Tag Archives: Donna Ball

Shattered by Donna Ball: review

ShatteredShattered by Donna Ball

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A missing teenage girl… a desperate mother… a frantic call in the night… is this a cruel hoax, or the work of a maniacal serial killer?

The peaceful resort town of St. Teresa-by-the-Sea on Florida’s Forgotten Coast is known for its low crime rate, pristine beaches, and great fishing. But tragedy can come even to Paradise, as Carol Dennison found out two and a half years ago when her fourteen-year-old daughter, Kelly, disappeared on her way to a Tallahassee concert. Now, just as Carol as beginning to rebuild the pieces of her shattered life, she receives a midnight call from someone who calls her “mama” and begs for help. Is this a cruel prank designed to terrorize and punish Kelly’s father for the role he played in bringing a recently paroled criminal to justice? Or is it possible that Kelly is still alive?

A grim investigation uncovers a connection between Kelly and other girls who have gone missing along the Gulf Coast in the past few years. When the body of one of those missing girls washes up on the shores of St. Teresa-by-the-Sea, the police are forced to admit they may have a serial killer in their midst. And with over three thousand college students poised to descend on the tiny community for spring break, their only hope for stopping him before he strikes again is the frightened voice of a teenage girl on the telephone… and the desperate determination of the parents who love her.

Shattered is Donna Ball at her best: spine-tingling terror, chilling realism and unforgettable characters. No parent will ever watch her child leave the house in the same way again.

View all my Goodreads reviews

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I received a kindle copy of Shattered after responding to an announcement on goodreads by Donna Ball that she was looking for reviewers for her latest book. Having read (and reviewed) several of Donna’s other books, I was delighted when Donna accepted my offer.

Shattered lived up to my expectations and is a tense “who-done-it” with lots of twists and turns. I felt the psychological effects on the victims were extremely well portrayed.

If I have any niggles about Shattered, they are minor. I felt that, in the first part of the book, we were told too many times, in almost the same words, how animosity-filled had been Carol and Guy’s divorce: I got it the first time; I was fed of hearing about it by the third time. I didn’t feel retelling it added to the story but rather slowed down the pace of the beginning of the book.

For a while, I had two main suspects in mind, and then we learnt more about them and this for me narrowed it down to my “favourite” suspect. This doesn’t mean the culprit was signposted and flagged, far from it: Donna’s clues were very subtly laid. I love crime and mystery stories however, and enjoy trying to beat the characters to working out the solution. This does mean I was mentally yelling “No, don’t do it!” to various characters. One thing I didn’t work out was the culprit’s lair – the clues are in the text, but I didn’t pick them up.

The various threads of the characters’ – both major and minor – lives are beautifully interwoven, resulting in a tapestry of a story that needs to be read more than once to find all the clues as they first appear.

I particularly enjoyed that the story changes viewpoint regularly – that way the reader gets to see much more of the action. This technique adds to the tension for the reader as we can see the pitfalls and traps ahead of characters and thus can will them not to fall in, whilst suspecting that they will do so anyway.

I thought the end of the book particularly moving, although I was surprised that the women didn’t press their advantage with the chain when given the opportunity. When this made its appearance, it was my first thought for its use! Donna, however, gives her characters an alternative course of action and the epilogue gives closure on this point.

So in summary: buy Shattered! It is a little slow to start, with an element of repetition, but once the suspense starts to build and the status quo is challenged, it is a tense page-turner.

Thank you, Donna, for giving me the opportunity to review this book.  I hope that Shattered gains the critical and commercial success due to it.

Amazon Link

I’m claiming this book as No. tbc/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge. [Link in right hand sidebar]

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In My Mailbox (5): Monday 14 May 2012

Hello and welcome to the latest installment on In My Mailbox, which is a weekly meme originated by The Story Siren.  It gives an opportunity to showcase the books we’ve acquired, by whatever means!

This week all mine are ebooks – including my first two ebook purchases!!

eBOOKS AUTHORS HAVE GIVEN ME TO REVIEW:

1. Shattered by Donna Ball

A missing teenage girl… a desperate mother… a frantic call in the night… is this a cruel hoax, or the work of a maniacal serial killer?

The peaceful resort town of St. Teresa-by-the-Sea on Florida’s Forgotten Coast is known for its low crime rate, pristine beaches, and great fishing. But tragedy can come even to Paradise, as Carol Dennison found out two and a half years ago when her fourteen-year-old daughter, Kelly, disappeared on her way to a Tallahassee concert. Now, just as Carol as beginning to rebuild the pieces of her shattered life, she receives a midnight call from someone who calls her “mama” and begs for help. Is this a cruel prank designed to terrorize and punish Kelly’s father for the role he played in bringing a recently paroled criminal to justice? Or is it possible that Kelly is still alive?

