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May 22, 2015 / Leslie

Journey Across Time with ‘The Memory Painter’

A Rapid Review

MemoryPainterThe Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack

Publisher: Blackstone Audio | April 2015
Format: Audio Download | 12 hours | Rating: 4½ stars
Audio Listening Level: Intermediate to Difficult

What if there was a drug that could help you remember past lives? What if the lives you remembered could lead you to your one true love? What if you learned that, for thousands of years, a deadly enemy had conspired to keep the two of you apart?

Bryan Pierce is a famous artist whose paintings are inspired by vivid dreams. These dreams are so real he feels he is re-experiencing other people’s lives. When Linz Jacobs, a neurogeneticist working on memory research, sees a painting of a terrifying, recurring nightmare she has experienced on display at Bryan’s art show, she knows she has to meet him. But their meeting triggers a new dream for Bryan—that of a researcher working on a drug to cure Alzheimer’s in the 1980s. In recurring dreams he learns that the research was abruptly shut down after an accident in the lab kills two of the team members.

In a richly woven, multi-leveled plot, relationships are revealed through Bryan’s dreams as we journey back in time thousands of years. If Bryan is remembering his past lives, and if souls stay together through time, then the knowledge he is acquiring through these dreams could put him and Linz in danger.

I enjoyed the blending of genres—history, science fiction, fantasy, and a little romance, and the way the complex plot unfolded in bits and pieces as we built towards a climactic ending. And I admit, I was fooled by one of the plot twists at the end.

Audio production:
Will Damron narrated with a steady pace and pleasant voice. The complex plot, numerous characters and relationships, plus movements back and forth in time requires extra focus from the listener. This is perfect to listen to while doing routine tasks. I listened while gardening, and was able to give my full attention to the narrative.

Audio Sample:

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
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Source: Review copy provided by the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox.
© 2015 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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May 20, 2015 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Green Heron

Green Heron

Almost wordless: On a bird watching outing a few weeks ago, about twenty of us were watching this heron for five or ten minutes—he or she remained still as a statue. That’s how they sneak up on their dinner.

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May 19, 2015 / Leslie

Review: Love Is Red by Sophie Jaff

Love Is Red (Nightsong Trilogy #1) by Sophie Jaff Love Is Red
by Sophie Jaff

Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: May 12, 2015
Format: Hardcover | 384 pages
Rating: 4½ of 5

From the Publisher

This electrifying, addictive, and hypnotically beautiful debut spins suspense and literary fantasy into a stunning epic—the first volume in the Night Song Trilogy—ablaze with fear, mystery, and possibility.

About the Story

A serial killer is terrorizing New York City. Young women are found murdered in their apartments with symbols carved on their bodies. There are no signs of forced entry and very few clues left at the scene. However, these murders are just a warm-up. His real target is Katherine, a young writer that lives in the city. He is no ordinary killer, but a supernatural entity who has returned after several centuries to fulfill a prophecy and will not stop killing until he has achieved his goal. Meanwhile Katherine is unaware but has been having disturbing dreams and visions.

My Thoughts

At first this appears to be a murder mystery, but it’s actually a blend of genres. In addition to being a suspenseful thriller, it also has elements of horror, fantasy, and the supernatural. The story is told using alternating viewpoints with Katherine narrating in the first person and the killer using the second person. Second person narrative can be difficult to pull off, but I thought it worked well as we got a glimpse into the disturbed mind of the killer.

This was one of those books that I knew I was going to like right from the start. It’s creative and different and defies classification. And it’s scary, dark, and a little erotic too. Reading it alone at night gave me the creeps. It’s also a book where the less detail you know going into it, the more interesting it is. The author parcels out bits and pieces of the puzzle to keep the reader guessing about the identity of the killer, although early on it will be pretty obvious to most that it is one of two people. The mystery wasn’t what kept me engaged, it was the suspense.

This is book one of a trilogy, but it works as a stand alone story, although some questions are left unanswered for still-to-come books two and three. If you’re looking for something different, give this one a try.

