Book Review: Let Me Lie (Clare Mackintosh)

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 7.58.28 PMClare Mackintosh is one of those “blow my mind” authors. One of the queens of the psychological thriller genre, I found myself completely gripped with her previous novels from the fast-paced plots to the “real world” situations, I loved her full of suspense writing style and dynamically developed characters.

Unfortunately, for me, Let Me Lie, the newest publication by Clare Mackintosh left much to be desired.

For starters, this one was a sloooooooooow burn. I found myself unable to read more than a few chapters at a time without feeling the need to put this one down. It just didn’t have the same “grip” as some of the previous work I have read by Mackintosh.   I like to think I have a pretty solid attention span but this one tested me!

I did appreciate the final twist in the end and was intrigued by the last 15% or so of the novel, but, truthfully, I was expecting more!

I know that I shouldn’t compare one work to another but I cannot help it! I feel like fans of Mackintosh will be a little disappointed by this one but, if you are a new reader to her work, you may be more entertained!

I, of course, will continue to read more from this author but this particular book was a miss for me.

 Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Want to see if this book worked better for Jessica and Chandra?  They read this one too!  Keep reading to find out…

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Book Review: The Liar’s Girl (Catherine Ryan Howard) @cathryanhoward @BlackstoneAudio

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 10.15.49 PMI was so excited for The Liar’s Girl, the sophomore novel by Catherine Ryan Howard, especially after reading (and LOVING) Distress Signals last year. I lent this novel out to several people and had everyone in my life jumping on to the Catherine Ryan Howard train. I was expecting on the edge of my seat action, tension and red herrings aplenty. Glad to say that The Liar’s Girl did not disappoint!!

We meet Allison, a college student who has met the man of her dreams, Will, and they fall madly in love. Seems like they will live happily ever after until a murder unfolds, her boyfriend is implicated and she realizes she is dating a serial killer. Ten years later, after struggling to rebuild her life, her past comes rushing back into her life as the police ask for her help in a string of new murders that appear like Will’s.

Like Distress Signals, I loved how Howard rolled out the plot in The Liar’s Girl. It all flowed seamlessly and, by the end of the first chapter, I was completely hooked. It sort of read to me like the Stillhouse Lake series by Rachel Caine. Not too many twists or turns but just a strong, steady, creepy plot. I loved it.

Now, the ending, I have a bone to pick with. I won’t say anything other than that since I don’t want to give away any spoilers but it just didn’t feel like it “fit” with the tone of the story.

Overall, another awesome novel by Howard and I’ll be waiting anxiously for her third book. Is there any way you could write a little faster??!!

4/5 stars.

Thanks to Blackstone Publishing and the author (Catherine Ryan Howard) for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

#cjsreads read this book as one of our picks!  Want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one?  Keep reading to find out!

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Book Review: Look for Me (Lisa Gardner) @LisaGardnerBks @DuttonBooks

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 8.07.57 PM.pngDetective D.D Warren is back and, this time, she has brought Find Me’s Flora Dane with her for the ride in the ninth instalment of the Detective D.D Warren series by Lisa Gardner, Look For Me. I loved Find Me so I was thrilled to find out that Flora Dane would be back in this D.D Warren novel. I found her character completely fascinating and loved her “kill or be kill, seek revenge” attitude. Fast paced and intricate, Gardner has done it again with her newest publication!

The novel opens with a family of four savagely murdered, a teenage girl, Roxy, is missing and police desperate for leads. Is Roxy in need of help or is she the perpetrator? Detective Warren is on the scene with the help of her new sidekick, Flora Dane. I loved the banter between Warren and Dane. They really cracked me up and I feel like they will be a brilliant new partnership moving forward in the series. Warren’s serious need for rule following and Dane’s offbeat justice are the perfect juxtaposition.

I found this novel to be incredibly entertaining and I was completely addicted to the storyline but found it a lot less “thrilling” than Find Me. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the story and I was glued to the pages but I feel that fans of Find Me, who are looking for that same type of FEEL that Find Me had, may find themselves a bit disappointed. Dane is fairly well behaved throughout this novel and seems to be more of a law-abiding citizen. The plot is fairly straightforward, well developed, but straightforward. I didn’t mind this at all.

This is the ninth novel in the series but I had no problems following along (in fact, the only other D.D Warren novel I had read previously was Find Me) so this can absolutely be read as standalone.

A great, entertaining crime read that I think crime fiction fans will absolutely enjoy.

4/5 stars.

Thanks to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Chandra and Jessica gave this one a read too!  Want to see what they thought of Lisa Gardner’s Look for Me?  Keep reading to find out!

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Book Review: Into the Black Nowhere (Meg Gardiner) @DuttonBooks @MegGardiner1

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 6.39.04 PM.pngLast year, I was completely obsessed with Unsub, the start of a new series by Meg Gardiner that featured FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix. Heart pounding, dark and visceral, Unsub had me holding on to the edge of my seat and screaming for more. So, of course, I was extremely excited when I found out that the second book in the series, Into the Black Nowhere, would be publishing in January 2018!

Now, without giving away any plot points or information (because I absolutely consider Unsub to be a MUST READ), Unsub left off with quite a few open-ended questions and with a bit of a cliffhanger ending so I was desperate to read the next book. WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN??! I NEEDED ANSWERS! I dove into the book and, I am going to say, Into the Black Nowhere left me feeling a little bit disappointed.

It was absolutely not the writing style; Gardiner’s prose is just as smart and fast paced as I have come to know and love. The book was brilliantly written and filled with witty, smart banter between police, excellent character development and a game of cat and mouse between protagonist and antagonist that kept me turning the pages.

