Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stacks of TBRs and Reading Goals

As the winter finally comes upon me here in the Great White North, I am feeling the pressure to wittle down the towering stack of to-be-reviewed books perched on my nightstand (sometimes I feel I could fill up several nightstands). If I can shorten it down to nothing before the end of the year, I can start with a clean slate (er, nightstand), so to speak. This does not even include the several titles that are snail-mailing their way to my remote address as I type. Though I have read that other bloggers have ARCs upwards of 50 titles or more at one time while still accepting books from publishers, I feel guilty accepting books when I have this many to plow through, yet the appeal of free books is more tempting to me than the candy row at the grocery store to a chocoholic.
Luckily, books is one addiction that I never have to fight to recover from, as my husband, best friend, the second-hand charity shop, and the library all happily feed into it with enthusiasm. Even my oldest daughter is picking up on this glorious pastime, as she struggles to carry armloads of children's books too big for her three-year-old body from her room into the living room for daddy and I to read to her.
As for reading goals, I have pretty much abandoned the idea of completing my overabundance of reading challenges. I think my eyes were too big for my stomach with those. I won't be attempting nearly as many next year, especially if I hope to tackle NanoWrimo in 2011. That's another post for another day, though.

So what do you think? Should I worry so much about how many books I accept for reviewing purposes, or is this a worthy goal that I could complete in only two months left to the year?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Jesus, Career Counselor by Laurie Beth Jones

JESUS, Career Counselor: How to Find (and Keep) Your Perfect Work
Book Details:
JESUS, Career Counselor: How to Find (and Keep) Your Perfect Work
By Laurie Beth Jones
Genre: Vocational Guidance
Published 2010, Howard Books
Hardback, 256 pages
ISBN: 9781439149065


Written to help readers get, find, and keep the work they love, JESUS, Career Counselor weaves together practical self-help concepts, intriguing stories, relevant statistics, and Bible scriptures.
Divided into four sections centered on the four natural giftings or personalities of people, this book explores twelve dreams that God has for each individual--including rise, risk, roar, renew, regenerate, rejoice, relate, and more. It then instructs readers in how to realize each one of these dreams, no matter their natural inclination.
As individual personalities of Fire, Earth, Water, and Wind are explored, the book explains how the Fire of excitement translates to Leadership Skills, how the Earth of grounding translates into Good Habits and Character Development, how the Water of life-giving becomes Relationship Skills, and how the Wind of release becomes the Creativity and Innovation, which are in high demand in every industry in the world today.
Readers will learn how to discover their four greatest talents and create their personal Talent Shield, which will help them choose a meaningful career based on their Life’s Mission Statement.
Each chapter serves as a free-standing career guidepost, and includes Career Exercises, pertinent Word Definitions, Career Choices for individual gifting, Self-Quizzes, and Reader Study Guides.

This book sat on my desk for the longest time, half-read. I am a SAHM, stay-at-home mom, and I found this book had very little to do with my "career." Jones did eventually address this in the book, but only briefly, and it makes me wonder what the author's personal views are on women who choose my career. A perfect example of this is that at the end of every element section, she lists careers she considers appropriate for those that match that element, and none of the four lists mention a SAHM. Even when she discusses those who have been forced to leave their job or choose to leave their job, she views being stuck at home as a temporary place and describes how to move out of it, never considering that maybe Jesus wants it to be permanent.
Delving into the opening of the book, it is quickly apparent that the author assumes that the reader has read the author's previous books and will use these other books to produce a mission statement, personality profile, "four greatest talents", and a vision statement. As I have not read her previous works, and don't intend to, I felt I was at a further disadvantage from benefiting from reading this book.
Another mark against the book is that Jones does not stick with only one version of the Bible to quote from, and the only time she actually states which version she is quoting from is when she quotes the KJV - every other time is a mystery.
There are many positive points to the book, such as the organization. Each of the four elements are covered in-depth, with each of the four sections containing three chapters that each focus on a single word that fits that element, all beginning with the prefix "re-". Each of these words come with a detailed definition, and each chapter provides places for the reader to take notes and answer the author's questions, such as the "Make It Yours" sections and the "Career Exercises", with each chapter ending with a prayer. The "Bonus Features" at the end of each of the four sections list additional prayers, the aforementioned list of recommended occupations, and "Summary Points" of the three words defined in each section. The last section of the book has additional "Bonus Features," which is the authors' Book Picks, a list of Internet resources, a section on resumes, and a section titled "How to Deal with Sudden Job Loss / Reversal of Fortune." I do enjoy a well-organized book.
The anecdotes were entertaining and the advice seemed good and useful to those in the job market. I did appreciate Jones' goal of making Jesus central to a person's career, even if the methods by which she approaches this seemed more New Age than Biblical, despite the scripture quotes. Her writing was also very sensitive to the reader who has lost a job or is unhappy in his or her current job, which would be an appropriate way to address the reader in the current economy.

