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review 2017-08-24 18:51
Daddy Dearest by Paul Southern
Daddy Dearest - Paul Southern

My daughter has always had a thing about lifts.

Every time she walks in, I imagine it’s the last time I’ll see her.

That leaves a gap of thirty seconds. You’d be surprised what can happen in that time. I was.

 

Daddy Dearest is written a bit differently than most books you read.  It is told from the first-person perspective of a father who remains unnamed.  Right at the beginning we learn that his worst fear has come true.  While enjoying his custodial visit one weekend, his beautiful little girl got into the elevator and the doors closed before he made it in.  When daddy gets to the bottom floor, his daughter is nowhere to be found.  As the police investigation into his little girl’s disappearance unfolds, daddy goes back in time to tell us more, more about himself, more about his daughter, more about his distinctive view on life.

 

Let me just say that right from the start of this book I found the father unlikeable.  He’s a balding, middle-aged, anti-social actor who complains about his neighbors’ noise, makes comments about race, gays, bohemians, the underclass…and yet, he proclaims himself to be PC!  He just seems to hate the outside world in general and comes off as a real creepazoid.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that this is definitely what the author wants you to feel.  He paints a picture of a very troubled man with some real problems who seems to have only one redeeming quality.  The one thing this daddy dotes on in life is his little girl.  She is his treasure and life is just better when she’s around.  Even his ex-wife thinks he’s a wonderful father and that counts because he really cares about what other people think.  His very existence has been validated since becoming a father.

 

The book is well-written and as a side note, there were quite a few words here that had never made it into my vocabulary which I found interesting.  That’s quite uncommon but I love looking up new words!  If you are looking at the cover and the title of this book thinking it’s a bit spooky, you’re not wrong there.  Daddy Dearest is a dark and deeply disturbing psychological thriller.  One of those books that makes your skin crawl.  Here it’s because the author takes an unflinching look at a very flawed human being, and he’s manipulating the reader as he goes about it.  I feel like you will either love it or hate it.  As for me, I was somewhere in the middle, but I did keep turning the pages to find out what really happened.  This is where I think the author shows some real talent because I have to say it went in a direction I was so not expecting.  But then I really wondered…why didn’t I expect that?  As I said, manipulation, people!  So I will leave you to decide for yourself.  Check it out!

 

I want to thank the author Paul Southern for providing me with a copy of this book through the BookLikes Giveaways program for an honest review.

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review 2017-08-22 20:30
The Other Girl
The Other Girl - Erica Spindler

By: Erica Spindler

ISBN: 9781250083654

Publisher: St. Martin's Press 

Publication Date: 8/22/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +

 
Loved! 5 Stars +. Set in a small southern Louisiana town of Harmony—Erica Spindler continues to raise the bar with her latest: THE OTHER GIRL, following (2015) The First Wife. 

A chilling and "unputdownable” taut crime suspense thriller (her best yet)! A clever blending of past and present with masterful twists. 

Officer Miranda Radar has had a difficult journey in life. In 2002, at fifteen years old, she was called, “Randi” (from the wrong side of the tracks). She was caught in a crime and no one believed her. After all, she had her own problems with her dysfunctional family: mom, brothers, dead beat dad, and the law. 

She no longer is this scared fifteen-year-old girl. The one caught with possession of pot, shoplifting, drinking, and truancy. However, can she run away from her past? Has it caught up with her or did she just move on? 

Who was her tormentor from that summer fourteen years ago? The beautiful monster in the Alabama ball cap. The guy who picked her up on the side of the road. Supposedly sent by her brother. She had escaped and left for help. She had to rescue "the other girl." 

What happened to the girl (Cathy) who was left behind after the rape and torture? The one she promised to save. She went for help and no one believed her? 

What if she had been a girl who did not lie. One who was cautious instead of reckless. The kind of person people believed. Back then no one would believe her. The girl could have been saved. 

Clint Wheeler the cop. His voice still haunts her. He thought she was a liar. 

