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Monday, December 31, 2018

REVIEW: For Better And Worse by Margot Hunt @harlequinbooks @HuntAuthor

For Better And Worse
by Margot Hunt

Thanks so much to Mira Books for this copy!


Publisher: Mira Books
Publish Date: December 11, 2018
Paperback
336 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Thriller, Mystery


On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.


Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?

My Review:


A solid thriller about two parents, unhappily married but drawn back together when they have to deal with what is happening to their community and how they need to protect their some from it. I absolutely did not care for either character. Flawed and doing what they feel they need to do, I just couldn't connect with either one. The subject matter is always a tough one but the author doesn't go into too much detail which should be helpful to those who may be triggered.

Lately it seems that the books I've been reading seem a bit abrupt in their ending compared to the suspenseful build up from the first half of the book. It all happened a bit too quickly for me and then ….. where'd it all go? I needed just a little bit more from it. I'm so torn in how I feel about the whole thing. Enraptured for the first half, tense for part of the second and then lost a teeny bit of interest with the quick conclusion.

My second book by Hunt and I'll be looking for the next release.

★★★☆

REVIEW: Verity by Colleen Hoover @colleenhoover

Verity
 by Colleen Hoover

Welcome to thrillers, Hoover! Hope you can stay for a bit!


Publisher: Hoover Ink, Inc.
Publish Date: December 7, 2018
Kindle Edition
250 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity's notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn't expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity's recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen's feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife's words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

My Review:


We all know how wildly popular Hoover is.  We also know just how amazingly talented she is as well.  I'm not much of a romance person but All Your Perfects killed me in the best way possible.  Since I raved about that one, I've been getting pinged by several people who told me, "Hey, you liked Hoover's All Your Perfects, she wrote in your genre - you HAVE to read Verity."  (Paraphrasing a bit).  I wanted to put if off.  Wait until the hype had died down and then I saw it on KindleUnlimited and it was like a sign. So FINEEEEEE, *download*... and there went my next few hours.

I'm back and forth on how I feel about a book within a book.  While sometimes it can seem a bit out of place and tedious (Sorry, Misery **ducks head**), other time it can just shine and almost take over the initial plot line like this one does. I was FASCINATED with the autobiography. I was with Low the whole way as her anxiety grew and as she tried piecing things together. You did WHAT?!

Here's the thing.  Hoover is very good and building the characters and plot line and while I haven't read a lot of her work, what I have read has been very compulsive... and fairly diverse.  I glanced through some reviews since this book has been ALL over social media.  The one thing that kept standing out was people calling this a romantic thriller. Um. I'm not sure if this is an automatic hole to stuff Hoover in or it had to do with the sex scenes. *shrug*  I just don't think I'd quite pigeonhole it into that category.  

I still have some questions, which I think is part of the process of this book and I LOVE a book that makes me think. I was so into this that when the ending did come it felt a bit abrupt.  BOOM.  THE END. Noooooooooooooooooooo!  It's good that a book makes me feel this way but I'm also with this inkling of something I can't quite place.

Either way, I'm a Hoover fan!  I certainly hope she continues to write in this genre and comes visit once in a while.  Get sucked into a Hoover, y'all!

★★★★

Saturday, December 29, 2018

REVIEW: Into the Night by Marin Montgomery @authormarin

Into The Night
by Marin Montgomery

Thank you so much to the author for this copy.  I love finding new (to me) authors.  I am officially obsessed with this one.


Publisher: Wilted Lilly L.L.C.
Publish Date: October 19, 2018
Kindle Edition
490 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

When Blair and Bristol Bellamy’s overprotective parents agreed to let their daughters spend spring break in Oahu, they never anticipated that only one of them would return. What should have been a week of soaking up the Hawaiian sun next to pristine blue waters takes an unexpected turn when Blair wakes up on the beach one morning with no purse, no shoes, and no memory of what happened the night before.

And worse?

No sister. Bristol had vanished into the night. Gone without a trace.

After months of tireless investigations and dead-end searches, Blair was forced to return home to the Midwest without her younger sister, and her life was never the same—until ten years later when a package arrives, suggesting Bellamy might still be alive.


For the first time since Bristol disappeared, Blair has a reason to believe her sister is still out there. But if she wants to find her, she'll need to return to the place where it all happened, launch a dangerous investigation of her own, and if she's lucky, she might come out of it alive...

