Posted in book reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Mother by Caroline MitchellThe Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell
Published by Thomas & Mercer on January 14, 2020
ISBN: 1542016649
Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK
Goodreads
four-stars
Synopsis

She thought they wanted her baby. But they won’t stop there.
Roz is young, penniless and pregnant. All she wants is to be the perfect mother to her child, but the more she thinks about her own chaotic upbringing, the more certain she is that the best life for her baby is as far away as possible from her hometown in Ireland.
Determined to do the right thing, Roz joins an elite adoption service and can’t believe her luck. Within days she is jetting to New York to meet a celebrity power couple desperate for a child of their own. Sheridan and Daniel are wealthy and glamorous—everything Roz isn’t. Her baby will never go hungry, and will have every opportunity for the perfect life. But soon after Roz moves into their plush basement suite, she starts to suspect that something darker lurks beneath the glossy surface of their home.
When Roz discovers she isn’t the first person to move in with the couple, and that the previous woman has never been seen since, alarm bells start ringing. As the clock ticks down to her due date, Roz realises her unborn baby may be the only thing keeping her alive, and that despite her best intentions, she has walked them both into the perfect nightmare…


Once upon a time, I was a huge mystery/suspense fan. I gobbled up as much of it as I could, often devouring a book a day in the dark, twisty lives I found in their pages. But at some point, either the authors started letting me down or I became immune to them. It was like I’d caught on to all their tricks… I went years always knowing how a story was going to end, whatever the mystery might be, I figured it out.

And it put me off the genre altogether.

Last year, I decided to give it another try and I found some great suspenseful reads that I loved! But so far this year, I’ve been disappointed.

Until now…

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell has renewed my hope for the mystery/suspense genre! I can’t go so far as to say that’s it was everything that I ever wanted in a thriller but despite the few annoying bits, I absolutely loved this book. Outside of Agatha Christie, there aren’t a lot of books in this genre I would even consider re-reading, but this would be one!

The Story:

The Perfect Mother is the story of a young woman named Roz, who finds herself pregnant after a drunken one-night stand. She’s recently been fired from her job and she can’t tell the father of the child that she’s even pregnant. All we know is that, whoever the father is, she’s mortified about it and won’t even tell her best friend and roommate, Dympna, who it is.

I was pretty sure I knew who the father was throughout the book. I literally made a note that said: “It’s pretty obvious the father is…” BUT I WAS WRONG! For the first time in what seemed like forever, I was thrown more than one curveball and what I thought I knew was completely wrong! I LOVED IT!

Sorry, I got a little sidetracked there. Who the father is or what all Ms. Mitchell managed to throw me on has very little to do with the actual story at this point, so let’s move on…

So Roz decides her only real option is to give her baby up for adoption. She signs up to this adoption site where couples basically buy your baby. At least, that’s how Dympna sees it. Roz is super excited when a “diamond couple” is interested in her baby. Things proceed rather quickly from there and, despite her misgivings, she finds herself moving to New York to live with the couple until the baby is born.

Once there, Roz finds herself in a horrible situation. Nothing is as it was supposed to be and she realizes too late that she’s made a horrible mistake. No one knows where she is, who she’s with, or why she’d even be in America. So it’s all really dreary.

I feel like that’s about all I can say about the story itself without giving anything away, so hopefully, I’ve made it clear that I LOVED IT!!!!

The Characters:

And here’s where we come to my issue with the book…

I loved most of the characters in this story. Dympna is amazing and funny and well-developed even though she’s a secondary character. The diamond couple, Sheridan and Daniel, who want Roz’s baby and will go to ANY lengths to get it, are complicated and I never did figure them out. I mean, they were the bad guys but I had a really hard time figuring out who was the REALLY bad guy here and there was just so much going on and backstory that started coming out and a whole rabbit hole of “THAT’s CRAZY” that pretty much every character in this book was surprisingly awesome.

Except for the main one.

I loved the book and I loved all the characters except for Roz. Which was very unfortunate considering she’s the MAIN character!!!

Roz was way too naive. I mean, it was unrealistic and I wanted to strangle or smack her way too often. She was likable (eventually) but even if I could get past the naivety, she’s whiney and has this attitude like the world owes her something because she had a crappy childhood. I mean, does anyone have a perfect childhood? Sorry, but that doesn’t keep you from accepting responsibility for your crappy actions now that you’re an adult. (That may have been a little harsh, but she seriously annoyed me and I”m still upset about it.)

Yeah, so basically every character is great except the main one.

