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text 2017-07-28 06:00
The Crowns of Croswald - D.E. Night

The Crowns of Croswald

D.E. Night

Published July 21st 2017 by Stories Untold
ISBN13 9780996948654
also on Kindle

The Crowns of Croswald is D.E. Night's debut YA novel.   Different enough from Harry Potter (no muggles, a female lead (YAY!), dragons, and more), D.E. Night brings a creative storyline with Ivy as the main character who likes to daydream to get away from her scullery maid job. Night's writing kept the plotline interesting and moving at a fast pace. 1 or 2 things gave me an inkling of what might be coming but I won't give those away here; but other than that, I found the events that Ivy got into to be suspenseful,  while potentially causing chaos for her. The story ended well, and left a want for more.

****I received this novel from a Booklikes giveaway in exchange for a fair review.****


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review 2017-03-13 15:00
Atavus Falls Review
Atavus Falls - Jack J. Carroll

I always feel bad when I'm reviewing a debut book with a negative opinion. Especially when it's obvious that the author tried really hard. I'm going to be as constructive as possible.

Atavus Falls was a great idea. The idea of language being a virus is one that has been played with a few times, and I'm definitely open to seeing more exploration of the idea. However, I think that type of story needs the hand of an experienced writer to guide it, and Atavus Falls did not have that.

-The multiple points of view did not work well. Maybe if they had been pared down a bit, it would have seemed a bit more cohesive. As it was, it was more a scramble to remember who was who when they were talking.

-The language was, ah, over the top. I think most of it is typical first book stuff. Everyone imagines him/herself to be the next great literary figurehead. They lose their story in the desire to make it sound gorgeous.

Not all stories need to sound gorgeous. Sometimes one needs to err on the side of sparsity rather than give in to the urge to be loquacious about the mundane.

-Between the excessive language and the overpopulated POV changes, the story came across extremely muddled. I spent several moments trying to figure out when and where we were in the story at times. I don't like the switches in time and space even when it's very well done. When it's not, my dislike deepens until another word fits it entirely.

There are other things, but these are the big ones.

I will say that I did like the ending. I do feel that the book got a lot better around the 65% point. I think if the author learns to make sure what he's saying is important to the story, and clear, he'll improve by bounds.

Unfortunately, I just can't recommend this story.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration.

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review 2016-09-19 19:16
Boy, 9, Missing
Boy, 9, Missing - Nic Joseph
ISBN: 9781492633587
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date:  9/20/2016 
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 Stars


A special thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Great cover!

BOY 9 MISSING, establishes Nic Joseph as important key young novelist and storyteller, with her emotional domestic suspense debut!

A powerful, haunting tale of family, enduring love, and destructive secrets. A deeply moving examination of parenthood, and the dangers that are always lurking in the shadows. The author grabs you immediately with the first sentence.

“A brother drowns in a bathtub that was less than one foot longer than he was tall.”

An ordinary family trapped in a heart-wrenching crisis.

Who is guilty and who is innocent?

BOY 9 MISSING A human drama that pulls on larger themes of life and what it means to be a family. Exploring the family seams and fissures, between childhood and adulthood. Love and loss. Darkness and light. Exceptionally moving. An unrelentingly suspenseful thriller.

A mother pregnant at the time with Lucas when they originally bought the house. His mom wanted the tub. Lucas was small for his age. Francis was thirteen years old and his little brother, Lucas was nine at the time of his death. Drowned in this very tub. How did this happen?

During a dinner party twenty some years earlier, in Lansing, Illinois. Two families. A puppet show. This is when Francis’ claustrophobia and panic attacks started. Lives were changed after this one tragic night. Alex, the father had always blamed Sam.

Sam Farr was a year older than Lucas—a quiet, anxious kid. The son of Francis parent’s church friends, Brian and Elizabeth. Since the moment he ran downstairs his face was blanched with terror, and his clothing drenched and clinging to his small frame. He had not said a single word. What happened in the bathroom?

What if Sam had said something that night? A boy struggling with a hidden secret his entire life.

The parents went to court. At war with a ten-year-old boy. Was there something inside the mind of Sam—vindictive, troubling, disgusting, and terrifying?

All his parents wanted was an admission of guilt, or even a denial. A plea for forgiveness.

Nothing. It never happened. Not in twenty-three years, a single word to a single soul what happened that night upstairs in Francis’s parent’s bathroom.

That awful night. A monster. The parents lost the case. An accident. Everyone is left with the fallout. The guilt. A tragedy experienced by two families.

When nothing is as is appears.

By the time Francis started seeing therapists, he was Francis Clarke. He had to escape the media for his own sanity. From claustrophobia, to ceasing to ride trains and elevators. Dirt phobias. It started after Lucas. Alex, the father turned into a drunk. A family torn apart. Francis is now working for the paper, a reporter. Divorced. A child. A daughter.

