Format: Hardcover

Throwback Thursday Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.

Posted April 22, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.Reviewer: Rowena
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road -- diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

This review was originally posted on April 28, 2011.

Always listen to Ames when she recommends a book to read because she always hits it out of the park with her book pimps. This is one of the books that Ames told me a long time ago to read and though I really wanted to read it, I kept putting it off until finally…I picked it up and couldn’t put it down.

Oh man did I love this book. It starts off great and ends spectacular. I loved it. Every bleeping single thing about it. I really enjoyed getting to know Amy through her adventures but also getting to know Roger as well. I’ll be honest and tell you that I seriously wanted to go on a road trip after reading this book. It was that fantastic!

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book was the traveling journal that Amy kept throughout the trip. Seeing the receipts for the places that her and Roger ate at made me that much more apart of their journey. I thought it was adorable.

Even though this book was a little on the light side, I think Matson did a wonderful job of keeping us right smack dab in the middle of Amy’s grief. She didn’t make light of it or breeze over it in the story, she added it to the story and I appreciated the addition. Once we finally got the entire story, I already knew it but still, it was nice how she slid that in and didn’t just leave us hanging with it all. I’m glad that we found out exactly what happened. I felt like Roger, finding out bits and pieces of it until Amy was ready to tell the story.

I can’t remember ever feeling like the story slowed or dragged because for me, I couldn’t read this book fast enough. When I was finished with the book, I went back and read through my favorite parts of the book. Yes, I enjoyed the book that much. I thought that both Amy and Roger were great characters that I’d love to revisit over and over again. I can already tell that this book is going to be one of my comfort reads in the future, one of those books that I come back to just because.

I definitely recommend this book, it was light and cute and just an all around great read. If you’re looking for something light, contemporary and cute, this is the book for you. The characters are charming, the story flows nicely and you’re not going to want to put it down. Just a fabulous all around read.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Lightning Game by Christine Feehan (+Exclusive Excerpt)

Posted February 28, 2021 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

This series is my favorite by Christine Feehan. I am really looking forward to Rubin’s book. He’s always been intriguing.

Sunday Spotlight: Lightning Game by Christine Feehan (+Exclusive Excerpt)Lightning Game by Christine Feehan
Series: GhostWalkers #17
Also in this series: Predatory Game, Street Game, Ruthless Game, Shadow Game, Power Game, Murder Game, Covert Game, Toxic Game
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 432
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Series Rating: four-stars

Danger and passion fuse in this electrifying GhostWalker novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

GhostWalker Rubin Campos's rough upbringing made him into the man he is today: strong, steadfast, and wary of outsiders. When he and his brother return to their family's homestead in the Appalachian Mountains, he can immediately sense that a stranger has taken up residence in their cabin &mdash a woman who just happens to be a GhostWalker too.

Jonquille is deceptively delicate, but clearly a fighter. She also doesn't seem to care that Rubin could kill her where she stands. She sought him out, wanting to connect on their shared interest in electrical charges. One of the first failed GhostWalker experiments, Jonquille can produce lightning with her body, but she can't control it.

Their connection is magnetic, their abilities in sync. Rubin knows she's his match, the answer to a lifetime of pain and intense loneliness. But Jonquille came to him with hidden intentions, ones that threaten to destroy their bond before it can truly begin....

Excerpt

If Jonquille didn’t direct her strike exactly where it was supposed to go, and the lightning bolt behaved naturally, someone would die. She knew from experience that Whitney wouldn’t be satisfied with one death. He would be furious and demand she try again and, sometimes, again and again. He wouldn’t yell. He would look at her as if she were a great disappointment, and he would stand there until she did what he said. If she refused, he would direct one of his soldiers to shoot one of those in the field. Inevitably, the soldiers chose a girl.

She attracted lightning. It came to her. The lead stroke always found her. She couldn’t send it somewhere else. She didn’t work that way. She was the magnet on the ground. It didn’t matter how high a target was, how tempting. The lead from the cloud would seek her out wherever she was. She couldn’t make it go somewhere else.

Jonquille didn’t realize there were tears in her eyes until her vision blurred. She looked away from Rubin, blinking rapidly, slamming the door closed on those memories. She wouldn’t look back. There was no sense in it. She wasn’t going back there. No matter how many teams of soldiers Whitney sent after her, she wouldn’t go back. Very few could match her skills in the woods. She didn’t need accuracy with her lightning strikes. She was a skilled soldier. She was a marksman. A sniper. Every bit as good with a knife. She could live off the land if need be.

