Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review by Amanda. Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf. 4 Tea Cups!

Missing PiecesMissing Pieces
By: Heather Gudenkauf
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded. 

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

Review by Amanda
My rating: 4 Tea Cups!!

Thank you Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for a honest review.

I am really torn on this review. I really, really enjoyed the novel and I couldn't put it down. However, there were some parts that made me angry and a lot of the novel seemed unrealistic. 

Sarah and Jack Quinlan have been married for 20 years. Jack's aunt suffers an accident and is in the hospital. Sarah and Jack return back to Jack's home town, Penny Gate, for the first time in over 20 years. Once in Penny Gate, Sarah begins to uncover secrets about her husband and his family. These secrets that have been buried for years, could threaten their marriage and the town of Penny Gate.

It is hard to believe that Sarah and Jack have been married for 20 years. They hardly spoke to each other and when they did, their conversations seemed really awkward. Also it seemed unrealistic that they didn't know about certain things. When Sarah was uncovering certain secrets about Jack, the secrets were common knowledge to most people in the community and it was the people of Penny Gate that told Sarah about these secrets. As well, it bothered me that Sarah didn't question Jack more. I would certainly question why my husband doesn't go back to his home town at all, even though all of his family is still living there. Did they not see his family for 20 years?!

Despite the above minor details, I found Missing Pieces to be a really entertaining read and a good mystery! I love it when mysteries get tied up in the end and there are no more questions left unanswered. I also felt that I got closure with all of the characters.

Missing Pieces is also very thought provoking. You have a husband that has hidden secrets from his wife for over 20 years. Which made me think of a variety of questions:

Should spouses know all of each other's secrets?

Can a marriage be successful if there are secrets?

What if the secrets have nothing to do with the spouse?

What defines a secret??

Image result for secrets are bad

Overall, I think if other people know of this secret and if you are questioning if you should tell that secret, then yes you should probably tell that secret to your spouse. As Sarah discovered in Missing Pieces there is nothing worse then learning something about your husband from a stranger and then having that stranger say "Oh Jack didn't tell you that"?

Missing Pieces is a great mystery that had me guessing until the very end. The novel is very fast paced and I couldn't put it down!

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.ca/Missing-Pieces-Heather-Gudenkauf
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.commissing-pieces-heather-gudenkauf

Monday, February 1, 2016

Review by Amanda! Going Coastal by Jane DiLucchio. 3 Tea Cups!

Going Coastal (A Kate Matthews Mystery)Going Coastal
By: Jane DiLucchio
Genre: Cozy Mystery

A client dying on her massage table is traumatic enough for Kate Matthews, but when the police declare that death a murder, life becomes more painful for her as she is cast as the major suspect.

None of this is what Kate expected from her move to the peaceful town of Santa Barbara. After a near-fatal heart attack, an early retirement from her Los Angeles law firm, and a change in careers, Kate envisioned a quiet life with her wife, Alicia, and their grown children.

Since the client held a position on the California Coastal Commission, her death becomes a media event. Kate finds herself and her family sucked into the maelstrom. The former lawyer has all she can do to find the truth behind Celia's death without adding her own name to the body count.

Review by Amanda
My Rating: 3 Tea Cups!

Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review!

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical going into Going Coastal. I felt that this cozy mystery, could of easily gone down the path of being a bit too cozy. I am happy that I was wrong. Jane DiLucchio delivered a solid mystery that had lots of twists and turns and always kept me guessing. 

Kate Matthews moved to the town of Santa Barbara after a law career in Los Angeles. She lives with her wife, Alicia and they have 2 grown children. I am so jealous of the life in Santa Barbara. The town was portrayed was a beautiful coastal town with amazing views of the ocean. The community is welcoming and there is always something going on. 

Kate, after a heart attack, switched careers from a lawyer to a masseuse. She has a few clients throughout town and it helps keep her busy during retirement. Unfortunately, during a routine massage, a client suffers from an allergic reaction and later dies in the hospital. Kate is considered the prime suspect and like most cozy mysteries, tries to uncover who is the killer, so she can clear her name. 

