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review 2017-04-27 04:18
The Girl Who Was Taken
The Girl Who Was Taken - Charlie Donlea

By:  Charlie Donlea

ISBN: 1496701003

Publisher:  Kensington

Publication Date: 4/25/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  3.5 Stars

 

Charlie Donlea returns following his debut, Summit Lake with THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN – a disturbing, and evil sadistic game of kidnapping and abduction goes bad. The Capture Club. More than one monster? An abandoned haunted subdivision Stellar Heights. A psychopath. Lies and secrets. A sister who will not give up.

Set in a small southeastern town of North Carolina (not in an area worthy of scenery or landmarks), we meet a rebellious teen. A selfish, self-centered girl who is out of control. However, she has cried wolf too many times. Now she really needs help and it may be too late for saving.

Flashing back and forth, we learn of two girls who go missing. Megan McDonald and Nichole Cutty. Megan was taken, the daughter of Emerson Bay’s Sherriff in the summer of 2016. Nichole was taken about the same time. Megan goes free. Nichole is still missing.

One year later, Megan is out with a book, called Missing. A so-called true story account of her abduction and courageous escape. Did the killer let her go, or did she escape? Does she remember the events or has she repressed the horrific events?

However, turns out Megan is not forthcoming about the real truths of her abduction. It was a front to keep people at bay. She had been on her way to Duke University. Everyone wanted to know the morbid details of her captivity. She needed to be a success story. Her abductor had let her go.

Nichole was still missing. What happened to Nichole and what is Megan hiding?

“A life might end, but sometimes their case lives forever.” - Gerald Colt, MC

Donlea spends most of the book featuring Livia Cutty, the sister of Nichole. She chose forensics as a career because someday her parents would get the call that her sister’s body had been found. There would be questions about what happened to her and what they did to her. She needed to be the person to gather those answers. She chose to take a position in Raleigh, NC, close to where she grew up in Emerson Bay. Livia, a pathologist was happy to be a part of a well-funded program run by Dr. Gerland Colt, widely considered in the world of forensics as a pioneer.

She had to do something for her sister. She was not there when Nichole placed the call that night. It was always drama with Nichole. Livia could only imagine finding redemption in some form and be able to help her sister in the future.

A body comes in which is thought to be a suicide. Turns out the guy, Casey had dated her sister Nichole. However, was it suicide or murder? Her sister was wild, and out of control before she was taken. What had she gotten herself into with someone like this?

Livia thought something was off about Megan’s book and her account of her abduction. However, the book was the closest thing she had gotten about the real details of the night Megan and Nichole were taken.

However, were they actually taken at the same time? What really happened and how are these two connected? What about other girls that were taken. Are they connected? A similar drug was used. We learn about the events leading up to the abduction. (did not find this very interesting).

Livia was ten years older than Nichole. Still, Livia knew most of Nichole’s friends from that time. Jessica Tanner had been one of her sister’s closest friends. She receives a call about Casey. The guy they had pulled out of the bay. He was the guy Nichole was dating that summer before she disappeared.

From here the bulk of the book goes on and on about the sick immature games Nichole played and the Capture Club (pretty far out). Nichole was self-centered, narcissistic, jealous, and manipulated everyone, seeking attention from everyone, mostly guys. Rebellion. She was part of this cult-club, who enjoyed playing games obsessed with abductions. (So tired of hearing about this girl, was hoping she would never be found).

A dangerous dark game. Nichole was jealous of Megan. Games she played. However, her plan backfires. A cast of characters from boyfriends promiscuous behavior, drugs, sex, and more abductions. Casey was creepy as well as many others. A bag over the head. Where are these bodies going?

We hear about all gory details of the bodies coming into the examiner’s office and not so realistic attempts by Livia to investigate the whereabouts of her sister and other missing elements. She finally teams up with Megan leading them to the real horror of the night both girls were taken.

My take: This was a difficult review to write as for why I have delayed posting. I hate to be negative; however, being honest here with a much lower rating than the first book. I really enjoyed Summit Lake, Donlea’s debut; however, was not fully engaged on any level with The Girl Who Was Taken.

Not many likable characters here and the best part of the book starts about 80%. Fast action and suspense. Then after all the buildup for an entire book, the identity of the killer is revealed, and like nothing happens. It ends. This would have been an opportunity for an entire book here. Very similar to another book I just finished (another 3 star).

