Mystery

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

The Familiar DarkThe Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out March 31st!

I honestly wasn’t looking for this book, but it kind of fell in my lap thanks to the publisher!

What would you do if your young daughter and her friend were found murdered in a local park while walking home? The Familiar Dark explores one mother’s response to this unthinkable act.

Amy Engel’s development of the main character was nothing short of masterful. I felt like I was walking in the mother’s shoes as she takes matters into her own hands to investigate this crime against her daughter. There were so many different layers to her personality, her relationships, and the story in general that made it very enjoyable.

While there is a twist at the end, the conclusion didn’t really sit well with me. I had a difficult time believing the outcome, but I understand why the author went the direction she did.

Overall, this was a good murder mystery with wonderful character development (which is always something I look for).

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Amy Engel, and Penguin Group Dutton for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery, Thriller

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

You Are Not AloneYou Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Out today!

I fell in love with this author duo when I read The Wife Between Us. It absolutely blew my mind with its various twists and turns that I did not see coming. So when I had an opportunity to read their latest novel, You Are Not Alone, I jumped at the chance.

Plot: Woman witnesses another woman jump to her death in front of a subway train. She then proceeds to obsess over the suicide and why the deceased woman made the decision to jump. Along the way she befriends some folks that knew the dead girl and a bunch of weird events ensue.

This book was an extremely quick read, the writing definitely lending itself to a page turner. However, that’s kind of where the enjoyment ended for me. The “believability factor” for this story was really low. I could not imagine a person making such absurdly stupid decisions in real life so had a hard time believing the actions of both the main character and the various ancillary characters. I also didn’t care for the multiple backstories of the ancillary characters; I didn’t think they contributed much to the primary story line. And I had a really hard time differentiating between many of the ancillary characters. With the exception of a couple of them, they all kind of ran together for me.

All of that being said, it wasn’t an awful book. It just wasn’t my favorite, especially given the high standards I’ve set for this author duo given their previous works.

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

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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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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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