Now, years later, Sam’s nine-year-old son Matthew has gone missing. Sam’s wife Miranda is coming after his father through him. They have gone to the police and no one is doing anything. They think for sure Alex has their child. Revenge.

He went missing three days earlier. Alex had apparently been following and stalking them for weeks.

Told by Francis, he moves back to the Chicago area and is tracked down by Sam’s parents. The Lansing Police Department would probably do anything to protect his father, if Sam Farr was involved.

Francis had not seen Sam since the day his trial ended. He still looked the same except older and thicker in the middle. Could the man (Alex, his own father) who had it in for this family have kidnapped their boy? Has he really carried a grudge all these years- Revenge?

Francis meets Kira who is doing some research about Sam and his family. Sam and Miranda has hired her to ghostwrite a book. Sam’s memoir. To tell Sam’s story once and for all. The Sam Farr Story. Francis wants to help, get to the bottom of this mystery. He is desperate to right a wrong. Kira is interested in his thoughts and the accusations against his father. Francis wants Matthew found. He also wants to find his father.

Readers get a glimpse of the mysterious night (with parts of the book, written by Kira -in red) as the events of the past unravel. A book within a book. Francis is trying to do the right thing, but doesn’t really know why. He wants to make up for the fact he was not there in the past.

What is the real truth? Francis has to solve the mystery. Where were his parents that night? What really happened. An angry father. This is one heck of a thriller (could see a movie here) based on the novel.

The mystery is suspenseful, chilling, and heart pounding -- pulling you into this dark web of secrets and lies. A son caught in the middle and drowning himself, pulled under by the tug of love, regret, and guilt. Readers will be anxious to solve the complex mystery of these two families and the deception which lies between them.

An evocative novel of redemption and forgiveness, with two families poised to implode. An older son left behind trying to put the pieces together, even in his own life with his own daughter, Amy.

“You’re only two things after a divorce. You’re better, or you’re broken. And if you’re broken, you just haven’t gotten better yet.”

Part intimate family drama, equal parts a gripping page-turner, and an exploration of the profound power of the truths we’re scared to face. There is much more going on here than a boy drowning, and a missing boy years later.

Action-packed, a wrenching look, at what happens to the families and everyone connected by these two events. And as their lives become more intertwined, each is pushed to the breaking point, with shattering, unforeseeable consequences.

I was up until 4 am and could not put this one down until the final heartfelt conclusion. Joseph is definitely an author to follow!

For fans of deeper richer family sagas, such as T. Greenwood, Carla Buckley, Heather Gudenkauf, Diane Chamberlain, and Sophie Littlefield. Some of my favorites.

Wow, this is the third book in a row, I have read about family secrets involving a child. Makes you wonder really what happens with all of the missing children and unsolved murder cases in our world today. So many times it is a cover-up, and may not be discovered until many years later.

An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. An extensive reading group guide included and a Conversation with the Author. I wish more authors would include these two critical elements at the end of their books. Well done!Can’t wait to see what’s next.



Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/05/02/Boy-9-Missing
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review 2016-08-10 20:08
Behind Closed Doors
Behind Closed Doors - B.A. Paris
ISBN: 9781250121004
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 8/9/2016 
Format: Other
My Rating: 5 Stars +  


A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 5 Stars +

Movie Worthy, Top Books of 2016, Brain Twisting, “Grip-Lit” (AKA gripping psychological thriller), B.A. Paris, delivers a smashing debut BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (love the cover), where nothing is as it appears.

Lovers of chilling "killer" psycho domestic suspense thrillers—move this one to the "top of your list." It is worth the hype, and then some! Also purchased the audiobook, narrated byGeorgia Maguire, delivering an outstanding performance!

Grace Angel, wife of brilliant lawyer Jack Angel, is a perfect example of a woman who has it all—the perfect house, the perfect husband, the perfect life.

Life had become perfect eighteen months earlier. The day Jack danced with Millie (her younger sister with Downs Syndrome) in the park. Or not?

Jack likes privacy. The house, grounds, and the privilege of owning the most beautiful house in Spring Eaton. Security is important to him. Control. Appearances. Perfection.

Esther joined the circle of friends a month earlier. Esther intrigues Grace. Esther and Rufus are welcome newcomers, to the area. Grace feels she has to impress. Possibly Esther notices more than Grace realizes.

Grace fell in love with charming, amusing, and intelligent—Jack. He knows what to say and how to say it with his film-star good lucks. After all, Grace was lucky Jack wanted to marry her. Or is she?

