Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: Two If by Sea

Summary: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean, an epic story of courage and devotion that spans three continents and the entire map of the human heart.

Just hours after his wife and her entire family perish in the Christmas Eve tsunami in Brisbane, American expat and former police officer Frank Mercy goes out to join his volunteer rescue unit and pulls a little boy from a submerged car, saving the child’s life with only seconds to spare. In that moment, Frank’s own life is transformed. Not quite knowing why, Frank sidesteps the law, when, instead of turning Ian over to the Red Cross, he takes the boy home to the Midwestern farm where he grew up. Not long into their journey, Frank begins to believe that Ian has an extraordinary, impossible telepathic gift; but his only wish is to protect the deeply frightened child. As Frank struggles to start over, training horses as his father and grandfather did before him, he meets Claudia, a champion equestrian and someone with whom he can share his life—and his fears for Ian. Both of them know that it will be impossible to keep Ian’s gift a secret forever. Already, ominous coincidences have put Frank’s police instincts on high alert, as strangers trespass the quiet life at the family farm.

The fight to keep Ian safe from a sinister group who want him back takes readers from the ravaged shores of Brisbane to the middle of America to a quaint English village. Even as Frank and Claudia dare to hope for new love, it becomes clear that they can never let Ian go, no matter what the cost. A suspenseful novel on a grand scale, Two If by Sea is about the best and worst in people, and the possibility of heroism and even magic in ordinary life. -Simon & Schuster

I still remember when Oprah selected Jacquelyn Mitchard's novel THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN as her very first Oprah pick! I loved the book and, like many, I was hooked on reading each and every one of Oprah's book club selections. It's been a quite a few years, but I recently decided to read another novel by Ms. Mitchard. Her latest is titled TWO IF BY SEA, and it definitely has a unique premise.

TWO IF BY SEA tells the story of Frank Mercy, a former American police officer now living in Brisbane, Australia. Frank is happily married and excited about his wife's pregnancy when they are celebrating the Christmas holiday with his wife's family. And then the unspeakable happens! A tsunami hits Brisbane and kills Frank's entire family. Devastated by grief, he joins up with a volunteer rescue unit to help save others' lives.

Frank encounters a three year old boy and his older brother in the water. He only has a few minutes to save them, and the older boy tells him to take the three year old because he's important. Frank immediately feels an affinity to this boy, who he decides to call Ian; and he ends up keeping the boy rather than turning him over to the authorities. He quickly makes an escape from Australia with Ian to his family farm in Wisconsin.

On the way over to the states in the airplane, Frank realizes that Ian is, indeed, special. As strange as it sounds, Ian has a calming effect on animals and humans. He seems to be able to get into their minds and almost stop them from doing things that are dangerous.

When Frank arrives back in Wisconsin, he tries to start over his life with his family and Ian (and even a new love interest); however, he is always looking over his shoulder, worried that someone is coming for Ian. Things take a nasty turn when Frank realizes that there are some very nasty people who are looking for Ian, and Frank is forced to make some difficult decisions to protect his child.

I enjoyed TWO IF BY SEA, but I have to say that the first half of the book held my interest more than the second. In fact, the first few chapters were incredibly powerful. I was captured by the descriptions of Brisbane and the tsunami, and I thought Ms. Mitchard did a remarkable job of bringing that entire tragedy to life. I also loved how she introduced Ian, and I was most definitely intrigued by his telepathic gift.

I found Frank to be a very well developed character, and I truly appreciated how he was a man who had experienced so many tragedies yet kept trying to start over. Granted, I should have been upset with him for basically kidnapping Ian and leaving the country; however, I was most definitely rooting for them. Ian and Frank had a special bond and I enjoyed seeing how their relationship evoked a certain feeling of hope to me.

I can't really pinpoint when the book took a turn for me, but I think the suspense aspect of the story (when people from Ian's past showed up) just didn't interest me like the character development and relationship aspects of the story. I think because the first half of the book really captured my attention, I was expecting the entire book to keep the same pace. Looking back on it now, I don't really think that was possible.

