The Perfect Girl

The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan

This book is the second book by the author Gilly Macmillan and while it is the first one that I have read, I will try her other book soon.

This book follows Zoe upon her release and chance to being again with her “Second Chance Life” with her mom, new step-dad, Chris, step-brother, Lucas, and new sister, Grace.

Zoe was convicted of killing three of her high school classmates after events at a party turned drastically wrong and her trial didn’t go as well as planned. But, all that aside, Zoe is ready to begin a new life in what her mother has dubbed her “Second Chance Life.” They have moved and started anew. They have to appear perfect.

On the night of her revival, Zoe and Lucas hold a piano performance. Both are piano prodigies. Before the performance has truly begun, Thomas Barlow has burst through the doors and caused a scene, leaving Zoe running for the doors and everyone else aghast. This begins a long night of secrets being revealed, secrets that Zoe and her mother kept hidden from Chris and Lucas to preserve Zoe and allow her to fully move on with a new life. By the end of the night, Zoe’s mother is dead. She is found in the shed and the police cycle starts over again.

All is not as it seems as each person is interviewed the following morning and everyone has secrets to hide. This book is told from multiple viewpoints including Zoe, Lucas, Tessa (Zoe’s aunt), Sam (Zoe’s lawyer from before and the man Tessa is cheating on her husband with), and Richard (Tessa’s self-hating, alcoholic husband).

When I first started reading and each character was introduced in his or her own section it sounded very much like a diary entry because of the groundwork that was working so hard at being laid. The descriptions of oneself and others sounded to contrite and awkward because it isn’t how we talk about ourselves. It sounded like the speaker was speaking straight to the reader,even though that isn’t the way the book was set up. It was set up to tell the story from the various viewpoints so that you saw the entire picture.

The story doesn’t end when you find out who didn’t because at that point there are still other loose ends of the other story versions that need to be tied up. It only gets confusing if you do not pay attention to the name at the top of the page of each new section. It is never the same character twice in a row, but it does pick up the story right where the last one left off, so nothing is missed.

Overall the story was an interesting one and I look forward to reading her other book.

Stranded on Vail Mountain

Stranded on Vail Mountain by Desiree L. Scott

This book follows the life of Joan Clayton and her interactions with those around her while she is on a week-long vacation at a mountain resort with her husband, her best friend, Stacey,who showed up out of the blue, a few other guests at the resort, and the employees at the resort. Shortly after her arrival to the resort, her friend makes an unannounced welcome to the resort as well. She just happens to be staying at the same resort, for the same amount of time. Joan soon learns that it is too good to be true and leaves the resort on a trek in efforts to calm herself down. While out and about, she gets stuck and a storm is about to ensue. Stephen is assigned the task of rescuing her and completes the task, but not without a few surprises along the way back down the mountain, good and bad.

Once back at the resort, Joan hides herself away from everyone, including her now ex-best friend. Joan is beside herself with grief over all that has happened to her and those around her. When she finally agrees to talk to Stacey, she learns that the truth is not as easy and as crystal clear as it always seems. Her life is turned upside down once more. When the storm finally dies down enough for her and the remaining guests to leave, they do so, but Joan doesn’t do it without some hesitation about leaving Stephen behind. Stacey urges her to stay and Stephen urges her to come back soon. But with both people leading such completely different lives can she give up everything for one and move forward with her life?

This book was a quick, easy read. Great for a cold,winter evening! There is minimal language in this book and despite a few Kindle glitches (nothing that interfered with the reading), this book was interesting and held my interest the entire time.

Maybe happy endings do exist, we just have to take the risks and know where to find them…

Crescent Vendetta

Crescent Vendetta by Desiree L. Scott 

This story mainly follows Vanessa through her struggles in a wolf-fighting ring, to acceptance of herself and her unborn child, and finally finding a place where she will be accepted. Vanessa is a shifter. She is wolf and  human. She was captured and held captive in her wolf form, forced to fight, and also forced to bond with her caputerer and rapist. When her alpha brother finally frees her, he can’t convince the rest of the pack to accept her. So, he gets another wolf that was in captivity with her, another alpha, Travis, to take her and look after her. Travis does so willingly and his pack does accept her.

