About karen

Karen is married to a big kid and mom to a head strong, only child. She is happy with her family of three, along with their spoiled fur baby. Karen works full time as a teacher and still finds time to blog, read, crochet, and cook. Follow along as she enjoys this life.

Book Review: Down the Darkest Road

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Four years after the unsolved disappearance of her sixteen-year-old daughter, Lauren Lawton is the only one still chasing the ghosts of her perfect Santa Barbara life. The world has given her daughter up for dead. Her husband ended his own life in the aftermath. Even Lauren’s younger daughter is desperate to find what’s left of the childhood she hasn’t been allowed to have.

Lauren knows exactly who took her oldest child, but there is not a shred of evidence against the man. Even as he stalks her family, Lauren is powerless to stop him. The Santa Barbara police are handcuffed by the very laws they are sworn to uphold. Looking for a fresh start in a town with no memories, Lauren and her younger daughter, Leah, move to idyllic Oak Knoll. But when Lauren’s suspect turns up in the same city, it feels to all the world that history is about to repeat itself. Leah Lawton will soon turn sixteen, and Oak Knoll has a cunning predator on the hunt.

Sheriff’s detective Tony Mendez and his team begin to close in on the suspected killer, desperate to keep the young women of their picturesque town safe. But as the investigators sift through the murky circumstances of an increasingly disturbing case, a stunning question changes everything they thought they knew. In Down the Darkest Road, #1 New York Times bestseller Tami Hoag proves again why she is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.

*****5 STARS*****

Again sick and twisted book. It’s horrible when you know who took your daughter but no one can prove it and no one can help you. 

It’s repulsive when the criminals have more rights and you have no rights at all. 

So many twists and turns in this book. 

On a sweet note, its great to see Ann and Vince and how their wonderful lives are going. sighs….

Mendez doesn’t have a relationship with the woman we thought he would, but ends up with a woman who might just be perfect for him. 

Highlight for spoilers (((It was Rolan Balancola, but he had an accomplice. Since Lauren is so focused on finding the kidnapper and killer of her older daughter, she hired a private investigator, who just happened to the be the other killer.

They both get kidnapped but survive. Both men were killed, but wish they had spent the rest of their life in prison.

Sure, now they were finally able search is places and find that Rolan not only stalked other women, but also killed five more.

It was sick to know that he played the entire system and got away with so much.

Ann and Vince not only have Hayley as a daughter, they have a son Anthony and she is pregnant again. She is such a Godsend to any and all victims.

Mendez is not with Susan, Wendy’s mom, but with a fellow detective from another town. She’s loud, crash, and rude…but seems perfect for him.))) 

 

2017 Reading Challenge

Karen has
read 4 books toward
her goal of
55 books.
hide


*****Now I’m Reading*****


baby

This author wrote the book The Sister, so I know this is going to be sick and twisted. How and why did she get this heart? What will happen now? 

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png

 

Book Review: Falling

sister

When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.
 
On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.
 
Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.
 
But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all.
 
In a novel of changing seasons, shifting lives, and selfless love, a story unfolds—of one woman’s far-reaching journey to discover who she is truly meant to be…

*****5 STARS*****

Tissue warning! A MUST READ…BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Spoilers below

I had reservations about this book, but was so glad I read it. As Emma says at the end, You don’t always get what you want”. You make plans and the universe laughs.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Emma, Dominic, and Jessie’s family. Beautifully written except that Jane Green wrote Emma as whiny and annoying at times.

Several obstacles pop up in life, but nothing prepares you for the most horrific thing that could happen. Yet Emma lives on and loves.

Highlight for spoilers (((Dominic falls off the roof and winds up dying in the hospital two days later not realizing how bad his head trauma had been.

Stacy, Jessie’s mom, returns and wants Jessie back only to realize she just wants to be the lovable aunt and gives Emma legal custody of Jessie. Dominic’s crazy and loud parents can’t deal with the loss of their son and refuse to build a relationship with their grandson.

Emma’s parents who didn’t approve of her relationship with Dominic, wound up becoming the best grandparents to Jessie. They fell in love with him from the moment they saw him.

Jessie loves Emma, his mom, as he now calls her. He loves her. Emma still mourns Dominic, but knows he will live on in their hearts. She has become the awesome mom she never knew she wanted to be.)))

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Reading Challenge

Karen has
read 3 books toward
her goal of
55 books.
hide


*****Now I’m Reading*****

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Can’t wait to get back to these characters. I hope this books is just as twisted as the first two.  

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png

 

Must Read Thrillers

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using:

why ~ best ~ tasteful- ~ enough ~ month

They were submitted by: http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

Why???? Why? is every thriller being compared to Gone Girl and Girl on the Train? Why????????

