AnnAlysis: The Butcher

the butcherFrom Goodreads
A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise.

Settling back into his childhood home and doing some renovations in the backyard to make the house feel like his own, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before. Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him… Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands.

Meanwhile Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, has always suspected that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher—two years after the supposed Butcher was gunned down. As she pursues leads that will prove her right, Sam heads right into the path of Matt’s terrible secret.

A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.

My Thoughts:
This summary does a good job of summarizing this book without giving away the meat. Anything else that I would share would be a spoiler. I don’t want to do that because this is a great book with a great mystery. It doesn’t take long for that mystery to come out, but when it does, it kind of leaves with you a sense of anxiety. You know something is going to go down, but if and when it the kicker.

While the story here is very strong, the characters really drive it. Matt, while successful, isn’t very likable. He’s got a temper, and is very self indulged, doesn’t really give people the time of day they need or deserve. Then you have Chief, Matt’s grandpa. He’s as close to a local legend as you can get. People love him. They know him by name. Now that he is aging, it’s not that he’s giving up on life, but what does he have to lose? That’s kind of his outlook in this book. And then there’s Sam. I really liked Sam’s character. She writes true-crime books and it’s something she got involved with because she thinks the Butcher killed her mom. She doesn’t have proof, it doesn’t really work out in the timeline, but she knows it. I love her passion, although the truth in this case may not be one that will leave you with a sense of closure.

If you are looking for a fast-paced thriller that will take you on several twists and turns through Seattle, I highly suggest this book. I love that you are face to face with the killer within 30 pages and then the rest is left up to fate.

I give The Butcher 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: July 2014
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AnnAlysis: Russian Hill

russian hillFrom Goodreads:
In the first book of the thrilling Chasing Chinatown trilogy, a killer is loose in San Francisco, and he’s collecting body parts. 

SFPD has no witnesses and no suspects, but FBI Agent Abby Kane believes a dead hiker found ten miles north of the city is the key to solving those crimes.

The detective involved with the case thinks Abby might be chasing a ghost down a rabbit hole, but the more Abby digs, the more she begins to think the killer is playing a game and there’s an audience cheering him on.

My Thoughts
This summary does not do this book justice. Yes it was thrilling and Abby did take part in a game, but it was sooo much more.

This story is told through a couple of different perspectives. You have the perspective of the game players, logging on and getting their clues, then fulfilling their tasks. Then you have Abby trying to put all of the pieces together and then getting pulled into the game herself.

This book is action packed from the first to the last page and even gives us a little hint at what’s coming up in the next book of the series. It is very intense and hard to put down once you get started. While you know that what the game players are doing is wrong, it’s a very intriguing story line and, as scary as it sounds, is something that could potentially happen in real life thanks to the world wide web. There’s so much out there that we don’t know about. Kind of creepy, to be perfectly honest.

I give Russian Hill 5 out of 5 bookmarks and will definitely keep my eye out for the other books in this series.

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Released: October 2013
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AnnAlysis: All Fall Down

all fall downFrom Goodreads
Allison Weiss got her happy ending: a handsome husband, an adorable daughter, a job she loves, and the big house in the suburbs. But while waiting in the pediatrician’s office, she opens a magazine to a quiz about addiction and starts to wonder: Is a Percocet at the end of the day really different from a glass of wine? Is it such a bad thing to pop a Vicodin after a brutal Jump & Pump class, or if your husband ignores you? She tells herself that the pills help her make it through her days; but what if her increasing drug use, a habit that’s becoming expensive and hard to hide, is turning into her biggest problem of all?

My Thoughts:
Jennifer Weiner is one of those authors that if you run across her books and have a chance to read them, you must do it. You’d be silly not to. I ran across this one on NetGalley and immediately added it to my TBR.

This one especially intrigued me due to the involvement of drug addiction. It’s such an epidemic, especially in the area where I live and work. In some way, shape, or form, everyone I know has had the pill problem on their doorstep, whether it b personal, a friend, or a family. In a small town, you’re bound to know someone.

I’ve read a couple of Weiner books and form everything I’m seeing from readers, this is quite a bit darker than most of Weiner’s books. It still has the wit that she is known for, but she really dives into the issue.

