Mystery, Thriller

Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb

Daughters of the LakeDaughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First off, I was wavering between giving this book 4 or 5 stars but at the end of the day, I really enjoyed it so decided to swing in the direction of the higher rating.

I got this book for free from Amazon First Reads. If you’re an Amazon Prime member and have never used First Reads, you should. You get a free book each month as part of your membership. Check it out here.

Back to Daughters of the Lake. What a fantastic book to read on a gloomy, autumn night (let’s forget that I read it on a beach in December)!

A woman’s body washes up on the shores of Lake Superior in a small town on the coast. Nobody knows who she is or where she came from. And even more surprising is the body of a baby that washes up with her. Who are these lost souls? What happened to them? Meanwhile, a woman in town begins to have strange dreams, but they feel more like reality. And they may just hold the clues to the mystery woman’s death.

Daughters of the Lake really reminded me of Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter. The story spanned over a century. There were spooky, ghostly elements. There were many generations of characters, all with their own stories to tell. And there was a murder mystery element that fit in perfectly.

At first, I found myself having a hard time getting the characters and their generational lines together in my head. There were a lot of names and they started to get a little jumbled. But eventually, it came together for me and the second half of this book was magnificent. I thought I figured out the big mystery even as the answers were unfolding. And then I was fooled by Wendy Webb’s magnificent storytelling. I loved the way everything came together in the end in such a surprising and unexpected way. She certainly tricked me.

This book is wonderful in a lot of ways. I would recommend to anybody who enjoyed The Clockmaker’s Daughter or who is looking for a spooky ghost story to read on a dark winter night!

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General Fiction (Adult), Mystery

Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser

Forget You Know MeForget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out February 5th!

Forget You Know Me was the opposite of what I expected it to be. After reading Jessica Strawser’s book Not That I Could Tell, which had a strong thriller/mystery quality, I was expecting something similar this time around. The beginning of the book had me on the edge of my seat. Two friends on video chat catching up from hundreds of miles apart. Molly steps away from her computer to attend to a needy child when suddenly a man in a ski mask walks into the house. Liza panics when she sees him enter, and goes into full on freak out mode when he shuts the laptop and leaves her in the dark as to what is happening in the house. Thriller, right? Wrong.

The rest of the book evolved into more of a women’s fiction novel about friendship, marriage, relationship struggles, changes people go through over the course of their lives, guilt, second chances, and more. Just because it wasn’t what I was expecting does not mean I did not enjoy it. In fact, I did. Strawser’s writing is enjoyable, easy to read, and real.

While both of the main characters really irked me (stop making a series of horrible decisions people!), they could have been real people from my life. A wife struggling with her new life as a mother, a husband unhappy in his marriage, a friend feeling like she’s being left behind. It was all very realistic and believable.

I will admit that in the beginning of the book I felt like there were a lot of subplots all going in different directions and I was a bit confused about how they all related. But for the most part, they all intersect nicely along the way. There were perhaps a few places where I didn’t understand the relevance, particularly in Luke and Steph’s portion.

Overall, bravo to Jessica Strawser on another successful novel! I hope to see more from her in the future.

-This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Jessica Strawser, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

The AnomalyThe Anomaly by Michael Rutger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Wow! Wow!

This was my June pick for Book of the Month, and now I’m wondering why it took me 6 months to finally read it!

The publisher says The Anomaly is a mix of Indiana Jones and The X-Files which is accurate. But it is so much more than that. It reminded me of a cross between The Curse of Oak Island, National Treasure, and As Above, So Below sprinkled with archaeological elements straight from the walls of our natural history museums. If you’re at all fascinated by The Discovery Channel or The National Geographic Channel, you will love this book.

Nolan is seen as a joke in the scientific world. He is the star of the YouTube show, The Anomaly Files, which seeks to find exciting secrets about our life on Earth by uncovering anomalies never before discovered. He and his film crew are on a mission to unearth Kincaid’s cavern deep within the remote reaches of the Grand Canyon, an anomaly documented in the early 1900s that has never since been found. But they may be about to get more than they bargained for.

