The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel by [James, Rebecca]

Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: March 17th, 2020

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find The Woman in the Mirror: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.

For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.

In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.


First Line:

Listen! Can you hear it?

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

My Review:

I haven’t read a good Gothic mystery in a while. A long while, now that I have had time to think about it. That was the main reason why I decided I wanted to read The Woman in the Mirror. I wanted to see if they were as good as I remembered. And guess what, they were!!!

The Woman in the Mirror had fast-moving storylines, which I enjoyed. I feel that if the storylines had been slower than the book would have dragged on. The flow of the book was good. There were no dropped storylines, but I did have a question about Alice’s pregnancy during WWII. I couldn’t quite place what happened (if she had the baby or not).

Speaking of Alice, I felt awful for her. She had some mental issues that followed her to Winterbourne. That alone made her chapters fun to read. I couldn’t tell if she was losing it because of that or if the house caused it. I loved it!!!

Rachel was a different story, though. She inherited Winterbourne from an unknown aunt (she was adopted). Rachel thought it would be a great way to see where her mother came from and see her roots. Of course, what she discovered was something way more sinister.

The paranormal/mystery was well written. I did have an issue with the whole reason why Winterbourne was cursed not being revealed until the end of the book. I also didn’t like how that storyline was resolved. It was a little too tidy. But other than that, both were wonderful. I don’t think I will look at gilded mirrors and murals the same again.

There was a small romance angle of the book. Honestly, I didn’t see it between Alice and the captain. It didn’t grab me. Mainly because of the way he treated her. Of course, that was explained away but still. It left me going, “Really?” I also didn’t see it between Jack and Rachel until the end. I could have gone without the romance, but I can see why the author wrote it in. It made what happened to Alice even more disturbing.

The end of The Woman in the Mirror was terrific. I loved how everything came together. And then there was the epilogue. I had to reread it. The way it was written and what was written!! Will there be a 2nd book?


I would give The Woman in the Mirror an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Woman in the Mirror. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

All the Best Lies (Ellery Hathaway: Book 3) by Joanna Schaffhausen

All the Best Lies: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 3) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

The Vanishing Season—Book 1 (Review Here)

No Mercy—Book 2 (Review Here)

All the Best Lies—Book 3

Where you can find All the Best Lies: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now


First Line:

Camilla Flores has always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, starting with the day she was born, six weeks early, in Puerto Rico, before her mother could cross the ocean and land on continental American shores.

All the Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen

My Review:

All the Best Lies is Reed’s story. Reed’s biological mother was brutally murdered when Reed was four months old. A prominent senator adopted him and but he always had questions about his mother. Then, a DNA test threw his world into a tailspin. The results of that DNA test makes Reed take another look at his mother’s unsolved murder. But, someone doesn’t want that murder solved, and they will do anything to keep it that way. What was in that DNA test, and who killed Reed’s mother? And what is tying them together?

All the Best Lies is the 3rd book in the Ellery Hathaway series. This book cannot be read as a standalone. You do need to read books 1 and 2 to understand Ellery and Reed’s relationship as well as Reed’s relationship with his family. If you do decide to pick the book up and read it, be prepared to be confused.

I loved Reed. He was determined to find out exactly what happened to his mother. His reactions to certain people in the book were right on. I would have been mad too!!! The only thing I didn’t agree with was when he went off on his own towards the end of the book.

I liked that Ellery took a step back in this book. What I mean by taking a step back is that her backstory and issues weren’t made the focal point of the book. She was still the same kick-ass ex-cop who went out of her way to help Reed.

I didn’t agree with the romance angle of the book. It didn’t seem right to have a romance between Ellery and Reed. I understood why the author did it (to show how far Ellery had come) but still.

The plotline about Reed’s mother’s murder was fantastic. The author did a great job of keeping the killer under wraps. Several red herrings were thrown out. I went back and forth about who killed Camilla and mentally kicked myself when the killer was revealed. I also loved the twist that was thrown in at the end. I did not see that coming.

The plotline about Ellery and her father broke my heart into little bits. I wanted to smack the crap out of her father. I understood her feelings about what he asked. I would have been torn too.

The end of All the Best Lies was terrific. The author did a great job of wrapping up all of the plotlines and bringing them together. I loved how Ellery was able to get the killer. Well, she had help but still. It was fantastic. I do wonder if there is going to be a book 4.


