Genre: Mystery

Guest Review: House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Posted November 30, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: House of Echoes by Brendan DuffyReviewer: Tina
House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 14th 2015
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Suspense
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family’s dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.

There is no way that House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy can be a debut book! I had to get that out of the way from the gate! This book is so well-written and is bursting with a dark & creepy, tension-filled vibe that causes the reader to assume that the author has been writing forever.

The setting for this book is right out of a Gothic horror story. It has all the elements that you can expect will scare the crap out of you! When I first read the summary about the troubled family with the dilapidated old mansion in the middle of nowhere I immediately said “Sign me up!!” This book is exactly what a reader like me searches for!

Mr Duffy knows exactly what it takes to keep us reading. He has that powerful skill of building the suspense and keeping the reader on the edge of our seat. The characters are so realistic that I almost felt like I was spying on an unsuspecting neighbor as I was reading! This is a truly unsettling story and I think any person who loves a good thriller will devour this one!

I would like to thank the author for this incredible book, and also NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review it. I have actually bought 2 copies of this book since reviewing it and have given them as gifts. And as any fellow reader knows, this is the biggest compliment you can give to an author. Grab House of Echoes today. It is a perfect read for a a cold and gloomy Autumn day!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Guest Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Posted October 19, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Girl Before by J.P. DelaneyReviewer: Tina
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 24th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 320
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four-stars

In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma: Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane: After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney tells the tale of two women who are previous and current residents of a high-tech home which was designed by an obsessive yet charismatic architect who is fixated with the concept of perfection. The narrative unfolds through the women’s alternating accounts, which at times brought that Deja Vu sensation to me as I proceeded through the book. Before I actually caught on, I found myself thinking that my kindle had taken me back to a previous chapter that I had already read.

The house is by far the star of the show with it’s futuristic infrastructure. It is basically controlled through a computer program called “Housekeeper”, which regulates everything from the lights to the water temperature based on findings that are gathered via a wristband worn by the inhabitant. The house even monitors the overall physical and mental health of the user. The question being presented though, is the house governed by the dweller or is it the other way around?

The Girl Before is a first-rate read. Having previously devoured both Gone Girl and The Girl On the Train, I would definitely consider all three to be highly outstanding contributions. I will definitely be singing it’s praises to all my bookish acquaintances. The unique plot got my attention and kept me engrossed until the final page.

I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of the e-book in return for an honest review.

four-stars

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Review: Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

Posted September 16, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Thrillers, Mystery
Pages: 432
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First in an electrifying new series from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak
THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER Evelyn Talbot knows that a psychopath can look perfectly normal. She was only sixteen when her own boyfriend Jasper imprisoned and tortured her—and left her for dead. Now an eminent psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind, Evelyn is the force behind Hanover House, a maximum-security facility located in a small Alaskan town. Her job puts her at odds with Sergeant Amarok, who is convinced that Hanover is a threat to his community…even as his attraction to beautiful Evelyn threatens to tear his world apart. BEGINS WITH AN ESCAPE FROM HER PAST Then, just as the bitter Alaskan winter cuts both town and prison off from the outside world, the mutilated body of a local woman turns up. For Amarok, this is the final proof he needs: Hanover has to go. Evelyn, though, has reason to fear that the crime is a personal message to her—the first sign that the killer who haunts her dreams has found her again. . .and that the life she has so carefully rebuilt will never be the same…

Dr. Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to gain a better understanding of the mind of a psychopath. Hanover House is a place that has opened after years of dedication and hard work. Evelyn runs Hanover House, but she can still be held accountable for her decisions.

Evelyn has been obsessed (that’s the only word to use here) with the psychotic mind since she was sixteen. Abducted by her high school boyfriend and subsequently tortured and raped, Evelyn was left for dead. It was only a stroke of luck that left Evelyn alive and able to get help. No one had a clue what Jasper was capable of, including Evelyn herself. That’s what got her obsession started. Ever since then, it has run her life.

Sergeant Amarok is the only law enforcement in Hilltop, Alaska. When a body turns up shortly after a storm hits and the power goes out, Amarok is sure that his fears about Hanover House have finally come true. Evelyn, of course, isn’t so sure. She is sure that Jasper is back to finish her off. All the signs are right there with how the body is left, how it’s someone close to her, and how the killer leaves clues that mock Evelyn.

Amarok isn’t a detective, but as he digs deeper, he is more inclined to believe Evelyn. He still thinks it has something to do with Hanover House, but now he thinks it is someone on the outside of the bars.

