Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway: Never Come Back by David Bell

never come backNever Come Back
New American Library (October 1, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Trade Paperback: 448 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451417510
E-Book File Size: 2151 KB


Leslie Hampton’s life revolves around the care of her special needs son.  Her daughter, Elizabeth,  is going to college for her Master’s Degree and that keeps her quite busy. When her mother asks her to make a commitment to take care of Ronnie if she passes away they get into a huge fight.

Weeks go by and Leslie passes away very unexpectedly. The police believe her son Ronnie killed her in a fit of temper. Elizabeth can’t believe her brother would hurt their mother. In fact she can’t think of anyone that would want to hurt Leslie Hampton.  Her mother’s death catapults  “Elizabeth into a world of danger and double lives that undoes everything she thought she knew….”

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am kicking myself for waiting so long to read this book! Once I started it I couldn’t put it down. David Bell owes me a good night sleep because even as I finished the book I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Ronnie has Down’s Syndrome but you could tell his mother and his therapists really had done a good job with  him. He was rocked by his mother’s death and all the aftermath. That would have been extremely hard on anyone let alone a young man with his disorder.

I really felt compassion for Elizabeth as well. We have all had disagreements with our parents and we never think that could be the last conversation we have with them. She also is a very closed off person, afraid to let anyone in to help her, much like her mother. I think she had a really hard time growing up with her mother devoting all her time to Ronnie and even saying to Elizabeth that the reason she was born was that there needed to be someone to take care of Ronnie when she was gone. Then after her mother passes away she has to deal with Ronnie plus all the secrets her mother kept from her. It was heartbreaking.

Bell has written a psychological mystery with more twists than a corkscrew and the last one really threw me. His writing always has layers, some are written out there right on the page and for others you need to read between the lines. He also writes in such a way that the reader is so drawn in that it is very hard to put the book down.

The one drawback that I have found with all 3 David Bell novels is that the book synopses on the back of the book and used for promotion gives too much away. That is why I don’t read more than the first line or two of a synopsis. If it draws me in I’ll read the book. I definitely don’t want to know any of the twists or crucial parts of the mysteries. A synopsis shouldn’t be a spoiler it should be a teaser to make you want to read the story.

This was my favorite Bell mystery so far. I am really looking forward to the next one.

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To find out more about David Bell check out his webpage here.

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!

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Posted in E-Book Challenge Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review: Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen by Lauren Leigh (Giveaway)

I forgot to add that I am able to give 1 Kindle copy away! Just leave a comment below with your email and I will choose 1 winner next Friday!

retarded girl
Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen:
Authorities Say Girl Witness to Murder

Psychological Mystery
Published by Sartoris Literary Group (March 13, 2014)
Print Length: 250 pages
File Size: 574 KB


Baby is every adoptive parent’s nightmare—blind, paralyzed from the waist down, unable to speak, and diagnosed with developmental and intellectual disabilities. For the first 10 years of her life she is raised outside in a dog pen by a cruel adoptive father, a Mississippi deputy sheriff who values his bird dogs more than his daughter.

Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen is the story of Baby’s placement in a Mississippi mental institution for individuals with profound retardation after the brutal murder of her father and the arrest of her mother, and her desperate attempt to escape the institution.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have to start this review by saying I absolutely hate the title of this book!! After reading it I came up with several alternatives but the one I like best is Baby’s Story. The synopsis posted with the book on Amazon and GoodReads is too long and gives away too much of the mystery. I feel the synopsis should spark a reader’s interest to read the book, not give away most of the story. That being said, it was the synopsis that actually made me say yes to this review request. When I first read the title the request was headed for the trash. But I think what I included above is really all that is needed.

Baby was born without eyes or vocal cords and her treatment by her father just made me sick. Her mother did try to help her but her husband was abusive of her as well. The thing that I couldn’t believe was that the father was a Deputy Sheriff and no one even questioned him about the daughter that was never seen, or in school,  or that no one ever stopped by their house and noticed the girl.

Putting that aside I continued reading. My daughter works for a state run center that works with the developmentally, physically and emotionally challenged. I wanted to see if this part of the story rang true with stories she shares about her clients. For the most part it did. Baby was an extraordinary client and turned out to be totally different from what was expected by her caregivers. I have loaned my copy to my daughter to get her thoughts.

This was story that had me crying and I figured out the mystery part quite quickly, but it was well written and paced well too.  I can’t say I enjoyed the book because of the horrific theme but it is a story that will stick with me for awhile. I think people need to look past the title and get to the story. I hold out hope the author will decide to change it because then I think this story would be read by a larger audience.

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About the Author

Lauren Leigh is a mental health professional who has devoted her life to working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. This is her first novel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: What The Heart Remembers by Debra Ginsberg

What the Heart Remembers
Published by New American Library (September 4, 2012)
A Division of the Penguin Group
Psychological Fiction
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451237002

Eden Harrison has been waiting for heart transplant so that she can get on with her life and marry Derek. When a donor is found and the transplant is completed something strange starts to happen. Eden starts having nightmares about people, places and events that were never part of her life. She likes different food and pink is no longer her favorite color. She is convinced her new heart carries the memories of the original owner. She feels drawn away from Portland and to San Diego. She leaves everything behind including Derek to pursue the life her heart wants to lead.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I have kept my synopsis brief on purpose. Sometimes the best books are found just from the title. Most of the time I don’t read the back of the book before starting the story. This way I am not looking forward or waiting for something to happen, the story just evolves before my eyes. I can take it in and enjoy it at my own pace.

This is my first Debra Ginsberg novel and Wow! It is fantastic!! She had me engaged from page one.

These characters touched my own heart many times over. My father-in-law was a heart transplant recipient and I wish he was still alive because after reading this book I have dozens of questions. The whole concept of cellular memory is extraordinary and immediately after finishing the book I was searching the internet for more information.

In addition to the medical and psychological aspects to the story there is a wonderful mystery interwoven within the pages. Who was Eden’s donor? How did they die? Accident, natural causes or murder? As Eden tries to figure it out and put everything together she may be putting her own life at risk.

The is a gripping novel that you will want to read all in one sitting. It has the twists and turns you expect from thriller that will make your own heart rate quicken, but it also has moments of heartbreak that will make you shed a tear.

If I tell you more it will ruin your reading experience. Let me just say this is a story I will never forget and I know you will enjoy it just as much as I did. Thank you Debra Ginsberg for an awesome story!!

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Find out more about Debra Ginsberg here.
Like her Facebook page here.
Become a Fan on GoodReads here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”