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review 2018-02-15 22:01
A Must Read with Serious Subject Matter
Cut Me Free - J.R. Johansson

You simply just can’t imagine the terror Piper had to go through all throughout her life, and then to get out of that vicious cycle shows how strong she is. It’s sad that it had to come to severe extreme measure for her to escape but nevertheless she was able to do so is a feat in itself.


The way the characters; both Piper and Sanda are extremely well done in this book. They’re both mistrustful of others (can’t blame them) and although they try hard to learn how to integrate with society, they do tend to stand out. (Examples such as Sanda being fearful of not seeing Piper again or Piper learning how to register Sanda to school) This is so well done by Johansson. It’s very realistic of their characters and it shows how they struggle to blend in because of their fear of standing out due to their trauma. They shy away from physical contact to the point where it causes them physical discomfort. This is well written and felt by the characters accurately.

The plot itself was good as well. It just seems like wherever Piper goes horrible awful things just seem to follow. It’s serious and dark, and Piper being stalked does increase the chill factor several notches up. The idea of someone breaking into your apartment and leaving lovely goodies to freak you out is unsettling and terrifying. These moments are well written and does set the mood for the plot. There’s a moment or two where you feel so angry because of particular actions and the suffering some of the characters go through. (Yes Lily, I’m looking at you...you horrible girl you…)


I’m not sure what to think of the relationship between Cam and Piper. Sure Piper has a great deal of mistrust and puts Cam at an arm length’s distance but seriously? Romance? I know he’s trying to be friendly and has a bleeding heart for those in need but I’m not sure Piper would jump in at the chance to have a romance with him. Yes, she puts him as far away from her as possible and he tries hard to approach her through different ways but I really don’t see a romance as a thing in this story. Should there even be one? Why was there one in the first place? I found it rather unnecessary considering the serious subject matter.


This novel is nerve wracking, and props to Piper and Sanda for their inner strength. It was a good read. Not a light hearted one, but one worth the read nevertheless.

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review 2016-12-23 14:04
ein Buch, das glücklich macht
Anton hat kein Glück - Lars Vasa Johansson,Ursel Allenstein,Antje Rieck-Blankenburg

Anton ist am Tiefpunkt seines Lebens. Seinen 45. Geburtstag verbringt er auf einem Parkplatz, wo er sich 10 Minuten Ruhe gönnt, um sich selbst zu gratulieren. Als er dann auch noch von seinem Manager erfährt, dass sämtliche Auftritte als Zauberer in der nächsten Zeit storniert wurden und er damit keine Einnahmequelle hat, möchte er nur noch die Nacht im Hotel verbringen und sich dann wieder auf den Nachhauseweg machen. Doch auch eine ruhige Nacht ist ihm nicht vergönnt und so macht er sich übermüdet und sauer auf den Weg nach Hause. Ein rotes Sofa macht ihm dann einen Strich durch die Rechnung und demoliert sein Auto. Auf der Suche nach Hilfe, trifft Anton im Wald auf ein Mädchen, welches ihn auffordert, ihr beim Blumenpflücken zu helfen. Doch Anton lehnt ab.

Kurz darauf trifft er auf Gunnar und Greta, die ihm mitteilen, dass er mit einem Todesfluch belegt ist. Anton glaubt nicht daran, muss aber bald merken, dass er vielleicht doch netter zu allen hätte sein sollen.


Welch skurrile Geschichte! Ich war total fasziniert von der bildgewaltigen Umsetzung.
Anton ist ein recht eigenwilliger Mensch. Er ist arrogant, denkt nur an sich, gibt allen anderen die Schuld und meint, dass er recht zufrieden mit seinem Leben ist.

Bis er auf ein rotes Sofa stößt, im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes. Das Sofa steht mitten im Weg und Anton fährt mit seinem Auto dagegen. Und ab da nimmt das Pech seinen Lauf. Anton zieht es förmlich an. Er wird zu einem regelrechten Pechvogel. Sein Leben besteht nur noch aus einer Abfolge unglücklicher Situationen.


Die Geschichte spielt im schönen Schweden. Die Hintergrundkulisse passt perfekt zu der Story und bietet auch viel Platz für Skurilitäten.

