Review: What She Never Told Me

what she never told me

Title: What She Never Told Me | Author: Kate McQualie | Publication year: 2016

Genre: drama, romance, mystery | Rating: 3 and half stars

***

Summary (from GoodReads):

Louise Redmond left Ireland for London before she was twenty. Now, more than two decades later, her heart already breaking from a failing marriage, she is summoned home. Her mother is on her deathbed, and it is Louise’s last chance to learn the whereabouts of a father she never knew.

Stubborn to the end, Marjorie refuses to fill in the pieces of her daughter’s fragmented past. Then Louise unexpectedly finds a lead. A man called David Prescott . . . but is he really the father she’s been trying to find? And who is the mysterious little girl who appears so often in her dreams? As each new piece of the puzzle leads to another question, Louise begins to suspect that the memories she most treasures could be a delicate web of lies.

***

Review:

It took me a while to decide on the rating of this book. I knew it was a 3 and half stars, but I couldn’t figure if it was leaning into 3 or 4 stars. I ended choosing 3 because of its predictability. The book is good, don’t get me wrong, reading it was a nice experience but being able to figure out almost every twist and turn almost as soon as they’re presented stopped me from giving it a higher rating.

The main character, Louise, is interesting and human, she makes mistakes, she hurts and she is hurt. There are other few characters well developed, others not so much.

One thing I really loved was the descriptions of the places Louise visits. They are rich and made me wish to visit them.

All in all, this was a good read, an enjoyable one perfect for a lazy weekend.

I’d like to thank NetGalley, Quercus Books and author Kate McQuaile for providing me with a copy of What She Never Told Me in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Missing Hours

First of all, I’d like to apologize for not posting in so long. Between work and some family health problems, I had 4 books but couldn’t find the time or the heart to write their reviews. Here’s hoping that things will get better from now on.

Thank you for your patience.

the missing hours

Title: The Missing Hours | Author: Emma Kavanagh | Publication year: 2016

Genre: thriller, mystery | Rating: 5 stars

***

Summary (from GoodReads):

A woman disappears

One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.

A woman returns

Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.

What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?

‘Is it a forgetting or a deception?’

***
Review:
5 shiny stars.

This book is a fine example how you can create unique, compelling characters and a breathtaking edge of your seat story, do something different and not get lost in it.

I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil anything but there are some points and aspects I want to highlight.

First of all, this book is mostly told in the first person with multiple narrators. I confess I found it a bit overwhelming at first but as the narrative progressed it didn’t stand in the way or bothered me at all because every character, every voice is unique. And every point of view – past or present – adds a little piece to the puzzle.

The story is, like I mentioned, present in the present with chapters focusing on past events. They all serve their purpose, they add to the story, be it by helping understand the characters, be it to understand the world they live in and their mindset.

This book was impossible to put down. I had the urge to know what’s going on, to find the next piece, to figure out things. It is brilliant and it is a fresh take on the detective novel genre.

I highly recommend to anyone who loves a good thriller.

*
I’d like to thank NetGalley, Random House UK and Cornerstone, and author Emma Cavanagh for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review.

I can’t wait to read more of Emma Cavanagh’s work. This introduction to her was fantastic.

Review: Dead Secret

dead secret
Source: GoodReads

Title: Dead Secret / Author: Janice Frost / Publication year: 2015

Genre: thriller, mystery / Rating: 3 stars

***

Summary (from GoodReads):

Amy Hill, a nineteen-year-old student, is strangled and her body dumped on open ground in the city. New police partners, D.I. Jim Neal and D.S. Ava Merry are called in to investigate this brutal crime. The last person to see Amy alive was Simon, the son of a family friend, but before he can be properly questioned he disappears.

Detectives Neal and Merry are led on a trail of shocking family secrets and crimes. Can this duo track down the murderer before anyone else dies? Stopping this tragic cycle of violence will put D.S. Merry’s life at risk in a thrilling and heart-stopping finale.

***

Okay, let’s start with the good.

