Murder is No Accident by A.H. Gabhart Review

mi

Synopsis: Young Maggie Greene may be trespassing in the old, empty Victorian mansion on a quiet street in Hidden Springs, but all she wants is some private time in the magnificent tower room to write her stories. Certain she’ll be in trouble if caught, she hides when a realtor shows up. But someone else is in the house too, someone even more worried about getting caught. When Maggie finds the realtor’s body at the bottom of a flight of stairs and the other person gone, Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane is called in. He assumes the realtor’s death is a tragic accident–until a second person is found dead in the house. When Maggie is threatened, Michael must catch the murderer before anyone else dies.

Cozy mystery fans will love this third installment in The Hidden Springs Mysteries series from an author who knows how to make small-town America sweet, sentimental–and a little sinister.

My Thoughts: Up until now, I had only attempted to read one other cozy mystery and I dnf’d it because I found it boring. I wanted to give the genre another chance so I requested this book to review. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion that cozy mysteries are too tame for me.

The book started out great, with a death of a realtor in a large Victorian mansion. I love the setting and the characters…it takes place in a small town called Hidden Springs and everyone knows everyone. I also enjoyed the author’s descriptions of people and places, I was able to picture everything very easily.

Unfortunately, it dragged a lot in the middle and by the end I didn’t even really care who the culprit was.

I also found the procedures used by the police in this book ridiculous. I’m not an expert at crime scene investigation but I’ve watched enough crime shows to know that there are certain procedures that need to be followed (regardless of the size of the town). The romance in the story also felt as though it was just put in to satisfy those who want some romance in a story….it didn’t fit well with the plot and almost felt like an afterthought.

To be fair, if I liked cozy mysteries, I probably would have really enjoyed this book but I like a bit more grit and action in my stories. I would absolutely recommend this if you are a fan of cozy mysteries or stories about small towns.

My Rating: 2 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel Review

rg

Synopsis: After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

My Thoughts: It’s been 2 days since I finished this book and I still can’t get it off my mind. Unfortunately, the more time that passes, the more I’m disturbed by the content of this book. I would call this a “trainwreck” book…as I was reading it, I wanted to stop because of the twisted and disturbing nature of the content but for some reason I couldn’t look away.

This is not a feel good book, it was the opposite for me. I feel disgusted and frustrated and disturbed after reading it. With all that being said, I must say that this book falls into the unputdownable category for me. I devoured it in a few sittings, I needed to know what happened to Allegra and I needed to know how things would end. The writing style was very fluid, the characters were developed very well, and the book is full of several unexpected twists and turns. I think the fact that I have such an adverse reaction to this book is a testament to what a good writer Amy Engel is.

I don’t think this was the book for me…those familiar with me probably know that I am pretty conservative. This book had way too much vulgarity and graphic sexual content in it for my taste. I understand why it was there but I don’t feel that the author needed to go into as much detail as she did at times.

My Rating: This is one of the most difficult books for me to rate as I found it extremely compelling and well written but I can’t say that I liked it. Because of the unputdownable factor I rated it 4 /5 stars.

4 stars

I can’t in good conscience recommend this book to anyone as I really didn’t like the content but I will say that this is a book with a lot of adult content. If you like dark, disturbing, taboo subjects, you might want to try it.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron Review

pd

Description: “My father had more than fifty children.”So begins the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. With her father wanted by the FBI for killing anyone who tried to leave his cult–a radical branch of Mormonism–Anna and her siblings were constantly on the run with the other sister-wives. Often starving and always desperate, the children lived in terror. Even though there were dozens of them together, Anna always felt alone.She escaped when she was thirteen . . . but the nightmare was far from over.A shocking true story of murder, fear, and betrayal, “The Polygamist’s Daughter” is also the heart-cry of a fatherless girl and her search for love, faith, and a safe place to call home.

My Thoughts: This book is a gritty and disturbing look into what life was like for Anna LeBaron, who grew up in a polygamist cult, under the rule of her murderous father Ervil LeBaron. If I could sum up my thoughts for this book in one lesson, it would be how selfishness and narcissism can destroy lives.

Anna’s childhood was spent moving from place to place, living in poverty with too many people in small places, and facing many tragedies. The book takes you to these places with Anna and as the reader, I  felt like I was with her, feeling the sadness, fear and uncertainty that she was facing…frustrated at how she was treated and neglected.

I appreciated that this book was real, the “nasty” stuff wasn’t glossed over and Anna was brutally honest about the struggles she faced in adulthood as a result of her childhood.

Anna LeBaron is a very strong woman and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to have read her book. I think it will be therapeutic to women who have struggled with issues in their childhood, particularly with their fathers. I highly recommend this book.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Auctor Trilogy by T.R. Wolf Review

auctor

Synopsis: When seventeen-year-old Addie Auctor’s mother is murdered by her father, she must confront many secrets that her family has hidden from her. The worst of these secrets is that Addie’s father, Donovan Hawthorne, is still hunting Addie because of an ancient blood feud between her mother’s family, the Auctors, and her father’s family, the House of Hawthorne. In order to be protected from the House of Hawthorne, Addie and her brother, Augustus, are sent to Initiation at an exclusive University, the Wicked Cabal.
Initiation is nothing like Addie expects. She is immediately separated from Augustus and thrown in with four complete strangers – Fallon, Maddox, Liam, and Tempe. Addie must try to forge friendships with her fellow Initiates while they solve clues, battle mystical creatures, and explore increasingly dangerous places.
Readers of all ages will love this adventure filled with suspense, treachery, and romance.