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Source: Review copy provided by HarperCollins.
© 2015 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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May 18, 2015 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ May 18th

SpringBirdsFenceMailbox-smlWelcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


Here’s what arrived last week…

New Arrivals

May18Books_173651

Trial Run by Thomas Locke from Revell.
In this high-concept thriller, three competing interests race to master a dangerous and mind-bending technology even as time itself twists in unexpected directions. As perception and reality become entangled, no one escapes unscathed.

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch, a win from Goodreads.
When a medical mistake goes horribly wrong and Ralph Meier, a famous actor, winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser is forced to conceal the error from his patients and family. After all, reputation is everything in this business.

Audio Downloads

From Penguin Audio

TheRocksEenyMeeny

The Rocks by Peter Nichols
A romantic page-turner propelled by the sixty-year secret that has shaped two families, four lovers, and one seaside resort community.

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge
Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

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Still time to enter the giveaways for…

Save The Date & Summer Rental—Book & Goody Bag Giveaway

A copy of The Daddy Diaries by Joshua Braff

Enter by Saturday May 23rd, continental US addresses only.

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May 17, 2015 / Leslie

Books for Young Readers

PipBartlettPip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures

by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press | April 2015
Age: 8 – 12 years | 192 pages

Because of a Unicorn Incident at her school (it was an accident!), Pip is spending the summer with her Aunt Emma at the Cloverton Clinic for Magical Creatures. At first, it’s all fun, games, and chatting with Hobgrackles, but when Fuzzles appear and start bursting into flame at the worst possible places, Pip and her new friend Tomas must take action. Because if the mystery of the Fuzzles isn’t solved soon, both magical and unmagical creatures are going to be in a lot of trouble.

Pip Bartlett lives in a world filled with magical, mystical, mythical creatures. Pip can talk to the animals but no one believes her, so she pretends not to hear them when adults are around. Aside from that unusual ability, Pip is a normal eleven-year-old. Plus she’s smart, likable, compassionate, and loves animals.

The story is fun, entertaining, and filled with illustrations of mythical creatures. Each drawing has descriptions and notes added by Pip as she makes new discoveries about each animal. No one knows much about Fuzzles and unfortunately for them, they are considered a pest. But Pip doesn’t think they are bad, just scared, and along with her friend Tomas, sets out to discover why.

This book will delight young readers who are just discovering fantasy and those that love animals. I enjoyed it even though I’m not the target audience.

Rating: 5 stars

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Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
© 2015 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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May 15, 2015 / Leslie

Save The Date & Summer Rental—Book & Goody Bag Giveaway

Save The Date and Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews are now available in paperback.

To celebrate the paperback release of Save The Date and Summer Rental, I have a fantastic prize package, courtesy of the publisher and Tandem Literary, to giveaway to one lucky reader with a continental US address.

SaveTheDateSummerRentalGoodieBagHere’s what will be in that fabulous goody bag:

  • Copy of SAVE THE DATE in trade paperback
  • Copy of SUMMER RENTAL in mass market paperback
  • Two different Mary Kay Andrews bookmarks
  • Set of three SAVE THE DATE recipe cards
  • SAVE THE DATE magnet
  • MKA Summer Rental sticker
  • BEACH TOWN lip balm with SPF 15

 
 

About the Books

Save The DateSave the Date
by Mary Kay Andrews
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Publication Date: May 2015
Format: Paperback | 464 pages

A Savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime — one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn’t believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in. Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all.
 

SummerRentalSummer Rental
by Mary Kay Andrews
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Publication Date: May 2015
Format: Paperback | 512 pages

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from her job, begins to question the choices she’s made over the past decade. Julia has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can no longer hide her deepest insecurities. And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most. Can a one-month getaway to North Carolina’s Outer Banks help make things right?

More Information…

Twitter | Goodreads | MKA’s Website | Facebook

On Tuesday, May 19th, Mary Kay Andrews newest release, Beach Town, hits the stores.

To enter the giveaway

Fill out the form below on or before midnight, May 23rd. One entry per person or address, continental US only. I will draw a random winner who will be notified by email.

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© 2015 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
Giveaway provided by St. Martin’s Press and Tandem Literary.
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May 13, 2015 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

Almost wordless: The Bluebirds are hard at work constructing a nest. The male brings the nest material to the female who does the actual building and arranges it to her liking inside the box.

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More Wordless Wednesday. © 2015 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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