Eleanor Ames has never been what she seems. Average high school student on the outside, but reformed con artist trying to break free of her past on the inside. When Eleanor receives startling news about someone from her previous criminal life, plans for a new operation coinciding with her school’s upcoming field trip quickly consume her.Read More
A twist on a craft book that makes my slightly-nerdy heart happy.Read More
I am not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination. So I didn't think this book was for me.
Until I picked it up...and read it nonstop in three days, could not stop talking about it, and basically demanded my fourteen year-old read it immediately.Read More
Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?
When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.
But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?
*Sigh* I was so looking forward to this book. I LOVED The Dry. Definitely consider it one of the best books I read last year. I could not wait to get my hands on this. I set aside an entire day just to read it. So it's possible I had some serious expectations that Force of Nature just couldn't match.
It is a fast-paced read with an intriguing premise. I finished it in one day (about six hours). The point-of-view shifts between Aaron Falk and chapters dedicated to each of the women on the hiking trip. There is still a good puzzle to put together with many red herrings, but the characters never fully materialized and became relatable for me. In the beginning, I had a hard time keeping the women apart.
As the story continued, the plot twists are more perplexing than surprising. And it's really hard to imagine this scenario playing out in real life. They dump these inexperienced campers in the middle of the Australian wilderness (or bush, or whatever the heck they call it) with no way to call for help? What if someone breaks an arm? They're just supposed to make a sling out of an extra t-shirt and grit their teeth through the pain for the next three days? There would definitely be more safe guards in place for these women.
I've done some weird stuff in the name of team building. Walking around an auditorium full of teachers, tying yarn onto other people's string necklaces as I told them how much I appreciated them comes to mind. But even they never sent us out camping without so much as a flare gun.
I kept reading because I wanted it to all come together. I wanted to see the pieces fall into place and get hit with that brilliant twist of a finale. Unfortunately, it was a twist, but not a wholly unpredictable one. The clues were telegraphed to the reader way before the action.
And (without giving away spoilers) the subplot with Aaron just held zero interest for me this time.
So, the book was okay. Not great. Not terrible. Interesting enough to keep me reading on a lazy afternoon. Not something I'll still be talking about weeks from now, but I still enjoyed the writing style and will pick up another book by Jane Harper.
In January I wrote about my personal reading challenge from 2018—to read one book in each series that my mom left behind. You can read about it here.
High Profile by Robert B. Parker was the first one I picked up. That series is on the top shelf of the left side of the bookcase. Seemed like as good a place as any to start. I picked it up knowing nothing about Robert B. Parker or his characters. I also didn't know that it is the sixth book in the series. Guess I should have checked a list or something. I picked High Profile because it Mom had it in paperback and hardback, which means either she really liked it, or she'd bought it, forgot she bought it, and bought it again. That happened quite often.
The murder of a notorious public figure places Paradise, Massachusetts, police chief Jesse Stone in the harsh glare of the media spotlight.
When the body of controversial talk-show host Walton Weeks is discovered hanging from a tree on the outskirts of Paradise, police chief Jesse Stone finds himself at the center of a highly public case, forcing him to deal with small-minded local officials and national media scrutiny. When another dead body-that of a young woman-is discovered just a few days later, the pressure becomes almost unbearable.
Two victims in less than a week should provide a host of clues, but all Jesse runs into are dead ends. But what may be the most disturbing aspect of these murders is the fact that no one seems to care-not a single one of Weeks's ex-wives, not the family of the girl. And when the medical examiner reveals a heartbreaking link between the two departed souls, the mystery only deepens.
Despite Weeks's reputation and the girl's tender age, Jesse is hard-pressed to find legitimate suspects. Though the crimes are perhaps the most gruesome Jesse has ever witnessed, it is the malevolence behind them that makes them all the more frightening. Forced to delve into a world of stormy relationships, Jesse soon comes to realize that knowing whom he can trust is indeed a matter of life and death.
This is a series I will definitely keep! It is a good, old-fashion detective story. Remember Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer?
It's like that.
The descriptions are sparse and the characters' inner thoughts are even less. Almost everything is dialogue and action. I loved it!
I wouldn't recommend this series to everyone. I could name several friends right now who would hate it, because they thrive on knowing the character's innermost emotions. This wouldn't satisfy them.
Also, my romantic suspense-loving friends, this wouldn't be for you. There is a romantic subplot. It's not going to end how you want it to. For me, it was more distracting than endearing.
My only other issue was that it is the sixth in a series. Several characters popped in and out that I had no clue who they were or what they represented. I'm sure if I'd started with book one, I would have enjoyed it that much more.
Guess I should go see if Mom even had book one.
Maisey Yates has become a comfort read for me. I am huge fan of the Donnelly family arc of her Copper Ridge series and was excited to see at the end of Christmas Time Cowboy that a new series was coming featuring the residents of nearby Gold Valley.
Smooth-Talking Cowboy is the first the new series.
Welcome to Gold Valley, Oregon, where a rough-and-tumble rancher and the girl next door are about to learn that opposites attract
Olivia Logan has a plan: win back her ex by making him see what he’s missing. But first she needs to find a man who’s willing to play along. With his laid-back cowboy charm and knack for getting under her skin, Luke Hollister is an unlikely hero—but he wants her help convincing her father to sell him land, which means he needs her as much as she needs him.
