book review · books · crime · Family

The Night Before by Wendy Walker {ARC Review}

Blurb:

Rosie and Laura are as different as two sisters can be. One is stable and has the perfect family. The other struggles to break free from her troubled past. When Laura disappears after going on a blind date, Rosie takes matters into her own hands.

But as Rosie begins to search for her sister, her greatest fears come to the surface. Could Laura be more of a danger than the stranger she meets, or is the night before her last night alive?

Told in dual timelines—the night before and the day after—The Night Before is a riveting thriller about family loyalty, obsession, and what happens when the desire for love spins out of control.

Review:

This story starts with a therapy session of Laura’s and immediately I think this is going to have an unreliable narrator. I am not against those types of thrillers but sometimes it makes the character get on my nerves. However, this was proven very quickly to not be true. It’s told from the perspectives of Laura and her sister Rosie thru two overlapping timelines. Throughout the story you get the idea that Laura is your typical angry woman who got into some trouble as a young girl and is trying to make a change in her life after a really bad breakup. At one point I thought she may have even just been a crazed stalker. Nothing is what it seems in this story and some of the characters aren’t as crazy as you think and some are at a level of crazy that you don’t quite see coming.

Let’s not forget about the men in the story, Joe and Gabe. I won’t go into too much detail about them but man oh man there’s some crazy stuff that you just can’t wrap your mind around when it comes to their parts in this story.

I thought I was going to figure out what was going on and who the villain was early on in the story but I didn’t figure it out until just about the time it was revealed in the story. Wendy Walker not only throws in some twists as far as the crazed character is concerned but also throws in some secrets that make you take a double look and think what the hell kind of nonsense is this? I love a thriller that can leave me with those types of thoughts.

I am not a big reader of thrillers but I did enjoy this one. It was a quick and easy read. I started it one night and finished it the next day. I would say definitely pack this one along for a good beach read this summer. Just don’t read it before going on a blind date, especially one you’ve met online.

Rating:

4 Stars

Availability:

Available in hardcover, ebook and audiobook May 14th, 2019

A special thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my free copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

book review · books · crime · Family · reading · secrets · suspense · YA

Missing Her by J.L Willow {ARC Review}

Blurb:

Vanessa Stockton and her best friend Eliza are inseparable. They’re living the best years of their lives, enjoying high school, boyfriends and planning for their futures. All that changes, though, when Eliza goes out to a party and never makes it home. Months pass without a break in the case, until one day Vanessa wakes up . . . in Eliza’s mind. Even more disturbing, she discovers she’s woken up two days before Eliza goes missing. Vanessa has no choice but to relive her best friend’s memories leading up to the disappearance and discover the truth about what happened before time runs out. But is the past set in stone? Or can Vanessa save her friend from an unspeakable fate?

Review:

When I first read the synopsis for this book I thought it was going to be the typical YA suspense filled with unnecessary teenage drama. I was wrong. I appreciated how the storyline was suspenseful  with a bit of paranormal bits thrown in. That is what set this missing person story apart from others that I have read.

There were some eye rolling moments but that is to be expected when you are reading about teens. What YA story would be complete without those moments? But they weren’t obnoxious moments. They were required becuase of the plot.

This was a quick read but it still had some intensity to it. There is more to it than what the blurb tells you. Although I had an idea of what was going to happen, I was still kept engaged as I read.

I am glad that I read this story because I do not read very many YA novels. I am also glad that I enjoyed it. I would definitley recommend it to the YA fans in my life.

Rating:

3.5 Stars

Availibility:

Available May 8th in hardcover and possible paperback

I would like to take a moment and thank the author, Ms. Willow, for reaching out to me to see if I would read and review her story.

book review · books · Bootlegging · crime · Historical fiction · secrets

Tasting the Apple {The Bootleggers’ Chronicles #2} by Sherilyn Decter

Blurb:

A young widow on the edge. A policeman back from the dead. Together, can they take down the city’s most notorious bootlegger? In a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice…

Philadelphia, 1925.
With a son to raise and boarders to feed, Maggie Barnes is at her wit’s end. But when a criminal element infiltrates the police force, the single mother puts her cares aside to help. As she tries to dig up dirt on bootlegger mastermind Mickey Duffy, Maggie realizes she can’t take on the case alone.

