Posted in Reviews

Review: How It Happened by Michael Koryta

How It HappenedHow It Happened by Michael Koryta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You might think that a book which starts out with a confession and explanation would be devoid of mystery and suspense, but in this case – you’d be so wrong! This book begins with a double murder confession, but manages to keep you guessing until the very end.

Kimberly Crepeaux is a local ne’er-do-well, but when she confesses to the double murder of two local “golden children,” FBI agent Rob Barrett believes her. However, when parts of her story begin to unravel, like the bodies being found 200 miles away from where she swore they were located, Barrett loses control of the case and is ostracized for screwing up majorly. But he can’t let the case go, and he continues to search for the truth, no matter what he has to do to find it.

Like I said, the book is chock full of suspense, even though the first chapter reveals the confession. Koryta weaves a story that works backwards and manages to keep you guessing as he slowly reveals pieces of the puzzle which build back to that main picture. It’s really quite a suspenseful tale.

The setting is also really great, because Koryta manages to perfectly capture the essence of life in a small town and how things work when everyone knows everyone’s business – or at least, they think they do. Being from a small town, I totally related to a lot of those things.

The ending was a little convoluted, though. I’m still trying to piece it together in my mind. But I guess it couldn’t be too straightforward, or the story would be too simple.

Overall, this was a great high-suspense tale, with plenty of action. Fans of police procedurals will really enjoy it.

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Posted in Book Extras, For Fun

Teaser Tuesday: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

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Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. The meme is hosted by The Purple Booker!
It is very easy to play along:
Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

After several intense thrillers, I decided to try something lighter in tone. I am a huge an of Sophie Kinsella, so I am excited to get to read her latest! Here’s a little peak:

I’m baffled. Isn’t she even going to try to sell me the chopper thing? She seems to have been utterly derailed, and I can’t work out why.

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About the Book

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

 

Posted in Reviews

Review: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken GirlsThe Broken Girls by Simone St. James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was such a great gothic-style read,with intense myster(ies) and just enough of a paranormal element to send shivers down your spine. I was totally hooked, right from the beginning.

The plot summary seems complicated but it’s actually fairly straightforward and asy to grasp.

The book has two main storylines, one that takes place in 1950, at Idlewild boarding school, where four roommates bond as they try to survive their own personal issues and the terrible school itself, which is a dumping place for troubled girls. Then one of them disappears and the rumored paranormal presence at the school seems more real. In 2014, Fiona is a journalist who is obsessed with Idlewild, now closed, after her sister’s body was found there 20 years earlier. When she hears that the school is being renovated, she decides to write an article about it, but quickly becomes sucked into the mystery of Idlewild. The two stories collide as shocking discoveries are made.

I loved the setting of this one – Idlewild is a creepy, desperate place and it’s the perfect scary story setting. The supernatural element is just enough to enhance that atmosphere, but not overpower it.

I also loved how everything fit together so perfectly. It really seamlessly blends together so well and that really made the story great, not just “good.” The characters were also another great asset to the book; I can’t think of one person who wasn’t well fleshed out and interesting.

Overall, if you like creepy, spooky reads with some great twists, you will LOVE this book. I wish I could give it 10 stars.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: One Last Breath by Lisa Jackson

One Last BreathOne Last Breath by Lisa Jackson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love both Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush. But I didn’t love this book, I’m sorry to say.

The book begins with two simultaneous attacks on the wedding of Liam Bastian and Rory Abernathy, a mismatched pair of lovers from opposite sides of the tracks. Rory runs, taking the couple’s unborn child with her, vowing to disappear forever. But five years later, Liam finally tracks Rory down … and then people start turning up dead. Who was behind the attacks five years earlier, and are they back to finish the job?

The book starts out great – it’s action-packed and very mysterious. But then, things lose steam. The Rory-Liam chase goes on too long, and the cat-and-mouse game they play is too dragged out. I would have liked more focus on the mystery and the characters themselves, rather than that melodrama.

Also, I didn’t really like either Liam or Rory. I didn’t feel the chemistry between them and I quickly became annoyed by Rory’s insistence that she had to stay hidden – it’s never entirely clear why exactly she thinks that, especially when everyone around her agrees that she needs to stop running.

There are some nice twists in there that kept me entertained toward the end and like I said, the mystery itself is pretty good – it proves that Jackson and Bush still have what it takes. This book itself is just a miss.

