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review 2017-12-15 14:37
The Good Daughter
The Good Daughter: A Novel - Karin Slaughter

By:  Karin Slaughter

ISBN: 978-0062430243

Publisher:  William Morrow

Publication Date: 8/8/2017

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +

30 Best Books of 2017 

5 Stars ++ The queen of crime thrillers and international bestselling author, Karin Slaughter, takes a break from her popular Will Trent and Grant County series with her latest emotional, complex, twisty, and intense standalone psychological crime thriller. 

EXPLOSIVE! 

A family is torn apart by the tragedy in unspeakable ways. THE GOOD DAUGHTER will blow you away! Once again, making my Best Books of 2017. You can pretty much guarantee the author will always be on the list topping the chart. 

She has been there consecutively for the last four years since I started my blog: 

2017 The Good Daughter 
2016 The Kept Woman 
2015 Pretty Girls 
2014 Cop Town 

Two powerful stories. Past and Present. When they connect, the pieces of the puzzle reveal all the evil, secrets, and lies of the past. 

Thirty years ago, in a town outside Atlanta, GA, we meet two sisters: ages thirteen and fifteen—Charlotte and Samantha Quinn. 

Their father, Rusty was a small Southern town defense attorney in Pikeville, Georgia (a small town), defending a lot of bad men. We are talking scum. 

From pedophiles, rapists, murderers, and kidnappers. Rusty was always at work and had his share of enemies. There were always nasty and terrifying voicemails. 

Gamma, Rusty’s wife, is a brilliant research scientist who has given up a career to settle with Rusty in the Southern town. People did not fit in with Gamma. She was too smart and difficult. She refused to fit in and keep her mouth shut. 

First, there is a fire. They are homeless. These guys do not like Rusty defending the bad guys. Someone has to pay. So they go after his family. 

Then next, something much worse. The night that will change the Quinn family.

Zach and Daniel Culpepper take their hatred out on the Quinn family. However, Rusty most likely their target, is not home when the two masked evil gunmen arrive. 

Ultimately Gamma dies while protecting her family. Shooting, raping, and terrorizing the sisters. Shot and buried alive. Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Now, two estranged sisters. Attempting to put the past behind them. Left with damage and scars. Over the years they have gone their separate ways. 

Twenty-eight years later Charlie is an attorney in the same southern town. Tragedy strikes again. A shooting at a school bringing back the horrors of the night long ago.

Multi-layered and complex. Secrets and lies. Nothing is as it appears. Where all the players from the past have their own individual motives and intersect with the present-day events. 

When the girls are told to keep their secrets and the horrors of that dreadful night sealed and closed in a box forever, it may have done further damage. The dad and sisters never dealt with their emotions of that dreadful experience. Hence, causing further problems in their individual lives and their relationships. 

Violence strikes in Pikeville. Charlie and Sam have horrific memories of that night long ago, but the shocking truth of the past crime has yet to be solved. Until a shooting at a school. Slowly the lies, deceit, and secrets are unraveled.

Sam, highly intelligent, takes after her mom. She has brain damage and yet becomes a successful New York attorney. 

Impulsive, Charlie- more like her dad in some ways, remained in the same town and is also an attorney in the criminal sector and married to Ben, ADA. 

However, past events (which readers discover later in the book), has caused the couple to grow apart. (All stemming from the horrific events of the past). 

Charlie, attempting to escape her mounting problems, has a one-night-stand which causes a string of deadly events. OMG (deadly). 

The guys she had sex with. A teacher. A student. A principal, and his wife. Charlie gets caught in the crosshairs of revenge. Why would a mentally challenged young girl shoot someone?

Is there something more sinister at play and how does it connect with the tragedy from years past? 

Superb writing! What a book. Her standalone books are as good as her series. A huge Slaughter fan; and an Atlanta gal myself for years— No one does “Atlanta” better. Karin has more avid fans than cars on I-285 and GA 400 in rush hour. 

Well-deserved, THE GOOD DAUGHTER – is one well-plotted, crafty, character-driven gripping thriller. Trust me— lives will be "threatened" if you are interrupted while reading. 

A mix of domestic suspense, family drama, crime thriller, psychological, legal, mystery, and action . . . all rolled into one. 

As always, with Karin’s books, the audiobook is a “must”. Kathleen Early and Karin Slaughter make for one dynamic unstoppable team. However, you need to pair it with the book, since there is so much stuff you will want to highlight. 

Highly recommend reading the novella, Last Breath as well. (My favorite novella of the year). 

 




No one does brutality, violence, human suffering, emotions, and secrets of the past better. Someway there is always triumph over tragedy; however, they may not be the same as they started. 

