Category Archives: Reading

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Can you ever really be "Safe with Me" by K.L. Slater? A Propensity to Discuss

Can you ever really be “Safe with Me” by K.L. Slater

If you want more twists than this, you’d better grab a bag of pretzels.

After first reading Liar and now Safe with Me, I really have to wonder about K.L. Slater. Her mind is undoubtedly warped. To be able to conceive of and pen such depraved tales takes more psychological configurations than I’d imagine exists in the minds of half of the patients in mental institutions in Britain.

Anna Clarke is mentally unstable. She seems to be stuck at around the age of 13 or 14, which makes sense because that was her age when a very traumatic event changed her life forever.

When, as an adult, Anna witnesses an accident and stops to help, she realizes that the woman, whom she learns is now going by the name Amanda Danson is the woman who caused her suffering 13 years before. Anna knows she must see justice done and make sure that this time Amanda pays for her crime. In the meantime, Anna becomes obsessed with the accident victim, Liam, his well-being and the relationship she believes is forming between them.

Anna is delusional at best and with the mindset of an illogical 14-year-old believes that she can explain away anything she has done wrong and that everyone else is at fault. Even while forcing herself into the lives of Liam and his grandmother, Ivy, Anna comments “Some people assume a shared situation authorizes them to be immediately familiar.” She is scornful of others who feel this way, yet she is completely blind to the fact that she is the one who is doing just that to Liam and Ivy.

Can you ever really be "Safe with Me" by K.L. Slater? A Propensity to Discuss review.

Also, anyone who pays her any attention, other than Liam, is seen to be obtrusive and untrustworthy and, in Anna’s mind, those people only want to bring ill-will to her. When in reality that is her behavior, not the intentions of others.

When I first began listening to/reading Safe with Me, I really didn’t like Anna at all, but I had to continue because it is sort of like a series of train wrecks – you can’t stop watching (or, in this case, reading) because you want to find out just how bad the situation will become. That is when Slater has you hooked and drawn completely in. There is no way you can stop reading. You have to know just how crazy Anna really is.

This is a really, really well-planned and well-executed story of mental illness wrapped up in a psychological thriller full of twists and turns. I highly recommend this in both print and audio versions. I switched back and forth on this one.

Lucy Price-Lewis does an amazing job with the voices and characterizations of Anna, Amanda, Mrs. Peat (Anna’s neighbor), and the other, unnamed character. So much so that you know without a doubt whose point of view is shared with each chapter. And Slater writes in such a way that you never see the twists before they have thrown you for a loop.

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Book Details

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

 

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The Girls in the Water by Victoria Jenkins. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Girls in the Water by Victoria Jenkins

When a brutally murdered young woman is found in a river, Detective Inspector Alex King and her partner, Detective Constable Chloe Lane have a difficult time learning who the woman was and any lead they get turns into a dead end. But this is only the first one of The Girls in the Water.

Meanwhile, Chloe has a lot of other issues on her mind. An eight-year-old cold case has resurfaced and pulled her to the absolute need to find the truth.

When a second girl goes missing, Alex and Chloe both believe they are dealing with the same killer as the first girl found in the water. But they are still very short on leads.

Alex and Chloe both have demons they have to fight. Neither of them is amenable to letting others in to help them and both of them pour all of their angst into their work. While this makes them great detectives, their personal problems sometimes bleed over into their professional lives and cause issues that they could not have foreseen.

While some of the sentence structure was a bit odd, I found this to be a really good story. Alex and Chloe, even with their acute stubbornness, are very likable people and I found myself ready to come to their defense. The fact that they work so well together, despite their own issues, makes them seem more believable and real. Not only that, but they are portrayed as very intelligent, respected, and mentally strong women, which you don’t often find in books.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery-thrillers and especially if you like a few twists and turns. The story keeps you guessing about what could possibly happen next and has just the right amount of background information to lead you into a really good plot.

Book Details

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

 

The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The majority of the men of Chilbury, Kent have left to fight as England becomes entangled in World War II, prompting the Vicar to end the Chilbury Choir, much to the dismay of many of the women in the choir. However, music professor and consummate optimist Primrose Trent posts a notice that the choir will go on…as the Chilbury Ladies Choir.

While some believe this to be a sacrilege, many, including Mrs. Tilling and Kitty Winthrop are ecstatic. With some encouragement, the ladies come together to sing, and through their efforts, the choir is not the only thing that is revitalized.

Through a series of letters and journal writings, we come to know several of the women of Chilbury, from the timid widow, Mrs. Tilling, who thinks she cannot go on after her only son leaves for the war, to the somewhat abominable Venetia, who thinks she is the be-all and end-all of the town. Then there is Kitty, who so desperately wants to be grown, but still has a few things to learn about life. And dear Silvie, a Jewish refugee, whose parents sent her away from Czechoslovakia to avoid Hitler’s wrath against the Jews.

