Mystery, Thriller

A Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell

A Stranger on the BeachA Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Middle aged man and woman having marital problems. Woman meets young, sexy man on beach and affair ensues. But then things start to get out of hand.

The first half of this book was incredible. It reminded me of You by Caroline Kepnes and I loved the stalkerish feel. I was totally invested in the affair and was wrapped up in where the author was going to take it. The second half…. was more of a struggle for me. It took a completely different turn which ended up feeling a little bit long and drawn out.

To be completely honest, I saw where this book was headed from a mile away so I’ve got to say that I didn’t really find any of the twists to be all that surprising. But, despite that, I still enjoyed the story.

One major issue: I don’t want to give anything away, but now that I know the ending, I have a hard time understanding the decisions of some of the main characters in the beginning. They made sense at the time when I was living under certain assumptions, but given how everything transpired, some of the narration at the start doesn’t really work. So I had a hard time with the inconsistency, but I’m willing to look past it.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Michelle Campbell, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Fantasy, Mystery

The Seekers by Heather Graham

The Seekers (Krewe of Hunters #28)The Seekers by Heather Graham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Criminal minds meets paranormal ghost hunters meets a tale about past and present. I liked the concept of this book and the overall story. However, from very early on, I struggled with the number of characters that were introduced all at once. I actually had to flip back quite often in the beginning to recall who each of the characters was as I felt like I was pelted with a string of a dozen names, but no real standout characteristics for each.

Once I got a handle on the characters, there were also quite a few subplots to wade through. I eventually got everything straight, but I think this book would have benefited from paring down both characters and plots.

I had a hard time believing the love story element, particularly how serious the characters were at the end after having only met a few days earlier.

I did enjoy the paranormal elements and felt the author did a good job making the story mysterious and spooky.

Overall, this one was just okay. Unfortunately, I don’t know if it’s anything I will remember down the road.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Heather Graham, and MIRA Books for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Thriller

29 Seconds by T.M Logan

29 Seconds29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you ever read a book with a character so horrible that you wanted to jump into the pages and strangle them? If not, give this one a read.

The character development was done super well by T.M. Logan. In particular, the primary male character in this book was so vile, I found myself really hating his guts.

What’s the book about? Sexual harassment in the workplace. And the lengths one would go to in order to stop it. All packed into a nice thriller.

I thought the story from beginning to end was really engaging and interesting. I was constantly intrigued and wanted to find out what would happen next. It definitely held my attention throughout. Which is what I expect from a thriller. I didn’t find myself stuck in any lulls where I lost interest.

The only complaint I have about this book is that the ending wrapped up a little too quickly for me. And it seemed like the author was trying to tie up all loose ends in a neat package with a nice bow on top, despite the story up until that point being pretty messy and convoluted. I found the “resolution” in the end to be a little bit on the unbelievable side. But it was still a satisfying story overall.

If you’re a big thriller fan, I would give this one a try. It’s a really quick and fast paced read.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, T.M. Logan, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Top Books of the Year

Top 19 Books of 2019

Wow!  2019 was an incredible year of reading!  After reading 147 (mostly incredible) books, it was really difficult to narrow my list of favorites down to only 19, but somehow I managed to do it!

As always, they are not ranked from best to worst by simply by alphabetical order (I’ll let you be the judge).

 

The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

WWII as told from the perspective of incredibly brave women who served the troops during wartime.  Totally fell in love with these characters.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Not usually a huge fan of autobiography, but what an incredible story! Definitely listen on audio to hear Michelle’s voice tell it.

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Hands down favorite book of the year!  It has won like a million awards this year and deserves every one of them. Sex, drugs and rock and roll at its finest.

Educated by Tara Westover

Another autobiography?  What’s gotten into me?  Woman escapes crazy cult family and against all odds ends up highly educated.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

My “Top 19” list would not be complete without something by my favorite author!  Everything she touches turns to gold.  Trust me, this one is great!  Prepare the tissues!

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Where are my romance fans at?  Be prepared to cry… a lot.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Woman agrees to apartment-sit in exchange for a lofty (too-good-to-be-true) salary.  But is the money worth the creepy stuff that happens in the building?  Spoiler: probably not!

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Allow me to show you my messed up side.  I mean the cover is a woman staring into the reflection of a super sharp knife.  What do you expect?

No Exit by Taylor Adams

Ever get stranded at a rest area with some shady folks and no way to escape?  Me neither.  And after reading this one, you won’t want to.

The One by John Marrs

Ancestry DNA meets match.com.  Do you think you can find your perfect match through science?  Read and find out.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Blake Crouch always makes my head hurt (in a good way).  Total mind f*ck.  Be prepared for an absolutely crazy ride.

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Major trigger warning here.  But if you’re a fan of 48 hours mysteries, this one is for you.

The Scent Keeper by Eric Bauermeister

I’ve never read a book that made me feel like smells were jumping off the pages.  Beautifully written story.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Here’s another one that’s winning tons of awards… because in the thriller genre, it’s hard to find something that blows your mind these days.  Be prepared for the ending.  You won’t see it coming.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Probably one of the most underrated books around!  I’ve heard the same sentiment from those who have read it.  If you’re a fan of WWII drama, please pick this one up.

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

I cannot even start with this book.  Want to take a tiny glimpse into the mind of a transgender child?  It will open your eyes.

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

Won this one in a giveaway and so glad I did because I probably wouldn’t have read it otherwise.  If you could raise a glass to 5 people that defined your life, who would they be?

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Beautifully written and culturally vibrant, Cleeton never disappoints!

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Spooky murder mystery with lots of twists and turns.  Save this one for October.  Perfect Halloween read.

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Well, there you go!  Here are your first 19 reads of 2020 if you haven’t read them already.  You’re welcome!

General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Mystery

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small TownBig Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out January 14th!

I fell in love with Diane Chamberlain’s writing last year when I read The Dream Daughter. She has this way of telling a story that draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the very end.

I honestly devoured this book. Told in two timelines (one of my favorite formats), Chamberlain created a story that combined the past and the present in such a beautiful way.

1940: Anna Dale is an artist who will a mural painting competition in a small town in North Carolina. During the painting of the mural, she finds that living in the South with its prejudices is a different ballgame than living in her hometown up North.

2018: Morgan Christoper is a young woman who finds herself mysteriously being released from jail early in exchange for restoring Anna Dale’s mural. And she will end up engrossed in learning about Anna Dale’s history.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. It was a wonderful novel from start to finish with rich prose and descriptions that made me feel like I was in the story. It reminded me a little bit of Where the Crawdads Sing which was one of my favorite books in 2018. Overall, I would highly recommend this one to anybody who enjoys historical fiction with a touch of mystery.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Diane Chamberlain, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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