TWO IF BY SEA would make an interesting book club selection. There are some wonderful characters, and there are definitely some interesting moral dilemmas to discuss for your typical book clubs. However, fans of science fiction, the supernatural and suspense stories might be also be intrigued by this story. There is a reading guide available with fourteen questions along with some ideas to enhance your meeting. Some of the themes you might want to explore include family, loss, grief, second chances, love, chance, morals, sacrifices, and parenthood.

I enjoyed TWO IF BY SEA but I'm not sure I can go so far as to say I loved it... although I really wanted to love it! Recommended for fans of Ms. Mitchard's and for book clubs looking for something a little different!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Review: Career of Evil (Audio)

Summary: When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible--and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them...

Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives. -- Hachette Audio

Some of you probably know this but I am a huge fan of J. K. Rowling's (writing as Robert Galbraith) mystery series starring Cormoran Strike. This is rare for me but I've actually listened to all three books rather than reading them in print. I am not the most avid audio book fan so it says a lot about both the writing and the narration that I can listen to these books. The latest novel, CAREER OF EVIL, came in at 18 hours!

CAREER OF EVIL begins when Robin, Cormoran's secretary and assistant at his private detective office, receives a package that contains a woman's leg. Cormoran immediately begins assessing who would send a severed leg to his office and comes up with four people from his past that he thinks might do it. (Imagine knowing four people who would cut off a woman's leg and mail it to an innocent woman? That gives you an idea of Cormoran's life and the dangerous people he's encountered!)

Cormoran lets the police know about the incident and they immediately focus on a suspect... a man that Cormoran is pretty sure isn't the culprit. Robin and Cormoran decide to lead their own investigation into the other three suspects. These men are extremely dangerous and both of their lives are at risk as more disgusting incidents take place.

I adored CAREER OF EVIL -- truly loved it! Once again, Ms. Rowling (or Mr. Galbraith) has written an intriguing, well thought out mystery that is extremely clever. She's created a fantastic cast of characters. I especially love Cormoran's dark and brooding personality, and she's also created the right amount of tension, both professionally and personally, between Robin and her boss. All in all, the story is just a fantastic mystery.

In the third book, the reader sees Robin with a bit more of a role. She's really been coming into her own in the last two books; however, in this one, we realize just how much of an important role she plays in helping Cormoran (although I think most of us already knew!) There is more revealed about her past, and there definitely is a focus on her wedding to Matthew in this novel. For those of us who want to see Robin and Cormoran as more than co-workers, there was definitely a fair amount of dramatic tension in their relationship.

As much as I love the characters in this series, I do have to say that the mystery in CAREER OF EVIL was excellent. There were some pretty nasty suspects and I thought the way Robin and Cormoran explored them was great. Needless to say, I think readers will be satisfied with how they solve the  mystery as well as the many twists and turns.

CAREER OF EVIL is read by Robert Glenister, and he's truly incredible. I am always impressed by his narration, and he seems to tackle different accents with a certain ease. I pretty much love everything about his voice including his inflections, his comedic timing, his sense of drama, and more!

I really don't know what else to say about CAREER OF EVIL and the other two books in the Cormoran Strike series. I adore these books and highly recommend them to fans of mysteries.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Kid Konnection: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you the first book in a terrific new series!

Summary: This groundbreaking new middle grade series follows DC Comics’ most iconic female Super Heroes and Super-Villains . . . as high schoolers. At Super Hero High, the galaxy’s most powerful teens nurture their powers and master the fundamentals of what it means to be a hero. -- Random House

It's hard not to get caught up in the super hero craze that has hit over the past few years; and that's just one of the reasons that I think the new middle grade series DC SuperHero Girls is such a great idea! This series is aimed at young girls, and there's even a line of dolls at Target featuring the characters. I sure hope this concept catches fire because I really enjoyed the first book in the series titled WONDER WOMAN AT SUPER HERO HIGH by Lisa Yee.

WONDER WOMAN AT SUPER HERO HIGH is so much fun! It begins when Wonder Woman (who eventually goes by just Wondy) sees a recruitment video for Super Hero High School. It's everything she's ever dreamed of, and she convinces her mom that she should leave their home and attend. The school offers state-of-the-art technology, gadgets, weapons as well as a Flight Track and classes taught by super hero alums. Wondy thinks it would be a great way to meet other kids just like her!