This was a psychological thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. There were so many twists and turns that I felt like a pretzel. What I didn’t like is Evelyn’s obsession. It really seemed to overtake anything else in the book. The romance, the suspense, the mystery. It was just so prevalent that I couldn’t forget it long enough to really get into the book. I understood it, but things she did at the risk of her own life and safety almost made her TSTL.

It doesn’t matter enough that I’m not hooked. I love the idea of Hanover House and already read the chapter for the next book. It seems that Evelyn has a genius psychopath on her hands and I can’t wait to see them go head to head.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

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Review: Sting by Sandra Brown

Posted August 26, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Sting by Sandra BrownReviewer: Casee
Sting by Sandra Brown
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: August 16th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 416
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three-half-stars

When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn't belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.

As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother's ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive.

Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie's only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn't entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother's scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.

I haven’t read a Sandra Brown novel in quite sometime. This part of the blurb caught my eye: “But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.”. I knew I had to read it. Usually I cruise right through Brown’s novels, but this one was slow going until about halfway through the book. That’s when it really got good and I could actually sit down and finish it.

Jordie Bennett thought her life was forfeit when she sees Shaw Kinnard bearing down on her in a seedy bar parking lot. Instead, he abducts her and takes her to a place that is impossible to escape. Shaw wants information on her brother, Josh. Josh is in protective custody after turning himself in for helping Billy Panella, a “dangerous criminal”, swindle people out of a total of thirty million dollars. Josh has promised to help the FBI find the thirty million and put Panella away. If they can find him.

Shaw wants more than the two hundred thousand that he was promised to kill Jordie. He wants the full thirty million not to kill her. To get that, he needs her help. To get her help he needs her to tell the truth, which he knows she’s not doing. Jordie is determined not to tell Shaw everything she knows because she needs a bargaining chip if she’s going to come out of this situation alive. Yet as the time slogs by, Jordie is less certain that Shaw is going to keep her alive. Even with their unwanted attraction (so cliché) to each other, Jordie knows that he’s going to kill her.

View Spoiler »

After the slow start, this was a good romantic suspense/thriller. It went at a fast, easy reading pace. I don’t know if I’ll read the next Sandra Brown novel, but I’m glad I read this one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman

Posted May 16, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: How To Be A Good Wife by Emma ChapmanReviewer: Tina
How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: October 15th 2013
Genres: Thrillers, Mystery, Suspense
Pages: 288
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three-stars

How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman is a haunting literary debut about a woman who begins having visions that make her question everything she knows

Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after university. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife—as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector's aloof mother on their wedding day.

But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can't recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember—or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta's visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it's unclear if the danger lies in the world around her, or in Marta herself. The girl is growing more real every day, and she wants something.

Have you ever watched a movie and through most of it you are sitting there wondering what the hell is going on? Well, if you have, then you know the way I felt as I read How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman. I spent most of the book trying to figure it out. And this doesn’t in any way mean that it is a bad book, it just that it kept me guessing through most of it.

The book is about a woman named Marta. She has been with her husband Hector for so long that she feels she can not remember a time when she was not with him. And then we have her son, Kylan, who is off at University and whom she absolutely adores. The book reveals how Marta is a housewife whose husband Hector is an overbearing pig. (In my humble opinion that is..) I could not STAND this man who treated her like she was a child and was set off by the littlest things. She is lonely for her son Kylan who is away and who is also planning to marry soon. She misses him so badly and feels totally lost without him.

We also find out that Marta supposedly has taken medicine for quite a long time and then decides that she is going to stop taking it. She throws it in the trash bin, and is always worried that Hector is going to find out. It seems to me that he is constantly pushing the medicine thing. “Did you take your medicine Marta?” “You know what happens when you don’t take your medicine.” I wanted to jump in the book and tell him to SHUT UP! ( Can you tell how much I despised this character??)

Anyway, Marta starts to have these visions of a girl in a white nightgown. The girl appears at different ages, but is always wearing the same white gown. This is when I started getting confused. Is Marta hallucinating because she isn’t taking her meds, or is something becoming clear to her now that she isn’t medicated?? Then I kept wondering if she is just dreaming…

So we get to a point where Marta finally tries to talk to her son about her visions and her thoughts behind them, but he doesn’t really show any concern. I guess he just figured since his mother had always had “issues” that it was just happening again. It is at this point that I can’t really say anymore without giving spoilers, so you really need to just read it for yourself.

Bottom line….would I recommend this book? Yeah, I think I would. It was definitely a psychological thriller, so if this is a genre you like to read, I say go for it. I have to admit that I had a hard time in the beginning with trying to stick with it as it was rather slow, but then it picks up and got to where I did want to figure out what was going to happen. I really think this was a decent read, I personally just had a bit of a challenge wrapping my head around it.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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