Even If I fall, Abigail Johnson

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Title: Even If I Fall

Author: Abigail Johnson

Pages: 352 

Genre: YA

Is this book part of a series?  No

Publish Date: January 8th, 2019

Summary:

          One night- one action- can shatter everything.  No one knows that better than Brooke.  A boy is dead, and her brother is locked away having pled guilty.  Why?  What happened? Jason and Cal were best friends!  Part of her feels that there’s something missing- she can’t let it go.  What could have happened to come to that point?  The rest of her family is broken- her father hides in his workshop, her sister never talks and doesn’t leave the house, her mother runs from the issue- literally….. and Brooke?  She has to be the one to keep everything together.  Not just going with Mom to visit Jason, but accepting the disdain of the town that used to accept her, the hatred shown her at work… the stares.  She used to live for ice skating, wanting nothing more to make a career of it, but that was before.  How can she leave now?  The worst part?  She can’t even talk to anyone about these things- her family is too vulnerable and her only friend has no idea any of this ever even happened.  

Then she runs into Cal’s brother Heath- and he might get it.  He lost his brother, the town sees him and his family differently.  It’s wrong, the two should hate each other- her brother killed his!  And yet… through their pain, a friendship blossoms- maybe something more if they are strong enough to grab hold.   But when Brooke learns something about that night- something important- will her loyalty to her family keep her quiet, or will she help the broken boy she has grown to care for?

My thoughts:

           I felt like this book was really well done.  Brooke’s an interesting character, with her pain, loyalty and anger.  I loved watching her, even as I hated some of the things she did.  I hated some of the things she did to her best friend Maggie, though I could see her line of thought.  I felt for her and her family.  These characters are well developed and interesting, the subject of the book done with care and finesse.  So often books like this either feel too heavy. or so light as to be farcical.  This one, to me, was just right.  You need a bit of warmth, a bit of levity, but you can’t detract from the story.  You need to feel for the characters- and I did.  For me, this is a four star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s language and violence.  It’s not over the top and actually very well done.  While I disagree with Amazon who has marked this for ages 12+, it’s definitely geared toward teens.  Fifteen definitely, younger at parents discretion.  I give it a three.General.svg

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Harlequin Teen/ Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!  pro_reader_120

The book comes out 1-8-19, who’s ready?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Target: Alex Cross, James Patterson

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Title: Target: Alex Cross

Author: James Patterson

Pages: 432

Genre: Mystery, thriller

Is this part of a series?  Yes, book #26 of the Alex Cross series.

Published: November 19th, 2018

Summary:

(From Goodreads)

TARGET: HEAD OF STATE

A leader has fallen, and the procession route from Capitol Hill to the White House is lined with hundreds of thousands of mourners. None feel the loss of a President more keenly than Alex Cross, who has devoted his life to the public good. 

TARGET: UNITED STATES CABINET

A sniper’s bullet strikes a target in the heart of DC. Alex Cross’s wife, Bree Stone, newly elevated chief of DC detectives, faces an ultimatum: solve the case, or lose the position for which she’s worked her entire career. The Secret Service and the FBI deploy as well in the race to find the shooter. Alex is tasked by the new President to take a personal role with the FBI, leading an investigation unprecedented in scale and scope. 

TARGET: ALEX CROSS 

Alex has a horrible premonition: is the sniper’s strike only the beginning of a larger attack on the nation? It isn’t long before his fears explode into life, and the nation plunges into a full-blown Constitutional crisis. His ingenuity, his training, and his capacity for battle are tested beyond limits in the most far-reaching and urgently consequential case of his life. As the rule of law is shattered by chaos, and Alex fights to isolate a suspect, Alex’s loyalty may be the biggest danger of all.

My thoughts:

Let’s be real for a second.  What keeps us coming back to this detective’s world?  I have been following this series for most of my adult life by now!  Personally, I love this character and his family- it’s like revisiting an old friend.  I adore the fact that I get to watch them grow and change.  Also, I love the insight Patterson gives us into the opposing side- the villains.  Every time I open a book from this series I am enthralled, led into a high-stakes game.  

