The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Wild Inside is set in the Alaskan wilderness where the Petrikoff family lives.  The daughter, Tracy spends all of her time in the woods, tracking animals and running her sled dogs.  She has always felt safe in the woods but she still follows her mother’s rules: Never Lose Sight of the House. Never Come Home with Dirty Hands. And, above all else, Never Make a Person Bleed.

One day she does meet a stranger in the woods who attacks her and knocks her unconscious.  She doesn’t remember what exactly happened when she wakes up, but her knife is bloody.  The next day a man appears in their yard with a knife wound to his gut.

Helping her father cope with her mother’s death and prepare for the approaching Iditarod, she doesn’t have time to think about what she may have done. Then another person appears out of nowhere, looking for a job. Tracy senses that he is hiding something, but she can’t warn her father without explaining about the attack—or why she’s kept it to herself.

Now, if you read any of this books synopsis or even the cover – you would never guess that Tracy herself has a strange secret, one that she only shared with her mother….one that I cannot decide if it is supernatural or medical.  Everything else in the story leads you into a psychological thriller – then you throw THAT into it as well!  Sorry guys, I can’t even explain it to you because I want you to have the same reaction I did while reading it!

If you like psychological thrillers, you HAVE to read this!

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The Loop by Nicholas Evans

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I love books about the wilderness and especially if they involve wolves!  I picked this book up at our Friends of the Library Book Sale last year.

The only reason the book didn’t get a full five review was because I’m not a fan of romance in stories, this had just a tad too much BUT I still enjoyed the story as it does keep you turning the pages despite the mushy stuff!

The Loop takes place in Hope, Montana on a ranch, where now faces a conflict as they think wolves are starting to kill their cattle.  Now living in central Nebraska, I do fully understand the unfortunate human/animal conflict that can happen and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do to prevent it.

The story unfolds in Hope. In the nearby wilderness, a pack of reintroduced wolves – part of a government effort to restore wolf populations after they had been hunted to near extinction – are on the hunt.  The trouble is, Hope is a community of cattle ranchers, and any threat to their livestock and livelihood is taken seriously.  Into this fiercely self-sufficient little town comes Helen Ross: a wildlife biologist on a mission to track and protect the wolves, and to keep the locals’ growing anger at bay.

Helen also receives help from one of the ranchers sons, who learns of where these wolves have been living.  It becomes part of his daily routine to check on them and keep their location a secret.  He understands both sides of the problem, making it a tough path to choose between what’s right, wrong and what he or anyone has control over.

 

House by Frank E. Peretti, Ted Dekker

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Rating: ♥

Enter House — where you’ll find yourself thrown into a killer’s deadly game in which the only way to win is to lose… and the only way out is in.

The stakes of the game become clear when a tin can is tossed into the house with rules scrawled on it. Rules that only a madman—or worse—could have written. Rules that make no sense yet must be followed.

This was our book club pick for December!  Unfortunately I did not like this book.  I did give it one heart rating for the fast pace story it did hold!

The story to me was very cliche.  A wanna-be scary story that I felt took bits and pieces from other familiar tales I’ve read.  I’ve read one other book by Ted Dekker that I also didn’t really get into.  I gave this one a chance because that’s why I joined book club, to read outside my  normal zones!

After discussing the book at book club, we had a couple members who pointed out the possible significance references to the Bible.  Which, I could see after they described how they portrayed the story.  Where as I just read it as a cheesy wanna-be horror tale.  It did make me realize that in other books I have read, I don’t actually take the time to reflect on the possible second meanings of the stories being told.  I read them how they are, don’t think much about them and move on.  So that will be my ‘take away lesson’ from this one!

 

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This was our book club pick for November!  I didn’t get to read the book before attending book club, which gave me a different perspective when I did get a chance to read it!

I had to do some googling for historical purposes as this book takes place from 1918-1920 when under orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police took Anastasia Romanov and her family into a basement in Siberia to kill them.  None survive…..

