SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid
RATING: 3 Stars!!!
SYNOPSIS: While out at a party, Emira gets a phone call from her boss, Alix Chamberlain. There has been an incident at her house and she needs Emira to come get her daughter, Briar. Emira leaves the party, picks up Briar and heads to the local supermarket. While wondering around, a security guard appears. See, Emira is black and Briar is white. Emira has been accused to taking Briar, no matter how much Emira pleads that she is Briar’s nanny. While all this is happening, a bystander is filming the incident.
Emira runs into the bystander again on the train, Kelley. He and Emira begin to date. After the incident, Alix wants to make Emira feel like part of the family. Alix wants to be friends with Emira, and she tries very hard to make this happen. Alix invites Emira and her boyfriend to Thanksgiving dinner and strangely they know each other. How do they know each other?
While out with her friends one night, they inform Emira that the video from the supermarket had been leaked to the press. Who leaked it? Kelley sent the video to Emira and then deleted it, or did he?
Alix wants to help Emira out and hire her full time so she can have vacation time and health insurance, but what lengths will she go to to make that happen?
This is a beautiful story of dealing with racial injustices, coming of age, and relationships – romantic and familial.
REVIEW: The story line of this book is one that I have not read before (do not read too much into that – I do mostly read psychological thrillers). However, it touched upon race in a way that I have not read in a long time. I think the author was careful with the topic but really portrayed the inner feelings of people from different points of view when it comes to race and when it comes to being at a certain point in life. I also really enjoyed that Emira’s friends were ride or die.
My issue with this book is that it was VERY wordy, and not necessarily so. There were too many long descriptions and details added that were not necessary. The dialogue in this book really drove the story and I think the author should have just stuck to using the dialogue.
WIDOW FALLS by Kiersten Modglin
RATING: 4 Stars!!!!
SYNOPSIS: “Don’t trust anyone at Widow Falls.” This is what Sloane reads when she finds a journal under the floorboards of her bed where is staying while she is a guide at Widow Falls.
Widow Falls is a whitewater rafting camp where Sloane takes a two season contract. She lives on premises with the other guides in not so great living conditions. Sloane learns that she is replacing a guide who disappeared and cannot help but wonder what happened to her. Her roommates tell her about the folklore of Widow Falls but assure it none of it is true.
Sloane cannot help herself and she starts digging into the previous guide’s disappearance. She finds that something sinister is occurring at Widow Falls. What happened to the previous guide? What is going on at Widow Falls? Is Sloane in danger?
REVIEW: Well, KMod has done it AGAIN!! The book started out a little slow for my liking, but man, did she get me good… AGAIN!
The entire book I was trying to figure out what was going to happen – what was going to be the twists. While I was able to figure out one small twist, but not the reason why or how it happened, I did not figure out the major twist at all. I did not see it coming. This is why I love KMod books. They keep you guessing.
Once again, the background on the characters are provided on a need to know basis and not just written there for absolutely no reason. There is no useless verbiage, no useless descriptions that go on for pages. Everything that needs to be there is there, and all the superfluous writing is not there.
This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and keep you reading until you figure out what is actually happening at Widow Falls. And you’ll never guess.
IF YOU TELL: A TRUE STORY OF MURDER, FAMILY SECRETS, AND THE UNBREAKABLE BOND OF SISTERHOOD by Gregg Olsen
RATING: 4 Stars!!!!
SYNOPSIS: TRIGGER WARNING: Child Abuse, Adult Abuse, Murder
This is the gut wrenching, heartbreaking, tragic story of three sisters living with a mother who beat and tortured them. For more than a decade, Nikki, Sami, and Toni dealt with the torture, abuse, and degradation under the hand of Shelly.
Shelly is psychotic. Married three times, she was able to get her third husband, Dave, to partake in the abuse with her. Dave was blind – he truly believed that Shelly would never hurt his girls. At different times, Shelly invited people to come live at the house. While two of them were adults, she was still able to strip away their strength and their dignity. Eventually, due to Shelly and Dave’s abuse, these people died and Dave disposed of the bodies.
It is not until Nikki and Sami grew up and got out of the house, leaving Tori there, were they able to go get help. They did this when they learned Tori was enduring the abuse as well. Dave confessed. Shelly, while in prison, still thinks she did nothing wrong. Shelly is due out of prison in 2022.
REVIEW: This book is a difficult read merely because of the content. The book goes into details of the abuse of Nikki, Sami, Tori, Ron, Kathy, and Shane. The type of torture that these people, some of which were children, had to endure is cringeworthy and will break your heart. As a mother, I could never imagine hurting my children.
