[#BookReview] Shattered by Allison Brennan @StMartinsPress @Allison_Brennan @Netgalley #MysteryAndThrillers 

** I’d like to thank the publishers for providing an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review **

Shattered (Max Revere Series #4) by Allison Brennan
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: Aug 22, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Description

Over a span of twenty years, four boys have been kidnapped from their bedrooms, suffocated, and buried nearby in a shallow grave. Serial killer or coincidence?

That’s the question investigative reporter Maxine Revere sets out to answer when an old friend begs her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s recent murder. But Max can do little to help because the police and D.A. won’t talk to her―they think they have the right woman. Instead, Max turns her attention to three similar cold cases. If she can solve them, she might be able to help her friend.

Justin Stanton was killed twenty years ago, and his father wants closure―so he is willing to help Max with her investigation on one condition: that she work with his former sister-in-law― Justin’s aunt, FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. Trouble is, Max works alone, and she’s livid that her only access to the case files, lead detective and witnesses depends on her partnering with a federal agent on vacation. She wants the career-making story almost as much as the truth―but if she gets this wrong, she could lose everything.

Haunted by Justin’s death for years, Lucy yearns to give her family―and herself―the closure they need. More important, she wants to catch a killer. Lucy finds Max’s theory on all three cases compelling―with Max’s research added to Lucy’s training and experience, Lucy believes they can find the killer so justice can finally be served. But the very private Lucy doesn’t trust the reporter any more than Max trusts her.

Max and Lucy must find a way to work together to untangle lies, misinformation, and evidence to develop a profile of the killer. But the biggest question is: why were these boys targeted? As they team up to find out what really happened the night Justin was killed, they make a shocking discovery: Justin’s killer is still out there … stalking another victim … and they already may be too late.

My Thoughts

When I first started reading this book, it was great.  I hadn’t realized it was part of a series until I marked it on my Goodreads shelf.  Having said that, I felt it was one that could be read as a standalone eventhough I haven’t read the others.

The Good

I really enjoyed getting to know Max who’s an investigative reporter solving cold cases.  She’s clever and very good at what she does.

I thought Brennan did a great job at keeping the reader immersed and filling in who the characters from the previous series were and how they’re connected.

The Bad 

Because there were characters brought in from two different series, it became overwhelming and a lot to take in.  It was easy to become confused since there were so many people and stories to keep track of.  If you’re like me and pace your reading, you will find yourself backtracking just to remember who was who.   

I would have typically given 3 stars, but this was a rare case in which I rated it a 4.  Despite having to go back and retrace a few steps, the storyline was well thought out which made it a very enjoyable read.

Have you had a chance to read this yet?  Or have you read any books from this series?

[Book Review] The Mayfly by James Hazel @JamesHazelBooks @BonnierZaffre #CrimeFiction #TheMayFly 

The Mayfly by James Hazel

**I’d like to thank Bonnier Zaffre Books for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Crime Fiction

Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre Books

Publication Date: June 15, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Description

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .

When lawyer Charlie Priest is attacked in his own home by a man searching for information he claims Priest has, he is drawn into a web of corruption that has its roots in the last desperate days of World War Two. 

When his attacker is found murdered the next day, Priest becomes a suspect and the only way to clear his name is to find out about the mysterious House of Mayfly – a secret society that people will kill for. 

As Priest races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?



My Thoughts

I kept coming across this book on other blogs and Instagram, and thought it sounded like a really great read.  I was definitely not disappointed!  This was just the high octane thriller I was seeking.  

The story starts off with the discovery of a mutilated body in the woods.  While investigators are trying to piece the crime scene together, we are then taken back to the past during WWII to a German concentration camp, where a mysterious man from the British intelligence shows up.  Fast forward to the present, and we meet Charlie Priest: an ex-detective inspector, turned lawyer who gets an unexpected visit from a fake cop who nearly kills him in search of a flash drive.  Sounds exciting right?  

The story weaves in and out between the past and present, which was cleverly written.  It was like playing a game of Clue.  You literally don’t start piecing all the bits of information until the very end.  Even half way through the book, I was still pulling at straws to figure out a plausible motive and suspect!  Well done James! You truly had me stumped 😊.

This was a fly-by-the seat of your pants type of read. One that I would highly recommend.  

Have you read it?  What did you think?

[Book Review] It Can’t be October Already by Jeffrey Archer @Jeffrey_archer @StMartinsPress

It Can’t be October Already by Jeffrey Archer

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

My Thoughts

Ever since I read Only Time Will Tell, I have been a fan of his work.  This was a fun, short story about Pat O’Flynn who returns every October for his detainment in prison.  

Archer has a way with words that draws you in from the moment you begin reading.  Once again, he has showcased his talent in writing and offers another read that didn’t disappoint!

** I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review **

Have you read any of Jeffrey Archer’s work?

[Book Review] Every Last Lie by @MaryKubica 

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

**I’d like to thank the publishers for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review **

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Publisher: Harlequin (US & Canada), Park Row Books

Publication Date: June 27, 2017

Description

“The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us.”  
Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon. 

