Reviewing the Unreviewed: October 2017

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee. Read September 30 – October 1. 4 Stars. 

Witty, fun, and well-written. I am usually a naysayer of hype, but it seems everyone was right about this one! I know it’s a very unpopular opinion, but books featuring LGBT+ romances are not really my cup of tea. Because of that I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book as much as everyone else seemed to (plus sometimes I feel people give extra stars to books just for having that extra bit of “diversity” despite how good the story is), but I ended up quite enjoying the whole thing. I really liked all the characters, though Monty did frustrate me often. I didn’t entirely understand the whole alchemy thing and thought there were parts that dragged on far too long (it probably could have been at least 100 pages less than it was) and I almost gave it a slightly lower rating because of that, but it was bantery and fun and cute and I didn’t want to put it down. I am really looking forward to reading more of Monty, Percy, and Felicity.

There is one thing that is not the story’s fault, but still really rubs me the wrong way that I wanted to mention because it’s a pet peeve of mine. I hate when there are Author Notes that need to explain things or tell me how important things in their book are. In this case it was a history lesson (the author was a history major, btw). I just think that books should stand on their own and if I want to know more, I can certainly do my own research into the topic or time period. *Steps down from soapbox*

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The Wife Between Us  by Greer Hendircks and Sarah Pekkanen. Read October 7-9. 4 Stars. 

The Wife Between Us is a very cleverly written novel of psychological suspense that managed to do what few books seem able to do these days – genuinely surprise me. Not just once, but multiple times. Full review to come in December.

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The Teacher (Imogen Grey #1) by Katerina Diamond. Read October 9-11. 4 Stars. 

This is the first book in a series, but I actually read the second book before this one. I am not sure if I would’ve liked this as much if I read it first. While I expected multiple POVs, I thought Imogen Grey would be the main focus, but I felt like her part in the story was pretty small until closer to the end. We don’t even get her POV until chapter 19. I think this normally would’ve annoyed me, however, since I already know her from the second book – and found out the answers to her past that are only referenced in this book – it didn’t really bother me. While I could’ve done with maybe a few less POVs, it did work for me. I still love Adrian and was glad we got a good deal of the story from his viewpoint. The story is DARK and definitely won’t be for everyone. Katerina Diamond definitely does not shy away from tough or graphic subject matter. If you can handle it, though, I think this series is really great so far and I am really excited to read the third book next.

Lacey’s Wedding (a Lacey Flint short story) by Sharon Bolton. Read October 12. 3 Stars.

Well then. That was not really like I expected it to be. As a self-contained short story and Lacey Flint suspense it worked. However, if this is truly the last Lacey Flint story we get, I’m going to be super pissed.

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Until You (Bachelor Brotherhood #2) by Denise Grover Swank. Read October 15-17. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute and I enjoyed it. I liked both Tyler and Laine, but never really fell in love with them. I thought the whole non-disclosure stuff with Laine’s job was kind of odd and that whole storyline just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. My favorite part was probably Tyler hanging out with his younger brother again. This was probably my least favorite book in this series, but it was still worth the read.

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Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins. Read October 21-23. 4 Stars. 

I have been a fan of Kristan Higgins for years now and have read all of her books – most of them multiple times. Whenever I need a pick-me-up her books do the trick. I don’t read a lot of straight up Romance books so she has become my go-to when that’s what I’m in the mood for. Her last few books, though, have moved out of the Romance category and more into Women’s Fiction. While the books have obviously still been up to the standard I expect out of Higgins, they weren’t quite the light and fluffy feel good stories I was used to getting and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Even though Now That You Mention It feels a lot more serious than most her other books, it still ended up being exactly the book I needed right now. Higgins still made me happy and made me feel and I quite loved this book. Full review to come.

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The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor. Read October 18-25. 3 Stars. 

For me, The Chalk Man, is a perfect example of how hype can ruin your reading experience. I have seen several absolutely glowing reviews of this book and I was prepared for it to be one of my new favorite books of the year. Unfortunately, it fell far short of my expectations. Full review to come.

********Back on the TBR********

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Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, and The Force by Don Winslow. I was an incredibly moody reader this month. These are all books I’ve really been wanting to read and my library holds for them came in around the same time. I think I read the first chapter of each of them, but never got any further. They are back on the TBR for another day.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books I’ve Read Because of Blogging

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books You’ve Read Because of Booktube/Blogging/etc. I’m going to try to keep this to books I’ve read this year.

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1. Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1) by SJ Bolton (aka Sharon Bolton). As with many books in this genre, I read this book because of Annie @ The Misstery.

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2. Making Faces by Amy Harmon. There is so much love for Amy Harmon in the blogging community that I had to finally check her out and now I understand. I’m pretty sure I first heard of her through Brandie @ Running on Words and Wine and it was Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse who let me know when this book was up for request on NetGalley.

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3. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole. Again, it was Annie’s review that made me read this one and I loved it.

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4. The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle. I kept seeing this book all over the book blogs so I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I did like that ending, though!

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5. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker. Another book that was everywhere that didn’t quite live up to the hype for me.

What books have you read because of the blogging community?

Review: Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all…

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Dead Woman Walking will be available September 5, 2017.

I discovered Sharon Bolton earlier this year with the fabulous Lacey Flint series and have been eagerly devouring every book of hers I could get my hands on since then. Dead Woman Walking had become one of my most anticipated books of the year and I ended up really enjoying it.

The official synopsis is kept pretty vague and I am hesitant to really go further into it because I do think that it enhances the experience to go into it without a lot of information. I will say that the crime that is witnessed from the hot air balloon is just part of a much bigger mystery that is explored. The perspective shifts between the lone survivor, the murderer, the detective working the case, and flashback chapters. I’m a big fan of multiple timelines when done well and Bolton does it excellently here. Bolton also does an amazing job creating suspense, especially in the early chapters in the hot air balloon.

There are many little twists and surprises throughout the book. I’m the type of person that NEEDS to figure things out before they’re revealed and because of this I am not often surprised by the twists. There is one kind of major twist that I suspected very early and it took most of the book for it to be confirmed. I feel like anybody really paying attention would be able to figure it out because there are lots of clues, so I thought it took a little too long to reveal it. However, if you’re not the type of person that has to analyze every little thing then it might be a great surprise for you. There are a couple of other twists that I did figure out before they were revealed, but Bolton still managed to sneak in one surprise that literally made me go “What!?”.

Overall, even though I figured out most of the twists, I thought Dead Woman Walking was a really well-constructed mystery and I enjoyed pretty much every moment of it. I am impressed by Bolton’s writing in every book I read by her and this year she has become one of my favorite authors. I definitely recommend this one to mystery/suspense fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read In 2017 So Far

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish , is: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far. Books 1-3 are the ones I’ve given 4.5 Stars to and all the rest have 4. It was hard to narrow down which 4 star reads would make the list, but I went for the ones that are the most likely to be re-reads in the future.

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1. Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

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2. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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4. Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

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5. Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

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6. Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton (aka SJ Bolton)

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7. I Found You by Lisa Jewell

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8. Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

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9. The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

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10. When It’s Real by Erin Watt

What are your best books of 2017?

Disney Princess Book Tag

I was tagged for this by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse. Check out her blog, it’s awesome! Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to do it.

My Disney Princess Facts:

1. My favorite princesses are Belle and Jasmine.

2. I don’t really care that much for Sleeping Beauty because the movie used to scare me when the villain turned into that dragon thing.

3. I still haven’t seen the new Beauty and the Beast, but I really want to!


Snow White
Name your favorite classic.

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Persuasion by Jane Austen


Cinderella
Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime.

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Most recently was The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond.


Aurora
Name your favorite classic romance.

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Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Ariel
Name a book that’s about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams.

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown


Belle
Name a book with a smart and independent female character.

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Lacey Flint in Now You See Me by Sharon (SJ) Bolton


Jasmine
Name a book with a character who challenged the social conventions of his or her world.

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Moses in The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon


Pocahontas
Name a book whose ending was a roller-coaster of emotions.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.


Mulan
Name a book with a kick-ass female character.

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Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Tiana
Name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character.

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Alexis from The Wedding Belles series by Lauren Layne


Rapunzel
Name a book that features an artist.

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Blue from A Different Blue by Amy Harmon


Merida
Name a book that features a mother-daughter relationship.

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Till Death by JLA.


Anna & Elsa
Name a book that features a great relationship between siblings.

