Monday, September 15, 2014

#REVIEW - The Secret Place by Tana French

Description:
The sensational new novel from “one of the most talented crime writers alive” (The Washington Post)
The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption saysI KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.
Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. “The Secret Place,” a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.
But everything they discover leads them back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships
that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen’s links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda’s will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly’s father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined.

The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.

My Take:
3 Stars
People who love fictional crime procedurals, police investigation, cold cases turning up new evidence, a detective in cold  cases who would love to move back into murder, etc., are going to love this book. You are either going to love this book, or you are going to dislike this book very much. I saw this in other reviews too. I just did not like it all that much because I didn't have one or two centralized characters I could hold onto like I'm used to. I did read and finish this entire 529 page new release (Sept 2nd) which took me over an entire WEEK to read because I did not want to pick the book up. There was nothing demanding I pick this one up to read.
I'm the type of reader who needs character development, personal interaction between other characters, I need to hear each other talking and giggling to each other on a personal level, not flashbacks like these were between the girls in the boarding school. I wanted to know someone's likes and dislikes are, you know, that character development that takes place in the usual way it does. We do not get that in this book at all, IMO.
I really, really, really wanted to love this book, too! I really did! I just couldn't. 'It' was not there for me.
This book had a lot of British/Irish slang to it I had to look up as I was lost! LOL! Thankfully there is the slang dictionary!
As for Detective Conway, the leader of the bunch in this investigation, she was MEAN!!! She had zero personality on the scale of zero. She just ran around accusing whoever it was at the moment and I wouldn't want to get near her to know her. No one can be THAT mean in real life ALL the time, (or can they?) spinning out her tires like she does every time. She was so crude, I didn't like reading the parts she was in. 
Frank Mackey, a Detective in Cold Cases gets to move back into murder like he's wanted to for a while now because of the new evidence in a cold case his daughter brings to light. He was the lead investigator of this case that happened over a year ago now, and here is his time to shine and maybe stay in Murder again? His daughter, Holly, a boarder in the Girl's school found a card on a private bulletin board, called "The Secret Place", where any of the girls can put anything they want to on this board and 'get it off their chest'. Last year, a boy from the boys school was murdered, and Holly knew him. Chris Harper. Murdered, and the case never solved, now cold. Holly spots this index card with the admission that someone knows something about what happened, grabs it carefully so no one sees her doing it, and she gives it to her father. Next thing we know is Detective Conway is hauling Holly's behind into the police department trying to frame HER for the murder of Chris for over the next 24 hours!
I can say one thing about Tana French. She is very long winded. I felt some of these scenes could have been cut out or shortened. It only felt like it made the book longer.
This story is told in a series of the girls' flashbacks. I thought I knew who did it, BUT had there been more character development with these characters then maybe I could have read into it better than what I did because I completely got it wrong. When the girls had the flashbacks, there was something huge missing in the writing in this book. I needed to learn who these girls were on a personal level in order for myself to try to guess who the murderer was, and the author doesn't give us a lot to work with except for very long scenes. I did not guess correctly.
Yes, this book is going to be praised, oogled over, aah'ed over, it will be a book of the month club read, and anything else it can be, but in MY honest opinion, a regular woman who loves mysteries, loves psychological thrillers, loves women's fiction, loves some new adult, historical, this book was just not for me. I've read a ton of psychological thrillers, which I have LOVED, but I still hated this book. It was written very criminological, to the point of 'matter of fact', and I was not prepared for that. 
So for myself who enjoys and needs more than what was offered in this book in the way of character development, even though there was a LOT to this book, it still made it to Number 4 on the NY Times Bestseller list! The other thing that made it extremely difficult to read was all of the british slang. I had one heck of a time understanding it. Thankfully I had my Paperwhite and I could look up what the slang meant. The bummer part was when I had my regular Kindle, I was not able to look up what the different sayings were, and I was lost. 
Before I get to the end here, I have read in other reviews, IF YOU HAVE NOT READ TANA FRENCH BEFORE, THIS IS NOT THE FIRST BOOK TO START WITH, AND I AGREE! Now that I have read this book, I don't want to read another of her books! A book was mentioned, but I can't remember which one it was, and I really don't care to go back and find out. Whatever the other 'better' book was would have to be pretty exceptional in order for me to even want to try it.
I received this book for FREE from the Publisher,  and NetGalley, in exchange to read and write a review about it. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to do so, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it and giving my own honest opinion no matter whether it is positive or negative. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the law set here: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html., The Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, 16 CFR 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The #NYTimes Top 15 (20) #Bestsellers for the week ending Sept 10 PLUS Blog Updates!


