Throwback Thursday – Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

throwbackthursday

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is: 

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

Every Last One

I read this book at least five years ago but it is still a favorite.  A very emotional read. When I finished reading this book, it was all I could think about for days….

Mary Beth Latham is a devoted mother of three. Lately she finds herself thinking more and more about how fast life goes. She feels like her children have grown into teenagers almost overnight.

Told from Mary Beth’s point of view, the first half of novel is about the Latham family. We learn about each family member and what happens in their daily lives. I know that some people found the first half really slow but I feel that the author wanted the reader to really know this family……before

When I first started reading this novel, the only thing I knew was that is was about a family tragedy. I didn’t even read the description on the back of the book.

Honestly I don’t think there’s much more I can say about it as I don’t want to spoil it. However, I will say that I was gutted by the events in the book. I was an emotional mess. Some people may find it too upsetting but I’m still glad I read it. It’s a book that will make you cry, make you angry and make you think….

This novel made me question the way I parent and also parenting in general. How and when to discipline, when to intervene, when to let go and about a thousand other questions that came to mind in regards to the different ways in which we all parent. Now that I’m the parent of a teenager I question it even more.

A Quote from the book:

“I never thought anything really bad would happen. It was all the good things that seemed real to me — where they’d go off to college and where they’d live and what my grandchildren would call me.”

The writing is authentic, the characters so well-developed. I was completely engrossed in this book from beginning to end.  It is a tragic, emotional, and powerful read that you won’t soon forget.

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Review – The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

The CutawayThe Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Published March 21, 2017
Atria

 

 

 

4 Stars

I was very intrigued after reading the description for this book.

Virginia Knightly is a young and intelligent TV producer. She is the only woman at her news station in a position of power. When a missing persons notice comes across her desk and catches her eye, she can’t shake the feeling that she knows the woman. Eventually she remembers that she saw her in a video clip. Virginia senses something from the woman’s reaction to whatever is happening. She can’t get the woman out of her head.

Virginia has a great memory. It’s not photographic, but her mind will grab on to an image and not let go. This can be helpful in her line of work. However, the downside to this “gift” is that she can’t ever get rid of the pictures either…which can be very painful at times.


“Be careful what your eyes take in. What you see becomes a part of you”

Virginia feels like she is meant to cover this story. The missing woman is a beautiful young attorney named Evelyn Carney. She was last seen leaving a restaurant where she met her husband for dinner. Apparently the dinner hadn’t gone well and she left in a distressed state.

No one has seen her since.

When Virginia is summoned to a meeting with the news director. He tells her there are going to be some layoffs at the station. Virginia is not happy, but he’s not done with the bad news. He tells her that for now, he is going to be overseeing content and production of the station…. which is Virginia’s job. He’s demoting her but tells her it’s just for the time being, that HE’S going to get things back on track. She’s livid but the missing woman’s case helps distract her.

Virginia thinks this story will help her get her job back. But it means doing things a little differently. She starts to investigate on her own with some help from an anchorman, Ben as well as her ex-boyfriend, Michael Ledger who is the lead detective on the case.

She gets her hands on Evelyn’s journal and learns how ambitious she is. She wonders if Evelyn’s ambition got her involved in something she couldn’t get out of. What about the people in Evelyn’s life…..her angry husband? a new lover? a prominent prosecutor? a former professor? Virginia wonders who knows more than they are saying. But as she continues her investigation, things start happening that make it obvious she isn’t just putting her career in jeopardy, but possibly her life.

Where is Evelyn?

Virginia is a great character. An intelligent woman who has a strength many would envy. She likes the mystery behind her stories, she’s addicted to figuring out the unknown, determined to get answers. She won’t take garbage from anyone but she’s also very caring and honest. I liked a lot of the characters but had a hard time connecting with some of them.

I enjoyed seeing how things worked behind the scenes. The media, police, and politics quite often go hand in hand. I could see how chasing a story could become addictive. The high you get when you get that perfect shot or when you break the story. It sounds intense.

It took me a little while to get into the story. But it picked up as I kept reading. As well as working the case, Virginia’s also trying to deal with some personal issues. I found her story interesting. It gave some insight into what makes her tick. The second half of the book gripped me and definitely made up for the slow start. I liked how it all came together in the end.

All in all ‘The Cutaway’ was an interesting read. Suspenseful with some good twists and turns. A missing woman, secrets, possible corruption, conspiracies and cover-ups. I was excited to find out what happened.

A very good debut novel. I look forward to reading more from Christina Kovac.

Thank you NetGalley, Atria Books, and Christina Kovac for providing an advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

Review – One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect LieOne Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

Published April 11, 2017

St. Martin’s Press

5  STARS!!!

Lisa Scottoline has written some of my favorite books. I was really looking forward to reading “One Perfect Lie” After reading the book description, I was very intrigued. After reading the first page I knew I was going to have a hard time putting this book down. If real life hadn’t gotten in the way I probably could have read this in one or two sittings.