The Cover: This is a simple cover design with a desk chair as the background, which alludes to the vocational aspect of the book's purpose. Sometimes simple is good.

Read For: Pages Read Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Masquerade by Nancy Moser

MasqueradeBook Details:
By Nancy Moser
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2010, Bethany House
Paperback, 394 pages
ISBN: 9780764207518


1886, New York City: Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from England, escapes a family crisis by traveling to America in order to marry the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine. She soon decides that an arranged marriage is not for her and persuades her maid, Dora, to take her place. What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte's blackest nightmares. As for Dora, she lives a fairy tale complete with gowns, jewels, and lavish mansions--yet is tormented by guilt and the presence of another love that will not die. Will their masquerade be discovered? Will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this novel by the end of it. The beginning is a bit slow and dry, as Moser sets up the background information and almost struggles to get the reader to "side" with the main character Charlotte Gleason by using her maid's voice to excuse Charlotte's "spoiled rich girl" behavior. I really have a hard time buying the lines that Charlotte really is a good person even though she chooses to be naive about the world she lives in because she feels helpless to enact change. But what happens to her family to force her to travel to America is just the thing to wake her up to the real world and her own responsibilities in it.
I feel much more sympathetic to Dora Conners' plight, as she has little to no say in her life and what Charlotte forces on her, even if it does seem to benefit Dora in theory. To be forced into a position in which she has to lie about who she is and where she is from by her "boss" is atrocious, no matter how much a "friendship" has been built between them. In addition, the endgame is that she is expected to give of her own body to a man in marriage who does not even know who she really is - it's completely shameful.
The parallel way that the story is told once the girls get to America is quite interesting, especially how their paths intersect in seemingly coincidental ways, such as the sweat shop where Charlotte works temporarily manufacturing the clothes that Dora orders from the Tremaine's department store. The more that Charlotte suffers and the guiltier she feels for the lies she has told and has also forced on Dora makes me like her more for the maturation in character she experiences.
In contrast, I have a hard time blaming Dora for the choices she has to make while living in the Tremaine household given her circumstances. She was made to come to this place and perform to certain expectations, and she has no backup plan should she decide to do otherwise. The guilt she feels despite her lack of personal choice in the matter only make her more likeable to the reader. Given where she is from and what is being handed to her, there are not many who would fault her for going along with the "masquerade."
In the end, the goal of both girls is true love over financial stability, and since I am a romantic at heart, I can't help but approve of the ending.

The Cover: I don't know much about fashion from 1886, but this looks like a maid's uniform under an expensive cloak, which hints at the switch that Charlotte Gleason and Dora Conners achieve through the course of the book. I like it.

First Line: "I've told you, Father, I won't marry him."
This is a great opening line, since it is the simplest way to express what drives Charlotte Gleason to do all that she does in the novel.

Favorite Quote: "I'm not going to argue God's ways with you, but if I were Him, I would've at least placed the child in the path of someone who has a home and a husband with a well-paying job."
His logic annoyed her. "Perhaps He did, but that person chose not to take him."
"So you're God's second choice?" He looked far too amused.
"Never, Mr. Svensson."

Read For: Pages Read Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
When a wife compliments her husband on his muscles, he's jazzed. When a husband compliments his wife on her tenderness, she's jazzed. We both need what is our birthright, and unisexuality is nobody's birthright -- it is a mistaken notion derived from feminism's desire for equality. Equality is of value, not of substance. Water and food have equal value for survival, yet they are entirely different substances.  Masculinity and femininity are of equal value -- let us learn to respect and embrace the uniqueness of each. - pg. 89, In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spread the Wordle

For the Love of Books is my very own weekly Sunday meme dedicated to the wacky, weird, and wild world-wide-web finds related to the world of books. Topics can be anything ranging from unique bookcases, sculptures of books, and odd bookstores, to interesting uses for books, book quotes, bits of book news, etc. I love web-surfing and I have come across so many ideas that the possibities for this meme are nearly endless! If you would like to join in the fun, snag the image on the left and post the link your specific blog post in comments so that others can read about your internet find!

