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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Silent Wife

silent wife

Title: The Silent Wife

Author: A.S.A. Harrison

Rating: 3 and half stars

I’ve read some comparisons to Gone Girl but I think Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch is a better fit.

This is a story told in two point of views: Jodi’s, the wife who believes she’s leading the perfect life and that she is a completely normal, balanced person; and Todd’s, the husband that is happy with the arrangement he has, but believes he will lead the same peaceful life with his mistress turned wife.

Both Jodi and Todd are in denial. This reality they created, their reality, works because they’re both playing roles, but once they’re apart, these roles stop working.

Jodi and Todd are not too complex, but they are fascinating. I can’t say much without spoiling it.

I wish there were a few chapters from Natasha’s (Todd’s new wife) point of view.

Highlight to read spoiler.
I’d love to know if she really changed over time or it was just Todd’s perception of her that changed, and I’d also love to know if she was as manipulative as it appeared to be, or if that was just Todd trying to avoid taking responsibility and unconsciously putting all the blame on her.

Like I said, a worth reading 3 and half star book. The only thing stopping me from giving it 4 stars was that I found the writing simplistic at times and the climax took too long to happen, that’s all.

This was sadly A.S.A. Harrison only novel, she passed away while working on her second book.

Oh, and apparently this book is being made into a movie and Nicole Kidman is set to play Jodi. I’m okay with this casting.

***

Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.

Review: Evil Games

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Title: Evil Games (D.I. Stone #2)

Author: Angela Marsons

Rating: 3.7 stars (almost 4!)

After reading Silent Scream, I couldn’t wait to read Angela Marson’s next book, Evil Games. Luckily, Malia Zaidi, my December buddy reader agreed that this would be our December read.

Kim Stone continues to evolve as a character, becoming more and more enjoyable, despite her cold exterior.

There are, like in Silent Scream, two cases to be investigated, but this time they are unrelated. They were both interesting and painful in their own ways.

I just found that there was something lacking, something I found in the first book and couldn’t find it here.

Evil Games is a great read, though, fast paced and inspired, definitely a must read.

***

My review of the first book of the series, Silent Scream, can be found here.

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Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.

Review: The Scent of Rain and Lighting

the scent

Title: The Scent of Rain and Lighting

Author: Nancy Pickard

Rating: 3 and half stars

It was better than I expected, especially because it was not a recommendation, but an Amazon Black Friday bargain.

The Scent of Rain and Lighting was a fast read. The characters were not as rich as I’d preferred, but they managed not to ruin the story. The scenarios were wonderful, though. I could easily picture the places in my mind.

The solving of the mystery felt a little forced to me, and the ending (aside from the reveal), predictable.

In short, it was a good read but no masterpiece. And it didn’t bore me, so yay!

Oh, and I just found out it’s being made into a movie, so there’s that.

***

Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.

Review: The Silent Children

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Title: The Silent Children

Author: Amna K. Boheim

Rating: 3.8 stars

3.8 stars (which is almost 4).

First of all, thank you to NetGalley, Troubador Publishing Ltd and author Amna K. Boheim for sending me the ebook in exchange for a honest review.

This is Ms. Boheim first novel and it’s a great one once it finds its rhythm.

The book took a little to find its footing, the first third drags a little, but once it did, it became a fast and very pleasant read. This is a horror storywhere some of the horrors are supernatural, others sadly all too real. The story is told through two timelines – one beginning in the 1930s and other in 2004. The first narrative is in the 3rd person while the second one is in 1st, which gives the book a good pace, for me at least.

The characters and relationships are interesting. I wish I had learned more about Vivienne and her relationship with Annabel, I was left with the impression that there was something more behind the surface of their friendship.

The one character I had trouble with was Max, the narrator of the 2004 part of the book. He was likable but I had a hard time picturing him the way the author intended – a thirty-something successful man. Try as I might, I kept picturing him as a young man, probably just out of his adolescence. I don’t know if it was his feelings towards his mother, or his relationship with Vivienne that clouded the image I made of him, but I couldn’t see him as mature as he was supposed to be. That didn’t spoiled my enjoyment, though. At some point I didn’t care about that anymore, I was too engrossed in the story.

The twists presented were not hard to guess, and nothing important was left unexplained.

This was an enjoyable read, more than I expected, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Ms. Boheim.

***

Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.

Review: Night Film

night-film

Title: Night Film

Author: Marisha Pessl

Rating: 3 and half stars

I’m a little torn. I’m not sure how much I liked this one. My rating may change in the future, I don’t know.

Finally! It felt like an eternity, but I finally managed to finish this book. No, it wasn’t the book’s fault, but an annoying cold kept me stuck at 94% read for the whole week.

The book is uneven, I have to say. There are some great parts, and some weak ones. It was a few false endings, which for some reason reminded me of the CSI formula – find a solution, then one detail appears and everything changes.

Night Film is written and executed well enough, but it could use some trimming. There are a few scenes that have nothing to do with anything, add nothing, and one particular, was pure waste. It made no sense. I don’t know if the author was trying to add as many genres as possible into the book or what. *shrugs*

The five main characters were interesting. I wanted to kick Scott hard, slap him upside the head. I wanted to sit with Nora and talk and maybe become best friends. That’s always good.

***

Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here. (I read the Brazilian Portuguese translation).