Gone Girl was impressive because of the complete change of the character’s way of thinking and her plotting. She planned something and led those in her life to believe one thing then revealed she lied and why she lied. She was devious, twisted, and warped. The author planned the entire book around the character tricking and deceiving others. Girl on the Train was fantastic because a character was tricked by a sociopath. Slowly, with the character, readers begin to realize what is really going on and what is happening. A good thriller is synonymous with terror, blood-curdling fear, and leaves you wondering how you will ever feel safe again.

Shitty thrillers just change the plot or characters voice mid-book without any clues, reason, or thoughtful writing. Making a character suddenly admit to killing someone, lying to others, or stealing something without a reason or plan in the end is not a good thriller; it’s terrible writing. ENOUGH of wasting readers time on thrillers that even TRY to compare to Gone Girl.

Which thrillers should you avoid??? Don’t read these books unless you prefer a thriller that lets you down or insults your intelligence. Here are some less than exciting thrillers I have read in the last few months.

You’re probably thinking who am I to judge what makes a good thriller. Well, I read 4-5 books a month, 263 books thus far and most are thrillers. I’ve been tricked before by the promise of a great thriller and found impressive and spine-chilling thrillers by word of mouth and searching around.

Books with only 3 stars…and I was being generous.

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2 stars and waste of my time

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Which thrillers are a must read???? These books got 5 ***** stars and are worth reading…if you dare.

These books are twisted, sick, and gory; nothing tasteful here. Some will make you sick others will leave you shocked to the core. These are the best thrillers I have recently read.

 

Secrets to the Grave (Oak Knoll, #2) 1747182    28932946   Image result for among the wicked   25489185     23014711    26114146      Image result for the kind worth killing      26050845                    20792121   13586737     Image result for someone is watching     Image result for pretty girls book     

                                                                                                                                                                   

Want to see all the books I’ve read in all genres? Need a recommendation? Check out my read books from Goodreads HERE.                                                                                                                                      

my read shelf:
Karen's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)          

 Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

 

Book Review: Secrets to the Grave

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“My daddy hurt my mommy.”

The 911 call from a small child sends the idyllic California town of Oak Knoll into a tailspin. A brutal crime scene is discovered: the body of Marissa Fordham with her young daughter, Haley, injured but alive.

Sheriff’s detective Tony Mendez faces a puzzle with nothing but pieces that won’t fit. To assist his witness, Haley, he calls teacher-turned-child advocate Anne Leone, who’s already the star witness in a sensational murder trial.

As Tony and Anne begin to peel back the layers of Marissa Fordham’s life, they find a clue fragment here, another there. And just when it seems Marissa has taken her secrets to the grave, they uncover a fact that puts Anne and Haley directly in the sights of a killer: Marissa Fordham never existed.

TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.

*****5 STARS*****

 

BRAVO, Once again a sick and twisted murder mystery. Never expected that would be the killer.

No one is who you thought they were, they are all pretending. In reality the truth is scary. 
The plot was well written and executed. Every detail and character planned for and sequenced. 
Can’t wait to the read the next one.
Loved hearing from all the favorite characters again. 
Highlight for spoilers (((Marissa is not Hayley’s reall mom. She sort of adopted her from a drug addicted prostitute. She pretended Hayley was Bruce Bordain’s child after he wanted her to abort the baby…which she ultimately lost from the stress. Milo Bordain killed Marissa after finding out the truth about Marissa.)))

 

2017 Reading Challenge

Karen has
read 2 books toward
her goal of
55 books.
hide

 

 *****Now I’m Reading*****


baby

I’ve been a bit disappointed in Jane Green lately, I hope this book is worth the read. 

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png

 

Happy New Year

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

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Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

My subject is:

Looking back at 2016, now that it’s finished, what is one thing you’d love to change about it?!  For just one event from 2016, you can rewrite history. What event do you pick, and how do you rewrite it?!

It was submitted by: http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Great prompt! Sure there are a few things I would like to change in 2016, but I am afraid if I change one thing then everything else would be affected. I’ve always felt like if I rewrite history, make one change then all of the things and people I love would be different all because I changed one bad thing.

I do wish AJ had stayed up later on New Year’s Eve. I had hoped that if he stayed up later than 9:56 than he would have slept later the next morning. Though in reality, my son is an early riser, always has been, always will be. It’s nice to dream, though right? He woke up at 5:50. **sighs**

Our little family did have an awesome New Year’s Eve though. I planned lots of activities for each hour. That broke up a long night and made us interact as a family. It sure was perfect. We started off by having some picture fun.

picmonkey-collage

I saw a few ideas on Pinterest for kids during the New Year’s Eve night. A few different versions showed writing activities on strips of paper, rolling them up and putting them in a flat balloon, blowing up the balloon, then writing the date on the balloon. AJ had a blast taking each one down at the right time and popping them by sitting on them.