In this one, I got to see more of the kids, which I love; but also more of Bree- and in a stronger role.  I loved that.  The book was well done and fast paced, the characters were perfectly developed…. honestly, this one was amazing.  I wait for these books every year.  Five stars!  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale there’s a large amount of violence, some fairly explicit sexual content, and language.  I have to give this one an eight.  Definitely geared toward adults!  adult content road sign

The book is out- go get it!

Link to book:

Amazon

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Broken Heart Attack, James J. Cudney

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Title: Broken Heart Attack

Author: James J. Cudney ( Jay from This is My Truth Now)\

Pages: 272

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Is this part of a series?  Yes, book two of the Braxton Campus Mysteries.

Published:  November 25th, 2018

Summary:

Braxton Hall is gearing up for the drama of the year- and I don’t just mean their production of King Lear!  Kellen is still getting used to being back home and working under a woman that obviously hates him and his family.  Emma has finally come down to be with him and he loves having his little girl, but she was delivered with a lot of unanswerable questions.  There are things in his past that could affect the future- and not all of them are willing to stay put in the past.  Then there’s Nana D- it isn’t enough that the outspoken senior is running for mayor, she also wants Kellen involved in the life of one of her friends Gwen.  The two are sure that there’s something fishy going on- Gwen’s family is trying to kill her!  Before he even has time to process this news, she’s dead and Nana D wants him on the case- regardless of the fact that he reminds everyone he isn’t a detective.  Could someone have seriously harmed an old woman, and why?  Suspects- and motives- abound, but can Kellen solve the mystery before his past catches up to him or the sheriff strangles him?

My thoughts:

           I could have sworn I did this review a week ago- sorry guys!  I read this a bit ago and loved it.  It has the great dialogue and character development I loved from the first one, and we are slowly watching each character grow.  Kellen is an interesting character, and I love watching him with Nana D and Emma.  The plot of this one was interesting and the book had a nice flow to it.  It’s one of those quick, fun reads that make me love this genre.  You know the ones- you find yourself turning page after page long after you should be asleep simply because you aren’t ready to let go.  Even with the weighty topics here (there has, after all, been a murder), there’s a good dose of sass and sarcasm I love.  I can easily see this as being a series that I will be reaching for often- I am already praying there’s a book three in the making, and you can bet I will be pre-ordering it.  For me this is a five star book- I highly recommend it.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content side, there’s some language and violence but it’s fairly tame.  I think that’s one of the things I loved about this one- like Ellery Adam’s books, Cudney doesn’t rely on sexual drama or shock value to sell books.  There’s romantic interest, but it’s not hyped up or thrown all over the place (this is an issue I often have with Janet Evanovich’s books and why I am still on the fence about the new Stephanie Plum book).  I would give this one a two.  General.svg

The book is out!  Have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Merry Christmas!!!

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Merry Christmas guys!  I have been so busy and I apologize.  I am literally three reviews behind schedule and haven’t been here much in the last week.  We were busy at work, family came in  and…. life (*insert excuse here*).    Things just got hectic, but wonderful.

I got to meet my brother’s girlfriend Dana, spend time with the O’hana, and see a really neat aquarium.  Apparently there’s one linked to the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield- I know, I was skeptical too… but it was gorgeous.  They had enormous tanks, birds, bats, and terrific works of art.  Large murals depicting the sea, panoramas and statues.

Yesterday we had the O’hana Christmas.  I got to see my aunt and uncle, and play games.  Uncle Chris came back from medical school at St. Vincent, so that was really nice.  I missed them.  For me, this is what the holidays are about.  I love that I can be around everyone I love.  We also wanted to make it a “sweet sixteen” for my sister’s pug, p-chan.  Sadly we aren’t sure how much longer she’ll be with us and it’s hard to come to terms with that.  The only pic I could find that turned out well was from a few years ago… but it was cute.  Everyone brought their dogs- that’s my brother’s chihuahua, Noodle.

