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Review: Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia

Leave No TraceLeave No Trace by Mindy Mejia

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This novel was a great sophomore effort from Mindy Mejia, so filled with the nuance and excitement we’ve come to expect from her, but with a completely different type of set-up from “Everything You Want Me To Be.”

Maya is a speech therapist at a psychiatric facility with a dark past to match many of her patients, but who is working to stabilize her life in Duluth, MN. Then, she is assigned to help Lucas Blackthorn, who disappeared 10 years ago with his father during a camping trip in the boundary Waters, a remote wilderness filled with trees and lakes, stretching to the Canadian border. Suddenly, Lucas, who won’t communicate with anyone, speaks to Maya, sparking a chain of events that will change the course of the community.

The great thing about this book is that it makes you question so many things – what is madness? Who is mad; is Lucas? Maya? Neither? I was totally sucked in and completely invested in the characters.

There were also some great twists that I didn’t see coming. And they made total sense in the context of the book, which is what makes a really good twist work.

Mejia is fast becoming one of my favorite authors and I really am looking forward to what she comes up with next. I’m sure it’ll be fantastic.

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#BlogTour: Death on the Coast by Bernie Steadman

B LO G B L I T Z

About the Book

Can DCI Dan Hellier decipher the twisted mind behind the ritualised burning of homeless men on Devon’s beaches before more people are sacrificed?

When images from the burning appear all over social media, Hellier realises that he is dealing with a cult and a mystery that will leads back to the Irish Troubles.

Hellier will battle a bitter man who has plotted revenge for more than twenty years, without a care for the lives he will destroy.

death on the coast FINAL

My Review

4/5 Stars!

This book has everything needed to make a great mystery: cults, murder and plenty of juicy secrets – Oh My!

The set-up is great, with people participating in dangerous and violent rituals, in over their heads before they know it. From there, it’s anybody’s guess how everything works out, and there are plenty of good twists in there to keep readers on their toes.

I really enjoyed the level of detail in this book – nothing is insignificant and it all fits together perfectly to create an intense ending.I also really enjoyed the police team, and would absolutely read more with them as the main characters. (I am also really invested in Hellier’s personal life too, so I would like to see more of that too!)

Overall, fans of police procedurals will really enjoy this one. It’s creepy, twisty and has plenty of drama!

About the Author

IMG_1131Bernie taught English for many years but only dabbled in short fiction and poetry until a few years ago when she took to writing full-time.  She completed her debut novel, Death in the Woods when she escaped the classroom and could finally stop marking essays. This was the first in the West Country Mysteries series featuring DI Dan Hellier and his Exeter-based team. There are now three in the series, Death on Dartmoor and Death on the Coast completing the series.

Bernie lives in a small village in East Devon and her novels are set in and around the ancient Roman city of Exeter, which has seen its fair share of murder and mayhem over the centuries. The books explore the beauty of the area, but demonstrate that even in the most charming of settings, terrible events may occur.

When not glued to the laptop, Bernie is a keen yoga fan and enjoys walking and cycling in the Devon countryside with her husband. They share their home with two large, black cats which came from the animal sanctuary where she is a volunteer and trustee.

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Review: Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

Let Me LieLet Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m of two minds about this book: It really did keep my attention and I was totally invested in how it turned out, but there were some significant things that I didn’t really like about it.

The main character is Anna Johnson, who lost both parents to copycat suicides a year ago, and now lives with her partner and newborn daughter in her family home. On the anniversary of her mother’s death, she receives a card that implies that not everything about the deaths is what they seem. With the help of a retired police detective, Anna finds that what looks like straightforward suicides, might not be so straightforward after all.

The mystery itself is super intriguing, because at first it’s not entirely clear if something odd is going on or if Anna, in her grief, is losing her mind, so to speak. Then things get really intense, really quickly. I was excited to see how everything worked out. (I’m trying for no spoilers here). I wish some of the details had been adjusted somewhat.

Overall, I would say that I did enjoy this book. I was invested in it until the very end and have to say that the ending is very good. But I did have some problems with it, so read with caution. If you like things tied up nicely and paced evenly – maybe try another book.

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Tubing by K.A. McKeagney

TubingTubing by K.A. McKeagney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First things first: If you can’t tell from the description, this book is an “erotic thriller” and contains adult situations. If you don’t like that type of material, this isn’t the book for you.

I, for one, really enjoyed this book and really just tore through it. It has great suspense and drama, along with some great twists.

Polly is in a stable, but boring, relationship when she boards the tube one night. Immediately, a man spots her and makes his way over to her, where they share a passionate hook-up. Then he disappears. That’s when Polly learns about “tubing,” where strangers meet up for no-strings-attached sex on the tube. When Polly runs into her mystery man again, he pulls her into a world of passion – and danger.

This book was full of suspense and I did not predict the direction this book would take. I really couldn’t put the book down once I was about halfway through it. It gets pretty creepy.

Although, I have to say, I didn’t love Polly. She could be frustrating at points, when she just wouldn’t come clean about everything that was happening – I’m trying to be intentionally vague so as not to spoil anything. But overall, I did like her, and felt sorry for her at parts when she was just in totally over her head.

I am looking forward to more from this author and would definitely recommend this to people who enjoy a good spicy thriller.

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Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise MeSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

I’m generally a big fan of Sophie Kinsella’s books. And this one was good, make no mistake; it just wasn’t my favorite of hers. At parts, as I was laughing out loud, howling with laughter; at other points, it’s actually very serious and even a bit dark.

Sylvie and Dan are happily married, if in a little bit of a rut. But when their doctor suggests they may have 68 more years of wedded bliss ahead of them, they decide to shake things up by surprising each other. However, as can be the case with surprises, sometimes things are revealed that make you question everything.

This book had some of the great “I Love Lucy”-type moments that Kinsella is so good at writing. I was howling with laughter at some parts. But like I said, toward the end things get very serious. Which is a nice blend, because it gives balance to the book and makes you think.

But I can’t say that there was anything super surprising or twisty in the plot, which made it kind of predictable, ironically. I didn’t guess the exact details, but I got the general outline. The characters were also a little predictable.

But I liked their growth in the end of the novel. They didn’t stay stagnant like so many characters can, and that’s good.

Like I said, if you enjoy Sophie Kinsella’s work, you’ll also like this one. It’s funny, a quick read and features delightful characters, although they may be predictable. But for brand new readers, maybe start with a different standalone and work your way into this one.

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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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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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