The Rumor by Lesley Kara

The Rumor: A Novel by [Kara, Lesley]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of Publication: June 18th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find The Rumor: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book synopsis:

A single mom discovers just how deadly gossip can be in this irresistible debut thriller inspired by a sensational true crime story, for fans of Big Little Lies, The Couple Next Door, and The Widow.

Joanna is desperate to ingratiate herself with a popular clique of mothers at her son’s new school. But when she tries to impress them by repeating a rumor she overheard at the school gates, there’s no going back. . . .

Rumor has it that a notorious killer, a woman who has been released from prison years after her brutal crime, is living under a new identity in Joanna’s seaside town. So who is the supposedly reformed murderer now living in their neighborhood? Suspicion falls on everyone.

Joanna becomes obsessed with the case, pawing through decades-old records in an attempt to name the killer. But her curiosity not only ostracizes her from the community, but exposes her son and his father to a heartless psychopath who has killed–and may kill again. 

How dangerous can one rumor become? And how far will Joanna go to protect those she loves from harm, when she realizes what she’s unleashed?

Joanna is going to regret the day she ever said a word….


First Line

It’s happening again.

The Rumor by Lesley Kara

I am guilty of judging a book by its blurb. When I read the blurb, I thought that it was going to be a run of the mill suspense/thriller/mystery. I thought that I would be able to figure out who the killer was by the middle of the book. Yeah, well, that didn’t happen. I was taken by surprise by The Rumor , and I loved it.

The murderer in The Rumor is based on a real crime. Mary Bell killed a four-year-old and a three-year-old in 1968. The author had Sally follow Mary’s path in life. I was chilled reading those parts of The Rumor. The question that burned in my mind as I was reading was, “What can drive a ten-year-old to kill?

The plotline in The Rumor was fast paced. There were no slow interludes. Everything that occurred in the book, happened within a few weeks of Joanna repeating the rumor. There was no lag, and there were no dropped or missing storylines.

Joanna became a hot mess during the book. The minute she repeated that rumor, she was on a fast track to collide with the killer. There were times where I wanted to shake her, though. Mainly with her personal life. I did feel bad for her at the end of the book. What she learned shocked me as much as it shocked her.

I was surprised at who the child killer was. When it was revealed, my mouth dropped open, and I said, out loud, “No effing way.” I was not expecting it to be that person. The author did a fantastic job of throwing out red herrings and pointing fingers at various people in the book. I loved it!!

The end of The Rumor was intense. Everything was revealed in a showdown that I can only describe as epic. I couldn’t put the book down because I needed to know what was going to happen. What chilled me was the last chapter. I got chills up and down my spine when I read it.


I would give The Rumor 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 Rumor. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

The Soul of Power (The Waking Land: Book 3) by Callie Bates

The Soul of Power (The Waking Land Book 3) by [Bates, Callie]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: June 4th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Waking Land

The Waking Land—Book 1 (review here)

The Memory of Fire—Book 2 (review here)

The Soul of Power—Book 3

Where you can find The Soul of Power: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

One young woman learns the true nature of power–both her own and others’–in the riveting conclusion to The Waking Land Trilogy.

Sophy Dunbarron–the illegitimate daughter of a king who never was–has always felt like an impostor. Separated from her birth mother, raised by parents mourning the loss of their true daughter, and unacknowledged by her father, Sophy desires only a place and a family to call her own. But fate has other ideas. Caught up in Elanna Valtai’s revolution, Sophy has become the reigning monarch of a once-divided country–a role she has been groomed her whole life to fill.

But as she quickly discovers, wearing a crown is quite a different thing from keeping a crown. With an influx of magic-bearing refugees pouring across the border, resources already thinned by war are stretched to the breaking point. Half the nobility in her court want her deposed, and the other half question her every decision. And every third person seems to be spontaneously manifesting magical powers.

When Elanna is captured and taken to Paladis, Sophy’s last ally seems to have vanished. Now it is up to her alone to navigate a political maze that becomes more complex and thorny by the day. And worse, Sophy is hiding a huge secret–one that could destroy her tenuous hold on the crown forever.


My review:

I was excited when I saw that the final installment in The Waking Land series was available for review. I had reviewed the first two books and enjoyed them. I had high expectations for The Soul of Power. And guess what? It didn’t let me down.

I do want to give everyone a heads up about the timeline of the book. The Soul of Power starts after Jahan is sent to Paladis. Elanna’s capture and torture by the witch hunters are going on during the events of The Soul of Power. So keep that in mind while reading this book.


The Soul of Power is Sophy’s story. Crowned queen at the end of The Waking Land, Sophy desperately wants a united country. But, with a court that hates and questions her and a country that is at the point of imploding, it looks like that isn’t going to happen. On top of all that, Sophy has a secret. A secret that could cost her the throne.


I can’t even begin to express how excited I was when I got the ARC for The Soul of Power. I had been hoping that this book was going to be Sophy’s story. When I read the blurb and saw that it was Sophy’s story, I did a happy dance. I couldn’t wait to read this book.

The amount of stress that Sophy was under was insane. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to function under that amount of stress. Plus, not knowing who to trust. I would have said, “Here’s the throne, see ya” and left. But, she stayed and I admired her for that.

I enjoyed watching Sophy grow as a character in this book. She started unsure and resentful of Elanna’s popularity. She wanted to do the right thing but kept getting lousy advice from her council. But, as the book went on, she blossomed. She found her backbone. She overcame her insecurities about Elanna. By the end of the book, she became the queen she needed to be. I loved it.

The plotline regarding Sophy’s father was interesting. I was curious to see how it was going to play out. I wasn’t expecting it to go the way it did. I was shocked. I was also shocked at what Sophy did at the end of the book. I think she was too lenient. After what her father did to her and Rhia, I expected something more. But, thinking about it, what she did was a more fitting punishment.