Despite Wondy's major strength and skills, she doesn't quite fit in with the other kids. She doesn't really have a sense of humor (which ironically enough provides a lot of laughs for the readers), and many of the kids are jealous of her powers. In fact, Wondy faces a lot of the same things any new kid faces when they start at a new school. Of course, everything is intensified a bit because she is trying to make friends with super heroes!

Wondy, at times, struggles to navigate the classes, teachers, rival students, friends, and competitions; and she she turns to her mother for sound advice. Like many kids, Wondy isn't quite sure who to trust; and there are a few surprises in store for her. She also encounters some kids who definitely are on track for a life of crime rather than helping others. However, readers will admire Wondy for not only her super hero skills, but also for her truly kind nature and desire to save the world.

As a mom, I thought this book was terrific. It was funny, entertaining, and full of action, but it also had some great messages for kids and tween girls. While I'm pretty sure most girls don't think of themselves in the same class as Wonder Woman, I do think almost every girl will find themselves relating to her. I was just really impressed with the cleverness of this novel, and I suspect that the next ones in the series will be just as terrific.

In addition, I think fans of DC comics will appreciate this book. I can't even pretend to know much about Wonder Woman and the other super heroes in the story, but I did appreciate how the author tried to incorporate Wonder Woman's story from the comics into this novel. There were a few other characters that I was familiar with and even a few that I discovered when I googled them! I'm guessing that there are even more references to the comics than I could catch!

Overall, WONDER WOMAN AT SUPER HERO HIGH is a great beginning to what looks like a terrific idea for a series. There is something for everyone in the story, and I think kids will love learning about what super heroes were like when they were young.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review: The Railwayman's Wife

Summary: In 1948, in the strange, silent aftermath of war, in a town overlooking the vast, blue ocean, Anikka Lachlan has all she ever wanted—until a random act transforms her into another postwar widow, destined to raise her daughter on her own. Awash in grief, she looks for answers in the pages of her favorite books and tries to learn the most difficult lesson of all: how to go on living.

A local poet, Roy McKinnon, experiences a different type of loss. How could his most powerful work come out of the brutal chaos of war, and why is he now struggling to regain his words and his purpose in peacetime? His childhood friend Dr. Frank Draper also seeks to reclaim his pre-war life but is haunted by his failure to help those who needed him most—the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.

Then one day, on the mantle of her sitting room, Ani finds a poem. She knows neither where it came from, nor who its author is. But she has her suspicions. An unexpected and poignant love triangle emerges, between Ani, the poem, and the poet—whoever he may be.

Written in clear, shining prose, The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings—and how difficult it can be to tell them apart. It is an exploration of life, loss, and what comes after, of connection and separation, longing and acceptance, and an unadulterated celebration of love that will break your heart open. -- Atria

I am so excited to share with you my thoughts about THE RAILWAYMAN'S WIFE by Ashley Hay although I do think it will be difficult for me to express my feelings. This novel is beautifully written and it touched my heart like few books do. While the prose is quiet, it is an extremely powerful novel.

THE RAILWAYMAN'S WIFE takes place in 1948 in rural Australia in the aftermath of World War II. Anikka Lachlan loves her simple life as a wife and mother; however, when her husband is killed in a brutal accident, she finds herself drowning in grief. She takes a job at the railroad library and tries to find comfort in books.

Meanwhile, Roy McKinnon comes home from the war a damaged man. Prior to leaving, he was a poet but after seeing the the horrors of war, he can no longer find the inspiration to write. His friend, Dr. Frank Draper, also returns home but is haunted by the images of the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.

All three of the characters are trying to deal with their grief and start living again. Roy eventually finds his feelings toward Anikka provide the much needed inspiration he needs to start writing poetry again. However, when he leaves a love poem for Anikka to discover, she doesn't realize that Roy is the author. Roy becomes more and more upset as he waits for Anikka to acknowledge the poem and his feelings, while Anikka finds a special sense of comfort in "knowing" who left it for her.

The reader is anxious for Anikka to realize that Roy is the author and how he truly feels about her; however, there is a quiet sense of desperation to the story. The conclusion is definitely unsettling and, at the same time, thought-provoking.