I would give All the Best Lies an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread All the Best Lies. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

No Mercy (Ellery Hathaway: Book 2) by Joanna Schaffhausen

No Mercy: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 2) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: January 15th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

The Vanishing Season—Book 1 (Review Here)

No Mercy—Book 2

All the Best Lies—Book 3 (expected publication date: February 11th, 2020)

Where you can find No Mercy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season.

No Mercy is award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen’s heart-pounding second novel.

Police officer Ellery Hathaway is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.”

For one, she suspects a fellow group member may have helped to convict the wrong man for a deadly arson incident years ago. For another, Ellery finds herself in the desperate clutches of a woman who survived a brutal rape. He is still out there, this man with the Spider-Man-like ability to climb through bedroom windows, and his victim beseeches Ellery for help in capturing her attacker.

Ellery seeks advice from her friend, FBI profiler Reed Markham, who liberated her from a killer’s closet when she was a child. Reed remains drawn to this unpredictable woman, the one he rescued but couldn’t quite save. The trouble is, Reed is up for a potential big promotion, and his boss has just one condition for the new job—stay away from Ellery. Ellery ignores all the warnings. Instead, she starts digging around in everyone’s past but her own—a move that, at best, could put her out of work permanently, and at worst, could put her in the city morgue.


First Line:

You kill one guy, one time, and suddenly everyone thinks you need therapy, Ellery Hathaway thought as she stood in the biting wind of the subway T platform overlooking the icy Charles River.


My Review:

No Mercy’s plotline was simple. Ellery is on involuntary leave after killing the person who had kidnapped four people and killed them. She is also forced into group therapy for people who have survived violent crimes. Figuring that all she needs to do is show up, Ellery is soon drawn into two different crimes. One involves a woman who survived a brutal rape and is desperate for the rapist to be found. The other crime consists of a woman who lost her son in a fire set by an arsonist, 25 years ago. The man convicted for the crime has been paroled, and Ellery isn’t sure if he did it. Instead, she thinks that someone close to the family set the fire. So, what does Ellery do? She calls Reed and asks him for his help. Will Ellery be able to help the rape victim? And will she get to the bottom of the arson?

When I started reading No Mercy, I didn’t know what to expect, plotwise. Because it is book 2, I was expecting this to be more of a filler book. I was expecting the pacing of this book to be slower than The Vanishing Season. Then I started reading it, and all of those preconceived expectations were blown away. This book was not a filler book. The pacing of No Mercy was as fast as The Vanishing Season, if not faster. I did not expect that and loved it!!!

I loved Ellery in No Mercy. She was the same wiseass woman, but there was more of an edge to her. She didn’t hide who she was or what had happened to her. That did cause some minor issues in the book. What amazed me about her was her character growth during the book. Instead of holding people at arm’s length, she started slowly letting them in. She showed empathy towards Wendy. It was beautiful to watch, knowing that her past hindered her. I hope that in the next book, there is even more character growth.

I liked Reed in this book. I liked that the author made his character flawed. There were some parts of the book where I didn’t feel bad for him, though. Like when he made promises that he couldn’t keep (taking his daughter to Disney World) or when he kept missing visitations with her. Because he was with Ellery, helping her with those two cases. But, at the same time, it was evident that he loved his daughter. He did help Ellery with her two cases. His insights lead to some significant breaks in those cases.

The one thing that I wasn’t crazy about in this book was the romance scenes between Ellery and Reed. While it did add to Ellery’s recovery (remember she was sexually assaulted), I didn’t think it had a place in the book. I could have done without it.

The plotline with Wendy, the rape victim, was heartbreaking. To see a woman beaten down the way she was broke my heart. When she reached out to Ellery, she was nearing rock bottom. I did like how the author kept that storyline going without it intertwining with the main storyline. I do wish that there was a better ending. But, unfortunately, that ending of that plotline was all too realistic.

The plotline with Mayra and the fire was interesting. There were so many twists and turns that I genuinely didn’t know how it was going to turn out. The author had me choosing between 3 people as to who set the fire and guess what; it was neither!! I did like how she wrapped that plotline up.

No Mercy cannot be read as a standalone book. It would be best if you read The Vanishing Season before reading this book. I can’t stress this enough.

The end of No Mercy was exciting. There was a small secondary storyline about Reed and his biological mother that was intertwined with one about a family DNA test, what Reed finds out at the end of the book set up for book three perfectly. I can’t wait to read it!!