Welcome! I hope you all have had another GREAT week of reading! 
This post is up every Sunday by NOON and sometimes earlier! 

PLEASE READ WHAT I HAVE TO SAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST. You may be JUST as SHOCKED as I was about this list. We have LOST 20% of this list, which is why this post is LATE! Such a SAD thing to lose.

Okay! How was your week of reading? I hope GREAT! I did not have an enjoyable week of reading this week. I always usually read two books a week almost all the time unless life throws in a curve ball! You all know those types of weeks!, and by Sunday, I am generally ready to start a new one, except not this week. I only read one book this week, and I was having to twist my own arm to read it, to pick it up, to finish it, but it was not enjoyable reading 'for myself' at all. I was forcing myself to get to the end. I did succeed in finishing it. I only continued on to the end because I felt I had to since I got this book from NetGalley, from the publisher. I really try hard to post reviews on the release dates for the books, but it didn't happen this time. 
This was my first Tana French book, and I was really looking forward to reading this book. I had heard she was one of the best mystery writers, but after I stared reading this book, I SOON started to dread reading this book. Something was missing from this book for me, and it's simple, really. She never gave me a character I cared about. If the author could have just taken one little step further for me and added a way I could connect with just ONE of the characters, I really think I could have LOVED this book. However, this author did not bring that most important factor into this book, which in my opinion is the MOST vital for ANY book. The personal touch. A character to care about, a character you can relate to, a character who made you want to pick this book back up and keep reading about them. 
What was the book? "The Secret Place" by Tana French. 
It made #5 on the Bestseller list this week, too! SHOCK! Although, then again, given a her name, alone, it is no surprise to me. 
I read a few reviews on Amazon, and it sounds like either you are going to love this book or not, and if you are new to this author like I was, this is NOT the book to start with, so the Reviewers said. You'll get to read about it my review when I write it.  



I have the review almost completely written, and I'll post it on Monday evening. You'll see why I did not like the book and why it was so hard to read - for myself. I probably should have put it down and just picked up a new book instead of hanging on and trying to finish this one. It's going to be a 50/50 thing with this book. You will love it, or hate it. Wow! The author is long-winded, or so it seemed, but then again who am I to say because "I" am long-winded, too! LOL!!!

Are women the BEST crime writers? Check out this interesting article HERE! 

Now I'm reading "The Art of Arranging Flowers" by Lynne Brenard. LOOK at this cover!! I LOVE it! It matches my blog! Now this one, it's a CHARM! I NEEDED a book like this one! It truly is a simple, beautiful and enjoyable book which I need now after reading a really heavy one!



GIVEAWAYS

*Check out the KINDLE FIRE HDX #GIVEAWAY in the LEFT SIDE COLUMN!

*Next Saturday, September 20th, starts the "Stuck in Books Giveaway Hop!" It runs until the 25th, so it's a short one! Don't miss it!

Now, let's get to the books!

FICTION: COMBINED PRINT AND EBOOK
All books link directly to the book. When you click on the title or the photo of the book, it will take you directly to the book! From there, if you prefer print, you can click on the print version, or whatever version you prefer!

1.  Personal by Lee Child
ebook $10.99
print:  $16.45



2. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon
ebook: $11.99
print:   $16.77



3. The Eye of Heaven by Clive Cussler and Russell Brooke
ebook: $11.99
print:   $18.42



4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
ebook: $7.99
print:   $8.97



5. The Secret Place by Tana French
ebook: $11.99
print:   $16.77



6. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
ebook: $4.99
print:   $7.08



7. Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
ebook: $12.99
print:   $23.40



8. Dark Blood by Christine Freehan
ebook: $10.99
print:   $16.04



9. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
ebook: $10.99
print:   $16.16



10. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
ebook: $10.99
print:   $18.00