Through the letters and journal entries, we see how each life is lived and then changed by the war and how each person makes his or her mark on the village and those around them in a time when everything seems to be literally crashing down around them.

Jennifer Ryan has a way with words: “The morning…was cold and wet as a slap round the face with a fresh-caught cod.” She also has a way of guiding the reader through a little bit of intrigue, to young love and the heart-wrenching issues of life and death as World War II begins its march on England’s soil. These women work to hold their village together, to reach others in need, and to not just survive, but to thrive as war rages around them.

It took me a little while to get into this book because I wanted it to be similar to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. While it is quite different, it is still a good book in its own right. Even though the characters are very different, as is the storyline, the essence is very much the same, a time when women take great strides to hold together their lives as war does its best to crush them.

All in all, this was a really good book, and I think many people will find it very comforting and uplifting.

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4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging For Books in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Split Second by Catherine Coulter. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Split Second by Catherine Coulter

I decided to read a book from a series that I haven’t read in a while and it honestly is like meeting up with dear friends I haven’t seen in a while. What a welcome surprise! Split Second by Catherine Coulter is actually the 15th book in the FBI series, but I read the others before I started blogging and reviewing books.

Let me just say if you like murder mysteries and police procedure novels, these are all really, really good. They remind me so much of Criminal Minds and that is a good thing! FBI agent Dillon Savich is a computer whiz and when you add his skills in logic to the logic skills of his wife, FBI Agent Lacey Sherlock no criminal is safe.

The stories, though, go much deeper than just the crime fighting. You get to delve into the hearts and minds of so many of the characters in Coulter’s writing. She has a way with words that pulls you in and allows you to connect with Savich and Sherlock, as well as the other agents with whom they work.

In Split Second Savich stops a robbery in a convenience store close to his home, but something about the scene feels off to him. Meanwhile, there is a killer on the loose who meets women at bars, takes them home and then garrotes them with wire. All of this at the same time that Agent Lacy Carlyle’s father passed away, with an ominous message just before he died. Bringing all of these stories to full circle takes so much skill in writing and Coulter handles it all with the flourish that is a trademark of her writing.

This is a great addition to this series and one that I highly recommend!

Catherine Coulter’s FBI Series in order leading up to Split Second:

  1. The CoveA (1996)
  2. The MazeA (1997)
  3. The TargetB (1998)
  4. The EdgeB (1999)
  5. RiptideC (2000)
  6. Hemlock BayC (2001)
  7. Eleventh Hour (2002)
  8. Blindside (2003)
  9. Blowout (2004)
  10. Point Blank (2005)
  11. Double Take (2007)
  12. Tailspin (2008)
  13. KnockOut (2009)
  14. Whiplash (2010)
  15. Split Second (201)
  16. Backfire (2012)
  17. Bombshell (2013)
  18. Power Play (2014)
  19. Nemesis (2015)
  20. Insidious (2016)
  21. Enigma (2017)

Omnibus Editions:

  1. The Beginning. 2005. (containing The Cove & The Maze)
  2. Double Jeopardy. 2008. (containing The Target & The Edge)
  3. Twice Dead. 2011. (containing Riptide & Hemlock Bay)
  4. Second Shot. 2014. (containing Eleventh Hour & Blindside)

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

99 Red Balloons by Libby Carpenter. A Propensity to Discuss review.

99 Red Balloons by Libby Carpenter

Two little girls have gone missing but they were taken 28 years apart.

Zoe was taken from a sweet shop in the 1980s and 28 years later Grace has been taken…from a sweet shop. Zoe’s grandmother, who has spent the last 28 years in misery wondering what happened to Zoe is shaken by the resemblance of the crimes. And then she is shaken by a picture she sees in the newspaper.

Grace’s parents, Emma and Matt are holding on to every bit of hope they have, but the cracks in their relationship begin to widen the longer they wait for news. Emma’s sister, Stephanie is convinced that the mother who gave Emma up when she was ten is the person who took Grace. When Stephanie finally gets the courage to talk to her own mother about it, the answer she gets isn’t any thing close to what she expected.

With twists and turns that you don’t see coming, 99 Red Balloons by Libby Carpenter is a true thrill ride. About 2/3 of the way through this book, there was a twist that completely changed everything I believed about the story. It literally made me gasp at the shock of it! It is an easy read, but it will also seriously tear at your heartstrings.

I highly recommend this book!

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

Violent Exposure (Book 4). A Propensity to Discuss review.

Violent Exposure by Katherine Howell

When paramedics Carly and Aiden are called to a domestic disturbance call, trainee Aiden is sure there will be no issue. After all, his view is that no one ever wants help in these situations. The next night, however, when Aiden is working with Mick, the pair are called back to the same house. What they find there will bring Ella Marconi to the scene for another case of a very Violent Exposure.

In this 4th novel of The Ella Marconi Series, we meet up with an old acquaintance, who this time is taking more of a lead role. Remember Mick, Sophie’s partner in Frantic? Well, he’s back with his own set of worries, albeit none as serious as Sophie’s. Then there are Ella’s own personal problems that have her avoiding going home while also worrying about her parents.

