AnnAlysis: That Night

that nightFrom Goodreads:
As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent
complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

My Thoughts:
I reviewed this book for It’s the July pick and I am sooo thrilled they went with a mystery this month. I love expanding my horizons with the books they send my way every month, but am always thrilled to get in a good thriller.

And this one was definitely that. It told the story from the summer that Nicole was killed, then jumped to the present, when Toni and Ryan get out of prison and try to get back into society, as well as find the real killer. I loved how this story bounced back and forth telling a little history, with a little present day. It really helped tell the story completely.

This is a story of lies, betrayal, murder, mystery, heart break and sooo many emotions. There were times I felt so bad for Toni and Ryan, I wanted them so badly to find the murderer. It was a mixture of being sad and mad. There are little rays of hope, but they never seem to last long.

I must say I got a bit paranoid when reading this book. For some reason, I have this fear that something will be pinned on me that I didn’t do. I wouldn’t do well in prison, although I feel that I learned quite a big from Orange is the New Black and from what Toni went through in this book. So with that fear, I obviously had anxiety through a lot of this book, just drifting off and thinking what would happen if this was me. #worrywart

I think Stevens knocked Shauna’s character out of the ball park. What a great villain. She’s the stereotypical mean girl in high school, terrorizing anyone who dares to cross her. But what Stevens really nailed was the person who Shauna became when she grew up. Everyone wants to know what happened to the privileged mean girl. Shauna is like Gretchen Wieners. Her hair is so big because it is filled with secrets. But Shauna’s secrets are darker than you’d ever imagine.

I give That Night 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

As I mentioned, this is July pick. Click here to check out other great bloggers’ reviews, Chevy’s writing space and her playlist for this book, and Toni’s prom.

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Released: June 17, 2014
Author Website

AnnAlysis: Redemption Key

redemption keyFrom Goodreads:
Her narrow escape from blue-eyed assassin Tom Booker has made former data analyst Dani Britton question all of her choices like trusting good guys who carry badges. On the run and haunted by the government-sanctioned massacre of her coworkers, Dani finally settles in remote Redemption Key, Florida, at a bar where strong drinks and shady deals are the norm.

The bar owner, a local operator with a past of his own, gives Dani a job, no questions asked, and soon Dani’s ability to read the sketchy characters doing business at the bar proves invaluable. The libations flow, and the Key’s laid-back vibe and warm waters start doing their therapeutic work. But as the mercury rises, a twisted deal starts to go down?threatening to take Dani with it. Like sharks smelling blood, players on both sides of the law circle for the kill. And when charming apex predator Booker joins the frenzy, he may turn out to be the only one on Dani’s side.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed getting to know Dani in the first book of this series, The Widow File, which I just realized I never reviewed. I’ll have to go back and do that! Not sure how I missed it!

So in this second installment, Dani is keeping quiet, but doing things by the book, my kind of girl. She’s recuperating from a rough run-in in the first book. Rebuilding. Regaining her strength. And keeping a low profile. It’s set in Florida, a little place called Redemption Key, close to Key West. More low-key, with an odd array of characters. I love that Sheila spent quite a bit of time in Florida, researching for this book. That’s my kind of vacation!

I really liked  getting to know Dani a little better in this book. She keeps things to the vest, not wearing anything on her sleeve, so it’s not easy getting to know her, but a little bit goes a long way! I also liked the supporting cast in this book. Some old, some new, some attractive, some stinky. Literally.

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it as much as I have some of Sheila’s other books. There were some very high points for me in this one and you must listen to me when I say that you need to read this book until the very last page. There were definitely some pretty intense moments that I’ve come to know and love in her books. However, I had a hard time getting into this book as much as I have some of her others. I am interested to see where Dani goes in the future, and I hope that Sheila keeps her stories coming.

I give Redemption Key 3.5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released:  June 2014

Also reviewed by this author:

Summer Vacation Reading Part 2

Sooo earlier this summer I wrote up a long post about my vacation, the ups and downs, and allll the reading I got done while spending time with family. Click here to read it.

I was given the opportunity to go on an unexpected trip to the beach with my mom and some friends this past week. For me, it was shorter than the rest of the group. They drove down on Saturday, but I flew down Monday afternoon. An hour flight to the beach is THE WAY TO GO!

I had four wonderful days, enjoying the sun, good food, good people and good reading time.

This time around, my reading started at the airport, with a couple of hours to spare before my flight. I had planned on finishing the “real” book I was reading so all I had to take with me was my nook. I got a little behind and had to wrap that one up the first day of my trip. Since my trip was short, I didn’t get as much reading in as my first vacation, but any reading time is good time.

I was able to finish Shadows of Lancaster County, an Amish mystery book that I bought at a used book store on my first week off with my cousin. I read We are the Goldens, a YA ARC from NetGalley, and started The Best of Me, the new one by Nicholas Sparks, which has a movie coming out soon. 