11. One More Chance by Abbi Glines
ebook: $7.59
print:   $9.49



12. Son of No One by Sherrilyn Kenyon
ebook: $12.99
print:   $ 7.19



13. Countdown by Fern Michaels
ebook: $2.51
No print edition available



14. The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
ebook: $7.99
print:   $7.20



15. Sycamore Row by John Grisham
ebook: $7.80
print:   $7.23



Wow!! The New York Times has CHANGED the TOP bestseller list now! Now they ONLY show the Top 20 books/authors! No more Top 25! This is a HUGE CHANGE! I feel like I've just been punched in the stomach when I look at this list now. I guess you aren't good enough now unless you are among the top 20 authors??? UGH! I'm EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED at the New York Times' decision to do this. WHY? I feel this is VERY WRONG, and I, as a Reader, want to know WHY???
This list CHANGES EVERYTHING! Are they now telling us an author is ONLY a good author if you are among the Top 20 books now? Looks that way. 
There are SO MANY GREAT BOOKS OUT THERE, but this NEW list is going to CUT THE CHANCES OF THOSE GREAT BOOKS EVER HAVING A CHANCE TO MAKE THIS LIST by a whopping 20%!! This change is dramatic! I am feeling the ONLY thing this list stands for now is SALES and sales ONLY because even if it is only 5 LESS BOOKS, 5 LESS AUTHORS, this list is now only a NUMBERS GAME. Yes, it was before, too, but authors has MORE of a chance of hitting this list than they EVER do now! 
5 less books/authors out of 25 is HUGE! We lost 20% of NEW books/authors! Are authors now less prestigious more than ever now since this list dropped by 20% LAST WEEK and you ONLY hit the top twenty books in sales now? This change is A HUGE DETRIMENT TO AUTHORS! 
IMO, 'This list' used to be "THE LIST AUTHORS STRIVED TO MAKE IT ON"! It was to show the world YOU have done something HUGE! Not anymore! I have just LOST ALL RESPECT FOR THIS LIST. This list means NOTHING to me because the ONLY authors who we are going to see on this list will be the everyday, run of the mill LARGE NAMED AUTHORS who we expect to be on it week after week in the first place.
SUCH A LOSS, SUCH A LOSS.

This list almost makes me want to reconsider writing this Post week after week now, especially since we probably won't see the NEW up and coming authors like we have in the past. 20% is a HUGE number.

A 20% loss is sad!

Well, here are the last 5 books/authors (which used to be 10) for THIS week. You have a GREAT week ahead! Please don't forget to come back by! Wishing you the BEST reading ahead!
Thanks for reading this week!
Laurie


  • MURDER 101, by Faye Kellerman (Morrow)
  • SHIFTING SHADOWS, by Patricia Briggs (Ace)
  • DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, by Diana Gabaldon (Dell)
  • THE GOLDFINCH, by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown)
  • ORPHAN TRAIN, by Christina Baker Kline (Morrow/HarperCollins)
  • Saturday, September 6, 2014

    The #NYTimes Top 15 (25) #Bestsellers for the week ending September 6th, 2014 plus #blog updates!


    Welcome! It's been another week of GREAT books!
    I've been trying to post this ALL day, but, last night we had very severe storms. About half of lower eastern Michigan is without power. It is so splotchy, too, I've never seen anything like this. They are calling in 300 people from out of state to help restore all of our power. It's downed power lines and broken transformers, such as what happened here. We had two transformers get hit, maybe more because a large area is out after the loudest explosion you have EVER heard! I've been through this before, but that was only one transformer. The lightening bolt that came down prior to the thunder was SO BRIGHT, it was as if it was INSIDE OUR HOUSE! Other neighbors have said the same thing. The explosion of thunder following was not 'just' thunder. I know that sound, and that is transformers being blown out. Edison is calling in 300 people from other states to help us get our power back on, too.
    Also, my Internet Service keeps going OUT! That is driving me crazy! So, we'll "TRY" to do this post, my intention is prior to 9:00pm, but I've already had to shut down and reboot the computer five times already. We'll see???

     GIVEAWAYS!
    It's September! Time for a NEW Kindle Fire HDX or Amazon GC OR PayPal CASH ($229 value!) Enter from the LEFT side-column!

    Sorry, but that's all for right now!

    REVIEWS
    In Her Wake by K A Tucker HERE!
    What It Was Like by Peter Seth HERE!
    The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart HERE!

    UPCOMING REVIEWS THIS WEEK
    The Secret Place by Tana French

    Okay! Let's get to the bestsellers! (All books are linked to the Kindle version. If you want a different version, while you are at the book, just click on the version you want!)