Inspector Frank Geyer used to patrol the streets of Philadelphia before Maggie was born. As he attempts to clean up crime from beyond the grave, the spirit uses his Victorian sensibilities to fight back against lawbreakers. But with corruption throughout the police force, can the phantom informant save his city and Maggie’s livelihood?

With the roof leaking and the lawlessness spiraling, Maggie and Frank have one chance to take down a criminal and prevent the unthinkable.

Tasting the Apple is the second thrilling book in The Bootleggers’ Chronicles historical mystery series. If you like strong female characters, stories inspired by actual history, and a touch of the paranormal, then you’ll love Sherilyn Decter’s tale of temptation and corruption.

Buy Tasting the Apple to experience the dark side of the Roaring Twenties today!

Review:

I have found myself back with Maggie and Inspector Frank as they help the Philadelphia police department fight back against the criminals. This time not only do they have the street criminals to worry about, they also have to worry about the criminals with badges and political power. Decter once again brings to life an era we sometimes forget about when it comes to historical fiction Prohibition and the Roaring Twenties.

I was happy to see how resilient Maggie has remained considering her previous run in with Mickey Duffy and his gang. Her friendship with Edith has blossomed although Edith seems to be on a path of self-destruction.

I really enjoy Sherilyn’s style of writing with this series. This is a semi complicated story but the writing style is simplistic enough to keep you engaged.

There were times I worried about Maggie and her decision making. But as always, she prevailed. Having Inspector Frank with her again helps keep her grounded in my opinion. She takes on the task of going back to school while still running her boarding house and raising her son. Again, in this story we see some internal conflict with Tommy as we did before in the previous novel.

We are also priviledged to witness a vulnerable side to Inspector Frank that I wish would have been developed a bit more.  I would like to see more of what is going on in his mind while in his current situation.

Sherilyn has also added some spice of forbidden love in the mix and I enjoyed that little shake up. Forbidden love and some potentially  new love. I won’t tell you who experiences what. You’ll have to read to find out.

I don’t want to give too much more away since this is part of a series. Just know that there is crime, pain, love and plenty of determination once again.

If you haven’t already, make sure you check out the first book in the series, Innocence Lost.

Rating:

3.5 Stars

Availability:

Available in ebook and paperback on Amazon

 

Thank you to MC Book Tours for reaching out to me and allowing me to be apart of this book tour.

 

 

 

book review · books · crime · Family · psychological thriller · secrets · suspense

Lies by T.M Morgan {ARC Review}

Goodreads Blurb:

What if you have the perfect life, the perfect wife and the perfect child—then, in one shattering moment, you discover nothing is as it seems? Now you are in the sights of a ruthless killer determined to destroy everything you treasure.

It’s the evening drive home from work on a route Joe Lynch has taken a hundred times with his young son. But today, Joe sees his wife meet another man—an encounter that will rip two families apart. Raising the question: Can we ever really trust those closest to us?

Joe will do whatever it takes to protect his family, but as the deception unravels, so does his life. A life played out without any rules. And a cunning opponent who’s always one step ahead.

Review:

I am always happy to receive a debut novel as an advanced reading copy so that I can see what a new author has in store. I like to be “in the know” before everyone else so that I can tell them what they should they be looking forward to.

In this story, we have Joe who is the perfect doting husband who does his more than equal share when it comes to home life and raising a child. Not something you see every day in a thriller. Joe is taken by surprise when he finds his wife in a tense meeting with her best friend’s husband at a hotel. Of course, you can’t blame him for confronting Ben after witnessing what happened. Although, you want to strangle him because he should have gone to his wife first. After a brief altercation with Ben, Joe is drawn into a world that he is not prepared for and must do whatever it takes to remain safe and out of jail.
I didn’t pick up this novel right away because I thought it would just be another run of the mill thriller. I decided to read it because it is told from a non-arrogant male point of view. Despite his size, Joe is seen as a gentle giant. He tries not to the worst of those around him, even those he begins to despise. His foolish trusting behavior is no match for what he must endure to prove his innocence. He is soon thrown into a world he has very little knowledge of.

Joe is taken advantage of by everyone around him, including his wife and his job. He doesn’t have anyone in his corner while he fights for his life, literally.

Joe must learn quickly that he must look out for himself. And his son.

