Mystery, Thriller

Shamed by Linda Castillo

Shamed (Kate Burkholder, #11)Shamed by Linda Castillo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out today!

I’m going to be honest here. This is not a book I probably would have picked up for myself. I’m not typically into books that incorporate Amish culture, but I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher so I gave it a shot.

Very glad that I didn’t allow my preconceived notions to deter me. I liked this book very much. And the way Linda Castillo wove the Amish culture into the book was actually one of the best parts. The impact of Amish customs and privacy on the investigation of a murder was fascinating.

When an elderly Amish woman is murdered and her young granddaughter is taken by the perpetrator, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must race against time to save her.

I enjoyed the way the story unfolded and information was given to the reader. I will say that nothing about the story was very shocking. I didn’t find the twists very twisty (until the very end where there was one that caught me completely off guard). But, it was an enjoyable police procedural that I think a lot of readers would really enjoy.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Linda Castillo and Minotaur Books for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery, Thriller

Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake

Only Ever YouOnly Ever You by Rebecca Drake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out in paperback today!

I’m not going to lie, the cover of this book didn’t really speak to me. I’m (right or wrong) really big on book covers, but I received this book from the publisher and was more than happy to read and review. Let me say that I’m so glad I didn’t let the cover deter me because the story inside is fabulous.

A thriller about a 3-year old girl who goes missing from her home in the night is the not the most unique concept but the structure is what made this book really special. Not many thrillers tell you the culprit from the beginning of the story, but right off the bat the reader know who abducted the small girl. And the story then tells how the investigation unfolds, the parents are suspects (because they always are), the abductor’s actions to cover her tracks.

I did think I had figured out all the plot points and wasn’t really surprised by anything… until the last 30ish pages where a few things really came at me out of nowhere. I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied by the twists at the end.

If you’re like me and feel underwhelmed by the cover, don’t let it stop you from reading the book because you’ll really be missing out. I would definitely recommend this one to thriller lovers looking for something with a different structure.

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

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Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult), Humor, Mystery

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I’m a little bit late to the party on this one since it published in 2012 but I’ve been wanting to read it for a while so I was excited when I was able to get ahold of it from the library.

If you’re looking for something fun, quirky, unique, different, and in its own wheelhouse, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is the perfect choice.

Bernadette’s daughter Bee wants to go on a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette is still adjusting to living the life she never wanted in Seattle, Washington and may be on the verge of a mental breakdown. And when Bernadette disappears, Bee is forced to weave together clues to where her mother has gone.

Told in the form of emails, letters, memos, transcripts, the format was ultimately the best and worst thing about this book. I am always a sucker for authors who write in a unique format other than strictly prose. I love the level of creativity. And I think I would have enjoyed this book’s format a lot more if I had read it rather than listened to the audio. Because on audio it did become a tad hard to follow.

But, that being said, the narrator, Kathleen Wilhoite, was one of the most fabulous narrators I’ve ever heard. She totally did the characters justice in voice, personality, and spirit. So even though the format made the audio version challenging, the narrator made up for it in storytelling.

At times, I did struggle to understand how all the pieces of the story fit together and flowed. And while it did come together in the end, there were portions of the book where I found myself zoning out because I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. That being said, I think if I were to read it again, I would probably appreciate it much more than the first time around.

Ultimately, although my numeric rating is on the lower side, I would still highly recommend reading this book just for the experience. It’s a gem.

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Mystery, Romance, Thriller

Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin

Her Deadly Secrets (Wolfe Security, #2)Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out July 2nd! Pre-order from Amazon here!

I just love Laura Griffin. The mystery/thriller/romance genre that she writes in is so unique from all the other thrillers I read and I always enjoy her stories. I won a copy of Desperate Girls last year in a Goodreads giveaway (the first book in this series) and absolutely fell in love. So I knew I had to read the next in the series, Her Deadly Secrets.

This cover speaks to me so much. I think it’s fantastic and really draws your eye in. Every time I see the cover for this book I do a double take because it’s pretty breathtaking.

But beyond the cover, the story itself is wonderful. Wolfe Security is enlisted to protect a private investigator whose life is in danger. She was hired by a prominent physician’s defense team to investigate a case in which he’s accused of murdering his wife. But when they find themselves in the middle of a bloodbath where one of their own is killed, they must enlist the security group to provide protection from the unknown assassin.

Laura Griffin’s stories are always such a slow burn which are usually not my favorite because they tend to be on the boring side. But she has this way of keeping the story moving and keeping the reader reading with her storytelling abilities. The mysteries are always well thought out and keep me on my toes. But to top it all off, the romance is always icing on the cake for me. In a genre that’s usually dark and twisty, she injects romantic elements that give the story a unique flare that I really enjoy.

I will say that I think the romance had a little more sexual tension in Desperate Girls so I think I enjoyed that relationship a tad more. But the relationship in Her Deadly Secrets was still steamy and enjoyable at the end of the day.

If you haven’t read Laura Griffin’s work, I would highly recommend it. She’s become a “must read” author for me and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

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

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Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every DoorLock Every Door by Riley Sager

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out July 2nd! Pre-order from Amazon here!

Lord… I don’t even think I can do this book justice with a review. What can I write that will explain how I felt after finishing? I was just taken on an absolutely phenomenal ride by Riley Sager.

Let me first start by saying that I fell in love with Sager after reading his first two novels, Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied. I feel like sometimes authors who come out with a smash hit tend to let me down when I read their sophomore novels. Well The Last Time I Lied did anything but disappoint. And reading Sager’s junior novel, Lock Every Door, I’m officially bowing down to a master of thriller/mystery/horror.

I honestly did not think I would get my hands on this book as it’s one of the most sought after books of the summer. So huge thank you to Dutton for allowing me the opportunity to review.

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When I started reading this book, it slightly reminded me of The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney (another author I adore). Jules is dead broke. She gets fired from her job. She stumbles upon her live in boyfriend cheating on her (in the act) and finds herself couch surfing with a friend and with nowhere to live. Life’s not going very well. Until she finds an ad in the paper looking for an apartment sitter at a highly prestigious New York City apartment complex… getting paid $4,000 per month. She cannot believe her luck and good fortune. Until things start to get weird. Which is where I’ll stop this synopsis because you really need to experience it for yourself.

As the book went on, it reminded me of the Oscar-nominated movie Get Out. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you’ll understand what I mean when you read the book.

Things I’m Raving About:
1. The juxtaposition between poverty and wealth. Sager played with this concept in several different ways throughout the story and did it in a way that didn’t get preachy but highlighted the differences in the lives of those with money versus those who struggle financially. I felt Jules’s helplessness and hopelessness as she worked to get herself out of her current financial situation.
2. How everything tied together. There were so many little details placed strategically throughout the story that wouldn’t even strike you as being relevant. But Sager surprised me dozens of times by looping back to things that happened several hundred pages earlier and perfectly tying up all the loose ends.
3. The uniqueness of the story. I honestly had no idea where this story was headed. I kept trying to guess as I always do with thrillers. And let me make a pretty bold statement… I feel confident that you are NOT going to see the major twist coming. It threw me completely off my game in the best way.

Things I’m Not Raving About:
1. Nothing
2. Nothing
3. Nothing

There is so much more I want to say but for the sake of brevity I’ll just say that I’m confident Sager has another smash hit in Lock Every Door and I think readers will be raving across social media for months to come.

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

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