Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Genre:  Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Source:  I received a copy from Netgalley to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I am an eclectic reader. There are several things that will draw me to a book. First and foremost is if a book is a mystery. Check, this one is. Are there supernatural undertones? Check again.  This book also has multiple points of view and we bounce back and forth between time periods. 

We are taken into 1950 and a place called Idlewild Hall in Vermont. Idlewild is a boarding school. This seems to be a school where girls are place when their parents don’t want them around. Considering the time period these girls were shipped off or hidden away so they would not be an embarrassment for their parents.  Four of the girls become very close friends,  and then one mysteriously disappears. 
We are then transported to 2014.  The thread that connects the past to the present is the school. In the 1950s when one of the girls goes missing the head of the school figures she has run away. This just shows how little the school administration feels about their charges.  Her friends don’t believe that she ran away.  They think she was murdered.
In the present time Fiona Sheridan, a journalist gets involved when someone decides to reopen the school. She is going to do a story on the place. Her connection? Twenty years before, her sister’s murdered body was found on the school’s grounds. Her sister’s boyfriend has been in prison all these years, convicted of her murder. Fiona never believed that he killed her. She is determined to find out what really happened. You just know that this is not a good idea.
If I had to choose one of the time periods as my favorite it would definitely be the past. The author made me care so much about the girls that are considered broken.  Oh, did I mention the school has a ghost called Mary Hand? What is her backstory? This is what adds that exceptional creep factor. For some reason I seem to start these books at night and then can’t put them down until I finished them. The problem with this one is that is was just creepy enough to scare me whenever I heard a noise.   It has been a while since I’ve read a book that has so captivated me. I have not read any of her other works but that will definitely change.  There is something about the Gothic period set against the present time that seems to work.  I can’t recommend this book enough.  You definitely must read this book. I just wouldn’t recommend you read it at night or when it is stormy out, unless you want to have your pants scared off.

This book comes out March 20th. Be prepared.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

To Save a Race by Kandi J. Wyatt

Genre:  Adult, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Christian
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
When Duke Callon divorces his wife and decides on an uncanny way of choosing his next duchess, Arianna's left with little choice. Faced with the intricacies of politics, Arianna struggles to find her place. Just as she thinks she has her footing, a decree, issued with the blessing of her husband, calls for the extermination of her entire race. 

A young innocent girl, a capricious duke, and a decree that will change everything. What will it take to save a race? 

My Thoughts:
I love everything Kandi has written so far.  However, out of all of her books her Bible based stories, set in an alternate time have become my favorite. In her newest book “To Save A Race” we have a steampunk version of the Biblical story of Esther. Arianna is a young girl who had lived with her uncle Marcos. Realizing she needed more ladylike training. For this reason she now lives with Lady Hemma and Lord Praus. Her uncle works for the Duke. She thinks it would be wonderful to be in the castle. The Duke divorces his wife and then eventually decides he wants to get married again.  He decides to screen the eligible women over a two month period. Each girl who passes the screening gets a night of dinner and sleeping with the Duke. This is of course appalling to Lord Praus and his son Kenden.  If a girl is engaged before the Duke makes this decree official then they are out of the running. Lord Praus wants to protect his daughter Pasha and his charge Arianna from such a fate. Kenden is willing to marry Arianna to protect her from this. Her uncle is content to let Arianna make the choice for herself.
If you know the story of Queen Esther from the Bible you will recognize it in this story. Kandi has once again taken a familiar story and put it in a different setting and been successful.  I loved the depth the story line takes. There was all the familiarity from the Bible with a fresh steampunk vibe. She creates characters that you love to hate. They were so realistic that at one point I wished I could grab the Duke by the collar and shake some sense into him. This is considered an adult novel. However, since it is such a clean read this is one I will place on my shelves at school. Young adults are looking for books with a touch of romance that is not so overpowering it makes them want to throw up. There are many themes, the biggest of which is love conquers all. These are themes that teens can and want to explore in a safe manner.  I can’t think of a better book to accomplish this.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Abuse of Discretion by Pamela Samuels Young

Genre: Adult Thriller, Suspense
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

We are constantly hearing of students getting into trouble with social media. Every year at the beginning of the school year we show our students a training video about the proper use of technology. How it is not to be used for bullying or sexting. 

This author tackles this issue in a manner that parents really need to understand.  Graylin Alexander is a very good student.  Someone has sent him a naked picture of one of his classmates. Before he can show it to anyone or tell anyone about it he is summoned to the principal’s office where he finds the police waiting to question him.  His parents have trained him well. Even though he repeatedly tells them he is not supposed to talk with them without a parent present they continue to question him. He is promptly arrested.

As much as he is pressured to take a plea deal, he refuses. This is one tough kid. He is not going to go down for something he didn’t do.  His lawyer is determined to find out the truth. Along with this issue his lawyer’s team has just added Angela Evans.  These two attorney’s have issues of their own. However, they are determined to work together to figure out a solution to Graylin’s legal problems. 

I loved this book which kept me reading non-stop. Because lawyer Angela Evans’ boyfriend is facing issues from his past, and was mentioned because of the even that took place in the author’s previous book I had to go back and read that book as well.  You won’t be disappointed in this author’s work. I’ve managed to convince two of my teachers to try out this new to them series.  I love finding new authors and this is one I recommend.

Other books in the Dre Thomas Series
Buying Time
Anybody’s Daughter

About the Author
Pamela Samuels Young is an attorney and award-winning author of eight mystery novels. Her most recent courtroom drama, Abuse of Discretion, tackles a troubling sexting case that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile justice system.

Her thriller, Anybody’s Daughter, won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction and was a Top Ten pick by In the Margins, the best books for at-risk teens. Pamela formerly worked as Managing Counsel, Labor and Employment Law, for Toyota and spent several years as a television news writer and associate producer. The former journalist and retired lawyer is also a natural hair enthusiast and the author of Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide.

Pamela received her bachelor’s degree from USC and also earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley School of Law. The Compton native is a frequent speaker on the topics of child sex trafficking, online safety, fiction writing, and pursuing your passion.

To read excerpts of Pamela’s books, visit Pamela loves book clubs! To invite her to your book club meeting via Skype, Facebook Live, FaceTime, Zoom, speakerphone or in person, visit her website at