    FICTION: COMBINED EBOOK AND PRINT

    1.  The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
    ebook: $12.74
    print:   $16.79



    2. The Homecoming Book 6 by Robyn Carr
    ebook: $5.49
    print:   $5.78



    3. Private Down Under by James Patterson and Michael White
    ebook: $  6.49
    print:   $11.84



    4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
    ebook: $7.99
    print:   $8.97



    5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
    ebook: $10.99
    print:   $16.16



    6. The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle
    ebook: $5.99
    print:   $7.19



    7. Outlander by Diane Gabaldon
    ebook: $4.99
    print:   $7.15



    8. Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
    ebook: $12.99
    print:   $23.40



    9. Sycamore Row by John Grisham
    ebook: $6.80
    print:   $7.23



    10. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    ebook: $  6.99
    ebook: $17.95



    11. The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
    ebook: $  9.99
    print:   $18.16



    12. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
    ebook: $6.99
    print:   $8.99




    13. Close to Home by Lisa Jackson
    ebook: $9.14
    print:   $7.19



    14. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
    ebook: $4.99
    print:   $6.04



    15. No Limits by Lori Foster
    ebook: $5.49
    print:   $5.78


    Thanks for stopping by the blog again this week! If you have any books you've read lately and would love to share the IN THE COMMENT SECTION, please do so! We LOVE comments! Here are the rest of the books, and I'll be back with this post next week again!

  • IT'S IN HIS KISS, by Jill Shalvis (Grand Central)
  • HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Morrow)
  • VAIN - PART THREE, by Deborah Bladon (Deborah Bladon)
  • NOT A DRILL, by Lee Child (Delacorte)
  • ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)
  • THE ARRANGEMENT 16, by H.M. Ward (H.M. Ward Press)
  • SILENT RUN, by Barbara Freethy (Barbara Freethy)
  • THE BEST OF ME, by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central)
  • WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU, by Rachel Gibson (Avon)
  • FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, by E. L. James (Vintage)
  • Friday, September 5, 2014

    #REVIEW - The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart


    Description

    For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman's best qualities. She knows she's fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon.

    But it seems Nell's gift won't be hidden by Oscar's efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is.

    My Take:
    3.5 Stars
    I loved how this story really portrayed sweet, young Nell's love of creating hats. She was extremely brave at this young age, coming from London, England, here to New York City to fulfill her dream of becoming a Milliner, designing and owning her own milliner store one day. First it meant she had to work somewhere for experience, such as this department store to get her work and her name out there. The unfortunate thing is the man she worked under. I kept reminding myself that this was 1922, but even so, we still had some pretty strong women back then. Nell was not strong when it came to confrontation, and I just did not like seeing this character being portrayed almost as a doormat for her boss to stomp all over on. She would not speak up for herself, and she took the verbal abuse without fighting back. 
    The problem was she had a lisp. She was afraid her lisp would come out more under anxiety and she would be teased even more cruelly had people heard it, especially when they were angry. I just wanted her to stand up to her boss a little bit at least, and put him in his place! Nope. Nel learned at a young age to not talk back during a confrontation and just accept any brutal attack on her character because if anyone heard her lisp, they brought that to the table as well by teasing her horribly. Not fair of them, and not fair Nel didn't feel she had the opportunity to stand up for herself. 
    On the bright side, I loved how the writer was able to get us to feel how she felt as she touched the fabrics for the hats, molded the hats, and the overall satisfaction that everything all came together into what is her final design. She had a gift, always knowing what hat would look the best on any woman, and she pretty much designed the hat that popped into her head. The clients LOVED her! Soon her MEAN boss would notice this, take the credit for HER work, and put her down because of her lisp. Little did he know she had a very caring customer give her a business card for a specialized speech therapist. She went to that person for lessons and her speech improved immensely, except still when she was extremely anxious again.
    Nel's company got the opportunity to go to London, specifically Nell, to make hats for the Royal family's wedding that was coming! What an opportunity! Nel excelled at what she does best, and she even ran into an old friend she knew since school, Quentin. Her boss does not like how popular her designs were, and I believe out of fear of losing her, he does some very mean and drastic things. Finally Nel finds her voice and stands up to him!
    What bothered me the most about this book is the ending. The author saved everything at the end for the last 5% of it. So many things happened and were crammed into this tiny amount of time. The author should have taken at least a good 10% and not rushed everything like she did. There was no reason to do so, in my opinion.
    I received this book for FREE from the Publisher, FaithWords, and NetGalley, in exchange to read and write a review about it. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to do so, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it and giving my own honest opinion no matter whether it is positive or negative. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the law set here: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html., The Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, 16 CFR 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising Federal Acquisition Regulation.



    ebook: $  9.99
    print:   $15.00

    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    It's a NEW month! September! Time for another #NEW #Kindle #Fire HDX #Giveaway! US and INTL!

    229 giveaway

    It's "SEPTEMBER" and that means it's time for a #NEW #KINDLE #FIRE HDX #GIVEAWAY! Hurry and enter before the end of the month - 9/30!