Livia and Megan learn the identity and (it was like, now OK, and let’s move on- what’s for dinner)? From both sides. No why or explanation? No flushing out. No emotion. I am not a fan of cutting off a book this abruptly. Would like to have more focus and time spent on the latter part and less on the teenage disturbing events. Will not go into more details, with spoilers. I would have liked to hear more from Megan, her childhood and parents. Would have been an intriguing story here.

However, Donlea does a good job with the forensics, even though most folks in her situation would not be allowed all the liberties, but again this is fiction. The author offers suspense and action with a number of red herrings.

Sure the book will attract a variety of readers on a more positive note since it was outside- the-box. Would like to have a much more interesting city in NC for the setting, which was not expanded upon here. Really enjoy this author, so hoping for something different next go around.

I think my overall reading interests are changing to less dark thrillers, and enjoying more: domestic suspense, literary and historical fiction. Finding the more I read my book interests (genre) change.

A special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/06/The-Girl-Who-Was-Taken
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review 2017-04-26 04:27
Anything is Possible
Anything Is Possible - Elizabeth Strout

By: Elizabeth Strout

ISBN: 9780812989403

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 4/25/2017  

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +

 
From the author of My Name is Lucy Barton and the smashing hit Olive Kitteridge the HBO mini-series starring Frances McDormand (I loved) — Elizabeth Strout once again "wows" readers and her avid fans, with her insights into the human psyche — when ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Extraordinary novels, deftly combining lyrical prose with heartrending subject matter. A desperate need to be understood and accepted.

Compelling! Nine powerful and emotional stories. Grace and forgiveness. Flawed people who have experienced tragedy and haunting childhoods, abuse, mental illness, injustice, poverty, bullying, regrets, torment, war trauma, imploding lives, marriage problems, and severe loss.

People who hide behind social status. A sense of entitlement. Those who have survived and yet still remain with their own scars. There have been deep fissures in each of these families. The cracks. Some have been pushed to the breaking point, with shattering, unforeseeable consequences.

If you read My Name Is Lucy Barton (highly recommend), you may be rushing back to the title to refresh yourself, as I found myself doing.

Lucy came from a poor and dysfunctional family. She was determined and managed to escape the small town of Amgash, IL. She was diligent and became a successful author. She ultimately forgave her parents.

However, the scars of her past and the people who shaped her life, and the way she was treated by her family, siblings, and people of this town have haunted her.

Strout takes us back to some of the characters, cousins, family members, neighbors, school classmates, and siblings. We learn of the heartaches and fears, the narrow-minded thinking of these people. Where are these people today? Discovering how harsh words and actions stay with people. A profound message.

Even when someone succeeds, there are those who try and tear down the things we are most proud of. Each story sends a powerful message. Who do they blame? Are they accountable for their actions?

Broken people. Such hope for us all if only can learn to communicate. Not only with our families but the people whom we come in contact with on a daily basis. Intuitive. Being able to help those who need someone to care.

We can see from the outside a dysfunctional family can fall prey to those in a small town who do not really understand what's going on with the family as a whole, or those that make up the family (s).

We each have our own favorite stories in the collection. I enjoyed the story of Tommy, Pete, Patty, and Lucy’s return to town which did not go as expected when Vicky (sister) brings up the horrors of the past and Lucy has a panic attack driving her away. I also enjoyed the people from her past which showed up at her book signing.

Family dysfunction, problems, and crossing social classes; people are mean and they are ugly. A cruel world and Strout does not hold back. A reminder to us all. One act of compassion, caring, or kindness can make all the difference in the word.

The characters in the nine stories are shaped and at the same time, haunted by their past. They still feel trapped by the difficulties in their present day relationships and their inability to say how they truly feel. The author is a master at drawing you into the lives of her characters as she weaves in her powerful observations of human complexities and interactions. From anger, frustration, and bullying mixed with fear and cruelty.

I love this stand-out author! Her writing just keeps getting better and betters. Beautifully written, with each book I read, it makes me return to re-read or perhaps one I missed. Strout is authentic, prolific, and has mastered her skilled craft at getting inside her character’s heads, heart, and soul. They come alive on the page. ?

