Everything We Left Behind

everything we left behindAuthor: Kerry Lonsdale

Series: Everything We Keep #2

Publisher: Lake Union

Release Date: July 4, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Filling in the gaps from Everything We Keep. This is a terrific series!

James Donato has just woken up to find himself in a strange room in Mexico with two young boys that speak only Spanish. When they realize that he is only speaking English and appears afraid and confused, they bring him a book full of journals and other information where he discovers that he has been living the last six years of his life as Carlos Dominguez, a talented artist who has two children and his wife died five years ago.  He also discovers that his fiancée Aimee has left him and is now married to someone else and they have a child together.  Crushed, he takes his sons back to California to see his brother Thomas and move into his childhood home when he learns that his other brother Phil is about to be released from prison after he attacked James in Mexico, which is believed to have caused the memory loss.  In an effort to keep his sons safe, James takes them to Hawaii to see his sister-in-law to try to understand what happened during the last five years.

This was a much needed book to finally understand what happened to James to make him Carlos and what happened to Carlos to switch him back to James. The epilogue of Everything We Keep matches the beginning of this book with James suddenly waking up to his alternate reality.  However, we as readers didn’t know what happened during that five-year period.  Now we do.  With an alternating story line between Carlos during the past and James in the present, the pieces begin to fit together and we find that James family is more screwed up than we thought possible.

James uses a lot of harsh language throughout this book, but he is very angry and confused and was believable. I felt that the romance in this book was a little more predictable.  During the previous, it was intense trying to figure out what Aimee was going to do.  However, this one played along really well.  The big question is would James and Raquel be able to find each other again after his switch.  However, I did not guess what was going to happen with Phil.  That was a surprise that I didn’t see coming.  I can’t wait for the next installment.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Right Side

Right SideAuthor: Spencer Quinn

Publisher: Atria Books

Release Date: June 27, 2017

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A military thriller with heart and soul for human and animal lover alike.

LeAnne Hogan has been to war in Afghanistan and made it back, almost in one piece. She is hesitant to reenter the world after coming home missing an eye and half her face scarred.  It helps that she doesn’t remember most of the trauma that almost killed her, but also troubling because she thinks her injury and the death of her comrades could be her fault.  While at the hospital. she inadvertently becomes close to her roommate, Marci who dies unexpectedly.  LeAnne now finds herself driving across the country with no destination in mind and no real future.  Without meaning to, she finds herself in Marci’s hometown and discovers that Marci’s eight-year-old daughter has gone missing.  As she partners with a stray dog that has claimed her as his own, they begin their own search for the missing girl and begin to discover secrets no one wants revealed.

The Right Side is a book that is going to be perfect for some people and completely turn others off.  I found myself at both ends of the spectrum.  The story itself was very compelling and the relationships that were formed, especially between LeAnne and her four-legged friend, were just right.  On the other hand, I had a lot of trouble getting past the vulgar language.  I’m not a fan of language in books unless it is done just right.  There have been a few authors of the years that have had a way with their writing that inserting language in the story me see right past it.  I wasn’t able to do that here.  I know LeAnne is a soldier and that is typical of how they would talk, but it till didn’t fit in with the character enough for me to enjoy.  I did however enjoy her drive and desire to help do the right thing, not only with the missing daughter of her roommate but also with clearing up who was responsible for her getting hurt.  LeAnne is the kind of character you want to route for and see come out on top.  The fact that she is a broken protagonist makes her the kind every reader can get behind and enjoy reading about.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Cast the First Stone

Cast the First StoneAuthor: James W. Ziski

Series: Ellie Stone Mystery #4

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Set in the 1960’s with a female reporter investigating a missing person and a murder, this is a must read for all mystery lovers.

Ellie Stone is a reporter for the New Holland Republic and is assigned to travel to Hollywood to interview Tony Eberle, the hometown actor that is making his big break in the big city. Upon arriving, she finds that Eberle has disappeared and the producer that was vital in getting him the part has been found murdered with Tony is now the prime suspect.  Ellie puts all her investigating tactics to the test to find Tony and figure out what is behind this mystery, hoping it isn’t Tony, which would have the citizens of New Holland reading about their beloved Tony being a murderer.

The first thing I need to say about this book is it is the fourth in a series, I didn’t realize this when reading it and don’t believe it influenced how I enjoyed the book. Ellie is a very ambitious woman that is looking to make a name for herself in the world of reporters.  In this time period, bring a woman and breaking into this area is a very difficult thing to accomplish.  Ellie didn’t let any of that keep her from pursuing what she felt she was meant to do. Having an assignment that sends her to Hollywood and then investigating the disappearance of Tony and the murder ends up putting all of her skills to the test.  Even when she finds herself in danger while trying to get the next lead in her story, she still keeps pushing forward.  I liked her and the spunk she had.  It is probably one of the best aspects of the story.  A few of the characters are questionable at times in how they react in different situations that could have played out better.  While Ellie is the main character, there are too many secondary characters to keep track of.  If a few had been left out or combined, the story would have flowed a little better for readers.  You do have to keep in mind that this is set in the 1960s while reading to keep from getting confused about prices of things and landmarks.  While this isn’t one I would normally pick up, I did enjoy the story and will recommend it to mystery lovers for a good read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue

Kitty Hawk3Author: Iain Reading

Series: Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #3

Publisher: Create Space

Release Date: April 19, 2013

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Kitty Hawk is back on her next adventure that takes her to the rugged landscape of Iceland and her strangest case yet.

