Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by A Daily Rhythm where anyone can play along.

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Today’s Teaser Tuesday sentences come from the book The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi. I received this book from Owl Crate, a monthly book subscription specialized in YA books. This month’s theme was friendship and The Night We Said Yes tells the story of first loves, friendships and secrets.

” I thought about Meg’s compromise. It was better. Underwear was just like a bikini, right? It was a night to have fun, forget about the past and move forward.”

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Review: The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy

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This is the story of Sarah Brown daughter of abolitionist John Brown. She is one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers. After learning the shocking news that she cannot bear children, she starts to create maps and hide them in her paintings helping save the lives of slaves fleeing north.

The narrative is split between 1850-60s West Virginia and the present day. The flow of the narrative worked well for this novel, with Sarah Brown’s narrative of the past being better developed than the present day story. Overall, this style of narrative brought the characters to life and made it to a very interesting story.

I certainly recommend this book even if you are not a huge fan of historical fiction. I really enjoyed Sarah McCoy’s The Mapmaker’s Children. This book pulled me right in from the very first pages. The characters are vivid and believable. A perfect blend of real historical people and fictional characters.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

5 star

Book Details:

Title: The Mapmaker’s Children/Author:Sarah McCoy/Genre:Historical Fiction/ ISBN:9780385348904/Publisher:Crown/Rating: 5-Stars/Read:July, 2015.

Review: Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor

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Eighteen-year-old Ada Concannon has just been hired by the respected but eccentric Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Despite their difference in age and the upstairs-downstairs divide, Ada strikes up a deep friendship with Miss Emily, the gifted elder daughter living a spinster’s life at home. But Emily’s passion for words begins to dominate her life. She will wear only white and avoids the world outside the Dickinson homestead. When Ada’s safety and reputation are threatened, however, Emily must face down her own demons in order to help her friend, with shocking consequences.

Miss Emily is Nuala O’Connor’s debut novel in America. The book is a fictional story of Emily Dickson and her Irish maid Ada. This is a beautifully written book. I loved the way O’Connor writes in such a poetic way, and how she developed both Emily’s and Ada’s characters. The book is told from the perspective of both of the girls, alternating each chapter.

The story gets a little heavy towards the middle of the book, and it caught me by surprise. I can’t say much without giving away the plot, but the book has a nice happy ending and O’Connor’s writing will stay with you for some days to come. Miss Emily is a gorgeously written story about female friendship.

This is an excellent selection for a book club. I highly recommend it.

I received an early copy of this book for free from Penguin Random House First To Read in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Details:

Title: Miss Emily/Author:Nuala O’Connor/Genre:Fiction/ ISBN:9780143126751/Publisher:Penguin Books/Rating: 4-Stars/Read:July, 2015.

Teaser Tuesday

TeaserTuesdays-ADailyRhythm3

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by A Daily Rhythm where anyone can play along.

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Today’s Teaser Tuesday sentence come from The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain. This is book one of the Into The Dark series. I got this book at a giveaway, and I have just started reading it. So far it seems good. The review of this book will be posted shortly.

There I see a young female, sitting against a strangely shaped tree. She cradles a large object on her knees, and strums the strings that stretch from its wide base up a long wooden neck. The object reminds me of the pictographs I often pass by in the murals that cover the walls of the palace. It vaguely resembles a lyre–the great weapon the Traitor had used to deceive Hades all those centuries ago.”

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Review: The Hypnotist by Gordon Snider (*TLC BOOK TOUR*)

The Hypnotist cover

In 1906, San Francisco has reached the peak of its golden age. Fortunes have created a society that attracts European opera singers and cordon bleu chefs. It is a world defined by elegant balls, oysters, and champagne. But there are darker sides to the city as well. The Mission district south of Market Street houses tenements where shanties huddle together and rats plague the streets. And nearby sits Chinatown, an endless warren of dark alleys that offers gambling, prostitution, and opium, all controlled by vicious gangs, called tongs.

Into these disparate worlds steps Marta Baldwin, a young woman who has shunned her own social background to help the poor. She is confronted by a hypnotist, a man who hypnotizes young women from the tenements and delivers them to the tongs in Chinatown to work in their brothels. Marta escapes his hypnotic trance, but when her assistant, Missy, disappears, Marta realizes she has been taken by the evil man who confronted her. She seeks the help of Byron Wagner, one of San Francisco’s most prominent citizens. Marta finds herself drawn to Byron but knows his high social standing prevents any possibility of a relationship between them. This is confirmed when Marta discovers Byron having an intimate conversation with Lillie Collins, the daughter of one of the city’s most elite families. Marta is flushed with jealousy. However, Lillie defies social customs, and her rebellious nature fits naturally with Marta’s. Despite her envy, the two women become close friends. Marta is caught up in a whirlwind of opulent balls, opium dens and brothels, and police raids in Chinatown. She cannot deny her feelings for Byron, but she must save Missy and protect her new friends from harm. For lurking in the background is the hypnotist. He has become obsessed with Marta and will use all his guile to ensnare her. When he threatens those she loves, Marta is determined to stop him, even at her own peril. Will her boldness entrap her? If so, how can she hope to escape the man’s hypnotic embrace? Then the earth trembles, and Marta’s world will never be the same.