    US AND INTL - Depending on the winner's country choose an #Amazon GC OR PayPal CASH for you as an alternative choice! ($229 value!)

    It’s time for September’s $229 Kindle Giveaway Hosted by I Am A Reader.

    We are giving away 2 great prizes both valued at $229.

    Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!


    The 1st prize is available via the rafflecopter below.

    The 2nd prize is available only to those share this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.


    US - Win a Kindle Fire HDX 7", Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value) 
    International prizes, too! - (A $229 value, also!)

    The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)



    OR $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International, too!)



    OR $229 in Paypal Cash (International, too!)


    Each of these bloggers/authors paid to help sponsor this giveaway.

    Sponsor List

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    Every Free Chance Books
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    I Love to Read and Review Books :)
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    Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton
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    Author - Cindy A Christiansen
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    Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here:

    http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups


    Giveaway Details

    1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), OR you can also choose a $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (the last two choices are International only - not the device).

    Ends 9/30/14

    Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    #REVIEW - What It Was Like by Peter Seth - #NewRelease TODAY, Sept 2nd, 2014!


    DESCRIPTION:


    “It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.”


    So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged, and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.


    It is the summer of 1968 and a young man takes a job at a camp in upstate New York before starting his first semester at Columbia University. There, he meets Rachel Prince, a fellow counselor who is as beautiful as she is haunted. Their romance will burn with a passion neither of them has ever known before…a passion with the power to destroy.


    In the tradition of Endless Love and Gone Girl, What it was Like is an intimate, raw, and revealing journey through the landscape of all-consuming love. It announces the debut of a remarkable storyteller.


    MY TAKE:
    5+ Stars!
    WOW! WHERE has this author been hiding??? This is an outstanding book! BRAVO! What a story! It is one I will never forget! I cannot sing enough praise about this book! This book captures your attention from the second you open the cover and start to read the very first page, to everything in-between, and all the way to the end! You are not going to put this book down, and I truly mean it! You may be tired of hearing this same ole expression of 'I couldn't put this book down' a million times, but believe me when I say I could NOT put this book down, I truly mean that, and you will end up feeling the same way. I wanted to read this, I had to read this, I had to know what was happening next. I was obsessively reading this 462 page book in less than two days! (Yes, I lost sleep!) I wish it were even longer, the story was SO good! I was GLUED to the story inside this book!
    What I am going to tell you about this book only touches the surface, and not all of it, either. There is a lot to this book, but first, let's start with how this book begins.
    Briefly here, the book starts with an Editor's Note. It goes on to say it was discovered among the paperwork/belongings of a Supreme Court Judge who recently passed away after serving for twenty-eight years. It goes on to say, 'this manuscript has received minimal editing as they want to preserve the writer's grammar, pronunciation, spelling, capitalization, etc. It was deemed preferable to publish it with as little editorial tampering as possible, so that the voice of the perpetrator can be heard. There is no point in publishing a book with (sic) after every third sentence. WOW! Amazing, huh?! They wanted the true writer's voice to be heard. 
    With that being said, I looked on the side of the book to see if it said Fiction, and nope, I did not see it. Inside the in the first few pages it does say, "This book is a work of Fiction, and any relation to . . . ", the usual blurb that is in all Fiction books, but when you flip the page, you see a cover letter from this man's attorney in which he states this 'exhibit' is in advance of the appeal, in the interest of justice. (Quoting from the book.) It's meant as a supplement to the trial transcript, not a replacement for it, and the attorney also says this is a truer account of what happened.
    Well, that sure got me questioning it as it seems so convincing! Even in the back of the book there is a Publisher's Note. It goes on to give a little more information about the manuscript, that the writer reviewed the galleys and this edition of the manuscript . . . Hmmm? I'm still wondering if this really is Fact or Fiction, or maybe a little of both? What a book! I guess you'll have to read this one for yourself to try and figure it out, "IF" you can. This might just be one of those stories we'll never know the truth about, but we sure can enjoy the ride this story gives us!
    This young man tells us that he never got to tell the court 'his side of the story', and this is what this letter is about. He felt it unfair that no one allowed him to hear HIS voice, and his lawyer never let him take the stand to tell 'his' side of the story. There were reasons why the attorney's felt he should not tell his story, but he feels that was the wrong decision. He needs to tell what really happened, and this is his chance.
    So he starts his story. As we read in the 'Description', he says the following: 

    “It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.”

