Friday, August 21, 2015

Black-Eyed Susans by, Julia Heaberlin



Black-Eyed Susans by, Julia Heaberlin
Available in-house in hardcover and coming soon to Library2Go

I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.
The lucky one.
As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.
Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.
What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a  fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.
Shocking, intense, and utterly original, Black-Eyed Susans is a dazzling psychological thriller, seamlessly weaving past and present in a searing tale of a young woman whose harrowing memories remain in a field of flowers—as a killer makes a chilling return to his garden




My Review:
Wow this book was so hard to put down. I did not even come close to figuring out who the monster was; she put in just enough red herrings to keep me guessing all the way to the reveal.
For the longest time I wondered if Lydia was imaginary, maybe one of the Susan’s.

This book is told from 2 perspectives Tessa present day and Tessie in 1995 still trying to come to grips with almost dying and being prepared for the trial of the man she is told did this to her. They are the same person yet not. These jumps in time made for an interesting way to tell the story of what happened to Tessa. Especially since she only remembers what happened just before she was taken and waking up in a grave with the other Susan’s. Who did this to her and what happens in between is just blackness but they told her the man Terrell did it and he was put on death row for the crime  , but did he? Now she's not sure.

Bringing this entire thing up again is really tough on Tessa especially since she has a teenage daughter of her own now and she doesn't want her daughter dragged down by this, but there is a man on death row that might be innocent and his execution is coming up fast. Tessa already lives with so much survivors’ guilt that she's not sure she can handle the guilt of her part of sending an innocent man to his death.

The forensics were a huge part of this book and you can tell the author did a lot of research for these parts which made this story feel like true crime, I believed it all.

I was so absorbed in this book and as I said it was so hard to put down I needed to know just as Tessa needed to know, what happened to her, who did this to her? The journey to get there was filled with sometimes manic decisions on Tessa's part but you could understand where she was coming from, she wouldn't be able to live with Terrell’s death on her conscience.

This book was amazing so well written; I don’t want to give too much away so I will just say…
 Read This Book Now!


5 Stars

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Truth According to Us by, Annie Barrows


The Truth According to Us by, Annie Barrows narrated by, Ann Marie Lee & Tara Sands (and various)

Available in-house in hardcover and on Library2Go in Ebook& Audiobook

From the Author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck’s father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days, Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty.

At the Romeyn house, twelve-year-old Willa is desperate to learn everything in her quest to acquire her favorite virtues of ferocity and devotion—a search that leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried. Layla’s arrival strikes a match to the family veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns. As Willa peels back the layers of her family’s past, and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed—and their personal histories completely rewritten.


My Review of the audiobook:
It’s funny I never even read the description for this book I just knew I wanted to read it because I loved her Guernsey book so much, so imagine my surprise when this book was not set in Britain but in the American south, I know authors don’t write about the same place all the time but I guess I assumed the authors of Guernsey were British. I also didn’t realize the author writes the children’s series Ivy & Bean, so now that I’ve admitted to being a bad librarian I will get on with my review of this fabulous book.

Layla Beck a senator’s daughter is being taught a lesson and is sent away by her father to work for the WPA, a writer’s project that is part of the New Deal, she is sent to write a history of the town of Macedonia, West Virginia. She ends up in a rooming house run by Jottie Romeyn who lives there with her nieces Willa and Bird and their divorced father Felix.

Between Layla’s research for her book and Willa’s snooping no secret is safe in this small town and those secrets will affect everyone at the Romeyn boarding house and beyond. When Layla starts falling for Felix, Willa gets involved because she wants her parents to get back together and no one is good enough for her father, but is Felix as good of a man as these two think he is?

The characters in this book are at times eccentric and some are sad and lonely ( Jottie) but she keeps that sadness bottled up so everyone thinks she is just fine and when you come to understand the reasons for that sadness you will wonder why she let it go on as long as she did. But, family loyalty is important to the Romeyn’s even though some members of the family are holding back important details of the night that changed their entire life it seemed like the right thing to do. Ah, but secrets have a way of wiggling to the surface and when these secrets come to light this family will never be the same.

I really enjoyed this story and the characters and will read anything this author puts to paper!