“There’s no need to tell us,” Rubin said. “I’ve heard many stories about Whitney and his insane experiments. Several of my fellow teammates are married to women who escaped from one of his laboratories. They didn’t believe they had choices either, Jonquille. That’s why I asked you. I wasn’t trying to be sarcastic or make you relive a painful past.”

She managed to get herself under control, pulling in enough air to recover quickly. Growing up in Whitney’s compound, one learned fast not to show weakness.

“One of my teammates is married to a woman who has the venom of a blue-ringed octopus in her. If she calls up that venom when she feels threatened or excited, she can kill. Another has three little girls who all have venom sacs and when they bite, they can kill. They’re babies, and all babies cut teeth. Another GhostWalker—not one of my teammates, but on another team—is married to a woman who has difficulties with the buildup of fire. These are problems, but they aren’t insurmountable.”

Dahlia. He had to be talking about Dahlia. She had grown up with a girl who couldn’t control fire. Jonquille pressed her lips together. She wouldn’t ask. She wouldn’t show interest. If he was fishing, and a part of her was certain he was, she wasn’t going to take the bait.

“I took a risk going to the conferences because I knew the more information I had, the more likely I was to discover a way to help myself,” Jonquille declared, determined to get back on track. “I’d attended several over the last couple of years. You were the only one who made any sense at all. Your ideas were more advanced, and you actually sounded as if you believed you could direct and manipulate lightning. Perhaps use it for your purposes. If you could do that, I thought it was possible you might have ideas on how to undo what Whitney did to me.”

Rubin looked at her for a long time. “Whitney has a lot to answer for, doesn’t he? He took advantage of infant girls. Of soldiers. Of the government who believed in him. Of those who still do. He’s a brilliant man, and he surrounds himself with other brilliant and unscrupulous scientists. He can’t do these experiments alone. He has other like-minded men and women eager to carry out his ideas. It isn’t just that he has money—and he has billions—he also has others covering for him. People very high up. For all we know, the president is sanctioning what he does.”

Her stomach twisted into hard knots. She didn’t want to hear what he was saying, but she couldn’t help it. She’d thought along the same lines. There was no hope. He was telling her no matter what, Whitney was a force that couldn’t be stopped. What he’d done was so far advanced . . .

GhostWalkers

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Sunday Spotlight: February 2021

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About Christine Feehan

I live on the beautiful Northern California coast and draw much inspiration from the beauty around me. I've always been a writer, for as long as I remember. My sisters were forced to read all of my books from the time I could write a story on paper.

I love family. I love my brothers and sisters, my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren. My home was always full of kids and children give me so much joy.

I also love my "sisters of the heart", those friends who have supported me through my life, laughed with me, cried with me and loved me regardless of how crazy my life got. I am a strong supporter of women helping each other which is why I became a third degree black belt and taught self-defense to women who'd been abused.

I love people and dogs, good books and great coffee and I'm lucky to know just how blessed I am.


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Sunday Spotlight: Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (+Exclusive Excerpt)

Posted February 14, 2021 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Like most of you, I adore Nalini Singh. I’ll read anything she writes. Including thrillers.

Sunday Spotlight: Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (+Exclusive Excerpt)Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Format: Hardcover
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 384
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In this gripping thriller set in New Zealand, New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes you into the twisted world of an exclusive cul-de-sac located on the edge of a sprawling forest.

My mother vanished ten years ago.
So did a quarter of a million dollars in cash.
Thief. Bitch. Criminal.
Now, she's back.
Her bones clothed in scarlet silk.

When socialite Nina Rai disappeared without a trace, everyone wrote it off as another trophy wife tired of her wealthy husband. But now her bones have turned up in the shadowed green of the forest that surrounds her elite neighborhood, a haven of privilege and secrets that's housed the same influential families for decades.

The rich live here, along with those whose job it is to make their lives easier. And somebody knows what happened to Nina one rainy night ten years ago. Her son Aarav heard a chilling scream that night, and he's determined to uncover the ugly truth that lives beneath the moneyed elegance...but no one is ready for the murderous secrets about to crawl out of the dark.

Even the dead aren't allowed to break the rules in this cul-de-sac.

Excerpt

My hands tightened on the steering wheel as my father got into the passenger seat.

