Posted in Reviews

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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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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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.

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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. . . .

 

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#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.

 

Links            

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Review: Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt

Best Friends ForeverBest Friends Forever by Margot Hunt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whew. This book was a thrill ride from start to finish. It sort of reminded me of an episode of “Real Housewives,” but with murder and mayhem in addition to the cocktails and catfights.

The book opens in the middle of the action and explains things as the story progresses: Alice is making breakfast when the police arrive to question her about the recent death of her best friend’s husband. Apparently, they don’t believe it was just a drunken accident – and with Kat MIA, Alice is left wondering how well she really new her glamorous, but perhaps manipulative, bestie.

I really enjoyed this one. It has all the makings of a great escapist read: mystery, sex, money! Oh my! And it has a great sense of foreboding that really grows throughout the book- as things become clear, the tension really grows and explodes. There’s enough twists and turns that kept me guessing that I didn’t put all the pieces together until it was revealed. There were also some scenes/scenarios I did not see coming that really shocked me.

And the ending is quite a little explosion of revelations. I really didn’t see all that coming. That’s about all I can say without giving anything away.

I really would like to see these characters again in the future, possibly. Or maybe a prequel or something that gives us more of a look into their world. I would definitely be open to reading more about these people – I was totally sucked into their world and I want more!

I am also excited to see more from this author in the future, no matter the characters. I’m sure there’s more stories brewing that will keep us entertained for a long time!

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Posted in Book Extras, Reviews

Blog Tour: Wicked Charm by Amber Hart

About the Book

Nothing good comes from living in the Devil’s swamp.

Willow Bell thinks moving to the Okefenokee area isn’t half bad, but nothing prepares her for what awaits in the shadows of the bog.

Girls are showing up dead in the swamp. And she could be next.

Everyone warns Willow to stay away from Beau Cadwell—the bad boy at the top of their suspect list as the serial killer tormenting the small town.

But beneath his wicked, depthless eyes, there’s something else that draws Willow to him.

When yet another girl he knew dies, though, Willow questions whether she can trust her instincts…or if they’re leading to her own death.

Link to Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

Link to Tour Schedule

My Review

5/5 ⭐️

This book is what Twilight wishes it could be.

The story has it all: likeable characters, a great setting, suspense and mystery, and plenty of romance. I was hooked from the beginning.

The romance was nice, and I was rooting for the hero and heroine – they were a cute, realistic high school couple that I actually enjoyed seeing together. (There’s also a great subplot with their grandparents!) The mystery added just enough zing to the plot to give it a nice edge and keep you turning pages.

The twist was really good, as well. I did not see that coming, as there were enough suspects and clues to keep things moving. Plus, what setting is better for a mystery than a backwoods swamp?! It’s perfect!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a cute, easy read. I really, really enjoyed it.

About the Author

Amber Hart resides on the Florida coastline with family and a plethora of animals she affectionately refers to as her urban farm. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of several novels for teens and adults, including Wicked Charm, the Before & After series, and the Untamed series. Rep’d by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group.

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