This book has an interesting and promising premise. A college student is murdered and the investigation falls into the hands of two police officers that are working together for only six months. They are still learning their way around each other and how to work together. D.I. Jim Neal, the Senior detective of the pairing, is interesting, if a bit idealized. He is handsome, brilliant at work and a dedicated single Dad. Oh, and young and successful. Despite that, and the mentions about his experience, he makes a bunch of rookie mistakes that made me feel like banging my head (or his) on the wall. He is likeable, though, and I think his struggles and behavior are the most close to reality.

There are some interesting characters and plot ideas that helped me finish the book. The pace was good and the author managed to not leave loose ends. It was well written and didn’t drag, which allowed me to give it 3 stars.

Now, the not so good.

Yeah, there were some good plot points in the book, but it wasn’t an exciting or satisfying read. It didn’t left me with the urge to read more about these partners (maybe if the author got Neal a new partner…) The solution to the case didn’t leave me satisfied. Yeah, it made sense, and yeah, there were some allusions to it in the book, but still.

My main issue was with the second detective, D.S. Ava Merry. She is drop dead gorgeous and attracts attention wherever she goes. She is supposed to be a smart and relatable character, but she got on my nerves. We are presented with bits of her backstory and we’re supposed to see a multi-layered character, but to me she ended being one dimensional. I kept waiting to see the other sides of her come into play but it never happened.

This one ended being longer than I originally planned. Oops?

This was not a bad read, despite it all, but it’s not memorable either. Others seem to have loved it, so I guess it was just not the book for me.

Review: Mother Knows Best

mother knows best

Title: Mother Knows Best Author: Karen MacInerney Publication year: 2016

Genre: thriller, mystery, humor | Rating: 3 and half stars

***

Summary (from GoodReads):

Things aren’t going well for private investigator and mom Margie Peterson. Her husband, Blake, is claiming his taste for drag queens is “just a phase.” Her first-grade daughter isn’t fitting in at her new posh elementary school, Holy Oaks Catholic School. And her hippie mother has swept into town and replaced the family’s store of processed foods with seaweed snacks. To top it all off, a late-night phone call from her boss, Peaches Barlowe, has pulled Margie into a very strange murder case, one that involves the Holy Oaks headmaster, George Cavendish. Poor man—he just happened to die in a dominatrix’s pink vinyl wading pool while wearing nothing but Aquaman tights and goggles.

As it turns out, there are a lot of people who might have wanted Mr. Cavendish dead, from his bereaved, betrayed widow to the shady owners of the local strip joint. Not even Margie’s best friend, whose daughter didn’t get into Holy Oaks, is above suspicion. Can the overtaxed PI solve the case before things get even weirder?

***

This is a second installment on a series, and even though I haven’t read the first book, I didn’t have any trouble keeping up with the characters and their backstories. Actually, sometimes I felt like the author repeated some bits of information a little too often, which can become annoying. I’ve read an advance copy, though, maybe it was fixed by the time it went on sale.

Margie Peterson, our heroine, is overwhelmed. Her marriage is falling to pieces, her oldest child is behaving oddly, her in-laws are rich and meddling, her new age mother is coming to visit and she has a crazy job at a detective agency. She’s also a bit of a klutz. Now throw in the murder of the headmaster of the private elementary school and a ‘pignapping’ (or pig rescue, depending on who you ask) and you have this book in a nutshell (emphasis on nuts).

As I read this book, I could easily see it as a TV Show, a dramedy like The Mysteries of Laura or Monk. It has the kind of action and insanity that would work perfectly on TV.

The writing is great, even when the plot is a little on the verge of escaping the realms of believability. The characters are fun and charismatic and the pace doesn’t leave space for boredom.

This is a nice read, even if not really my style. I highly recommend if you like a mix of mystery and with lots of laughs.