A grim investigation uncovers a connection between Kelly and other girls who have gone missing along the Gulf Coast in the past few years. When the body of one of those missing girls washes up on the shores of St. Teresa-by-the-Sea, the police are forced to admit they may have a serial killer in their midst. And with over three thousand college students poised to descend on the tiny community for spring break, their only hope for stopping him before he strikes again is the frightened voice of a teenage girl on the telephone… and the desperate determination of the parents who love her.

Shattered is Donna Ball at her best: spine-tingling terror, chilling realism and unforgettable characters. No parent will ever watch her child leave the house in the same way again.

Donna Ball was looking for people to review her latest book and kindly let me have a copy, which I have already read – review to follow.  My RA has been playing up, so life’s been a bit painful lately and I’ve not been abe to do as much as I’ve had planned.  Briefly: I recommend this book – click on the (lifted from Amazon!) image to take you to the Amazon page for the Kindle edition.

2. Unforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy

Unforgettable EmbraceUnforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy

Unforgettable Embrace, by Joanne Clancy, is a story of a woman’s journey in self-discovery with many unexpected and often hilarious encounters along the way.

Rachel’s life has become a boring and monotonous routine. Life is just not what she expected it to be, so she decides to make some drastic but exciting changes.

A significant event occurs during a friend’s hen weekend, the seriousness of which wouldn’t be unveiled until later.

Tense moments arise that are suddenly and brutally made to look miniscule compared to the serious events, that unknown to Rachel, have already taken place, in which she is unwittingly but dangerously involved

Joanne had a weekend giveaway for Unforgettable Embrace, and I jumped at the opportunity to read this book having just finished Unfaithfully Yours.

3. Growing Up Wired by David Wallace Fleming

Growing up WiredGrowing up Wired by David Wallace Fleming

How will romantic relationships withstand technology’s offer of instant gratification? While on his computer, Victor Hastings admires the provocative pictures of the girl he’s dating.  Meanwhile, she’s posting more and more on Facebook and all the social sites. Now everyone in his cramped fraternity is competing for her.  What kind of love is this?  The wired kind.

I follow David’s blog and have been looking at his books for a while. Recently David offered Growing Up Wired foc on Smashwords for a weekend…well…I’m sure you’ve noticed what a sucker I am for a free book! I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing this book.

ebooks i have bought

1. Twined by A. L. Collins

TwinedTwined by A.L. Collins

Avalin Marsh is used to disappointment. When her mother murdered a woman in the kitchen of her home on her eleventh birthday, Avalin decided that the people in your life were only there to let you down. She built up walls over the years making a mental fortress impervious to disappointment, heartache and sadness. However it also isolated her from others, making her bitter… and lonely.

When her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia after the murder, Avalin began to see and experience things that she couldn’t explain. She thought she could handle these episodes by pushing them back into her mind. Until the day she sees one of her classmates morph into a monster right in front of her eyes. Pushed to the brink of paranoia, Avalin truly believes she’s insane. Then a mysterious man named Albert comes into her life. She’s wary of his motives yet for some reason finds herself drawn to him even though they’ve never met. What’s even more inexplicable is that Albert knows who Avalin is. She’s the daughter of the famous Abigail Marsh. Her mother.

Now the two of them will need to put their differences aside and trust one another. If Avalin can’t let her guard down long enough to let Albert in, then there might be dire and far reaching consequences in store for them.

It turns out Avalin Marsh isn’t as crazy as she thought.

I bought this, my first paid for ebook (!!) because I didn’t win it on First Reads and really wanted to read it. My good blogging friend, Daisy Chain did win a copy…I’m sure she’ll be reviewing it soon too! I have actually finished reading this, and the review joins my list of “Reviews to Written…Soon!”

2. Scarlett’s by A. L. Collins

Scarlett'sScarlett’s by A.L. Collins

Just when everything around Jaime Williams starts to cave in and, when it looks like the economy has claimed another victim. She takes a job as a last resort at the local diner. Scarlett’s will have you cheering for all that is good in this world. She builds some amazing relationships along the way and Jaime’s solace comes in the help and encouragement that she gives to those closest to her. When a friend stumbles upon some writings in an old binder under her bed while helping her move, the world that Jaime once knew is about to change… Karma is a wonderful thing!

I bought this because the reviews on Amazon were gushing. I’m about three-quarters of the way through and I’m not impressed.

………….

Five more books added to my TBR, of which I have already read two and a half! I think a “No Reading” rule will be in force for a couple of weeks while I catch up with my reviewing!
Have a great week’s reading – be sure to leave a link to your IMM in your comment 🙂

In My Mailbox: Thursday 26 April 2012

Welcome to
In My Mailbox!!

Listed here are the NetGalley books I downloaded in April. As there are quite a few, I’m not going to link them, but full links will be provided in the reviews. I have included a few comments on some of them.

I decided to list them by publication date – for no particular reason but that it made sense to me.

NETGALLEY Books RECEIVED IN APRIL:

1. The Eternity Code & The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 06 May 2003

These are books Three and Four in the Artemis Fowl series. In honour of the latest AF release, all of the series are being released to NetGalley readers, two books each month. I have read one of the series before (when I bought it for my niece) and they are well written, rip-roaring adventures; but you knew that anyway!

