Book Reviews

The Breakdown (B.A. Paris) @BAParisAuthor

 Author: B.A. Paris
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.04)
Pages: 415
Published: July 18, 2017 | Harper Collins UK

Goodreads Synopsis:

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust? It all started that night in the woods. Cass Anderson didn’t stop to help the woman in the car, and now she’s dead. Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing Cass and she’s sure someone is watching her. Consumed by guilt, she’s also starting to forget things. Whether she took her pills, what her house alarm code is and if the knife in the kitchen really had blood on it.

My Thoughts (4 Stars)

Entering the book we meet one of few main characters, Cass Anderson, wife to Matthew and best friend to Rachel. She is a school teacher and after a party for the end of the year, to celebrate holiday, she decided to leave early to be home with her husband since having a migraine. On her way home she took a dark, twisty road that Matthew warned her not to take since it being nighttime and it’s severely storming. While on this road she sees a car pulled off to the side and her better instinct tells her to keep going, but somewhere deep down inside she knew the woman she just passed needed her help.

Not being able to tell if the woman needed help seeing she never got out of her car nor flashed her signals to Cass, Cass went home. The next morning when Cass wakes up she finds out that the woman she passed last night is dead. And she was her friend.

Being distraught, feeling like she helped kill her friend, Cass ends up becoming very paranoid. With the killer on the loose, she starts receiving phone calls with somebody on the other line yet they never say a word. Then the worst happens, Cass starts forgetting important things. What the alarm code is, how to work the microwave, not remembering placing orders, get-together’s, birthdays and dinner dates.

But just as she realizes she doesn’t know who she can trust, she gets diagnosed from a doctor with what her mother had before she died, early onset dementia. How can she even trust herself now?

After reading Paris’ first novel Behind Closed Doors I was very excited to hear that she was coming out with a second novel. While reading this book, I had the same likes and dislikes I did when reading her first novel.

There were parts of the story that I felt very bored with. These parts, I felt could have moved a little faster for my pace of reading but the story always knew how to keep me holding on.

I loved that Cass was the narrator of the story. I felt she did a great job at telling the story while having early on set dementia. You could feel the times the Alzheimer’s were really there but then you could tell when there was just a little bit more going on than forgetfulness. Cass, during the first part of the story made it very suspenseful. Being at a murder scene before it happened, keeping the secrets of being down that road to herself, getting creepy phone calls, it all had me on the edge of my seat. Then the middle of the book came and I couldn’t stand Cass. I was getting very fed up with her for how unrealistic she was being in certain situations. I wanted to scream at her myself but once the end of the book came, I could not in all my physical power, put it down.

I’ve been asked a lot when reading this book which was better: The Breakdown or Behind Closed Doors. I REALLY enjoyed both books. Behind Closed Doors started out very slow for me. To the point where I almost put it down but the ending was incredible! The Breakdown, as I said above started strong, got a little weak in the middle and ended with an incredible bang! In my personal opinion, more was happening for me in The Breakdown to stay engaged and I would say that I liked The Breakdown just a little bit more than Behind Closed Doors.

You can click here for my review of Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris.


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Book Reviews

Here and Gone (Haylen Beck) @HaylenBeck @CrownPublishing

Author: Haylen Beck
Goodreads Rating:
★★★★☆ (4.03)
Pages:
304
Published:
June 20, 2017 | Crown Publishing

Goodreads Synopsis:

Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities. It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them … Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

My Thoughts (5 Stars)

What a jaw-dropping, rollercoaster ride!

I started this book back at the beginning of the month, thinking that I could read two books at once but for the second time, I realized that I am a one book kind of girl. So back when I started this book I had read about four chapters and in that short amount of time, I was hooked.

Picking it up again two weeks later, the novel only intensified. This book was a perfectly well written novel about a mother who will stop at nothing to save her children.

Opening up the novel we meet one of a couple main characters, Audra, mother of Sean and Louise. Audra is a wife who is scared for not only her well being but also her children’s and when she gets pulled over on the highway, she knows something bad is about to happen. The fear of running from New York, running from her husband and running from social services is nothing compared to what she is about to endure when Officer Whiteside pulls her over.