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit. 

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.

My Review

I’ve heard so many great things about Mary Kubica.  So of course I jumped at the chance to read Every Last Lie.  Now I understand what the hype is all about!  Kubica has a way with words that intoxicates you from the start.  

It’s been a long time since I was this hooked on a book!  Yay! Happy dance.  

The last time I was this excited was Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.  I would’ve finished in one night, but I couldn’t keep me eyes open any longer and the sun was starting to rise.

This book is narrated by alternating POV’s: Clara (the wife) and Nick (the husband).  The story starts off with Clara receiving news that her husband has gotten into an accident, and was DOA with her 4 year old unscathed.  As Clara is trying to piece together what really happened the day of the accident, she slowly unravels the secrets he’s been hiding.  Was it really just an accident? Or was he murdered?  Why had he kept things from her?

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Kubica cleverly threw me back in a loop making me second guess my initial thoughts.

The characters were well developed and despite finding Clara a tad annoying at times, I absolutely loved this story.

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Have you read this book? Or any others written by Mary Kubica?  What do you think of this author?  Tell me your thoughts by leaving a comment ☺

[Book Review] The Child by Fiona Barton @PenguinCanada 

**I’d like to thank Penguin Random House Canada for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

The Child by Fiona Barton

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Publication Date: June 27, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤ 1/2  (3.5 out of 5)

Description 

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

My Review

This was a tough one for me to rate because I actually struggled a bit at first. There were parts that were so slow, I wanted to cry. 

Normally, I would have ditched the book, but I was totally submerged in wanting to see how the story behind the building-site baby unfolded. 

I’m glad I kept pressing on because it had some redeeming qualities which made it an overall good read.  I really enjoyed the six degrees of separation between the characters.  The story is told from multiple POV’s: Emma, Angela, Kate, Jude & Will, which was well done in my opinion.  I wouldn’t have categorized this as a thriller though.  It read more like a soap opera or drama.

Even though I had predicted certain parts, Barton did a pretty good job of keeping the reader guessing until the end.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

[#BookReview] See What I have Done by Sarah Schmidt #HistoricalFiction #LizzieBorden #Crime


See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

**I’d like to thank the publishers and Netgalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Crime

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Description

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence. 

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

My Thoughts 

I’m torn with this one, because I REALLY thought I’d enjoy this one.  In fact, I was excited because it combines crime and historical fiction!  Two genres I love to read.  It  was a no brainer and should have been a winner. 

I had no previous knowledge of the Lizzie Borden case, so I walked into this intrigued and with a fresh pair of eyes.

The book was off to a great start where Lizzie finds her father’s mutilated body.  But as the story progresses, it gets a bit confusing.  Or at least it did for me.  I didn’t particularly enjoy the narrative.  It’s told from multiple points of views, which can make for a really great read.  However, this fell short of spectacular.  There was too much dialogue and it felt like all the characters were told in the same voice.  

Where I found myself confused was when the story kept going back and forth between the present and the past.  There were too many flashbacks if you ask me.  Whenever a character started to reminisce about their past and got lost in their thoughts, I too was lost and found myself having to backtrack. 
Unfortunately, I did not want to waste anymore time and did not bother finishing it. 

My Rating ❤️❤️

Have you read it? What did you think? 

[Book Review] Almost Missed You by Jessica Stawser @jessicastawser @StMartinsPress #WomensFiction

Almost Missed You by Jessica Stawser 

**I’d like to thank the publisher for my ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: March 28, 2017

Description

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, ALMOST MISSED YOU is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.
www.jessicastawser.com

My Thoughts

Imagine what it’s like to have the people you love most betray you, or have your child go missing.

The story starts off with Violet and Finn on their first family vacation with their son, Bear.  However, just when she starts to think life couldn’t get any better, Finn does the unthinkable by disappearing and taking their son with him.

Her things were just as she’d left them. But every trace of her husband and son were gone. As if they’d never been there at all.

I loved how things flowed effortlessly between the present and past, from three different characters: Violet, Caitlin & Finn.  Caitlin seems to get herself caught in the middle.  Finn has been her best friend since university, but her and Violet also share a bond.  

What do you do when you’re friends with both people, but one shows up at your cabin with their kid that they kidnapped, while the other is spending sleepless nights mortified and worrying about their little “bear”?

Even though this was a slower paced read than what I’ve been used to lately, it was a refreshing change. One that I needed.  This was a well-written story that allows the reader to connect with all the characters, which I found very interesting.  Each of them have secrets they’ve been hiding, which slowly unravel as the story progresses.  

I really enjoyed getting to know Finn and what drove him to do what he did.  He was one of my favourite characters.
Almost Missed You is a story about fate, love, friendship and betrayal.  One that I would recommend for readers who enjoyed The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.

My Rating

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Have you read this book? What did you think?


