For What It's Worth

Thursday, November 15, 2018

review: the Lying Woods by Ashley Elston

33803125Owen Foster has never wanted for anything. Then his mother shows up at his elite New Orleans boarding school cradling a bombshell: his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. After using the family business, the single largest employer in his small Louisiana town, to embezzle millions and drain the employees' retirement accounts, Owen's father vanished without a trace, leaving Owen and his mother to deal with the fallout.

Owen returns to Lake Cane to finish his senior year, where people he can barely remember despise him for his father's crimes. It's bad enough dealing with muttered insults and glares, but when Owen and his mother receive increasingly frightening threats from someone out for revenge, he knows he must get to the bottom of what really happened at Louisiana Frac--and the cryptic note his father sent him at his boarding school days before disappearing.

Owen's only refuge is the sprawling, isolated pecan orchard he works at after school, owned by a man named Gus who has his own secrets--and in some ways seems to know Owen better than he knows himself. As Owen uncovers a terrible injustice
that looms over the same Preacher Woods he's claimed as his own, he must face a shocking truth about his own past--and write a better future. ~ Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review

I was totally expecting a creepy, paranormal thriller with The Lying Woods. As I re-read the summary now – I can say that it’s pretty accurate but the cover just has a spooky *you will die if you enter the woods* vibe. This book isn’t that – but I was pleasantly surprised by how well this mystery/family drama was written.

Owen’s father vanishes after embezzling millions from his fracking company in a small Louisiana town. Think Enron. As the top employer in town almost everyone living there is touched by this – either by losing their retirement, savings or the residual business that the company provided.

Owen is a student at an elite boarding school but is forced to move back to the town in question with his mom and live with an aunt because they have nowhere to go. His father left them with nothing – their possessions about to be auctioned off to pay off the debt and they are left under a cloud of suspicion as to whether they (especially his mom) were co-conspirators in the deception, if they are still in contact with the father and more importantly – if are they hiding any money.

The town is not happy to have them back and there are threats made. Bricks being thrown at the house, threatening notes and phone calls - particularly towards the mom.

Owen starts out as an angry young man. Angry at his dad for leaving them broke, angry at having to move back to small town without all his little luxuries He gets into fights with the local kids and it’s completely understandable. But the way he rebounds is awesome! He has a chance to go back to the boarding school but instead stays with his mom and hunkers down, getting a job, joining a sports team. I absolutely adored this kid.

This is a hard book to discuss without spoilers so I’ll just say this…

The Lying Woods is told with a dual timeline. The present and from a summer in 1999 when Owen’s parents met and fell in love. Both timelines are fascinating and the way the author ties them together is brilliant.

I've read so many mysteries that either have a convoluted journey or a lackluster payoff. Nether is the case here. Both timelines are riveting and worth the emotional investment.

One other thing I want to note is how well the characters were written. Owen isn’t a petulant/know it all brat. If he encounters something dangerous or suspicious HE GOES TO THE POLICE. OMG that made me happy! Owen's mom isn't a story placeholder. She's very much part of the story and present as a parent despite also being a victim. The townsfolk are angry and hurt but react in surprising and nuanced ways. The characters from the 1999 story line – welp…I can’t say much about that but it was heartbreaking, twisty and completely plausible.

I’m one of those people who figures out the twists on page one without even trying so this is a difficult genre for me to enjoy but Elston managed it. All while getting me so wrapped up in the family and emotional drama of these characters just as much as the mystery.

I loved it and I’ll be checking out this authors back list right away!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

tell me something tuesday

Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question: Why should you leave comments?

Because blogging is hard and time consuming and if no one leaves comments – you feel like you’re blogging into a void. lol

That’s a simple answer but it’s true. I think most of us get into this to chat about books so when you work hard on a post and no one responds it can feel like a waste of time.

I also know there are bigger blogs that get lots of hits but no comments. For me, I would rather have interaction than hits.

And I also understand that commenting can be time consuming and hard to fit in in addition to all the other things one has to do each day - so I understand both sides.

I try to squeeze in an hour each morning and then another at night to comment on blogs or respond to comments on my blog.

I know you’ll probably feel the same about the subject but please jump in and share your thoughts! And how do you fit commenting into your schedule?

Monday, November 12, 2018

monday minis


40242604Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And
Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind. ~ Goodreads

Source: e-arc provided by Novel Take PR in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts: Annabeth Albert + Christmas = two great things that go great together!

Better Not Pout was a fun Christmas romance between grumpy older military police officer, Nick, roped into playing Santa by his CO and gets paired up with a hot elf with a heart of gold, Teddy.

These two are polar opposites with their personalities and where their life is headed but both are so sweet and giving to those around them. You can’t help but root for them.

This one has all the tropes and does them well – age gap, opposites attract, forced proximity, small town Christmas. It has the vibe of Albert’s Out of Uniform series but with a fluffy holiday twist.

38407686The Omega Objection (San Andreas Shifters #2) by G.L. Carriger

Can a gentle giant with a trampled heart show a man who’s been running all his life that sometimes there are monsters worth running towards?
A werewolf walks into a bar. 

Tank is working as a bouncer when he notices something odd about the new sexy-as-sin bartender. He’s odorless, he’s amazingly popular with shifters, and he’s terrified.

A man without a smell. 

Isaac is trying to escape his past. He hides in San Francisco because everyone knows that there are no werewolves in the Bay Area.

Until one walks into his bar. 

Can Tank figure out 
Isaac’s secrets in time to save him? And can Isaac forgive Tank for being a wolf in time to learn how to love?

New York Times best selling author Gail Carriger (writing as G.L. Carriger) brings you the next in her charming gay werewolves series.

The San Andreas Shifter books stand alone and do not have to be read in any particular order. But if you're a stickler this book is preceded by Bryan & Max's story, The Sumage Solution.

Delicate Sensibilities?

This book contains M/M sexy times, mild themes of dominance and submission, and horrible puns. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. San Andreas Shifter stories contain bad language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not the faint of heart/mouth/tongue. ~ Goodreads

Source: e-arc provided byt he author in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts:  This is a strange little series. While each book has centered around a different couple – the focus really is on the growing San Andreas wolf pack. It has such a large cast of characters that are central to the story and I always feel a little lost yet – I love how connected, quirky and loyal they all are.

A bit of a series recap – the pack alpha is a marine biologist, a nerd and a quite, smaller man. His mate is a merman, the beta is his large domineering brother with a mage partner….you get the idea.

This is no ordinary wolf pack and this series gets really deep into their feelings and odd dynamic in relation to each other. It doesn’t always make for a good story flow. Instead of being action packed – it deviates a lot to show how everyone feeeels but I just can’t get enough of learning about alpha/beta/omega /pack dynamics – especially when written in such an unusual way.

In The Omega Objection, the gentle giant wolf Tank, falls for the bartender, Issac, at the club he's a bouncer at. Isaac is unusual in that he has no smell and fears shifters – particularly wolf shifters - yet he is catnip to all paranormal creatures. They seek him out at the bar and spill their guts to him. As fearful as Isaac if of shifters, he can’t help but be drawn to Tank and normally passive Tank will do anything to defend Isaac.

The title gives most of it away but it's a fun path to Isaac's eventual place within the pack.

It was a cool premise that keeps building onto the prior story – The Sumage Solution. Not a perfect series but I still enjoy all the werewolfy goodness.