I’d like to thank NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer author Karen MacInerney for providing me with a copy of Mother Knows Best in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review: Cold-Blooded

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Source: GoodReads

Title: Cold-Blooded

Author: Lisa Regan

Year of Publication: 2015

Rating: 3 and half stars

***

Summary (from GoodReads):

Fourteen years ago, high school track star Sydney Adams was gunned down in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. The investigation yielded useless clues, and the case went cold. But homicide detective Augustus Knox never gave up on finding Sydney’s killer. Now, retired from the police force and with only months to live, he enlists the help of private investigator Jocelyn Rush to clear the case once and for all.

Armed with little more than a theory as to who murdered Sydney, Jocelyn tries to lure a killer into the open. But unraveling the mystery means facing-off against a cunning psychopath whose ruthlessness knows no bounds. When more bodies start to pile up, Jocelyn has to decide just how far she’s willing to go to catch a cold-blooded killer.

***

Fourteen years after the murder of senior student and track star Sydney Adams’ murder, the disgraced (and alcoholic) detective who was responsible for the investigation haven’t given up on proving Sydney’s tracking couch was the person responsible.

With new evidence in hand, he hires Jocelyn Rush – a former police detective, now private investigator – to solve the mystery once and for all. He only has a few months to live and he’d like to see the case closed and justice being served.

This book started slow and a little bit different – we supposedly know who the killer is but nobody was able to prove it.

The story takes a while to find its rhythm, but once it does, it’s a fun, exciting ride.

The characters – Jocelyn, her friend and business associate, her friends from the force, her boyfriend – they are all interesting and enjoyable, adding charm and warmth to the story.

This was a great read and I look forward to read more from the author.

I’d like to thank NetGalley author Lisa Regan for providing me an ARC of Cold-Blooded in exchange for an honest review.

***

Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.

***

OT note: My vacation is sadly over and I’m back at the office, which means I’ll have less time to read *sad face*. I’ll try to update here as often as I can. Hugs!

Review: The Girl In The Ice

the girl in the ice
Source: GoodReads

Title:The Girl In The Ice

Author:Robert Bryndza

Year of publication: 2016

Rating: 4 stars

Summary (from Amazon):

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

***

4 stars.

That was an exciting, addictive novel. I had trouble putting it down (I’m human and not that young, I need to sleep). This books is fast paced, surprising and very well written.

I really liked the MC, DCI Erica Foster, but sometimes I wanted to grab her, shake her and scream What the hell are you doing?!?! She’s intelligent, but sometimes she doesn’t make the right choices.

The clues to who the murderer is are smart and well placed. I figured out who the person was (the author made a choice to not make it clear if it was a man or a woman) but there was a twist related to it that I did not see coming.

I loved this book, I love how real and human the MC is, and I can’t wait to read more on this series.

I’d like to thank NetGalley, Bookouture and author Robert Bryndza for proving me with an ARC of The Girl In The Ice in exchange for an honest review.

***
Review also posted on GoodReads. Link here.

Review: Our Last Night

our last night

Title: Our Last Night

Author: Taylor Adams

Rating: 4 stars

Summary (from GoodReads):

Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards
Dan is a professional ghost hunter who’s never actually found a ghost. But his newest case is promising: a cursed Russian rifle (allegedly) haunted by a demon. According to legend, anyone who touches the antique weapon dies within 24 hours. But for Dan, it’s personal — he’s still mourning the death of his fiancée Adelaide, and he’s desperate to find proof that spirits exist. At any cost.

As the clock ticks down, Dan’s paranormal investigation quickly twists into a mind-bending nightmare. He is stalked through time and memory by a terrifying (and very real) demon. And as for his lost love, Adelaide? She might be the only one who can save him . . .

 

This book was a surprise. I admit I’m not a huge fan of horror, but I am curious about the genre, so I was at the same time excited and dreading reading this book.

So, this is horror, but it’s also prominently supernatural. It is also a love story.

There’s two tales happening at the same time. There’s the race against time to stop stop evil and save oneself, and there’s the slow understanding that everything may look perfect when you look back, but that’s just one’s mind choosing to remember only the good.