This was my first book from author Gordon Snider and I can say that I was pleasantly surprised with this novel. Set in San Francisco in the early 1900s, Snyder did an excellent job describing old San Francisco and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The book tells the chilling story of a man who hypnotizes young women on the streets and delivers them to criminals in Chinatown. Marta Baldwin is a wealthy young woman who makes a living helping the poor on the streets of San Francisco. Both the hypnotist’s and Marta’s lives intertwine in an exciting and well-crafted plot. Snider’s writing flows smoothly and the characters are really well developed. I found this book to be a fun and easy read.

I received this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours and the author in exchange for my honest review.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Helm Publishing

About Gordon Snider

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Gordon Snider has written three non-fiction books, including his latest, I’m Travelling as Fast as I Can, which takes a humorous journey to far-away-places around the world. When he moved to California’s Central Coast in 1999, he began writing fiction. The Origamist is his fifth novel and a sequel to his third, The Hypnotist, a very popular historical thriller that is set in San Francisco in 1906. The other novels include: Sigourney’s Quest, an adventure story about a woman’s harrowing journey across Tibet; The Separatist, a mystery/suspense novel set in modern San Francisco; and Venice Lost, an adventure/fantasy about a man who becomes lost in time in Venice, Italy.

Gordon has lived in California nearly his entire life. Home has ranged from Los Angeles to San Francisco, with stops in Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach. Currently, he and his wife, Fe, enjoy walking the beaches and observing the migrating whales from their home in Pismo Beach. It is, he says, the perfect setting for creative writing.

Find out more about Gordon and his books on his website.

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Review: The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

The Luckiest Girl Alive was our pick for the month of June in my monthly book club. I had heard about the buzz regarding the book, the comparisons to Gone Girl and other psychological thrillers, so I approached this book with caution and a certain skepticism–I’m glad I did.

The novel tells the story of TifAni FaNelli (yes! that’s how the name is written throughout the book! One of the few things that got on my nerves about this book) a rich, superficial writer with a glamorous job, fantastic wardrobe and perfect life who is planning her wedding to blue blood fiancé Luke. In the midst of her wedding planning she is also working on a documentary that threatens to expose and clarify events that happened at Bradley School, a prestigious prep-school she attended as a teenager.

I had a real hard time reading this book. I put it down so many times that four other books later I just picked it up for the last time and gave it another try. The thing that really kept me from finish it the first time around was the fact that I could not stand the main character TifAni (Ani).

“Sometimes I feel like a windup doll, like I have to reach behind and turn my golden key to produce a greeting, a laugh, whatever the socially acceptable reaction should be.”

I found that I couldn’t sympathize with her at all. I couldn’t stand her voice and how ungrateful, superficial and flat-out boring she was. The main twist comes in mid-book. Although an unpredictable twist, it was just not strong enough to save this story. Once you learn the twist, there is just not enough plot to carry on the rest of the book. I was disappointed.

2 star

Book Details:

Title: The Luckiest Girl Alive/Author:Jessica Knoll/Genre:Psychological Thriller/ ISBN:9781476789637/Publisher:Simon and Schuster/Rating: 2-Stars/Read:June, 2015.

Review: Dead Secret by Richard Milton

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Tony is bewildered by the horrifying secrets he begins to unravel. Can human heads really be used to predict the future? Who would pay $7 million for the skull of the Russian President? Is British intelligence involved?

His search leads Tony to the wealthy and secretive Chadwick Foundation whose bizarre beliefs both repel and attract him. Are they merely wealthy, powerful people playing an elaborate game, or have they truly gained the power to see into the future? When Tony witnesses the Home Secretary die in an elaborate sex ritual at a Belgravia dinner party he knows he is in too deep to back out.

Dead Secret by Richard Milton is an excellent paranormal thriller about investigative journalist Tony Gabriel and the “science” of physiognomy. I have to say that I was a little skeptical when I read the synopsis of this book. I love paranormal novels and was eager to read this book, but I had my reservations because the storyline seemed a bit far-fetched. Well, I was wrong and this story did not disappoint! Milton is a talented writer and I loved the way he weaved this story.

Tony Gabriel as a character is believable and likable, and overall pretty well-written. As for the other characters in the book Eve was my least favorite, but unpredictable.The narrative goes back and forth between the present day with Tony researching a mysterious organization named The Chadwick Foundation, France in the 1700s, and World War II. Milton did a fantastic job in bringing all these pieces of the story together. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to fans of this genre.

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Details:

Title:Dead Secret /Author:Richard Milton/Genre:Paranorma/Thriller/ ASIN:B00551YXZ2/Publisher:Good Books Online/Rating: 4-Stars/Read:July, 2015.

Review: Unknown Sender by Ryan Lanz

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Jessica’s world revolves around studying at college and affording prepackaged meals, which leaves little time for socializing. In fact, she is quite content without being noticed, which only makes the attention of a mystery texter all the more unwanted.

Unknown Sender is a novelette and the first published work of author Ryan Lanz from The Book Review Directory. I thought this novelette was a really interesting and suspenseful read. Based on an urban legend of the mysterious text messages without a caller ID, Lanz’s writing keeps you on the edge of your seat in anticipation. The protagonist Jessica was a convincing and well-written character, but as with most novelettes the author has to work hard to create a compelling story in just a few pages. I would have loved it for this to have been an actual novel, and for the plot to have been better developed.

Apart from that I thought this was a great sample of Lanz’s talent, and I’m certainly looking forward to reading his future stories.

I received this free e-book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Book Details:

Title:Unknown Sender /Author:Ryan Lanz/Genre:Horror/ ASIN:B00YZZ0K0Q/Publisher:Applebury Press/Rating: 3-Stars/Read:June, 2015.