NEVER attempt to try and figure out what is coming. Karin Slaughter will shock you to the very end! Razor sharp. 

Brilliant, bold, dark, edgy, intelligent. A highly addictive, mind-bending, and engrossing read! You will be hooked from page one to the explosive ending. (what a great ending, indeed). 

I enjoyed the intense relationship between the two sisters (tenderness, anger, love, emotion, heartbreak) and the author’s dark humor always adds balance to the darker side. The coffin section was hilarious. Rusty was one wild character. Loved Ben! 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/03/15/The-Good-Daughter
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review 2017-12-15 14:25
The Fact of a Body
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir - Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

A Murder and A Memoir

By:  Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

ISBN: 9781250080547

Publisher: Flatiron 

Publication Date: 5/16/2017

Format: Hardcover

My  Rating: 5 Stars ++

 

30 Best Books of 2017

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich weaves an emotional, gripping— beautifully and intelligently written debut; a haunting work of art— THE FACT OF A BODY A Murder and a Memoir. 

A cross-genre, an extraordinary mix of literary, memoir, true-crime, legal, mystery, suspense, and historical in one powerful story—traveling between a murder case and the author’s own personal childhood tragic abuse. A story that demands to be told. 

When the two begin to mesh together the author begins her journey for answers. A tale of two crimes. 

In 1992 Louisiana, Rick Langley (26 yrs. old) brutally murdered a (6 yr. old) boy, Jeremy Guillory. This was not the first time his name was in the news. A pedophile, he had served time in Georgia for molesting a girl. 

In 2003, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Harvard Law), was working an intern at a law firm. The firm was defending Langley in his death-penalty appeal. 

No stranger to the law, both her parents are prominent New Jersey lawyers. For some reason, she feels a strong pull to this case. She becomes obsessed with learning more about this case, yet it seems to bring out strong emotions about her own life. 

A shameful secret buried by her family. Her family was opposed to the death penalty, but yet she wants him to die. She must define, and make sense of this strong feeling. 

In this harrowing, raw, and emotional journey, the author pieces together the story of murder, and her own personal story. Courageously she steps out of the darkness and silence, with the accounting of her own sexual abuse as a child by her grandfather. The story begins. 

A grandfather who made his way up the steps and into their room. The two sisters. She recalls when she told her parents, they did nothing. Love and hurt. How to be safe. Did the grandmother know? 

They did not want to embarrass or shame the family, damper careers, or hurt the grandmother. They only attempted to keep the grandfather away and move forward as though nothing happened. 

The case triggered deeply buried ugly evil and damaging secrets. The unpleasant truths. At the same time, she begins to dig further into the scars while attempting to understand Langley and her own abuser (her grandfather). What caused them to be monsters? Whom to blame? 

A journey of self-discovery for over ten years. Leaving the law behind to begin her intense work. There is a story to be told. To be uncovered. A message. 

 




Heartbreaking, moving, and gripping. The darkness of sexual abuse. The blackness of her own family. In the process, there are even more family secrets which are unraveled. 

The astounding and shocking conclusion. Her family buried the abuse. The painful emotional scars turned into depression and eating disorders. Shame. Probing questions. How will the events from the past affect her relationships in the future? 

How many times has this occurred in other families? Is it passed down through generations? At what point could have the abuse ceased? When the person reaches out for help. The abuser and the victim. Through generations, what breaks the patterns? By hiding the abuse, what is gained? What is lost? Can mercy be shown? Forgiveness or acceptance? 

“Is what happens in a family the problem of the family, or the problem of the one harmed by it”? There is a cost. 

Thought-provoking, the author’s writing is spellbinding. A highly-skilled writer, meticulously researched; hard to believe this is a debut. A cautionary tale. Guard your children. 

Marzano-Lesnevich became a lawyer because she believed that the law simplified and made sense of stories; however, are they too complicated to be contained? Can the abuser be a victim as well?

I purchased the audiobook for my personal collection, narrated by the author. Her performance was outstanding. Raw and emotional. Exposed. The author having to relive five years of pain. How do you get past the hate? 

Even though I had read the book back in May when it came out and rated it 5 stars, I was sidetracked with my dad’s illness in NC, as his POA; hiring in-home health care nurses, later Hospice, a car accident, his death, funeral, remaining out of town for a few months; preparing his house to sell, being the executor of his estate, probate, and closing. Later, back home in South Florida, dealing with Hurricane Irma, damages, power outages, and loss of internet. Therefore, book reviews during May-Sept did not get written or posted. 

When choosing my Best 30 Books of 2017, (which is a difficult task), realized I had not written my review when linking the book. Immediately this week, have gone back to the audiobook and listened once again to THE FACT OF A BODY. I highly recommend the audiobook and the second time around experience, was even more powerful than the first. 