I would give No Mercy an Adult rating. There are sexual situations. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread No Mercy. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Thin Ice (Alaska Wild Mysteries: Book 1) by Paige Shelton

Thin Ice: A Mystery by [Shelton, Paige]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: December 3rd 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Alaska Wild Mysteries

Thin Ice—Book 1

Where you can find Thin Ice: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

First in a new series set in Alaska from beloved author Paige Shelton, Thin Ice will chill your bones.

Beth Rivers is on the run – she’s doing the only thing she could think of to keep herself safe. Known to the world as thriller author Elizabeth Fairchild, she had become the subject of a fanatic’s obsession. After being held in a van for three days by her kidnapper, Levi Brooks, Beth managed to escape, and until he is captured, she’s got to get away. Cold and remote, Alaska seems tailor-made for her to hideout.

Beth’s new home in Alaska is sparsely populated with people who all seem to be running or hiding from something, and though she accidentally booked a room at a halfway house, she feels safer than she’s felt since Levi took her. That is, until she’s told about a local death that’s a suspected murder. Could the death of Linda Rafferty have anything to do with her horror at the hands of Levi Brooks?

As Beth navigates her way through the wilds of her new home, her memories of her time in the van are coming back, replaying the terror and the fear—and threatening to keep her from healing, from reclaiming her old life again. Can she get back to normal, will she ever truly feel safe, and can she help solve the local mystery, if only so she doesn’t have to think about her own?


First Line:

The good thing about being suddenly overcome with fresh terror is that you forget everything else you were afraid of.

Thin Ice by Paige Shelton

Book Review:

When I read the blurb for Thin Ice, my attention was caught. A mystery set in a remote town in Alaska? Count me in!! I am glad that I read Thin Ice because this book was fantastic!!

Thin Ice has a fast-moving plotline, which I appreciated. The book’s flow was good too. I didn’t have an issue following the story. There were some plotlines or characters that I had questions about. But, I have a feeling that those will be explained (or explored) in later books.

I did feel that Beth River’s character was a little predictable at first. I also felt that her character was one dimensional. But, as the book went on, her character became anything but predictable. Also, her character fleshed out. Those two things alone made Thin Ice a more enjoyable read for me.

The main plotline centers around Beth. She had been kidnapped and sustained a brain injury when she escaped. She has no recollection of her kidnapper other than a name and the make/model of the van she was held captive in. Fearing that her kidnapper would return for her, she made plans to stay in a small, almost off the grid town in Alaska. I could understand why she wanted to be off the grid. Honestly, if I were in her shoes, I would have done the same. I also got why she didn’t trust anyone. She couldn’t remember what her kidnapper looked like, which is why Beth ran to Alaska and why she didn’t trust anyone there.

Beth’s predictableness, for me, began when she arrived in Alaska and got involved in the murder investigation. There was a point where I was eye-rolling because it was so cliched. A thriller writer gets involved in a mystery of her own. But, the author did add a neat spin to that plotline.

I didn’t like how the detective treated Beth during the book. My internal antenna began to quiver during that first interaction. I felt that she didn’t take Beth’s memories seriously. Heck, I would have been jumping with joy at some of the details that Beth remembered. The detective’s reactions, to me, seemed one of irritation.

I need to mention Beth’s mother. She was obsessed with finding her husband and then added finding Beth’s kidnapper to her agenda. I am rooting for her finding the kidnapper before the police. Why? Because I have a feeling that Beth’s mother is going to lay down some old fashioned, “You don’t mess with my baby” justice.

The townspeople were a motley crew. Each person was running from something, which makes me wonder how these people will be in the upcoming books.

Thankfully, there was no romance in Thin Ice. The book was uber focused on Beth and the murder investigation even to go there. I loved it.

The end of Thin Ice was nail-biting. I was on edge for a couple of chapters because of what was going on. The author did a great job of wrapping up the murder angle of the plotline. But everything else, well, that was left open. I cannot wait to read the next book!!


I would give Thin Ice an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Thin Ice. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr

What Rose Forgot: A Novel by [Barr, Nevada]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Book

Date of publication: September 17th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find What Rose Forgot: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

In New York Times bestselling author Nevada Barr’s gripping standalone, a grandmother in her 60s emerges from a mental fog to find she’s trapped in an Alzheimer’s Unit in a nursing home. How does she convince anyone that she’s not actually demented? Her relatives were the ones to commit her, all the legal papers were drawn up, the authorities are on the side of the nursing home, and even she isn’t sure she sounds completely sane.


