The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn ~ #Mystery #BookReview

40389527I roll my eyes every time a book is hailed as, “The next Gone Girl.” Let’s be clear  – whether you loved it, hated it, or didn’t read it, there’s only one Gone Girl. Novels are creations; each should be considered on it’s own merits. Have you ever heard someone say a painting is going to be the next Mona Lisa?

Rant completed, I will say that while this book wasn’t the next Gone Girl, as advertised, it was good. Really good. I enjoyed it immensely, and was taken by surprise several times.

The story was easy to read. The plot was simple, yet at the same time, elaborate. The character was well developed, and her internal dialogue and memories do a good job of endearing her to readers, whether they like her or not. I felt myself rooting for her. And how can a mystery lover not love the Hitchcock references? This one was time well spent. 5 stars!

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan ~ #Mystery #BookReview

36441275This was a fast paced, adrenaline pumping mystery with high stakes. There was a little awkwardness, a sentence here and there that felt like the author was struggling to find her footing, but all in all it was well written, with a well developed protagonist and pacing that left me gasping for breath.

The intricate plot was slyly crafted and the author didn’t shy away from shocking the reader. I can’t say more without giving spoilers, which I detest, so I’ll just say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and wouldn’t mind spending more time with Detective Josie Quinn by reading more books in the series. 5 Stars!

 

Trespassing by Brandi Reeds ~ #Mystery #BookReview

38261058I could not put this book down! There were so many different directions that the author could take with the plot, and I couldn’t rest until I knew where she was taking me (the reader) on this wild journey.

I’m not going to claim that it was completely believable, and I actually really disliked the ending (I was hoping for something a little crazier), but I really liked this book and would definitely read more by this author. If you like unreliable narrators, you should give this one a try. And, (I hate any kind of spoiler, but I have to share this), the little girl has a naughty imaginary friend who lives in her hair. Gold!!! 5 stars from the critic that lives in my . . . ear? Nose? Shoe? (epic fail on my part)

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan ~ Fiction #BookReview

34933505A book about a writer writing her latest novel while mysterious things happen in her real life. There are so many ways that this book, with it’s plot that may have been used a time or two before, could have gone very, very wrong. Which is why I was pleased to discover that the this book had been done very, very right.

It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but this one tasted good to me. It nailed all the basics as far as writing style and technique go, and even went so far as to tell a well crafted and entertaining story. The story in a story calls for careful reading, but it’s worth it.

5 stars and an A+ for creating new hope for old tropes!!!

The Dare by Hannah Jayne ~ Mystery Fiction Book Review

23102014I’ve read a book by author Hannah Jayne before, and after reading a second, I’ve got to say that this author is one to watch! Her twisty, suspenseful mysteries centered around YA characters are big on thrills and chills.

The books may be a bit melodramatic at times, but hey, I remember being a teenager, and most of the time, it works. Ms. Jayne is a master of creating a dark, creepy atmosphere for a reader to escape to for a while. Best of all, while I had suspects and suspicions, I wasn’t completely sure what was real and what wasn’t until the end. There were a couple of loose ends left frayed and unexplained, but the bottom line is that I really enjoyed this book. 4.5 stars!

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson ~ Fiction Book Review

9736927This book has been described as a cross between Shutter Island and Momento. I’m not sure if I’d go that far with the accolades. It was a good read – suspenseful and twisty.

But – the amnesia trope gets annoying. It’s like a license to fill up space with repetitiveness. I understand the difficulty in dealing with a character who has lost their memory without being a bit repetitive, but is slows down the pacing and creates an underlying dullness. I’ve read books that have carried it off better.

And – you have a character that can’t remember anything, yet the plot is still a touch on the predictable side. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but it was obvious that it was going to go in one of several directions, which it did.

Despite all this, the writing was good, and as a whole, I enjoyed the book. 4 stars, and another book that’s been sitting on my Kindle forever crossed off the list.

The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison ~ Fiction Book Review

36232011This book picks up shortly after where the previous book, The Butterfly Garden, ended. Same special agents, even a few of the same girls from the previous book, but this one has an entirely new main character, new mystery, and new killer.

I didn’t love this book as much as the previous one. I liked the character, enjoyed the mystery, and found myself repeatedly doubting my speculations as to who the killer was (always great when it’s not obvious). However, this one lacked the same spark of the other one. The clock wasn’t ticking as fast, the impending peril wasn’t as dark and pressing, and while the stakes were the same (life or death), they didn’t feel as breathlessly high.

It was, however, a fun read that kept me hooked, and I’ll definitely be reading the third and final instalment of “The Collector” trilogy, The Summer Children, as soon as it’s released. 4.5 stars!

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison ~ Fiction Book Review

The Butterfly Garden (The Collector Trilogy Book 1) by [Hutchison, Dot]Every once in a while a book comes along that makes you say, “Wow.” It stuns and amazes and leaves you slightly breathless. You find yourself thinking about it when it’s not in your hand, longing to finish the tales that’s drawn you in so completely. This was one of those books to me.

For once, I loved the main character – she was snarky, sarcastic and difficult – who wouldn’t? And while the subject matter was dark and twisted and horrid, there was enough levity to keep from getting that poisoned by the book you’re reading feeling. This author, in my opinion, is awesome!

So, while I get that everyone has their own tastes, different things that float their boats, to each their own, blah blah blah, I loved this book and will shout 5 stars from the tops of the mountains. If it isn’t for you, I probably won’t even register your dislike – I’ll be too busy reading the next book in the triology. That’s right!!!! There’s more!!! 5 stars!

 

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner ~ Fiction Book Review

25837341The writing was good, the pacing was fast, and the mystery was . . . a mystery. This book was quick and simple, but it kept my attention and kept me guessing until the end.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the lead character. There were some plotting issues, some issues with the timing of events, relationship jumps, and events and actions that seemed implausible, but I think with time this author is going to write some stellar books. Not everything has to be explained, but certain things do need to be addressed, and when a character is suddenly using a car that was in the shop, and the author puts a line in addressing that she had picked the car up from the shop after said character is in a scene driving with the car, a bit of editing may be needed.

But, all in all, I enjoyed the book, although the ending was awfully open. There must be a sequel coming. I think this is an author to watch. 4 stars.

Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah Jayne ~ Fiction Book Review

18025833I have some mixed feelings about this book. I liked the writing, and I liked the story. It was fast paced, witty, and, although I did suspect the culprit, it wasn’t entirely predictable. The author did a good job of providing enough red herrings that the reader could never be entirely sure.

That said, there were times when I felt the female lead was portrayed as too stereotypically weak female. Obviously there are times when a character is going to be this way – there are people in real life this way – but I always find it a little grating and wonder is the author is writing the character with these attributes as part of the character’s flesh and dimension, or because this is the way they believe women are and should be portrayed.

(Surprisingly, I’ve read several female authors whose female characters are always weak, insipid little idiots – sorry, I might be a little ornery today.) That said, by the end of the book, it was a character trait that the character broke free of, so all is well in the land of ‘women aren’t simpering door mats’. I actually really enjoyed this book, and because it struck me as fresh and a bit mold breaking, I give it 5 stars.