Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review - While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

Book Summary

Tara Logan adores her perfect little family: husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer. 

But her happiness is shattered when she wakes up one morning in her neighbour’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them. And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee and scared of losing everything she cares about, Tara flees home and stays silent, holding her breath as the investigation grips the neighbourhood.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara starts to wonder if someone in her life knows what really happened that night. When the police turn their questions towards her, Tara realises she has to find out. 

But what will it take to uncover the real story, and can she survive the truth?

My Review - 3 1/2 stars

Lies, lies, lies and more lies in Part 1.  I was shaking my head and thinking what foolishness is this, do people think and act like this. Then after allowing myself to 'drink the kool aid' once Part 2 came I couldn't stop reading.

All the characters were fine, more then a few unlikable including the neighbors, I think most either like, dislike or are neutral about neighbors.  If a murder happened would this bring a neighborhood closer together or break them apart and have people moving out of their homes.

I don't consider Tara's family to be dysfunctional but bad things do happen to families, life happens.  Tara and Noah separate and are back together but it seems like the separation affected Rosie in a negative way that puts herself and others at risk.  She was an unreliable character, I never knew what to believe and neither did her family which then included the police.

There are secondary characters that add to the dilemma within the story and add distractions but in the end were they really distractions.

Nothing is as it seems which makes for a good read.  Those that read mystery and thrillers all the time will have different thoughts through out the book, some right and some very wrong.   Overall, it is an entertaining read but you do have to suspend belief.  The Detective continued to tell Tara that they are investigating but there are so many things as a reader you say, why haven't you did this, this and this etc, just comes across as incompetent.  I think this could actually take away the enjoyment for some readers but as I said it is an entertaining fast read.

This was my first Kathryn Croft book and I will read more by her.

Monday, November 21, 2016

I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge

How exciting - I just realized that I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2016.  I usually aim for 50 books but last year was a write off so I went for 30.  I have read 34 so far, I wonder if I will make it to 40 before the end of year.

It will soon be time to think about the first book to start 2017 off with and the Top Ten Books of 2016 I would recommend.

Here is a glimpse of the last few books I have read.

The average reading challenge with all the participants across the world is 47 books a year.

How are you doing on your Reading Challenge?

Reading challenge banner
Books Pledged137,281,660
Books Finished34,358,180
Avg. Books Pledged47
Challenges Completed9,609
Time Left40 days, 17 hours

You have read 30 of 30 books in 2016.
  • Your 2016 Challenge Books
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • The Sinner by Amanda Stevens
  • The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
  • The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett
  • The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza
  • Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
  • Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra
  • The Murder That Never Was by Andrea Kane

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Review - Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Book Summary

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

My Review 4 stars

Orphan Train is our book club choice this month and we will be discussing tomorrow.  My book club has really helped me step out of my comfort zone, usually going for historical reads.  At least this year was better, last year was the worst reading year I had ever had.  I really enjoyed this one, some beautiful amazing moments throughout the book.

This definitely was the book about 2nd chances with friendships and family.

What an emotional start to the book, to see so many children become orphans and to be loaded on a train to find new homes, completely the unknown.  Niamh is an Irish name and becomes Dorothy to be more american by one family and eventually becomes Vivian.

So I am learning to pretend, to smile and nod, to display empathy I do not feel.  I am learning to pass, to look like everyone else, even though I feel broke inside.  Kindle 36%

The book goes between Vivian's time as an Orphan during the early 1930's and Molly during 2011. Their lives were more alike than anyone would have thought. Molly is also an orphan that has got into some trouble and is helping Vivian for some charity hours.  During this time, they are the best thing that happened to each other.

Questions that came up that allowed the reader to think about.  What did you choose to take with you? What did you leave behind?  What insights did you gain?  What I loved was that even the families that were not protective or should not have been given orphan parental rights allowed Dorothy/Vivian to keep her necklace family heirloom.

Molly loved research without realizing she was bringing the modern world to Vivian, allowing her to cherish memories of her life and at 91 years old, begins enjoying Facebook and ordering a laptop to read more stories of other orphans which were also on the same Orphan Train as her.

I really enjoyed the way the historical parts of this book was told.  Molly interviewed Vivian for a homework assignment and took us on a journey that had the most heart warming parts you just had to love.  The general feeling is that it's best not to talk about the past, that the quickest relief will come in forgetting.  Kindle 10%  Orphan Train showed us the importance of memories and being grateful sometimes for the heartache and pain to cherish the moment you are in now.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A new week - What are you reading?

Book Date now hosts It's Monday What Are Your Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read List.

I am happy to see a new week but can you believe it is November.  We will be considering what makes the Top Ten lists soon.  Goodreads has started the polls, have you voted?

I'm currently reading the Book Club choice, good so far

I reviewed and really enjoyed, gave it 4 1/2 stars - My Review

I want to start this series next

I started but couldn't get into it, will try again

Friday, November 11, 2016

Review - Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Published - May, 2016

Book Summary

The day Adam Dunne's girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads "I'm sorry - S" sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.
Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate - and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before.
To get answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground.

My Review 4 1/2 stars

It was a long wait for Distress Signals but worth it.  Someone had an ARC and it was on their Top List of 2015, then I read a review earlier this year but it wasn't available on Kindle.  Thank you NetGalley, I did a search, it was available and my request was accepted, excited.

This is definitely not the vacation read while on a cruise, you could definitely become paranoid.  Adam and Sarah are comfortable in their 10 year relationship, he is waiting for his book deal to come through to give Sarah the world, but is it to late. He drops her off to the airport as she is going on a work trip, the 1st lie that comes to light.

Adam refuses to believe his girlfriend would disappear, choose to leave her life, her parents and him. He liaises with the police and they won't accept the missing person request as she is an adult and adults decide to leave, the statistics speak.  I enjoyed the police interactions with Adam, it was traumatic, astonishing and at times laughable.

"Oh, Jesus Christ."  In my peripheral vision, I could see Garda Cherub's head snap up from his sports pages.  "What the hell do you need to believe that something is going on here, Cusack?  What will it take?  Seriously, tell me.  Bloodstained clothes?  Video footage?  A dead body?"  Kindle 47%

During Adam's investigation there is another story line that is completely different and does not connect until the end of the story.  Romain doesn't feel loved by his mom but does everything to make her happy but there is always darkness around Romain that ends badly.  He is taken away when he is only 9 and starts a new life at 18, where does his new life take him?

His personality had always been a string of learned behaviors, each one discovered, studied, and acquired quite consciously, many of them during Tanner's treatment - a repertoire of reactions he could pull out and display as needed.  86%

At first you can't think why these stories are combined and they are so different they do not distract from each others story line but begin to make you think from a mysterious mind on whodunit.  This is not a spoiler, it is not that easy, the ending is not obvious, the story lines are very well done.

You don't hear about cruise ship crimes but when Adam Googled them, he couldn't believe how many had occurred and he wouldn't accept his girlfriend could possibly be dead.  If she was, he would find her murderer but what next when he does.

What a great executed book, I really enjoyed this one.  You don't want to read while on a cruise though.  International waters may mean the crimes go unnoticed and no investigation due to Maritime laws.

This will definitely be one of my favourites of 2016.  I highly recommend.