The car is over packed, Audra and the kids are hot and tired so the officer so kindly helps them lighten the load of the trunk until a mysterious substance is found inside and Audra is arrested. After Whiteside calls it in, Officer Collins comes to help and takes the children somewhere safe while Audra is read her rights. But what Audra doesn’t know is that these two officers planned on kidnapping her kids before she was even pulled off onto the side of the road.

Amidst the backlash from the police, FBI and reporters Audra is stuck in a world who wants her head on a silver platter. Watching the news from a local bar is a man who feels connected to Audra, who feels her pain, who has seen this same situation. Danny knows how she feels because it happened to him. He has a violent past and an eye for an eye future. His brain books a flight to Arizona before his body can even process what he is doing. He has to help. He has to know who took his six year old little girl.

This story is chilling, intense and electrifying. It is a page turner that you won’t want to set down. There were times in this book that I actually had to stop reading because I would get so upset and angry.

One thing I really enjoyed about Beck’s writing style is the way he broke up the chapters between different points of view. Between Audra’s, the officers, Sean’s and Danny’s you get a look into the different emotions and perspectives that makes this novel so frightfully amazing.

I want to talk a little bit about a certain character. Sean. Audra’s eldest child. He was so resilient in this novel. The way he steps up from a boy to a man to not only protect his sister but also to take care of her in times of need. He stopped at nothing when it came to finding an escape and his will to survive was astounding. He was easily my favorite character inside the story.

One thing that I wish would have got touched on a little more was Danny’s character at the end of the novel. Something HUGE goes down and it’s left wide open. For the sake of not giving away any spoilers I will leave it at that and once you read it you can let me know what you think may or may not have happened!

I completely enjoyed this thrill ride and will be a book I recommend to others!

Thank you NetGalley, Crown Publishing and Haylen Beck for the opportunity to read Here and Gone for my honest review!


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Book Reviews

The Snowman (Jo Nesbø)

Author: Jo Nesbø
Goodreads Rating:
★★★★☆ (4.04)
Pages:
500
Published:
April 17, 2012

Goodreads Synopsis:

One night, after the first snowfall of the year, a boy named Jonas wakes up and discovers that his mother has disappeared. Only one trace of her remains: a pink scarf, his Christmas gift to her, now worn by the snowman that inexplicably appeared in their yard earlier that day. Inspector Harry Hole suspects a link between the missing woman and a suspicious letter he’s received. The case deepens when a pattern emerges: over the past decade, eleven women have vanished – all on the day of the first snow. But this is a killer who makes his own rules… and he’ll break his pattern just to keep the game interesting, as he draws Harry ever closer into his twisted web.

My Review (4 Stars)

Round of applause to Jo Nesbø for now opening up the creepiness to innocent snowmen! I read The Snowman as a buddy read with my book bestie Megan over at Coffee by the Novel! I was first suggested to read this book by Abby from Crime by the Book. I simply approached her after realizing how many books the Harry Hole series had and asked if you had to read all the books in order or if they could be read as stand alones. Surprisingly enough she told me to start here. From there I suggested the book to Megan as she was out shopping in the bookstore and the rest is history! Boy do I love this book community!

Anyway, back to The Snowman. This book did not disappoint. There were some parts that were harder for me to get into. My hardest part was coming to terms with the pronunciation of some of the Scandinavian names but I quickly made nicknames for them. One thing Megan and I both had to do was write down notes for each character for we would get slightly confused between characters if we did not.

I will not be providing spoilers, so no need to worry on that front. I just have to say though that this being the first Nesbø book I have read, he really knows how to keep the writing creepy on all accounts. I am one obviously that loves the crime/thriller/mystery genre and the occasional scary movies “at night” but I found myself in a couple spots where I put the book down because it startled me. It honestly gave me the heebie geebies.

I had a lot of fun with this book as well. Investigations always intrigue me and if you could take tours and sit in on an investigation, I would definitely be the first to sign up. With that being said, I really enjoyed Hole’s character. He’s never very funny or charming but he is definitely a badass. Nesbø created a reading atmosphere (for me) of cat and mouse. The minute I thought The Snowman was a certain character he flipped the script and I was left guessing all over again.

This novel kept me on the edge of my seat, it was like I said before very creepy and it had me reading aloud to people I live with to share it’s intensity! Trying to find a motive behind the killings and the killer was very suspenseful. Nesbø provided the right amount of twists and turns to keep you guessing. This winter when I see a snowman, I will definitely be on guard.