First Line:

Rose’s head drops, jerks, and she’s awake.

What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr

My Review:

I was on the fence if I wanted to read What Rose Forgot. The blurb didn’t give me any insight into the book. What made up my mind was reading other reviews. Either people loved it, or they didn’t. I am glad that I read What Rose Forgot. It was an exciting, action-packed book.

What Rose Forgot plotline was fast. There were a couple of times where the book did lag. The author was able to get the book back on track after the first time it lagged. The second time, though, it didn’t. Weirdly enough, the lag came at almost the very end of the book.

I loved Rose!! I did wonder, for the first half of the book, if she was having issues with her memory. I did think to myself, “Does she have Alzheimer’s?” My question was answered in the second half of the book. I will say that Rose is a tough cookie, too. She took several beatings during the book that would have broken a lesser woman.

I loved Rose’s relationship with Mel. Their exchanges made me smile and added some much-needed humor into the book. I liked that Rose treated Mel with respect. She listened to what she had to say and, most importantly, she didn’t treat her like a kid. She treated her like an equal, and I loved it!!

I was saddened by how her stepsons treated Rose. Unfortunately, it is an accurate reflection of how our elderly get treated today. Put in nursing homes and forgotten about by their family.

The mystery angle of the book was wonderfully written. I thought I had everything worked out, only to have my theory thrown out the window. I wasn’t shocked at who was behind everything, though. There were some significant clues dropped throughout the book. It was the other half of what happened that surprised me.

I wasn’t a fan of the ending of What Rose Forgot. It seemed rushed to me. I can’t get into much without spoiling the ending. So, I will leave it at that.


I would give What Rose Forgot an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread What Rose Forgot. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Truth Behind the Lie (Kouplan: Book 1) by Sara Lovestam

The Truth Behind the Lie: A Novel by [Lövestam, Sara]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: August 27th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Kouplan

The Truth Behind the Lie—Book 1

Where you can find The Truth Behind the Lie: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The Truth Behind The Lie is Sara Lövestam’s award-winning and gripping novel about blurred lines, second chances, and the lengths one will go to for the truth.

When a six-year-old girl disappears and calling the police isn’t an option, her desperate mother Pernilla turns to an unlikely source for help. She finds a cryptic ad online for a private investigator:
“Need help, but can’t contact the police?”

That’s where Kouplan comes in. He’s an Iranian refugee living in hiding. He and his brother were forced to leave Iran after their involvement with a radical newspaper hated by the regime was discovered. Kouplan’s brother disappeared, and he hasn’t seen him in four years. He makes a living as a P.I. working under the radar, waiting for the day he can legally apply for asylum.

Pernilla’s daughter has vanished without a trace, and Kouplan is an expert at living and working off the grid. He’s the perfect PI to help… but something in Pernilla’s story doesn’t add up. She might need help that he can’t offer…and a little girl’s life hangs in the balance.


First Line

The rain was so strange the day they took Julia.

The Truth Behind the Lie by Sara Lovestram

My Review:

I made a mistake before I started reading The Truth Behind the Lie. I read the reviews before I read the book. This is something that I usually don’t do. I had scrolled down on Goodreads, and one review caught my eye. You all know how that goes. You can’t read one. I got sucked down a rabbit hole of enthusiastic reviews, awful reviews, and mediocre reviews. By the time I emerged, my opinion of the book wasn’t that great. Then I read The Truth Behind the Lie; I can say for sure that my opinion of the book was changed for better.

One thing that caught my attention of The Truth Behind the Lie was that it was set in Sweden. Over the last year, I have noticed that most of the thrillers I read have taken place in those northern European countries. But what set this book apart for the other books was that Kouplan was not native to Sweden. Instead, he was an Iranian illegal immigrant. It was interesting to see Sweden through an immigrant’s eyes.

Kouplan caught my attention right from the beginning. His backstory was sad. He escaped from Iran after his older brother, who ran a radical newspaper, went missing. He was in the country illegally after his bid for citizenship was denied. The tension from that and from not seeing his family were well written. The only way he was surviving was working odd jobs and hoping someone answered his PI ad in the paper.