This book was a little over 400 pages and even though I didn’t go into it with high hopes, I was not expecting the twist of the story. I almost didn’t have time to process what was going on since I was trying to figure out what exactly was happening. The twist comes so close to the ending that you almost have a difficult time to process what has just happened. I will admit that there was a good twist to the story even if it wasn’t completely surprising to me.

I personally wouldn’t classify this as a thriller because for myself, it wasn’t exactly a “thrilling” read. I would classify it as more suspenseful or mysterious than anything else. I do appreciate the change of pace in the characteristic of the main male character. Not everyday do we get to see the average man have to fight for his life and his child, and maybe his marriage.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:

3 Stars

Availability:

Available on September 11, 2018 in hardcover, eBook and audiobook.

book review · crime · psychological thriller · suspense

The Last Time I Lied By Riley Sager {ARC Review}

Goodreads Blurb:

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

My Review:

I was excited to read this book since I recently read Sager’s previous book Final Girls which I thoroughly enjoyed.

This story takes place in the past and the present which I find enjoyable in thrillers where you know something has happened but you don’t know exactly what it is. It helps build the tension. Emma is the main character in the novel and you get a feeling that she has more to do with what happened to her friends fifteen years ago, you just don’t know how much. The story is filled with so many lies, that it is hard to keep up with who may or may not be innocent. One thing for sure is that everything is not what it seems and just when you think you have the story figured out, it takes a turn on you.

This story had me so intrigued that I stayed up all night to finish it especially after I realized that I did not have the story figured out. I liked the overall story and plot development. This is a thriller that shows the vindictiveness that people, most importantly woman, have underneath their veneer. They are just sometimes too able to camouflage. This factor definitely played a good part in this novel.

I enjoyed how the novel ended although it wasn’t just a closed door type of ending. It has the type of ending that literally leaves you wanting more but are still satisfied with the outcome.

I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:

4 Stars

Availability:

This book is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio

book review · books · crime · serial killer

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara {Review}

Amazon Blurb:

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

My Review:

This was my first introduction to a true crime book. I am glad that I chose this as my first taste into this genre. Michelle was thorough with her knowledge but she always remained humane to the victims and survivors. This killer made his mark from the 70’s to the 80’s. It was as if he had a reign of terror over California. The opening of the story with Gillian Flynn and Patton Oswald’s closing was a nice touch since Michelle unfortunately passed away before the book was published. This book sparked an interest in true crime that I didn’t know that I had and I am very excited about that. if you are already a fan of true crime or need an introduction this is the perfect book and story. I never realized how difficult an investigation was prior to DNA and forensic testing. Hopefully with the advancement of those items, this horrible killer will be caught one day.  Michelle not only presents her facts but she also provides her own opinion without seeming overbearing. You respect her point of view that she has about this case. I admire her dedication and would have loved to see what else she may have brought to the world of true crime with her talent.

My Rating:

4.5 Stars

Availability:

Available in hardcover, ebook and audiobook wherever books are sold.

 

 

book review · books · crime · psychological thriller · suspense

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay {Review}

Well, finally I am back in the blogging seat. It has been long enough. Thank you for sticking with me. Today’s book was a surprise ARC in the mail from the publisher. I love getting those. I am much better at keeping up with them than the ebook ARCs, lol. I hope that you find my review informative. Have an awesome weekend!!!!

Goodreads Blurb:

They say you never forget your first love. What they don’t say though, is that sometimes your first love won’t forget you…

A police interview room is the last place Angela expected to find herself today. It’s been hours, and they keep asking her the same inane questions over and over. “How do you know the victim?” “What’s your relationship with Mr. Parker?” Her ex’s wife has gone missing, and anyone who was close to the couple is a suspect. Angela is tired of the bottomless questions and tired of the cold room that stays the same while a rotating litany of interrogators changes shifts around her. But when criminologist Novak takes over, she can tell he’s not like the others. He’s ready to listen, and she knows he’ll understand. When she tells him that her story begins a decade before, long before Saskia was in the picture, he gives her the floor.

A twenty-something young professional, Angela claims to have no involvement. How could she? It’s been years since she and H.P., Mr. Parker that is, were together. As her story unfolds, it deepens and darkens. There’s a lot to unpack… betrayal, jealousy, and a group of people who all have motives for retribution. If Angela is telling the truth, then who’s lying?

My Review:

I will have to admit that I was skeptical about reading this book but figured I would give it a shot since it is not a long novel and it was kindly sent from the publisher.