Schon die Charaktere muss man einfach gern haben. Sei es Anton oder das verschrobene Ehepaar Gunnar und Greta, dass Anton kennenlernt. Die beiden stehen mit guten Ratschlägen zur Seite, haben aber auch ihre Macken.

Skandinavische Autoren haben es meiner Meinung nach einfach drauf, wenn es um herrlich schräge Geschichten geht.

Dies fängt allein schon damit an, dass Anton als Berufszauberer von Altersheim zu Altersheim tingelt, und dort Vorstellungen gibt.

Das Buch ist so aufgebaut, dass die eigentliche Geschichte in der Gegenwart spielt, aber immer wieder Szenen aus der Vergangenheit eingeblendet werden. Anton denkt oft an seine Kindheit und die Teenagerzeit.

Man bekommt tiefe Einblicke in Antons Leben und das Leben seines damals besten Freundes Sebastian.

Das Buch ist einerseits sehr komisch, gerade weil Anton vom Pech verfolgt ist. Andererseits jedoch merkt man, dass auch noch etwas tiefgründigeres dahinter steckt, eben durch die Rückblicke.


Das Buch lebt von den "märchenhaften" Momenten, den mehr oder minder fabelhaften Wesen und den vielen, schrulligen Menschen, denen Anton begegnet.
Als Anton sich auf sein Schicksal einlässt, beginnt sein aktiver Part und es wird skurril, unwirklich, traumhaft sarkastisch, und vor allem eins: unglaublich.
Anton fängt an, sein Leben zu überdenken. Und sein Handeln zu ändern.


Es geht um Glück, um Zukunftsängste, magische Wesen, Verständnis, Freunde und vor allem darum, zu sich selbst zu finden.

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review 2016-10-10 12:49
Host for a Book Tour. The book was interesting and sad.
The Row - Janine O'Malley,J.R. Johansson








Blog Tour Schedule:


The Rowby J.R. JohanssonGenre: YA MysteryRelease Date: October 11th 2016FSG/Macmillan

Summary from Goodreads:
A death sentence. A family torn apart. One girl’s hunt for the truth.
Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent.
Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves.  



Meet-Cute of Jordan and Riley Excerpt


Riley is a people watcher. She regularly escapes from her own problems by going to a mall on the other side of Houston and seeing what other people are dealing with. Sometimes she even pretends to be someone else. But on this particular outing near the beginning of the book, she ends up meeting someone who makes her want to be herself…she also meets his hot older brother, Jordan. Enjoy!


