In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White ~ #Mystery #BookReview

29243822This is the third book that I’ve read by this author, and I have to say that if you’re looking for suspense, she delivers! I didn’t like this one as much as the other two – I liked the characters and plot from the others better – but this kept my attention AND kept me guessing until the end.

The setting – the far, northern wilds of Canada – is almost a character in itself. It certainly makes for a creepy atmosphere.

This book was fast paced, well plotted, and sinister. Quite honestly, it almost bordered on horror. If you’re looking for a book to keep you up at night, this just might be it! 4 stars!

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!

The Last Girl by Nick Twist ~ #Mystery #BookReview

38925046This book started off with a bang. It was creepy, suspenseful, and mysterious. What it lacked in certain areas was made up for in others . . . until it wasn’t.

What started off as a promising read slowly spiraled into something else. Something I didn’t want to read. I kept going, hoping that the author would recapture what he initially had going. Eventually, it became clear that wasn’t going to happen; would it be rude to say that the author deviated from a good course to indulge himself?

I gave this book 3.5 stars, rounded to 4 where applicable, because the author has talent and had something good for a minute there. It was action packed and hard to put down at first. By the end, everything about it annoyed me, even things that I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about if the author had delivered. Scratch the previous rating. Writing this review has made me realize how utterly offended I became over the pages of this book. 3 stars.

Dying Truth by Angela Marsons ~ #Mystery #BookReview

39501802This is the 8th book I’ve read in the D.I. Kim Stone series, and like the seven before it, it was a suspenseful, roller coaster of a mystery. Angela Marsons is an expert at keeping her readers on their toes!

In this one, the author continues to explore the group dynamic among the detectives while delving into the dark side of elite school groups and hazing. I hate giving spoilers, but I will say that this book changes the group forever.

My biggest concern is that Marsons book deal was for 8 books – please let there be more! This is the only series I’ve encountered over the last few years that has me completely hooked; there are a few others I keep up with, but more out of curiosity than need. This series is an addiction as much as a guilty pleasure. 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!

 

Force of Nature by Jane Harper ~ #Mystery #BookReview

35688002This book is by the same author as The Dry, a book that’s been on my to-read list since before it was released. Sadly, I still haven’t read it. This is the second book in the series (I didn’t know it was a series, either.)

5 women go into the woods, only four come out. I had to read it. I love good hiking horror/mysteries, and have written a half dozen stories in the same vein myself, because as most hikers know, there’s so much that can go wrong, and the woods can be such a wild, unpredictable, and yes, sinister, setting.

I liked the characters. The writing took a few pages to adapt to the almost imperceptible little details of an Australian writer, but after that, I rarely noticed the quirks. The pacing was good, the suspense strong, and the ending unforeseen. Not my favorite book of the year, but still good. 4 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)

Looking Glass by Andrew Mayne ~ #Mystery #BookReview

35157278This book is the second in the Naturalist series. I was in awe of the first book – the main character was delightfully awkward and strange. He’s more comfortable with himself and more mainstream in this book, but still enjoyable.

I really like the dark humor that runs through the pages, lightening the heavy subject matter. The plot was intricate and introduced an interesting twist – it’s not often that a ‘science heavy’ book touches on the supernatural.

Writing, plot, characters, pacing – all deliver! Snappy dialogue and suspense to spare! 5 stars!

The Summer Children by Dot Hutchinson ~ Fiction #BookReview

35423609This is the third book in the “Collector’s Trilogy”. Trilogy smilogy, please break the rules and make this a longer series! The first in the series was absolutely fantastic, the second was very good, and I couldn’t put this one down. There was a narrator switch in this book, which I felt worked well to the story’s advantage.

These books are dark and gritty, yet at the same time, there’s a strong underlying theme of hope. Victims persevere, survive, take their lives and their power back, thrive. It’s a great balance that’s almost uplifting despite the thrilling suspense. Both the characters and the plot are enjoyable, You can tell the author is comfortable with what she’s creating, and that she’s having fun. 5 stars!

 

The Reunion by Samantha Hayes ~ #Mystery #BookReview

36589926Everybody’s a suspect!

The author did an excellent job of creating enough red herrings that the reader really has no choice but to suspect almost everyone until the author reveals what the reader is dying to know! She also wraps up all the loose ends, which I’ve notice many authors failing to do lately. And the suspense! Like a gourmet meal, this book left me satisfied but still wanting more.

My honest impression of this book is that the author enjoyed writing it. I certainly enjoyed reading it. While a few incredulous readers may find some parts unlikley, it’s fiction, and it kept me guessing the entire way through, which always gets my seal of approval. Another author to add to my list! 5 stars!