Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Whom do you trust with your life?
Kelsey’s summer vacation will be perfect—a holiday on Beverly Island, where she’ll get to know her mom’s new boyfriend, Eric, and enjoy the perks of a sun-drenched beach and gorgeous lifeguards.
But Kelsey’s dream holiday quickly turns into a nightmare when Eric’s daughter, Beth, goes missing. When Kelsey finds a mysterious note from Beth, she doesn’t know whom to believe. Also terrifying is the number of suspicious drownings and the creepy fisherman . . . at least she has the lifeguards around to protect her, right? But what Kelsey doesn’t know is that these lifeguards don’t come to the rescue—they have other plans. ~

This was a perfect summer thriller. Right from the opening we know something isn’t right on Beverly Island. Not only is Beth missing but there’s a creepy “Crazy Ralph” type living in the rundown lighthouse.  In addition to the pre-internet communication lags, Kelsey’s mom and her mother’s boyfriend are oddly not very concerned in their children’s crises. Throughout the book, there are POVs of the titular evil lifeguard and plenty of red herrings. 🌟🌟🌟.5/5

The Lifeguard was originally published in 1988 as part of the “Point Horror” series. All Point Horror YA novels were recently re-released in an e-book format. This edition included a great biography on the author including photos of her throughout her life. Presently all Point Horror novels are included as part of “Kindle Unlimited” so you can binge to hearts content or visit the publisher’s site for more ordering options.

Have you read The Lifeguard or any other Point Horror novels? Share with us in the comments below.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Tempting Fate by Jane Green

When Gabby first met Elliott she knew he was the man for her. In twenty years of marriage she has never doubted her love for him—even when he refused to give her the one thing she still wants most of all. But now their two daughters are growing up Gabby feels that time and her youth are slipping away. For the first time in her life she is restless. And then she meets Matt…
Intoxicated by the way this young, handsome and successful man makes her feel, Gabby is momentarily blind to what she stands to lose on this dangerous path. And in one reckless moment she destroys all that she holds dear.
Consumed by regret, Gabby does everything she can to repair the home she has broken. But are some betrayals too great to forgive?  -

I picked up Tempting Fate as I learned it was adapted into a Lifetime Movie as part of Lifetime’s “Book to Screen” series of Summer films. Tempting Fate premieres this Saturday at 8PM EST and stars Alyssa Milano as Gabby. To Have and to Hold, and Family Pictures also by Jane Green debut on the subsequent June Saturday’s followed by five films covering V.C. Andrews’ Heaven series.

Green did a great job of showing how one mistake can have a ripple effect and affect not just your life but all those around you. I found Gabby to be both very selfish but also sympathetic. She resents that her husband had a vasectomy after they had their two daughters as she always wanted a third child. She so angry that her wants weren’t met and she didn’t seem to care what his were. Eliot seems nowhere the neglectful spouse she describes him to be. She complains about financial issues despite being married to a MD and not fully pursuing her furniture crafting business or trying to contribute financially to the household. However despite all the annoying things she did, I felt really bad for her as her dalliance with Matt seemingly wrecked her life as she felt true remorse and finally started seeming more mature than her teen daughters.

Tempting Fate was a quick read with soapy twists and heart.


You can meet Jane Green on tour with her latest novel, The Friends We Keep.

What Jane Green books have you read? Are you excited about the film adaptations? Share with us in the comments.

Special Thanks to the Ramapo Catskill Library System for the e-book.  If you're not already checking out e-books from your library - what are you waiting for?  It's easy and free!! Support your local libraries.  Also many thanks go out to my favorite library employee who helped me renew my card recently! 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Exposed & Feared by Lisa Scottoline

Welcome to a TBT Throwback Thursday Review.  I am working on reviving this blog and catching up on some long overdue book reviews. Exposed and Feared by Lisa Scottoline are the most recent titles in her Rosato & DiNunzio series and were published in August 2017 and August 2018 respectively.

Mary DiNunzio wants to represent her old friend Simon Pensiera, a sales rep who was wrongly fired by his company, but her partner Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. When she confronts Mary, explaining this is a conflict of interest, an epic battle of wills and legal strategy between the two ensues ripping the law firm apart, forcing everyone to take sides and turning friend against friend.

When three men announce that they are suing the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm for reverse sex discrimination—claiming that they were not hired because they were men—Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato are outraged. To make matters worse, their one male employee, John Foxman, intends to resign, claiming that there is some truth to this case.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer is Nick Machiavelli, who has already lost to Mary once and is now back with a vengeance —determined not to not only win, but destroy the firm. It soon becomes clear that Machiavelli will do anything in his power to achieve this…even after the case turns deadly. The stakes have never been higher for Mary and her associates as they try to keep Machiavelli at bay, solve a murder, and save the law firm they love…or they could lose everything they’ve worked for. Told with Scottoline’s trademark gift for twists, turns, heart, and humanity, this latest thriller asks the question: is it better to be loved, or feared…​ -
I love all the Rosato & DiNunzio novels and the prior related series Rosato & Associates.  Exposed and Feared were no exception.  Although Feared was my favorite of the two and one of my favorite of the stories about the "all female law firm" precisely for the fact that the book centered on the possible discrimination issues arising from that very conceit.