When Pernilla answered his ad, he thought that he had an easy case. He believed that Julia was taken in a custody dispute. That all he would have to do is find the father, and it would be over with. But, the case ended up being one of the hardest things he ever had to work on. The case was one of the best things about the book. Even when I felt that it was getting nowhere, I knew that something was happening. That Kouplan would break the case and find Julia. There was a break, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be.

There were a couple of considerable twists in the case that took me by surprise. One involved Pernilla, Julia, and the girl in the room. The other involved Kouplan. Neither I saw coming. Both almost made me lose my shit when they were revealed.

I did learn some interesting facts when reading The Truth Behind the Lie. I learned that mental health in Sweden was managed as well as the rest of the country. What surprised me was that the government took children away from parents if the parent had a mental illness. I was not expecting that. I also was surprised to learn that the children needed to be registered with the government. These two things I mentioned are huge in this book, so keep them in mind when reading this book.

The end of The Truth Behind the Lie was exciting. Remember the twists I mentioned above? They are both revealed in the last chapters. I loved how Pernilla, Julia, and the girl in the room was revealed. I got chills up and down my spine when I read it. The twist involving Kouplan came out of left field. I was NOT expecting what was revealed to be revealed. After I got over my shock, I loved it!!


I would give The Truth Behind the Lie an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Truth Behind the Lie. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Stories You Tell (Roxane Weary: Book 3) by Kristen Lepionka

The Stories You Tell: A Mystery (Roxane Weary Book 3) by [Lepionka, Kristen]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: July 9th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Roxane Weary

The Last Place You Look—Book 1

What You Want To See—Book 2

The Stories You Tell—Book 3

Where you find The Stories You Tell: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

The Stories You Tell is Shamus Award-winning and Anthony and Macavity Award-nominated author Kristen Lepionka’s heart-pounding third novel that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats with her signature twists and mile-high stakes.

A late-night phone call is never good news, especially when you’re Roxane Weary. This one is from her brother Andrew whose evening was interrupted by a visit from Addison, a hip young DJ he knows from the hotel bar where he works. She was drunk, bloody, and hysterical, but she wouldn’t say what was wrong. After using his phone, she left as quickly as she appeared, and Andrew is worried. That’s when he calls Roxane.

But another late-night call occurs as well: Addison’s father calls the police after getting a panicked voicemail from his daughter. The only thing he could understand is the address she gave in the message—Andrew’s. Before long, the police are asking Andrew all about why there’s blood in his apartment and what he did to Addison. Meanwhile, another cop is found dead on the opposite side of town, leading to a swirl of questions surrounding a dance club whose staff—which includes Addison—has suddenly gone AWOL.


My Review:

If you have been following this blog long enough, y’all know how much I hate reading books out of order if they are in a series. So when I realized that The Stories You Tell was the 3rd book in the Roxane Weary series, I did a facepalm. I prepared myself for being lost while reading this book. Well, I lucked out. The Stories You Tell can be read as a standalone book.

I enjoyed The Stories You Tell storyline. I thought that the storyline was well written. There was a little lag in the middle of the book. That happened right around when Andrew got arrested. But the book got back on track shortly afterward.

I liked Roxane. She committed to finding Addison after Andrew called her that night. She was also committed to finding out the truth when Andrew got arrested. I was iffy about her relationship with Catherine. I don’t know what went down in the first two books, but there was a disconnect between them the beginning. I was also confused about what was going on with Tom. The end of the book didn’t help with my confusion.

The mystery angle of the book was well written. The author did a fantastic job keeping where Addison was and what happened that night at the club under wraps. There were several other storylines (the dead ex-cop, the missing club staff, and the dating app) that were spun off from the main plotline. The author also did a fantastic job of combining all the secondary plotlines into the first one. When she started doing it, it didn’t make sense. But, after the scene with Brock, it began to make sense.

The end of The Stories You Tell was intense. It went lightning fast from the moment Roxane started putting things together. For a brief minute, I did think Jordy was in on what Elise was doing. But my mind was changed shortly after that.


I would give The Stories You Tell an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Stories You Tell I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly

Stone Mothers: A Novel by [Kelly, Erin]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: April 23rd, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find Stone Mothers: Amazon | Barnes and Noble| BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Erin Kelly, the masterful author of He Said/She Said, delivers another irresistible, unputdownable novel of psychological suspense. 