If you come from a small town and you happen to be the one who left and got away (I am) and became successful— you will resonate with these stories. Often those left behind are often bitter and resentful, and lash out in hateful ways and try to destroy another’s happiness when they do not have the facts. Their views are narrow and they do not think big and wide outside the box. They could have made the choice to leave. Everyone has choices. How hard do we want to strive for a better life is the question.

If you have not watched Olive Kitteridge I highly recommend. I want to watch it over and over. It stays with you. I am hoping we will get to see Anything is Possible and My Name is Lucy Barton, will be played out on the big screen. These are powerful stories that people can connect with on many levels.

There is always hope, forgiveness, and love amidst the imperfections. We are reminded that in life Anything is Possible!

For me the Washington Post article by Susan Scarf Merrell offers the perfect summary of ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE:

. . . “These stories return Strout to the core of what she does more magnanimously than anyone else, which is to render quiet portraits of the indignities and disappointments of normal life, and the moments of grace and kindness we are gifted in response.

Such a simple goal, so difficult to achieve. Each of these stories stands alone, but they are richer in juxtaposition to the others. And that’s because over the years, from angle after angle, Strout has been packing and unpacking how silence works — between people, within a single person, on the page, in the spaces between stories.

Omission is where you find what makes a writer a writer; it is in the silences where forgiveness and wisdom grow, and it is where Strout’s art flourishes. This new book pushes that endeavor even further.” . . . Read More


Well said. I just purchased Amy and Isabelle and Abide with Me audiobooks, I missed along the way. Highly recommend this author.

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in." —Leonard Cohen

This book reminds me of a plaque I have on my desk:
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
I am reminded of this each time I return to my small hometown and family. Fans of Fredrik Backman will enjoy the exploration of small town characters and the examination of the fragile human spirit.

A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Anything-Is-Possible
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url 2017-04-25 17:26
63 Books in Series release today
Snared (Elemental Assassin) - Jennifer Estep
Blade Bound - Chloe Neill
Legion (The Talon Saga) - Julie Kagawa
Within the Sanctuary of Wings - Marie Brennan
Darkest Hour Before Dawn (THIRDS) - Charlie Cochet

Per fictfact's new release calendar at https://www.fictfact.com/BookReleaseCalendar .

 

Look there to see the full list.

Source: www.fictfact.com/BookReleaseCalendar
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review 2017-04-25 15:33
Release Day ARC Review: Ride Rough (Raven Riders #2) by Laura Kaye ~ Giveaway/Excerpt
Ride Rough - Laura Kaye

Review originally featured on Angel's Guilty Pleasures

 

Ride Rough

Raven Riders #2
Laura Kaye
Contemporary Romance
Avon
April 25th 2017
eBook/Paperback
480
Edelweiss

 

Brotherhood. Club. Family.
They live and ride by their own rules.
These are the Raven Riders...

 

Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.

 

Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.

 

Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.

 

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Book Depository

 

 

 

“What am I going to do? My entire life is wrapped up in him. My job. Where I live. My car. Where Mom lives. Everything. Oh, God. This is going to be a nightmare, isn’t it?”

 

Maverick grasped Alexa’s hands. “One thing at a time. You’re out. You can stay here as long as you need to. I have plenty of room. I’ll help you through it. That’ll give you time to figure out what it is you want. There’s no rush.

 

“Okay,” she said. “Okay. God, thank you.” A shiver raced over her skin.

 

“You don’t have to thank me. I’m so relieved for you that I might fall the fuck over,” he said, his thumb rubbing over her knuckles. She almost managed a little smile. “Your hands are like ice, Al. I shouldn’t have made you stand her all this time when you’re soaking wet.”

 

Alexa shook her head. “It felt good to get it out, Maverick.”

 

“Glad to hear it. Would a hot shower make you feel better? I can find you a T-shirt and a pair of boxers to change into while your clothes dry.”

 

All the TLC and understanding he was giving her reached right inside her chest. When was the last time someone had taken care of her this way?

 

The last time you were with Maverick. The truth of that thought made her breath catch. “Yeah. I’d like that,” she managed.

 

He gave a tight nod and stepped back, and she missed his heat immediately. “Uh, good. That’s good. You remember your way around?”

 

“Of course,” she said. How much time had she spent here over the years? Even before they dated? At one point, Maverick’s place had practically been a second home.