Exposed was great in that it really showed some character growth for Mary who has always struggled with asserting herself outside the courtroom and this is further built upon in Feared.  Scottoline always does a fantastic job of balancing the personal dramas of the characters we loved throughout the series as well as providing a thought provoking legal dilemma.

While this series does not need to be read in order, I highly recommend it so that you can develop a relationship with Mary, Bennie and everyone working at the Rosato & DiNunzio firm.  I don't know if a follow-up to Feared is planned but it's still my hope that we get a new book soon featuring attorney Anne Murphy who hasn't carried a book on her own since Courting Trouble.

Final Verdict:  3.5/5 Stars for Exposed;  4/5 Stars for Feared

Special Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the digital ARC in exchange for a honest review.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Thin Air by Lisa Gray

Private investigator Jessica Shaw is used to getting anonymous tips. But after receiving a photo of a three-year-old kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago, Jessica is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself.

Eager for answers, Jessica heads to LA’s dark underbelly. When she learns that her biological mother was killed the night she was abducted, Jessica’s determined to solve a case the police have forgotten.
Meanwhile, veteran LAPD detective Jason Pryce is in the midst of a gruesome investigation into a murdered college student moonlighting as a prostitute.
A chance encounter leads to them crossing paths, but Jessica soon realizes that Pryce is hiding something about her father’s checkered history and her mother’s death.
To solve her mother’s murder and her own disappearance, Jessica must dig into the past and find the secrets buried there.
But the air gets thinner as she crawls closer to the truth, and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.

Thin Air was like a mash-up of some of my favorite things.  The initial premise of a young woman who discovers she may have been a kidnapping victim as a toddler is the same initial premise of one of my favorite books, Caroline B. Cooney's The Face on the Milk Carton. In The Face on the Milk Carton, Cooney did a fantastic job of detailing the conflicting emotions one would likely feel in this situation.  For me, Jessica's reaction in Thin Air was very undeveloped.  She didn't really seem that shocked to discover that her late father had lied to her about her mother and her background. Perhaps, she was just repressing a lot of emotion as she was still recovering from her father's unexpected death but I would've liked to have seen that explored more. 

Thin Air is told from various points of view at alternating timelines some from the mid-90s when Jessica was first abducted and in the present as Jessica works to solve the mystery of her past and Detective Pryce works a mystery in the present.  The flashbacks and alternating points of view wove together nicely and reminded me of one of my favorite shows, Cold Case.  While Pryce and Jessica cross paths on a personal level, I really thought Pryce's case would've been best told separately in another novel all about him or perhaps he and Jessica will team up in subsequent novels and work together. 

When we meet Jessica, she is living a nomadic life doing PI work throughout the United States.  She reminded me a little of Lee Child's Jack Reacher except Jess travels with a lot more clothes and toiletries.

This was a sharp little thriller and it will keep you guessing but I hope subsequent installments in this series delve deeper into Jessica's emotional state, her connection with Pryce and I hope we see her "friend" Jack Holliday again.

3.5/5 Stars

For more information on Thin Air and information on where to purchase, check out Lisa Gray's website.

Special Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Thomas & Mercer for providing a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Meme Crush Monday

Forget about “Man Crush Monday’s,” here #MCM means Meme Crush Monday! For those who don’t have access or don’t wish to use Instagram, I’ll share a bookish meme right here weekly on the blog.

This Week’s #MCM Meme Crush Monday:

I am guilty of often using the phrase “impossible to put down” in a review for a book I loved. What was the last book you read that was “impossible to put down”? Share with us in the comments!   

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Fear Street: Lights Out by R.L. Stine

Welcome to the second installment of Summer of Fear,  a weekly series of posts where I will review/revisit a classic YA Horror/Thriller from the 70s-90s.  This week I re-read Lights Out, part of the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine.

Lights Out was the second Fear Street I ever got in the mid-90s. My first was The Knife. This was before the "Goosebumps" phenomenon. I was searching for something a little different than my favorite standbys The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. The cover intrigued me and a love of Fear Street soon developed.  My mom even paid for me to be in a “Fear Street Book Club" where I received two backlist titles a month. It even came with this rad magnet I still have today.  At the time I was adverse to horror movies, finding them too scary, but somehow I felt myself drawn to these books. In retrospect I see that they were horror “lite” and primed me for my current love of horror movies.

