No Ordinary Life by: Suzanne Redfearn

No Ordinary LifeNo Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This wasn’t what I signed up for, or maybe it was, but I didn’t know what I was signing up for at the time. Ignorance is my defense…and greed. I admit that I saw dollar signs, a chance to be more than just a worker bee struggling at the bottom. And yes Fame. …But what is the cost and is it worth it?

Raw and real is No Ordinary Life. It makes you want to scream and cheer. Wring a neck or two and shake it off. What would you do if your precocious 4 year old is discovered and lands her own tv show? What kind of parent would you turn out to be?

Faye Martin was already struggling. With a husband that abandoned her and their three children, she didn’t know if she would make the next rent check. Moving to California to her mothers is the only option she has left.

Her three children Emily, Tom, and Molly are all so different. Emily struggling with the move and coming to her own. Tom struggles with his emotions and rarely speaks and Molly is just delightful. She has that special gift of expressing cuteness and feelings.

Faye struggles with being a Hollywood mom, a parent and protecting her children from those that would exploit them. (including their own father)

The author took the theme of this book from Jodie Foster’s experience with an obsessed fan that shot the president and Justin Beiber’s rise to fame from youtube and brought a story that challenges you to the notion that the grass is not greener, that parenthood is not easy, and too much fame and fortune can change people for the worst.

A Special Thank You to Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Surviving Haley by: Brenda Baker

Surviving HaleySurviving Haley by Brenda Baker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Plato

The words ring true.

What does a family to do cope with an accidental death? Lauren’s family has moved from Minnesota to Nebraska to escape the pain of losing a sister and a daughter. However, the pain goes with them as they struggle to pick up the pieces.

The narration is told by Lauren and the pain she is suffering as she is dealing with guilt. Her addiction to food and not being able to trust. Both of her parents struggle as well. Her mother has her own addiction and her father at a loss in how to put his family back together. When Lauren freaks out on her first day at school, she makes an enemy but she also makes a friend. An enemy that has her own insecurities and a friend that has found Jesus. Her principal seeing that she needs help, directs her to the school therapist who by not forcing her to talk, helps her to see her pain so she can cope.

What I liked about this book is that is expressed raw pain and how going thru the pain is different for everyone. The author also used different addictions and how those addictions can get take over ones life. Lauren’s friends and enemies were not a broad brush but real people. A Christian, a Hindu, and the popular girl that appears to have everything. Sometimes being stupid can be brave.

A Special Thank You to Pelican Book Group and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Cruelest Cut by: Rick Reed

The Cruelest CutThe Cruelest Cut by Rick Reed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dr. Lewis and her husband were murder number one, Timmy Ryan, murder number two. And last, the Lamar kids, where their murder The Cruelest Cut refers to Detective Murphy.

A killer out to destroy Detective Murphy- his reputation, the people he loves in a cruel Mother Goose riddle that the killer leaves as his calling card. What do all the victims have in common? What will it take to end? Not only is detective Murphy looking for a sadistic killer, he is fighting political machine that is using the murder to feed its own political agenda. This thriller has everything, local politics vs doing what’s right and the media making its spin for ratings.

Murphy is Clint Eastwood with make my day attitude and not able to have any lasting relationship because his first love is his work. His character was well developed and centered around this thriller. I appreciated that the killings were indeed horrific but not in detail as they happened but the details were in the aftermath and in the investigation. I don’t think I could have read it if it was the more the other way.

The perp which you are introduced pretty early into the thriller but his connection to Murphy is slowly unwrapped closer to the end which makes it the pager turner that it is. It truly is a physiological thriller. I was hooked.

A Special Thank You to Kensington Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Forgotten Room by: Karen White

The Forgotten RoomThe Forgotten Room by Karen White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 Stars

A tiny thing as a lie could be like a pebble tossed in a pond, its ripples felt for decades. Disappointment and regrets become the destiny for 3 generation of women.