You can’t keep the secret.
You can’t tell the truth.
You can’t escape the past

Marianne was seventeen when she fled her home in Nusstead – leaving behind her family, her boyfriend, Jesse, and the body they buried. Now, thirty years later, forced to return to in order to help care for her sick mother, she can feel the past closing around her. And Jesse, who never forgave her for leaving in the first place, is finally threatening to expose the truth.

Marianne will do anything to protect the life she’s built, the husband and daughter who must never know what happened all those years ago. Even if it means turning to her worst enemy for help… But Marianne may not know the whole story – and she isn’t the only one with secrets they’d kill to keep.


My review:

Marianne was doing well for herself. She’s been married for 25 years to a wonderful and understanding man. Her daughter, who is mentally ill, hasn’t had an episode in over a year. Life is good. Then her husband surprises her with a trip to her home village of Nusstead. A place she has rarely gone back to since she left at 17. A place where a death occurred and was covered up.

Her happy life is in jeopardy when her ex-boyfriend threatens to expose her secret about what happened at the Nazareth Hospital.Marianne is forced to join forces with the only other person who knows what happened that night. But Helen has her motivation for aligning with Marianne. She has her secrets, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep those secrets from coming out.


When I started reading Stone Mothers, I thought that this was going to be a quick book to read. A book with an easy plotline to follow. One I could keep track of the main characters. An interesting book that would keep my attention. Unfortunately, Stone Mothers only hit two out of the three for me.

The Stone Mothers had two significant plotlines. I had a hard time following Marianne’s plotline. It was all over the place. It could be present day then morph back to the ‘80s and then again to the present day. It drove me nuts.

I found myself wondering when the colossal secret was going to be revealed and what it was. It was alluded to in Marianne’s plotline often, but it wasn’t explain until halfway through the book. At that point, I was so irritated by the constant flashbacks that I didn’t care about the secret.

Helen’s plotline was wonderfully written. It stayed in chronological order. There were none of the bouncings around that made Marianne’s plotline so hard to read. As weird as this sounds, I thought that Helen’s plotline was written better.

I do think that Helen’s plotline should have been first in the book. That way there would be no confusion about what was going on. Also, I would have liked to see Marianne’s stay in chronological order. No bouncing around. It would have made the book much easier to read.

I did like that the author got into the history of how the mentally ill were treated in England. It was eye-opening what was considered mentally ill back then. Husband beating you. Mentally ill. Gay or Lesbian. Mentally ill. Someone who was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Mentally ill. A woman who wanted to get an abortion. Mentally ill. I could go on and on. It disgusted me.

I was horrified by how the mentally ill people were treated in the book. The treatments that they were put through were illegal and awful. How the staff managed the patients were horrible. Sure, there were a few that were nice, but they were few and far between. Most of the time, the staff was abusive towards the patients.

I liked also explored what it was like when those hospitals shut down. Unfortunately, what the book showed is the truth. I grew up about 10ish miles from a state hospital (Danvers State). They closed down in the mid- ‘80s. With nowhere to go, they put a bunch of patients out on the street. I remember not being allowed to play outside the summer it happened because my mother was terrified. She used to work there, and she said that there were sick people in there. People that shouldn’t have been allowed back on the street but were there because of cutbacks and lack of funding. So, what happened in Stone Mothers, I could believe.

I did like how the author was able to show how far treating mental illness has come. Marianne’s daughter had her struggles with mental illness. She was functioning because of therapy and medication. The stigma of having a mental illness has lessened but is still there. In this book, it shows how far it has come and how far there is still left to go.


I couldn’t get a feel for Marianne during the first half of the book. She did come off as having an “I am better than you” attitude. I didn’t understand her reaction to having an apartment bought for her until later in the book. Up until then, I thought she was an ungrateful snot. I also didn’t understand her codependent relationship with Jesse. It wasn’t explained until much later in the book. I did come to respect her towards the end of the book. Everything she did was for the love of her daughter.

I did not like Jesse. I did feel bad for him when everything happened with Clay. But other than that, nope. Didn’t like him. His identity was so wrapped up in Marianne’s that he didn’t know what to do when she broke it off. His behavior was erratic from the middle of the book on. By the end of the book, he scared me.