While checking into the 2010 Blog Improvement Project (that I am grossly behind in), I was introduced to this nifty website called Wordle that turns words into art - you even have the option of just inputing your url, and it turns it into a picture that can be tweaked for color, shape, font, etc. I decided to try out a poem first, once of my favorites: How do I love thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Wordle: How do I love thee?

And just for kicks, this is what my RSS feed looks like:

Wordle: JacobsBeloved

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Challenge Completed: The 2nd Challenge

This challenge was hosted by Royal Reviews.

1. Pretties (Uglies, #2) by Scott Westerfeld
2. Dead Girls' Dance (Morganville Vampires, #2) by Rachel Caine
3. Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2) by Patricia Briggs
4. The Hidden Flame (Acts of Faith, #2) by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke
5. Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2) by Richelle Mead
6. Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely, #2) by Melissa Marr

Favorite Book: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Least Favorite Book: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

Challenge Completed: 1st in a Series Challenge

This challenge was hosted by Royal Reviews.

1. Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters, #1) by Juliet Marillier
2. Uglies (Uglies, #1) by Scott Westerfeld
3. Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, #1) by Rachel Caine
4. The Centurion's Wife (Acts of Faith, #1) by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke
5. Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1) by Patricia Briggs
6. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan

Favorite New Series: Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine
Least Favorite New Series: Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Challenge Completed: New Authors Challenge

This challenge was hosted by Literary Escapism.

1. Juliet Marillier
2. Scott Westerfeld
3. Rachel Caine
4. Anne Lamott
5. Colleen Coble
6. Davis Bunn
7. Patricia Briggs
8. Joe Boyd
9. Sarah MacLean
10. Malinda Lo
11. Mandy Hubbard
12. Becca Fitzpatrick
13. Tosca Lee
14. Julie Klassen
15. Jen Lancaster

Favorite New Author: Tosca Lee
Least Favorite New Author: Malinda Lo

Challenge Completed: Fantasy Challenge

The Fastasy Reading Challenge was hosted by Royal Reviews.

1. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
2. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
3. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
5. The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine
6. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
7. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
8. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
9. Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine
10. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
11. Ash by Malinda Lo
12. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
13. Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine
14. Hannah by Kathryn Lasky
15. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
16. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
17. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
18. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
19. Frostbite by Richelle Mead
20. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

Favorite Book: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Least Favorite Book: Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Friday, October 22, 2010

Join Me on the Book Blogger Hop!

It's Friday, which means the Book Blogger Hop at Crazy For Books. So welcome to all of my new visitors and followers, take a look around and enjoy your stay. Check out my most recent reviews: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr.

Question of the Week: "Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

My Answer: I don't have just one place to read because I can't - a one-year-old and a three-year-old don't allow it! I carry a book with me wherever I go and read it whenever I see the opportunity, be it at the park, at a friend's house, while I'm doing laundry, etc.

These are the blogs I have discovered through the Hop:
1. Cheezyfeet Books
2. Steampunkery & Book Reviews
3. The Happy Booker
4. That's Swell!
5. An Old Flame

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr

Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely)Book Details:
Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely)
By Melissa Marr
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2009, Harper
Paperback, 389 pages
ISBN: 9780061214738


Seth wants to be with Aislinn forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.
Keenan stole Aislinn's mortality to make her a monarch. Now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she'd ever imagined.
In Melissa Marr's third mesmerizing tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and to each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos.
At first I was really excited that this book was picking up on Seth and Aislinn from where the first book left off. Sorcha's court is very interesting and uniquely different from the other three courts, and I think that it is the court I would most likely fit into. I like how Marr fashions each court by a different set of rules, so that something that one court has the power to accomplish another court cannot necessarily duplicate. This makes the plot less predictable and allows the monarchs of each court to become more memorable and unique to the reader.
Keenan is just as much of an arse as he is in the other books - I see the least character growth with him, despite how much he is not getting what he wants. Aislinn is obviously still relatively naive about him. Despite how hard she works to be a good queen, she still appears to be an amateur, based on how easily everyone keeps secrets from her. I really like how hard Seth works to be a good boyfriend, but I love how the reader gets to see him in his weaker moments. This makes him more humane and believeable. His courage and determination are quite commendable, but I can hardly believe that he missed that very important detail about Faerie when he makes his bargain with Sorcha. As much reading as he has supposedly done on the subject, it isn't very likely that he would not read about the time differences. I was so disappointed when I realized that Seth had essentially become a "momma's boy" when Sorcha makes him her Faerie son. While this seems to benefit Sorcha, I really don't see how this will benefit Seth - and every other fairy, except for Bananach, seems to agree with this.
As for Bananach, while what she sees is focused on her goals of War, by the end of this book, I don't see how there could be any other outcome. Each of the monarchs are too focused on protecting and strengthening his or her own courts to care about the fate of the fairy world as a whole, which the real world has proven can only have one outcome. While the romantic in me just wants to see each of the monarchs find mates and a happily ever after, I like how Marr deviates from this typical theme and produces books that thrive on unpredictability. I look forward to getting my hands on the next book, Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely).