I loved THE RAILWAYMAN'S WIFE. I admit that the subject matter doesn't sound particularly exciting, and you might even say it's depressing, but I promise that the writing is so gorgeous that it makes you fall in love with the characters and their lives. I have to give major kudos to Ms. Hay because her prose brought this book to life and made me think about grief and loss in a very interesting way. Weeks later, I can still feel the pain in these characters.

I'm afraid that I've portrayed this novel as being a major downer. It's true that it does deal with loss, but it also deals with healing... and I found that to be very uplifting. There are beautiful messages in this story about love, memory, and living; and I do believe that these universal themes make it a wonderful book club pick. There is a reading guide with twelve interesting discussion questions. In addition to the themes I've already mention, you also might want to explore the effects of war, change, marriage, death, and new beginnings. In addition, you might want to discuss the role of the ocean in the story along with your thoughts on the ending.

I treasured each and every word in THE RAILWAYMAN'S WIFE. Highly recommended to fans of literary fiction.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: Some Women

Summary: An engrossing novel that examines the intricacies of marriage, friendship, and the power of unexpected connections…

Annabel Ford has everything under control, devoting her time to her twin boys and keeping her household running smoothly. But when her husband of a decade announces that he’s leaving, she’s blind-sided. And suddenly her world begins to unravel.

Piper Whitley has always done her best to balance it all—raising her daughter Fern by herself while advancing her career as a crime reporter. Only now that she’s finally met the man of her dreams, Fern’s absentee father shows up, throwing everything into a tailspin.

Married to the heir of a thriving media conglomerate, Mackenzie Mead has many reasons to count her blessings. But with an imperious mother-in-law—who’s also her boss—and a husband with whom she can no longer seem to connect, something has to give.

On the surface, these three women may not have much in common, but just when they each need someone to lean on, their lives are thrust together, forming unlikely friendships that help each woman navigate her new reality. -- New American Library

Over the past few years, I've learned that I really enjoy women's fiction. I read a fair amount of different genres, but I always seem to "come home" to stories about women and their friendships. One author whose books have resonated with me is Emily Liebert, and her latest novel SOME WOMEN was no different. This novel about three very different women is both entertaining and touching... and I thought it was a very good read.

Before I get into my review of SOME WOMEN, I wanted to share something really fun about Ms. Liebert and her books -- she has the best promotions! In the past, she's had a line of Zoya nail polishes that represent each character as well as gorgeous fashions designed by Meskita. For SOME WOMEN, she collaborated with Gerard Cosmetics. I was lucky enough to receive three lip glosses, one for each main character in the novel. Can I tell you how much I love these lip glosses? The wands even have a light built in that comes on when you remove it! So cool!

SOME WOMEN tells the story of three women who form an unlikely friendship that helps them get through difficult times. Annabel seemingly has it all -- she's a super mom of twin boys that prides herself on keeping her house and family in order. However, her world is torn apart when her husband announces that he is leaving her and wants a divorce. Annabel never saw it coming!

Then there's Piper. Piper is a single mom who lives with a great guy -- some might say perfect guy. While her organization skills are lacking a bit, she has done a good job in balancing her career as a crime reporter with her parenting. Her life is turned upside down when her daughter's MIA father shows up, and Piper is forced to re-examine her feelings.

Finally, there's Mackenzie, a young and gorgeous wife of an heir to a media fortune. She should have a perfect life, but she has a meddling mother-in-law. As she struggles with fertility issues, she and her husband seem to grow further and further apart.

Annabel, Piper and Mackenzie form a valuable friendship that becomes essential when they each have turmoil strike their lives. Even though these women don't really have all that much in common, they find that their new friendship provides a life-line when they need it the most. I love books that show the strength of women and their friendships, and SOME WOMEN had that in spades.

Once again, I was very impressed with Ms. Liebert's main characters. I found all three of them to be very likable, and I thought she did a great job in making them realistic to the reader. Naturally, I could relate to Annabel the most because she was a stay-at-home mom. In fact, the scene at the beginning of the book where's she's obsessing over everything did remind me a bit of myself and my family. It was a bit of a wake-up call when just a few pages later, her husband left!

