Friday, December 09, 2016

#FRC2016 Book Review: The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

Title: The Marrige Lie
Author: Kimberly Belle
Published: December 2016, MIRA
Format: ARC E-copy, 352 pages
Source: Netgalley
Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 

Iris and Will's marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris's happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Kimberly Belle and WOW...what a book! I was hooked from the very beginning and flew through this story, unable to tear myself from the pages until I got to the very end - and let's just say, this book is filled with crazy twists, all the way til the very last sentence. Hands down, this book is one crazy ride!

This is one of those books that is hard to write a review for without giving too much away, so I apologize if I am too vague, but trust me this is a book you don't want to miss, especially if you like multi-layered, suspenseful, twisty stories. Add in multi-dimensional, crazy characters that you aren't sure if you can trust or not and you have quite a story. 

The basic premise is the Iris's husband is killed in a plane crash - a plane headed to Seattle when she believed he was headed to Orlando. She thought she knew her husband and as she is now overcome with grief, she must figure out if her marriage was what she thought it was or did Will fabricate the whole thing, and if he did, why? Did she ever really know her husband?

This book will have you on the edge of your seat, flipping through the pages, trying to figure out what is going on right along with Iris. You will go through a range of emotions and also find yourself asking what would you do if you ever were to find yourself in this position. It's definitely a heart-pounding read and one I will not be forgetting anytime soon!


The Marriage Lie  by Kimberly Belle is one of  BookSparks "Fall Reads" reading selection picks.
Follow the #FRC2016 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other fall books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #FRC2016 #Shelfie Grand Prize Giveaway and other fun links.    

Review: Echo Lake by Carla Neggers (audio)

Title: Echo Lake
Author: Carla Neggers
Series: Swift River Valley, #4
Narrator: Susan Boyce
Published: January 2015, Blackstone Audio Inc / MIRA
Length: 9 hours 25 minutes / 352 pages
Source: Library / Netgalley
In snowy Swift River Valley, unexpected romance is just around the corner…

Heather Sloan has landed her dream job—the renovation of Vic Scarlatti's stately 1912 country home overlooking the icy waters of Echo Lake in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. It's the perfect project for the family business, but for once, Heather is in charge.

Diplomatic Security Service agent Brody Hancock left Knights Bridge at eighteen, a few steps ahead of arrest and the wrath of Heather's older brothers. Though Brody had never planned to return, Vic, a retired diplomat and friend, needs his help.

Staying at Vic's guest house makes it impossible to avoid running into a Sloan at every turn—especially Heather. Seeing her again has affected Brody more than he wants to admit. But Heather is wary of Brody's sudden interest in her, and she suspects there's more to his homecoming than he's letting on…

Set against the scenic backdrop of a New England winter, Echo Lake is a captivating tale of family, friends and the possibility of new love.

My thoughts: This is the 4th book in Carla Neggers' Swift River Valley series, but it's only the second book I've read and I have to say, I find it's a series I don't necessarily have to read in order. Not that I don't want to read all every book, but I just haven't found the time yet!

This book is Heather and Brody's story and I really enjoyed it! They share a past and there is definitely chemistry between them now that they have reconnected all these years later - much like my husband and I did - but what I like is that this story is not just a straight romance. There is also a mystery involved, which kept the book interesting and intriguing and just that little bit suspenseful.

This is a story about second chances - not only for our main characters, but for some of the other characters we get to meet as well. There are many tender, heartwarming scenes throughout this book that I just loved, as well as some humorous ones to balance everything out - after all, when you have five overbearing, overprotective older brothers, there's bound to be some issues - but how could you not love them!

I love returning to this series when I get a chance. The quaint New England charm that Carla Neggers manages to infuse into the town of Knightsbridge comes out in spades, making me wish it were a real town I could visit! I am hoping I am able to return to this series sooner rather than later and catch up with these really is a good series!