Conclusion:

I definitely recommend reading The Perfect Mother if you’re looking for a good thriller/suspense book. But you’ve been warned that the main character might drive you a bit batty and make you want to punch someone. It’s worth the read anyway though!

Have you read The Perfect Mother? What do you think? Have any recommendations for my next read? Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter!

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

four-stars
Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – February 19, 2020

So I basically feel like something my dog pooped out this morning. Which is actually better than I felt yesterday, so my week’s getting better! I haven’t felt like writing since this stupid illness kicked my butt, but I figured… it’s Wednesday. And it doesn’t take much to post a WWW post and well, I love these things! I look back at them throughout the year and it’s sort of like a little timeline of my year in books. I love Goodreads and everything, but these are more personal. So here I am, sitting at my computer, coughing up a lung, sharing my WWW Wednesday post for February 19, 2020.

Don’t know what WWW Wendesday is or how to participate??? All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to Taking on a World of Words, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog! (You can also leave your link in my comments to be sure I don’t miss your post!)

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So let’s dive right in, shall we?

What I’m currently reading:

Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790 (The Poldark Saga #2)​​ by Winston Graham. This one was on my WWW list under currently reading last week too. I thought I’d finish it up that day, but I actually ended up not reading more than ONE PAGE the entire week from here! I still love it, I just had other things I had to read first.


The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler. This is another one from my list last week that I didn’t actually get to read. I guess this week’s “books I’m reading” is really just a repeat. Oh well.


The Things We Cannot Say​​ by Kelly Rimmer. I’ve actually been able to listen to this one on audiobook and am​​ still really enjoying it! I’ll be done with it today and I can already tell I’m going to be so upset when it ends! That’s the thing about good books… I wish the story could just go on forever!


What Have I Recently Finished?

Siege of Eden by C.D. Baker. I enjoyed this book more than I expected to If I’m being completely honest. It wasn’t quite what I thought it’d be and was a bit confusing at first, but once I got into it a bit, it was really good. I’ll be posting the full review once I’m feeling better!


Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. This was the opposite of Siege of Eden for me. Where that one was better than expected, this one wasn’t as good as I thought it’d be. I think my hopes too high to I was expecting something different, maybe? I still liked it, I just didn’t love it.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This is a re-read for about the billionth time, but one of the kids asked me to read it to them so this is what we’re reading now. Thankfully, it’s like Harry Potter or anything by R.A. Salvatore… no matter how many times you read it, it never gets old!


What I’ll be reading next:

So there we are. My WWW Wednesday for the week! Please feel free to share yours in the comments below or leave me a link! Reading WWW posts are some of my favorites all week because I love seeing what everyone else is reading.

Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with the reviews I’d planned on writing for this week! Until then, happy reading and thanks for stopping by everyone!!! 🙂

Posted in book reviews

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonaldThe Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
Published by Gallery Books on February 5, 2019
ISBN: 1501184008
Genres: General (Adult) Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Synopsis

In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?


I received this book for free from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Buy on AmazonBuy on Book Depository

My Thoughts on The Night Olivia Fell:

The love I have for my daughters exceeds anything else found on this earth. If you ask Thing 1, she’d tell you I love my children more than most other parents love theirs… to the point that it gets annoying and suffocating at times!

Thing 1 and I are especially close and she knows my biggest fear is to get “the call.” Even if you’re the type of parent that spends 20 hours of your 24 hour day complaining about your teenager, you know and fear “the call.” It’s the one that causes your stomach to drop before you even pick up the line, the one that changes your life forever, the one where a complete stranger tells you your child is seriously injured — or dead.

It’s every parent’s worst fear.

Thanks to some past events in my life, I suffer from PTSD. My particular trauma involves harm to my children and so this fear is even more magnified for me (probably why I get all suffocate-y sometimes).

It’s probably also why The Night Olivia Fell was such an emotionally gut-wrenching, roller-coaster ride of a story for me!

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it… But it was hard to get through. I saw so many similarities between Olivia and Abi’s relationship to my relationship with Thing 1 that it all felt way too personal and real!

Abi and her daughter are obviously super close and Abi loves Olivia fiercely. But then comes the night Olivia falls… suddenly, Abi has to come to terms with the fact that maybe she didn’t really know her daughter at all.

Not only does she have to keep processing that bit of life-altering, earth-shattering news, but her daughter’s pregnant, the police refuse to believe the fall wasn’t an accident, and Abi’s life is just all around spinning out of control! She’s built her entire adult life around Olivia and now she’s gone. Even if she does find out what happened that night, how does she go on???

Final Thoughts:

I’ve got to tell you, this book gave me chills! (And nightmares.) I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a good suspense novel featuring relatable characters and a totally believable plot!