We didn’t speak, my eyes on the unmarked police vehicle up ahead. Driven by Constable Neri, it led us out of the leafy gilded surrounds of the Cul-de-Sac and onto a long and winding road bordered by the dense forests of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, with only small hamlets of habitation along the way—and glimpses of breathtaking vistas where the foliage opened up.

Scenic Drive lived up to its name. But only if you weren’t expecting pretty and safe.

All that rich green turned parts of the road claustrophobic. It was never searing hot here, not in the cool darkness of the shadows cast by the forest giants. This was a quiet place, a place that whispered that humanity was an intrusion that would be swiftly forgotten once we were gone.

An unexpected flash of white, a large sign at the entrance to a trail, warning that the area was under a rāhui because of kauri dieback disease. No one was permitted to go on those trails, because the disease spread through the forest on the soles of human shoes, bringing a slow death to trees meant to grow far older than my mother would ever be.

I followed the police car knowing that if it stopped anywhere on this road, it’d be a spot I’d driven past hundreds of times.

Passing my mother’s grave over and over again.

The unmarked car slowed as it turned a corner and when I followed, I saw flashing lights, road cones, and an orange-vested officer waiting to direct traffic through what had become a single narrow lane.

One of the darkest sections of the road and of the forest.

The land dropped off precipitously to my right, but not into emptiness. Into bush dense and thick and impenetrable to the human eye. Ancient kauri trees, nīkau palms, huge tree ferns, this landscape was theirs.

Constable Neri brought the police vehicle to a stop behind a van and I pulled in behind her. Everyone waited while I got my crutches from the backseat, no one speaking. Armpits snugged into the tops of the walking aids, I nodded, and the cops led us to a part of the road that had no safety barrier against the fall into the green. I couldn’t remember if it ever had.

“The car was found at the foot of this incline,” Regan told us. “Nose down.”

That fit my father’s theory of it sliding off the road and down the steep slope into the devouring forest. I wanted to dispute the idea of my mother driving off the road on a rainy night, such a neat and tidy end to everything, but she had drunk too much as long as I could remember, and she could be a reckless driver.

Of course, if I were the one writing this story, I’d use those very things to cover up a murder.

Cover up a scream.

Copyright © 2021 by Nalini Singh

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Sunday Spotlight: February 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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Sunday Spotlight: Say No More by Karen Rose

Posted August 2, 2020 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Say No More is the second book in KR’s Sacramento series. I really enjoyed the first book, so I’m looking forward to this one. Karen Rose is literally the master of romantic suspense. If you haven’t read her yet, I highly suggest that you do.

Sunday Spotlight: Say No More by Karen RoseSay No More by Karen Rose
Series: Sacramento #2
Also in this series: Say You're Sorry (Sacramento, #1)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
Format: Hardcover
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 544
Length: 24 hours
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Series Rating: five-stars

Mercy Callahan thought she'd escaped the cult decades ago, but its long fingers are reaching out for her again in this electrifying novel in the Sacramento series...
Seventeen years ago. That was the last time Mercy Callahan saw Ephraim Burton, the leader of the twisted Eden cult where she was raised. But even though she escaped the abuse and terror, they continue to haunt her.
When her brother Gideon discovers new evidence of the cult's—and their victims'—whereabouts, Mercy goes to Sacramento to reconnect with him. There, she meets Gideon's closest friend—homicide detective Rafe Sokolov. From Rafe, she receives an offer she never knew she needed: to track down Ephraim and make him pay for everything.
But Ephraim, who had thought Mercy long dead, discovers she is in fact alive and that she is digging around for the cult's secrets. And now he'll do anything to take her back to Eden—dead or alive.


 

Excerpt

Amos Terrill rubbed his thumb over the lines of the script he’d just carved into the lid of the hope chest. He was almost finished with it, this special project on which he’d been laboring for the past five months, mostly in secret. He’d made countless hope chests, coffee tables, kitchen cabinets, armoires, and jewelry boxes over the thirty years he’d lived in Eden. All of them had been gifts for the membership or items to be sold to bring money into the community coffers.

This was the first time he’d ever made something for himself. Something he didn’t intend to share with anyone.

No one except his Abigail. His heart.

A splinter caught at his thumb and he pulled it out, sucking at the small wound before returning to his task. He could sand the hope chest later. He didn’t have much more time to himself. Everyone knew he stopped working at suppertime, and then people would start dropping by.

Amos, can you fix this? Amos, a minute of your time? Amos, need a pair of strong hands to help with… It didn’t matter what. It was all the same after thirty years.