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4 pm: AJ had to interview two people. He could have called up anyone he wanted, but he chose to interview us. We had to answer 1. What did we love about this year? 2. What do we wish we did? 3. What is a goal for 2017?

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5 pm: AJ had to make a New Year’s Eve ball. We used a blown up globe and covered it in wrapping paper. It was amusing and festive.

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6 pm: We each had a sheet of paper with 11 things to find in the house. We all had the same list, just in a different order. It was fascinating hearing what each other found.

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7 pm: We each had to use a straw to move 10 M&Ms from a napkin to a bowl. I’ll admit I was a bit competitive and wanted to beat Tony, which caused Anthony to feel awful since he only got one in the bowl. Tony and AJ played again and I made sure I helped AJ beat his Daddy. Next time I think we should do it with 40 and set a timer for one minute.

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8 pm:  Balloon Volleyball was hysterical. Not only were we playing with a balloon, but we had to keep Bonus away from it. She wanted to kill it and when she finally got a hold of it she scared herself by biting it and popping it.

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9pm: We each had to draw 5 things we think will happen in 2017. This was sure fun to not only draw, but share our predictions with each other.

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AJ fell asleep at 9:56, two minutes after telling Tony he was excited about the 10:00 balloon. After setting my timer for 11:55, I fell asleep as well. I woke up both guys, Tony yelled at me and Anthony was confused and just gave dirty looks.

After I “forced” them to watch the ball drop, Tony grumbled back to bed and Anthony went back to sleep only to wake up at 5:50.

All in all, I think we had the best New Year’s Eve in a long time. I need to make even better activities for next year. Looking forward to having another quiet and entertaining night with my family of three next New Years.

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Book Review: Today Will Be Different

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Eleanor knows she’s a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won’t swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother’s company. It’s also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he’s on vacation. Just when it seems like things can’t go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret.

TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.

*****2 STARS*****

Too similar to Where’d You Bernadette and too boring and drawn out. I really had to force myself to get through it. I didn’t want my first book to be one I gave up on, but wish I did

I found Eleanor boring and annoying. I felt bad for her son. 

2017 Reading Challenge

Karen has
read 1 book toward
her goal of
55 books.
hide

 

*****Now I’m Reading*****


baby

The next book after Deeper Than The Dead this is going to be sick, twisted, and captivating. 

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png

 

Book Review: Ones True Loves

sister

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

*****5 STARS*****

This book was captivating and emotional, as well as, well written. We are there with Emma while she tries to choose between her long long husband and her current fiance.

I can’t imagine being in that position. To go through all that grief and pain of losing the love of your life only to find out he was barely surviving on a uninhabited island. His only motivation for survival was coming back to his wife. Emma has to deal with this guilt of finally moving on and the guilt of breaking her current finance’s heart. She loves Sam and the life they created. She has matured and grown, reconnected with her sister, and living the life she never expected but loves immensely.

Excellent book to end 2016.

What is her decision? See Below

Highlight for Spoilers: ((((Of course she chooses Sam. The day Jesse goes out on the ill-fated flight Emma is already contemplating moving back to her hometown and creating roots. Jesse returns from hell and is expecting his life to be back to how it has always been. He expects Emma to still be the same person he left, but she has changed and loves her life now.

Too much has changed for both of them. Thankfully Jesse moves on and finds a love that understands his new life and Emma lives a life she never expected but loves.))))

 

I read 54 out of 55 books, I got lazy during Christmas vacation.  

Reading challenge banner

*****Now I’m Reading*****


baby

Seems interesting thus far, we shall see. 

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png

 

December Funny Friday

funny friday

Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

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Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Candice of Measurements of Merriment (http://measurementsofmerriment.blogspot.com)

unnamed        

1. Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom.  


2. She’ll never find me here. I rock at hide and seek. 


3.  Nope, not adulting today. 


4.  Oh boy, mommy lost her keys again. Who knows when she’ll find them again. Mommy’s always loses things. 


5.  I AM looking for my gloves, Mommy. 

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

]

Fly on the Wall

FOTWWWW2

Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 8 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes

Participants:

Mommy: AKA Karen, me…the wife and mom 

Daddy: AKA Tony, husband and dad

AJ – our only child, a 7 year old boy who thinks he knows it all and is the one in charge

Bonus – our sweet and lovable adopted rat terrier 

Trying to teach AJ that when the mean kids and bullies say mean things to him, he should just look at them, roll his eyes and say “Whatever.”

I would like him to say, “Seriously? Are you so miserable and get shit attention at home that you have to come to school and be huge dicks to everyone? Too bad your opinions mean shit to me. Oh and if you touch me, I will punch you back three times as hard, so make your decision now dumbass.” But maybe when he’s older.