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On the Fence by Kasie West.

The Sims Book Tag

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I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check out her blog!). I’m going to stick with only books I’ve read in 2017, which may be a little challenging since it’s only March.

The Original Sims –  the best author debut

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Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson is the only 2017 debut I’ve read so far this year and I really enjoyed it. It’s a YA re-telling of Mansfield Park. It comes out May 16th and I think  you should read it!

The Grim Reaper – the saddest character death

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*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER

There are a lot of people that die in Making Faces by Amy Harmon, but Bailey’s hit me the hardest.

*END OF SPOILER*

Sims Getting Stuck – a character that just got in the way

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Luke in Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley. Without him there would have been basically no conflict in the story, but I still think his character made no sense.

Simlish – a book with amazing writing

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I Found You by Lisa Jewell (Out on April 25th). This is only my second Lisa Jewell book, but her writing is always so impressive.

Expansion Packs – a series where the books keep getting better

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The Lacey Flint series by SJ/Sharon Bolton. Though I must admit the 4th book in the series (while still good) was my least favorite, but this series is fantastic.

Sim Romance – the worst case of insta-love

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I haven’t really read any books with insta-love so far this year (hooray for smarter book choices in 2017!). The closest is probably Candice and Ian in Mackenzie Fire by Elle Casey and they were supposed to be more of the hate-to-love trope than insta-love. But since the transition happened pretty fast, it kind of fits the bill. I still shipped them, though.

Cheats – a book that was entirely unrealistic 

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By Your Side by Kasie West. I really don’t think there is any way that every single phone in the library was behind a locked door. And I think Dax was probably savvy enough to pick a lock if need be. Still a pretty cute book, though.

Needs Fulfillment – a character that made all the wrong decisions

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How about Everyone in Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. Seriously these characters (while entertaining) did the stupidest things throughout this whole series.

Error Code 12 – a series that started off well but went downhill from there

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The Law of Moses series by Amy Harmon. Now I haven’t read a lot of series this year to choose from and this one is only two books. I just didn’t like The Song of David as much as I liked the first book, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.

The Sims Vortex- a series that completely engrossed you

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I’m going to have to go with the Lacey Flint series again. It’s become one of my favorite mystery/suspense series out there.

Revewing the Unreviewed: February 2017

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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By Your Side by Kasie West. Read January 31-Feb 1. 3.5 Stars.

I enjoyed the second half of this book much more than the first half. I thought I would be disappointed when the story shifted from being trapped in the library into the real world, but it actually got a lot better.

I appreciated the main character having anxiety, but didn’t really feel like it was that great of a representation. There were a few times that I thought were kind of spot on, though. I did like how it showed how anxiety can make you appear to other people. However, once all of Autumn’s friends knew she had anxiety they were perfectly understanding and I don’t think that’s very realistic (at least not in my own experience).

I liked Dax and his sarcasm and how he looked out for Autumn. I thought he was really sweet. It did take about half the book until I felt the romance was cute and I wish it would’ve happened sooner, but it did eventually get super cute and I shipped it.

Overall, I liked this, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite book by this author. While I really enjoyed the second half of the book, I have to admit the first half was only ok. That’s why I’m giving it 3.5 stars instead of 4.

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A Dark and Twisted Tide (Lacey Flint #4) by Sharon Bolton. Read February 2-5. 4 Stars.

This was probably my least favorite of the series, but still good. The plot felt a little convoluted at times, but it all came together by the end. I really like all of these characters and enjoy reading about them. I wish there were more Joesbury, but next up there’s a novella that I believe is from his POV, so that should make up for it.

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Here Be Dragons (Lacey Flint 4.5) by Sharon Bolton. Read February 5. 4 stars.

A pretty short, well-paced story told from entirely Joesbury’s POV. We get the whole story of what he was doing during the events of “A Dark and Twisted Tide”, plus a little more action. The ending included some major Joesbury-Lacey Feels and I can not believe that the author hasn’t even announced yet when the next book in this series will be. I need more!

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The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses #1) by Amy Harmon. Read February 1-6. 4 Stars.

