Book Review: The Broken Girls (Simone St. James)

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 8.39.54 PM.pngI know what you are thinking. “Seriously…Another book with “girl” in the title?!” But fear not! The Broken Girls, the recently released novel by Simone St. James, stood out for me!   From the beautifully blended narratives to the small details, St. James creates a novel that is hard to put down. In fact, I found myself reading this one late into the night.

The novel opens with the introduction of Fiona, a reporter with a haunted past. After the death of her sister, things have never been the same and even though the man responsible has been put in prison, Fiona (and her family) have never really been able to move past it. So, when she finds out there are plans to restore the building (an old school for girls) where her sister’s body was found, Fiona cannot help but dig around. And, in doing so, she quickly finds out that the past never really stays buried.

Told in alternating time periods and alternating perspectives, I loved the way St. James chooses to tell this story.  I loved the moments that flashed back to the girl’s school in the 40s and how each member of their group of friends had an individual chapter to voice.   I found each character likeable and I was interested in each of their stories and was truly concerned about their plights. I also found that Fiona, in the present storyline, was a well-developed character.

I think that St. James did a brilliant job incorporating a bit of historical fiction; it didn’t feel distracting. I felt like it really added another layer to the story.

One thing I didn’t care for with The Broken Girls was the paranormal storyline. The ghost at the school felt like it really didn’t belong and was sort of a side-plot. I felt like it wasn’t needed.

Overall, I was a huge fan of The Broken Girls and I think that fans of Fiona Barton or Fiona Davis will enjoy this one.

Thanks to the author (Simone St. James) and the publisher (Berkley) for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Want to see what Jessica and Chandra thought about this one?  Keep reading to find out what they thought!

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Book Review: The French Girl (Lexie Elliot)

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 10.14.20 PM.pngI have always been a big fan of a “vacation” novel. Makes for a stellar beach read. So, when I read a basic synopsis about six friends who go on a trip and are confronted ten years later when the body of a woman is found and they were the last people to see her. The French Girl, the debut novel by Lexie Elliot, calls to question what happened during the events of the trip, which people were involved and, of course, what happens when the past comes knocking at one’s door.

As much as I am a fan of a vacation style novel, I am always wary when a “girl” novel comes into my TBR pile. That being said, The French Girl had several amazing features that intrigued me!

One thing that I enjoyed most was how the dynamic between all the characters unfolded. Elliot did an excellent job at keeping it real and I think every reader will be able to find a bit of he or she mirrored within these characters, good traits and bad! Each character is intense and rich and they shone off the pages. Elliot’s strong suit is clearly her apt for characterization. For me, it comes down to the tiny details and Elliot left no stone unturned. I felt like this was even more compelling since the entire novel is narrated from Kate’s point of view.

The thing that irked me about The French Girl was the pacing. This book moved, at times, with glacier speed, which was a real struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a novel that starts slowly and picks up steam until I am racing to the finish line but this novel did no such thing. They do say that slow and steady wins the race but, for me, I really struggled.

Overall, I felt like this was a solid debut and I will be absolutely waiting for Elliot’s next novel; I feel like she will only get better with each novel!

3/5 stars.

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

#cjsreads read this one together; want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought when they read The French Girl?  Keep reading to check out their reviews!

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Book Review: Bring Her Home (David Bell) @DavidBellNovels ‏@BerkleyPub

 

Bring Her HomeI read a lot of mystery and thriller books (obviously!) so, when I come across one that impresses me, I feel like shouting from the rooftops.   Bring Her Home, by David Bell, was one of those books that made me want to shout.  Fast paced and entertaining, I found myself completely invested to our protagonist and his struggles.

The novel opens with Bill, a widower, facing every father’s worst nightmare.  His fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer is missing (along with her best friend, Haley).  Days later, the girls are found in the park.  Haley is dead on the scene and Summer is badly beaten.   Bill is left begging his daughter to fight for her life but also begins to wonder if he knows his daughter at all.   As Bill searches for the truth, he discovers more than what he thought.

Instead of going for the gusto, Bell opens subtly and slowly draws his reader in.  I felt instantly intrigued.    From the first pages, Bell does a superb job at setting up lots of questions for the reader to continuously ask.  I really loved this; when I read, I love to be active in my thought process trying to figure out the plot and where the author plans on going.

One of the other things I enjoyed was the plethora of twists in the middle of the novel.  Especially since I am completely tired of the big, shocking, one moment twists that so many thrillers have these days.   I felt like this made the story even more eerie and ominous because it felt so real; this truly could have been a story that could happen to anyone.

As for characterization, I felt like Bill was relatable and the story felt very real; I really appreciated that!

I was able to guess pretty early on parts of the resolution of the novel but Bell did bring in some complex details that I would never have guessed that amped up the ending for me.