Then, a couple years later, a woman who looks identical to Anastasia is found in a canal in Berlin.  She even has the same sort of scars as Anastasia.  She is taken to a hospital and when she finally speaks, she claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia!  Some are convinced that this woman is only after the Romanov fortune and call her by a different name, Anna Anderson.  The pot starts to boil when old and new enemies are brought to light.

Is she the real Anastasia, somehow saved from the brutal killings, or is she a brilliant impostor?  If you are up on your history, you may know how this story ends, but this is a great book of deception and uncanny truths of what happened to the Romanov family.

If you’ve read this, let me know what you thought!!  Just a quick note – yes this is the same Anastasia that is in the Disney movie – however – the true story is much more grim…

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

I really wanted to like this book because I had all three, so I wouldn’t have to wait to begin the next book after finishing the first…well…I didn’t make it to #2.

I can’t really put my finger on the reason I couldn’t get into this story.  Although I have several friends who absolutely loved all three books!  You’ll just have to read them to see what you think!

The story revolves around a young woman named Diana Bishop.  She comes form a long line of powerful witches and despite it all, Diana tries her hardest to NOT practice magic.  Although one day she accidentally calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript while doing research in the Oxford Bodleian Library.  Unfortunately for Diana, word spreads to other witches, vampires and even demons who soon start hanging around the library.

The story was interesting, but I feel like the author would get long winded in her writing and I would get bored.  Then something would happen and it would grab my attention again only soon to be back in the rut again.  Please let me know if you have read this book and what you thought!

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The cover for this book is amazing especially with the gold accents!  The story on the other hand was interesting and not what I was expecting!

It’s 1785 and a man named Jonah Hancock hears a knock on his door late into the evening.  There is a captain standing there and tells Jonah that he has sold Jonah’s ship for what he claims is a real (but dead) mermaid!  Jonah isn’t sure how to take this news as his ships are his life and his only source of income, lost all for a claim to a real mermaid?

No sooner than it arrives, gossip spreads through the town and everyone wants a peek at this new wonder.  The mermaid takes him to places he’s never dreamed in the high society ranks as a show piece.  One night at a showing party, he meets a woman who changes his life forever.

The two slowly learn that priceless things come at a great cost…including the destructive power mermaids are said to possess.  The story isn’t what you would think.  After reading the first chapter, then to the end you realize it’s not the story you thought it was going to be.

Although the curiosity is there surrounding the finding of this mermaid, the story more focuses on the destruction it brings to those closest to it.  Which does make for a story in itself I suppose!

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This was our Book Club Selection for August!

The Devil in the White City had a super slow start for me, although we were warned at Book Club that this is somewhat how Erik Larson’s books all are…but then about a third of the way through, it got interesting.

The story is several stories in one, it is a book about the White City — the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and a book about a devil — a psychopathic serial killer.  I enjoyed both stories here, but wasn’t interested with the author’s decision to try to integrate them into one book.  I think the historical pieces about the Chicago’s World’s Fair were great to have in the story to set the place and time, but having all the detail about how the World’s Fair came to be among the murdering madness of H.H. Holmes – it was a bit much.

The White City half certainly dealt with a fascinating cast of characters, architecture was skyrocketing in importance, and Chicago was a hotbed of architectural innovation. And since architects invariably deal with wealth, all the contradictions and surprises of the Gilded Age are brought to the fore.  And perhaps the devil half contained enough meat to reach the topmost tier of true-crime nonfiction.  The social changes seen by the poor — the gilded age’s dark lining, as it were — were just as important as the boardroom side of the story.

The Devil the the White City tells the story of the men and women who shed sweat and tears into making the Chicago Worlds Fair into the most spectacular event of the time period.  It also tells of the women whose blood was shed behind the curtains during the Chicago Worlds Fair – by the hands of the madman Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium.