Posted in Reviews

The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

The Weight of LiesThe Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What makes an amazing thriller? Creepy characters, family secrets, a surreal setting, a touch of romance, an intriguing mystery you just can’t seem to figure out?

Emily Carpenter packs it all into “The Weight of Lies,” a beautifully crafted mystery/thriller which pulls you in from the first pages and doesn’t let up until the very end. I enjoyed every minute of this book, and am wondering how I’m going to possibly follow it up.

Megan Ashley is a trust fund kid trying to find her own calling and her own identity after living in the shadow of her famous mother her entire life. Her mother wrote a phenomenally popular bestseller as a young woman (think the “50 Shades” type success), based loosely on the tragic events of a summer she spent at a hotel on a remote Georgia coastal island. Now, Megan decides to solve the decades-old mystery once and for all, visiting the now shuttered hotel and writing her own book. But she can’t shake the bad feelings that engulf her as she spends time on the island. What happened all those years ago? And how will it all come to a head now, 40 years later?

The atmosphere of this book is tremendous. You can’t quite get a grip on the characters as you meet them. Everyone seems to have something to hide and something to gain from the situation so it creates an atmosphere of miss trust and tension that ripples deliciously throughout the book.

That ambiguity and the multiple layers of the story really make the central mystery so compelling and just out of reach. You think you have it solved several times throughout the novel, but then something else throws you in a new direction. I didn’t guess the ending ahead of time.

I enjoyed the excerpts of Frances’ famous book, “Kitten” throughout the novel, but would have enjoyed a book summary or something to clear up exactly what happened. We just get glimpses, but no the total picture explained. Like, I wish the CliffNotes summary of “Kitten” was the last chapter, lol.

Bottom line: Anyone who enjoys a good mystery/thriller in the vein of “Girl on the Train” or Gillian Flynn’s novel should go get this book right away. You won’t regret it.

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The Mayfly by James Hazel

The MayflyThe Mayfly by James Hazel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First things first: This book was FANTASTIC. If you’re a mystery/thriller fan, you need to check this book out. OK, now on to the details.

I don’t want to give too much away because the reveals are great, and you’re going to want to stay up late reading.

The book follows Charlie Priest, a former cop turned lawyer with his own issues. But despite his flaws, he’s a fantastic investigator, who is attacked by a strange man one night in his home. The next day, the man is dead – killed brutally – and the victim’s family wants to hire Priest to figure out what happened. The answers lie deep in history, from the horrors of Buchenwald in 1945 and a remote farm post-war, all leading to to the present day. Priest must fight to figure out what is going on as the body count rises.

The elements of the book are blended really well, creating an atmosphere that just screams “thriller.” This book combines dark history, creepy families and just enough gore to make you want to sleep with one eye open. Figuring out how all the pieces fit together is a great challenge and I did not figure it out before the ending.

The scenario presented in the book is just real enough to really scare you, which also adds to the fun. The characters are fantastic; well written and flawed, but with enough character to like them. I think this is the start of a new series, and I’m ecstatic to see them again.

Overall, I throughly enjoyed this book. It is one of my top reads so far this year.

Highly recommended.

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Posted in Book Extras, Reviews

Blog Tour: “Girl on the Verge” by Pintip Dunn

GirlOnTheVergeTourBanner

Enter here to win an Amazon gift card! – and scroll down for my review and more info on this book and author!

Book details:
Girl on the Verge
by Pintip Dunn
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Synopsis:

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…


MY REVIEW

Girl on the VergeGirl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the tradition of “Fatal Attraction” and the recent movie “Unforgettable,” “Girl on the Verge” explores what happens when someone gets a little too….friendly. However this book adds some twists that make it a great, suspenseful read.

Kan is a great character who is immediately likable and relatable. I really enjoyed her character and was immediately creeped out by Shelly, who was also really well written. One added “twist” that makes the book interesting, is that despite Kan’s pleas and concerns, her mother and grandmother seem to ignore her as things get more and more weird. It adds a desperation to Kan’s situation, which adds to the suspense.

This book really packs a punch too toward the end. We’re not talking about just dressing alike; it’s full-blown boiling bunnies. And I couldn’t stop reading until I found out what was going to happen.

I sailed through this book quickly. The cultural identity issues Kan faces and the other subplots will keep you turning pages, too.

Highly recommended.


 AUTHOR BIO:

PintipPintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella BEFORE TOMORROW.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com

Author links:
Posted in Reviews

The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts

SThe PolicewomanThe Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5, rounded up to 4 stars.

Readers looking for a nonstop thrill ride through the underworld of narcoterrorism need look no further than “The Policewoman.” The book is not only an action-packed ride, but based on current events involving drug cartels and powerful drug kingpins, feels relevant; like it could indeed be the future.

This book is set in 2026, when the world’s most elite police units help take down brutal drug lords, who run the supply and distribution of the world’s drug supply. Sarah, the main character, is enlisted to help elite United Kingdom and Irish forces take down an Irish drug cartel, which has set up its largest factory in Sarah’s native Indonesia. Sarah, a bit of a “Wonder Woman” herself, must help bring down these criminals, who are as brutal and sadistic as they are efficient. Along the way, Sarah must fight for her own life, as well as the lives of those she loves.