I appreciate the bravery of Nikki, Sami, and Tori to live through this horror, speak out, and then tell their story in a book. From the sounds of it, they turned out to be well rounded people, which is hard to imagine.
My ONLY issue with the book is the style of writing. It felt very juvenile and choppy. I understand that the author conducted interviews and tried to be as accurate with conversations as possible, but I felt that it was a little all over the place. There would be one paragraph about something and then a little design and then continued with another paragraph about something not connected. A new chapter may have been appropriate there. I also felt like the aftermath was cut short. I would have appreciated more about the arrest and prison time. I felt that needed as much attention as the abuse itself, just merely to get the satisfaction that Dave and Shelly finally got what was coming to them.
THE NANNY’S SECRET by Kiersten Modglin
RATING: 5 Stars!!!!!
SYNOPSIS: Olivia Mendes has a secret. After getting her new position with the Locke family, she realizes everyone has secrets and how powerful they can be. The Locke family is the owner of Locke Industries, a security company. While seemingly a perfect family, Olivia quickly realizes that things are not as they seem; the company is built on dark truths. As Olivia digs into the web of lies, she finds herself questioning all that she has learned. What is Olivia’s secret? What is going on inside the Locke family and Locke Industries?
REVIEW: I tried SO hard to figure out the plot twist. I took notes while reading the book, really thought about what kind of twist Kiersten would put into the book, and I did not figure it out. When it was revealed, I facepalmed because it was right in front of my face and I did not get it! Kiersten did it again with this book, creative, engaging, and beautifully flowing. It is hard to put down this book once you get started. The ending was shocking! I wanted a different ending but that is my personal preference.
If you have not read this book, you must!
THE LONG ROUTE: A LOVER’S LANDING NOVELLA by Kiersten Modglin
RATING: 4 Stars!!!!
SYNOPSIS: Lydia never planned to stay in Love, GA after high school, but Lydia never planned on falling in love with Adam. Adam never wanted to leave Love, GA, but Adam never planned on falling in love with Lydia.
Lydia needed a job. She went to Lover’s Landing, the local coffeeshop, but they were not hiring. Adam, whose family owned a farm, said they were looking for help. This is where the romance began. Lydia always told Adam after high school, she wanted to go to college in Atlanta, like her mother. Adam had always planned to stay to help out with the farm. High school ended, and one fateful night, Lydia left. Five years later, Lydia is back in Love, GA for work and now Adam wants answers. After secrets about that night are revealed and secrets about what has occurred in the past and since that night are revealed, what will happen to Lydia and Adam?
REVIEW: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. However, for me, I felt that this was more of a romance book than it was a romantic suspense book. This book will give you all the feels. What kept me reading was Lydia and Adam’s love. I wanted to see how it would progress and how they would handle difficult times. I fell in love with the characters as they were falling in love with each other. The writing flows so easily that it engrosses you in it and you will not want to put the book down! I wish I loved in the small, quaint town of Love, GA!
THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS by Kiersten Modglin
RATING: 4 Stars!!!!
SYNOPSIS: The town of Crimson Falls and Arlie Montgomery know one thing well – tragedy. Every year, days leading up to and on Founder’s Day, tragedy strikes. Arlie, a thriller author, knows this too well. Her husband had been killed. With the national news of the death, her barely there career skyrockets. As the anniversary of his death approaches, Arlie was driving home one day and came upon a man in the woods outside of her town. He does not have any memory of who he is or why he was heading towards Crimson Falls. Arlie, who was lonely, decides to help the man out and take him into her home. With Founder’s Day approaching, crime is on the rise. This time there is a twist – the crimes follow those of the crimes in the books that Arlie has written. Who is committing these crimes? Is it the stranger? What happened to him that he lost his memory? Arlie is under a time crunch; in her last book, the victim is an author.
REVIEW: I easily gave this book four stars because I did not see the end coming from a mile away. Kiersten Modglin does it again with her twists that keep you guessing. I wish I had a brain that allowed me to write twists the way she does; she makes it look so easy! This book is filled with heartache, murder and mystery mixed with a little bit of potential love. What better combination can you ask for?! Be prepared to be immersed in Arlie’s world, where the town is quaint most of the year, but scary during the days leading up to and the day of Founder’s Day.
THE PERFECT GETAWAY by Kiersten Modglin
RATING: 4 Stars!!!!