Audio thoughts: This is the first time I've listened to Susan Boyce narrate and the first time time I've listened to a book in this series...and I enjoyed both! Susan did a great job bringing this book to life - giving each character their own unique voice and bringing just the right amount of humor and tension to her voice when needed. I'm torn though as to whether I will continue to listen to the series on audio or just pick up the print version - nothing against Susan - but having now read and listened to a book in each format, I'm not sure what I will do. But, it's good to know that I do like the narrator should I choose to go the audio route!

Books in this series:

     1.  Secrets of the Lost Summer
     2.  That Night on Thistle Lane
     3.  Cider Brook

     3.5  Christmas at Carriage Hill
     4.  Echo Lake
     5.  A Knights Bridge Christmas
     6.  The Spring at Moss Hill
     7.  Red Clover Inn 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Review: Seized by Elizabeth Heiter

Title: Seized
Author: Elizabeth Heiter
Series: The Profiler, #3
Published: December 2015, MIRA
Format: ARC E-copy, 384 pages
Source: Netgalley

Danger is all around her…

What should have been a routine investigation for FBI profiler Evelyn Baine turns ominous when she's kidnapped by a dangerous cult of survivalists. As her worst nightmares become a reality, she begins to question what she's seeing. Because the longer she's inside their compound, the more she realizes this group is not what it seems to be.

The next terrorist threat is right beside her…

As the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team closes in, Evelyn suspects she's stumbled onto an emerging terrorist threat—and a cult leader who has a score to settle with the FBI. If Hostage Rescue breaches the compound, Evelyn's dead for sure. If they don't, the cult may unleash a surprise attack that could leave the whole country shattered.

My thoughts: This is the third installment in Elizabeth Heiter's Profiler series and I really enjoy this series. I devoured the first two books in this series, and couldn't wait to pick this one up. 

I was curious to see what was going to come next for Evelyn as she is really at a crossroads right now in her career. Without giving anything away in case you haven't read the previous books in the series - though I highly recommend you do! - just know that she has some internal struggles going on. Is she going to stay at the FBI or is she better suited somewhere else - what is her purpose now? And what of her relationship with Mac? Where is that heading?

As for the case that Evelyn gets caught up in in this book - WOW! She somehow ends up stumbling into a hostage situation involving a cult of survivalists in the mountains of Montana. Talk about intense! It takes the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team to come to the rescue, but not without some major complications and that of course is not the end of it. Things are just heating up when Evelyn gets rescued - she believes there is a bigger threat and they need to find the person responsible before more lives are lost. 

The pace of this book was lightning fast and my heart was pounding right along with the action. Lives are lost, people are hurt, jobs are put in jeopardy and the suspense throughout is palpable! This series just keeps getting better and better, and if you read it in order, the character development is really good. I really felt like I could totally understand Evelyn's struggles - where she is in her life and why. Elizabeth Heiter does a great job with this internal struggle and I look forward to seeing how this all plays out in the next book!

Books in this series:  

     1.  Hunted
     2.  Vanished

     2.5  Avenged (free short story from Harlequin)
     3.  Seized
     4.  Stalked - due out end of December 2016 

Review: Avenged by Elizabeth Heiter

Title: Avenged
Author: Elizabeth Heiter
Series: The Profiler, #2.5
Published: January 2016,
Format: Free E-book
Source: Publisher

Love and vengeance

FBI profiler Evelyn Baine and fellow agent Kyle McKenzie are—secretly—on vacation together, visiting an island off the coast of Georgia. Evelyn has recently solved a notorious cold case, so she considers their holiday a reward of sorts. More than that, it's a cautious acknowledgment of her growing feelings for Kyle.

One day a body washes up on the beach, a body that's been disfigured. The killer has carved the word "pervert" into the victim's stomach. A second murder, with the victim labeled a "killer" appears soon after. The police don't agree when Evelyn tells them the murders look like the work of a vigilante trying to avenge…something.

