Fiona Barton Nails it…

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When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared? Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth–and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…  (From Goodreads)

Even though this is the third one of the Kate Waters series, it looks like it doesn’t need to be read in order. There are some references to things in the second and first book but it’s not so much you’ll be lost. So these can be read stand alone. (That being said, I will definitely get the second one. I read The Widow and thought it was pretty good)

I liked how this one has several different points of view in the book. I’d have to say I preferred reading about Kate as she was the most affected. You might see it as her getting the just desserts as she now knows how it feels to be on the other side of the news story instead of Kate herself asking the questions, but it shows a real human quality to her and also gives her a reality check as to what she’s been doing her whole life (mainly, her job) You do see the human side of both Kate and Bob Sparkes. They each have their own problems and issues to overcome.

The plot itself is pretty good and the different points of view really help it come together. I got a little frustrated with Alex because I wanted her to drop Rosie as soon as possible. But Alex was just one of those too nice girls and she just couldn’t let it go. Although you rather figured out who was behind the crime it was the build up towards it, and there were some surprises here and there that made it quite the enjoyable read! The writing is seamless and the ending, well I can only think that might come back to haunt our characters sooner or later (maybe?)

I enjoyed reading this one, and I’ll be reading The Child to complete the series. I’m looking forward to more of Barton’s work. They’ve proven to be consistently enjoyable to read. I recommend these definitely.

Thank you Berkley/Penguin for the review copy!

I give it an 8 out of 10.

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Tough topic to read about, but it’s an excellent one

0373210426.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgAnna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day. (From Goodreads)

This book was definitely a page turner and it didn’t take me long to finish it. The writing is excellent, the characters are ones that stay close to you, and the overall theme is sad but there’s glints of hope as well.

It’s not an easy theme to read about, definitely but, it’s all too real and definitely something to be aware of. As you follow Anna throughout her journey and as she meets the rest of the girls, you silently want to support and help them as it’s almost they’re trapped in this vicious cycle that they can’t get out of and there’s an overall feeling of helplessness that’s prevalent. Especially moments between Matthias and Anna, you can feel the tension and almost subtle frustration Matthias feels as he tries to understand Anna and her disorder. I loved the moments between Anna and her father, however. Their interactions were meaningful and the love between them was what kept Anna going.

There is no actual plot in the book, you just follow Anna’s journey through how her disorder started, how it spiraled out of control, and how she’s attempting to treat it. It’s by no means an easy read but it’s an accurate picture of what these people go through with this disorder. It may seem trivial to some people, how Anna laments on eating full meals and being fiercely resistant and panicking over the meal portions, but it’s a real reaction to someone who’s used to eating and counting each single calorie intake throughout their day. It’s excellent writing on the author to portray this behavior and feeling throughout the book.

I do recommend this read when it’s due out in February. It doesn’t sugar coat the disorder, it blatantly tells it like it is, and we can only hope Anna can get herself out of the cycle.

I give it a 10 out of 10.

Thank you St Martin’s Press for the review copy!

 

A Subject to Never Forget About…

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When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past, the present, and herself. One hundred years earlier, a single violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.  (From Goodreads)

I noticed a large trend in these kinds of books where it’s half in the present, and half in the past. It’s not a trend I particularly like as I adore historical fiction and mixing it with things happening in present day takes away the historical aspect, but I gave this book a chance. This one grabbed my attention because of the subject which interests me. I have not heard of the Tulsa Race Riot until I grabbed this book. It was an eye opener, and definitely something that can’t be ignored or forgotten.

The switch between Rowan and William is seamless and flows throughout the novel. Rowan attempts to figure out the mystery behind the skeleton while William’s story not only gives you the background information but also gives you the sense and the climate on how it was for African Americans back in those times. The historical aspects of the book is well written and gives you a good general idea.

At first, William doesn’t seem that all a likable character. As the plot progresses though, you change your mind as his behavior and outlook changes to something much  more favorable. Rowan’s side of the story is interesting too. She’s been pretty much sheltered in a good, privileged life who is also suddenly awakened by recent events affecting herself and others around her. She’s a well written character as well, but I’d have to say I prefer reading William’s side of the story more as I found Rowan’s point of view dragged in a few areas of the story.

The plot overall is well done and interesting. The mystery and historical elements of the story also keeps the plot engaging and it’s a good educational read.  Definitely something to read more into and a good subject to write about.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Mediocre Plot, Was Disappointed in this one…

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When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly. (From Goodreads)

In a nutshell, this book has three not so very nice characters in one setting and they’re all trying to outdo each other in the art of being a sly crafty villain.

While the plot is interesting to read at first, because you’d like to find out what Jess got herself into, at the same time, it’s so so and falls flat. The characters themselves are rendered unlikable. Well, I should say two of the three are unlikable, the one that sticks out for me is Dr Shields. Now that’s a pretty good villain to read up on.

I found myself rooting for her throughout the book. She’s cold, she’s calculating and she’s always prepared with a plan B in case things don’t work out. I love it. She was playing the mind games like a pro. I had no like for Thomas (well, self explanatory) and I started disliking Jess more as the plot carried on. Maybe it was because she thought she was the smartest cookie on earth. Or maybe it was because she thought her stuff didn’t stink. Either way I just started not liking her so much and didn’t care too much for her behavior. By this time, I was pretty much just finishing the book just for the sake of finishing and my interest in the plot waned.

Which is unfortunate.  I read The Wife Between Us and absolutely loved the book and loved the twists that was provided. The twists here were minimal, the mind games were great but hardly anything suspenseful or to be surprised about. Maybe I got spoiled by The Wife Between Us, but this one didn’t really live up to it.