I was a bit optimistic while going on the trip, downloading quite a few more books that I could read, kind of like packing more clothes than I can wear. But I like to be prepared. I still have 5 or 6 that I didn’t get to, but am working a different shift than usual this week, so plan to get some more reading time in!

PS: Here’s a picture of my view for the week! Who wouldn’t love this as the background for some reading time?

kari beach

What was on your summer vacation reading list?

AnnAlysis: Far Gone

far goneFrom Goodreads:
To save her only brother, Andrea Finch must face down a criminal mastermind, the FBI, and her own demons in this thrilling novel from the author of the bestselling Tracers series.

Police detective Andrea Finch is a rising star in her department until a split-second decision derails her career. Disgraced and disillusioned, she’s on leave from her job when she gets an urgent call from her younger brother. She’d prefer to ignore his latest plea for cash, but this time instinct tells her something is very wrong. Andrea’s search for answers takes her to a dusty Texas border town where danger lurks in plain sight and nothing is quite what it seems.

FBI agent Jon North is working undercover in west Texas investigating an unsolved murder that may be linked to a broader plot. But when the evidence points to Andrea’s brother, Jon finds that persuading the stubborn cop to help will be harder than cracking his toughest case.

Andrea must find a way to do what’s right while protecting her only sibling. As the clock ticks down on a deadly plot, Andrea and Jon race to confront a heartless killer who will stop at nothing to deliver a final, terrifying message.

My Thoughts:
My favorite thing about this book is Andrea’s character. I absolutely love a strong female lead. She’s a police detective, who finds herself suspended after a split-second, life-saving decision. But she doesn’t have time to sit and stew about that decision because her brother is missing, leading her to an unauthorized investigation of her own. Cue John North with the FBI, who I also loved. The two butt heads more often than not, and have zero faith and trust in each other, but have to come together to find her brother and solve another, deeper crime, they find themselves immersed in.

The plot to this story is great, and very believable. We have a missing person, another crime bubbling up, a love story, undertones of anti-government, conspiracy and extremist thoughts. And the final action scene is very intense.

This is my first Laura Griffin novel, but I’m sure won’t be my last. I give Far Gone 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: April 2014
Author Website

AnnAlysis: Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio

love finds you in sugarcreek ohioFrom Goodreads:
A mysterious outsider casts a long shadow on Ohio’s Amish country. Policewoman Rachel Troyer has always looked after her three elderly Amish aunts, proprietors of a farmhouse inn near Sugarcreek, Ohio. The idyllic town is popular with tourists, who come to sample its famous Amish goods. But one thing is clear to Rachel – Joe Matthews is no tourist. When the bearded stranger lands on her aunts’ doorstep, begging shelter for himself and his young son, Rachel is suspicious. Will she be able to uncover Joe’s secrets despite her aunts’ – and her own – growing affection for him?

My Thoughts:
This was another one of my vacation reads, along with The Fault in Our Stars. One that I’d heard about and just wanted to read. There were so many things that drew me to this book.
1. It was written by a woman who lives in southeast, Ohio – not too far from where I grew up
2. It is set in Sugarcreek, Ohio – not too far from some of my family members. We have spent quite a few weekends in the Sugarcreek area, eating and shopping. I feel like I have a bit of a connection to the area.
3. It’s set in Amish country. I love Amish country and as my faith grows, so foes my interest in religious based books, especially in Amish communities. I love learning about their culture.
4. The book was made into a movie that recently aired on the UPTV channel. I have it DVR’d at my mom’s house and cousin’s house so I can sit down and watch it at some point.

Obviously I had high hopes for this book before I even started it. And the book lived up to my high hopes, and beyond. There are so many things I loved about it. It all starts with Joe’s little boy. I am a sucker for little kids in books. They always bring so much joy and honesty to the table. I also love the relationship that grows between Rachel and Joe. And then there’s the deep faith of the Amish community. The faith is really deep seated in the community, and in this book. There are so many acts that the Amish do that really open your eyes to what you can do to be a better person.

But the thing that I loved most about this book was how much I learned about the Amish. We have Amish in our neck of the woods, and my aunt lives in a pretty big Amish community, so we feel like we are pretty well versed in their culture. Of course I made a list to share with my family members, and you. Let’s see if I can teach you some of the things I learned:
1. The Amish only go to church every other Sunday. On the Sunday’s they don’t go to church, they spend the day visiting family and resting.
2. The Amish only do a collection twice a year – once at communion, the other at the foot washing – They use this money to give to a community member in need.
3. Homes are built big enough so that church services can be held in the home. Once the group gets larger than 200 people, they split off and go to another home.
4. The Amish community is currently doubling in size every 20 years.
5. The one that I was most interested in because it’s one that comes up quite often: Amish pay all taxes except Social Security. But, that’s not in every case. Amish that are employed by non-Amish businesses have to pay the tax. And Amish that employ non-Amish or youth that haven’t been baptized in the Amish community, also have to pay the tax.

I really love that Miller spent so much time with the Amish community and really did her research into this book. I will definitely be looking into more of her books in the future!!! I give Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: July 2010
Author Website