Megan’s (Coffee by the Novel) Thoughts:

“Jo Nesbø sure knows how to build suspense and mislead the reader (several times I might add). I actually went through a few suspects and scenarios in my head before I started to put the pieces together that Nesbø so easily laid out for me. Oddly enough, what creeped me out the most about this book was the thought of a snowman in a dark forest or staring at me through the window, not the serial killer on the prowl. Who would have thought that something as innocent as a snowman could be so terrifying? Overall, I really enjoyed my first Jo Nesbø and would definitely read another book in the Harry Hole series!” Rated: 4 stars.

Head on over to her to her blog later today to see her review of Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman!


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Book Reviews

I See You (Clare Mackintosh) @claremackint0sh @bookouture

Author: Clare Mackintosh
Goodreads Rating:
★★★★☆ (3.90)
Pages:
372
Published: 
February 21, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis

You do the same thing every day. You know exactly where you’re going. You’re not alone. When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that. Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make?

My Review (5 Stars)

Shut the front door. That ending had me dropping my kindle! A toast to you Mackintosh for the most clever ending I have yet to read!!

This book is the second book written by Clare Mackintosh following I Let You GO. I Let You Go was a great read with a second novel that tops it! Mind you, you do NOT have to read these books in order. You will not be confused by any characters or plots in the story if read backwards. Click here for my review on I Let You Go.

I See You was one of the first books I requested on NetGalley and got approved for it by Bookouture. I am not proud to say it has taken me this long to read it. But to my defense I thought you had to read the books in order. Silly me. Any who, I am most mad because this book lived up to it’s reputation. The whole time reading this novel, I had friends telling me that it’s one of their favorite books, the best psychological thriller … well now I know why!

Opening up to the book, we meet the main character Zoe Walker. She has two children Justin and Katie along with a new boyfriend Simon. Her and her ex-husband, Matt, are still good friends and have a long line of history. In the opening chapters Zoe is reading the London newspaper and sees her picture in an advertisement for a dating website. Not just any dating website either, FindTheOne.com. Hard to believe, she takes it to her family and asks them what their thoughts are. No one believes it’s really her until more women are added to the advertisements every day and they start being attacked. Scared to find the truth, Zoe sets out to find the perpetrator since the police, to her, are not doing everything in their power.

When police officer Kelly Swift cracks the password to get onto the website FindTheOne.com, it is more shocking than they expected. To be a member you chose a membership and within that you can download women’s commutes. Not just their commutes but their every day routine, what they look like and what they constantly wear.

I wholeheartedly wish that I could just spill the beans on what happens in this book. I have already talked to three different people because I was so mind blown by the ending. But I’m going to spare you all the spoilers and tell you to go read this book right NOW!!

Each chapter is broken down into three different points of view. The first is Zoe Walker, the second is police officer Kelly Swift and the third is antagonist who is behind the website. The way Mackintosh had these chapters set up in the order they are had me on the edge of my seat, making me want to read faster.

The concept of this whole book completely creeped me out. Reading along, I could actually see this happening in real life. It takes stalking to a whole new level. Stalking a human being to be able to sell their routine to men so they could “by chance” bump into them to see if they could spark a relationship. I think not! I definitely vowed to myself last night that I will never make a constant schedule to where nothing changes. The fear that was instilled in me after this book is completely unreal. Amazing job to Clare Mackintosh on this frightening thriller! Hands down one of my top 5 favorite reads and is highly recommended!

Thank you to Bookouture, NetGalley and Clare Mackintosh for allowing me to read I See You for an honest review!


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Book Reviews

The Darkest Lies (Barbara Copperthwaite) @Bookouture @BCopperthwait

Author: Barbara Copperthwaite
Goodreads Rating:
★★★★☆ (4.01)
Pages:
404
Published: May 12, 2017
Publisher: Bookouture

Goodreads Synopsis:

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret. Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village. Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home. Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker.

Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk? As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenage has been harboring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger …

My Review (4 Stars)

When I finished The Darkest Lies late last night, it took me about 10 minutes to decide if I wanted to rate this book 3.5 stars or 4 stars. I know on Goodreads you can’t really do half a star but that’s not why I chose to pick 4 stars. I chose 4 stars because not only was this book a very well written psychological thriller, it also made me cry and hit me in all the feels.