Who was the monster who populated her nightmares? He was the reason she became a cop. They would have to believe her now. 

Presently, years later she and her partner, Jake (friend, partner, and possibly more) of two and half years are called to investigate a brutal crime. A college professor. A murder. A murder of hatred and rage?

Richard Stark. Handsome, single, charming, and smart. He was also writing a novel. A dominatrix and the lives of her clients. A sexual predator? Abuses women. He liked his women immobilized and unwilling.

President Ian Stark (father) is quite anxious to protect the school’s reputation. What is he hiding? A powerful and rich man. How many people does he control and have in his back pocket?

Miranda promised herself back then she would escape to California and never look back. Escape her family and every memory of the God-forsaken place. The girl who had done time. She had not belonged and not sure she still does. She had to let the past go. She was almost thirty years old. 

However, she may have to visit her painful past in order to find clues to save herself in the present. 

A clipping was found. About Miranda from that summer years ago was found the old. A coincidence? How could her fingerprints be found at the scene? Why would her past abductor keep this clipping, or was it planted? 

She did not know Stark and had never met him. Yet they had found her prints at the scene and the news clipping about her?

A sexual predator who had hurt an untold number of women and gotten away with his crimes for years . . . until now. 
 



Someone had to be setting her up. 

No one believed her back then. Will they believe her now? Her own mom never defended her, nor her brother. 

What happened to the Jane Doe years ago? The missing girl?

Miranda had to protect herself from whoever was setting her up. She was a good cop. Now a box. A key. 

However, who could she trust? 

Was the person who killed evil Richard, the who planted her fingerprints at the scene? 

Is someone out for revenge and is she the target? 

With pressure from her Chief — her job is to find the killer, not to vilify the victim. Is she in jeopardy of losing her badge? Everyone thinks she is losing it. She thinks Richard Stark is the perp, not the victim. 

Now Wheeler is found dead. Miranda (Randi) had spent six months in juvie because of this Officer, and now dead. Fingers are pointing at her. Does she have a score to settle, or is it someone trying to take her down? 

Will she have an ally or champion this time, or will it be just like fourteen years ago? 

Jam-packed full of dark secrets and a twisty story that never stops . . . and a sprinkle of romantic suspense. Hooked from the first page to the explosive conclusion – Spindler keeps readers glued to the pages, and a kick ass leading lady, Miranda. (hope we see more of her in the future). 

With clues from the past to present, a complex whodunit mystery thriller which will keep you guessing. 

Fans of Lisa Gardner, Sandra Brown, Chevy Stevens, and Karin Slaughter will devour fast-paced THE OTHER GIRL. 

In addition to the reading copy, also purchased the audiobook and wow, Tavia Gilbert delivers a perfect voice for Spindler’s characters in this small dark town of secrets and corruption. 

Move this one to the top of your list!

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 
 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/13/The-Other-Girl
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review 2017-07-07 22:08
Fantastic!!
A Night of Southern Comfort - Robin Covington

A Night Of Southern Comfort by Robin Covington is a fantastic read.  Ms Covington has delivered a well-written book loaded with amazing, lovable characters.  Michaela and Jackson's story is loaded with action, suspense, humor and sizzle.  I loved reading this fun book and look forward to reading more from Robin Covington in the future.  A Night Of Southern Comfort is book 1 of The Boys Are Back In Town Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-28 09:06
The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton
The Hideaway - Lauren K. Denton

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering her grandmother’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there. Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected. Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways. When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Sara Jenkins is an antiques dealer living in New Orleans, Louisiana when she gets word that her 72 year old grandmother, "Mags", (the last of Sara's immediate family, after being orphaned at the age of twelve) in Sweet Bay, Alabama has passed away. In addition to this news, Sara is told that she has been left her grandmother's home / business of sorts, The Hideaway Bed & Breakfast. Sara visits the property with the idea to immediately get the house listed so she can make a quick sale and truck it back to New Orleans to carry on with her life. Once on site however, Sara sees that what was affectionately being referred to as a bed & breakfast is actually more of a seniors' community made up of Mags' friends taking up residence in all the rooms. Quickly falling under the charms of these senior citizens, Sara decides to take on all the intensive, desperately needed renovations.