Helen was the only one out of the three that I liked. She worked hard to become who she was. While she had an outward facade of not caring, she did. As for her story, I am not going to go into it. All I have to say is that she deserved most of the stuff that happened in the book.


I didn’t feel that Stone Mothers was a good fit in with the thriller category. There was no thrill. Because of Marianne’s plotline jumping around, I never got that feeling.

As for the mystery/suspense categories, I was kind of eh. I felt that the plot moved too slow and jumped around too much for any suspense to be built. The mystery angle was also eh. I couldn’t get into it because of Marianne’s plotline jumping around.

There was a lag in the plotline about halfway through the book. The author was able to bring the book back on track. There was also the matter of dropped characters and insinuated plotlines. The way the book set up a particular character, I thought that she was the one killed. But, nothing else was mentioned about her until the end of the book. And it turned out to be different than what I thought. I went back and reread that passages to make sure I wasn’t confusing things.

The end of Stone Mothers seemed rushed. I wasn’t expecting what happened. It was also mentioned that something happened to another main character. Then that character was brought back into the book. I did like that it was from Honor’s POV. I liked that I was given an outsider’s perspective on the whole cluster. Still, I was left wanting at how the book ended.


I would give Stone Mothers an Older Teen rating. There are mentions of sex but the deed itself was never talked about. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Stone Mothers. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Stone Mothers.

All opinions stated in this review of Stone Mothers are mine.


Have you read Stone Mothers?

What was your thoughts about it?

Let me know

The Reckoning (Children’s House: Book 2) by Yrsa Siguroardottir

The Reckoning

3.5 Stars

Date of publication: February 12, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Series: Children’s House

DNA—Book 1

Throttling—Book 2 (I believe this is also The Reckoning. Google translate didn’t do a great job  translating from Icelandic to English on Goodreads)

Absolution—Book 3

Where you can find The Reckoning: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

The Reckoning is the stunning follow-up to The Legacy, which was the start of a thrilling new series that Booklist (starred) recommends for fans of Tana French. 

Vaka sits, regretting her choice of coat, on the cold steps of her new school. Her father appears to have forgotten to pick her up, her mother has forgotten to give her this week’s pocket money, and the school is already locked for the day. Grownups, she decides, are useless.

With no way to call home, she resigns herself to waiting on the steps until her father remembers her. When a girl approaches, Vaka recognizes her immediately from class, and from her unusual appearance: two of her fingers are missing. The girl lives at the back of the school, on the other side of a high fence, and Vaka asks to call her father from the girl’s house. That afternoon is the last time anyone sees Vaka.

Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are called in. Soon, they find themselves at the heart of another shocking case.

From the international number one-bestselling author of The Silence of the Sea, winner of the 2015 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel Yrsa Sigurdardottir returns with the follow-up to The Legacy.


My review:

I have developed a liking for police thrillers. And I have an interest in these type of books set in other countries. So when I saw The Reckoning is set in Iceland, I needed to read it. I am glad that I did. I got insight into how the Icelandic criminal system worked as well as their version of CPS.

The Reckoning is book 2 in the Children’s House series. When I saw that, I was immediately put alert. In my experience, the second book in any series lacks. It is usually a filler between the 1st book and the 3rd book. But not in this case. The Reckoning is a stand-alone book. There were a few references to book 1 but they did not take over this book. That alone made me like the book.

I wasn’t sure if I liked Huldar or not, at first. He didn’t exactly fit into the image I had of an Icelandic police officer. His appearance, for one. Whenever I picture a police officer (especially ones in a foreign country) has clean cut and neat. Huldar was not that. I also had doubts about his professionalism. At one point in the book, he was sleeping with his boss. But, I did come to like him. He was a good police officer who was dedicated to tracking down the threats that were in the time capsule. He treated the suspects (and victims) with respect. 

I thought that Freyja was a mess in this book. She was in a codependent relationship with her incarcerated brother. She had suffered a demotion at work because of Huldar. And, to top it off, she was back to working with Huldar, who was also trying to pursue a relationship with him. I also did wonder why she was in the plot during the first half of the book. But, as the book went on and more of the main plotline was revealed, I started to understand why. She also played a pivotal role at the end of the book.

I thought that main plotline was heartbreaking. I loved how the author kept who the killers were until the end of the book. I loved how she tied everything together. I will say that the identity of the killers were surprising. I didn’t see it coming. As for the writer of the threat, I did call that one. But, the reason behind the threat, I didn’t. 