Three women, three different times and a Forgotten Room that ties them all together. It is prose of love lost as each generation is driven to find what bind them together. Olive is determined to bring good to her father’s name after he committed suicide. He built the Pratt mansion and she knows that the Pratt family is to blame. She becomes a maid for the household that her father was employed as an architect to bring justice to her family. She poses as a model for the youngest Pratt son and the two fall in love. Circumstances bring them apart and Olive begins a new relationship under the duress of her mother.

The narration is told in three voices and in three different times. Late 1800 to the 1940’s. Olive as she searches for redemption for her father. Lucy, Olive’s daughter as she searches for who her real father is. Kate the daughter of Lucy is now a doctor in male dominated world of the 1940’s. Her patient holds in his possession a painted picture of her likeness. Who is he and why the strong connection?

The story read well. Each other chapter was in each women’s voice as they discover who they really are and the destiny that was denied and pursued. It was a clean read in the style of Pride and Prejudice.

A Special Thank You to Penguin Group and Netgalley for the ARC the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by: Susan Meissner

Stars Over Sunset BoulevardStars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It shows how fragile we are. We were both shattered. We were broken people who longed to be whole. We thought it was love that was driving us to do what we did. But it wasn’t love. It was fear. We were both too afraid of ending up unwanted and unneeded. We held too tightly to what were afraid we would lose.

A prose of friendship between two different women all centered around a hat that was worn during the filming of Gone with the Wind. The hat ultimately represents a test of their friendship. Christine McAllister’s finds the hat in her store, she becomes intrigued to find the story behind the hat.

Violet Mayfield and Audrey Duvall become roommates after a friendship develops between them. They end up working together at the set of Gone with Wind each with different dreams. Their dreams take a different turn and secrets become a breeding ground to fear. Their friendship is long lasting but will it last when the secrets become uncovered.

Two very different women that fear drives them to make choices that affect the people that they love the most. I think that is what connects you to these women. I have to admit, I became irate with Vi but maybe it is because she reveals something in all of us. The story is also about friendship and how having a good friend that accepts the worst in us is rich indeed.

A Special Thank You to Penguin Group and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Kingdom Come by: Jane Jensen

Kingdom Come: An Elizabeth Harris NovelKingdom Come: An Elizabeth Harris Novel by Jane Jensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death would be a cruel and unwelcome thief.

Detective Elizabeth Harris has come back to Lancaster County from her beat in New York. She is ready to take life a little simpler after the tragic death of her husband. When the murder of a young girl shows up in a Amish barn, she begins to wonder if there is any simplicity left. As she uncovers the identity of the victim, it becomes personal and leads to another victim. The Amish are not forth coming in helping the department with case and it becomes complicated when a suspect becomes something more.

The plot is compelling and horrifying as it deals with sexual abuse and how a community protects it’s own instead of the victim. I liked how there was a balance of the problem without slamming the Amish. It did not paint a broad brush which I find more realistic and made the plot and the characters more real. The language was crass and I felt could have done well without. The plot was strong enough without it.

A Special Thank You to PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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After She’s Gone by: Lisa Jackson

After She's GoneAfter She’s Gone by Lisa Jackson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 Stars

A mystery thriller that takes sister competition to a whole another level. Cassie Kramer and her younger sister, Allie have the average love/hate relationship. Their mother made her fame in the movies until a vicious attack on her and her youngest daughter sent her packing out of LA to the quiet of Washington state. Her daughters have followed in her footsteps in the movie business. Allie a popular actress making a un upcoming thriller and her oldest daughter a screenwriter. When the movie takes a tragedy and Allie goes missing, does it become a publicity stunt or something more sinister. Cassie has her own demons with a broken marriage and checking herself into “head” hospital, she becomes frantic for her missing sister. Checking herself out of the hospital, she does a little detective work on her own to find out what happened. In searching for her sister, several crew members of the movie become fatal victims of a vicious attack that link her sister and her mother to the murders.

The book starts in pretty intense but then the intensity kind of dies out until the very end. I felt like at times I was going in circles with the plot instead of forward. The intensity was the descriptive narrative of the perp and the frame of mind. Intensity was good; going in circles not so good.

A Special Thank You to Kensington Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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