What do you think? Have you read The Night Olivia Fell? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

four-half-stars
Posted in book reviews

Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins

Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. JenkinsDead Sea Rising (Dead Sea Chronicles #1) by Jerry B. Jenkins
Published by Worthy Books on November 13, 2018
ISBN: 1617950092
Genres: Christian Fiction
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-half-stars

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Synopsis

FROM #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR JERRY B. JENKINS COMES A HEART-STOPPING ADVENTURE OF HISTORICAL PROPORTIONS

Nicole Berman is an archaeologist on the brink of a world-changing discovery. During her first dig in Jordan, she believes she has found concrete evidence of a biblical patriarch that could change history books forever. But someone doesn’t want the truth revealed. While urgently trying to connect pieces of an ancient puzzle, a dangerous enemy is out to stop her.

“From a criminal investigation in Manhattan to the birth of Abram in ancient Ur, Jerry Jenkins weaves together a tale of drama and suspense that will draw you into the lives of two families separated by 4,000 years of history yet sharing remarkably similar struggles of faith. Dead Sea Rising combines the thrill of a whodunit with the moral and political intrigue of the ancient, and modern, Middle East. But be prepared. Once you begin, you won’t be able to stop until you reach the final page!” —DR. CHARLIE DYER, PROFESSOR-AT-LARGE OF BIBLE, AND HOST OF THE LAND AND THE BOOK RADIO PROGRAM

“If you love history—especially biblical history—this is a fun and fascinating read!” —JONI EARECKSON TADA, JONI AND FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY CENTER

 “Jerry Jenkins’ dialogue is equal to the best of Nelson DeMille, his storylines equal to the best of John Grisham. And now Dead Sea Rising . . . this book may be Jerry’s best.” —ANDY ANDREWS, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE TRAVELER’S GIFT AND THE NOTICER

“Jumping back and forth in time at a breakneck pace, Dead Sea Rising is a thriller as only Jerry B. Jenkins can tell it. Biblical history combines with gripping contemporary mystery. Just be aware—you’ll be hooked.” —JAMES SCOTT BELL, INTERNATIONAL THRILLER WRITERS AWARD WINNER


Buy on AmazonBuy on Book Depository

WHAT DID I JUST READ?!?!?

So let me begin by telling you guys, this book just completely and totally messed me up!! Though whether in a good way or a bad way remains to be seen…

First off, let me just give you a warning… this is the first book in a series!!! 

I didn’t realize that. 

So as I raced through the pages, desperate to know what happens next, who is behind everything happening to the Berman family, and what’s going to happen with Terah and the King – I expected it all to be wrapped up in a nice little bow…

BUT IT WASN’T!!!

And now I have to wait for the next book!!! And to be honest, I’m not sure my heart can withstand the suspense…

So if I disappear from the internets and you never hear from me again – Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins did it!

My Thoughts on Dead Sea Rising:

The story starts in Manhattan, New York, with Nicole Berman being informed her mother has tripped and broken her hip. Her father is too far away to get there before surgery, and Nicole rushes to the hospital to be with her mother.

The scene laid out on these first two pages had me hooked and ready to support Nicole through whatever was about to come…

But from there, we’re transported from a present-day hospital in Manhattan to Mesopotamia, 2000 B.C., during the reign of King Nimrod, and we’re in Ur with Terah and enthusiastically awaiting the birth of his unborn child.

Then we’re back to the present day where it turns out, Nicole’s mom’s fall wasn’t an accident…

And in the past, Terah and his unborn child are in danger…

AND THAT’S THE FIRST 10 PAGES!!!

The Characters:

I loved pretty much every character in this book!

The main character, Nicole, was a strong and smart female who’s waiting to hear back on whether or not Saudi Arabia is going to let her lead a dig there (she’s an archeologist). Nicole and her mother, Ginny, are close and so Nicole is incredibly heartbroken to learn that her mother is in the hospital.

Nicole and her father, Ben, aren’t as close as she and her mother are, and we quickly discover there may be a reason he stays so guarded… what secrets has Nicole’s father been keeping??

And while I truly enjoyed this book immensely (and without giving away any spoilers)

Did Jenkins HAVE to kill off one of my favorite characters? Maybe it’s the lack of sleep I’ve been getting with our newest placement, but I bawled my eyes out over a character that’s barely even in the book! I won’t say the name or even gender, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I loved them and now they’re gone and I’m broken hearted!!!

The Story:

I’ve already said it, but I was pulled into this story from the very beginning!

