REVIEW: Losing Leah Holloway by Lisa Regan (Claire Fletcher & Detective Parks Mystery #2)

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Published October 17th 2017 by Thomas & Mercer


 5 Stars!!!!

 

I read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it. Finding Claire Fletcher was my first introduction to author, Lisa Regan a few years ago. When I heard there was going to be another book in the series, I was excited. I believe that reading the first book would add to the experience; but it’s definitely not necessary, Losing Leah Holloway can easily be read as a stand-alone.

I REALLY enjoyed this novel. It opens with a shocking and dramatic scene… I was instantly gripped, desperate to know what happened. I only put this novel down when I absolutely had to, and you would have been hard pressed to try to pull this book from my hands as I got towards the end.

The beginning of the book briefly covers what happened in the first book. Claire Fletcher was reunited with her family five years ago after being abducted and held captive for ten years by a pedophile.

Claire is spending the day fishing with her sister, Brianna. Claire loves to fish, it helps with her anxiety. Brianna is just happy to be spending time with her sister. Unfortunately, what they had hoped would be a relaxing day soon takes a shocking turn.

Claire is talking to Brianna about Connor Parks. Connor is a detective with Sacramento’s Office of Investigations. He is the one who solved Claire’s abduction case. Claire and Connor dated briefly when she returned home, but she finds it difficult to explain why things didn’t work out. Her family, especially Brianna, holds out hope that Connor and Claire will get back together. After what she’s been through, Claire doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to have a normal relationship.

Suddenly car horns and tires squealing interrupt their conversation and they are astonished as they look up at the overpass and see a red SUV come flying over the side landing in the very river they are fishing in. Without thinking, Claire jumps into the river and swims out to the van. She sees a woman in the driver’s seat. Claire then notices children in the vehicle. How on earth will she get everyone out to safety? She feels herself floating away, separating herself from what is happening, something she used to get through all those years in captivity. But she’s able to shake herself back to reality; she must save them.

But when the woman in the car finally comes to, she looks at Claire with a look that Claire knows well. This woman has been terrorized. Claire screams at her to unlock the door. But the woman doesn’t. It’s now up to Claire to save the children. She shakes away the thought of not being able to get them out.

“She was not going to watch five children die before her eyes”

Detective Connor Parks is in the middle of a “Soccer Mom Strangler” police briefing while all this is happening at the river. The killer got his name because he targets Sacramento soccer moms who all have certain similarities. He kills them all in the same way and the police need to stop him before he kills again.

Thirty-seven year old Leah Holloway was the driver of the SUV. Connor and his partner Jade work to find out more about Leah Holloway, while also working the “Soccer Mom Strangler” case. They try to unravel Leah’s life to figure out why she did what she did. From all accounts, Leah Holloway was a happy mother and wife…

The story is told from multiple perspectives, but I had no problem keeping track of who was speaking or what was happening. If anything it only added to my enjoyment of the story. Between the serial killer case, Leah Holloway, and Claire and Connor there’s a lot going on, but it all comes together so well.

Lisa Regan has done it again. In my review of the first book in the series I said “what a heart-wrenching, devastating, emotional, well-written and fantastic book!” and now that I’ve read the second book in the series I have to say…. Ditto! This was an awesome read and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

Throwback Thursday – Justice for Sara by Erica Spindler

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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: Justice for Sara by Erica Spindler

 

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Published August 6th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

 

Goodreads Description:

When seventeen-year-old Katherine McCall awakened one morning to find her beloved sister, Sara, brutally murdered, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye. Kat was named the prime suspect and, on a string of circumstantial evidence, charged and tried. While the jury found her innocent, not everyone else agreed, and her only choice was to go into hiding. But she carried a dark secret with her, one that made her worry she might actually have had something to do with Sara’s death . . .

Now, years later, Kat is still haunted by her sister’s unsolved murder and continues to receive chilling anonymous letters, but she has tried to move on with her life. Until, on the tenth anniversary of Sara’s death, she receives a letter that makes the past impossible to ignore: “What about justice for Sara?” What about justice for Sara? And for herself? Kat realizes that going back to Liberty, Louisiana, might be the only way to move forward and find some peace. And there’s a killer out there who was never caught.