I read SOME WOMEN fairly quickly for me these days, and I do think that's a testament to how compelling I found these women's lives. I liked seeing how their "surprises" affected their lives and how they coped with them, both individually and with the help of their friends. In addition, I was satisfied with the end of the novel. Overall, it was a happy one but it wasn't perfect... and that seemed to fit these characters just fine.

SOME WOMEN would definitely make a good book club selection if you're looking for a lighter read that also touches upon some relevant issues. There is a reading guide on the author's website with ten discussion questions. Some of the themes you might want to explore include friendship, marriage, motherhood, infertility, trust, forgiveness, responsibility, choices, career, and romance.

I am a big fan of Ms. Liebert's and I thought SOME WOMEN was an entertaining read. Recommended to fans of women's fiction.

Thanks to the publisher and Goldberg McDuffie Communications for providing a review copy of this novel.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Review: LuLu's Kitchen

Summary: Updated with a new introduction and amazing photography, the bestselling, self-published cookbook by Lucy Buffett (chef sister of Jimmy Buffett) includes amazing recipes from her destination restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Like her brother, Jimmy, Lucy Buffett celebrates freedom, relaxation, and seaside decadence in her own art--cooking. This previously self-published book (formerly titled Crazy Sista Cooking) has sold over 70,000 copies without marketing or much trade distribution.

Packed with more than 120 signature recipes from Lucy's famous Gulf Coast restaurant, LuLu's, WITH LOVE FROM LULU'S KITCHEN is the next best thing to being there. Tucked inside are humorous stories, and plenty of wit and wisdom from Lucy's own kitchen. The book features party menus, Buffett Family favorites, and lots of telling it like it is. Renowned novelist Tom McGuane contributes engaging essays that blend smoothly with the spicy dishes and distinctive drinks.

Recipes include soul-satisfying Southern delights like West Indies Salad, Perfect Fried Shrimp, Blackened Grouper Sandwich, Garlic Cheese Grits, Silver Queen Succotash, and Heavenly Fried Crab Claws. And there's a whole chapter on 25 specialty drinks, including "Bama Breeze" and "LuLu's Painkiller." -- Grand Central Life and Style

It's been a long time since I've reviewed a cookbook here at Booking Mama! Life is crazy and, while I do cook most nights, it's the same old recipes because they are quick and easy... and my family seems to like them. So it took a special cookbook (with a special author) for me to start looking for new recipes. That cookbook is LULU'S KITCHEN: A TASTE OF THE GULF COAST GOOD LIFE by Lucy Buffett.

LULU'S KITCHEN is a wonderful cookbook written by Lucy Buffett. The recipes come from her restaurants in Destin and Gulf Shores and is full of Gulf Coast cooking ideas. It was previously self- published ten years ago as CRAZY SISTA COOKING and sold over 70,000 copies. I consider that a success given that Ms. Buffett didn't have a powerful marketing campaign behind her! The foreward in the new book is written by none other than her brother, Jimmy Buffett.

The author is quick to note at the beginning of LULU'S KITCHEN that this is not your basic "how to" cookbook. She wants the reader to feel as if they are visiting her kitchen with stories, music, and laughter. I think she definitely captured the look and feel in this fun cookbook. Plus there are over 120 recipes!

The very first chapter of recipes in LULU'S KITCHEN is titled "How to Lulu," and it's filled with LuLu essentials including recipes for stocks, seasonings, marinades and more. I actually love this chapter! Not only does Ms. Buffett give step by step instructions for preparing these items, but she also gives a list of ten things she absolutely knows about cooking and ten ingredients for a healthy life. See what I mean about feeling like you "know" Lulu?

The next chapter is titled Cocktail Hour, and I definitely think this section alone is worth the cost of the cookbook. There are 25 different cocktail recipes and they include more than a few of Lulu's specialities. Margarita fans will not want to miss this chapter!

The next chapter, titled In the Beginning, is another winner. It includes some pretty fantastic-sounding Gulf Coast appetizers like Famous Fried Green Tomatoes, dips, and quesadillas. I am dying to try Lulu's Perfect Peel and Eat Shrimp along with the Crispy Coconut Fried Shrimp.  This chapter is followed by one called Gumbo Love that includes five recipes for gumbo and other southern soup recipes.