The emotions are real. A desperate need to understand. Did her parent’s sacrifice their daughter’s welfare for the sake of family stability? Unspeakable crimes. What about Langley? Can the past be left behind? Do we protect the abuser or the victim? A cry for help goes unnoticed. 

In Ricky, the author writes her own story. What about Lorelei, Jeremy’s mother? The man who murdered her son? Should he be put to death or spared? The questions and what ifs? Where does the sickness begin? 

For me, the author’s personal tragic story is more moving, intimate, and personal than Langleys. Her bravery is commendable and admirable with the difficult subject matter. Vivid descriptions which will remain with you after the book ends. Cannot even imagine having to be around a grandfather which remains in your life, after the unspeakable acts. 

Mercy. Forgiveness. Is this humanly possible? An encouragement for others to come forward, which is a timely subject in our cruel world today. An example how we carry our life experiences with us. They influence our opinions and feelings while shaping both our present and future. 

Award-winning writing and gracefully rendered. Told with sensitivity and compassion, THE FACT OF A BODY will leave a lasting impression. Each reader will be left with their own individual thoughts of victim and abuser— where the lines are often blurred. 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/27/The-Fact-of-a-Body
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review 2017-12-14 18:16
Review: "Undertow" (Whyborne & Griffin, #8.5) by Jordan L. Hawk
Undertow: A Whyborne & Griffin Universe Story - Jordan L. Hawk

 

~ 4 stars ~

 

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review 2017-12-14 17:02
Believe Me
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens - Eddie Izzard
If you are a fan of Eddie Izzard, I think you will love this book anyway. But if, like me, you are intrigued by the title and have a relative interest in his story, you might also love this as much as I did. Having him read it is sometimes challenging, as he tends to go way off tangent ("extra footnote here, when I wrote this...") and continually updates his story. But it is also intimate, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining.
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review 2017-12-14 16:22
The cover totally matches the story on this one both were adorably cute and just so much fun...
Love Happens Anyway - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Derek feels like his life is spinning out of control. He’s feeling like the job he has is neither the job he was supposed to get or the one he wanted, he’s at odds with his parents and feels like they’re constantly trying to marry him off. If he could just catch a break, put a little distance between him and the rest of the world.

 

Derek finds his buffer in the form of Luke…a former fireman who’s in need of twenty thousand dollars to finish paying or the renovations to on Halligans, his family’s bar in NY’s Financial District. So, when Luke’s friend asks him for a favor…a favor that will bring in Luke’s much needed money. Luke finds himself reluctantly agreeing to be Derek’s pretend boyfriend for the holidays…4 dates that’s all he needs to get through and then he’ll have the money he needs…what could possibly go wrong with just 4 dates?

 

What neither Derek or Luke is prepared for is that things would go right…so much righter than either man is prepared for as they find that not only is there a definite attraction between them but as they get to know each other they’re also finding that they like each other.

 

I admit I was fairly certain that I was going to enjoy this one before I even opened the book…the author’s R.J. Scott and for me that pretty well makes it a done deal. For me Luke was the perfect person for Derek. He saw past Derek’s exterior with his pretense of confidence in an effort to cover his insecurities. Luke saw a talented man that he knew he could both like and respect. For Derek, Luke was his dream man come to life.

 

One of the things about this story that really capture my attention was the relationship dynamics between Derek and his parents. So often in stories the relationship between adult children and their parents are portrayed as either being good or not good but for Derek and his parents that’s not the case. Derek loves his parents and they love him and are supportive of him, but Derek doesn’t see it this way and that’s largely due to a communication issue or more accurately a case of miscommunication. Which for Derek is a more common event in his life than it needs to be because of the defensive barrier he’s built around himself.

 

Luke’s efforts to get past Derek and his façade of confidence has a trickle-down effect on Derek’s life allowing him to re-evaluate his interactions not just with Luke but a lot of the other people in his life…colleagues, friends and his parents.

For me the fake-boyfriend to boyfriend premise of this story was well done. It was sweet, and not only did we get to see the relationship develop between these two, but we got to find out a bit more about each of them, their past, their present and what they wanted for their future.

 

‘Love Happens Anyway’ is an enchanting holiday story and while a lot of the issues stem from miscommunication it’s not intentional or surrounded by any over the top angst or drama and the icing on the Christmas cake for me in all of this was the ending…I loved the ending. It was sweet and filled with the joy of the holidays…definitely recommended for anyone wanting a sweet holiday story filled with fun, cheer and two sexy men who make the holiday just that much brighter.

 

*************************

 

An ARC of ‘Love Happens Anyway’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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