Mystery, Thriller

Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

Hunting AnnabelleHunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Expected publication December 18th!

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway! I always try my hardest to read and review my giveaway book, and if you don’t, you should! I discover a lot of books I wouldn’t otherwise through the giveaway process and it’s always fun to get new, unique reads on my shelf.

Hunting Annabelle was no exception. It was the perfect book for a spooky fall night.

Sean is kind of a loner. Sean might be a bit mentally unstable. Sean has killed before and spent years in an institution being rehabilitated. But, he’s done killing. In walks Annabelle, a beautiful ray of light in his world. Until Annabelle disappears. And Sean becomes the number one suspect. But, he’s certain something else is at play here and he won’t stop until he finds her.

This book was set in the 1980s which gave it a retro feel. There were no cell phones. The internet wasn’t really a thing. It makes the investigative elements much more difficult. I loved the 1980s angle.

Hunting Annabelle is jam packed full of twists and turns. Just when you think you know what’s going on, you don’t. And it was kind of messed up, with some gruesome elements that may be hard for some to stomach. It reminded me a little bit of You by Caroline Kepnes mixed with a little bit of Karin Slaughter.

Would recommend to anybody looking for a dark, gothic, twisty novel in the vein of Caroline Kepnes or Karin Slaughter.

-Thank you to Goodreads, Wendy Heard, and MIRA Books for hosting this giveaway and giving me the opportunity to read and review.-

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Romance, Thriller

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

GhostedGhosted by Rosie Walsh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you asked me to describe how I feel about this book in one word: meh.

This book was fine. The concept was fine. The story was fine. It didn’t blow my mind but it was fine.

What’s the premise? Girl meets boy. Girl and boy fall in love in a matter of two weeks. Boy goes “ghost-mode” and falls off the face of the planet. Girl embarrassingly and desperately stalks boy to figure out why he’s not responding to herrrrrrrr……

I could NOT stand the main character in this book. I just wanted to say to her, “Girl, get a backbone. Have some self respect. Move on from this douche bag who won’t return your calls.” But no, she sits around and whines and mopes and cries about how the boy she has known for two weeks hasn’t call her back. Girl. Move on. He’s a jerk. Quit staring at your phone waiting for it to ding. Quit making excuses for him. Maybe “he’s just not that into you.” Don’t make me play the movie for you….

I digress.

Besides the embarrassment the main character bestowed on all independent women reading this book, the rest of the story was better. I think I liked the second half of the book much better than the first. It was kind of a mix between a thriller and a romance? Weird combination. The climax of the thriller portion happened around halfway through the book, and then it really turned into a romance from there on out.

There are more elements to the story that give it some depth which present themselves around the halfway point. And the characters have some difficult decisions to make and unique relationship dynamics are explored. This is where it got interesting for me.

Would I recommend this book to others? Probably not to be honest. Unless you enjoy listening to a tortured woman complain and pine over a man who leaves her high and dry. But who knows…. maybe I’m just crazy because I have lots of friends who really enjoyed it. Personally, I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. Again…. meh.

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General Fiction (Adult), Mystery, Southern Fiction, Thriller

Paper Gods by Goldie Taylor

Paper Gods: A Novel of Money, Race, and PoliticsPaper Gods: A Novel of Money, Race, and Politics by Goldie Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let me just start with a thank you to St. Martin’s Press for this surprise I found on my doorstep recently. After opening the package (book mail is the best!), I immediately added it to my stack.

The first thing that intrigued me about this book was the gorgeous cover. The Atlanta skyline at night is the perfect backdrop for this political thriller set in Atlanta. And this book is very “Atlanta.”  From the geographic descriptions to the narration to the discussions of race, I could feel the Atlanta vibe from start to finish.

The book begins with a bang when a prominent Georgia congressman is murdered. What follows is a twisted web of corruption sprinkled with money, power, and more murder as Victoria Dobbs, the mayor of Atlanta, announces her plan to run for the now-open seat.