The Cover: I like the picture of the blue butterfly and the fragility of life that it represents. I am guessing that the girl holding it is Aislinn, since it would make since that the butterfly represents Seth - very cool and imaginative.

First Line: "Seth knew the moment Aislinn slipped into the house; the slight rise in temperature would've told him even if he hadn't seen the glimmer of sunlight in the middle of the night."
This third book in the series starts with a return to my favorite character from the first book - Seth. I already know I'm going to enjoy this book.

Favorite Quote: "Were you hoping for a quest? A seemingly impossible task that you could relay to your queen afterward? Would you like to tell her that you found and slayed the dragon for love of her?"

Read For: Pages Read Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge101 Fantasy Challenge

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Masquerade by Nancy Moser

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
Waiting. Life was waiting. It was not one of Lottie's strong suits.
The first-class passengers had been allowed onto the first boats to shore, and once on land had been subjected to a very brief medical exam. A woman with a bad cough was told to step aside and her husband accompanied her. Lottie was extremely glad she was in good health. What were they going to do with the woman? Send her home? Were only the healthy allowed to enter America?
They may have been first on the transfer boats and first through the medical exam, but once they entered the building called Castle Garden, they were first in nothing. The building was circular in shape with arched columns rising two stories. The center was open to the sun, letting a beam of God-light access to the floor. The floor had divisions built upon it, looking like animal runs or pens. A wide balcony rimmed with windows encircled the room, which was teeming with thousands of people. There was no first class here. All were equal upon coming to America. All were new, all were confused, and all were tired. - pg. 129, Masquerade by Nancy Moser

What are you reading this week?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and IndonesiaBook Details:
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Memoir
Published 2006, Penguin Group
Paperback, 334 pages
ISBN: 9780143038412


This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls "Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister") is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.
I started this book with the warning that the author comes off as very selfish. Considering that this is a memoir, I don't really see what the big deal is. The best way for me to review this book is in three parts, since the book is divided that way. The epiphany that Gilbert has about herself at the beginning of the book I felt I could relate to in some ways - I know what it feels like to spend years gearing yourself up to do something at a certain age, only to arrive and realize that you don't want to do it - and be shocked by this realization. The specifics of her realization were quite different from mine, as I have always wanted children and I could not imagine never having any, but what bugged me was that her husband could not grasp this epiphany of hers. Luckily, the book was more about her than about her mysterious ex-husband.
As for her trip to Italy, I loved every page of it. I felt like I was living it through her words and experiences, wishing I was there with her to taste the food and learn the language. Italy has always been a dream of mine, though I intend to visit the sites, too, not just experience the food and language. I found the scene in which she is fasinated by the Italian man cursing at the soccer game to be a great example of her love for Italy and something I would probably do myself. I was only disappointed that this section was not longer and she did not go into greater detail about everything that she ate. I will certainly have to remember to try the pizza in Naples.
I found her trip to India the most difficult to get through, especially when I reached the point in which she decides to not do any traveling around India - a major disappointment for me. Richard from Texas was the highlight of this section for me, since he seemed to be the most down-to-earth of all the interesting people she meets here, and offers her the soundest advice. The focus of this section was on spirituality, but as it is heavily influenced by Eastern religions, I found myself disagreeing with many of her personal beliefs, even though I admired her dedication and determination. Her views of "kundalini shakti" are a perfect example - Christianity teaches that this is a demonic / occult practice, but Gilbert believes that it is the same thing as the Holy Spirit. This section alone is proof enough for me as to why I stay away from philosophical books.
Her final trip to Bali, Indonesia was educational in many ways, as I knew nothing about the culture and history there. Her medicine man, Ketut Liyer, was quite an interesting character, and I really felt for the young man she befriended, Yudhi, who was forced unfairly to leave the United States thanks to the Homeland Security Act. I find it interesting that she failed in completing her year of celibacy, but I'm sure those Brazilian men can be quite tempting when they want to be. Those who say that Gilbert appears very selfish in this book seem to ignore that she helped a divorced woman - an unheard-of thing in Bali - with three children, obtained a piece of land for her own home and business before Gilbert had to leave the country.
Overall, this year in the life of Elizabeth Gilbert was certainly a memorable one, and one that many, many other women would happily take her place in. I don't find her any more selfish than anyone else who is trying to find a way out of grief and depression, as well as break destructive cycles in his or her life. She was just blessed enough to be payed for the effort to document the experience.