My Review:


An absolute page turner about two sisters on Spring Break in Hawaii. Breaking rules and going out with two guys they met at a surf lesson, the night turns foggy as the drinks hit them hard.  One wakes up on the beach with no memory of what happened.  The other wakes up tied to a bed.. the beginning of her hellish existence still to come.

The dynamics of Blair's relationship with her mother, how the disappearance of Bristol affected so many peoples lives and the uneasiness of the abductor...  Montgomery had me hooked. I felt and FELT for these sisters.  They both had to endure their own hell on earth.  How does anyone recover from this? 

There are definitely some uneasy scenes that happen with the abduction.  I couldn't even imagine or know how I would be in any of these types of situations.  I certainly have always been wary about drinks bought for me - we learned early in college to keep and eye "just in case".  However, when you're not even legal drinking age yet and your parents are extremely strict... well, you just might push the edges a little and I can't really blame them.  

I've seen people put this in a YA category for some reason.  And while I GUESS I kind of get it considering the girls ages, I wouldn't put it in this category at all. A bit of a harrowing read, but I enjoyed every page of it.

★★★★★



Wednesday, December 26, 2018

REVIEW: The Perfect Roommate by Minka Kent #minkakent

The Perfect Roommate
by Minka Kent


Publish Date: January 19, 2018
Kindle Edition
260 Pages
Standalone
Genres: Thriller, Suspense


She's my roommate.


I know how she takes her tea, how she organizes her closet.

I know when she goes to bed each night, what she eats for breakfast, the passcode on her phone.

I know she calls her mother on Mondays, takes barre on Thursdays, and meets her friends for drinks on Fridays.

But more important than any of that ... I know what she did.

My Review:


A fun romp into why you should always vet the person you potentially could live with.  And if it seems too perfect, it probably is!

An introvert rooms with an extrovert and brings her into her world.. changing the way she dresses, her hair and even (potentially unintentionally) her character.  She's blown away at this new world and just wants to fit in.  Can't go home - her mom and her many boyfriends are terrible.  What's wrong with being a part of a social group for once and getting out there?  Too bad there are certain moral boundaries she won't cost and those that do... well, they need to get what's coming to them.

As someone who reads this genre a lot, I wasn't surprised by anything that happened or by the twist. Saw that coming a mile away.  HOWEVER, I do enjoy Kent's writing style.  Crazy attracts crazy and crazy books attract me.

This is an absolute binge read and puts you through the paces throughout the chapters.  Now someone hand me my string of pearls.


REVIEW: The Queen of Bones by G. Zimmerman @theboldmom

The Queen of Bones
by G. Zimmerman


Publisher: J. Ellington Ashton Press
Publish Date: March 29, 2016

Kindle Edition
253 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Apocalyptic, Horror


A seventeen year old orphan, alone in the deadly post-apocalyptic world. She’s feisty, yet vulnerable; a woman, and yet a young girl. And with her discovery, she just might be humanity’s savior. Meet Sara Hill . . . 

Two years after the advent of the deadly solar storms known as sunthrobs, civilization is in a shambles. Most animal species are extinct. The few people who survived have formed roving bands of sun-scorched degenerates who scour the land for scarce provisions. The periodic sunthrobs continue to take their deadly toll. Survival is a day to day struggle. 

Sara Hill and two other teenagers are driven from their fallout shelter home. They head west, hoping to find asylum in a rumored Seattle colony that is striving to re-establish civilization. If caught by the 
marauding bands, they will be robbed, the two girls raped, and all of them most likely killed. Sara brings her discovery of how to survive the sunthrobs with her. But will she herself survive the horrors of the road? Does the fabled Seattle colony even exist? Either way, there is no turning back. 

My Review:



Quite the different apocalyptic story.  The sun is killing the people on this planet.  Sunthrobs are hard to steer clear from and the survivors are becoming animalistic and violent.  Sara, the oldest 17-year old you'll ever meet, has a condition that helps her know when a sunthrob is coming and she has figured out a way to beat them.  The loneliness of everyone dying around her, surviving on her own and constantly being raped, left for dead or attempted killings is taking quite the toll on her.  She just needs to make it to a colony and perhaps she can become a part of something bigger.