 

“You okay?” he asked, watching her.

 

She pushed off the door. “I don’t know yet,” she said, coming to him. “But what I do know is how grateful I am to you. For everything. For being there when I told you not to. For listening. For just . . . being you.”

 

“Always.” He crossed his big arms and ducked his chin, like something about the exchange made him uncomfortable.

 

“I mean it,” she said, and then she pressed onto tiptoes and kissed his cheek, his stubble tickling her lips. “You saved me tonight.”

 

“No,” he said, eyes flashing, one brow arched. “You saved yourself, Al. I was just your getaway driver.”

 

Staring into one another’s eyes, the tender moment stretched out, morphed, suddenly flashed hot. Being so close to him set her body on fire, and finally she could actually consider acting on it. Need roared through her, a living, breathing thing. “Maverick,” she whispered.

 

“Fuck, Alexa, I think you better go take that shower,” he said, his jaw ticking. “Now.”

 

She released a shaky breath and nodded. He was right. Of course, he was.

 

So, showering. She could handle that. Afterward, God only knew what she was going to do.

 

 

Ride Rough is book two in the Raven Riders series by Laura Kaye. I loved this one.

 

Maverick and Alexa have a past, but they or I should say she broke it off. She just wasn’t ready and of course she’s moved own. Now she’s engaged to a man she thinks will give her everything she ever wanted. Maverick made a vow to watch over Alexa whether she is in his life or not. These two might just find a second chance.

 

WOW, it’s hard to read about abuse, of any kind, on anyone. The author vividly portrayed what was going on with Alexa, what she was thinking, and feeling. You can see and feel the abuse, but Alexa is not yet ready to see the signs, but when she does things get complicated; because her fiancé, Grant, has made it so her life is all wrapped up in his and their is no easy way out. 

 

Maverick is such a sweet guy. I loved him. When he gets his chance to be with Alexa again he doesn’t push. He is just their to help and maybe; become something more, if they can discuss the past and keep her safe. 

 

Their was just so much tenderness, passion, and warmth in this novel. I love the Raven Riders. They are a protective bunch and will do what they can to help Alexa out. The feelings Maverick and Alexa have for each other are deep and intense. The past was never resolved and they both have carried a torch for each other, even now, when they both tried to move on in their lives. 

 

Two things that really stood out and made this one fun, sexy, and entertaining where the carnival and the sex scene on Maverick’s bike. Who can resist a splendidly well written sex scene on a motorcycle. Oh boy, it was hot and so sexy. The carnival was adorable and delightful. It was so great that the Raven Riders had this idea to put together a carnival to bring back business after the events in Ride Hard. The carnival brought back many memories from when I was a kid and all the fun times me and my friends had at the fair. It was well done and everyone had such fun. 

 

The more I dive into the Rave Riders series the more I fall in love with the world, the club, and their ladies. I’m excited for Ride Wild, because it’s finally Cora’s turn. I’ve wanted her story since the moment she popped up in Ride Hard as Haven’s best friend. 

 

Rated: 4 Stars

 

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy provided by Avon via Edelweiss with the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

 

Challenge(s): Pick Your Genre (Con) | New Release (2017)

 

 

 

 

 

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

 

Website | Facebook |Twitter | Newsletter Sign Up

 

 

$10 Amazon or B&N gift card for 3 winners

 

Click HERE to enter the giveaway! 

 

 

 

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/04/release-day-arc-review-ride-rough-raven-riders-2-by-laura-kaye
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text 2017-04-25 15:28
Release Day Launch: Arranged (1001 Dark Nights) by Lexi Blake ~ Excerpt

 

 

“Did you enjoy the dessert? They had been planning on serving crème brûlée, but I remembered you like gelato. Strawberry.”

She turned and Kash was standing in the doorway, the tie to his tuxedo undone and the first few buttons of his shirt open, showing off golden skin.

Oh, how the girls must swoon over that man.

Unfortunately for him, she was a woman and not a girl. She curtseyed, recalling her etiquette classes and going down deep, to show her respect for the crown. “I thank you, Your Majesty.”

“Come now, Day. I asked you not to call me that long ago, and now it appears there’s even less reason. We were friends then. We’re going to be husband and wife in a week. Shocking how quickly that woman can move when she wants to.”