SYNOPSIS: Four couples and a dream vacation. What could be more perfect? Certainly, not this vacation. Four couples win a chance to stay on a private island for a weeks vacation; there is no cost for anything. Whether it was a first chance at a honeymoon, or to reconnect and save a marriage, these couples were grateful for the getaway. That is, until one of them ends up dead. With the only people on the island being these four couples and the staff, who is responsible for the murder? Is anyone else in danger? What secrets is everyone keeping?
REVIEW: I will be honest. I did not think that I was going to like this book. I heard people saying that if you liked The Missing you would like this book too. Well, The Missing was no my favorite book so I was a little nervous about reading this book. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this book.
One of the things I worry about when a book has just about nine main characters is the character development. However, the character development in this book what just where it needed to be and revealed information when it was the exact right time.
The tension that she creates amongst the characters is palpable. I was on the edge my seat trying to figure out who the murderer was along with the characters. Just when I was rooting for one character, I would find something out about them that made me second guess for which character I was rooting. An on the edge of your seat thriller until the very end, I highly recommend The Perfect Getaway!
MY HUSBAND’S SECRET by Kiersten Modglin
RATING: 5 Stars!!!!! Highly Recommend!
SYNOPSIS: Naomi husband’s had a secret. At his funeral, two strangers approach Naomi and that is when she learns of his secret. Naomi needs to know more – did she even know her husband? She invites these two strangers to a meeting; she needs to know more about his secret and more about the day of his death. As she talked to these two strangers, more secrets and lies are revealed – on more than on person’s part. What is her husband’s secret? Who are these strangers? What happened to Lucas on the day he died? Was it an accident or did something more sinister occur? Who else has secrets?
REVIEW: Kiersten Modglin has done it again! It is not a secret that I am a huge fan of Kiersten Modglin’s books. Once again, she hooked me right from the start. Kiersten has a wonderful way of weaving characteristics into her storyline so that you get it, but it is not flat out listed in a paragraph. Kiersten also touches on a topic that is very personal to me – post partum depression. While the circumstances surrounding this are touched upon in the book, it is not an in-depth discussion. However, I appreciated the fact that she tried to normalize it in the book. Kiersten also drops nuggets of huge information while not making a big deal out of it, making me say “whoa” with my eyes bugging out. This was a beautifully written book that I would highly recommend. I never saw the twists coming and it makes you think about how easy it is for someone to have secrets.
CALAVERAS by Lisa Michelle
RATING: 3 Stars
SYNOPSIS: Kate has secrets. She will stop at nothing to make sure her pregnant daughter Emma Lee is safe – no matter the cost. Emma Lee is wanted for murder and is on the run; Kate is using herself as bait. What is going on in the backcountry of Calaveras? What is Kate hiding? What is happening to Emma Lee? Did Emma Lee commit a murder?
REVIEW: I am going to be honest. I picked up this book because the author is a member of a book club I attend. However, I found it very hard to get into. The first chapter (maybe even 2) was boring. The story lines are very creative and intriguing. I just did not connect to the setting personally. Once I reached the chapters where the storyline began, I was interested, but it did not pull me in to the point where I could not put the book down. Unfortunately for me, the short, incomplete sentences really threw me for a loop. Also, there is a point in the book that the author uses the language “gender bender,” and while it may be correct vernacular for the setting, it did not sit well with me and honestly bothered me for the rest of the book. I also prefer conversation in a book, and there were a lot of descriptive paragraphs. There is also a whole chapter that focuses on how Kate met her husband that I could have done without. However, with all that being said, I was able to still give this book three stars for the creativity, and the fact that there a murder mystery that left me wondering who had done it!
THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN by Lisa Jewell
Rating: 2 Stars
SYNOPSIS: After having their house burn down, Clare and her children, Grace and Pip, move a garden square in urban London. Thirteen year old Grace quickly makes friends with the other children in the area, and starts to call Dylan her boyfriend. The other children in the area have all grown up together. Some welcome Grace and Pip, and others, not so much. After the yearly summer festival, Grace’s body is found unconscious with her clothes revealing her body. What happened to her? Is she okay? Who hurt Grace? Why would they hurt Grace?
REVIEW: The first chapter grabbed my attention right off the bat. However, my attention was quickly lost. The varying intertwining storylines were very interesting but the way that the author went about those storylines was very boring. The book was so drawn out that as I read it every night, I could not get more than 5-7 pages without falling asleep. Another, smaller issue, that I had with the book is that due to it taking place in London, the author uses phrases like “bursary.” Yes, I can and did look it up; I just hate losing any momentum that I have while reading a book. Lastly, the ending. It was horrible. Completely far fetched and for anyone with children, very disappointing. It almost felt unresolved.