My Thoughts: I was a bit hesitant to read this book when the author contacted me because the genre is a bit out of my comfort zone but the cover of it convinced me to give it a try. I am very glad that I gave it a chance, it was a perfect book to read for someone who is just getting into fantasy…it has some fantastical creatures but the majority of the story feels more like a dystopian or adventuresome story.

I really enjoyed the story…the author was great at imagery and world building. The story is very atmospheric, I felt as if I was right there with the characters, trudging through the forests, caves, and obstacles of initiation to the Wicked Cabal.

There was a lot of suspense and the story was full of action and adventure. I found myself flipping pages quickly to find out what would happen next. The pacing was great…the story had 481 pages but I found myself at the halfway point in no time.

I wasn’t a fan of the romance in the story, it felt quite forced and ingenuine (but I rarely like romance in books). I also felt that the characters lacked a lot of common sense in many circumstances, which was a bit frustrating.

Overall, I was very pleased with this book and would definitely pick up the next one when it comes out, I’m very curious to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy or who is interested in dipping their feet in the genre.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Your Next 24 Hours by Hal Donaldson and Kirk Noonan Review

24.jpg

Description: If asked, who among us wouldn’t say we were kind people? But kindness is often manifested in feelings of pity or sympathy–especially when others are watching–rather than in deeds. And when it comes down to it, what good does mere feeling do for the world?
Your Next 24 Hours is about something much bigger–a lifestyle of kindness, without thought of reciprocation, extended toward every person in our lives, both friend and foe. Through powerful true stories of kindness lived out, this book shows readers the enormous difference they can make through small, doable acts of kindness in their families, communities, workplaces, schools, and churches. It shows how every encounter with another person is an opportunity to be kind–and a chance to change our world.
Readers of Your Next 24 Hours will find deep satisfaction and joy as they discover how they can be part of a revolution of kindness that starts with them and reaches out through every person their lives touch.

My Thoughts: Lately I’ve felt that the world really needs more kindness and the quote “be the change you want to see” came to mind when I would think this. So when the opportunity to read this book came along, I really wanted to read it.

This book is filled with stories of ordinary people as well as celebrities who chose kindness in big and small ways. It also has ideas for how you, the reader can perform acts of kindness in day to day life.

I found this book very inspiring and uplifting. It was a nice reminder that there is still good in this world and encouraged me to look for opportunities to give and serve each day.

It was enjoyable to read and very fast paced for a non-fiction book. I highly recommend this to all people who want to see more kindness in the world.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Life After by Katie Ganshert Review

la

Synopsis: On the day of a late spring storm, in Chicago, Autumn Manning boarded an “L” train. A bomb explodes, killing everyone in the train car except for Autumn—the sole survivor. A year has passed and Autumn suffocates under a blanket of what ifs and the pressing desire to bring the victims back to life, every day, if only for her. She doesn’t want their stories to be forgotten. She wants to undo what cannot be undone. An unexpected ally joins her efforts, also seeking answers and trying to find a way to stumble ahead.
But one victim’s husband, Paul Elliott, prays to let the dead—and their secrets—rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to hurt his loved ones.
Caught between loss and hope, these restless souls must release the past to embrace a sovereign God.

My Thoughts: This is one of those books that will pull at your heartstrings. The main character Autumn is the sole survivor of a train bomb and she is left with survivor’s guilt. Through a set of circumstances, she comes to meet Paul, the husband of one of the victims and secrets are revealed on both sides.

I really liked the characters in this story…each one had his or her own voice and felt very real. I also felt that the story was not “sugar coated” in any way, there are many raw emotions on display and characters go through a gamut of emotions after dealing with a senseless tragedy.

This is a Christian fiction book and the mention of God is definitely present but I feel like the story would still be very enjoyable to non-Christian readers. I loved the Christian aspect of the story, it was subtle but very beautiful.

This one is definitely a winner, but if you are sensitive, keep a box of tissues handy when reading it.

My Rating: 4.5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison Review

ht

Synopsis: In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping photograph—a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken by a multi-story fall, and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America’s largest retailers, Presto Omnishops Corporation.

Eight thousand miles away, at Presto’s headquarters in Virginia, Cameron Alexander, the company’s long-time general counsel, watches the media coverage of the fire in horror, wondering if the damage can be contained. When the photo goes viral, fanning the flames of a decades old controversy about sweatshops, labor rights, and the ethics of globalization, he launches an investigation into the disaster that will reach farther than he could ever imagine – and threaten everything he has left in the world.

A year later, in Washington, D.C., Joshua Griswold, a disgraced former journalist from the Washington Post, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower who offers him confidential information about Presto and the fire. For Griswold, the challenge of exposing Presto’s culpability is irresistible, as is the chance, however slight, at redemption. Deploying his old journalistic skills, he builds a historic case against Presto, setting the stage for a war in the courtroom and in the media that Griswold is determined to win—both to salvage his reputation and to provoke a revolution of conscience in Presto’s boardroom that could transform the fashion industry across the globe.

My Thoughts: This book took me some time to get through as it was more of a cerebral read. It was an extremely important book for Americans to read and very interesting, but it wasn’t an enjoyable book for me. This was difficult at times as I tend to read more for pleasure and to escape.

The subject matter was something that really made me think and I will continue to think about it when I purchase clothes and other items that are produced in other countries. It’s easy to live in our little first world bubbles and “forget” about the things that are happening in the world around us. The story made me uncomfortable and sad, especially when finding out that it’s loosely based on true events that have occurred in the past and are without a doubt occurring at this very moment.

I had a bit of trouble with the writing style, the pacing seemed to be disjointed at times. One thing I loved was the atmospheric quality to the story…the reader travels around the world and each place is described vividly.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this story to everyone. It definitely isn’t a “happy” read but it’s definitely an important story.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.