He looked so composed, but she couldn’t forget that he’d only found out his mother was dying this afternoon. That was when she’d seen the real man. She’d interrupted them with her silly dress and she’d seen the shock and pain on Kash’s face before he’d smoothed it out and gone back to being the polite royal he’d become.

“Are you all right?” She asked the question for two reasons. First, she wanted to know the answer and second, to see if they really were still friends.

His lips curved up slightly. “I’m faring quite well. We Kamdars are made of sterner stuff than this. Did you enjoy the dinner?”

So, not so friendly he would talk about private things with her. It was good to know where they stood. They needed to have a long conversation about how this was going to work. They might be marrying to protect the Kamdar line and to give his mother some peace, but they needed a plan of action about how best to achieve their goals.

Partners. That was how she’d decided to look at this. They were partners. And if she ended up governing the kingdom while he was out fucking around with supermodels, she wouldn’t get her heart broken.

Just humiliated.

Yes, they needed a talk and perhaps a contract.

“I enjoyed the meal very much. The company left something to be desired, but I suspect I’ll get used to dining with windbag politicians.” She turned back to the balcony, leaning against it. The view from here was spectacular. Beyond that, it was soothing in a way.

“Yes, Mother told me they’re giving you trouble.” He joined her, leaning beside her, their bodies so close but not touching. “I’ll talk to them, ensure you have your funding.”

“Don’t. It can wait a few weeks. I need to go back to them and introduce myself as their new queen.” She wasn’t about to let them think she sent her husband in. If he behaved as he so often did, he wouldn’t be around much and it would be up to her to keep everyone in line.

“Is that why you agreed to this arrangement? Because you wanted power?”

“I agreed because I care about this country. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life working here and trying to ensure that our children get what they need to make it out in the world. I agreed because your mother is excellent at putting one in a corner. I agreed because someone has to and I wasn’t sure who you would bring home if given the chance.” She shuddered at the idea of some brainless model attempting to be a role model for Loa Malian girls.

“Ah, you don’t think I have good taste in women.”

“I think you have an unquenchable appetite for them, Your Majesty, and that is something we should talk about.”

“Ah, the wifely lectures begin,” he said with a sigh. “Please proceed. I’m anxious to get this over with so I can be properly chastened.”

“I only ask that you attempt some discretion, Kashmir. I don’t expect you to be faithful in any way, but I do expect you to not humiliate me.”

He turned, frowning a bit as though she’d surprised him. “You don’t expect me to be faithful?”

It was time for some honesty. “I don’t think you can be. How long have you kept a single woman? A month? Three?”

“Six,” he replied. “I was with Tasha Reynolds for six months before we went our separate ways.”

“And were you faithful to her?” She already knew the answer to that question.

“We had an agreement.” He frowned as though the conversation wasn’t going at all as he’d expected. “She was on set much of the time. She knew I had a highly stressful job, so she was understanding. I gave her the same options.”

“Excellent, then let’s be fair with each other. As long as we’re both discreet, this marriage of ours doesn’t have to mean the end of our lives.”

 

 

 

Kash Kamdar is the king of a peaceful but powerful island nation. As Loa Mali’s sovereign, he is always in control, the final authority. Until his mother uses an ancient law to force her son into marriage. His prospective queen is a buttoned-up intellectual, nothing like Kash’s usual party girl. Still, from the moment of their forced engagement, he can’t stop thinking about her.

 

Dayita Samar comes from one of Loa Mali’s most respected families. The Oxford-educated scientist has dedicated her life to her country’s future. But under her staid and calm exterior, Day hides a few sexy secrets of her own. She is willing to marry her king, but also agrees that they can circumvent the law. Just because they’re married doesn’t mean they have to change their lives. It certainly doesn’t mean they have to fall in love.

 

After one wild weekend in Dallas, Kash discovers his bride-to-be is more than she seems. Engulfed in a changing world, Kash finds exciting new possibilities for himself. Could Day help him find respite from the crushing responsibility he’s carried all his life? This fairy tale could have a happy ending, if only they can escape Kash’s past…

 

Amazon  | Amazon Print

 

 

 

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

 

 

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/04/release-day-launch-arranged-1001-dark-nights-by-lexi-blake-excerpt
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