I loved the way the author made this world - all the horrors within and the different experiences Sara went through with various groups.  It seems that such apocalyptic events brings out the worst in humans... but this story also shows how goodness is still contained within and not everything can be assumed.  

The issues I had were the continued use of sex as a means of survival - rape me so you won't hurt me further. Um... I'm just gonna go with the use any means to survive part of this... and hell, at her age, when an older woman tells her this is the better way to go, well.. why wouldn't she use what her momma gave her?  I could also have used less of her different types of kisses descriptions. 

The last 20% of the book seemed quite different from the rest of it.  I understood where the author was going with this and I'm glad to see Sara make use of her education and confidence to get to a certain place amongst other survivors.  Then it all seems a bit summed up. Ta-da! I'm torn between wanting to know what happens now and going ah... ok... so this is where it leaves off.  

The tenacity and wonder of how Sara survived in this world was actually fun to read and while she seemed worlds above her given age, during these types of events, I'd think that it would certainly cause you to grow up much faster than you should... but the author did a great job in keeping her in her age in certain areas. The huffiness of certain situations, etc.  I certainly was engaged with the story. All hail the Queen of Bones.

★★★☆

The White Christmas Inn by Colleen Wright @howardbooks #colleenwright

The White Christmas Inn
by Colleen Wright

Thanks so much to Howard Books for this enjoyable holiday read!


Publisher: Howard Books
Publish Date: October 23, 2018
Paperback
288 Pages
Standlone
Genres: Romance, Contemporary

A New England inn seems like the picture-perfect place to spend the holidays. But when a snowstorm shuts the roads and keeps them all inside, the guests find themselves worrying that this Christmas may not be exactly what they dreamed of. 

Molly just needs to keep her head down and finish her latest book, but her writer’s block is crippling. The arrival of Marcus, a handsome widower with two young girls, is exactly the distraction she doesn't need.

Hannah was hoping for a picturesque winter wedding, but her plans come crashing down when her fiancé calls everything off. She reconnects with her childhood friend, Luke, when he comes to check on his grandmother before the storm.

Jeanne and Tim don't know how they're going to keep the inn open another year—or how to bridge the distance between them in their marriage. With a flurry of unexpected guests, they'll have to work together to fix all the problems that crop up. But will it be enough to rekindle their relationship?

As the characters’ stories intertwine, they start to find hope where they thought it had been lost. With faith, and a little bit of Christmas magic, the inn—and its inhabitants—might just make it through the holidays after all.

My Review:


I typically don't find myself reading seasonal reads.  They usually are exactly as I think they are and my required reading usually stays in the thriller, crazy world.  I decided this year to read a Christmas book on Christmas day and this one looked like a good way to go! (Thank you Howard Books!)

It IS exactly as I thought it would be and I loved it! Color me Christmas-ed and jingle my bells! There's as plethora of characters to get to know and they're all quirky in their own blessed way.  My favorites would be the interactions between Molly and the kids. 💖

Although we know exactly where the book is going and how it is going to end, I absolutely loved the charm of the Inn, the descriptions that came with it and I REALLY want that recipe for the lemon orange waffles! And the brownies.. and.. and.. and... also, who can book me a room here ASAP?!

I think everyone who loves that Christmas movies on Lifetime/The Hallmark Channel/WE, will absolutely adore this feel good book.  I wish romance happened like this. Le sigh.  A perfect Christmas read packaged in the cutest and most loving bow and presented to you with flourish.

★★★★

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

REVIEW: The Dead Ex by Jane Corry @janecorryauthor @PamelaDormanBks

The Dead Ex
by Jane Corry

Thanks so much to Pamela Dorman Books for this advanced copy!


Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publish Date: February 5, 2019
Hardcover
368 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Thriller

One man's disappearance throws four women's lives into chaos--who will survive?

Vicki works as an aromatherapist, healing her clients out of her home studio with her special blends of essential oils. She's just finishing a session when the police arrive on her doorstep--her ex-husband David has gone missing. Vicki insists she last saw him years ago when they divorced, but the police clearly don't believe her. And her memory's hardly reliable--what if she did have something to do with it?

Meanwhile, Scarlet and her mother Zelda are down on their luck, and at eight years old, Scarlet's not old enough to know that the "game" her mother forces her to play is really just a twisted name for dealing drugs. Soon, Zelda is caught, and Scarlet is forced into years of foster care--an experience that will shape the rest of her life . . .