Read by Ann Marie Lee, Tara Sands, and Julia Whelan, with additional readings by Cassandra Campbell, Danny Campbell, Mark Deakins, Kimberly Farr, Kirby Heyborne, Lincoln Hoppe, Paul Michael, Linda Montana, and Arthur Morey. The narration was very well done with the main narrators being Ann Marie Lee and Tara Sands who both did a fantastic job at bringing this book to life. The other narrators read letters and histories which I found interesting and thought it added credence to the letters.

I highly recommend this one on audio.

5 Stars




Monday, August 17, 2015

Those Who Wish Me Dead by, Michael Koryta



Those Who Wish Me Dead by, Michael Koryta Narrated by, Robert Petkoff

Available in-house in hardcover and in Audio on Library2Go

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When 13-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.

The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.

The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind.

Review of the audiobook:

This was a great thriller; you could cut the tension with a knife! Jace Wilson is in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses two men getting rid of a body and to make matters worse the men know he saw them and now he must die. Jace’s parents decide to send him to a mountain camp for troubled kids, under an assumed name, he hides from the hit men but they know he’s there somewhere and will stop at nothing to find him no matter who gets in their way or who has to die. Ethan, the man running the camp knows he has a witness in the group but doesn’t which boy it is. But the Blackwell brothers do and these are two of the freakiest, creepiest killers I’ve read about in a long time I would not want to be hunted by these men they scared the bejeezus out of me, they were so well written!

This was my first book by Koryta but sure won’t be my last, this book was very hard to stop listening because from beginning to end it was fraught with tension and you just had to know if Jace and the people helping him were going to make it out of these mountains alive.

This book is set in Beartooth Pass between Wyoming and Montana I have been through this pass on the back of Harley in August and it was snowing at the top so I could imagine what it was like hiking through there and how steep it is and all the switchbacks coming up one side and down the other. So was kind of fun to be able to picture this location in my head as I was reading.

I thought Robert Petkoff’s narration was amazing  and very impressive especially the narration of the 2 psycho hit men The Blackwell Brothers that are after Jace/Conner then when one of the characters describes how these men talk, it was even more right on because he narrated them exactly how the author describes them. Every character has a distinct voice and his female voices were well done.  I will be seeking out other books Petkoff has narrated. I see he narrates quite a few of Koryta’s books so; I will be listening to more of this author & narrator combo.


If you hadn’t guessed I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend this thriller!


4 ½ Stars

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah



The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah narrated by, Polly Stone
My review is of the Audiobook

Available in-house in Hardcover


Synopsis from Goodreads:
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
FRANCE, 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real--and deadly--consequences.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

My Review:

This was my first Kristin Hannah book and I was completely captivated.

I didn't know much about how life was for the small towns in occupied France and it was heartbreaking. Also to learn about the women left behind and the conditions they had to live under, but how strong these women were was awe-inspiring. These two sisters are very different Vianne is a wife and mother, her husband is off at war her sister Isabelle is kind of a wild child who has been neglected by their father since the death of their mother, Isabelle is a jump first deal with the consequences later type of person and during a Nazi occupation that may not be the best attitude to have.

Although it took me a little while to warm to Isabelle, I did end up thinking she was more courageous than reckless by the end. And Vianne whose house has been taken over by a Nazi , a half decent man for sure she was very lucky with Beck he was, I believe, a kind soul who didn’t really believe in everything the Nazi party stood for. But as things tend to happen in war she ends up with a much meaner real Nazi staying at her home and that is when true darkness sets into her home. Vianne also at times was naïve about the what the Nazi’s were up to and gave a bit of information she later regretted very much, especially since her best friend Rachel is a Jew.

However Vianne and Isabelle both risk their lives for other people’s freedom, all the while not realizing what the other sister is doing, Vianne thinking Isabelle ran off to be with a man, and Isabelle feeling Vianne was a traitor for having a Nazi in her home, when really both women were doing things that could have gotten them killed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, enjoyed might not be the right word for a book like this but you know what I mean, and it is a tough time period to read about but it is also important to know so it will not happen again.

 Polly Stone’s narration took a little getting used to but I ended up really liking her , the accents and male and female voices were well done and I would listen to this narrator again.

This was a very powerful book and well written and I am left thinking of these sisters days after I have finished this book. I highly recommend it.