Vanessa brings the troubles of her captivity with her, not only her pregnancy, but also the sadistic rapist that is still after her and bonded to her. Vanessa wants the bond to be broken, but also longs for the safe delivery of her baby, one that will die if she shifts back to human form during pregnancy. Vanessa must search herself for a place to feel at home and learn to trust others and know that others, unlike her father and brother, will love and accept her. Will Vanessa end up with her happily ever after, or will she end up with her rapist again, forever bonded to him.

This book is an easy read, but beware of foul and crude language as well as some sex scenes.

 

The Chemist

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

When I started reading this book it was hard to forget that it was written by Stephenie Meyer and ideas of vampires and werewolves were on my mind because that is what she is most famous for. (Yes, I have read The Host. That is actually the first book of hers that I read.) Having read The Host, I know that her writing does travel into other genres and that she is able to write this type of book. After a while, I forgot that it was Stephenie Meyer writing the book, and I was able to fully enjoy the book. There were times when it was very Twilight-ish and that would throw off my reading flow. Overall the writing flowed decently well, more like in The Host.

This story follows “Alex,” though that isn’t her real name. Her real name and persona is dead. She is in hiding from those that want to kill her, but one intriguing email from an old boss and she slowly comes out of hiding, but not without all her safety precautions and medical and chemical knowledge. She is a fighter, not a lover. Her old job was to get confessions out of people, by any means necessary and she used mixtures of chemicals that would induce bodily pain and other effects. She was a pro at her job, until her job almost cost her her life.

When she comes out to see the assignment, she agrees, but on her terms. She is able to locate the target, Daniel, and subdue him, luring him to a make shift laboratory room. But, during the interrogation, she realizes her feelings, which she has a true lack of, are starting to show and she is beginning to care for some reason. At around the same time she realizes that something is going wrong with the interrogation and it isn’t long before more things begin to unravel. When a man, Kevin, bursts through to save the one she has incapacitated, it takes her a few minutes to understand what is going on, but after that she teams up with both of them to stop a common threat.  This all happens in a short amount of time in the book. After that it is a lot of running, fighting back against common threats, and hiding from those that want to cause them harm.

Some parts of the book dragged on, like when they are at Kevin’s, but that is because Meyer was trying to set other things into motion and the only way that could happen was with the passage of time and thus we learn more about our new characters. What bothered me the most is how this woman, Alex, who secludes herself from everyone, finds herself falling in love so helplessly (for her). She doesn’t fall head over heels, but she starts falling in love from the first moment. I don’t think it would have happened that fast or easy, but maybe that is my own personal opinion from my perception and what I thought I learned about Alex before she is interacting with Daniel.

Overall this book was a decent read and the Epilogue is worth a read; it is a good laugh.

The Sleeping Beauty Killer

The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

It has happened again. A book that I could not put down. I had to squeeze in time where ever I could to read this book, and I did between work and other commitments in a matter of 2 days. It was amazing. I love how cohesively these two are able to work together on this project of Under Suspicion novels. They have done an outstanding job.

We find ourselves with Laurie, again looking for another case for her new TV series. She now no longer has Alex as her host as he is diving back into his career. Instead she is left with Ryan as the new host. There are many problems that come with Ryan, mainly that she fears he is a favorite from Brett, without much consideration of her input for her new host. But, is he really that bad? You might learn to hate him, then again you might learn to love him, but don’t let Laurie completely jade your opinion of him from the get-go.

In this new book, Laurie takes on the case of “Crazy Casey” the woman convicted of being the “Sleeping Beauty” killer and killing her fiance, but not remembering a bit of what happened. She already served her time, but wants to use Laurie and her show to help clear her name. We have many important characters including Casey, Angela (her cousin), Paula (her mother), Charlotte (who we know from the last installment), and many people from Hunter’s family (Casey’s fiance that she was convicted of killing). All these people have different perspectives on what happened and why. Everyone has secrets to hide. When do they not? While reading, I had a hunch as to who did it early on, and my hunch was well-rewarded. I was correct, but I will leave it at that. All the clues are there. Read and tread carefully. There are also a lot of red herrings thrown throughout the book, that though they are important bits of information, if you look too much into them, it will throw you onto the wrong track. Alex is no longer involved in the case as he normally is when he worked on the show, but he is still involved. Oh, is he involved, but not how you think. By the end of the book, justice is served, as always.

