Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler | Review

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: August 22, 2017
Received: picked up audiobook randomly from library
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon

A horrific crime. One witness—a fifteen year old girl from the wrong side of the tracks, one known for lying and her own brushes with the law.
Is it any surprise no one believed her?
Officer Miranda Rader of the Harmony, Louisiana PD is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from the town of Jasper, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to earn the respect of her coworkers and the community.
When Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the brutality of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about that terrible night fifteen years ago. The night she’d buried, along with her past and the girl she’d been back then. Until now that grave had stayed sealed…except for those times, in the deepest part of the night, when the nightmares came: of a crime no one believed happened and the screams of the girl they believed didn’t exist.
Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop. Not just any cop—the one who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda.

Another great thriller, I'm on a roll! I randomly picked the up from the library because the cover caught my eye. Something about the yellow and orange drew me in. Then once I read the back, I knew I needed to listen to this audio book. I was not disappointed.

Miranda is a no nonsense, focused and determined police officer. She grew up in a trailer park where no one seemed to care what happened to her, until one night something terrible happened and after that day she determined she'd get out somehow. She's no longer that girl anymore, but after so many years of trying to let go and push the secrets deep inside, something happens to bring them to the surface again.

Miranda was hitchhiking and ended up being picked up by a guy who already had plans to attack and rape the girl that was already with him and she just happens to alter his plan, but in a bad way. She's lucky that she gets away before being raped, but people think she's crazy because after reporting what happened and that they need to go help the other girl, they can't find even a trace that anything happened at the location. 

In present day, a well known professor from the university, who also happens to be the son of a prominent person in town, ends up dead. And it's not a cut and dry case like suicide or heart attack - it's murder and a violent one at that. It's sexual in nature too, so that adds a shock to those involved in the investigation. Miranda happens to be called in to work on the case, but little does she know someone is trying to frame her (or so she comes to think that's the case).

As they uncover more and more about the professor and different links he has in the community, it seems that Miranda is finding herself tied to the case in the wrong way and tries desperately to clear her name before anyone realizes what's happened. While looking through evidence she realizes it has to do with her past... will this all come back to haunt her or bite her in the ass? Who is doing this and why now?

It's quite the thrill ride following along with Miranda and her partner while they try to figure out who did this, why and how she's tied to it. It starts off a little slow, but quickly picks up speed as the flashbacks add more detail and depth to the story. There are a few details that will start to make you think one way, then flip flop back and forth. I loved it. It had me guessing and changing my mind a couple of times. 

If you're like me and love a good mystery or thriller, this book is for you. I enjoyed that it actually involved the officer doing the investigation, so it wasn't just following along with the police while the solve the crime, she was somehow linked to the mystery and I loved that aspect.

I'll definitely be checking out more by Ms. Spindler. And I now have a new narrator to listen to: Tavia Gilbert - loved her voice and cadence. I'll probably make a list of audiobooks to find just because I enjoyed her narration so much!

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About the Author: 
A New York Times and International bestselling author, Erica Spindler's skill for crafting engrossing plots and compelling characters has earned both critical praise and legions of fans. Her stories have been lauded as “thrill-packed page turners, white- knuckle rides and edge-of-your-seat whodunits.”

Erica loves meeting and interacting with her fans, both in person and online. She has a wicked sense of humor, an optimistic spirit and loves coffee, chocolate and red wine, not necessarily in that order.

In 2002 her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. A Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member, she received a Kiss of Death Award for her novels Forbidden Fruit and Dead Run and was a four-time RITA® Award finalist. In 1999 Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen Up Award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998.

Erica lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two sons. -source

About the Narrator: 
Tavia Gilbert is an award-winning narrator with 300 audiobooks under her belt. Contemporary and literary fiction, biography and memoir, fantasy, romance, children’s literature, science, religion…Tavia’s range of genres is a direct result of her intuitive interpretation, clever diction and pacing, and sensitivity to each author’s or publisher’s needs. She makes her home in Brooklyn, where she produces, directs, and narrates audiobooks and full-cast recordings. -source

Website | Twitter 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm | Review, Giveaway & Blog Tour

Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm
Published: March 5, 2018
Publlisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 432
Received: for honest review via publisher
Find Online: Publisher | Goodreads

After spending her life in foster care, Ava has finally found home. But all it takes is a chance encounter with hot nerd Wyatt Wilcox for it to unravel.

Now, things are starting to change. First, the flashes of memories slowly creeping in. Memories of other lives, lives that Wyatt is somehow in. Then, the healing. Any cut? Gone.

But when Cade and Nick show up, claiming to be her brothers, things get even weirder. They tell her she’s a Phoenix, sent to protect the world from monsters—monsters she never knew existed. It’s a little hard to accept. Especially when they tell her she has to end the life of a Phoenix turned rogue, or Cade will die.

With Wyatt’s increasingly suspicious behavior, Ava’s determined to figure out what he’s hiding. Unless she can discover Wyatt’s secret in time and complete her Phoenix training, she’ll lose the life, love, and family she never thought she could have.

