaps because the king love her- his little Snow White, firstborn- more than he could ever love the stepmother? Or was it because Snow White was a spoiled, little cow, used to getting her own way all the time?"

Mothers and daughters can be tricky. Teenage children from former relationships. A blended family.

Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret. Someone is playing a frightening game. It seeks to destroy.

From Jeanie to Marlena, two sisters; things are not as they seem. Can things be put away in the past, tidied and boxed up?

Jeanie Randall marries her prince charming, Matthew King. Jeanie has a son, Frankie from a prior relationship, and Matthew has two fourteen–year-old twins, Scarlett and Luke from a former marriage to Kaye.

Jeanie is now a stepmother. She wants to be accepted and wants everyone to be one big happy fairy tale family.However, someone does not feel the same.

Strange, weird things-begin happening. Driving someone to the brink of insanity. A family imploding. Step families are hard work. However, who can be trusted? Someone has a secret and it threatens to destroy.

Dark and compelling, wickedly evil! Plenty of twists and surprises to keep you guessing. A fairy tale family turns deadly. A game which threatens to drive someone nuts.

Seeber sends her reader into a labyrinth of creepy twists and grotesque turns. The secrets of the past refuse to keep quiet in this disquieting, taut thriller.

Razor-sharp and intense THE STEPMOTHER hooks, grips, and draws you into the web of deceit - impossible to put down. Wow, an author to follow!


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!The-Stepmother/cmoa/5793d8530cf2fc65e32565b3
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review 2016-04-23 23:58
Untethered - Julie Lawson Timmer
ISBN:  9780399176272
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date:  6/7/2016
Format: Other
My Rating:  4 Stars
A special thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Julie Lawson Timmer returns following her heart-wrenching debut, Five Days Left, landing on my Top 30 Books of 2014,with UNTETHERED -- an emotional domestic suspense of blended families and the powerful ties that bind.

Char Hawthorn, had a great life. A freelance editor, happily married to a college professor, Bradley and stepmother to his Allie, a fifteen-year-old in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

However, when her perfectionist husband dies suddenly in a car accident, she is left to pick up the pieces and contend with Allie’s biological mother, Lindy. The threat she may be separated from her step-daughter with a pending move to California. Her step-mom is not mother quality.

In the meantime, there is another storyline creating tensions. Allie’s connection to Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she has been tutoring—a troubled girl caught up in foster care, now adopted, who self-harms. Char attempts to hold it all together throughout the drama.

There are cracks and fissures, with non-traditional family units; grief, struggles, emotions, relationships, balancing, defining roles, failings, trials, and those caught in the middle and crossfires.

From emotionally abused children, special needs, motherhood, step-parenting, frustrations and resentments-- a suspenseful exploration of the human psyche, its complexities, and the resilience of family, with a domestic psychological literary twist.

Timmer once again explores what makes a family means, and the outcome when bonds are tested.
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Untethered/cmoa/565d35430cf2099ad66e258f
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review 2016-04-15 19:48
Tell Me Three Things
Tell Me Three Things - Julie Buxbaum
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Publisher:  Listening Library
Publication Date:  4/5/2016
Format:  Audio 
My Rating: 5 Stars

Julie Buxbaum delves into the inner feelings and life of a teen girl TELL ME THREE THINGS —grief stricken by the loss of her mother, thrown into a new stepfamily, and a move to a new city and school, knowing no one.

With wit, lots of heart, and soul ---and a little help from her new anonymous virtual spirit guide, “Somebody Nobody”--they chart their own course, through daily life’s storms and messiness.

• 733 days after mother died (Cancer)
• 45 days after her dad eloped with a stranger on the internet (wealthy)
• 30 days after they move from Chicago to Los Angeles (New stepmom & stepbrother)
• 7 days after starting as a junior at a new prep school (Public to private-knows no one)

To: Jessie A. Holmes (jesster567@gmail.com)
From: Somebody Nobody (somebodynobo@gmail.com)
Subject: Your Wood Valley H.S. Spirit Guide
Tell Me Three Things

An email arrives. An anonymous letter pops up in Jessie’s inbox with a bizarre alias. She is sixteen and her world has just been uprooted like overnight. Someone appears to be there to help her survive Wood Valley High. A guardian angel. For real?

The mom she loved dearly, and her special waffles, is no longer there. Their intimate talks, her support, guidance, and friend. Her dad is distracted, centered on his new wife, and she has an annoying stepbrother, Theo to contend with.

With a cast of supporting characters, Jessie continues to communicate with SN, attempting to guess his identity. She is loving the supportive, funny, and online friend, and comes to depend on him. When she begins making friends, she is still always wondering. Talking with fingertips. It is safe. When will they meet? What is he really like?

A job at the bookstore. Power through the grief. Emotional truths. Naked and unprotected, face to face with life’s fears, battles, and steep mountains to climb. Learning, accepting,desperately trying to fit in.

Juggling guy and girlfriends, crushes, relationships, school, peer pressure, work, family, loves, pain, loss and the ongoing fear and excitement of meeting SN—add in dealing with the normal other teen emotional highs, lows, and frustrations. First times. Trials and failures. Wins and Losses. A desperate need to be accepted and loved. Starting over.

Who does Jessie want SN to be? She continues to analyze everyone she meets to determine if there is a connection to SN – the mystery man. Ethan, Liam, Caleb, or someone else? She will not let go of the crush. The talking, the sharing. The unveiling . . . Possibly, romance, a kiss. poetry, a relationship?

Buxbaum skillfully maneuvers the daily thoughts of Jessie, in her banter with precision, using contemporary subjects, and dialogue, in an entertaining format. Authentic, relatable teen characters, with a nice usage of social media- without being overbearing. Keeping readers glued to
the pages to learn SN's identity.

A fantastic and innovative story for young adults, teens, and even parents and grandparents. (hey, we all have to keep up). We forget too quickly what is was like being a teen. Most of us despised our own teen years; not a time we wish to relive. Junior high and high school are difficult times even for the average teen. A constant state of confusion.

I liked Jessie in so many ways. She was never whinny, selfish, or a drama queen. She took everything in, sometimes without reaction. After all, she did have her faithful SN to confide in.

On a serious note: I loved the commentary from the author at the end. Her heartfelt personal story of the loss of her own mom, at age fourteen. Painful times, delving into those feelings with a powerful story to tell. The beauty of first love, and she tells it with compassion and raw human emotion! The author's first YA debut--Highly relatable, to teens in such a way to balance the loss, grief, with wit and humor.

I listened to the audiobook version (highly recommend) narrated by Jorjeana Marie—a perfect voice for Julie. Priceless. What a great tribute to a mom…Someone is smiling. For fans of YA Contemporary Rainbow Rowell, Veronica Roth, John Green, Jodi Picoult, and Sarah Dessen. Highly recommend!

My three favorite things:
> The Author
> The Characters (SN & Jessie)
> The Narrator

Blended Families:
I had to laugh at the blended family with teens. I remarried, when my two sons were 12 and 13. His sons were 8, 12, 15. All five boys lived with us full time. A new school, stepbrothers, rules, sharing their parents, stepparents, other parent (s) remarrying and having their own second families…Madness. The book makes you appreciate what goes on inside a teen’s mind, what they may be going through - lives are being uprooted—maybe they need to be given some slack. Can I have a do over?
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Tell-Me-Three-Things/cmoa/56e220c60cf214c0a97106af
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