2. Solitary by Travis Thrasher

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 August 2010

3. Becoming Fearless by Michelle Aguilar

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 October 2011

4. Beyond The Misty Shore by Vicki Hinze

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 November 2011

5. Taking a Stand by Ken Casper

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 November 2011

6. Beside a Dreamswept Sea by Vicki Hinze

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 December 2011

7. Dark River Road by Virginia Brown

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 December 2011

8. Stuck With You by Trish Jensen

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 January 2012

9. The Mulligans of Mt. Jefferson by Don Reid

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 January 2012

10. Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 February 2012

11. Lowcountry Bribe by C. Hope Clark

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 06 February 2012

12. Hound Dog Blues by Virginia Brown

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 March 2012

13. The Top Ten Leadership Commandments by Hans Finzel

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 March 2012

14. Leaving Lancaster by Kate Lloyd

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 March 2012

15. Get Fluffy by Sparkle Abbey

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 31 March 2012

Murder, mystery and mischief among the pampered folks of posh Laguna Beach, CA and their equally pampered pets. Book One and Book Two of the Pampered Pets Mysteries are now available to NetGalley reviewers exclusively in this two-book review copy. In Desperate Housedogs, pet therapist Caro finds her client (the human one) dead. What did his two German Shepherds witness and how can Caro track down the killer? In Get Fluffy, Caro’s cousin, Melinda, the owner of a fancy pet boutique and spa, feuds with one of the snarkiest divas in town: Mona, whose pampered pup lives the life of a canine princess. When Mona is found dead, Mel is a prime suspect. Can she clear her name or will her career go to the dogs?

Sparkle Abbey is the writing team of Anita Carter and Mary Lee Woods. Visit the authors at http://sparkleabbey.com

I read Desperate Housedogs last December, and it’s a brilliantly hilarious read. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with Caro and the other characters – two- and four-legged – in Get Fluffy!

16. The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 April 2012

17. The Jesus Life by Stephen W. Smith

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 April 2012

18. Temptation by Travis Thrasher

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 April 2012

19. Dancing with the Boss by Clare Gutierrez

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group 20 April 2012

I have already read this book and enjoyed it. There’s a brief review on my Goodreads shelf; I’m working on a more comprehensive one to post here and on NetGalley.

20. The River Witch by Kimberly Brock

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 30 April 2012

21. Relentless Pursuit by Kathy Herman

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 May 2012

22. The Work of Christ by R. C. Sproul

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

23. The Next Target by Nikki Arana

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

24. Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

25. Two Testaments by Elizabeth Musser

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

26. Two Crosses by Elizabeth Musser

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

27. Godspeed by Britt Merrick

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

With the exception of the Artemis Fowl books and Dancing with the Boss, you will have noticed that these books come from only two publishers. I went looking for Bell Bridge Books books; I’ve read quite a few over the last four months and found them to be consistently well written, plotted and edited. David C. Cook is a Christian publisher I spotted on NetGalley; I thought these books looked entertaining (the fictional ones) and interesting (the non-fiction ones). Let’s hope all the books live up to expectations.

There we go: my NetGalley books for April. Watch out for the reviews over the next few weeks. Look out also for the next IMM post – I recently found the Goodreads free ebooks download page and have found some new genres to explore!

Sanctuary: Review

SanctuarySanctuary by Donna Ball

In the terrifying tradition of Dean Koontz…

Fleeing the violence and crime of life in the city, architect Laura Kane and her five year old daughter Christy move to an exclusive planned community deep in the untouched mountain wilderness of the Smoky Mountains. Legend has it that their home is built on holy ground. Other legends tell of hideous beasts that roam the mountainside, Yeti-like creatures so terrifying that no one has ever dared disturb their sanctuary… until now.

First there are random acts of vandalism, then small pets begin to disappear, and then men go into the woods and don’t come back. When Christy’s nightmares begin to suggest that she can actually communicate with the creatures who are wreaking such havoc on their small and vulnerable community, Laura is terrified. Because Christy’s dreams tell her that the monsters are coming for her next.

And she is right.

Sanctuary is a suspense-filled tale of love, courage and redemption that will take you in its grip from the first page and leave you breathless by the last. Because sometimes the real monsters are the ones you can’t escape, no matter how far you run.

******         ******         ******         ******         ******         ******         ******
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantastic tale – I love the subtle change of view of the “monsters” from evil aliens to…well, you’ll have to read the book – I’m not going to spoil!

This was pretty much unputdownable…I read myself to sleep rather than put it down! I like Donna Ball’s writing and Sanctuary did not disappoint. Some of the lead-up plots were a little unbelievable, but the action and main plot were well crafted.  The suspense builds nicely throughout the book, interspersed with more ordinary goings-on.

I downloaded this free eBook from Amazon.

I’m claiming this book as No. 9/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge and No. 4 in the Why Buy the Cow? Reading Challenge.
[All links in right hand sidebar]

View all my reviews