Deliver Her


I received this book from Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately I got this galley nearly a week after publication, so I didn’t have the time to get the book read and reviewed before publication.

Meg is a suburban mom dealing with suburban problems: a separation from her husband, a stressful job and the increasingly alarming behavior of her sixteen year old daughter, Alex.  Alex has been in a downward spiral since the death of her best friend and Meg is at the end of her rope.

They didn’t need another tragedy.

Unable to get her husband, Jacob, on board with the boarding school for troubled teens she has selected, she finds another way.  A “transporter” named Carl will take Alex to the school, to her fresh start.  It was a simple days journey, until it wasn’t.  Now Alex is missing.  Can they find her before the New England winter claims her?

Alex began to understand the miserable consequences of a bad decision.

This was an interesting read.  I liked the concept but found it very slow for my taste.  With the ever changing point of view I found that it dragged along too often.  Donovan is clearly a good writer, this one was just a bit off the mark for me.

Two stars.

Publication Date: May 1, 2016


The Girl I Used To Be


I received this ARC from Macmillan Children’s Publishing group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was the perfect lazy Sunday read; short, mysterious and fast-paced.

Olivia wasn’t always Olivia.  When she was three her father killed her mother and left her behind.  She believes this for fourteen years until new evidence indicates that isn’t what happened at all.  Now 17 and living on her own, Olivia decides to return to her hometown and find out what really happened.

I’m not going to forgive.  Someone murdered my parents and left them underneath the cold sky and thought they got away with it.  They were wrong.

With the help of a new old friend, Duncan, and a kindly neighbor, Nora, Olivia creeps closer to the truth and tries to find home again.

To me, Nora’s house is full of things I long for.  But none of them are tangible.

Olivia hasn’t led an easy life and the answers she seeks only make it that much more difficult but she’s determined to find the truth and the peace that comes with it.

Home’s the place where when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

This isn’t a complicated read but I will say that I didn’t guess the villain before the end which is in and of itself a feat.  I recommend this as a summer beach-read.

Three Stars.

Expected Publication: May 3, 2016

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu


I received this ARC from Simon & Schuster and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, do I feel completely ignorant about the world around me after finally putting this one down.  I know where Mali is on a map but I had no idea that there was a major conflict from 2012 that lingers until present day.  Further still, I had NO IDEA that dedicated and brave as all-get-out scholars, academics and ordinary citizens risked their lives to smuggle some of the world’s most precious literary treasures to safety.

Joshua Hammer certainly taught me a little something.  This book follows the conflict, loosely tied together with the story of Abdel Kader Haidara-the man who orchestrated the salvation of hundreds of thousands of manuscripts.

At a time when some of Mesopotamia’s finest treasures are being crushed or carried off in the night, and when Syria’s revered chief of antiquities has been executed by ISIS, here is a story with a good ending: In 2012, a librarian in Timbuktu pulled of a daring heist worth of Ocean’s Eleven by rescuing thousands of the world’s most valuable manuscripts from Al Queda.-Priscilla Painton, VP and Executive Editor

She said it best.  This is a painstakingly researched chronology of what happened during the Northern Mali conflict as told through the preservation of the manuscripts.  Hammer not only gives a detailed piecemeal of witness accounts but actually traveled to the sites soon after many of these events.

Haidara is a hero and I was enthralled reading about him-which for someone that rarely reads non-fiction is a big deal.

What drove him most was a belief in the power of the written word–the rich variety of human experience and ideas contained between the covers of a book.

As Al-Queda and their allies close in, Haidara doesn’t pick up the sword of his ancestors or the gun of his modern antagonists but instead wields art and culture as the most deadly weapon of all.

A jihadi, Haidara argued, in the original and best sense of the word: one who struggles against evil ideas, desire and anger in himself and subjugates them to reason and obedience to God’s commands.

An excellent read.  I am enriched for having read it.

Five stars.

Expected publication: April 19, 2016

Nowhere Girl


I received this ARC from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

Well if this wasn’t a haymaker, I don’t know what is.

Cady’s twin sister was murdered sixteen years ago.  She felt it happening and the despair and horror never left her.  Cady lives her life in the shadow of Savannah’s absence.

Trauma climbed along the corridors of my mind and wrapped itself around the present so I couldn’t really tell the two apart.