I want to start from the beginning though. Meeting the main character Melanie Oak. A mother to a 13, soon to be 14 year-old daughter, Beth, and a loving wife to her husband, Jacob. Oh and you can’t forget their beautiful dog Wiggins. They are, like the synopsis said a beautiful family. The perfect family. They love each other unconditionally, they take silly pictures together, they make dinner together, they have girl nights together where they pamper each other. Yes even Jacob participates in these girl nights.

But one night, their world is turned upside down when Melanie walks her daughter to her best friends house and ends up letting her walk the last few feet to the house. What Melanie didn’t realize was that the second she turned her back on her daughter and walked back home that Beth would disappear into the night and be found brutally beaten the next morning.

Then you meet another main character named Glenn. He used to live in Fenmere but moved and recently came back to reside. He through this whole story rubbed me the wrong way. Ever since I met him. He seemed sketchy, and to me very annoying. When he and Melanie reconnected, he learned all about the case and been her go to guy. Everyone else in town couldn’t even look her in the eye when it came to the subject. She learned she couldn’t talk to Jacob without him really listening to her so she chose to confide in Glenn. They decided on solving the case together and bounced different ideas when it came to her daughter. He used Melanie and constantly pushed her into being a drunk and more a less a laughing stock of town while she desperately was trying to figure out what happened to her daughter.

Something else that bothered me was Melanie’s outbursts. After Glenn got in her head to solve the case on her own she was racing all over town trying to convict someone. It didn’t even matter if they were life long friends of hers. In my eyes it was very distasteful and psychotic. I wouldn’t have the first clue about what she was going through but I know that I would trust in the police force enough to solve a crime and know that any information I had, I would hand over. Not just go on some wild goose chase.

I loved Jacob’s character. What a loving and supporting father and husband. Even though he gets caught doing something that he shouldn’t have, I have so much respect for him in his time of disaster and even after the crime is solved. His character hit me hard and definitely had me shedding a few tears.

Another thing I really loved was the setting for this story. The book opens with an unnerving description that draws you in perfectly to a beautifully and isolated area of marshes that are both home to the Oaks and where they find death.

The other characters in this story were perfectly written. They were the type of villagers who stuck closely together, while knowing so much information about what happened to Beth but yet no one ever steps forward. They are frustrating, yet caring. The one thing that trumps all is the fact that everyone has a secret they don’t want the town to find out about.

This book is filled with many chapters. 106 to be exact without counting the prologue and epilogue. They are short chapters but hold clues to help you solve not one but two crimes that should not have been committed in the first place.

Thank you to Bookouture, NetGalley and Barbara Copperthwaite for letting me read The Darkest Lies for an honest review.


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Book Reviews

Six Stories (Matt Wesolowski)

Author: Matt Wesolowki
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.30)
Pages: 225
Published: March 30, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:

The novel is constructed as a series of podcasts, in which an investigative journalist describes the circumstances around the death of a teenaged boy in an outward-bound centre, interviewing witnesses, suspects and people close to the incident.

My Thoughts (5 Stars):

This book is hands down the most creative book I’ve ever read. This book had me guessing between reality and make-believe.

Six Stories is a smaller novel with a whole lot of intense pages inside. This book is based on pod casts. I personally have never listened to a pod cast nor have I known anyone who has constructed one but after reading this book I may take a minute or two to start! Megan from Coffee By the Novel (now has a blog set up!) talked me in to having this be my next read and I’m so glad I listened to her. At first I had a hard time getting into this novel. I just wasn’t understanding the writing style right away, but as I got through the first couple pages, I got the hang of it and couldn’t put it down.

As I started though, finishing the episode one, I asked Megan if this was based on a true story. For me, this book felt so life-like. I had a really hard time imagining this story just as make-believe. I could see this story unfolding in the newspapers and on news casting stations very easily in the world we live today. Which for me, makes this book utterly brilliant. Who doesn’t want a book that isn’t life-like!?

Looking into this novel, it is made up of character studies, local horror legends, a murder mystery and a lot of creepy feels throughout the read to make it one of the perfect thriller/mystery books I have ever read. Inside the pages, there are different characters who played a huge part in the murder of a boy named Tom Jefferies. In each chapter we read about each person’s outlook on the time frame leading up to his “mis-adventured” death.

This novel, literally had me on the edge of my seat. It even had me closing my book in the middle of the night because I got a bit freaked out. Believe it or not!