Beautiful. Clever. A little on the weird side. This is my second Amy Harmon book and she is quickly on her way to becoming one of my favorite authors. I loved Moses and his POVs were the best parts of the book for me. I liked Georgia, but not quite as much as Moses. I also really liked Tag and am looking forward to reading his book. Definitely recommend this one.

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The Song of David (The Law of Moses #2) by Amy Harmon. Read February 7-9. 3 Stars.

I loved that this story was told from both Tag’s and Moses’ POVs. I liked the style of getting Tag’s POV through tapes he recorded and Moses’ POV in the present. I loved Moses just as much, but didn’t quite love Tag as much as I did in the previous book. His behavior just made me really angry sometimes. I liked both Millie and Henry and thought their disabilities were portrayed well. The reason this book isn’t getting 4 stars from me, though, is that I don’t like open-ended books and I didn’t feel satisfied with the conclusion of this one. Though Harmon did an admirable job of trying to convey that the black and white answer wasn’t needed, it just wasn’t enough for me. Overall, though, it was a good book that I would still recommend you read if you’ve read The Law of Moses.

A big thank you to Deanna  for loaning me a copy of the book!!

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Defying Gravity (Finding Perfect #2) by Kendra C. Highley. Read February 9-11. 2.5 Stars.

Zoey was a pretty unlikable character. I hated how wishy-washy and shallow she was – while we were supposed to think she was the opposite of shallow. Luke’s character make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I liked Parker, he was the saving grace of the book.

I read a lot of YA, even though I am around twice the age of the main characters. Usually I can still really appreciate them, but this is one of those books that makes me think I’m getting too old for YA.

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. Read February 11-12. 4 Stars.

I liked this. This is my second Megan Miranda book and I’m still not sure I’m entirely sold on her writing style, but she is pretty great at character development. I don’t think the “backwards” storytelling was done as effectively as it could have been (I’ve seen it done better). There were only really two somewhat surprising reveals until it got close to the end of the book, so it seemed to drag a bit to me. However, I think that I will definitely re-read this sometime and read it in chronological order instead and see if things make sense. I did like the mystery, though, and I even liked the characters, even though they aren’t really the type of people you want to be rooting for. I found this one much more compelling than “The Perfect Stranger” and I’m sure I’ll give this author’s other future books a try.

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Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton. Read February 13-16. 3 Stars.

Good writing, good character development, steady pacing. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really care for the story. The characters were all unlikable, but I think they were supposed to be. I guessed who was behind the missing children long before the end and I didn’t really like the lack of impact the reveal had. There was also a lot of historical information about the Falklands that I felt took away focus a bit from the actual plot. Not a bad book at all (I don’t think Bolton can write a bad book), but pretty different from her Lacey Flint series that I love.

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Accidentally on Purpose (Heartbreaker Bay #3) by Jill Shalvis. Read February 17-19. 3.5 Stars.

A very cute romance. I think maybe I would have appreciated it just a bit more if I read the other books in the series first and knew the side characters better, but it still worked as a standalone. There wasn’t a whole lot of actual plot, but Archer and Elle’s relationship was fun enough to read that it didn’t really matter.

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On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins. Read February 17-21. 3 Stars.

It took me quite a long time to get into this book. If it wasn’t Kristan Higgins then I probably would have put it down to try another time. However, I am glad I kept reading. The character development was very good and I did like both Kate and Ainsley and their new romantic interests. Where Higgins writing really shines is with the romance and I wish this book would have focused a little more on that. I found myself skimming a lot of the rest of it. I know this is another foray into the “Women’s Fiction” world for this author instead of just a light and fluffy contemporary, but Higgins is my go-to when I want light and fluffy and I found myself just slightly disappointed that this wasn’t like the other books from her that I love.

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The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan. Read February 25-26. 3 Stars.

I liked the writing in this a lot and thought the multiple 1st Person POVs were done exceptionally well. Though I found the story kind of boring for the most part, it was written in such a way that I didn’t really want to put it down. I think one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction is when the main conflict in a story comes from poor communication and that’s what much of this book felt like to me. While I did feel sorry for things that happened to Zoe, I also was super annoyed by her behavior almost the whole time. Overall a bit of a disappointing story, but the writing really saved it for me.

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

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Silent Scream by Anglea Marsons. I got this from the library and read just a couple chapters before it became a victim of too many books in too little time. I will definitely give it another try, though.