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I just wanted to touch base and say Merry Christmas.  Love you guys!

-Amber

My Favorite Things- 2018 Edition!

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Hey guys!  I just realized that I don’t have any new releases to post tomorrow, and I was thinking about what I wanted to do instead.  I have had a lot of great finds this year, and I think this is the perfect time to share!!

My favorite New friend:

Anyone who knows me knows the answer to this one already.  At the beginning of the year Warren allowed me to get a second cat.  We wanted a mouser as my older cat, Sassy Britches, is more of a lover than a fighter (unless, apparently, you’re another cat).  Boo is high energy and hilarious.  Curious by nature, she likes to supervise everything from my blog posts and makeup routine to Warren’s cooking and YouTube perusal.  While not one for overlong bouts of affection, I think she’s the purrfect little buddy.   We changed her name- I didn’t like the name Spooky for a black cat… how trite.  I looked at Warren while holding our new cat and said “This is Spooky, she’s my Boo”.  She’s been Boo ever since, unless she’s in serious trouble. 

Favorite book of shorts (stories, poems or thoughts)

        Here, I actually have two that I loved a lot and I can’t pick between them.  Each one was intriguing in their own right.  Take Me With You had a lot of poems that were filled with sweetness or really thought provoking for me.  Gmoring and Gnight left me feeling warm, cared for and uplifted.  I actually feel like this one would be a wonderful Christmas present for anyone.  

Favorite Music:

I have found several songs on Spotify and the radio that I love.  I mostly go for voices, beautiful or really unique ones hit me hard- I think that’s why I used to love the Voice so much.  (I don’t watch it too much anymore because I miss watching with my cat, Captain Jack, that passed years ago.  I know it’s weird but I keep waiting for him to jump onto the couch and settle in when the theme song comes on.  It just isn’t the same anymore).  But I digress.  Halsey has a great voice and I love her music, especially Without Me…. but I can’t have her on my work playlist because she likes to slip at least one curse word in every song.  Another is Panic at the Disco- I love Brandon Urie’s voice!  There are a few from the new album, Pray For The Wicked, that I can have on my work list.  My current favorites are High Hopes, and Dying In LA.  

Andrea Bocelli has also come out with a new CD called Si.  I am completely in love with this man’s voice.    Honestly, it just does something to me.  He has this ability to take singers that are good, even great, and get them to produce something even better.  It’s magic.  He did two songs with Ed Sheeran, one was a symphony version of Sheeran’s Perfect.  The other is on Bocelli’s new CD called Amo Saltanto Te.  He also did an absolutely gorgeous song with Dua Lipa called If Only.  Seriously, the guy is amazing and I am obsessed with these songs.  

Favorite YA/ Children’s book:

    This one definitely goes to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Gridelwald, J. K. Rowling.  I loved everything about this!  It was so interesting to see Dumbledore as a younger wizard, and I loved the time I got to spend with Newt and crew.  It set us up for a great series.  I know this is book two, but I feel like we were still doing a lot of world building and character introductions- I actually liked that.  This is actually my favorite movie experience this year as well.  
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My Favorite Fantasy book of the year:

           I was so excited about Katherine Arden’s sequel to The Bear and The Nightingale.  I loved the world building and the characters- getting to see more of Vasya was amazing.  Seriously, The Girl In The Tower is amazing.  
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My Montage of favorite fiction:

  Yeah…. in the end I couldn’t choose just one.  There were so many gorgeous books that stayed with me for one reason or another.  Even though I am not going to hit my reading goal (I wanted 150 books read this year, but have only read about 110 so far) I feel like most of them were amazing.  I’m just going to end with a collage of greatest hits I guess.  

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The Whispered Word, Ellery Adams

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Title: The Whispered Word

Author: Ellery Adams

Pages: 244

Genre:  Cozy mystery

Is this book part of a series?  Yes, book #2 of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society.