David's new wife, Tanya, is the one who reported him missing, but what really happened on the night of David's disappearance? And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she's not even sure of it herself? The answer lies in the connection among these four women--and the one person they can't escape.
 

My Review:


Almost exactly two years ago, I read Corry's My Husband's Wife. Sometimes I like to go back to my review of the first book I've read by an author just to see what my first impression may have been.  Seems I'm a bit on the same side with both books! (Never judge a book by its cover and never judge an author by the first book you read by them, good, bad or in the middle!)

Here's what I love about Corry's writing - it's completely addicting and the short chapters leave you needing to get to the next one to see what's going to happen and you just read chapter after chapter after chapter until you've lost all sense of time.  I know I've stayed up later than I needed to the last couple of nights because of this story.

This book starts off strong.  We get multiple POVS, but the main POV is Vicky and she's QUITE the unreliable narrator.  However, while in My Husband's Wife I felt the uplead was a bit slow, the ending is what flew.  The opposite, for me, is what happened with The Dead Ex.  The beginning and middle are on fire... however, the ending didn't quite give the pow that I thought the first two parts would bring.  I also felt the epilogue was a bit unnecessary.  While it did add that "oh wow, person, ok  then **raised eyebrow**", I don't know if it was needed for any type of shock value.

I do think that my complete lack of interest in essential oils and their helpful properties made some of the book a bit eye glazed.  That's just a me thing though.  I do love the way Corry brings together all of these characters together towards the end... this is definitely a crazy character laden story and I love that.  I don't think I really felt myself feeling engaged with any of them, but I will say I was fascinated with Scarlet's chapters above all else.  Uff, this girl. ❤

Corry is a fun thriller writer to read.  I think the way she keeps you engaged to each story line with each word and how the full circle brings the characters together is something that will keep me picking up her books.

★★★


Sunday, December 23, 2018

REVIEW: Painless by Marty Thornley @martythornley

Painless
by Marty Thornley

Thank you to JKS Communications for this copy.

Publish Date: January 18, 2018
Paperback
284 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Psychological Horror

For Greg Owens, this was supposed to be a chance to end years of back pain and escape his reliance on pain pills. If it all worked out, he could maybe even get back the life he left behind as the pills took control.

Instead, as the patients are cured of their physical pain, they encounter a different sort of pain building inside them – obsessive thoughts, depression, self-destruction. The side-effects grow worse, and the suspense ratchets tighter. The patients want answers and violent revenge, setting them on a collision course with a crazed doctor, determined to protect his life's obsession.
 

My Review:


Good lawd, this debut novel! If you had chronic pain that you had to self medicate and it caused you to basically lose the most important things in your life... wouldn't you want to go into a clinical trial to take it all away? I've been dealing with some slight back pain for the past few weeks and am just about to this point (might be exaggerating a little). I just want the pain to go away!

Enter Dr. Dante Menta (D. Menta, ha!). A group of people are going through the procedure and while it did work, the side effects are harrowing and gruesome. I am here for every single minutes of it!

The book does start a little bit slow (the prologue doesn't but after that...). There are some parts where it feels slightly choppy and repetitive. However, get into the meat (no pun intended) of the story where they've been primed and ready for the procedure... well, this is where the book launches into overdrive. Gruesome and cringe worthy scenes included. It's been some time where I've actually winced at a book and the actions contained within. All in the best way. I'm one of those people who love this type of read.

Now, keeping in mind this is a debut novel.. there's certainly some things that could be improved on such as a flow and slight repetitiveness. HOWEVER, I am a fan. There's a reason our body feels pain. It's a warning to keep yourself from danger and certainly much more. I am certainly hesitant to enter into any kind of clinical trial after reading this.

Will certainly pick up the next book by Thornley. (Also, huge fan of this cover.)

★★★★





Friday, December 21, 2018

REVIEW: Into The Night by Sarah Bailey @grandcentralpub @sarahbailey1982

Into The Night
by Sarah Bailey

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for this copy.


Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: December 4, 2018
Hardcover
404 Pages
Series: Gemma Woodstock #2
Genres: Police Procedural, Mystery

After the shocking murder of a high-profile celebrity, Gemma Woodstock must pull back the layers of a gilded cage to discover who among the victim's friends and family can be trusted--and who may be the killer.