 

Whether she'll sell or stay, she's struggling to decide.... the choice becoming even more complicated once she meets the attractive contractor hired onto the job. While elbows deep in the work, Sara comes upon a box of letters & mementos belonging to Mags, items that tell of an entirely different woman than the one Sara thought she knew. The Mags in the letters is bold and wildly in love, far from the sweet, subdued nature of Sara's grandmother. As Sara tries to make sense of all this, she is simultaneously forced to fend of a greedy land developer interested in snatching up the property for a shopping area / apartment plan in the works. 

 

Told in alternating POVs -- between the story of Mags and that of her granddaughter, Sara -- this novel opens in modern times and spans back to the 1960s, when Mags' letters introduce the reader to her 22 year old newlywed self (albeit then known as Margaret Van Buren), already in a struggling marriage to a wealthy, respected, but emotionally neglectful (not to mention philandering!) man. It's largely through the letters that the reader is given insights into how the woman of status, "Margaret", became the artsy, go-with-the-flow, B & B owning- gypsy soul known as "Mags".

 

 

 

Well, I'll start off by saying that this is absolutely the perfect, easy-breezy, poolside kind of read. Perfect for fans of The Notebook! Not saying the plot is necessarily super-similar, just that the tone / feel one gets from this is similar to that Sparks novel. The Hideaway definitely has Hallmark summertime movie (adaptation, that is) all over it. While the plot itself is not terribly original --- person inheriting property, deciding what to do with it, going on a literal / emotional journey that leads to revelatory information about benefactor being brought to light in the process -- the characters themselves are what make this particular novel a solid good time. Each resident at The Hideaway is endearingly unique and heartwarming in character. 

 

That being said, there were just a few things that bothered me leading me to knock my rating down a bit:

 

*

Mags basically vilifies her philandering husband but kinda walks into a kettle-pot situation when she SO easily takes up with William. 

(spoiler show)

 

* And also this quote by Mags: "At 33, I'm long past the age of letting myself get swept up by a man, no matter how charming or handsome he may be." I just found that line depressing. One needs a lovely moment of getting "swept up" from time to time, regardless of age! 

 

* Sara's assistant in New Orleans, Allyn: I knew going in that this book was published through a Christian publishing house, so I don't know if that plays a role in this, but it bugged me that author Lauren Denton hinted at Allyn being gay in such a heavy-handed way but never actually uses the word. In an age where LGBTQ+ representation in fiction is so strongly requested and sought out, I thought Denton dropped the ball in this respect. 

 

Near the end of this novel, some of the "reveal" bits of the story, where issues are magically explained into sense, reminded me somewhat of some of the big plot reveals used in Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres. Personally, I wasn't entirely happy with the fate Denton wrote for The Hideaway property, as far as the specifics of how things were resolved. Still, I quite enjoyed the underlying inspiring theme of people finding a true sense of family and community with people who accept them just as they are... oh my, went a bit Bridget Jones' Diary there for a moment! 

 

Also, bonus points for throwing my own town into the mix of places used in this book! 

 

For those who might want to use this for a possible book group selection, a discussion questions guide is included in the back of the paperback edition. 

 

FTC Disclaimer: BookLookBloggers.com and Thomas Nelson Publishers kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book & requested that I check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own.

 

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review 2017-06-22 18:13
Stars in the Southern Sky by AmyPond45
Stars in the Southern Sky - AmyPond45 Stars in the Southern Sky - AmyPond45

3.5 stars. This is 'Jane Eyre' set in Texas with brooding millionaire rancher Jared and new tutor Jensen. I enjoyed the first half but skimmed some towards the end.

Source: archiveofourown.org/works/4083454
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