I wish I could say more about the plot, but I don’t want to give away even a tiny portion of the surprises. And there are so many of them. Seriously. So many times along the way with this book there were jaw dropping surprises that I did NOT see coming!

The science nerd in me loved the way Michael Rutger tied together all the mysterious elements of the story, and while it is in no way believable, it had that mystical quality that made you think, “even though this isn’t realistic, it makes enough sense fundamentally for me to love the concept.”

When I logged onto Goodreads to write this review, I noticed this book was denoted as “The Anomaly Files #1” and I instantly got super excited at the prospect of it being the first of a series because, honestly, I couldn’t get enough of the characters and the story. And to my excitement, after a quick Google search, I found that a second book is due to be published next year called The Possession (can’t wait!).

If you are looking for something utterly unique and different (i.e. not “vanilla”), you should definitely give The Anomaly a try! You won’t regret it.

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

A Stranger in the HouseA Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Truth be told, I’ve been wanting to read Shari Lapena’s new book, An Unwanted Guest, for a while now. And had been waiting for my turn on the library wait list when I stumbled upon one of her previous novels, A Stranger in the House. So I decided to give it a try first.

First off, really good thriller! One night a woman frantically crashes her car head on into a utility pole. Meanwhile, a man comes home to find his wife missing only to find out she is the woman from the accident, who now has amnesia as a result of the accident. All of this wouldn’t be so weird if the police didn’t discover a dead body in a part of town from which the woman was fleeing. What happened? Did she kill him? Or is something else at play?

There were lots of great elements in this book. It hooked me from the start with lots of unanswered questions and mysterious happenings. And the way the book evolved kept me interested the rest of the way. I will say that the last 20ish percent felt a tad long and drawn out. And at one point I said to myself “I already know what’s going to happen so can we just get on with it?”. But, I was wrong! I was in for a couple surprises along the way.

While there wasn’t anything particularly mind blowing or original about this book (would call it one of your standard thrillers), it was still really enjoyable. Would recommend to anybody looking for a quick, engaging, fast-paced thriller.

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Mystery, Thriller

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

The Perfect LiarThe Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmm… I feel like I read a different book than everybody else with this one. Many have been raving about The Perfect Liar, but it was just okay for me.

So I don’t give anything away, I’m going to use the publisher’s description for this one:

*****
A seemingly perfect marriage is threatened by the deadly secrets husband and wife keep from each other, for fans of B.A. Paris and Paula Hawkins.

Susannah, a young widow and single mother, has remarried well: to Max, a charismatic artist and popular speaker whose career took her and her fifteen-year-old son out of New York City and to a quiet Vermont university town. Strong-willed and attractive, Susannah expects that her life is perfectly in place again. Then one quiet morning she finds a note on her door: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
*****

The book started off well enough and I enjoyed the overall concept. I’m always up for some sort of sinister plot that keeps the reader guessing. However, I found the “twists” pretty easy to guess so I wasn’t particularly surprised for the “big reveal” toward the end. When the reader discovers who has been leaving the notes and why I kind of scratched my head. It wasn’t entirely clear why this person was leaving the notes and specifically why now. And that question never really got answered or clarified which I found somewhat dissatisfying. The ending overall was pretty anticlimactic as well and didn’t leave me satisfied given the tension that had been built up by the author.

But all of that being said, there was never a point during the book that I wanted to stop reading it. I kept hanging around hoping something exciting would happen. And even though it didn’t really come to fruition, I still enjoyed reading it.

I seem to be somewhat in the minority with my feelings, so I think this one is worth taking a shot for any thriller readers out there. If I’ve learned anything from fellow bookworms it is that no two people read the same book, so you may enjoy this one even though it wasn’t my favorite!

-This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Christopher Greene, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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