[#BookReview] Written In Blood by Nathan Bush #CrimeFiction #ChristianFiction


Written In Blood (The Foley Chronicles) by Nathan Bush

**I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.  **

Genre: Crime, Christian 

Publication Date: July 17, 2016

Synopsis

Join Detective Kennedy Collins and his partner, Senior Detective John Filcher, as they attempt to track down a killer with an insatiable appetite for destruction. Read along as John, a devout Christian, seeks to lead Ken to a lasting relationship with his Creator. Feel the anguish as Ken struggles with his dad’s recurring illness, as well as his own mental and physical issues, and burgeoning questions regarding his Eternal security.

Throw in a budding romance between Ken and a beautiful coffee house cashier, a bureaucratic watchdog known as the “Special Crimes Division” established by the Governor, and some insight in the mind of Eddie, a serial killer bent on revenge, and you just might have a book worth reading.
Will Ken and John find the killer before more victims die? Will Eddie make good on his vow to destroy Ken? Will the “Special Crimes Division” make a move to take the case away from the detectives from the 8th District? Will Ken accept the Truth that can change his life forever?

Goodreads 

My Thoughts

The story starts off at a crime scene: a brutal murder at the Starlight, Starbright Motel, where we are introduced to Ken and his partner.  Ken is a rookie Detective in Homicide who quickly discovers his father’s illness has turned for the worse.  As Ken struggles with his personal problems, his Partner John who is like a father figure, tries to help him find peace through God.

When I was told this was a Christian-based genre, I was intrigued at how Christianity would be incorporated into the story.  However, I also had my reservations.  I was worried it might come off preachy, but surprisingly it wasn’t.  It was more crime-based with some twists and turns. It was very well-written and told in first person from two very different characters. 

From the get-go, Eddie was my favourite character.  

Bad memories were followed by even worse memories.  Then he came to mind: Ken, the cause for my current state.

He was introduced in such a manner that it was like leaving a trail of delicious cookie crumbs.  I kept wanting to know more each time he appeared.

Bush is clearly a talented writer who managed to create some very authentic characters the reader could connect to.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who’s in the mood for crime fiction.

My Rating

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Purchase Link: Amazon

Nathan is a God-fearing husband to a wonderful wife and father to 5 great kids (ages 25, 23, 21, 19, 2), SS school teacher and Youth Leader. 

He loves to read (when time permits – which is rarely) and write. He has published one book, but is in the process of rewriting/editing #2, and writing #3, for his series, The Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District.

He has lived in several US states, but has called AL his home for the past 20 years, after leaving the Army to pursue other duties.
He found the Lord in 2001 after spending the first 32 years of his life fruitlessly searching for meaning in countless other endeavors, and has been passionately “working” as a youth leader for the past 10 years.

[Book Review] The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel @aengelwrites @crownpublishing #Mystery #GeneralFiction

Warning: This review contains a bit of profanity.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

**I’d like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review**

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery & Thriller

Publisher: Crown Publishing 

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Synopsis

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

-Goodreads 

My Thoughts

Roanoke girls never last long around here.

In the end, we either run or we die.

I had read a few reviews before reading this book, and readers either loved it or hated it.  I was so intrigued by the mystery of what the Roanoke Family had to hide, why Lane left and where Allegra has disappeared to, that I was eager to read this one.

I thought it was a cleverly written story told in alternating narratives between THEN and NOW, with some of the missing Roanoke girls thrown in the mix.

The “family secrets” literally had me thinking: What the fuck?! Those who have read it weren’t kidding when they described it as disturbing, cause it was just that. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t and intend to read it, but it was definitely NOT what I was expecting.  

I typically don’t like predictable storylines, but this was an addictive read and kept me turning the pages. It’s not a story for everyone, but I really enjoyed it.

My Rating ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Have you read it? What did you think? Love it or hate it?

[Book Review] A Trial In Venice by Roberta Rich #HistoricalFiction

A Trial In Venice by Roberta Rich (Book #3)

**I’d like to thank 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Doubleday Canada

Publication Date: March 14, 2017

Synopsis

The thrilling conclusion to the #1 national bestselling historical trilogy by Roberta Rich. 

In The Midwife of Venice, set in 1575, Hannah Levi was forced to flee Venice with the baby of a Venetian aristocratic family whom she rescued. Roberta Rich followed that action-packed adventure with The Harem Midwife, which exiled Hannah and her beloved husband Isaac to Constantinople–only for Hannah to become enmeshed in the shady politics of a sultan’s harem. And now, with A Trial in Venice, set five years later, Hannah is forced back to Venice–both to opulent yet crumbling villas and the Jewish ghetto known as Veneto. Her beloved adopted son Matteo has been kidnapped and is in danger once more. And this time, so is Hannah.

-Goodreads

My Thoughts

The first two chapters were off to a great start and I appreciated the fact that the author wrote it in such a way that you didn’t really need to read the first 2 books, even though I’m sure it would have helped fill in the gaps.  

The story begins with Hannah in prison and has risked not only her life, but the life of her unborn child to find Matteo who could possibly be dead.  However, once I got to the chapters about Cesca and Foscari, the details started to bore me and I suddenly lost interest.  

I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately this just wasn’t my cup of tea, and I didn’t bother to finish the book.

My Rating: ❤️❤️

Did you read this book? What did you think?