Troubled and brilliant, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock finds herself lost and alone after a recent move to Melbourne, brokenhearted by the decisions she's had to make. Her new workplace is a minefield and Detective Sergeant Nick Fleet, the partner she has been assigned, is uncommunicative and often hostile. When a homeless man is murdered and Gemma is put on the case, she can't help feeling a connection with the victim and his lonely, isolated existence. 

Then Sterling Wade, an up-and-coming actor filming his breakout performance in a closed-off city street, is murdered in the middle of an action-packed shot, and Gemma and Nick have to put aside their differences to unravel the mysteries surrounding the actor's life and death. Who could commit such a brazen crime? Who stands to profit from it? Far too many people, and none of them can be trusted. Gemma can't imagine a pair of victims with less in common--and yet as Gemma and Fleet soon learn, both men were keeping secrets that may have led to their deaths. 

My Review:


I'm not sure what it is about deeply flawed and emotionally resistant female protagonists that I love so much.  Getting to know Gemma in book 1 was a pleasure... now in Into The Night, we dive deeper into her mind and phew... she has got a LOT going on.  I feel you, girl.... I feel you.

Complete transparency, I was way more into Gemma's story than I was about the case.  Celebrity gets killed, secrets come out, fairly predictable ending.  However, I was completely fascinated with Gemma and everything she had going on.  I'm so pissed off at Fleet .. but that's a whole other matter and you'll have to read this book to figure out why. And don't even get me started on the guy she was "dating"... I can't even remember his name now because I flicked him off my shoulder like a bothersome fly.   Complex but lovable, I can't help but adore how Bailey has brought Gemma's character to life and am looking forward to see where Gemma's story goes.

I think some readers will find the pacing to be a bit slow.. and I'd agree.  Somehow though I kept swiping the pages in my need to know. I somehow always feel book two in a series seem to fall a bit short after a really strong book one.  I don't know if I necessarily feel that way about this even though I did have to force myself to continue at times.  If I haven't made it clear yet, ahem, it's Gemma's character that keeps me riveted... I can only assume that the cases will get more interesting to my tastes... either way I'm sticking around to find out.

Another order of Gemma please, hold the Fleet.

★★★☆

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

REVIEW: The Devil's Inside by Adrienne Mee

The Devil's Inside
by Adrienne Mee

Thanks so much to the author for this copy!


Publish Date: May 15, 2018
Paperback
178 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Horror

Rachel and John Garland have traded big city life in for small-town living in rural Tennessee. They seek a chance to be closer to John’s family and a new start for his independent law practice. After a month of fruitless searching for the perfect property, Rachel finally finds the ideal country home for her young family- a fixer upper in need of a little TLC. With her husband travelling out of state to tie up loose ends with his former employer, Rachel often finds herself alone with a house to renovate and her two young children to care for. As the days pass, Rachel finds she is struggling to settle in to the new home. Renovation efforts soon begin to fail and a series of strange happenings begin to plague her. But with a history of mental illness, Rachel fears her concerns aren’t being taken seriously by those around her. As she delves into the home’s disturbing history, she becomes increasingly convinced she is being terrorized by an evil presence, and the odd events that are occurring are not just a figment of her imagination...

My Review:


I love it when a debut novel surprises me! 

We haveusual horror tropes - an old house purchased by a new family that needs to be updated. Strange occurrences.  Kids with their "imaginary friend".  Mom going nutso.  However, it's done in a fresh debut that's quick paced and will keep you turning those pages.  At under 200 pages, this is one horror fans will speed through.

With that ending, I'm wondering what will happen! Is there another book coming to explore? No, I don't think so and that's perfectly fine.  While it was slightly predictable if you are an avid horror reader, I did like where the author took us in the journey.

Also, I will never ever purchase an old house in need to restoring. Nope. Not gonna.

★★★★

REVIEW: Come Find Me by Megan Miranda @meganlmiranda @crownpublishing

Come Find Me
by Megan Miranda

Thanks so much to Crown for this review copy!


Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: January 29, 2019
Hardcover
336 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller


After surviving an infamous family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Kennedy Jones has made it her mission to keep her brother's search through the cosmos alive. But then something disturbs the frequency on his radio telescope--a pattern registering where no signal should transmit.