Grace’s sister Millie, age seventeen, nearly eighteen has downs syndrome. What exciting charming, and intelligent man would want to marry a woman with a sister and a burden to care for. A dream come true. A man who loves her and her sister.

Desperate to care for her sister, she never thought she would ever be able to have a family and a life. She even sometimes wished Millie was normal. Her parents rejected their daughter and it was left up to Grace to support her. Her parent’s wanted to put her up for adoption. Grace fought for custody of Millie, as her principal caretaker.

However, soon after the honeymoon she realizes she has to protect herself, and her sister. From the evil one in her own household. The man with two sides. Jack has turned into a monster. Behind closed doors he is evil, and slowly reveals an even more sinister plan, than she could ever imagine.

This plan does not involve a happily ever after. She is a prisoner in her own house.

Jack is calm, and collected on the exterior, but her new friend is intelligent- making it dangerous for someone like Grace. She is suspicious. Losing is never a word in Jack’s vocabulary.

To make things even more intense, Millie talks about George Clooney (inside joke between the two sisters), and a strange grotesque painting with shades of red, a red room, a facade yellow room, abusive patterns, a room, a basement, steps, a prison, Thailand, sanity, no cell phone, no money, no housekeeper, no life, and a constant threat –taking time away from her sister, limited visits--she has no rights.

Torture. How will she escape? She is not even allowed to go to the bathroom by herself. This man controls her every move.

Where had the perfect gentleman gone? Had it all been a façade? Had he covered his true self with a cloak of geniality and good humor to impress her, or was there a bigger plan to his madness?

Had she sold her soul and Millie’s to the devil? A psychopathic husband.

Grace has to find a solution to this nightmare. As the time draws near for Millie to come and live with them (tick-tock) —Jack gets clever. Everything Grace has told him, he uses against her. He is keeping her prisoner and she is scared for Millie. He is out for revenge. Fear (and desperation) - the best deterrent of all.

“In the drive outside, he holds the car door for me and waits until I’m in. As he closes it behind me, I can’t help thinking it’s a shame he’s such a sadistic bastard, because he has wonderful manners.”

An abusive past, a craving. Jack becomes a lawyer, specializing in cases of domestic violence—the defender of battered women. However, is Grace really the reward or is it Millie? From perfection to horror. Jack even wants her to appear unstable. A husband for a psychopath. How will she convince people he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Jack loves torture and imprisonment. He thrives on it.

As the day’s countdown for Millie’s release, will Grace be able to outwit and beat Jack at his own game before it is too late? Is she capable of murder, when it may be her only choice to save her sister?

From past to present the author keeps you hooked, from the first word to the last- What a page-turner. OMG! Jack is pure evil. This is one of those thrillers you will want to read in one sitting. Unputdownable. A “Sleeping With the Enemy” on steroids with a modern twist. From being held prisoner to complete control, this is one cleverly crafted psychological suspense gripping thriller.


The character development, the twisty plot, the choices, and moral conflict, along with fear and anxiety --all drive the psychological tension in unpredictable ways. The author brilliantly delves into the psychology of her antagonist and builds suspense slowly through ambiguity, making BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, A Top 10 List "Best psycho-thrillers for 2016!"

EVIL. Guaranteed to mess with your head! The author truly emphasizes the unstable mental and emotional state of her characters. You have to “LOVE” Millie and (Jorj Koony) George Clooney. Her sharp character added just the perfect amount of wit. "Bad Jack. Very bad man." Plus, every Grace needs a friend like Esther.

I enjoyed the “battle” of Grace and Millie against Jack. Their mind; filtering the good and evil, the moral and immoral, sane and insane – where the line between fact and fiction is blurred. The ending was priceless. Do you really know what goes on behind closed doors?

No surprise the film and TV rights to talented B.A. Paris’ debut thriller has been acquired, and can certainly see why it was the #1 bestselling Kindle novel with 100K copies sold in the UK in the first three days.

Can’t wait for Every Little Thing, coming January 26, 2017 and one I will be pre-ordering. An author to follow!


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Behind-Closed-Doors/cmoa/570f07f00cf2d6bf6ee48b65
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review 2016-06-11 04:05
The Goblin Squad - Jeremy Hayes


Jeremy Hayes

Paperback, 148 pages
Published November 4th 2015 by Northlord Publishing
ISBN:  099186428X (ISBN13: 9780991864287) 
This fantasy/magic book by Jeremy Hayes is action packed and enjoyable. Hayes included a strong female character as one of the members of the new Goblin Squad, which is nice to see. Each 10 year old character has his or her own personality, and developed well. There is a lot of action, and well written dialogue which helped keep the story moving. I would definitely recommend this to a middle grade reader who likes fantasy.

****I received this book from the author, Jeremy Hayes, in exchange for a fair review."


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