Genre: Thrillers

Review: The Winter Over by Matthew Iden

Posted February 6, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Winter Over by Matthew IdenReviewer: Holly
The Winter Over by Matthew Iden
Published by Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: February 1st 2017
Genres: Horror, Thrillers, Suspense
Pages: 352
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Goodreads
three-stars

Each winter the crew at the Shackleton South Pole Research Facility faces nine months of isolation, round-the-clock darkness, and one of the most extreme climates on the planet. For thirty-something mechanical engineer Cass Jennings, Antarctica offers an opportunity to finally escape the guilt of her troubled past and to rebuild her life.

But the death of a colleague triggers a series of mysterious incidents that push Cass and the rest of the forty-four-person crew to the limits of their sanity and endurance. Confined and cut off from the outside world, will they work together or turn against one another? As the tension escalates, Cass must find the strength to survive not only a punishing landscape but also an unrelenting menace determined to destroy the station—and everyone in it.

The Winter Over was a Kindle First pick for January. I was in the mood for some creepy suspense, and I figured a novel set in Antarctica was just what the doctor ordered. Though the novel showed flashes of brilliance, in the end I felt like it tried too hard to be too many things: Thriller, Mystery and Horror. Up until about the 80% mark I was really enjoying it, but then it went off the rails.

Cass is doing her first winter-over at the Shackleton Research Facility in the South Pole. During the summer months the station is filled with scientists and staff, but during the long winter months a skeleton crew of 40-ish hunker down and keep the station going. 9 months is a long time to be cutoff from everyone and everything you know, but Cass needs some distance from her life after a major tragedy.

When a colleague is found dead just before the station shuts down for the winter, the crew is shaken. But then a series of mysterious events happen that make Cass question herself and her remaining fellow colleagues.

Iden’s writing is very engaging. It was easy to fall into the barren, stark world of the Antarctic research station. This is where the novel excels. The creepy, dark station was fascinating. Cass, the protagonist, was interesting; complex and a bit maudlin at times. She had a down-to-earth approach to puzzling things out that made even the most ridiculous plots and schemes seem easily overcome. I was rooting for her from the beginning. I wish some of the other characters had been fleshed out more. Cass’s main friend, Biddie, and a couple of the scientists were touched on. I’d have liked to have more from them.

The suspense didn’t work as well. I pegged the villain early on, as well as the circumstances behind all the mysterious incidents that kept cropping up. The author did a fair amount of foreshadowing. The story truly lost me around the 75%-80% mark. Up until that point I was interested in seeing where things were headed, but it really went off the rails and too many over-the-top things happened in too short a time. It ended abruptly. The conflict was resolved, but I wish there had been a bit of follow-up. The way things were left at the station made me highly curious about its future.

Despite my issues with the last 1/4 of the book, I would definitely try the author again.

3.5/5

three-stars

Guest Review: The Game by Angie West

Posted January 30, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Game by Angie WestReviewer: Tracy
The Game by Angie West
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: October 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Thrillers
Pages: 60
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four-stars

Do you want to play a game?

Lei Guthrie and her best friend, Iris, have a tradition. Every Friday night after work they play a game, preferably vintage, the weirder the better. So when Lei finds a romance novel trivia game rumored to be cursed, she couldn’t be happier. Until she and Iris become trapped in the game. The rules are simple. Make it through three romance novel scenes gone horribly wrong and retrieve a silver key from each. Oh yeah, and stay alive.

Lei Guthrie is having a horrible day.  She did save an old lady from getting hit by a bus but then the old lady told her she was psychic and that Lei was going to die if she didn’t prevent it.  Ooookay.  Weird.  Since Lei had thrown down her shopping bags when she saved the old lady, all of her purchases – a game and wine included, had been ruined.  She stops by her local thrift store and finds a game that says it’s a romance trivia game.  The owner of the thrift shop tells her it’s supposedly cursed but that only intrigues her more.

Lei and her best friend Iris put the game out and are a bit confused that this romance trivia game would have  a game board that looks like a graveyard but they’re not put off.  The minute they start to play, however, strange things start to happen and soon they find themselves in the game.  Lei’s house has disappeared and a guy calling himself the crypt keeper is explaining that they have to go into 3 different doors – find a key, give it to him and return back out the door in order to return to reality.  The problem is that it might be easy to find the key but getting back out the door isn’t easy at all.  Also, if they die in the game, they die for real.

When I read the blurb for this novella I was more than curious as to what was going to happen to Lei and her friend Iris.  No, it’s not a romance, but since it had a romance trivia game involved I couldn’t pass it up and I’m really glad I didn’t.  The story is well written and completely compelling – I was sucked in from the first page.