On a Wednesday afternoon, the mall isn’t too busy, but there are about ten tables already taken with late lunch customers. I order a thick Oreo milkshake and start studying the people around me. One nearby table is full of teens. I scoot to the edge of my booth and pretend to scroll through my phone as I try to eavesdrop on their conversation. Before I get a chance to hear much, though, I feel an impact against my right sandal.
When I bend over, the first thing I see is a red Matchbox car. I pick it up and squint at it.
“Sorry about that. Driving skills obviously need improvement.” A deep voice speaks from the booth behind mine and I spin to face it. My first thought isn’t exactly articulate: Wow, hotness. His warm eyes are a slightly lighter shade of brown than his dark olive complexion.
Hot Guy extends his hand. I freeze, not sure if I should shake it or stick the car into it. As if he can read my mind, he drops his hand back to his lap and provides me with an alternate option.
“Unless you’re interested in joining our competition? Any experience on a pit crew, by chance?” His eyes now have a wicked sparkle to them that draws me in.
“Pit crew?” I raise my eyebrows.
“Girls don’t like cars.” I hear a small voice from the other side of his booth and slide to the side a bit to see who spoke. A seriously adorable little boy looks up at me. He can only be Hot Guy’s little brother. His Angry Birds T-shirt is just a smidge too big for him. He has the same skin and dark wavy hair, the same athletic build, the same square jawline and Roman nose—he is his brother in miniature. When he beams up at me, one of his front teeth is missing. “Hi!”
“Hi . . .” I can’t help but smile back at him.
“What’s your name? You don’t like cars, right?” He continues to smile at me while I consider my answer. The kid couldn’t be more than six years old. “I’m Matthew.”
“I actually do like cars.”
“Then you’re cool.” He lifts his cupped hands up and releases no fewer than eight cars onto the tabletop. His big brother frantically shoots his arms out, trying to prevent them all from careening off onto the floor.
Matthew slides out of his seat and walks to my table. “You didn’t tell me your name.”
Maybe all of my friends should be six. The questions of children seem to be so much simpler than those of adults. Something deep in me really doesn’t want to lie to this kid. “I’m Riley.”
His brother jerks his head up with an embarrassed expression. “Matthew, she doesn’t have to tell you her name if she doesn’t want to.”
“But . . . she already did.” Matthew looks at his brother like he just said the dumbest thing he’s ever heard. He sticks his small hand out to shake mine.
“Nice to meet you,” he says, sincerely. The gesture melts me and I place my hand in his. All my worry about Daddy’s hearing dissolves as he grips my hand firmly and shakes it like this is the most important meeting each of us will ever have. “Now, tell me what your favorite color is.”
After tossing the cars into a green plastic container, Matthew’s brother gets up and puts his hands on Matthew’s shoulders. “Sorry, he has no filter with strangers.”
“It’s fine. I like being told that I’m cool.” I shrug before lowering my eyes to Matthew. “My favorite color is purple.”
Matthew dives for the green bin and starts digging through it without another word.
“I think that was your official invitation to play . . . in case you didn’t recognize it.” Hot Guy rubs his hand on the back of his neck. His cheeks flush slightly and then he smiles at me. “I’m Jordan, by the way.”
“Your brother is really cute.” I lower my voice so Matthew can’t hear us.
“Yeah, that’s what all the girls say.” Jordan shakes his head.
“Oh, I see.” I lift one eyebrow, deciding these two might be the perfect pair to distract myself with today. “This is part of your game then? Bring your adorable brother to the mall. Hit girls with tiny cars. Have him get them to tell you their names . . . very smooth. Will he ask for my number next?”
Jordan looks horrified for an instant before he picks up on the fact that I’m joking and a grin spreads across his face. “Or maybe we’re part of a research project and he’s just a very small scientist.”
The server comes with my milkshake and I stick my spoon into it. “What would you be researching?”
“The effects of tiny cars on complete strangers.” Jordan sticks his hands into his jeans pockets as his face turns mockingly serious.
Matthew drops a bright purple convertible onto the table in front of me. I pick it up to look at it and before I know it, Matthew is pushing himself and his green bin of cars into the seat on the other side of my booth.
Jordan blinks at Matthew and then me before shaking his head. “Buddy, we need to stay in our booth. I think we’ve bothered Riley enough for one afternoon.”
Matthew freezes in the middle of organizing his cars on my table and looks at me in shock. “I’m bothering you?”
I shake my head fast and firm. “Not at all.”
“He’s fine.” I look up at Jordan and then gesture to the seat beside Matthew. “Looks like I’m officially part of your experiment—or pit crew—depending on where this afternoon takes us. Care to have a seat?”



NTERVIEW WITH RILEY (Main Character of The Row)


What is it like being the daughter of East End Killer?
I wouldn’t know. They have the wrong man and I really wish the police would step up and find the real killer so my father could come home.

You’ve been present for many of his court appearances.

What makes you and your mother want to stick by him through all of this?


Simple loyalty? What makes anyone stick by their family members when they’re in trouble? What kind of people wouldn’t do that? In spite of what everyone thinks of him, my father is a very good man. If you could see him with us, you would know that. He loves us and all we want is to be back together again.


But he’s been locked up for twelve years. How can you really know him?


And I’ve visited him for at least an hour almost every week of that time. Do you really think I wouldn’t know when spending that much time just talking to him? We have a real relationship. We love each other. He taught me to play chess. I know him.


Do you feel like you’re a normal teenager?


Define “normal teenager.”

Did he teach you how to be a lawyer as well?

He taught me how to defend myself. Spending so much of my life in a courtroom taught me about being a lawyer.


Fine, last question. What do you wish people understood about you and your family?


I wish they understood that we aren’t that different from them and their families. We love each other. We argue. We miss each other. And above all else, we trust each other. We aren’t the monsters. We’re victims too.


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Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | Books-a-Million | Indiebound | Indigo | Overstock | Powell’s | Target

Also available October 11th by the author, the paperback of CUT ME FREE!