Evelyn and Kyle find their own lives at risk as they move closer to the truth.

My thoughts: I really enjoy Elizabeth Heiter's The Profiler series and this was the perfect short story to tide me over until her next novel. It takes place shortly after Evelyn has solved a case that has been plaguing her for years and now has her questioning what her next steps career-wise are going to be. But, more importantly, it's also an acknowledgement that she definitely has feelings for her co-worker, Kyle - after-all, she's on vacation, albeit a secret vacation, with him!

Of course, them being the professionals they are, they cannot ignore the bodies that keep washing up on shore - especially when those bodies have words carved into them. Evelyn cannot help herself in trying to profile what type of sick person would be doing this to these bodies...oh the mind of a profiler!

This was a fun short story and it was great to see these two publicly acknowledge their feelings for each other - even though they had to go away to do so. I do wonder what will happen when they return home...will it be back to status quo or has the tide finally turned and Evelyn is willing to acknowledge to her colleagues that she does indeed want a public relationship with Mac...I guess time will tell!

Books in this series: 

     1.  Hunted
     2.  Vanished

     2.5  Avenged (free short story from Harlequin)
     3.  Seized
     4.  Stalked - due out end of December 2016 

Review: The 4th Man by Lisa Gardner

Title: The 4th Man
Author: Lisa Gardner
Series: Quincy & Rainie, #6.5
Published: January 2017, Dutton
Format: ARC E-copy, 47 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher
FBI Profiler Pierce Quincy and Officer Rainie Conner return in a baffling cold case in this exclusive eBook short story by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner.

A young woman is found strangled in the stairwell of a college library, only her sneakers missing. With no physical evidence, no signs of sexual assault, and no witnesses, all the police have to go on are the three men who were in the library with her: her boyfriend and two campus security guards . . . all of whom have secrets, none of whom can be proven guilty.

Five years later, ex-FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his wife, former police officer Rainie Conner, agree to consult on the still-unsolved case, delving into deep background to comb for any clue that will lead to the woman's murderer. But with no leads and the case colder than the body, will they be able to build a case against one of the three suspects, or is there a fourth man out there? And if the killer has eluded the police this long, how far will he go to ensure justice is never served?

With Gardner's singular ability to delve into the minds of criminals and law enforcement alike, The 4th Man is a shocking look at the reasons for taking a life . . . and just how far profilers need to go to learn them.

My thoughts: I've been a long-time fan of Lisa Gardner's Detective D.D. Warren series and her Tessa Leoni series, but I have never read any of her Quincy and Rainie series - the FBI Profiler series, until now! While The 4th Man is not the first in the series - and if you know me, I do like to start series at the beginning - it's been a while since Lisa has written a book for this series, so I felt it was a good time to jump in and see if I liked it. Plus being that it was a short story, I thought it would give me the perfect little taste of what this series is all about.

I loved that Detective D.D. Warren happens to be in this short story. While I'm sure she isn't in all the earlier books, having her in this one - my first foray into this series - was a great way to meet these new characters. 

I loved the straight-forward way this case was presented - Detective Warren had a cold case she wanted solved, so she called in Quincy and Rainie. But what I love more is how Lisa Gardner gives us the behavior behind the crime - she not only gives us a "who-dun-it" book, but a "why-they-dun-it" book. While this is a short-story, there is a lot packed into it - and it's based on a real-life case!
I am very eager to read the full-length novel coming out in February, Right Behind You, and get to know Quincy and Rainie a little more. And then I'll go back and read the earlier books - I love Lisa Gardner's writing and characters and have a feeling that Quincy and Rainie are going to be new favorites just like D.D. Warren and Tessa Leonie! 

Books in this series:

     1.  The Perfect Husband
     2.  The Third Victim
     3.  The Next Accident
     4.  The Killing Hour

     5.  Gone
     6.  Say Goodbye
     6.5  The 4th Man
     7.  Right Behind You - due out Feb 2017

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