The book a little to find its rhythm, but when it found, it made it impossible to put it down. As a result, I went to bed 3:30am last night. I couldn’t wait until the next morning, I had to know how it ended!

Also, I think the book dragged at times, a few scenes were unnecessary plot wise. I didn’t skip any of them, though, afraid I’d lose a hint or a sudden development, and trust me, they  were there, not everywhere, but the twists and hints were there, and they helped build an exciting and surprising narrative. Also, I should mention there’s some gore and violent imagery, but if you’re a fan of horror, you’re already expecting it.

This is book is an excellent read for fans of thrillers and supernatural. The love story is also well written, not annoying or too sugary, and true as the layers are peeled and more is revealed.

I’d like to thank NetGalley, Joffe Books and author Taylor Adams for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

***

Review also posted on GoodReads. Link here.

 

Review: Alternate

alternate

Title: Alternate (Omnibus Edition)

Author: Ernie Luis

Rating: 3.8 stars
It’s an unusual number but I think it’s fitting.

This was a very interesting take on time travel with interesting, complex characters, well built tension and clever twists.

Back in high school, a friend told me she had no regrets. I don’t know if she still stands by that philosophy but I remember that, at sixteen, I already had a lot of regrets and a lot of things I wish I could go back and do differently. I couldn’t fathom the idea of someone being able to go on not regretting a single thing.

This book is about this, it’s about people trying to fix mistakes, trying to right wrongs, trying to save people. It is also about power, about how it can corrupt, rot and destroy somebody.

This is a fast paced, entertaining read. It’s a great addition to the library of any fan of science fiction.

***

I’d like to thank NetGalley and author Ernie Luis for providing me of an ARC of Alternate in exchange for an honest review.

***

This review was originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.

Review: The Girl You Lost

the girl you lost

Title: The Girl You Lost

Author: Kathryn Croft

Rating: 4 stars

Gosh, what a ride!

I know some people who loved it, others found it underwhelming. I found it fun and exhilarating, great things for a thriller.
It is fast pacing, exciting and nerve wrecking. This was an ‘edge of your seat’ experience for me.

The book is not perfect. There were some unnecessary tension build ins (oh my gosh it’s him! No, it’s not…) and some plot points were a bit forced, but it was an enjoyable read.

There are some sad moments and slightly vivid descriptions of violence, but I’ve read worse.

I’m looking forward to read other books from the author.

I’d like to thank NetGalley, Bookouture and author Kathryn Croft for sending me an ARC of The Girl You Lost in exchange for an honest review.

***

Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.

 

 

Review: The Girl On The Train

girl on the train

Title: The Girl On The Train

Author: Paula Hawkins

Rating: 4 and half

I don’t remember how I learned about The Girl On The Train. I don’t know if someone mentioned it to me, if I read about it somewhere (EW.com most likely), or I just happened to stumble upon its description on Amazon. I wasn’t active on GoodReads at the time so it wasn’t there. All I know is that I bought it and I loved it.

I remember hearing that it was being compared to Gone Girl but that didn’t mean much to me. Is it a story about dysfunctional people with sociopath tendencies? Yes. Is it a story with a less than likable female protagonist? Yes. Is the narrator unreliable? Yes. Are there twists and turns? Again yes. None of these are new, though. We’ve seen these elements time and again in movies, books, plays etc.

What makes The Girl On The Train interesting for me is the writing, and the characters. Rachel is poster child for everything you shouldn’t do with your life after a break up, but that makes her human. She is a loser but she is also lost. She had her self esteem destroyed. I got to understand and like the character, and I found myself rooting for her, cringing every time she took a misstep, hoping she’d find her way back before it was too late.

There are lies and deceit, there are characters being deluded by appearances. There are false leads and tricks. Most importantly, this is a helluva ride, fast paced, thrilling book.

It’s also being made into a movie. I confess Emily Blunt is as far from what I imagine Rachel as possible. I’d love to see Drew Barrymore playing Rachel. I think she’d be wonderful.

But that’s just my humble opinion.