But the town she’s come back to is hardly different from the one she left. The secrets and suspicions still run deep. Kat has an ally in Detective Luke Tanner, son of the former Liberty police chief, but he may be her only one. With plenty of enemies, no one to trust and a killer determined to keep a dark secret buried, Kat must decide if justice is worth fighting—and dying—for.

 

My Thoughts:  

*This book has two different titles “Don’t look Back” and “Justice for Sara”

They say you can’t go home again….

Katherine McCall was seventeen years old when her sister and guardian, Sara was brutally murdered. Due to the fact that her parents were also deceased and she was to inherit all of the family money, Katherine (Kat) was named as the prime suspect. She was charged but released as the jury found her innocent. However, not everyone agreed with this and she decided to go into hiding.

Years later, the murder is still unsolved, and Kat has been receiving anonymous letters. On the tenth anniversary another letter arrives. It says “What about justice for Sara?” Kat realizes that going home to Liberty might be the only way she can find out what happened.  Plus the fact that there is a killer out there that has never been found and brought to justice.

Set in present day alternating with flashbacks to ten years before when the murder took place. A once rebellious girl, Kat is now grown and is strong enough to take on the task of finding out who killed her sister. At the same time dealing with her own guilt and people who still believe she is a murderer.

I have read and enjoyed many of Erica Spindler’s books. I read this one about three or four years ago and it’s one of my favorites.  A great book with a clever plot that held my interest right until the end.

REVIEW – Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

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Published September 21st 2017 by HQ

 

4.5 Stars!!

“What if your choice for your child could harm someone else’s?”

The above sentence alone made me want to read this novel. I was intrigued and after reading the description; I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. This was my first read from Melissa Hill and it was a good one!

A mother knows best, doesn’t she?

The book opens as Kate O’Hara is waiting for her five-year old daughter, Rosie to come out of pre-school. It’s imperative that Kate is never late, that she is always there before Rosie comes out. Because if she’s late by even one minute, her daughter will panic and the memory of “That Day” will come flooding back. It’s been two years since that day, though it seems like yesterday.  It was the day their lives were forever changed.

So she will do her best to make sure that she never lets Rosie down.

***Possibly very minor spoilers ahead***

Rosie is a lively little girl who prefers dinosaurs over princesses. When she casually mentions that a classmate was sent home sick that day, Kate feels a twinge of anxiety but relaxes when her daughter says that the other child has chicken pox.  Kate doesn’t have to worry as Rosie has already had the chicken pox.

To vaccinate or not is one of the difficult decisions a parent has to make. Rosie wasn’t vaccinated for the mumps, measles or other typical childhood illnesses.

“I had found out very quickly that when you made such an admission to health professionals, school authorities, or, worst of all, other parents, you were immediately judged. Written off as irresponsible, foolish, and downright stupid.”

But Kate is not negligent or foolish….

When Rosie was just a baby she had a terrifying reaction to her first round of immunizations. Rosie was severely allergic to one of the components that is in almost all live vaccines.  After giving it tremendous thought and speaking with their doctor they decided that Rosie would not receive the standard childhood vaccinations and they would hope that herd immunity would prevail.

This is why Kate must always be on guard about Rosie’s health and the health of her classmates. She can’t afford not to be.

It is Kate’s job to keep Rosie safe.

But Madeline Cooper, and her husband, Tom chose not to vaccinate their two children, five-year-old Clara and eight-year-old Jake for very different reasons. And her daughter, Clara is Rosie O’Hara’s classmate.

When Kate hears that the Coopers don’t believe in vaccinations she’s unnerved. Kate had no choice but to opt out of the program but the Coopers had WILLFULLY declined. There was no way that “herd immunity” was going to work if there were parents who chose not to participate.

Madeleine runs a popular blog for mothers called “Mad Mum”.  She will be appearing on a popular morning show called “Morning Coffee” in a couple of days to talk about her opinions and controversial blog posts.

The morning of her TV appearance, Madeline can see that Clara is not feeling well. But her husband has already left for work. If she cancels her TV appearance last-minute she doubts the “Morning Coffee” producers will invite her back. So Madeline makes the decision to send Clara to school.