I haven’t read an overtly political book in a long time and I really enjoyed it. Goldie Taylor really hit the nail on the head with her descriptions of the election process and the stress and pressure of the campaign. I really enjoyed the look into the corrupt world of politics and the attitude that some will do anything in their power to win.

Goldie Taylor’s writing was wonderful. She was extremely descriptive and thorough in her prose, and I enjoyed the character dialogue as well. It is definitely one of those books that requires all of your attention though so wasn’t necessarily a quick read for me. I needed some time to process the complicated relationships and events throughout to make sure I really understood what was going on. If you zone out for just a minute, you will be lost.

I did feel in the beginning that there were maybe a tad too many characters and was having a hard time keeping everybody straight, but by the end it cleared up. And while the book itself was a page turner for me, I found the ending to be a tad underwhelming and perhaps even a bit predictable. While there were a few twists along the way, I still found myself waiting for a big, surprising reveal, and it just didn’t happen. But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the story. I still found it entertaining overall and would recommend to anybody who enjoys political thrillers or wants to read a book solidly rooted in Atlanta.

-I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Goldie Taylor and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery, Thriller

Guess Who by Chris McGeorge

Guess WhoGuess Who by Chris McGeorge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Recently published!

This was the perfect horrifying Halloween read!

The tagline for this book is “One room. Five suspects. Three hours to find a killer.” And it is truly that simple.

When Morgan Sheppard wakes up handcuffed and locked in a hotel room with five other people, he has no idea why he is there. But when they discover the dead body in the bathtub, he really starts freaking out.

In the vein of the Saw series, a masked man appears on the hotel TV and notifies Morgan that he has three hours to uncover which of his five hotel-mates is the killer. Succeed and be freed. Fail and the hotel will be blown up, killing everybody inside.

The real success of this book was in Chris George’s writing style. His perfectly time use of cliffhangers regularly throughout the story gave the reader an appropriate amount of tension. I honestly didn’t want to stop reading because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The characters were developed well and differentiated. And I appreciated the author’s use of past and present to bring the story together.

The only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because I felt like the story got kind of convoluted toward the end, and the ending seemed a little bit dragged out. Whereas the rest of the book had that fast paced style, the ending felt a little clunky as the author tried to tie up all the loose ends which were still yet to be addressed.

Fans of the Saw series looking for a fast paced and “messed up” read will love this book. I sure did.

-I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Chris McGeorge, and Hanover Square Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

The Clockmaker's DaughterThe Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first time reading a book by Kate Morton. My Lord is her writing good. Her vocabulary alone astonished me and the eloquence with which she strings thoughts together was impeccable.

One quick note before I review the content of the book. That cover! It’s stunning and I have no doubt it will be an eye catcher. In fact, it’s what struck my fancy when I was browsing through NetGalley looking for my next great read.

This book is hard to describe as it’s so complex, with layers upon layers. But essentially it is the story of how people are interconnected in both place and time. The story spans over a century from 1862 to 2017, with multiple “mini-stories” that weave their way into one. There is a “mystery” element but I didn’t feel that the mystery was what carried the book. Honestly, I would say the romantic elements were stronger and the mystery was a subplot.

I enjoyed each character’s individual journey and felt that all the characters stood on their own with appropriate complexity and differentiation. There were times when the story bounced back and forth through time that I found myself forgetting who somebody was or how they were connected to the overall story, but after a quick refresher I was able to right myself. I will say that it was probably 100 pages too long and could have benefited from some significant editing. Because of it’s length, it did take me a bit longer to read than normal which didn’t help my memory and retention with regards to the story.

This book truly does transport you to another place and time entirely. I felt as if I was sitting in the garden outside Birchwood Manor enjoying a summer day with the river babbling and butterflies floating amidst the breeze. Kate Morton has a true talent

Lastly, I will say the chapter formatting was unique and clever. The story told by the Clockmaker’s Daughter was numbered in Roman numerals I through XII, a nod to the overall theme of time engrained in this book, while the stories told from the other characters were simply numerical in nature. Chapter XII concluded the book like a clock striking midnight.

-This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Kate Morton, and Atria Books for the opportunity to review.-

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