Tag: Heather Gudenkauf

Review: These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Posted February 1, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 6 Comments


When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

This book focuses on the lives of four women, Allison, Brynn, Charm & Claire whose lives have all intersected because of the events of Allison’s life.

Allison – as a 16 year old – is the golden child. She has great grades and is a star athlete. But she meets a boy and starts to fall in love and ends up getting pregnant. She ends up telling no one about the pregnancy and has the baby at home with the help of her younger sister Brynn. Allison is sent to prison for drowning her baby and the book starts when she’s getting out of prison 5 years later.

Allison wants nothing more than to get her life back but she’s on parole and in a halfway house where the residents constantly remind her of her baby killer status. Her parents want nothing to do with her and Brynn, who has been living with their grandmother won’t even accept her phone calls.

Brynn is trying to deal with life and has been doing well until someone finds out who her sister is and they shun her. Basically Brynn blames Allison, though she loves her, for most everything that has gone wrong in her life. She tries to stay away from the town as much as possible but eventually has to return and ends up seeing Allison.

Then there is Charm who is a nursing student. She is 21 and trying desperately to go to school, deal with her ever-in-need-of-attention mother, and care from her dying step-father. When she was just 15 she dropped a baby off at the fire station which was a “Safe Haven” and that little boy was eventually adopted by a couple Claire and Jonathan. Charm, under the pretense of visiting Claire’s bookshop visits the boy, Joshua, regularly just to check up on him – though Claire has no idea what the connection between Charm and Joshua truly is.

Claire is a woman who could not conceive a child and had given up hope when she was given a foster child that her and her husband ended up adopting – Joshua. When Claire accepts a parolee as an employee (yes, that would be Allison) she has no idea how the decision will effect her life.

I’m really trying to tell you about the book without giving too many spoilers because as much as I wanted to know what was going on right when I first opened the book the discoveries of events both in the present and via flashbacks was too good to spoil. If you’re planning on reading the book you definitely don’t want to know what’s happening ahead of time.

The story is told in alternating chapters from Allison’s, Brynn’s, Charm’s and Claire’s points of view. Allison and Brynn were told in the first person and Charm and Claire in the 3rd and it was a bit off putting at times moving from one to the other. I think because of that they didn’t seem to have their own voices. It seemed at times that I was reading about the same person talking – except that the chapter headers had different names.

The story deals with fear, mental illness and the steps that were taken to try to cover it up. It’s about love and protecting those we love whether it’s protecting a sister, a brother, a niece, a son or a friend. While the book was not my normal type of read I did enjoy it.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

I received this book for review from Media Muscle.