Told from multiple points of view, this new series is off to a good start. It's an interesting storyline centering around the mythology of the phoenix and rebirth, but with an added twist.

Ava is a strong and brave heroine, who has been stuck in foster care since she was four years old. She has trouble trusting anyone and her bouts of memory flashes (that may or may not be hers) add to the mess. She doesn't remember/know who she truly is and time is running out. At times her story was repetitive with her mention her trust issues over and over, but generally she was a decent main character.

Her brothers, Nick and Cade, remember or at least one remembers everything while the other is beginning to remember and they need her help. This family of Phoenix need to find each other and fight to save everything. There is a war between the Phoenix clans and it's almost over. Only they can stop the dark from coming. They are not only fighting a way, but they hunt the supernatural. That is all kinds of awesome. The first few chapters told from Nick and Cade's POVs were actually reminding me of the Winchester boys from Supernatural! Like a phoenix version of Dean and Sam... it hooked me. Their banter, their brotherly love and overall they were my favourite characters in the story.

There are also some quite interesting secondary characters that you'll either love or hate. Yuki, Ava's BFF; Wyatt, the guy Ava has the hots for, and Gwen, the main baddie! Of these secondary characters, I loved Yuki the most. She was such a great support for Ava and her romance story in the book was well written.

I enjoyed unraveling the back story, the mystery behind the Phoenix, and the supernatural elements. This is a very promising beginning to the Phoenix Cycle series and I cannot wait to read more. I enjoyed the idea of Light and Dark Phoenix and the many twists that were in the last third of the book. Definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

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About the Author:
S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, identifies as rebel scum, and loves elevensies as much as afternoon tea. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and she totally has a superpower. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency, her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day #PressforProgress

What will you be doing today for International Women's Day

I plan to celebrate women's achievements!

Personal Life:
I found this list longlist for 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction via Twitter and some friends tweeting about it. It intrigued me, so I took a peak at the list and I've decided to read a book from the list ASAP. I chose Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (I borrowed the audiobook version from the library using Overdrive so I can listen during my commute to work). 
Check out the rest of the list here

Now, I recently finished a great book, that has inspired me to read more fiction written by women, called The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Erin Balkemore. I am on the search to own a copy of this book. 

The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Erin Balkemore
Published: October 19, 2010
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 224

A testament to inspirational women throughout literature, Erin Blakemore’s exploration of classic heroines and their equally admirable authors shows today’s women how to best tap into their inner strengths and live life with intelligence, grace, vitality and aplomb. This collection of unforgettable characters—including Anne Shirley, Jo March, Scarlett O’Hara, and Jane Eyre—and outstanding authors—like Jane Austen, Harper Lee, and Laura Ingalls Wilder—is an impassioned look at literature’s most compelling heroines, both on the page and off. Readers who found inspiration in books by Toni Morrison, Maud Hart Lovelace, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Alice Walker, or who were moved by literary-themed memoirs like Shelf Discovery and Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, get ready to return to the well of women’s classic literature with The Heroine's Bookshelf.

Reading this group of essays on so many different topics has made me want to read all of the books mentioned within. Each section holds an essay based on the author of the book and the female character within said book. After discussing the author and character combo, Ms. Blakemore also lists other books/characters with similar traits. Some of the topics include Faith, Ambition, and Compassion. I like to think of this as a celebration of achievements made by female authors over the years and how each author or character could be looked upon as a role model depending on the stage you are at in life. I'd love to own this book and then read each book referenced while reading the individual essays as a way of exploring the topics, authors and characters. 

Work Life:
The Pantone colour of the year was announced and it's Ultra Violet! How fitting! And with my new role at work, I've organized for my co-workers to wear purple in honour of the day. 

The colour purple symbolises achievements gained and achievements yet to come. -source

I've also setup a selfie station for clients to take photos holding up these amazing selfie cards to support #PressforProgress. This is my way of celebrating my newest achievement of moving to a new role at work that garners more responsibility, new challenges and allows me to show my skills. I'm looking forward to having a more proactive role in my own future!

Let me know what you did to celebrate. Or any books by female authors or with female charcters that I must add to my ever growing wishilist. What do you think of this years theme - #PressforProgess?

HPMOTW: You have a chance to make three Horcruxes, what items do you use?

Banner and meme is owned by Uncorked Thoughts
Horcux: an object that holds a piece of a witch or wizard's soul made by the use of Dark Magic and can only be created when committing a murder. -source

So if I were to make three of my own, what would they be? In all honesty, I'd never make one. But for the sake of the question, I think I'd choose:

-The garnet ring that my father gave to my mother when she gave birth to me.
-The beautiful glass hourglass that my brother gave to me a few years ago.
-The pearl necklace that my husband bought my to honour our daughters birth month.

What about you - would you pick things that mean something to you, go with a theme or pick completely random objects? Let me know in the comments.

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