Lights Out has a lot of “jump scares” and a one very dark really good scare.  I loved the protagonist Holly. She was strong and resourceful in trying to solve the mystery and save her uncle’s camp. Early on one of the counselors references the Friday the 13th movies and one character is even described as resembling Kevin Bacon who started in the first Friday the 13th film. Light Out definitely had some subtle homages to my favorite 80s slasher film. This was a fun reread and I highly recommend seeking it out at your favorite used bookseller or secondhand online retailer. 3.5/5 Stars

I have had the pleasure of meeting R.L. Stine at Book Expo a few years ago.  His friendliness and humor in real life makes his books that much more enjoyable.

This year, R.L. released Return to Fear Street novels. My favorite of the new novels is You May Now Kill the Bride.  You can find more information about those here.

In my mid-90s copy of Lights Out, R.L. Stine has his author bio in the back pages. His son Matt referenced in the bio is now a music producer for Bettlejuice on Broadway. Clearly artistic talents for creepy fun run in the family. Good luck to the cast and crew of  Beetlejuice at this year’s Tony’s and check out Matt's production work on the recently released Beetlejuice Broadway Cast Album. You can find more information on that here.

Have you read Lights Out?  What is your favorite Fear Street book?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Red by Tiffany Reisz

Welcome to a TBT Throwback Thursday Review.  I am working on reviving this blog and catching up on some long overdue book reviews. The Red by Tiffany Reisz was released in July 2017. 

Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother's art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it's in the red.
Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.
The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting...but surely her mother didn't mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red...

If you're looking for a red hot scorching read, look no further than The Red by Tiffany Reisz.  This book is full-fledged erotica and not for the timid.  It's also quite kinky and strays very far from anything resembling shades of dismal hues.  Mona's passion extends way beyond her passion for art and her late mother's gallery.   What makes The Red really shine is the development of the relationship between Mona and "the stranger" who intends to save the galley.  Plus the descriptions of all the paintings will have you running to your nearest art museum and fantasizing over the paintings mentioned in the book and letting your imagination run wild over those that catch your eye.  5/5 Stars

While The Red is considered a stand-alone novel, Tiffany has recently released a companion novel, The Rose and you can find both at your favorite local bookseller or by visiting the author's website, for more information.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Meme Crush Monday

Forget about “Man Crush Monday’s,” here #MCM means Meme Crush Monday! For those who don’t have access or don’t wish to use Instagram, I’ll share a bookish meme right here weekly on the blog.

This Week’s #MCM Meme Crush Monday:

I think we’ve all experienced a moment like this. You’re relaxing on your lunch break, engrossed in a book when a well-meaning coworker comes to join you and immediately launches into a conversation about their weekend. So, what do you do? How do you shut the conversation down and get back the book without being rude?  Share your tips with us by commenting below.

Special Thanks to Melanie Combe my Borders bestie for naming this series.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Summer of Fear Week One: Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan

Happy First Saturday of Summer! I know it's not officially Summer but it's June 1st already and it sure feels like it.  I'm kick starting a relaunch of this blog with "Summer of Fear" a weekly series of posts where I will review/revisit a classic YA Horror/Thriller from the 70s-90s.  The serial takes its name from my first review in the series.

I recently, so recently that it was literally just an hour ago, finished reading "Summer of Fear" by Lois Duncan which was first published in 1976 and subsequently republished throughout the years. Duncan is also the author of "I Know What You Did Last Summer," which was adapted into a blockbuster horror film in the late 90s although many elements were changed for the film.  "Summer of Fear" was adapted into a TV movie in the 1978 starring Linda Blair and directed by Wes Craven who went onto to achieve horror legend status for directing “A Nightmare of Elm Street” and my personal favorite “Scream” among many others.  "Summer of Fear," the film is currently available on Amazon Prime and I hope to check it out and bring you a review soon.  If you've already seen it, please comment with your thoughts below.

Covers Throughout the Years (cat image is just a placeholder)
From the moment Rachel's cousin Julia arrives that summer, she seems to seep into Rachel's life like a poison. Everyone else is enchanted by her - including Rachel's boyfriend. But what does Julia really want? -

This book reads like a "Lifetime Movie" and just like a "Lifetime Movie," it was predictable but to me that is the fun of those movies and this book.  I love watching the heroine try to figure out how to outsmart the "big bad."  From the minute Rachel meets Julia, she senses something is not quite right with her and Duncan does a fantastic job of slowly building the creep factor from mild to intense.  One of the elements of the book is a little too odd though but perhaps the fact that it was from the late 70s dates the novel.  Rachel's brother, Pete develops a huge crush on Rachel and tries to date her - his first cousin.  Ummm OK?  Julia ends up rejecting him for someone else.  The lack of cell phones and the internet though keeps this mystery going and makes it a fast, fun throwback read.  This book is light on gore and the relationships kept modest but the creep factor is marked.

Have you read "Summer of Fear" by Lois Duncan? Share your thoughts below.

One note of caution, I initially started reading the most recent reprint of "Summer of Fear," and some changes to include modern technology were added and seemed out of place so I hunted down an older copy.  The copy I began to read is the one with the graphic red head on the bottom right as pictured above and the one I then read was the copy with the photo in the developer solution.