Published:  November 27th, 2018

Summary:

          The town of Miracle Springs is still reeling from previous drama (book #1) and an economic slump.  When two newcomers drift in with a business that sells your stuff on the internet for you, it seems like a godsend.  Can the owners of Virtual Genie be trusted, though? 

Then there’s the matter of the young woman Nora found in her bookstore.  Abilene showed up one day dressed in a too-big house dress, flip-flops and a hospital ID band.  She can cook, create gorgeous displays and appraise jewelry and watches- what she can’t do is work more than the most basic technology or tell the girls where she came from.  They all have pasts, and they want to help this woman without asking too many questions.  She’s quickly accepted into Nora’s bookstore and Hester’s bakery, along with Virtual Genie, and is even able to rent out a studio apartment.  When the groups’ help, there’s every hope that her days on the run from her past are over.

But the death of a townswoman put that all aside.  Can they really trust the newcomers that come in just as one of their own dies?  When Amanda Fry’s son breezes into town to claim his mother’s book collection, there’s some drama and he, too ends up dead.  Can Nora and the girls figure out who the killer is and protect the town that has become their own?

My Thoughts:

              I loved this book!  The Secret, Book and Scone Society left me with an enormous author-crush.  I devoured as many of Adam’s books as I could get my hands on while waiting for this release.  In deed, every year I allow myself 10 must-have-or-I’ll-die books.  This one was on that list.  I love the characters: Nora, June, Estella and Hester.  They are so very different but their common thread- painful pasts- have brought them together.  These aren’t victims, they are strong resilient women that have seen things and are learning to deal with life, and to trust people, again.  Add Nora’s love of books and the quotes throughout the story and I am hooked.  I loved that I got to see the women grow here, and learned more about Hester.  I also really liked the time spent on other characters in the community and our new additions.  I felt like the character Abilene was done well.  The plot was really good and the writing had a nice even flow.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Five stars all the way!  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s some language, light sexual content and violence.  I would give it a four.  Parental Guidance  I would still give it to my niece, but she’s sixteen now.

The book is out- have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

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New Release Tuesday!!! 10-04-18

Hey guys!  This week I have two new releases to discuss.  One is a great contemporary fiction with a lot of humor and heart, the other an intriguing historical fiction with aspects of magical realism.  Let’s get started!

my favorite half-night standThis has been a great year for contemporary romance!  I found several I loved.  This one here was interesting because I loved the interaction between characters.  Millie stinks at getting personal- she’s smart and funny but extremely guarded even with her best guy-friends.  Reed is an open book, and actually craves connection.  When sparks start to fly between them can they find a way to be together or will Millie loose her best friend?

I had some issues with the vagueness of Millie’s work when we went into detail about Reed’s work day… it just seemed odd to me.  As per usual, some of the things the characters did made me cringe… but I loved them still and was rooting for them.   This is a four star book for me- would recommend.

once upon a riverA little girl is brought into an ancient tavern dead.  When the local healer is brought in there is no doubt… except that she isn’t.  She comes back to life!  Is it a miracle?  Is it science?  And what to do with the child now?  She doesn’t talk.  Doesn’t seem to feel a strong affinity for anyone…. so who does she belong to?  Two families, one a wealthy couple and one a farming family, are eager to claim her as part of their family.  So is the pastor’s housekeeper.  Who does she belong with and where did she come from?

I hated this book at first- not going to lie.  I would be getting into the flow of the book, eager to learn more about the characters in front of me when out of no where we’d veer off somewhere else.  Different characters, a discussion on the actual starting point of the Thames, an empathetic pig…. you name it.  Eventually it all ties together gorgeously, and you have a fantastic story (I found the use of magical realism here especially well done).  The question is, how much patience do you have?  Because in the first half of the book the author will try it several times.  Still, it’s definitely worth it in the end.   This is a four star book for me-would recommend.

So, that’s me for the week.  What are you excited about?  Have I missed any releases?  Let me know!

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