Sassy Salads, Sandwiches & Such, and Perfect Sauces & Salad Dressings round out the main courses sections of LULU'S KITCHEN. And then there's the dessert chapter titled Sweet Things. It's exactly what you'd expect -- Key Lime pie, banana pudding, and assorted chocolate cake recipes.

It's the last few sections of LULU'S KITCHEN that make it truly special. There is a chapter for kids' meals that I have to admit looks awfully good to this adult. In addition, there is a chapter devoted to the southern favorite -- grits. And last but not least are Favorite Dinner Party Menus. There are meal plans and recipes for some great theme parties including a New Orleans Jazz Fest Thursday Dinner Party, a Montana Rodeo Picnic, and even a Traditional Unchristmas Dinner!

LULU'S KITCHEN is a fantastic cookbook. I think Ms. Buffett captured the essence of a southern cookbook -- great recipes, traditions, and fun! Highly recommended for fans of southern/Gulf Coast specialities.

Thanks to FSB Media for providing a review copy of this book.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: Furious

Summary: Faith McMann comes home to a nightmare: her husband is killed and her son and daughter are taken. Although the intruders leave her for dead, she survives. Crippling grief and fear for her children make life unbearable. Until her anguish turns to anger…and she trades victimhood for vengeance.

Frustrated with the law’s efforts, she takes action to rescue her children—and wreaks havoc on the brutal criminals who tore them from her. With her family and newfound allies at her side, Faith descends into the hellish underworld of human trafficking, determined to make those who prey on the innocent pray for mercy.

The forces she’s up against have already proven that their ruthlessness knows no bounds. And there’s nothing they won’t do to turn Faith’s crusade into a suicide mission. But they’re about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a mother fighting for her children—especially one who’s earned the nickname Furious. -- Thomas Mercer

Truth be told, the description of the novel FURIOUS by T.R. Ragan is pretty gruesome. It's like a mother's worst nightmare, and I wasn't entirely sure I even wanted to read this novel. Faith McMann arrives home to find her house in total disarray. Her husband is brutally murdered, and her throat is cut and she's left for dead. To make matters even worse, the men take her children and leave no clues!

Faith's recovery is difficult, but the guilt she's left with is all-consuming. Totally unsatisfied with what the police are doing (or not doing), she decides to take matters into her own hands. With the help of her family and the friends she meets at her anger management course, she discovers the nightmarish world of human trafficking.

Faith is not only furious, but she's also relentless, in her pursuit of finding her children. What she uncovers is both disturbing and unbelievable!

I can't really say that I enjoyed FURIOUS, but there were aspects of the story that I appreciated. It's a book that was extremely difficult for me to read, and there were scenes that made me almost put down the book. Believe me when I say that this book is very graphic, and I definitely don't recommend it for the faint of heart (or even new moms!) However, I do think fans of suspense novels might find the story of a vigilante mom somewhat intriguing.

I definitely have mixed emotions about this book. On one hand, I found it a little hard to believe that Faith recovered from the attack quickly enough to track down the killers on her own. I totally understand a mother wanting revenge, and I understand even more not being able to just sit back and wait for someone for find my kids. However, Faith went crazy! There were parts of the story that just didn't ring true for me, but it was those very same parts that made the novel exciting.

On the other hand, I definitely appreciated the plot points that focused on child trafficking. I can honestly say that I had no idea that this was really a problem in the United States, and I was appalled by the idea of kids being taken from their homes and thrown into this horrible life. I admit that it's difficult for me to grasp that something like this can happen, and it's definitely a scary premise for a novel.

I shouldn't have been surprised by the ending of the book. I don't want to give too much away, but suffice it to say that everything wasn't wrapped up neatly with a bow. FURIOUS is the first book in a new trilogy, and I think we'll be seeing a lot more of an angry Faith. Faith now has a purpose and she's not going to stop until she gets to the bottom of seeking justice for human traffickers.

Overall, FURIOUS is an action-packed book chock full of graphic scenes and difficult subject matter. Recommended for fans of edgy thrillers and actions books with female protagonists.

Thanks to Saichek Publicity for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.