I’m hoping if they do future releases that they’re better than this one. Sadly this one disappoints for me.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Thanks St Martin’s Press for the review copy!!

Best Book of 2018 So Far…

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When Darl Moody went hunting after a monster buck he’s chased for years, he never expected he’d accidentally shoot a man digging ginseng. Worse yet, he’s killed a Brewer, a family notorious for vengeance and violence. With nowhere to turn, Darl calls on the help of the only looking for his missing brother and stumbles onto a blood trail leading straight back to Darl and Calvin, a nightmare of revenge rips apart their world. The Line That Held Us is a story of friendship and family, a tale balanced between destruction and redemption where the only hope is to hold on tight, clenching to those you love. What will you do for the people who mean the most, and what will you grasp to when all that you have is gone? The only certainty in a place so shredded is that no one will get away unscathed.  (From Goodreads)

I was very surprised to like this book immensely. This easily has to be one of my favorites for 2018. I read this in almost one sitting and the plot grabbed me from the very first page. It’s dark and moody, somber and serious, but it’s worth to read from cover to cover in one sitting.

You can take a guess things weren’t to go very well once things hit the fan, what you probably didn’t expect is the snowball to get big enough that it affects a larger group of people. Yet once you get to know what kind of a person Dwayne is, he’s quite the man of extremes. On the other hand, can you really blame him though? After what he’s gone through and his childhood, he truly has no one else but his brother. Now it doesn’t excuse him for what he did, but it goes to show at what extremes people would get to because of people or things being taken away from them.

I just loved the overall mood and tone of the book. It’s quaint because it’s set in a small town. Everyone knows each other since childhood, certain family names stand out and are prominent due to reputation or how long they’ve been in town. It’s a great setting and the characters are realistic. Although each had their own ghosts and secrets, it provided more realism to them and they’re not so perfect and they’re all pretty much flawed. This is what made the book so good.

The plot was good and provided easy reading. You’d want to know what happens and the ending wasn’t what I expected, it was a great ending however it would have been nice to hear about the outcomes of some of the characters featured. Definitely recommend this book. I enjoyed it absolutely from start to finish.

I give it a 10 out of 10.

Peter Grant Kinda Needs to Address his Priorities…

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The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural. Body and soul. They’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad. (From Goodreads)

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

It is advisable to read the first one before you get into Moon Over Soho. You’re pretty much carrying on right after the events in the first book so it’s always better to get the background information before carrying on 🙂

I was pleased with this one, complete with rather macabre scenes that will stick with me for a while. I still enjoy the way it’s being narrated by Peter Grant. He tells it pretty bluntly and explains well for some of us who don’t live in London which helps understand the setting more. The setting is dark and gritty, just right to complement the mystery that is prevalent to the case. The mix with the supernatural blends quite well with real life London, I believe it’s probably even more enjoyable to read for those that are quite familiar to the city.

Supporting characters and some new ones are featured in the book. It’s nice to see Leslie again despite what happened to her (ahh but the ending though!). Peter takes a lot of beating (both verbal and physical) during the book which is to be expected. He does have a thing with Simone that covers a good latter part of the book which is ok, although I thought it provided a lot of filler and it slowed the pace down considerably. You almost wanted to ask; “Peter, don’t you have a case to work on?”

It proved to be a quick read with a good open cliffhanger ending with the mystery of The ‘Faceless One’ which makes the series even more intriguing at this point. I’ll be definitely be picking up the third one. A great series to read so far!

I gave it an 8 out of 10.

This redeems the third one..sort of..

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Returning to the Ozark Territories, freedom fighter David Valentine is shocked to find it overrun by vampiric Kurians under the command of the merciless Consul Solon. In a desperate gambit, Valentine leads a courageous group of soldiers on a mission to drive a spike into the gears of the Kurian Order. Valentine stakes life, honor, and the future of his home in a rebellion that sparks the greatest battle of his life. (From Goodreads)

 

I have this love/hate relationship with this series, primarily with Valentine. It took me a long time to get back into this. I don’t find Valentine that likable and the last novel nearly made me want to throw in the towel because of his skirt chasing behavior and the predictable consequence following after. (Don’t get me started on the rant regarding the butt crack. Just. No.)  So I came to the conclusion if I didn’t like this book, I’ll stop then. If it wasn’t for the cliffhanger at the end of book three I probably would have dropped it then and there.

I was pleasantly surprised with this book after the drivel that was number three. I’m not sure if it was because Valentine decide to finally grow up and get a pair or circumstances in the novel made him this way (likely the latter) but it made for very good reading. There were some very important choices Valentine had to  make for himself and his crew; some of them extremely difficult and the way he dealt with the aftermath was good. It was nice to finally see him being part of a team instead of a one man army and doing everything himself.

Again the supporting characters are what made this book going for me (still on the anti-Valentine train for now) they had their distinct personalities and they weren’t flat or meant to just be part of the plot. They each had their part to play whether small or big and it made the plot better and rounded out. I have a soft spot for Ahn-Kha and Styachowski I like them both for their strengths and although they were ‘quiet’ they played substantially in the plot. (More so Styachowski than Ahn-Kha).

The plot was good albeit it slowed down to a crawl at the end. It was getting to be too much and by that time, I was already wanting to close the book. There’s plenty of action so that does not disappoint. There were some parts where I came close to closing it because of Valentine’s idiotic behavior (stop checking out Styachowski you moron, she’s on the bloody job) but otherwise, this was much better than the third. 

This one was enough to redeem itself so I will carry on and read the next. I hope it continues this way.

I give it an 8 out of 10.