I actually really loved how Weiner portrayed Allison’s character. I felt like she really got down to the root of the Allison’s problem and really helped me understand where it came from. The possibility that her childhood, her marriage, and even motherhood played a role. Not to mention her work as a blogger and the success she was gaining from it. It’s all kind of like a train wreck. You can’t quit watching her descent into addiction.

I also thought it was very interesting reading about Allison’s reasoning for not believing she had a problem. My friend WriteMeg hit the nail on the head with her review of this book. This book really makes you sit back and think about our personal addictions. They may not be nearly as destructive as Allison’s but we all have them. Reading, running, Netflix… not necessarily dangerous, but all can get in the way of life. Throw in a little time on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, and where did the day go? As Meg said, “We all have our coping mechanisms, our ways of tuning out the stresses of the day to finally find some measure of peace.”

I give All Fall Down 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: June 2014
Author Website

Also by this author:
Then Came You

AnnAlysis: The Best of Me

the best of meFrom Goodreads:
THE BEST OF ME is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.

My Thoughts:
Nicholas Sparks is one of few authors that I always buy his books and always have them read by the time the movie comes out. He never ceases to make me laugh, make me cry, and make me reminisce about falling in love.

There are things that I always love about his books. I always love the romance and the passion. In each and every story. He is the master of making the heart melt. He could make even the biggest skeptic find at the least, a tiny shred of love. And the locations always make the stories. The settings are dreamy and romantic in themselves.

However, for the first time since I’ve started reading Sparks, there were times that I wanted to put this book down. I know. I am shocked myself. I have always loved everything about every book. But this one was tooo much like The Notebook in parts for me. We learn about the couple from two different times. The past when her family didn’t approve and the present where she is with someone else and they are reunited in the town where they fell in love. The mother shows up to try to talk some sense into her daughter. Any of these ring a bell? I really felt like I was reading the same book, with different character names. BUT I didn’t put the book down. I’m loyal. I haven’t put many down in my life and I wasn’t going to do it with this one. And I’m SO glad I kept with it. The last portion of this book was absolutely amazing and so different from what I expected.

So there were major ups and down for me in this one. I will follow up with the movie. And I’ll take tissues. I will warn you, you will need them too. I am interested to see how they make the movie different from The Notebook - or to see if they go off the book’s path to differentiate them. Here’s the trailer:

 

Did anyone else see a resemblance in these? Or am I stretching?

I give The Best of Me 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: March 2013
Author Website

AnnAlysis: We are the Goldens

we are the goldensFrom Goodreads:
Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it.

My Thoughts:
This is a book that will really make you sit and think about your relationships with your siblings, or friends or family that are close enough to be siblings. Layla has a secret. Nell knows figures it out. Nell struggles with telling the secret because she knows there could be some very serious repercussions if anyone else finds out. As I said, this book really makes you think about your relationships. If you have a loved one that you are “sister close” with and they are making a bad decision – would you tell someone? What if it could end up with someone in jail? This is something Nell struggles with. The struggle is real. Does Nell tell her parents? Will it break the bond between the siblings to do the right thing?

Ok – so I have a bit of a spoiler below – if you don’t want to read it…. stop now.

I gave you your chance….

This book deals with the dreaded teacher-student relationship. I feel like we are seeing more and more of this in books, movies and tv. I know that there are some teachers who are 21 when they get into the classroom, only a few years older than the students they are teaching. They are still practically children themselves. HOWEVER, it is still wrong. I struggle with this scenario every time I see, or read, it. As much as I would like to relate and understand, I just can’t and it automatically makes me dislike the character. Same went for Layla here. I just couldn’t put it behind me.

I did enjoy how this story was told. It was told from Nell’s point of view, kind of in a letter to her sister, explaining why she was doing what she was doing.

The ending though let me with my jaw dropped – as in “Did she really just leave me hanging?” I get it, with all the thinking that I did throughout the book and what I would have done in Nell’s situation, the ending left me thinking about what could possibly have happened. There are rare occasions where I would like to have a chat with the author to see what happened after the story ended on paper. This is one of those occasions. I would really like to hear from Reinhardt how everyone took the news when the secret was out. What happened to Layla? And the teacher? And what did her parents say? And what happened with the relationship with Nell?

I give We are the Goldens 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: May 2014
Author Website