 She tells herself that chances are everything would be fine….kids are always coming down with something or another.

When Kate steps into her daughter’s room and sees Rosie, sweaty, flushed and covered in spots. Her first thought is that her poor daughter has come down with the chicken pox AGAIN.  Then her nursing training kicks in. She looks closer at her daughter’s spots, at the small, red clusters everywhere. She recalls the sick classmate, Clara Cooper. The child that apparently isn’t vaccinated against serious childhood illnesses. Then she looks at her own daughter again…the flat spots…the clusters. This isn’t chicken pox.

It’s the measles.

Madeline’s daughter recovers from the measles quickly. Unfortunately, Rosie isn’t as lucky as she takes a turn for the worse. Did Rosie contract the measles from Clara? Kate protests when people start getting in her ear about how the Coopers should be held accountable for their decisions. Kate figures it’s just one of those things that happens, but some people don’t agree and bombard Kate with their opinion.

“Think about it. She doesn’t protect her kids from infectious diseases and then she sends her feverish daughter to school. She deliberately put ours at risk”

Then Kate happens to see the ever opinionated Madeleine Cooper on TV talking about “helicopter parents”. Parading around like a parenting expert, without a care in the world, while Kate keeps vigil beside her daughter’s hospital bed.

“How dare she”

Suddenly it’s Cooper vs. O’Hara…a media circus.  The town is divided as the debate grows even more heated.

Are the Coopers responsible for what happened to Rosie?

But everything may not be exactly as it seems.

Keep You Safe was an excellent read.  The story alternates between Kate and Madeline’s point of view, though we do hear from a few others as well. All of the characters are very well drawn: flawed, human, compelling and realistic in terms of how they relate to each other.

Interspersed are blog posts, newspaper articles, and chat rooms and chat boards. These help show the different opinions and also show just how harsh the public can be…especially the online public.

It was interesting reading the different reactions of not only the parents but of the doctors and specialists in the book. I also enjoyed reading about some of the science behind contagious diseases.

Melissa Hill has obviously done her research.  Keep You Safe is an extremely thought-provoking, emotional, and unforgettable read. I think this would also be perfect for Book Clubs. Lots of great discussion topics. I’m really looking forward to reading more from Melissa Hill.

Thank you to HQ Publishing for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

Goodreads Monday : October 23, 2017

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part,  simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.  Be sure to check out Lauren’s blog too!!

Today the book I’m going to show off is : Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel

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Published April 25th 2017 by Balzer & Bray

Goodreads description:

Lucky Girl is an unflinching exploration of beauty, sexual assault, and self-worth, from the author of the acclaimed novel Tease. Perfect for readers of Sara Zarr and Courtney Summers.

Being a pretty girl is who Rosie is, but it’s the start of a new school year and she wants to be more. Namely, she’s determined to be better to her best friend, Maddie, who’s just back from a summer program abroad having totally blossomed into her own looks. Rosie isn’t thrilled when Maddie connects with a football player who Rosie was hooking up with—but if it makes her friend happy, she’s prepared to move on. Plus someone even more interesting has moved to town: Alex, who recently garnered public attention after he stopped a classmate from carrying out a shooting rampage at his old high school. Rosie is drawn to Alex in a way she’s never really experienced for a boy before—and she is surprised to discover that, unlike every other guy, he seems to see more to her than her beauty.

Then one night, in the midst of a devastating storm, Rosie suffers an assault that tears apart her life and friendship with Maddie. Forced to face uncomfortable truths about beauty, reputation, and what it really means to be a friend, Rosie realizes that change doesn’t always happen the way you want it to—every disaster has consequences. But with a lot of help and the right people around you, there might also be a way forward.

 

 

My Thoughts:

I came across a review for this book a few months ago and after reading the description promptly added it to my “to be read” list. However, it slipped my mind until I came across another review today.

It doesn’t look like it has gotten very much attention on Goodreads. There aren’t a lot of reviews or ratings yet, and the ones that are there have very mixed reviews.

I’m even more intrigued!

Hopefully I can get my hands on this book soon.