This novel doesn’t really touch on any of the questions I had from the first novel; skimming over the issue, the characters jump right into a new case and move quickly away from the events from the first novel. While I understand that this is an excellent tactic for a sophomore novel in a series (it keeps the readership going and pushes the issues into further novels), I really was looking forward to having some answers!!

Also, notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, inspires this novel’s antagonist. I am not sure whether or not it was because I knew much more about Ted Bundy than I knew about the Zodiac killer (which is the antagonist that inspired Unsub), but I felt like I wasn’t surprised by anything he did. I knew his MO and I knew the general direction the story would take (I knew he would likely escape police custody, I knew he would likely attack a sorority).

Regardless of this, I really did love the novel for its entertainment value and I will be anxiously awaiting the third novel!

4/5 stars.

Thanks to the author, the publisher for a copy of Into the Black Nowhere; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Jessica and Chandra obviously loved this one too!  Keep reading to read their reviews of Meg Gardiner’s Into the Black Nowhere.

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Book Review: The Company of Demons (Michael Jordan) @GreenleafBookGr @mjordanauthor

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 9.46.22 AM.pngI really enjoy a legal thriller. Give me a John Grisham or Michael Connelly novel and I am one happy camper! So, when I read the synopsis of The Company of Demons, the psychological legal thriller by Michael Jordan, I dove right in.   Meeting a lawyer, John Coleman, who discovers the corpse of his friend behind their neighbourhood bar sending shockwaves through the city and bringing back painful memories of a killer who dismembered and taunted police decades earlier and vanished. As John tries to cope, he is hired by the victim’s daughter, Jennifer, to handle her father’s estate and soon finds himself entangled with a biker gang, dirty cops and romantic feelings.

Truly fast-paced, I sat down and finished this book over the course of an afternoon. I could not put it down as I watched our protagonist, John, get himself deeper and deeper into trouble. The ultimate anti-hero, I actually found myself hating him. It almost felt completely unbelievable how many terrible choices he made!! Page after page, I read (pretty much in horror) as he continued down the wrong path. I was so mad. However, kudos to Jordan who was able to create a character that made me feel so many emotions!

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Book Review: Girl on Point (Cheryl Guerriero) @uncle_cher

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As someone who reviews book, it is no surprise to hear that sometimes books become buried on my shelves. Unfortunately for me, this means that sometimes a hidden gem can become forgotten! When I stumbled across Girl on Point, by Cheryl Guerriero, in my “to review” pile, I had one of those “HEY!” moments and I picked it up immediately. I am so glad I did.

I felt from the start that this one had an original plot.   After her sister is killed in a convenience story robbery, Alex, an athletic, straight A student, is devastated.   Upon investigation, it is noted that the act was probably one of gang violence but without any certainties, the police cannot do much. Determined to avenge her sister’s murder, Alex disguises herself and joins the gang responsible. Crossing the line into enemy territory, Alex finds herself in danger, her morals questioned, and her life at risk as she infiltrates the world of gang life and dangerous criminals.

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Book Review: Sweet Pea (C.J Skuse) @CJSkuse

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Every so often, I stumble across a book that gives me extreme book envy. Usually, this is caused by books that release in the UK wayyyy before their North American arrival and, in the case of Sweet Pea by CJ Skuse, this was the case!

Janel, my pal from Keeper of Pages, told me this one was a must read, so I began to hunt it down and eventually persuaded my local library to order a copy.

Sweet Pea follows Rhiannon, your average woman (average job, average boyfriend, average home, average friends) who goes about her daily life. Making kills lists and murdering men in the park. You know, average stuff.

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Book Review: Follow You (Richard Parker) @bookouture @Bookwalter

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I have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) so, after I read numerous posts and reviews on the blog tour for Follow You by Richard Parker (previously called, Be My Killer), I knew I had to add this one to my TBR pile. I am so glad that I did.

Totally creepy, dark and twisted, Follow You is one of those books that sticks with you and gives you chills.

Making a documentary about a viral hashtag, seemingly starting as a prank, that ends up triggering vicious attacks and allows serial killers to choose their next victim.   Hazel, the film’s director, is horrified as these murders unfold but becomes especially invested after her childhood friend becomes a victim.   What starts as a documentary soon turns into a snuff film as members of her cast and crew begin ti disappear.
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Blog Tour: Wolves in the Dark (Gunnar Staalesen) @OrendaBooks

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Welcome to my stop on the Wolves in the Dark, by Gunnar Staalesen, blog tour! Today, I have a review for you!

I was incredibly hesitant when I decided to read this novel, as it is actually the twenty- first novel in the Varg Veum series! I usually like to read a series from the beginning so I get to really know the character. This book was easily read as a standalone, but I wish I had read others in the series so I had more background. Varg Veum was very complex and well written; I wanted to know more about him!

The novel opens with Veum answering the door to police. They are bringing him to the station due to content found on his computer. Finding out that the content is child pornography and the police are operating under the assumption he belongs to a paedophilia ring, Veum desperately begins to search into his past to find out who could have framed him.

As mentioned, Veum was a very complex character. The ultimate anti-hero type, he is the type of character that gets under your skin. Abrupt, damaged and dark, Staalesen uses his character centred narrative technique to drive the plot and hook the reader. And let me tell you, this worked. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how Veum was going to get out of this mess and hoping there would be no truth to it.  Even though it was my first experience with this protagonist, I immediately felt connected to him.

However, I did find the number of secondary characters to be a little confusing at times, and, perhaps, this was because I was unfamiliar with any reoccurring characters or their relationships from the previous novels.   I had to read back and cross reference some of the names and try to figure out how they were connected.  This is, of course, a small complaint.

Wolves in the Dark ended on quite the cliffhanger, so I’ll be eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.

I feel that any readers who relish in Scandinavian crime fiction or old school detective style novels will love this one!

Thanks to Orenda and the author for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.