Beginning the novel, I thought to myself this might be tough to figure out who killed Tom Jefferies. Having be told as a pod cast and the journalist Scott King always saying “I’m not here to make judgements. I’m here to allow you to do that,” I was afraid I might have not been able to figure it out and would be left hanging. As I got to Episode 4 though, I had picked my suspect and after finishing Episode 5, I was very confident I was right.  What I didn’t know was how incredibly deranged the ending would be. I am still left speechless.

At the beginning of the novel we find out that Tom Jefferies had been killed and we learn that people are going to be interviewed but what I enjoyed the most was trying to believe it was actually a person Tom knew or one of the local legends that had been floating around Scarclaw Fell.

Now the name Scarclaw Fell is creepy sounding in itself but when learning that they are old mine shafts that have caved in years prior and the local legend haunts this Fell gives the thriller meter a 100. Especially when reading home alone, in the middle of the woods, at night!!

But again, my most favorite idea about this novel is within its 225 pages, Matt writes his characters interviews so believably that you forget you’re reading a story. With these characters you get to learn about each one individually and then you get to hear a side of them that made up their group dynamics. Each character was as strong and damaged as the next. I highly suggest you pick up this book or order it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!


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Book Reviews

Secrets of the Dead (Carol Wyer) @carolewyer @bookouture

Author: Carol Wyer
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.47)
Pages: 314
Published:
May 30th, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:

Three murders. Three innocent victims. What secrets did they share with their killer? A bottle of bubble bath and colorful, plastic boats were scattered in small puddles on the floor. In the bathtub lay Linda Upton, fully-clothed, her lips a shade of blue, and her bloodshot eyes wide open. When a young mother is found drowned in the bath, clutching a receipt saying ‘all debts paid’, Detective Robyn Carter knows it’s just the beginning of a harrowing case. She recognizes the signs of a serial killer, and when a second victim with a receipt is found, her worst fears are confirmed.

Robyn is under pressure to solve the crime yesterday. But her team can’t find a link between the two bodies, and the cracks are starting to show. Just when her leads have dried up, Robyn discovers an unsettling clue she thinks could unlock the case. Can Robyn stop the most twisted killer of her career before it’s too late?

My Review (5 Stars):

Secrets of the Dead is the second novel in the series presenting Detective Inspector Robyn Carter. I read Wyer’s first novel Little Girl Lost back in March and was mesmerized with DI Carter. I thought this novel was absolutely brilliant and could completely relate with DI Carter by knowing what it feels like to lose someone who was so connected to you.

I read Secrets of the Dead as a buddy read with Annie from The Misstery and we had a lot of the same feelings when it came to this novel. I will not be talking about anything that gives away the ending nor will it ruin the novel for those who have yet to read it.

Robyn Carter is still working as a Detective Inspector in this novel, trying to work her way up in the ranks. The minute she realizes that she has more than she bargains for in this case is when everything she is known for (her instincts, the will to succeed, never giving up) is questioned.

The plot of the story compared to Little Girl Lost was a little bit slower for me. I was getting antsy reading chapter to chapter because I felt as if DI Carter and her team were never going to catch the killer. They had their victims, they had their invoices that claimed 250,000 pounds, they had the connections but up until the end they didn’t have the who or the why.  It was just one thing I was bummed about. I wanted a more fast paced thriller.

One thing I loved about this novel though was how we got to see a more in depth side of Robyn and her relationship to her deceased husband Davies. We get to discover her emotional and softer side. It made me love her character even more. With that we got to read more about Amelie as well. Amelie is Davies daughter. We see more of Robyn and Amelie’s relationship bloom into what could be devastating for Robyn as Amelie is a spitting image inside of Davies but she makes the most of it and makes their time beautiful.

Another thing I enjoyed was how Wyer wrote her victims. There were different types of deaths throughout the book and there were even a couple that slipped through the grasps of the Leopard himself. The tragic deaths were perfect for this story.

The fact that this book was mainly written in the present time, and very few snippets were shown from the past is something I enjoyed. I really enjoy books that go back and forth from past to present but this was a nice refreshing thrill ride.

Thank you tremendously to Bookouture, NetGalley and Carol Wyer for allowing me to read this novel for my honest review. And a Happy Publishing Day to Wyer on her second installment of the DI Carter Series!


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