    The first half of this book takes place at Mooncliff Summer Camp where he meets her and falls in love immediately. What can I say but I am a sucker for camp stories! I went to camp several times as a kid and I LOVED it! I lived for summers to come so I could go to camp! I could relate to everything in this book about camp! It brought back a lot of memories, too!
    This story is narrated in his own voice, which was what he was after since he never got to tell it in the courtroom, but one strange thing is we never learn his name. 
    He had just graduated High School and it's the summer of 1968, the summer before his first year in college at Columbia. He had scholarships, so this is one smart young man! In the meantime, he looked around for a summer job to make some money to put away for school so he could study instead of having to worry about working a job, too. He ended getting hired as a camp counselor at Camp Mooncliff. He had never gone to camp as a kid, but he felt he could do the job. He would be in a cabin for eight weeks with kids ages 10-12, and he would also have a second Counselor in the cabin with the kids so they could help each other out. He arrived, got to his cabin, and met his fellow counselor named Stewie. 
    That same day the rest of the kids arrived one by one, groups of kids, and some stragglers, all as the busses arrived. They had their boys all together and were ready to go to the Mess Hall for their first get-together.
    That night was when he saw her. Their eyes locked, then she looked away, flirtingly. He was smitten! He asked Stewie who she was. Rachel Prince. Stewie told him to forget about her. She teases guys to death and nothing ever happens. No. He could not leave her alone. Four days later they officially met. They had been square dancing with their kids, and both left to go outside because they were so hot. They struck up a conversation, and that was IT! The beginning of their relationship. 
    The odd thing was the more people saw these two trying to hide their interest in each other and sneak around the camp usually at nighttime, the more the other counselors warned him about her. She's related to the owner, but they also said she was moody, self-centered, dangerous to be around, she was mean, etc., but they didn't give any further explanation. He didn't care. He was already in love with her. They had a lot of great times together at camp, and I really enjoyed this entire part of the book. I was just as sorry as the kids and other counselors were when summer had ended and everyone had to go home for school. 
    So he and Rachel continue their relationship. She is now a Senior in High School, and he is a Freshman at Columbia. The problem was going to be the distance from Columbia back to Long Island to Rachel's house. That proved to be true, but he came home on public transportation every single weekend. I was amazed by his diligence. His studies became difficult because he was not getting his homework done as she demanded his full attention.
    Problems started to arise here and there. The trouble was with her family, her mother, especially, and then her mother's live-in boyfriend who became her step-father. They treated him like they didn't like him, and they confronted him a few times, too. They had their own issues and troubles of their own, mainly selfishness, but a lot of problems with Rachel, too, so they claimed. He always felt so sorry for her, the way she had been treated while growing up, and he could see it now, but he also saw a lot of problems with all of them. Still, Rachel always looked to him for comfort, but slowly some of this started to change.
    The rest of their love story is for you to read. I am stopping here. There are a LOT of twists and turns to come. Some things are just crazy! I'll leave you with another quote from this book.

    "How what started so innocently became so . . . un-innocent . . . how things became twisted - even now, after so much time has passed, my mind can't quite grasp all the events even over time. Time. Why am I suspicious of "hope?"


    Get this book! You won't regret it! Soon you'll be singing the praises of this book, too! The writing is truly amazing; it's mesmerizing, holds your interest sentence by sentence. The story itself is full, interesting, written really, really well. I can truly see this becoming a Bestseller as long as people know this book is out there! I know I'll be suggesting this book to everyone I can! (I already have been!) I'll admit I have read some great Psychological Thrillers, but this book - this book TRUMPS THEM ALL!

    I have a little funny story about this book and how I got it. This book caught my attention at NetGalley, and I requested it from the publisher, The Story Plant, to read and review it. I am also a part of this same Publisher's program which is called 'Spread the Word Initiative'. Guess what? I ALSO got a copy of this book in the mail from The Story Plant a day or two AFTER I requested it at NetGalley! Actually, it turned out to be an advantage to have both the ebook AND the paperback, really! When I had to do things around the house I could not ignore, I carried my Kindle with me so I could keep on reading. When I sat down, I picked up the paperback book! It was great! So when I say I was 'glued to this book', I literally was! It was with me in every possible way!
    One more thing. I usually always read ebooks, but I would highly suggest purchasing the paperback copy of this book so you can see the full page letters from the attorneys. They looked so convincingly real! With the ebook, they don't make as much of an impact as they did in the book. Enjoy reading this one! You won't forget this book anytime soon! It stays with you long after you are done!



    ebook: $7.69