Friday, October 9, 2015

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter


With a missing girl in the news, Claire Scott can’t help but be reminded of her sister, who disappeared twenty years ago in a mystery that was never solved.

But when Claire begins to learn the truth about her sister, nothing will ever be the same.

Hardcover, 397 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by William Morrow
ISBN 0062429051 (ISBN13: 9780062429056)

About the Author

Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestseller Cop Town. There are more than 30 million copies of her books in print around the world.

Check out the author's website
Like the author on Facebook

My Thoughts
When you first disappeared, your mother warned me that finding out exactly what had happened to you would be worse than never knowing.
There once were three sisters: Julia, Lydia and Claire. They were typical girls, and typical sisters. They pestered one another, stole one another's clothing, fought and loved one another. Then Julia disappeared without a trace at nineteen years of age, and the family was ripped asunder and it never healed. Now decades later, their father is dead, mother heartbroken, and surviving sisters Lydia and Claire haven't spoken with one another in a very long time after an incident involving the man that would become Claire's husband.

Claire's life seems perfect. She should be happy. She lives a life of which most people can only dream. She has a beautiful home, beautiful “things”, can afford to travel the world, spend her day playing tennis or shopping or whatever she wishes to do. So why is she so dissatisfied, cheating on her husband, and assaulting friends?

Lydia was the stereotypical middle child. She was the troublesome rebel as a teenager who became addicted to drugs and wound up running off everyone who ever really cared about her. Now as a middle-aged mother, she has straightened out her life, having fought and scratched out a good life for her and her daughter.

Claire's husband Paul has always been the perfect husband. He provides for Claire, and she can want for nothing. He is thoughtful-- he, in fact, seems to think of everything. Nothing is missed. Everything is organized and planned. He even decorated their house. But after his death, Claire discovers that Paul had secrets of his own, and there is so much that she didn't know about him.

I didn’t care too much for Claire initially. She seemed sad, self-absorbed, hard, cold, and a little whiny. But as time went on, I grew to like her more. However I never really warmed up to her.

Lydia is a different story. I liked her from the beginning, and that never changed. Strong, committed and devoted, I liked her straight-forward personality that suffers no fools.

This was my introduction to the author, and I have been converted to a Slaughter fan! I really enjoyed her writing style. Descriptive, easy to read, well-developed characters, suspenseful writing. Other than graphically disturbing violence and torture, what’s not to like?

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, September 29th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, September 30th: Curling Up by the Fire
Thursday, October 1st: For the Love of Words
Friday, October 2nd: Mary’s Cup of Tea
Monday, October 5th: JulzReads
Tuesday, October 6th: The Book Bag
Wednesday, October 7th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, October 8th: Why Girls Are Weird
Friday, October 9th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Monday, October 12th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, October 13th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, October 14th: Stephany Writes
Thursday, October 15th: I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, October 15th: Book Hooked Blog
TBD: Imaginary Reads

My final word: As I mentioned before, this book is graphic and filled with disturbing images, but I found it really suspenseful. It kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what was coming down the pike next. The author is very readable, the characters well-developed, the storyline provocative. I really, really enjoyed this story, and that feels a little "wrong", given how violent the story was, but I just can't help it. The story could get a little preposterous at times and requires some "suspension of disbelief" to get through it, but it is really a great escape if you like mystery and suspense, and you aren't put off by graphic violence of a sexual nature. I'd give two thumbs up, if it weren't for the thumbscrews and shackles!
A particularly beautiful woman is a source of terror.
-- Carl Jung
Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Introducing... The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Introducing books through the first chapter or so...

She's buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks, her grave marked with a cairn. Not more than a little pile of stones, really. I didn't want to draw attention to her resting place, but I couldn't leave her without remembrance. She'll sleep peacefully there, no one to disturb her, no sounds but birdsong and the rumble of passing trains.

-- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Introducing... Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Introducing books through the first chapter or so...

When you first disappeared, your mother warned me that finding out exactly what had happened to you would be worse than never knowing. We argued about this constantly because arguing was the only thing that held us together at the time.

"Knowing the details won't make it any easier," she warned me. "The details will tear you apart."

-- Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mailbox Monday (9/28/15 edition)

 Image licensed from
Copyright stands

Mailbox Monday is hosted here. I've received a few new books recently:

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Received from TLC Book Tours

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia's teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.

Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator by Homer Hickam
Received from TLC Book Tours

Elsie Lavender and Homer Hickam (the father of the author) were high school classmates in the West Virginia coalfields, graduating just as the Great Depression began. When Homer asked for her hand, Elsie instead headed to Orlando where she sparked with a dancing actor named Buddy Ebsen (yes, that Buddy Ebsen). But when Buddy headed for New York, Elsie’s dreams of a life with him were crushed and eventually she found herself back in the coalfields, married to Homer.

Unfulfilled as a miner’s wife, Elsie was reminded of her carefree days with Buddy every day because of his unusual wedding gift: an alligator named Albert she raised in the only bathroom in the house. When Albert scared Homer by grabbing his pants, he gave Elsie an ultimatum: “Me or that alligator!” After giving it some thought, Elsie concluded there was only one thing to do: Carry Albert home.

Carrying Albert Home is the funny, sweet, and sometimes tragic tale of a young couple and a special alligator on a crazy 1000-mile adventure. Told with the warmth and down-home charm that made Rocket Boys/October Sky a beloved bestseller, Homer Hickam’s rollicking tale is ultimately a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion we inadequately call love.

Brother by Ania Ahlborn
Received through Netgalley 

From the bestselling horror author of Within These Walls and The Bird Eater comes a brand-new novel of terror that follows a teenager determined to break from his family’s unconventional—and deeply disturbing—traditions.

Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.

But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place…

Friday, September 25, 2015

QUICK REVIEW: Microshelters by Derek Deidricksen


If you dream of living in a tiny house, or creating a getaway in the backwoods or your backyard, you’ll love this gorgeous collection of creative and inspiring ideas for tiny houses, cabins, forts, studios, and other microshelters. Created by a wide array of builders and designers around the United States and beyond, these 59 unique and innovative structures show you the limits of what is possible. Each is displayed in full-color photographs accompanied by commentary by the author. In addition, Diedricksen includes six sets of building plans by leading designers to help you get started on a microshelter of your own. You’ll also find guidelines on building with recycled and salvaged materials, plus techniques for making your small space comfortable and easy to inhabit.

Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Storey Publishing, LLC
ISBN 1612123538 (ISBN13: 9781612123530)

My Thoughts

They say good things come in small packages, and that's definitely true here! Being a fan of cabins and rustic homesteads, and drawn to small homes with little room for clutter (because my life is so cluttered!), I was looking forward to getting a look at this book, and it didn't disappoint.

Written with humor and passion, the book includes "Tiny Houses", "Backyard Cabins, Camps, and Hideaways", "Tree Houses and Stilted Shelters" and homes "On Wheels". This is then followed by a list of tools and materials, outlines where to salvage supplies and how to decorate on a budget, and an offering of six plans for backyard microshelters that you can build.

I enjoyed the author's writing and creativity (many of the structures were designed and built by the author), and the photography did a great job of showcasing the designs. I only wish that there were more homes ("Tiny Houses") and fewer of the other designs which mostly amount to shacks and clubhouses. While clever and well thought out, shacks and backyard clubhouses were not quite what I was looking for.

But overall this is a great effort, and perfect for people looking for a "tiny" bit of inspiration.

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My Rating: A-

The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through Netgalley and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.