Now when the book says romance trivia it’s more like acting out scenes in a book and of course this is the absolute darkest side of romance you can get.  Lei and Iris had their work cut out for them, that’s for sure.  The end of the book left us hanging just a bit as to what happened but only enough to make me sit and think about the possible outcomes.  Though a darker story it was a totally enjoyable. Don’t judge this book by its horrid cover – it’s worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Guest Review: Safe With Me by K.L. Slater

Posted January 25, 2017 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Safe With Me by K.L. SlaterReviewer: Tina
Safe With Me by K.L. Slater
Published by Bookouture
Publication Date: November 3, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Thrillers, Women's Fiction
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four-stars

Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even …

Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.

Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …

First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…

But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

I found Safe With Me by K.L Slater on NetGalley when I was looking for a new thriller after reading a couple of lighthearted holiday books. I felt like I needed something with a little more substance after being in happily- ever- after land for awhile. So I read the description and was definitely interested.

I always like to read a couple of summaries on a particular book that I am about to read to give me an idea of if I really want to read it or not. I also like to check a couple reviews from people that I am familiar with on Goodreads or LIbrarything just to see what their views are as well. The book got pretty good reviews from a lot of folks on Goodreads, so I submitted my request and was glad I got selected.

Safe With Me puts you inside the head of a woman who is slowly surrendering her grip on reality, and trust me, it’s kind of a scary place to be. The story line is fast-paced for the most part and is certainly full of twists and turns. There are parts of the book that are pretty intense and the author definitely knows how to keep you guessing. I was surprised to find that the book is actually K.L. Slater’s debut novel.The writing is spot-on, with interesting, well-developed characters that all seem to be harboring their own secrets. Although I can’t say the majority of them were likable, I don’t feel they were intended to be anyway. I felt that the book had a good flow and was a fairly quick read as well.

I finished the book knowing that I would definitely be watching for more from this new author. If this is her first offering to the literary world, I can only imagine what she will come up with next. K.L. Slater did a great job of keeping me guessing, and from what I saw from the several other reviews that I had read, I was not the only one! That is always a sign of a good thriller. A story loses a lot of it’s power when the reader has it figured out by the middle of the book.

I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book to review. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good thriller.

four-stars

Guest Review: Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall

Posted December 28, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Tell Me No Lies by Lisa HallReviewer: Tina
Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall
Published by Carina
Publication Date: October 20th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Thrillers, Women's Fiction
Pages: 183
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Goodreads
four-stars

From the bestselling author of Between You and Me don’t miss Lisa Hall’s new gripping thriller.

Don’t. Trust. Anyone.

It was supposed to be a fresh start.

A chance to forget the past and embrace the future.

But can you ever really start again?

Or does the past follow you wherever you go…

I have to admit that even though I enjoy many different genres of books, I always tend to gravitate towards women’s fiction and psychological thrillers. I saw Tell Me No Lies on NetGalley and after reading the summary, I submitted my request with my fingers crossed. I had heard a little bit about the author, Lisa Hall, on Goodreads because of her book Between You and Me. One of my “friends” had read it and gave it five stars. So, when I saw that I got approved for a review copy of this one I was pretty stoked. By the way, I purchased Between You and Me on Amazon right before I wrote this review.

I have to tell you that I started this book shortly after I received it and finished it pretty quickly as well. The only problem was that I read it late one night after everybody else went to sleep and my menopausal insomnia chose to keep me up. Yep, you can always count on me for a little TMI! Anyway, being a slightly paranoid person anyway, ( I mean how many times can you check to see if a door is locked??) I started reading and all was good. Well about a third of the way into it, I started getting that creepy vibe and every pop and crack of the house suddenly became somebody coming to get me! Not cool! So, fyi, if you get spooked easy, read this one during the day.

I really did enjoy this book. It was intense read and kept me powering through it because I was determined to finish it before I went to bed. As you read this book you might get that feeling that maybe you read it before, but you probably just watched a movie that was very much like it. I pretty much had it figured out by the last couple of chapters, but I still had to read on as you never know if the author is going to switch it up on you or not! But I have to tell you….I don’t really know how I feel about the ending. I mean I’m not sure if it was so unexpected that I am just freaked out by it or if I hated it. To me it was like driving 85 down the highway and slamming on your brakes! I’m sure Lisa Hall did that on purpose and that it was her intention to leave us all going “WHAT????”. At least I HOPE that was her intention..

I thought this was a great book. It had everything that a really good psychological thriller should have. Well….except that ending. But I will leave that up to you to decide for yourself. I am still on the fence about it. Great book – bizarre ending. Not gonna lie.

I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in return for my honest review. I enjoyed it and think that if the summary sounds interesting you should give it a try. It’s a relatively quick read and only took a couple of hours from start to finish.

four-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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Goodreads
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