4 ½  Stars

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline narrated by, George Newbern


Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline narrated by, George Newbern


Also in-house in Hardcover

Dr. Eric Parrish is the Chief of the Psychiatric Unit at Havemeyer General Hospital outside of Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife, Caitlin, he is doing his best as a single dad to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah. His work seems to be going better than his home life, however. His unit at the hospital has just been named number two in the country and Eric has a devoted staff of doctors and nurses who are as caring as Eric is. But when he takes on a new patient, Eric's entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother and is having trouble handling it. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes Max a high risk patient. Max can't turn off the rituals he needs to perform every fifteen minutes that keep him calm. With the pressure mounting, Max just might reach the breaking point. When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be found. Worried about Max, Eric goes looking for him and puts himself in danger of being seen as a "person of interest". Next, one of his own staff turns on him in a trumped up charge of sexual harassment. Is this chaos all random? Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric's life?


My Review:

Scottoline does it again with another great standalone thriller. This one had me guessing all the way through and when the reveal/reveals came I was caught completely unaware, never would I have guessed who wanted to ruin Eric’s life.

Eric Parrish doctor extraordinaire has a lot going for him he was just named #2 psychiatric doctor but he also just got divorced and is trying to spend a little more time with his daughter Hannah. When he gets a consult about a young man, Max, with possible OCD and who may be a suicide risk Eric agrees to take him on as a patient. But Max says some things that make Eric a little nervous and when Max goes over the edge he seems to take Eric with him. Eric’s life gets turned upside down but is it all a coincidence or is there something more sinister going on? Is someone deliberately trying to take Eric down?

This was a great edge of your seat thriller, there were times though that I wanted to yell at Eric, Stay Home! Don’t Go! But that would have made for a boring story and this was anything but boring. I really felt Eric’s confusion and felt for him as he was trying to save not only himself but Max too.  I love Scottoline’s writing and this one was hard to stop listening to.


George Newbern has got a new fan in me this is the second book in just a month or so I have listened to that he has narrated and I really like his narrating style. He will be a go to for books if he is narrating I will pick the audio version.

This book is for fans of a good thriller that keeps you guessing.


4 ½ Stars

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway


Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway narrated by, Ellen Archer

Available in-house in Hardcover and on Library2Go on audio (this review is for the audiobook version)

Synopsis fromGoodreads:
Hanna Schutt never suspected that her younger daughter's happiness would lead to her husband's death and the destruction of their family. When Dawn brings her new boyfriend home from college for a visit, her parents and sister try to hide their doubts because they're glad that Dawn - always an awkward child - appears to have grown into a confident, mature young woman in her relationship with Rud. But when Hanna and her husband, Joe, are beaten savagely in their bed, Rud becomes the chief suspect and stands trial for Joe's murder.

Claiming her boyfriend's innocence, Dawn estranges herself from her mother, who survived the attack with serious injuries and impaired memory. When Rud wins an appeal and Dawn returns to the family home saying she wants to support her mother, Hanna decides to try to remember details of that traumatic night so she can testify to keep her husband's murderer in jail, never guessing that the process might cause her to question everything she thought she knew about her daughter.

My Review:  (of the audiobook)
This was quite a story it kept me on the edge of my seat, especially when you listen to it as a mother and wonder what would you think and feel? Would you also stand up for your daughter even when everyone else thinks she’s guilty? There’s no way you could have raised a daughter who had a hand in killing her father and left you severely beaten and left for dead. Yes, your daughter has always been a bit odd and was bullied and teased as a child because of a lazy eye but she isn’t a monster right??!!??

I had a hard time putting this one down, I needed to know if Hanna was right or if she had just let one of her attackers back into her home. Yes there were times when I thought Hanna open your eyes and listen to what everyone is telling you but then when you look at it from a mother’s perspective of always defending and protecting your child I could understand where she was coming from.

I also liked the way this is written almost from inside Hanna’s head who doesn’t remember anything about the night of the attack but that night when a police officer asked her who did this she implicated her daughter Dawn and her boyfriend Rud. Rud ends up in prison but Dawn is never indicted because her roommate gives her an alibi. A lot of the book is Hanna going through memories of Dawn’s life, I think in her own way trying to justify why she said Dawn did it because she can’t come to terms with the possibility that her daughter had anything to do with it. There are times in these memories when you feel so bad for Dawn and how her classmates and even her own sister, Iris, treated her but there are other times especially in the present day that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and wonder if Hanna is wrong about everything.