He picked up the detail blade, his favorite of all of his carving tools. He’d brought it with him to Eden, when he was young and full of hope, ready to change the world.

Now he knew the truth and every day had become a struggle, each harder than the day before.

He had to stay positive. Had to keep smiling. Had to stay patient. Had to nod and pleasantly reply that all was well when he was greeted in passing.

In other words, he had to lie.

He finished carving the last word and took a look at his work. It had become something of a trademark, a personal signature he’d added to all the larger pieces of cabinetry he created.

The words were carved in a scrolling, old‑fashioned script: Surely Goodness And Mercy Shall Follow Me All The Days Of My Life. Psalms 23:6. Anyone in the community would think it simply a beautiful Bible verse, one that matched the song that used to be in his heart.

But it wasn’t. It was a tribute. Penance, even. His way of trying to make it up to a beautiful little girl whom he’d failed. So utterly.

Mercy. He thought of her often, especially after the birth of his Abigail, whose name meant father’s joy. As with most things in his life, Abigail’s birth had been bittersweet, losing her mother just minutes after they’d held their baby for the first time.

He’d thought he’d lose them both. Like he’d lost his first family. Mercy. Gideon. Rhoda. Dammit, Rhoda, I’m so sorry. You tried to tell me, but I wouldn’t listen.

He hadn’t wanted to listen.

But now he knew the truth and he needed to get Abigail out. To safety. To freedom.

He wouldn’t fail her like he’d failed Mercy, Rhoda, and Gideon.

He picked up the hope chest and turned it over effortlessly, a lifetime of woodworking giving him more strength than most men. He began to carve his true signature into the base of the chest, no larger than a dime. A small olive tree with twelve branches. It was exacting, but, at the same time, something he could do with his eyes closed, he’d done it so many times.

“Papa!”

Amos startled, the knife in his hand skipping over the wood, and pain ripped into his finger. “Ugh!” he cried, unable to stifle the sound. “Papa?” Abigail bounded into his workshop, with the same energy with which she tackled everything else in her life. “Tackled” being the operative term. Abigail never walked when she could run, never sat when she could stand. Never whispered. Ever.
His lips curved up into a smile even as he grabbed a clean rag to press to his finger.

“Abi‑girl,” he said with genuine warmth. Abigail was the only one who could summon anything close to happiness for him. She was the only thing that was real and had been for the past six months. Ever since Amos had witnessed Brother Ephraim calmly breaking the necks of Sister Dorcas, her husband, and their sixteen‑year‑old son, three of the dearest people in the world. Amos’s throat burned every time he remembered Brother Ephraim so carelessly tossing their bodies into an unmarked grave.

After which Ephraim had returned to tell the membership that Dorcas and her family had chosen to return to the world after the untimely death of their dear Miriam.

Miriam, who’d walked around with shadows in her eyes. Who, the last time Amos had seen her, had been bruised and bloody and begging to die.

Sister Dorcas had begged Amos for his help. Please help us get her out of here. Please.

Amos had done his best, or he’d thought so at the time, working through the night to fashion a hope chest similar to the one he was now building for Abigail. It wasn’t ornate and hadn’t had a false bottom, but it had been large enough that Miriam had been able to hide inside. Her father and brother had hoisted the hope chest into the bed of Brother DJ’s truck when no one was around to see their muscles strain under the added weight. Miriam was supposed to have climbed from the back of the truck and run for freedom the moment that Brother DJ had slowed enough to make it possible.
But it had all been for naught. Miriam must have been attacked by an animal because her body had been returned to them, too damaged to be identified. And, as punishment for their part in her escape, Sister Dorcas, Brother Stephen, and their son, Ezra, had been murdered in cold blood.

I failed them, too.

But he would not fail again. He would not fail his Abigail.

Sacramento

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Sunday Spotlight: August 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Karen Rose

Internationally bestselling, RITA-award winning, author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.”

Her debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published more than fifteen novels and two novellas. Her twenty-second novel, SAY YOU'RE SORRY, will be released in 2019.

Karen's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, London's Sunday Times, and Germany's der Spiegel (#1), and the Irish Times, as well as lists in South Africa(#1) and Australia!
​​
Her novels, I'M WATCHING YOU and SILENT SCREAM, received the Romance Writers of America's RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for 2005 and 2011. Five of her other books have been RITA finalists. To date, her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than twenty years, two dogs, and a cat.


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