What did surprise me in this book was the twist that the author threw in at the end of the book. All I have to say about it is “Whoa“. I did not see that coming. I could understand why those people did what they did. 


I gave The Reckoning a 3.5-star rating. This was a fast-moving mystery with an engaging plotline. The main characters were dysfunctional and did take a while to grow on me. The main plotline was heartbreaking. I liked how the author kept who the killers were under wraps until the end of the book. What I also liked was the twist that was thrown in at the end. I didn’t see that coming.

I would give The Reckoning an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is violence. There is language. There are trigger warnings. They would be rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and physical abuse. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Reckoning. I would also reccomend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Reckoning.

All opinions stated in this review of The Reckoning are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read The Reckoning?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

The Middleman by Olen Steinhauer

The Middleman

2 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: August 7th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find The Middleman: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

New York Times bestselling author Olen Steinhauer’s next sweeping espionage novel traces the rise and fall of a domestic left-wing terrorist group. Told from the individual perspectives of an FBI agent, an undercover agent within the group, a convert to the terrorist organization, and a writer on the edges of the whole affair, this is another tightly wound thriller, and an intimate exploration of the people behind the politics, from a master of suspense.

My review:

I made a mistake when I got The Middleman from NetGalley. I wasn’t paying attention, thought I hit the Read Now button for another book and ended up with this one instead. I do not like political/espionage thrillers. I have read them, even reviewed them, in the past. I can’t get into the books. So, I wasn’t very happy when I realized what I did. But, I decided to suck it up.

I couldn’t get into the book. I struggled to finish it. If I didn’t have a personal goal of not DNF’ing a book, then it would have been DNF’d and forgotten about. But, I stuck it out. It took me 4 nights to finish this book. 4 torturous nights of me falling asleep while reading. That is something I rarely do.

I did like the plot. It was something that I could see happening in real life. 400 young people disappearing all at once. All 400 have traces to a domestic terrorist group. Told from 4 different POV’s, this should have been a riveting book. Instead, I ended up getting bored with the book halfway through. If the author had stuck with one or two POV’s, then it would have worked. But with 4 different ones. Well, I had a hard time keeping track of everything. Even with the chapters marked.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. It drove me nuts because I need to have at least 1 connection in the book. I didn’t have any.

I did feel that the book did fit in with the mystery genre pretty well. The story with the 2nd in command of the terrorist group was well-played out. I didn’t see him being who he was until it was explained at the end. As for the thriller genre, not so much. I kept losing attention, which isn’t good in a thriller. You need to be sucked into a thriller book and then spit out at the end feeling. The Middleman didn’t do that. The same thing goes for suspense. The book should have been fast-paced right from the start. Instead, it started off slowly. It did pick up steam by the middle of the book, only to slow down by the end of the book. Very frustrating to read.

I do feel that there was a huge hole in the plotline in the middle of the book. Take for instance Rachel being in the hospital. I had to reread the chapters leading up to her being injured for any mention of her getting hurt. There was nothing. But suddenly, she was on medical leave from a bad injury. Made 100% no sense to me. There are a few more examples but I don’t want to make a novel out of my review.

There was also some lag in the plotline. One right around Rachel’s injury. The other was when Kevin was in Europe, chasing leads all over the place. The author recovered very well but still.

The end of The Middleman was confusing. Not in the sense how it ended. I agreed with the explanations that Rachel got about the case. It was the ending involving another key character. I kind of shook my head and wondered “Why was she there? How did she get there?” I was also left wondering if that group was going to be reborn. Something about what the men were talking about made me wonder that. There were also some unfinished storylines that made me go “Huh“. I hate it when storylines are left unfinished. I hate it even more when it was attached to a major storyline. No closure makes me cranky.

Why I rated The Middleman 2 stars. There were huge holes in the plotline mid-book. There were dropped storylines. There were too many POV’s. There were some things that I did like about The Middleman. I did like the plot. I felt that the mystery angle of the book was well written.

What I liked about The Middleman (to recap):

A) The plot

B) The mystery angle of the book was well written.

What I disliked about The Middleman (to recap):

A) Huge holes in the plotline

B) Dropped storyline

C) Too many POV’s

I would give The Middleman an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is graphic violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would not reread The Middleman. I would not recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Middleman.

All opinions stated in this review of The Middleman are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**