In this book, since it is one of getting a new sense of justice for a client it takes a different spin than the previous ones where they are trying to prove someone else’s guilt and get the limelight off the innocent. There is a lot of character jumping, but this book wouldn’t be half of what it is if it were not for all those character jumps. It helps the reader to see the bigger picture and truly understand what is going on. No character jumps just happen, everything happens with some type of break.

One more side note on Alex, yes he isn’t “involved” in the case like he usually is, but he is involved. And, without giving too much away, by the end of the book, I despise his character, to the core.

Oh, and there will definitely be another installment with how the book ended, but Alex, justice better be served…

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

This book is definitely an interesting read. It begs the question: What would you do if you forgot the last ten years of your life? Would you be the same person? Would you change who you are? Would you become someone knew? What would the 10-years-younger you say about the choices you are making today? What would you think about who you have become and what you are doing with your life?

Alice Love doesn’t have to ask these questions; she is living it. She falls during a spin class at her gym and bumps her head. When she comes to, moments later, she has no recollection of where she is, who the people around her are, nor does she realize it is 10 years later than what she remembers. Her bump caused 10 years of memories to disappear. She comes into a world where she is on the edge of a divorce with the love of her life, she has three kids, her relationship with her sister has gone astray, she has different priorities which includes a pesky, bossy voice in her head, and for once in her life, she is skinny. None of this seems normal to her and she has to navigate her way through her new life to try and find her old self, while still being true to her actual self. This gives Alice a second chance at life, relationships, as well as how she does things. With each day, more memories are revealed to her and she realizes more and more of why she acts the way she does/did or why people act certain ways around her. She realizes she is a busy mother who never slows down to enjoy life. Her 10-years-younger self finds it hard to keep up, but does her best to make a new way in her already set-in-stone life.

As books would have it, she has another massive fall ending with a bump on the head towards the end of the book, and after that bump it seals the fate of how she will act and what she will do with the rest of her life.

This book did switch back and forth between Alice, Frannie’s letters (family friend), and Elizabeth’s (Alice’s sister) homework. This switching back and forth takes a while to get accustomed to, but the more I read, the more I realized why their letters were so important to the rest of the story. It gave a more unbiased view to all the situations and it helped the reader to understand why certain characters acted in certain ways. It gave the reader information that sometimes Alice might not, and cannot know because of her memory loss, but it leads to a deeper understanding.

For the most part we as the reader are on the same journey with Alice, trying to recover her memory and figure out who she is, was, and wants to be going on into the future.

Another great book from Liane Moriarty!

The Last Anniversary 

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty 

I apologize for the month long hiatus, work got really busy, but I’m back with another book review!

This is  another book by Liane Moriarty. I am usually not much for romance novels, but hers are worth it, overall. 

This book mainly follows Sophie’s story, but we do jump to other character’s minds as well during the story. We learn that Sophie is set to inherit the house of an ex-boyfriend’s recently passed away aunt. While one family member is furious, the others are excited about her coming back to live on the exclusive family-only-after-dark island. 

Everything on their island revolves around the Enigma baby mystery. This baby that Alice and Jack just left behind when they disappeared out of nowhere. Everything from tours of the house to authentic, this is what the house looked like when left, to a yearly anniversary of the event.

Everyone in the family always debates  about what really happened, but don’t get out find out until they are forty and deemed mature enough to handle it.

The story follows Sophie and the residents that live there as they  go through character changes. The reader does learn the truth behind the mystery and the story drops off soon after that. After the truth is learned, loose ends are tied up.

This story deals with loss, depression, along with other topics that can’t be told without giving away part of the mystery. It was a good read, but it dragged on once the full truth was out and in the open.