Chris Brennan is applying for a teaching job at Central Valley high school and is about to have his final interview. He has passed the criminal background checks and filled out all appropriate forms. On paper Chris looks perfect. He’s also made sure to dress like the other teachers. Appearances are important. But they can also be deceiving. Especially when it comes to Chris Brennan….

Chris Brennan is a fraud.

Everything about him is a lie.

An expert liar, Chris charms the principal. He also applies to be the assistant baseball coach. Chris has already researched the coach and team for his own purposes….especially the team. He needs to befriend a quiet, insecure boy who doesn’t have any good father figures. The same profile that a pedophile would have, but Chris is not a pervert. His manipulation of the boy is only means to an end.

Chris is thrilled when the principal tells him he’s got the job.

It’s now time for him to set his plan in motion.

Step one.

Only eight pages into this book and I so badly want to know what this Chris Brennan is all about. What are his intentions? What does he mean by only the means to an end? I needed to know! It may have crossed my mind to skip ahead but I didn’t want to ruin the story for myself and I could tell already that there was much more to come.

Chris will be teaching AP Government which will come in quite handy in helping him gain more information. He’s researched each student, and has gained a boat load of knowledge just from social media (Kids really do give out way to much information!! ) but he needs to know more.


“Don’t volunteer so much to complete strangers. Don’t tell them the most personal things. Don’t post every detail about your private life. You have no idea who is out there, preying on you, using that information to their advantage. Like me.”

He starts his experiments in the very first class. These will help him see how the kids negotiate and who has the most power in the class. It will give him insight into their personalities and who may or may not be easy to manipulate.

There are three boys that Chris is paying extra attention to, and all are on the Musketeers baseball team. Evan Kostis is a very popular, rich, and good-looking kid. Jordan Larkin is a nice and quiet kid whose father is not in the picture. Then there is Mike (Raz) Sematov. Raz is goofy and a bit wild. His father passed away from cancer not that long ago. Chris needs to see who is friends with who and use that knowledge to determine the best candidate to help him carry out his plan.

Chris has been given a warm welcome by the other teachers. However, there’s one chatty/nosy teacher who keeps asking a lot of questions about his past. This teacher may be a problem for him.

The story is told from multiple points of view. Most of it is from Chris’s perspective. However, we are also given parts of the story from Heather Larkin (Jordan’s mother), Mindy Kostis (Evan’s mother), and Susan Sematov ( Raz’s mother).

Heather Larkin is a single mother who is very proud of her son, Jordan. But she does worry that he may be easily led by some of his other teammates.

Susan Sematov is a recent widower and mother to Raz and his brother, Ryan. She’s very proud of Raz whose talent may land him in the majors. But the entire family has been struggling since the death of her husband.

Then we have Mindy Kostis.  A surgeon’s wife who seems to spend a lot of time socializing and is finding more solace in her gin and tonics than anything else. Lately her husband has been staying out later and later and even her son,  Evan is keeping secrets from her.

Everyone is keeping secrets. However, some may be deadlier than others. So where does Chris Brennan fit in? What does he want with all of these people? The answer may surprise you. I know it surprised me. And it was just one of the surprises that Lisa Scottoline had in store. The twists started early and I didn’t see them coming. I thought the story was well paced, with quite a few characters, and I had no problem keeping up.

ONE PERFECT LIE is an emotional domestic thriller with the perfect amount of secrets, intrigue, crime, and maybe even a dash of romance? I love the author’s style of writing and how she develops her characters. I grew to care about and became invested in many of them. This was an exciting, action packed story with intriguing characters and an original plot. All of the individual stories were interesting and it was exciting the way everything came together in the end.

I am already looking forward to Lisa Scottoline’s next book.

Highly recommended!

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a finished copy of “The Perfect Lie”. All of the opinions expressed in this review are my own, honest and unbiased opinions.

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Review – It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany

It Happens All the Time

Published March 28, 2017 by Atria Books

IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME is my first read from Amy Hatvany. I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to find her. I’m certainly looking forward to reading more from her after reading this novel.

This was an extremely engrossing read. It’s an honest and unflinching look at some important issues that desperately need addressing.

Twenty-four-year-old Amber and Twenty-five year old Tyler are best friends. Both have had their own personal struggles, and they have been there for each other for many years, helping each other throughout some of the roughest times in their lives.

But one night everything changes for Amber and Tyler….their friendship and their lives will never be the same.

The very first sentence grabbed me and didn’t let go. The story is told alternately from Amber and Tyler’s perspectives. The chapters alternate following two timelines, the past and the present. With each chapter, more information about the night in question and their history is unveiled.

IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME deals with many heavy issues. Amy Hatvany is a fantastic writer and draws from personal experience in regards to some of the things addressed in this novel. It’s brutally honest, compelling, and almost impossible to put down. I think that many necessary conversations could and should be started about these issues. This truly was an excellent, emotional, and very important read.

Thank you Atria Books, and Amy Hatvany for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.