About the Author

J.R.  Johansson's books have been published in a dozen languages and more than twenty countries worldwide. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. She lives in Utah with two sons, a wonderful husband, three cats, and a hot tub named Valentino. 

She is represented by the stellar  Kathleen Rushall of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.


Author Links:




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My Review.

This book was very interesting and sad. What would you do if your father was in prison for doing something so awful and you always thought he was innocent and then close to the time he was set to die for his crimes, he admits he did it but then takes it back? Would you want to know the truth or would you be like Riley the main character and what to find out know matter what you find out?


I really loved Riley, I don't think I would have the guts to try and find out the truth. I also love Jordan whom is the hero and the son of the cop who arrested Riley's father. And his little brother Matthew is just so super cute. I love how the three of them met, of course Riley and Jordan don't know who each other are or how there connect.


I liked how you weren't sure if Riley's dad was this monster that everyone thinks he is, or is he really innocent. I really wish those two didn't do what they did towards the end of the book but I know they had to, so what happened took place. I loved the ending and Riley is one tough cookie that's for sure. 


So did Riley's dad do these awful things or is he innocent, will I am not going to spoiler it. You'll just have to get the book to find out for yourself. The book takes you on one heck of a ride to find out the answer.



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review 2016-10-05 00:00
The Row
The Row - J. R. Johansson,Janine O'Malley I’ve read one of J.R. Johansson’s work before: Insomnia. While I enjoyed it, I wasn’t a fan of the main character, which caused a lot of problems. I still haven’t ruled out continuing the series but I’m not excited for it.

When I saw this cover and blurb though, I was. And it paid off.

You know that wonderful feeling when you just start a book and are instantly in?
That’s what happened. I get giddy just thinking of it.

The Good:
+Thrilling mystery
+Loved Riley’s POV. Her voice comes through strong and clear.
+Liked how Riley and Jordan worked and played off each other
+Romance is cute.
=Liked how it brought up *a few* issues with prisons. (but it’s not about that, it’s passing remarks)

The Bad & The Other:
-Jordan’s instant, persistent quest to help Riley felt fishy – even after the explanation.
=Liked the ending, but it feels like easy way out. I’d like to know how they’d be if it turned out slightly different…that’d be bolder.

Note: Jordan and fam are Mexican. The only POC that I recall.

First sentence: I step into the registration building and marvel at how it smells the same every time.

The Row is really good. It sucked me right in and kept me guessing. When I had to put it down, I kept wondering about it. Then I came back and *whoosh*, it felt like I never left.

The pacing is perfect with the right timing and shifting. The clues all make sense as they come and even better when the final picture is shown. There’s red herrings that aren’t obvious and fit in for the perfect blending.

Riley’s internal conflicts and emotional journey is…oh, boy.

However, generalities about the beginning is as far as I can go without spoiling anything. Which leaves this teeny review feeling pathetic and generic. But I’m not an asshole so….
Let’s talk once you read it.

While the top shelves are Mystery, Thriller and Contemporary, I’d peg it as a YA romantic suspense. Their relationship doesn’t overshadow the mystery; it’s about them working together with the right atmosphere, getting closer, and a showdown ending.

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review 2016-07-13 17:34
NetGalley Review: The Row
The Row - Janine O'Malley,J.R. Johansson

I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review.


Not only did the cover pull me into wanting to read this book but the blurb as well. A teen who has a father in prison more over on death row what can this book be about. Is he guilty or is he innocence? How will Riley's life change if he dies? So many questions I had and they were answered. Riley has had a hard life ever since her father went away and was sentenced to death row for the murders of three people. She doesn't get close to anyone and you would expect that, so when she gets close to one person she gets a big surprise as to who he is. Which of course leads her to fight within herself on rather she should leave him alone or ask him for help on helping her fight for her father's innocence. 

With the death sentencing looming on Riley and the statement her father makes to her, she slowly enlists  the help of Jordan and later on the attorney for her father and goes out to find the truth to get her father out but will it be too late or will the truth hurt her in the end? Who knows. I can honestly say I loved this story from the beginning to the end and really felt for Riley as a character. Now her mother I couldn't imagine being the wife to a supposed serial killer and not being able to fully move on with your life. 

I can honestly say that if you like page turners and bit of truth finding then pick this book up. I really liked this author's writing style, character development and how she is able to pull you in and not let you go. 

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