We enter the story with Angela, a twenty something woman who has been taken into custody because the police believe she may have some information about the disappearance of Saskia, the wife of Angela’s first and only true love. Immediately I got a “this chick is crazy” vibe from the way she was handling the interview. She is more of a calm crazy which seems to be the worse kind. Angela advises the officer that the story is not really about Saskia but about what has happened to lead up to her disappearance. Angela is convinced that Saskia is just pulling a stunt to get attention, which at the end of the novel you will find that very ironic. Angela tells the detective all about her blossoming romance with HP, her first love and Saskia’s husband. The way she presents her story you could almost feel some sympathy for her and the heartbreak that she may have endured with HP. Angela’s mother, in my opinion, has to shoulder some of the blame when it comes to Angela’s behavior and naivety. Her mother was very mentally controlling. She reminded me of Joan Crawford but without the physical abuse. Angela spends the entire interview backtracking on her past with HP and her present time with his family. To me that whole present day set up with them was weird and I thought that HP and Saskia were asking for trouble by allowing Angela to be so involved in their lives. Angela is a very self centered person and in her mind only her feelings matter. She certainly took her mother’s manipulative gene. In the end, I did feel some empathy for the men who passed thru the life of Angela.

I am glad that this book was less than 300 pages. In my opinion the length was perfect with how the story developed. I believe that anything longer would have caused the story to lose what bit of effect it had on me. It is definitely a quick read if you want a suspense that you can just breeze thru. I have to say that when I first started reading this story I could not stand Angela at all. I thought that she talked too much and that the story was going to be drawn out. Luckily it wasn’t and once I was able to sit down and spend some time on it, I saw how quickly it developed even if the ending felt just a bit rushed. But that is something that happens from time to time with these types of stories.

Rating:

2.5 stars

Availability:

This book will be available in hardcover, ebook and audio on April 17, 2018

Book Birthday · book review · books · crime · meet the mrs · Publishing Day · suspense

Happy Publishing Day! 1-9-18

Two books that I have done reviews on are now available for purchase today!

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen {St. Martin’s Press}

I read and reviewed this book back in November and gave it 4.5 stars. It is definitely a good psychological thriller to start off your 2018 year of reading. It has some great twists in it that you don’t see coming. I always love to be taken by surprise with a thriller.

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor  {Crown Publishing}

I read and reviewed this book last week. It was my first review of the year. If you like England and kids doing weird things like being kids and being mischievous, with a dash of crazy thrown in, then you’ll definitely enjoy this read. I forgot to put my star rating in my review, so I will put it here, I gave 4.5 stars. ESPECIALLY because of the ending!

Thank you to both publishers for providing me with advanced copies of these books and giving me a chance to review them. I hope that everyone enjoys these novels as much as I did.

Both books will have you like:

Happy reading, folks!

ReaderthenBlogger

book review · books · crime · psychological thriller · suspense

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor {Review}

Hello everyone!!! Welcome to my first book review of 2018!!!

So here we have one of 2018’s scheduled for release thrillers, The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor. This is her debut novel.

The story follows Eddie and his four childhood friends who grow up in an English village. You think you have just the typical group of friends who grow up together and go thru the typical adolescent trials and tribulations. However, there are much darker issues that they have to deal with and secrets that they keep. Eddie is our narrator and he narrates the story flipping between current day 2016 and past 1986. The form of the story put me in the mind frame of Stephen King’s It. I think that is what drew it to me most.

In 1986, Eddie and his friends stumble upon a dismembered body of a local girl who survived a freak accident only to come up dead later. What draws them to this body are chalk figures which were an idea of the kids to communicate with each other but someone has found out about their secret language and used it against them, or so they think.

Fast forward to 2016, Eddie and his friends are all grown and living their own lives not thinking about what happened to them back in 1986. However, certain events lead them all back to their home and to the secrets and events that they have all tried to forget. As the story unfolds, more secrets are discovered.

The story unfolds as a thriller should but then you get to the end and BAM!!!! HOLY COW!! I literally cursed out loud at the character in the book.

This was not a long novel and can probably be read in one sitting. Even though it was a quick read, I feel that the story was developed in a timely fashion and I absolutely LOVED the ending. Definitely a great debut novel from CJ Tudor and I look forward to see what else she has in store.

The book will be available for purchase January 9, 2018. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this novel 4 stars!!!