Luke likes his life—and his women—uncomplicated. So why does good girl Olivia heat his blood like no one else? She’s always been off-limits, but the more time they spend as Gold Valley’s hottest new “couple,” the more real it’s starting to feel. Luke was supposed to help her win back another man…not keep her in his arms. But now that he has her there, he’s not sure he’ll ever let go.
This book is everything I've come to expect from Maisey Yates. Cowboys with hard bodies, soft hearts, and a witty sense of humor. Smart women who don't rely on a man to rescue them but sure appreciate being swept off their feet. Great banter and searing hot love scenes.
I appreciated the nods to the Copper Ridge characters and was even more excited about the new characters that I know will be sharing their stories soon!
I love how there are so many hints for what's to come, but they don't slow down the story at all.
Overall, loved this. Absolutely recommend it to anyone who like comtemporary romance!
Can't wait for the next one!
Vanquish Your Writing Doubts & Obstacles
Writing is a vulnerable occupation; it is both personal and intimate. The act of writing, cycles of revision, and the confusing publishing industry can shatter a writer's confidence, leaving you feeling like an imposter, overcome with rejection. Survival--and success--requires commitment, honesty, courage, resilience, sacrifice, and miles and miles of heart.
You have everything you need as a writer--it lies within, in the form of consistency and self-confidence. With Write Smart, Write Happy, best-selling author Cheryl St. John will help you unlock your skills, guiding you to overcome every hesitation, obstacle, form of writer's block, and procrastination habit you have. Within these pages, you'll learn to:
- Organize your writing life by using a planner, scheduling your yearly goals, and acknowledging career plans.
- Sharpen your saw by recharging your creativity, developing positive motivation, and creating healthy writing habits.
- Affirm your beliefs by overcoming self-doubt, learning to use affirmations, and altering your thinking.
- Conquer remaining fears by releasing tendencies towards perfectionism and establishing strategies for habitual success.
Written with a no-nonsense attitude, St. John's "advice from the trenches" will help you take an introspective look at your own writing habits and life. Through examples and inspiration from writers who struggled with--and overcame--rejection and reservations, discover the path towards writing smarter and happier today.
As an aspiring author, I was thrilled to be approved for Write Smart, Write Happy: How to Become a More Productive, Resilient and Successful Writer . Just look at how much promise is in that title!
The book wasn't at all what I was expecting. It was so much better.
This isn't a grammar guide or a how-to-get-published formula. It isn't a book for new writers who haven't been in the game for a while. Newbie Writer Dawn would have either been completely overwhelmed or would have completely dismissed most of this information.
This is the perfect book for Present Day Writer Dawn, who has been studying the craft, submitting, and working toward publication for a while. Someone who has seen behind the curtain and knows The Wizard is actually a tiny man with bad hair.
Even more so, it is the perfect book for a multi-published veteran author.
Back when I was starting my family, there was a series of books called "The Girlfriends' Guides." by Vicki Iovine. The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy and The Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood were straight-forward, no nonsense, frank descriptions of pregnancy and the aftermath that skipped the glowing parts and went directly to what you really needed to be prepared for.
Write Smart, Write Happy reads like a Girlfriends' Guide to Being an Author. Cheryl St. John sums this up in a simple statement. "I've been called painfully honest in the past because my thinking is why not tell it like it is so others don't think they're the only ones with these feelings?"
The first part of the book is a deep study in goal setting and deciding how bad you do you want it?
Every chapter has examples from other authors and practical activities for exploring and reflecting on how you process the information. These real-life applicable strategies continue through discussions of struggling with rejection, negativity, jealousy, confidence, time management, priorities, burn-out, and several other topics that authors will recognize from each step of their journey.
What resonated the most with me is there is no magic pill and whatever works for you is right as long as it is truly working for you.
I prefer to have craft books in print so I can make notes, add stickies, and underline passages that speak to me. I can't wait to get my print copy of this, so I can transfer the over fifty notes I made in the Kindle file.
I will absolutely be recommending this book to several of my author friends.
The only thing that kept it from being a five-star read for me was the second part, which I still found informative and helpful, became slightly repetitive.
Cross's conversational writing style keeps the story moving and the reader immersed. There is angst, love, and several laugh out loud moments. Overall, a very enjoyable read. I would recommend it for older teens and adults who enjoy YA.Read More
It's the first book I remember reading and reading and reading. I even read all the sequels.Read More
Last year in November, I decided to start doing book reviews the way I like to talk about books. This is why I like it, this is why I didn't like, this is who I think would enjoy it. This is what I’ve learned in the past year.Read More
It is satire, humor, and horror in an easy-to-assemble package. Just a little Ikea humor there, you don't really have to assemble anything. And if you have ever assembled something from The Den of Satan (as my husband calls it). You know there is NOTHING "easy" about it. You want to hear some horror stories? I can tell some Ikea horror stories!Read More
I LOVED this one. It sucks you with this beautiful, lyrical style writing that makes you feel the oppressive heat of an Australian drought and keeps the pages turning with subtle twists and secrets that just beg you to work the puzzle.Read More
I've joked many times that my oldest daughter, Michelle, needs to become a critic or a literary agent. She's excellent at pinpointing exactly what she likes and doesn't like about books, movies, musicals, basically anything. So, when she randomly announced, "I really like this book I'm reading!" I had to ask her all about it.Read More