Posted in Reviews

Review: Among the Dead by J.R. Backlund

Among the Dead (A Rachel Carver Mystery #1)Among the Dead by J.R. Backlund

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book; it was an easy, quick read that will satisfy your mystery/thriller craving. The setting was great – a small town in the mountains of Western North Carolina – and the mystery was intriguing.

But I did have some issues with it, which took it from a 5-star to a 4-star read.

Rachel Carver quit her job at the NC State Bureau of Investigations after a tragic incident on her last case. She gets a call from her former partner to consult on a case in the sleepy mountain time where he works. A man was killed and the department wants to make sure they solve the case without errors – and fast. But soon things spiral out of control as it becomes clear they’re dealing with more than just a random kill.

This book has a great mystery at its core. The story doesn’t give too much away until it wants to, which gives the reveals a nice punch. And I liked that the author really ties everything together. Nothing is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, which is really cool.

Plus, I really liked Rachel as a character: she was smart, but not cocky, and she had an interesting personality. You could tell there was a good backstory there.

I just wish we had gotten to see more of that backstory. We were just kind of thrown into the middle of her life with no context, despite really wanting some more information. There were also some other things that I had questions about that didn’t really get addressed. It would have been nice for some more explanation.

But overall, I really enjoyed this book. It looks like the author is planning a series starring Rachel, and I would definitely read more.

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Review: Our Little Secret by Darren O’Sullivan

Our Little SecretOur Little Secret by Darren O’Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I. Devoured. This. Book.

The premise is one that draws you in almost immediately, and I just had to keep reading until I found out what happened, and once that picture became clear, I had to know how it turned out.

The book follows two people: Chris, who goes to a train station to kill himself while in a deep depression about his wife, who was killed 10 months before; and Sarah, who happens to run into Chris at the platform and interrupts his plans. Both are then forced to deal with the aftermath and face their personal demons.

The pacing is very quick in this novel – you’re thrown right into the situation at the train platform. When I began reading the novel, before I knew it, I had read 10 percent of it! The rest of the novel goes equally as fast as you see both people struggle in the aftermath of their initial meeting.

I liked that it’s easy to put yourself in the middle of the story and wonder what would happen if you were there. It’s such an average thing – sitting, waiting for a train – that you can’t help but think after you read this: what are the others on this platform thinking? You never know, apparently.

The ending is a doozy, and as it becomes clear, it’s great. It just grips you.

Highly recommended.

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The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

The Secrets She KeepsThe Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been awhile now since I’ve been so wrapped up in a novel that I have to take a peek at the ending. If I don’t, I can’t just relax and read the book – I’m just racing to the ending, needing to know how it all works out. “The Secrets She Keeps” made me peek.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it all unfolds beautifully as you get further into the novel. But, generally, the book alternates between two women’s point of view: Agatha and Meghan, both of whom are expecting babies. Meghan is a mommy blogger who leads a life that looks perfect from the outside, but is fractured from within. Agatha works at a supermarket and from the beginning, you can tell something about her is….off. Her story unfolds as the novel goes on.

This novel isn’t about suspense, since most people can guess what’s going on early on, but it’s more about the thrill – how the heck is this going to work out?! I was absolutely glued to the pages. Both stories are fascinating and it’s hard to say which woman I enjoyed reading about more. In different ways, both were fascinating and captivated me.

The ending was as satisfying as it could be, and left me with both sadness and hope. It really shows how good a book this was in that it made me feel so many emotions; from happiness to extreme sadness.

Highly recommended.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

I’m so excited to participate in this meme for the first time! OK, here we go:

What I read last week:

Both were excellent, 5-star reads!

What I’m currently reading:

“Deadly Friendship” by Tara Lyons – I’m about 40 percent through and completely hooked!

What’s up next:

I love thrillers that incorporate social media in some way. Makes it even more real-life creepy!

Happy reading everyone!

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The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

The Lucky OnesThe Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I’ve said before, when I see that Mark Edwards has a new book out, I know to clear my schedule for the next few days. No ones better at crafting a chilling, eerie thriller that will stay with you for weeks afterward.

“The Lucky Ones” is no different.

It’s Edwards’ take on a police procedural, and it is a great twisty ride that you won’t be able to put down until the last page – which is a good thing because it doesn’t all finish up until then.

The book follows two people: Detective Imogen Evans who is chasing a serial killer who just claimed his third victim, and Ben, a single dad who is struggling in the wake of his separation from his wife. The two will cross paths as they both realize they are in the crosshairs of the most dangerous criminal to shake up their sleepy English town.

I don’t want to give away too many plot details because it’s fun to see everything unfold. Edwards has a talent for creating unique stories that will both fascinate and scare you. And this guy – “The Viper” as he’s known in the book – is very creepy indeed. There’s a feeling of something being “off” throughout the entire novel, casting a dark, suspenseful shadow over the book, which is delicious as it grows and grows.

At certain points, I thought I knew where things were headed, but the ending proved me wrong. It’s really all in the details here, and putting them together is how you can figure out this puzzle.

I still think my favorite Edwards novel is “Follow You Home,” but “The Lucky Ones” is certainly a great addition to anyone’s library.

Highly recommended.

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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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