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AJ is eating a croissant and a piece of it falls to the floor. Since he loves them so much he steps on it with his bare, unwashed feet, to prevent Bonus from getting it. Then quickly puts it in his mouth.

I stared at him in horror and after a second he looks at me and cringes. “I didn’t mean to do that.” As he runs to the garbage to spit it out. 

“Perhaps if you just let Bonus have it you wouldn’t have eaten your own foot stink.” 

He laughs at the foot stink and takes it to heart for about five minutes…then it’s back to silly boy behavior again.

Tony is with AJ in the mornings and at times has epic battles to get ready for school. Since someone was a zombie in front of the TV, he walked over and calmly told him, “Put your shoes and socks on.” 

My snarky kid responded with, “Well obviously Daddy, I have to put my clothes on first.” 

Tony said he had to take a deep breath and walk away. Of course he came back to a 7 year old standing in front of the TV fully dressed SANS socks and shoes. ***eye twitches*** 

As Tony was dropping off AJ in the car line AJ was complaining about getting out five cars back. Tony told him he has to wait till they are the 2nd car, no excuses. AJ did not like this and was complaining the entire time. When they finally were the second car, AJ jumped out and screamed, “Thank God, fresh air!” Of course the custodian and police officer who handle drop off heard AJ scream, I mean how could they not? They looked at Tony and smirked. 

I had a talk with AJ about. He of course thought it was super funny. I had to keep my poker face, but I have to to agree with him. It was hysterical. I would have loved to been a fly in that car.

Scrolling through Netflix, “What’s this show, Mommy?”

“Oh that’s Bob Ross. He painted on TV and we all watched. It was really calming, it was relaxing to watch him paint.”

“Well that’s weird. you just watched him paint. You adults watch weird shows” As he puts on some animated, mind sucking, stupid cartoon crap.

ross

mansion

“What would you do if you won the lottery mommy?”

“I would pay off all of our bills and buy a house I never have to worry about a payment on the house.”

“With lots of bedrooms like a mansion?

“No I would just be happy with a three bedroom house. I would put a lot of money into your future for education and and to buy a home.”

“Well if I win the lottery I’m going to buy a big house with more than three bedrooms. Though some of my seven kids may need to share a room, but they won’t share a bed. The will have bunk beds.”

“Well that’s a great plan you have there. I hope I get to babysit your kids.”

“Of course, you are my Mommy.”  

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I don;t have to share my marshmallows with anyone else, right?

Nope, you are an only child, so get extra and don’t have to share them with any other kids.

 

He only wanted this for the candy. Next year I’m just buying him the flipping candy and saving myself the stress of putting it together.

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Book Review: Deeper Than The Dead

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Tami Hoag is in a class by herself, beloved by readers and critic s alike, with more than 22 million copies of her books in print.
California, 1984. Three children, running in the woods behind their school, stumble upon a partially buried female body, eyes and mouth glued shut. Close behind the children is their teacher, Anne Navarre, shocked by this discovery and heartbroken as she witnesses the end of their innocence. What she doesn’t yet realize is that this will mark the end of innocence for an entire community, as the ties that bind families and friends are tested by secrets uncovered in the wake of a serial killer’s escalating activity.

Detective Tony Mendez, fresh from a law enforcement course at FBI headquarters, is charged with interpreting those now revealed secrets. He’s using a new technique-profiling-to develop a theory of the case, a strategy that pushes him ever deeper into the lives of the three children, and closer to the young teacher whose interest in recent events becomes as intense as his own.

As new victims are found and the media scrutiny of the investigation bears down on them, both Mendez and Navarre are unsure if those who suffer most are the victims themselves-or the family and friends of the killer, blissfully unaware that someone very close to them is a brutal, calculating psychopath..

*****5 STARS*****

 

Screaming in the car as the book came to an end. The plot was spectacular and loved that it was set in a time before DNA evidence. The killer knew there was no way in hell of convicting him. And what he was willing to do to keep his secret…disgusting.

I kept changing my mind about the killer and then when it was obvious and you feared the worst, I was screaming like a banshee as I drove to work. 

Full of suspense, horror, mystery, and disgust. A must read!!!! Can’t wait to read the next book in the series. 

I am so sad for his child, the mom knew all along and did nothing, I pray the kid doesn’t become a serial killer in future books because of all this shit. 

And the other kids…the psychopath with a fucked up family! The one who was almost killed. What was done to the women. 

You NEVER know what your neighbors are really capable of. 

 

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Karen has
read 53 books toward
her goal of
55 books.
hide

*****Now I’m Reading*****


baby

Already captivating and intense. I can’t imagine who she will choose and what it means for the other man. I can’t imagine ever being in this situation.

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png