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What I Read Last Week

Posted January 31, 2011 by Tracy in Features | 8 Comments


What a crazy, insane week!
At work it was not only monthly newsletter time but it was also time for the Annual Meeting and haranguing people to get their reports in, etc and then having to organize it all really isn’t my idea of a good time. Thank heavens it only happens once a year! lol
On top of that my oldest had a really rough week with her math teacher and so it was emotionally charged at home. *sigh* Even Calgon couldn’t take me away. 🙂 Hopefully this will be a better week for her.
Oh, and she went to spend the night at a friends house and came home with her hair 5 inches shorter! Now I’ve been wanting her to get her hair cut because it’s super thick and really heavy and gets into a tangled mess but she kept telling me NO! But even so, don’t you think the friend’s mom who cut it would have had my daughter ASK me before she took scissors to hair? I mean, really? I found that incredibly presumptuous. It looks adorable and was exactly what I wanted her to do – and I know my daughter, I’m sure she didn’t even think to call me because that’s just how she is…and she’s heard me tell her to get her hair cut – but still! I know I shouldn’t have an issue with it since she obviously accomplished what I could not but it just irks me. I know, I’m strange. lol
Ok –enough about me – how are you? What were you up to this past week?
So on to why we’re all here…here’s what I read this past week:
I started off my week with The Wicked Wickerly by Patricia Rice. I didn’t like the characters in this one and frankly the story was starting to grate on my nerves after only 30 pages. I’m not sure I can even call this a DNF because I only read 60 pages but I just couldn’t get any further than that but I’m gonna. DNF
My Tracy’s TBR challenge book for the week was A Brush Of Wings edited by Anne Regan. This is a Dreamspinner Press anthology and it was a good one. There were all different types of stories having to do with angels in some way – whether it’s a real angel, a guardian angel or just someone you think is an angel. Darned good. 4 out of 5
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf was my next read. This was the story of 4 women whose live get interwoven by 1 small boys life and it’s not all fun and games, lemme tell ya. My review will post tomorrow. 3.75 out of 5
Werewolf Me by Amarinda Jones was a book that I read for the Book Binge. Well, I didn’t actually get all the way through it. 60 pages is apparently the magic number for when I stop reading a book – only this book was only 147 pages. I didn’t like the characters all that well. Everything seemed over-dramatized and when the guy said I Love You and he’d just learned the girls name I was done. You can read my DNF review here if you’d like. DNF.
The Lady Most Likely…: A Novel in Three Parts by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway. This was the story of an Earl who enlists his sister to make a list of eligible women who he can marry. He’s 28 but has decided that it’s time to have an heir. The sister decides to have a house party since it’s after the season and invites the women on her list as well as other women and eligible bachelors. The story covers the women on the list as their find their loves – but is it the earl? Just an adorable book. I really liked all three stories and thought they were connected quite well. 4 out of 5
The Tourist by Clare London was next. Clare was nice enough to send me this lovely book that comes out on Feb. 28th. The story is about a spirit, Ace, who jumps to different bodies in order to have fun and mostly, sex. But on one jump he jumps into a man, Dan, who is in a relationship with Ricky. Ricky has issues with his ex…who doesn’t really think of Ricky as an ex. Ace jumps from Dan to Ricky and for once stays and gets to know the men. I’ll be posting my review of this a little later this month. Great story. 4.25 out of 5
Next up was Dangerous Secrets by Katie Reus. This is the story of Izzy who is living in Florida and working as a bartender. She’s got the hots for Adam who works at the bar too but Adam is working there to watch over Izzy for her father who is a wealthy businessman. There’s a madman on the loose and Adam is determined to keep Izzy safe. A really great read – my review will post on The Book Binge on the 4th. 4.25 out of 5
I decided to read Trusted Bond by Mary Calmes but realized it’s been a little over a year since I read Change of Heart which is the first book in the storyline. I decided to re-read Change of Heart first and it was just as good a read this time as it was the last. Jin who is a werepather, but a very rare type, who was kicked out of his tribe for not only being a reah but also because he was gay. His best friend Crane left the tribe with him and they’ve been moving from town to town ever since. He ends up meeting Logan Church who ends up being his mate. Jin has a hard time dealing with the fact that Logan had not been gay before he met him and Jin has problems believing in their bond. Just a great story. 4 out of 5
Trusted Bond by Mary Calmes takes up with Jin and Logan 6 months later. Jin is having issues, again, with believing that Logan can love him as much as Jin loves Logan because of the fact that the mating bond chose them. He thinks that Logan wouldn’t have even noticed him if not for the mating bond. On top of those issues Jin gets kidnapped by an old flame that isn’t right in the head. Jin goes through some horrific things and is eventually purposely kept from Logan. It’s an action packed story and really good. 4.25 out of 5
After that I decided to catch up a bit with my yaoi manga reading. I’ve been a bad little yaoi swapper and not read the books that Kris gave me when she left LA….in Nov. I know, I know, I suck. I got a few read yesterday and will continue on this week so that the next person on the yaoi swap list can get a package from Santa. lol
First up was Your Love Sickness by Hayate Kuku started off telling the story of two foxes who guard a shrine. One is a white fox who is very high up in the fox class system and the other is a red fox who is the lowest of the low. But the white fox loves the red fox despite that. There were other stories in this book that were cute as well. 3 out of 5
Next up was Skyscrapers of Oz by Yoshino Somei. The story revolved around 2 men and 2 boys (seriously 1 looked incredibly young to me – like 12 but I think he was supposed to be older than that) whose lives are all interwoven. The two men run a business and get caught up in one of the boys lives after being given a job. I really liked the graphics in this one and the story was good as well. 4 out of 5
Next was 9th Sleep by Makoto Tateno. This is classified as yaoi manga but really there was no boy love involved. It was the story of 2 kings who are in a crazy cycle to either die and go into a sleep for 100 years while the other creates an heir who then inherits the previous kings memories. It’s pretty convoluted. But 1 king doesn’t want to either die or sleep so he keeps getting reborn into different women. The graphics were good but the story really left something to be desired imho. 2 out of 5
Last for the week was I Can’t Stop Loving You by Row Takakura. Kyouji is training as an exorcist but can’t actually see the ghosts. His boyfriend, Yu, sees the ghosts but can’t exorcise them. Yu has serious jealousy issues in this book – not helped by his cousin who keeps trying to get Kyouji for himself. It was cute and well drawn. 3 out of 5
My Book Binge Reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!


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