Overall, I feel like fans of the “feels real” thriller will enjoy this novel; think authors like Mary Kubica.  I absolutely relished in this one.  4/5 stars from me!

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

This one was also a #cjsreads title for July, keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica had to say about this one!

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Book Review: The Child (Fiona Barton)

The Child.pngThe Child, by Fiona Barton, is a book that is topping many people’s TBR lists for summer. After Barton’s hit, The Widow, which hit shelves last summer, people were demanding a follow-up. I, however, wasn’t a huge fan of The Widow (you can check out my review for that one here) but I figured I would give The Child a chance. Unfortunately, Barton’s sophomore novel didn’t really do much for me either.

In this novel, Kate Waters, the journalist from The Widow is back and in the pursuit of a new story when a baby’s skeleton is discovered buried in a construction site. Several women, including Kate, who is after the hard-hitting story, are affected by this finding. Angela, still reeling from the disappearance of her baby girl years earlier, would love answers and closure to what happened to her child. Emma, a woman holding several secrets from her past, is drawn to the case with morbid curiosity. Emma’s mother, Jude, is trying to repair her broken relationship with her daughter, but is finding that difficult.   As each of the women’s lives is disrupted a twisted maze of secrets are revealed.

So, it sounded okay but this novel moved at a snail’s pace.  I am talking slower than slow. Glacier speed. Molasses dripping. You get my drift?   The plot seemed so redundant and the characters were flat. I didn’t really feel like any of them had much development.   I didn’t find anything particularly suspenseful or thrilling.   It felt more like a family drama or contemporary women’s fiction.

Now don’t get me wrong, the last twenty pages or so of this novel were absolutely brilliant. I loved how Barton tied everything together and the final plot twist actually had me whispering, “well played!”

Was this book worth the read? I don’t really feel like it.

I would skip it. 2/5 stars.

Did you read this one? Is it on your most anticipated list?  I would love to hear your thoughts on it, especially since I am feeling I could potentially be in the minority with this one!

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This novel was also a #cjsreads pick, so, keep reading to see if Jessica and Chandra felt the same about The Child or if it fared better for them!

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#cjsreads: Gone Without A Trace (Mary Torjussen) @BerkleyPub @MaryTorjussen

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Another day, another #cjsreads April pick.  As mentioned previously on Clues and Reviews, this one was one of my most anticipated reads for Spring 2017!  Did it live up to the hype?

Keep reading for a synopsis of the book and to see what we all thought of this psychological thriller releasing this week!

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Blog Tour- Book Review: Gone Without A Trace (Mary Torjussen) @BerkleyPub

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 6.38.16 PM.pngWelcome to my blog tour stop for Gone Without a Trace!

Hannah arrives home after a business trip to find her life in upheaval. Her boyfriend, Matt, is gone. At first, Hannah is shocked, but as the shock turns to anger and she begins searching she realizes that it is not just his belongings that have gone, but every trace of him. All the photos, e-mails, even the call log in her phone have been erased and it is like Matt has vanished. Did he actually leave her or something much bigger at play? Hannah will stop at nothing to find out.   As Hannah searches, she finds herself wrapped up in something else. Someone is looking for her, as well…and it is looks like they will also stop at nothing.

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Book Review: Watching Edie (Camilla Way) @CamillaLWay @BerkleyPub

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.33.56 PM.pngEdie has spent most of her life looking over her shoulder. At thirty-three, a new mum and alone, she soon becomes overwhelmed with motherhood and turns to the exact person she has been running from.

Watching Edie, by Camilla Way, had been in my TBR pile for quite some time. It was recommended to me consistently, so obviously, I decided to forgo my reading schedule and move this to the top of the pile. This one, instantly, gave me serious Fatal Attraction vibes but with a twist. I was all about it.

The novel opens with Edie’s past revisiting her in the form of her high school best friend, Heather. We know something tore them apart. We sense that maybe there was more than platonic feelings on Heather’s end. We know that she will not take no for an answer. As the plot unfolded, I found myself filled with all sorts of rage. I didn’t know whether or not love Edie or to her. I didn’t know if I should trust Heather or send some subliminal book warnings out in hope’s that the characters would hear me. I couldn’t put the book down as I became completely lost in their world.

The novel is told through a back and forth narrative style where the reader sees what is happening in the present and how the past unfolded.     I loved this narrative style; I was hooked trying to figure out how all these pieces would fit together. Camilla Way knows how to do psychological thrillers right.

Overall, I loved this book and easily consumed it in an afternoon. I would recommend this one to someone who wants an easily digested, quick psychological thriller.   I rated it a 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

 

#cjsreads2017: I See You (Clare Mackintosh) @claremackint0sh @BerkleyPub

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 6.18.39 PM.png#cjsreads has been busy with all our February titles; coming at you today with a 5 star read (and a new logo!).

Keep reading below for a synopsis of the book, I See You by Claire Mackintosh and our thoughts.

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