I’d skip this one in favor of another by these ladies.

View all my reviews

Posted in Book Extras, For Fun

Teaser Tuesday: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

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Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. The meme is hosted by The Purple Booker!
It is very easy to play along:
Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

This week I’m just beginning “The Broken Girls” by Simone St. James. This book has great reviews so far, so I’m excited to get it started and see how I like it.

There was a chill of foreboding running through Fiona’s blood. She stared at the men, gathered with their heads together, their postures tense and distressed.

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About the Book

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

 

Posted in Reviews

Review: Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza

Deadly Secrets (Detective Erika Foster, #6)Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Erika Foster series just keeps getting better, especially with this latest addition to the series, which continues the story with our favorite characters, while introducing us to some interesting and varied people along the way. It was great, especially considering the series could have gone stale by the sixth book.

The premise: Erika is traveling to Christmas lunch when she spots a murder scene and she quickly becomes wrapped up in the gruesome crime, in which a young, beautiful burlesque dancer is cut down on her doorstep. Soon, it becomes apparent that the young woman’s life is as dramatic as her stage act, complicating matters. Plus, a series of brutal assaults suddenly become tied to the murder.

I loved how intricate this story was, with so many different clues and suspects all being tied into the mystery, there’s never a dull moment. And, of course, there’s a couple of rally great twists in there to throw you off the scent. I did not see that ending coming, not even a little.

Erika also continues to develop as a character, and I’m excited to see where she goes from here. She’s starting to see that her focus on work isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I hope she can find some happiness soon (I don’t want to spoil too much!).

Overall, this is a great addition to the Erika Foster series and fans should not hesitate to check it out. If you haven’t gotten into this series yet – do it!

View all my reviews

Posted in Reviews

#BlogTour: Carpenter Road by NM Brown

B L O G B L I T Z (1)

About the Book

When a young woman swaps coats with a prostitute then vanishes, it marks the start of a mystifying case for Leighton Jones.

After traffic officer Leighton is called to an altercation in a used car lot he is confronted by a prostitute rambling on about a girl who stole her coat. He thinks nothing off it. That is until the body of a Jane Doe shows up, matching the prostitute’s description.

What is the link between the fight in the car lot and the dead woman?

Leighton proceeds to gather evidence, which he attempts to pass onto the lead Homicide detective, Slater. However, Slater tells Leighton to back off, and that a suspect has been arrested.

Fearing there is more to the case than he first thought, Leighton is driven to keep digging and soon ends up on the trail of a serial killer.

But Leighton might be out of his depth this time…

carpenter road FINAL

My Review

4/5 stars – Highly recommended!

First things first, this is the second book starring Leighton Jones, but it absolutely can be read as a standalone; it takes place 10 years before the events of the previous book, “The Girl on the Bus.” But warning: you will want to read the “The Girl on the Bus” after finishing this book!

“Carpenter Road” is the perfect, quick summer read to take with you to the pool or the beach. You’ll be hooked in no time.

This was a great police procedural, with a really intense mystery at its center: Who is killing these girls and why? Plus, there’s some really interesting subplots involving the politics of the police station, since Leighton is a “lowly” traffic cop, and he is dealing with prostitutes, who aren’t necessarily high-priority citizens in the eyes of many. I enjoyed that angle and it had me rooting for Leighton throughout the book.

I really liked Leighton, he is just an average guy trying to right by people, while juggling some personal demons. It’s very relatable. The villains in the book are also “perfect” bad guys who you just love seeing Leighton battle against.

I will definitely be reading more from NM Brown in the future and am excited to see where he takes this series.

About the Author

downloadNorman has enjoyed writing for more than two decades. He has always believed a combination of decent fiction and good coffee provides the best way to unwind and slip out of ordinary life for a while.

Having grown up Central Scotland, he studied English at Stirling University, where he began penning poetry, drama scripts and short stories. However, his real commitment to writing resulted from spending a snowy winter attending a series of fireside writing workshops in Perth.

More recently, Norman’s love of crime fiction led him to create the weary detective Leighton Jones. Having based his debut novel – The Girl on the Bus -around this character, Norman felt so intrigued by him that he decided to give Jonesy at least two more outings. Carpenter Road is the second novel to feature this protagonist.

Aside from his family, and travelling, Norman’s other passion is cooking, which may explain why many culinary elements always seem to creep out of his kitchen and into his fiction.

 

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