Genre: Mystery

Guest Review: Cold Sweat by J.S. Marlo

Posted February 23, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Cold Sweat by J.S. MarloReviewer: Tracy
Cold Sweat by J.S. Marlo
Series: Heart & Endurance #1
Published by Champagne Books
Publication Date: February 6th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 204
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three-half-stars

Can they conquer the mountains and the past in time to save Hope?

***

Seventeen-year-old Hope Craig is deaf and training hard to make the biathlon Olympic Team. But when she is kidnapped from the groomed trails and taken into a remote cabin in the mountains, she must battle more than the elements to survive.

On the hunt for her daughter's abductor, Colonel Amelia Matheson enlists the help of Richmond Morgan, a local sheriff who once hurt her. To find Hope, Sheriff Morgan and Colonel Matheson must untangle a web of secrets, including their own.

Using her wits and skills, Hope sets out to escape the mountains and save the man her mother had sent to rescue her—a man who is not who he appears to be.

Hope Craig is kidnapped while doing her biathlon training.  Her mother is in the Army and is using all of her resources to find her daughter.  When she walks into the local Sheriff station she’s shocked to find her old college boyfriend, Rich Morgan, is the Sheriff.

Rich and Amelia broke up when Amelia graduated.  They had been dating but his rich, snobby parents didn’t like her and gave him an ultimatum – money or Amelia.  He chose the money.  He regretted his decision immediately but still didn’t go after Amelia.  He is a different man now than he was then and has changed his thinking and basically cut ties to his parents.  He’s thrilled to see Amelia again even though it’s under horrifying circumstances. He never stopped loving her and as hard as Amelia tries to deny it, she never stopped loving him either.

Rich works Hope’s case with Amelia but also another one with a local Senator.  When the two cases start to intersect Rich is shocked when all the evidence in both cases are exposed.  There are many secrets that are revealed and ones that will change everyone’s lives.

This was a good little mystery/romance.  I liked the characters in the story, even though I never really got that close with Amelia or Rich.  I did like their background story and all the secrets that were revealed, I just couldn’t get into the two of them.

Hope was a little fighter and I loved her character.  I wish that we had gotten to spend more time with her during the course of the story.  I also liked how the author twisted and bent the story so that three different cases were brought together into one.  I actually think I would have enjoyed this better as a straight mystery without bringing the romantic element into it.  I just found that part lacking.

The end was…odd, imho.  Rich and Amelia were on the road to something good but it was rushed in the end and again the romance left me unsatisfied.  If you’re looking for a mystery with romantic elements than this might be a good book for you, but not if you’re looking for a romance with a bit of mystery – at least in my opinion.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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

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

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.

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.

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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