Okay I will stop now before I give anything away; this is a taut psychological thriller that I think would be fabulous for a book club because right now I wish I had a friend who had also read this book so I could talk to them about it. This is a powerful story and especially as a mother will pull at your heartstrings and leave you with a lot of “What if this happened to me?” questions.

Ellen Archer’s narration was very well done I thought the tones and sarcasm she gave Iris were perfect and also her narration of Dawn showed us that she really never grew up and seemed stunted as a child/teen. And with Hanna so much of the book is inside her head and I liked that I could tell when she was speaking to someone or just remembering things. I would definitely listen to this narrator again.

This was my first read by this author and I am now curious about her other books and will search them out.


4 ½ Stars

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott narrated by Cassandra Campbell


A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Available in-house in Hardcover


Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana for Hollywood, she never imagines she'll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress from Julie's provincial Midwestern hometown. Although the young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, the only job Julie's able to find is one in the studio publicity office of the notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick —who is busy burning through directors, writers and money as he begins filming Gone with the Wind.    

Although tensions run high on the set, Julie finds she can step onto the back lot, take in the smell of smoky gunpowder and the soft rustle of hoop skirts, and feel the magical world of Gone with the Wind come to life. Julie's access to real-life magic comes when Carole Lombard hires her as an assistant and invites her into the glamorous world Carole shares with Clark Gable—who is about to move into movie history as the dashing Rhett Butler.

Carole Lombard, happily profane and uninhibited, makes no secret of her relationship with Gable, which poses something of a problem for the studio as Gable is technically still married—and the last thing the film needs is more negative publicity. Julie is there to fend off the overly curious reporters, hoping to prevent details about the affair from slipping out. But she can barely keep up with her blonde employer, let alone control what comes out of Carole's mouth, and--as their friendship grows - soon finds she doesn't want to. Carole, both wise and funny, becomes Julie's model for breaking free of the past.



This review is of the audiobooks
First off I need to tell you I am a huge classic movie fan; I think movies made before 1950 are the best movies out there. That is why I requested this book from edelweiss but then I saw that Cassandra Campbell narrates it so I waited for the audiobook.

I loved all the insider info into the fights, casting, script writing, censors and producers that went on during the filming of this movie. I am so glad Louis B. Mayer didn’t get his way and that David O. Selsnick filmed the ending he wanted because it was the best ending possible!

Julie Crawford a young writer from Indiana comes to Hollywood to write for the movies, on her first job she doesn’t get a message to one of the directors of Gone With the Wind fast enough and is fired on the spot, however she has just met a beautiful woman who says she will help her out. When someone asks if she knows who the lady is she admits she looks familiar but can’t place her; the woman turns out to be Carole Lombard soon to be wife of Clark Gable who stars and Rhett Butler in the film. What I found a little weird about these scenes was if you are going to Hollywood to write for the movies wouldn’t you at least know a little about the stars you hope to write for? But she and Carole become very good friends and I loved all the scenes of them together Carole seemed like a very down-to-earth person. Also on that day she meets Hank Weinstein and they start a relationship even though he is Jewish. This is 1938-39 so Hitler is starting his holocaust of the Jewish people including Hanks grandparents so he is having a tough time of it.

I was impressed with Gable’s civil rights ideals (I really hope they were true) when he sees that the bathrooms and other places are segregated he has a fit and fights for their rights of non-segregation. Including almost not going to the premier because Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen would have to use a back door and sit in the colored section, even though it was Hattie who convinced Gable to go even when she boycotted the event.

This was a fun book it was such an insider’s look into old Hollywood and especially Carole Lombard & Clark Gable’s relationship. I did think Julie could be quite naïve but it was the 30’s and she grew up in Indiana so …

Cassandra Campbell’s narration was as always fabulous, I like how she made Clark gruff but didn’t try to imitate his voice, every character had their own cadence and tone and you were never left guessing as to who was talking.


If you are a fan of old Hollywood, and /or Gone With the Wind I think you will enjoy this book very much. I have enjoyed all of Alcott’s books so if you haven’t read anything by her before give her a try you’ll be glad you did!


4 ½ Stars