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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#BlogTour: Death on the Coast by Bernie Steadman


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.


Posted in Reviews

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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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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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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Teaser Tuesday: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James


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.


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. . . .