Continuing her flight around the world, Kitty Hawk arrives in Reykjavik Iceland. Her friend Charlie has found her a nice place to stay with friends of his to help her get the real, authentic Icelandic experience.  As she finds herself in the land of Vikings, volcanoes, and even trolls and elves, she discovers the true beauty of the land and what some of the locals are willing to do to keep it from being changed too much.  As she explores and makes new friends, Kitty finds herself in more danger and surrounded by more mystery and intrigue than ever before.

As the third installment in the Kitty Hawk series takes us to Iceland, I found myself having trouble warming up to this one. The story itself is good and fast paced, but for me it didn’t take me as deep into the story as I would have liked.  I just didn’t feel a real connection with the characters as I did in the first two.  Kitty herself is still on top of finding herself in the middle of a whole mess of trouble.  It seems that she has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time in order to help solve the mystery, but isn’t that the case with most mysteries?  This series is still a great read for young adults looking for adventure and to learn a little about different areas around the world.  The setting was set up very well and maybe that was part of my problem, this is not an area I have a desire to go so it didn’t interest me as much.  I will recommend this to young readers ready for an adventure and even older readers looking to familiarize themselves with the landscape before going.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost

Kitty HawkAuthor: Iain Reading

Series: Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #2

Publisher: Create Space

Release Date: September 11, 2013

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fun adventure for kids that is just as intriguing and better written than the first in the series.

Kitty Hawk is back on another crazy adventure. She still wants to follow in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart and make her own epic flight around the world.  This time her travels take her to Florida where she plans to relax before continuing.  The Florida Keys is a magical place for many and Kitty gets caught up in the magic of shipwrecks, treasure and ghost stories of Ernest Hemingway she wonders if she is in over her head.

The second installment in the Kitty Hawk series is even better than the first. Reading seems to have found his grove in writing the young adventures.  There was a little more down time in this book that had Kitty just relaxing and not going strong, which made me yearn to get back to the action.  I enjoyed that compared to the previous book, this one did not have near the amount of harsh language, especially since these are geared towards young readers.  The setting was very beautifully done, it made me want to go explore the area.  There was a great history about the story and I loved the Hemingway aspect of it and how it tied in with the missing treasure.  The short chapters are a plus for young readers so they don’t get bored with long chapters.  My only concern with this book is with the format.  The chapters are short, which is great, but the print is so small it makes reading one page seem like reading three and that is a problem for the younger readers.  I will still recommend this to young readers that are looking for a fun adventure book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

I Found You

I found youAuthor: Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Atria Books

Release Date: April 25, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

I almost gave up on this, but found it a worthwhile read by the end.

A back and forth story between time and characters that weaves their stories together. Set in a British seaside town, single mom Alice finds a man sitting on the beach with no memory of who he is or how he got there.  Against her better judgement, she invites him inside and ties to help him.  In London, Lily Monrose is trying to find her husband of three weeks who has disappeared.  The police are saying his passport is fake making her think she never really knew him.  The scenes set in the past explore Gray and Kirsty who are on vacation with their parents.  They meet a young man who quickly becomes infatuated with Kirsty, which makes Gray uneasy.

At about a third to halfway through this book, I almost gave up but decided to keep going. Even though it wasn’t the best overall, the last third of the book was really well done with the suspense brought to an even higher level.  The back and forth between timelines and characters got a little confusing, especially with one having lost his memory.  It can be difficult to juggle multiple narratives but Jewell did a pretty good job.  At first it can seem a little out of sorts and confusing but it all ties up in the end nicely.  I was a little worried at first that it wouldn’t tie together, but Jewell was able to tie up all loose ends without causing me to eye roll (which has happened on more than one occasion with more than one author).  If I hadn’t finished I would have only given this a two star but having stuck with it to the end I will give it four.  I recommend this to readers that enjoy a good mystery that will make you think.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Local Poet

Local PoetAuthor: Paul Trembling

Publisher: Lion Fiction

Release Date: October 21, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

He killed her, but who was she?

One day Rob Seaton is minding his own business driving his delivery van around London, when suddenly a young lady steps out in front of his van and he has no choice but to run into her, which kills her. It turns out her name is Laney Grey and she is a local poet known and loved by many.  It is ruled an accident, but it just won’t leave Rob’s head.  The way she looked at him before she died haunts him.  He decides that he needs to learn more about who she is and starts reading her poetry.  At first it makes no sense, but after a stop by the library, a friend of Laney’s helps him begin to understand.  The more he reads, the more he realizes that her writing was a direct reflection of her life.  And hidden in her last poem is her suicide note with a warning as to what caused her to take her life.

This was a phenomenal book to pick up and read. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was quickly drawn into the story and couldn’t put it down until I found out what was going to happen.  Just the story of Laney was intriguing enough, but add the police corruption and family drug connection and I just kept going deeper.  The writing flows great and there is no language or sex throughout the whole story.  Overall it is a really short story, but it left me wanting more, which fortunately it is going to continue.

If you want a good mystery that will keep you entertained and possibly emotional, grab a copy of this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.