I really liked Kate. I found her to be a no nonsense type of person. She sees things how they are and tries her best to make everyone happy. She is super logical and it was an easy transition for her to track down the killer with her prior law experience. It also make the novel seem more realistic. I also loved the relationship between her and her wife, Alicia. It felt real and they had their ups and downs like any other couple. 

There was a lot of characters in this novel and I loved it how they weren't how they appeared. There was an added layer of mystery in trying to determine who was "good" and who was "bad". 

My only disappointment with this novel is that there was too much going on. Celia, the deceased client, was a part of the California Coastal Commission. The novel goes into multiple firms that Celia was dealing with. I got really confused trying to figure out which firms did what and which people belong to what firm. It took away from the murder storyline. 

I would recommend this novel to those readers who enjoy cozy mysteries that have some depth to them. I hope that the author continues the series and I will definitely check out her next novel! 

Buy Links:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Review by Coll! Future Winds by Kevin Laymon. 4.5 Coffee Cups!

Future Winds
By: Kevin Laymon
Genre: Science Fiction

Set in a science fiction setting with elements of twisted horror, Future Winds is a strange yet wondrous tale of species self-preservation and the all-out moral cost of survival. 

Forced to leave earth, humanity discovers a planet capable of supporting life and hatches an audacious plan that will warp them across the universe to settle and begin anew. 

There is a darkness that resides below the planet's surface, but with no option to turn back, humanity must find a way forward.

Review by Coll
My Rating: 4.5 Coffee Cups!

**I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.**

Science Fiction has always been one of my true loves when it comes to literature. Now mix in some horror, a genre that I hold so much affection for, well then you can pull me into a story instantly. That is what Future Winds did for me. Humans find Earth to be no longer habitable and are forced to spread out into the galaxy in search of a new home that can sustain life. Enter planet Flare, a planet with many key similarities to Earth, but also with many visible dangers such as high temperatures and brutal fire storms. What is important though is that Flare can sustain human life, and with the technological advances humankind has made the planet can be shaped to fit the needs of humans. What cannot be shaped and changed is that danger that already lurks deep down in the planet, a danger that humankind if about to meet face to face.

It is a common theme among sci-fi novels to have a story of humankind needing to colonize a new planet, but this book threw in so many twists and changes to that theme that the story told was unique. Whatever you go into this books expecting, I can promise you that it will not be what you get. I found myself constantly shocked and surprised by plot twists and the direction the story took, which made this book incredibly hard to put down. Future Winds is brutal, violent, smart, and exciting. It does not sugar coat the idea of relocating humankind to a new planet. Instead it introduces so much danger, so many mistakes, and shows the violence that can come about when a species decides to take over a planet with wanton disregard for its nature and the current inhabitants.

Future Winds involves many different characters and throughout the course of a chapter it will switch from the point of view of one character to another. I was impressed with how seamlessly Laymon did this and never once was I confused or thrown off by a character switch. This writing style introduced so many different views and it made it hard to see any main character as solely a good guy or a bad guy. The book gives not only narration and dialogue from a character but it also their thoughts, which are written in the book in italic text. This delivers an intimate glimpse into the minds of the characters and what they are thinking that they dare not say out loud.

The one thing I found myself wishing for in the book was a little more character development. I wanted to learn more about the cast of characters and what made them who they are. I love when I am able to have a deep connection with one or more individuals in a story and this was something that I felt was missing at times. There were also moments when I sensed a slight disconnect between the characters and their emotions, but in the long run that did not impact the story negatively for me. I looked at it as though the characters in the book had a job to do and were so focused on sustaining their world and their lives that there was not always time for sorrow or sentiment.

A characteristic we always expect from science fiction writing is an underlying lesson, and this is a point that Laymon definitely delivers on with Future Winds. It tackles political corruption, nepotism, division of classes, military atrocities, and the self-importance humankind tends to have towards itself. To me the book warned of the blight that we could face if we continue to make “progress” through war and if we do not learn to treat all beings and lifeforms with respect. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It shocked me, made me laugh, made me cringe, and forced me to think about the world around me and our possible future. If you are a science fiction fan, a horror fan, or someone who is looking for something different and shocking then definitely check out Future Winds.

“Nature cared not for imaginary borders. These were but lines drawn in the sand by man.”

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links