The Cover: I'm glad I got a cover that did not match the movie - it gives me something to remark on. I love the way the words are visually represented in the spelling of each word - as a very visual person, this way of describing what the book is about really hits home.

First Line: "When you're traveling in India -- especially through holy sites and Ashrams -- you see a lot of people wearing beads around their necks."
This is certainly an interesting way to begin a memoir - a bit of educational background and a teaser of what is to come in the book - I like it.

Favorite Quote: "Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it's what you want before you commit."

Read For: Pages Read Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge

Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten

Saving MaxBook Details:
Saving Max
By Antoinette van Heugten
Genre: Fiction
Published 2010, MIRA Books
Paperback, 375 pages
ISBN: 9780778329633


Max Parkman—autistic and whip-smart, emotionally fragile and aggressive—is perfect in his mother's eyes. Until he's accused of murder.
Attorney Danielle Parkman knows her teenage son Max's behavior has been getting worse—using drugs and lashing out. But she can't accept the diagnosis she receives at a top-notch adolescent psychiatric facility that her son is deeply disturbed. Dangerous.
Until she finds Max, unconscious and bloodied, beside a patient who has been brutally stabbed to death.
Trapped in a world of doubt and fear, barred from contacting Max, Danielle clings to the belief that her son is innocent. But has she, too, lost touch with reality? Is her son really a killer?
With the justice system bearing down on them, Danielle steels herself to discover the truth, no matter what it is. She'll do whatever it takes to find the killer and to save her son from being destroyed by a system that's all too eager to convict him.
Though I was not familiar with this author when I recieved this book, upon reading it I could easily tell that Heugten was well-educated, especially since I actually came across a few words I did not know the meaning of - and I consider myself fairly well-read. Words like eidolon and glistered (both from the same sentence) made me a little intimidated by the book, but I stuck with it anyways.  The prose of the text is written excellently and I thoroughly appreciated the book for this alone.
I was originally drawn to the book because it focuses on a mother's fight for the life and freedom of her son - which I can relate to in some ways. The sub-plots quickly intersect when the mother, Danielle, has to rely on her career as a lawyer to fight for her son while working with another lawyer, who happens to be the man she has a one-night stand with after turning to what she terms as "liquid courage." Some scenes in the plot were quite horrific, especially at the end of the book, but they were necessary to the plot. The psychiatric facility of Maitland where the plot centers at is intended to be the foremost facility of its kind in the country, but I found many of its practices either abysmal or downright terrifying. I found it very satisfying when Max began to take a more active role in his own court case, showing to me that he is indeed in charge of his own faculties (mostly) and not responsible for what he is being accused of. The big revelation that Danielle discovers is incredibly shocking and grotesque and reveals a psychosis I never knew even existed, much less the depths of depravity that it takes a person to. I have no doubt that such individuals exist in real life, though I believe that such people are beyond what psychologists or psychiatrists can fix. These kinds of people either need God or corporal punishment, but that is another soap box for another day.
I found the progression of the plot unpredictable, which is a good thing, but the ending not completely fulfilling, since the author obviously opted to leave one loose thread for a possible sequel. While I normally like book series, in this case I would have much preferred a more rewarding ending.

The Cover: I was given an ARC of this book with a different cover that apparently did not make it to printing. I actually like my cover better than the one shown here, which shows a woman with her fingertips on a foggy glass with a child's hand on the other side of the glass - very cool.

First Line: "She walks down a deserted hallway of the psychiatric hospital, her heels tapping a short staccato on the disinfected floor."
This opening gives a nice background of where much of the book takes place, but there is no excitement to entice me to continue reading.
Favorite Quote: "She will do anything to set him free."

Read For: Pages Read Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*
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