This book has a great premise – it’s like a Mission Impossible movie in novel form. The suspense comes from whether or not the lead characters can survive their mission: the enemy is incredibly ruthless and cruel, employing a psychopathic killer to take vengeance on those who stand in their way. And the scenes with this killer do not hold back – he’s a pretty terrifying character.

The book also features some very good, developed characters – they quote movies and joke around, as well as fall in love. I wasn’t necessarily expecting to laugh or get the feels from what appears to be a tough-guy action novel. I was very pleasantly surprised.

The only drawback of the novel is that some of the descriptions and background information can get tedious, but with some polishing, the author could cut down the novel’s length and make the book a little tighter and take it from “good” to “great.”

But the story at its core is really enthralling and will delight military/action fans. I enjoyed the great locations and characters very much.

I’m excited to see what is next for this author.

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Be My Killer by Richard Parker

Be My KillerBe My Killer by Richard Parker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Be My Killer,” is a book that has a great premise to live up to: What would happen if people put themselves out there on social media as potential targets for psychopaths? Who would be responsible for their deaths if they did die?

Fortunately, the book lives up to the “hype,” in my opinion, with the gore of a slasher movie and the suspense of a good detective story.

The novel follows Hazel, a documentary filmmaker who sees that a childhood friend has become the fourth victim of a ruthless killer who took people up on their tweet “requests” to be murdered. Hazel and her film crew set up shop in the abandoned amusement facility where Meredith was murdered to seek some answers about the killings. Then, people attached to the project begin to disappear.

This book is a great, creepy read. From the setting – an abandoned amusement park called the “Fun Zone” – to the eccentric cast of characters that knew the victims and have agreed to take part in the film, this book is nonstop suspense. The death scenes are a little gory, but nothing you wouldn’t see in a typical slasher movie. If you can’t stomach those, this isn’t the book for you.

I didn’t see the ending coming. In fact, I had no idea where the novel was going because there were enough moving parts and characters to create multiple plausible villains. Without a doubt, some of the side characters – like one victim’s social-media-obsessed stepbrother, or the creator of the @BeMyKiller Twitter account – really make the book great. You just want to know how they all fit into the story.

At the same time, the only downfall of the book is in the myriad of characters that can become confusing at points, especially toward the end at “the reveal” scene, when the fates of the characters is decided. Some of the names made me pause and think, “Oh yeah, that’s so-and-so.”

Overall, this was a very good thriller that will give you goosebumps. I thoroughly enjoyed it – it’s a must read for horror movie fans or anyone looking for a good creep-fest!

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Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster, #4)Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s something very exciting about seeing an author you’ve enjoyed reading in the past put out a new book. Hopefully, you get to enjoy a new tale in a style you’re familiar with and like.

Robert Bryndza is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and, like “Dark Water” previously, “Last Breath,” is creepy, suspenseful and will make you check your locks at night.

The book follows Erika Foster as she finds out about the death of a young woman, found stuffed in a trash dumpster. Soon, Erika finds a similar death in the records and begins to think there’s a sick serial killer prowling the streets of London. As she finagles her way onto the case, she not only works to deal with her personal issues, but with the knowledge that she’s working against the clock to prevent more deaths.

This book is the fourth in the series, but can be read as a standalone (though you WILL want to read the other because they’re equally as good).

The killer is revealed in the first third of the novel, but the suspense is kept high as you keep wondering what’s going to happen next and what the heck is going on. It’s really the sign of a great author that you can continue to feverishly turn pages after they’ve “revealed” big info to you. The story needs to be great at that point, and this one is.

Again, as in “Dark Water,” Bryndza draws in current themes to the writing. It’s like an episode of “Law and Order,” “ripped from the headlines!” I really enjoyed this (I’m trying to stay vague to avoid spoilers) because it really ups the creepy factor. It makes you wonder about the “ordinary” people you see walking past you on the street.

The ending ties things up nicely, though I do have some questions lingering in my head….nothing major. I guess I’ll have to read it again to try to catch anything I missed! 🙂

I’m really looking forward to more in this series – it’s a great series of stories, about characters that are realistic and likable.

Highly recommended.

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The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

The Perfect StrangerThe Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Perfect Stranger” really is a great novel for a rainy weekend – full of suspense and, in its own way, ghosts. I loved it.

Leah Stevens has taken a job in a small Pennsylvania town on a whim, following her former best friend Emmy, after being forced to quit as a journalist in Boston. When a woman turns up badly beaten and Emmy disappears, things begin to get worse for Leah. It appears that Emmy wasn’t who she said she was. And she left nothing behind, meaning Leah may be on the hook for the strange happenings around town.

The author beautifully weaves a dark atmosphere, a deep feeling of waiting for the other show to drop. The novel has enough suspense and enough suspects to keep you confused and guessing throughout the whole thing. And since the question is, “What is real?” it’s even more confusing and thrilling. You can’t trust anyone.

The plot is complicated, but moves nicely and the author does a good job of explaining everything so that it’s not confusing.

I loved that Leah was flawed in her own way, because it added that extra layer of mystery. Reading he story, you can’t fully trust her, but you like her, too. She means so well, but she’s not perfect and, because of that, makes some mistakes. Big ones.

I thought the ending was really satisfying as well. It ties up everything while leaving just a little opening to debate the rights and wrongs of the choices each characters makes. I like that it made me think and kept me guessing all the way to the last pages.

I’ll definitely be picking up more from this author.

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