In a neighboring county, seventeen-year-old Nolan Chandler is determined to find out what really happened to his brother, who disappeared the day after Nolan had an eerie premonition. There hasn't been a single lead for two years, until Nolan picks up an odd signal--a pattern coming from his brother's bedroom.

Drawn together by these strange signals--and their family tragedies--Kennedy and Nolan search for the origin of the mysterious frequency. But the more they uncover, the more they believe that everything's connected--even their pasts--as it appears the signal is meant for them alone, sharing a message that only they can understand. Is something coming for them? Or is the frequency warning them about something that's already here?

My Review:



This is a story of two teenagers who have endured tragic loss.  Nolan's brother is missing but he feels as if his brother is reaching out to him from beyond and he's determined to follow any and all leads.  Kennedy's living with her uncle and finds a signal on her brother's equipment that doesn't make sense.  Where is this pattern come from.  Circumstances bring Nola and Kennedy together in their search as it appears things are too coincidental to not have a meaning and they are determined to find it.

The book starts off a bit slow but pick up towards the middle of the book.  This is a story about grief, the aftermath of tragedies, how families cope and unstoppable need to two people who need closure but to do so, they need to look to each other, within themselves and at those surrounding them.

A proper sci-fi-ish, paranormal-ish, suspense that's a thrill for a younger audience.  While the themes can get a bit morbid, I did enjoy the two different sides in how families are dealing with their own personal tragedies. Maybe it was because of the slower start that the ending felt a little bit rushed but for the most part, this one delivers. 

I've always enjoyed all of Miranda's novels and will certainly read anything she puts out for us readers.  Those who love the YA thriller genre should surely pick this one up - don't let the slow beginning deter you.  The build up of these characters resonate. 

★★★☆

Monday, December 17, 2018

REVIEW: Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard @harpercollins @wendydheard

Hunting Annabelle
by Wendy Heard

Thank you to MIRA Books for this review copy - a popping debut that takes you into the mind of Sean, a Korean American whose illness keeps him and everyone around him guessing at all times.


Publisher: MIRA Books
Publish Date: December 18, 2018
Paperback
304 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Psychological Thriller


Sean Suh is done with killing. After serving three years in a psychiatric prison, he’s determined to stay away from temptation. But he can't resist Annabelle--beautiful, confident, incandescent Annabelle--who alone can see past the monster to the man inside. The man he's desperately trying to be.

Then Annabelle disappears.

Sean is sure she’s been kidnapped—he witnessed her being taken first hand—but the police are convinced that Sean himself is at the centre of this crime. And he must admit, his illness has caused him to “lose time” before. What if there’s more to what happened then he’s able to remember?

Though haunted by the fear that it might be better for Annabelle if he never finds her, Sean can’t bring himself to let go of her without a fight. To save her, he’ll have to do more than confront his own demons… He'll have to let them loose.

My Review:


I always get a bit excited when I see a Korean-American lead in a book.  Even if he's one of the most unreliable narrators I've come across in a while! No one seems to believe him when he says he saw Annabelle get abducted so it's up to him to find her.  In doing so, he finds himself - or at least a part of him he was extremely confused about.

As a debut, this is a fantastic start to a long career for Heard. I love where her mind went with Suh's story.  While I did feel it jumped the shark a bit at the end, I wish there was just a little bit more given.  From the journey Sean went through, the last parts felt a bit rushed, abrupt and uneven when it came to the rest of the story line.  However, I absolutely love the fact that it was unexpected and different.

Anyone who is a fan of the unreliable narrator, enjoys an off the rails story where you're not entirely sure what's going on, this is a fun ride to be on.  Put on your seat belt.. or don't.. live a little dangerously and go hunting with Sean.

★★★



Sunday, December 16, 2018

REVIEW: Friends Like These by Sarah Alderson @mulhollandbooks @sarahalderson

Friends Like These
by Sarah Alderson

Thanks to Mulholland Books for this free review copy!


Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publish Date: December 13, 2018
Paperback
320 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Psychological Thriller

We all know someone like Becca.


She has the job everyone wants, a designer wardrobe, a hot-shot lawyer boyfriend, holidays to exotic locations. And she flaunts her perfect life all over social media.