The author, Jerry B. Jenkins, was one of the authors for the Left Behind series, which I absolutely LOVED (and what got me interested in actually studying the bible and not just reading it for the good stories), so I should have known this was going to be one of those books I wasn’t going to want to put down.

But I was unprepared for the level of unchecked emotional turmoil I was going to experience by the time I finished reading Dead Sea Rising! This is one of those books I started that life forced me to put down for a little while, and it was torture every day that went by without me being able to pick it back up and find out what happened next…

And then I finally reached “the end,” only to discover…

IT’S NOT THE END!!! There’s another book coming out soon.

I was left with so many questions my head may explode!!!

So all in all, I loved Dead Sea Rising and I recommend it to EVERYONE!!! But I’m super upset I can’t read the next part of the story already… My only complaint is that it ended so abruptly and I’m without the next book.

Have you also read or planning to read Dead Sea Rising? What do you think? Leave me a comment below!

four-half-stars
Posted in book reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley

22914448-_sx120_Title & Author:  The Dead Key, D. M. Pulley
Publication Date & Publisher:  March 1, 2015, Thomas & Mercer
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller, Suspense
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
Amazon Purchase Link: The Dead Key

Description (from Goodreads):

It’s 1998, and for years the old First Bank of Cleveland has sat abandoned, perfectly preserved, its secrets only speculated on by the outside world.
Twenty years before, amid strange staff disappearances and allegations of fraud, panicked investors sold Cleveland’s largest bank in the middle of the night, locking out customers and employees, and thwarting a looming federal investigation. In the confusion that followed, the keys to the vault’s safe-deposit boxes were lost.
In the years since, Cleveland’s wealthy businessmen kept the truth buried in the abandoned high-rise. The ransacked offices and forgotten safe-deposit boxes remain locked in time, until young engineer Iris Latch stumbles upon them during a renovation survey. What begins as a welcome break from her cubicle becomes an obsession as Iris unravels the bank’s sordid past. With each haunting revelation, Iris follows the looming shadow of the past deeper into the vault—and soon realizes that the key to the mystery comes at an astonishing price.

My review:

First of all, I think I may have found a new favorite mystery/suspense author!
I bought The Dead Key at the West Virginia Writers summer conference last month, after attending a session by the author, D.M. Pulley. During the class, she referenced The Dead Key a few times and the more she talked about it the more I wanted to read it. (To be honest, it was distracting…I found myself trying to pay attention, but just wanted to go read the book she kept talking about.)
If you’ve read any of my other book reviews, then you know that I’m often drawn into a book by its characters. I really am a sucker for a character-driven story and will often enjoy a book even if the writing or story isn’t that great, if I’m in love with the people in it.
What you probably haven’t realized yet (or maybe you have if you’ve been paying close attention), is that I hardly ever read mysteries anymore. I hate being let down by guessing every single plot twist before it happens, figuring out who did what when and why way before the author tells me… basically, I hate feeling smarter than the hero or heroine. The point of a good mystery is to keep you wondering what the heck is going on and/or going to happen until the very end (Where I expect for everything to be wrapped up in a pretty little bow for me).
I’ve been let down too often over the last couple years… I gave up on mystery authors all together.
Until now…
Not only did I love the characters in The Dead Key, but I had to force myself to put the book down… I desperately needed to know what was going to happen next!
The story goes back and forth between a young girl’s experiences at the First Bank of Cleveland in 1978 and a female engineer, Iris, in 1998.
Iris is trying to do a renovation survey on the bank, which has been frozen in time for the last 20 years. It’s so strange, that she begins to snoop around more and more…and get herself into more and more trouble as she digs into the past.
One part of the past she digs up on the bank is that of Beatrice, a young secretary that had worked at the bank. It’s obvious that Beatrice has a lot of secrets and while Iris herself doesn’t discover all of them, D. M. Pulley lets you experience it yourself as you go through Beatrice’s sad and terrifying journey with her.
I love a good serious story with a lot of laughs and Iris provided plenty of both! She’s nothing like what you’d expect an engineer to be. She drinks too much, smokes too much, and makes bad decision after hilariously bad decision after another. At one point, she starts to believe she may be imagining things:

She had to stop drinking and get some sleep. It was getting hard to separate her memories from her delusions.

On page 292, I realized that I still had no idea what supporting characters to trust and which were dangerous for Beatrice and Iris…and I was shocked by who was friend and who was foe at the end!
There is so much I want to tell you, but almost anything more would be a spoiler so if you’ve already read The Dead Key, let me know what you thought! I love talking about great books!
If you don’t have an interest in reading it, why? If you’re planning on adding it to your TBR stack, was my review helpful?
Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!