The longer Ella and her former partner Dennis work this case the more intertwined the paramedics become with it, and the more questions are answered, the more loose ends are found. Ella and Dennis must work through all the lies and half-truths of those involved to even come close to figuring out what happened.

Katherine Howell has done it once again. She has managed several different storylines, run them all concurrently and tied them together so they in no way, seem outlandish. She has a way of getting to the heart of all of her characters and making them real people, whether good guy or bad. I am so excited to have found this series.

As I have previously mentioned, it was because Caroline Lee was the narrator of the Frantic audio version that led me to this series and once again she gives an amazing performance for the  Violent Exposure audio version. I love listening to her narrations and when you add such great stories to that, you have a truly winning combination. At night I switched to the Kindle version when hubby was home so he wouldn’t hear bits and pieces.

Another great read!

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

The Detective Ella Marconi Series

Ella Marconi is a no-nonsense, get-the-job-done homicide detective living and working in Sydney, Australia. Author Katherine Howell, a former paramedic, always gives Ella a run for her money with the cases that she puts before her and also with paramedics and their work calls thrown into the mix. So if you like mysteries and you like medical dramas, you’ll LOVE the Ella Marconi series. If you like one or the other, you’ll LOVE the Ella Marconi series.

I really like Howell’s writing style and I love that she uses her experience as a paramedic around which to base her secondary characters’ lives and stories. The series began in 2007 and is still going strong, with the last one published in 2015, and hopefully more to follow!

Frantic (Book 1) 

In an instant, life changed completely for Sophie Phillips – her police officer husband, Chris, is shot on their doorstep and their ten-month-old son, Lachlan, is abducted from his bed. While the police, led by Detective Ella Marconi search not only for their colleague’s child but also investigate the very strong possibility of police corruption, Sophie begins her own search for Lachlan.

Detective Ella Marconi Series. Propensity to Discuss reviews.

But through it all, Sophie has to wonder if a terrible mistake she made will mangle her hope and efforts at finding her child. And what about Chris, is he a part of the corruption, or is he the one who brought it to the attention of the news media? The longer Lachlan is missing, the more Ella and her team know they are working against the odds to find him.

The audio version of this book is performed by Caroline Lee, whose audiobook performances I always absolutely love! She is actually the reason I purchased this novel to begin with but the writing and the story brought me back to the series. For other Caroline Lee audiobook reviews, check out this post or this one.

The Darkest Hour (Book 2)

In the second Ella Marconi book, paramedic Lauren Yates finds herself alone in an alley helping a man that she knows all too well, Miles Werner. A man she knows to be angry, hateful, deceitful, and most of all, dangerous. All the while, another man lays dead in the same alley. When she begins to help Miles he threatens her life, her sister’s life and the life of her niece, Mile’s own daughter.

Detective Ella Marconi Series. Propensity to Discuss reviews.

Terrified of Werner’s threats, she lies to Detective Ella Marconi, to her sister and to her partner and sets into motion a trail that leads to even more victims. Lauren becomes desperate and has no idea how she will ever get out of this mess alive. Ella knows something is not right with Lauren’s testimony and knows that she must be hiding something. She will have to gain Lauren’s trust to get to the bottom of this case.

Unfortunately, there is no audio for this, but the book was a really good, pretty quick read and I really recommend this series.

Cold Justice (Book 3)

After a very tumultuous ending to her last case in The Darkest Hour, Detective Ella Marconi is back at work, but she is now working in the Unsolved Unit looking into a 20-year-old murder case that has been brought back to the forefront by newly elected MP. Ella begins looking into the case and the teenage girl, Georgie, who found the body and 20 years later is now a paramedic.

Cold Justice (Book 3). A Propensity to Discuss review.

When things start happening to Georgie that scare and confuse her, she turns to Detective Marconi for help. After all, there is a man following her and her new partner is treating her with hot and cold emotions.

The fact that the murdered boy’s father, John, was the original detectives’ first and main suspect has not gone unnoticed by Ella, nor has the openly hostile attitude of the boy’s mother toward not only Ella but her husband John, as well.

And, as if that weren’t enough, Ella has a new fella, and with all that is right in the relationship, something seems to be worrying her.

This, for me, was another hit by Katherine Howell. An easy read, but with an ending I didn’t see coming until very close to the conclusion, Howell has once again successfully combined great, realistic paramedic scenes and a female detective who is not willing to buckle under pressure from those around her, even though she doesn’t always have self-confidence on her side. Ella is truly a likable person and very real in her struggles.

I’m ready for more…on to book four.

As with book 2, there is no audio for this title, but book 4 (Violent Exposure) is available as an audio version and read by Caroline Lee, one of my absolute favorites! I’ll be reading and listening to that one soon. I’ll keep you posted!

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

 

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

 

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all.