Now a famous author, the cold case is finally reopened and she thinks she’s getting somewhere.

Instead of letting that memory drown me, I’d write.  I’d write to stay alive.  I’d write to keep the pain out of reach.

Strecker is a true wordsmith.  I honestly wasn’t sure what I was reading most of the time.  From the beginning I thought I had it all figured out and I smugly read a chapter here and there for an entire month.  It wasn’t until a lazy Saturday that I resolved to get down to business and finish it and after a few chapters I couldn’t put it down.  I was wrong.

We can barely speak our sister’s name aloud, never mind talk about what happened to her.  And then to us.

As Cady essentially simply exists with the help of her best friend Gabby and a few close friends her strange twin connection with Savannah slowly brings things to light.  Cady tiptoes towards the truth but will she ever be able to accept it?

An excellent read.

Five stars.

Expected Publication Date: March 1, 2016

Hellraisers (The Devil’s Engine #1)


I received this book from Netgalley and Farror, Straus and Giroux (BYR) in exchange for an honest review.

After six weeks of radio silence (you can blame regular exams+finals week for my first graders for that) I have to say, this one was different.

Marlow Green is a kid on the tail end of his last chance.  He’s expelled from school almost as often as he changes his clothes.  The world is out to get him, everything is out of his control.

Charlie was right.  For someone who couldn’t jog ten paces without reaching for his inhaler, Marlow did a hell of a lot of running.  Not sprinting, not jogging, not running a marathon.  No, his kind of running was the other kind.  He never ran toward anything, he ran away from everything.”

Enter the action-a secret group of hellraisers, literally.  A society dedicated to fighting off demons and sending them back below.  There is a machine, actually there are two.  These mysterious engines offer ultimate power and united they will bring hell on earth.

It was human nature to avoid evil, a warning signal in the blood and right now that warning was blaring like a siren.

Marlow may not be much out in the world but as a hellraising Engineer he finds his place in it.  With Pan, Herc, the lawyers, an enigmatic boss and a motley crew of brethren Marlow takes on evil and all hell follows, literally (St. Patrick’s Church in New York is leveled).

Death was stalking him, hovering over his shoulder, just out of sight.  And death was the least of his worries, too.  Because where he was going the fires burned way hotter than this.

I found this book to be quite interesting.  While a bit slow at times, I kept on reading it in spurts as time permitted.  The last part (it was written in three) was the most fast-paced and interesting but the overall plot kept me coming back for more.  I look forward to what our ragged cast of heroes do in the next installment.  Fire and brimstone can’t win, right?

Four stars.

Publication Date: December 1, 2015

Black Rose (Shadows Book 1)


I received this ARC from Samhain Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Louisiana bayou was her home.  Nothing of New Orleans lived there.  The city was a viper, a red-lipped lady of the night.

Mia LeMay is a born and bred bayou girl who had traded in the swamps for a tea room and club in the city.  Her exciting but predictable life ends when she witnesses a brutal murder from her balcony.  The killer wants her dead and the intriguing Ryder is tasked with protecting her.  Between the things that literally go bump in the night, talk of voodoo and her questionable protector, Mia is in for it.

This was a quick, fun read.  A bit of mystery, a dash of romance and of course a slightly spooky back-drop.  I was able to sit down long enough to finish the last 60% on a work night which is saying something since I wrangle first graders all day.

Three Stars

Publication Date: October 13,2015

*This is a re-release with a new publisher*

Hard To Fight


I received this ARC from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

Once again I’m late (19 days post publication) with this review!  Over the summer I blamed my travels but this time I blame moving to Kurdistan two weeks ago.  The expat life is no joke.  I digress.

This book is exactly what it looks like; this is a formulaic bad boy meets good girl love story.  Raide Knox is definitely the kind of bad boy I can get behind, even if I found the heroine (Gracie) a little annoying at times.  Raide is a bad boy with a mission, on a path of revenge destined for sure destruction.  Gracie is a bounty hunter who spends far too much time worrying about how no one takes her seriously…I wouldn’t take her seriously either, she whines too much!  When she goes after Raide, Gracie finds that her first big take down is anything but easy. This is a cute little read, especially if you don’t mind a little smut.  Expect a HEA, even if it was a little too tidy.

Three stars.