It drove her colleague Lizzie mad, but she couldn't stop looking. They were never really friends - and yet Lizzie knew everything about her.

Or did she?

When chance, and a terrible mistake, pulls Lizzie back into Becca's orbit years after they lost touch, she'll realise that you can't always believe what you see online... and that finding out the truth might be the worst thing you can do.

There's no such thing as a perfect life. Only a perfect lie.

My Review:


We all have stalked someone on social media.  We all have possibly portrayed our online lives to be happier and better than real life.  What happens when someone disrupts that life? How do you make them pay?  Lizzie is about to find out.

Basically y'all, bitches be CRAZY.  This is a fun, quick read for those who like the crazy … and I DO.  It does go off the rails towards the end but I didn't mind it at all.  Lessons learned: never take social media life for real life.  Make sure the message you're sending is going to the person it is meant for  Don't exacerbate the situation and own your shit.

Listen, this is one fun romp of a book.  Suspend some reality, appreciate the insanity and remember to not be so judgmental.

★★★★

Friday, December 14, 2018

#allthebookreviews: Hark! The Herald Angels Scream @vintageanchor

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream
by:
Christopher Golden (editor) and contributors:
Kelly Armstrong
Scott Smith
Seanan McGuire
Thomas E. Sniegoski
Sarah Lotz
Josh Malerman
Jeff Strand
James A. Moore
Sarah Langan
Joe R. Lansdale
Elizabeth Hand
Jonathan Maberry
John M. McIlveen
Angela Slatter
Tim Lebbon
Michael Koryta
Sarah Pinborough

Getting down to the last of 2018's #allthebookreviews! See what Jess and I thought of this short story collection from some amazing writers.


Publisher:  Anchor
Publish Date: October 23, 2018
Paperback
384 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Short Stories, Horror

Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more.

That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his jaws together. The hideous children--Want and Ignorance--beneath the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The heavy ledgers Marley drags by his chains. In the finest versions of this story, the best parts are the terrifying parts. 
Bestselling author and editor Christopher Golden shares his love for Christmas horror stories with this anthology of all-new short fiction from some of the most talented and original writers of horror today.

My Review:





Every year I say that Halloween doesn't get what it deserves... Thanksgiving is shortly behind and Christmas is frantically trying to cut the line.  So when I received a horror anthology catering to a Christmas theme, well color me ecstatic!

Now, I'm not usually big on short stories - sometimes they stick, but usually I just have this hankering for more... this one hit a few buttons for me.  Equal parts thrilling, filling and just ok - I got what I expected... but THEN SOME.  I recognized most of the names of those who contributed but found some new cats I can't wait to skin.

While some stories dealt with actual Christmas type events, others just were set during Christmas time and didn't quite bring in a Christmas theme - personally, I was A-OK with that!  The best part of the Halloween to Christmas time is that we get to take this time of ghoulishness to jolly celebration and make them all into something sinister if we want.  Bring it on! As far as I'm concerned, it's Halloween October 1 - December 31st... oh who am I kidding, bring on the creepy ALL YEAR LONG!

Stand outs for me are: Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith, Honor Thy Mother by Angela Slatter and Yankee Swap by John M. McIlvee.  The reason why they're stand outs is that I haven't read these authors before.  Other stories were also well done by authors I do like to read such as Sarah Pinborough and Josh Malerman.  Ultimately I will say that this was one of my favorite short story collections to read. With the mix of good and not so good that comes with any anthology, this one was an easy one to fly through.

★★★★

Jessica's Review:


Who doesn't love horror spilling into the holiday season? When I saw the cover for HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SCREAM, I was immediately in love! How can horror fans NOT be attracted to this book?

We have a collection of 16 short stories from different authors, and all of these stories in this anthology are all surrounding Christmas. Whether it's actual Christmas themes or simply during the season, they all have a unique flare to them. I love short stories and I think anthologies are a great way to find new authors. There are a few names that I've read before and recognize, while there were a good chunk that I was introduced to. Three that really stood out to me were Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith, It's a Wonderful Knife by Christopher Golden, and The Hangman's Bride by Sarah Pinborough.

If you want some holiday themed horror to get you in the spirit, then I highly recommend picking up this anthology! These stories have plenty creepy moments, ghoulish feels, and sinister tones to a, normally, jolly time of year.

4/5 stars