The author didn’t hide Sophy’s secret. During the first chapter, it was mentioned a few times. How Teofila didn’t notice it when they were together was beyond me. But she did have other things on her mind.

The Soul of Power was also violent. I lost count of how many times Sophy was attacked. Along with the violence, there was also death. Some people deserved it. But there were some deaths that surprised me. And there was one death that broke my heart. I wasn’t expecting it.

The magic angle of the book was well written. I liked that people were starting to experience magic. I loved that the magic didn’t pick and choose who it wanted. I did feel that Sophy’s magical awakening was drawn out. It got to a point where I felt like saying “Just get it over with!!“.

Rape was brought up in the book. I thought that the author explained what happened to Sophy’s mother in a tactful way. She left just enough unsaid that I understood exactly what Mag went through.

The end of The Soul of Power kept me enthralled with the book. So much happened that I almost couldn’t keep it straight. But, it was the last chapter that closed the book for me. Loved it!!


I would give The Soul of Power an Adult rating. There is mention of sexual situations. There is violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Soul of Power. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Soul of Power.

All opinions stated in this review of The Soul of Power are mine.


Have you read The Soul of Power?

What are your thoughts?

Have you ever hidden something from someone?

Let me know!!

The Night Window (Jane Hawk: Book 5) by Dean Koontz

The Night Window: A Jane Hawk Novel by [Koontz, Dean]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication : May 14th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Series: Jane Hawk

The Bone Farm—Book 0.5

The Silent Corner—Book 1 (review here)

The Whispering Room—Book 2 (review here)

The Crooked Staircase—Book 3 (review here)

The Forbidden Door—Book 4 (review here)

The Night Window—Book 5

Where you can find The Night Window: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz brings Jane Hawk’s one-woman war to an explosive climax as the rogue FBI agent wages her final battle against a terrifying conspiracy–for vengeance, for justice, and for humanity’s freedom. 

Groundbreaking, wholly involving, eerily prescient and terrifyingly topical, Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk series sets a new standard for contemporary thrillers. Since her sensational debut in The Silent Corner, readers have been riveted by Jane Hawk’s resolute quest to take down the influential architects of an accelerating operation to control every level of society via an army of mind-altered citizens. At first, only Jane stood against the “Arcadian” conspirators, but slowly others have emerged to stand with her, even as there are troubling signs that the “adjusted” people are beginning to spin viciously out of control. Now, in the thrilling, climactic showdown that will decide America’s future, Jane will require all her resources–and more–as she confronts those at the malevolent, impregnable center of power.


My review:

I was excited when I saw that The Night Window was available for review. I was waiting for this book. I needed to see how Jane Hawk’s quest to bring down the Arcadian’s would end. And I wasn’t disappointed. This book was a fast-paced ride from beginning to end.

All the storylines were fast paced and well written. I had issues putting the book down, that is how into I got. I needed to find out if Jane was going to expose the Arcadians and reunite with her son. I needed to know if Tom was going to outwit Hollister. Also, let’s not forget the secondary storylines. Instead of distracting me from the storyline, they added to it. They added that little bit of extra depth to the book that was needed.

Jane, by far, was my favorite character in The Night Window. Her determination to protect her child and to expose the Arcadian’s came off the pages. She took more risks in this book. Her near misses with the Arcadian’s were incredible and nerve- wracking. I did feel bad for her, though. She was exhausted from all the running that she had to do. She wanted to be with her son. She wanted it to be over and justice for her husband.

I wanted to shake Vikram. He took a lot of risks to help Jane. Like going to Ricky and getting the modified RV. He made me nervous. But he was brilliant. It was that brilliance that kept them ahead of the Arcadians. It was also that brilliance that had him do what he did during the last chapters.

Warwick Hollister was one of the evilest characters that I have read to date. The glimpses of him that I got in the previous books didn’t prepare me for what was in this book. I shuddered every time he appeared in the book. But, I did enjoy his descent into madness. Without giving anything away, let’s say that he got paid back tenfold.

The Night Window was a perfect fit into the thriller genre. As with any of his books, Dean Koontz knows how to deliver a thriller. I was kept on edge the entire book. The build-up of that angle was fantastic.

The mystery angle wasn’t there for me. I wasn’t feeling it. The only time I even got a tiny bit of feel for it was when the Arcadians were chasing after Jane and Vikram. But even then, it was more of a thriller.

I loved the end of The Night Window. I did not expect it to go the way it did. But, in hindsight, it was the only way. The author did what few do. The author did what few do — showing what happens after the fact. It was also a fitting ending to the series.


I would give The Night Window an Adult rating. There is no sex (but there are references to sexual situations). There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Night Window. I would recommend this book to family and friends.

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


I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Night Window.

All opinions stated in this review of The Night Window are mine.


Have you read The Night Window?

What were your thoughts on it?

Do you think that something like the Hamlet List could exist?

Let me know!!

Sullivan’s Promise (Bitter Creek: Book 12) by Joan Johnston

Sullivan's Promise: A Bitter Creek Novel by [Johnston, Joan]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Dell

Date of publication: April 30th, 2019

Genre: Romance

Series: Bitter Creek

The Men of Bitter Creek: Two Complete Novels—Book 0.5

The Cowboy—Book 1

The Texan—Book 2

The Loner—Book 3

The Price—Book 4

The Rivals—Book 5

The Next Mrs. Blackthorne—Book 6

A Stranger’s Game—Book 7

Shattered—Book 8

A Bitter Creek Christmas—Book 8.5

Sinful—Book 9

Shameless—Book 10

Surrender—Book 11

Sullivan’s Promise—Book 12

Where you can find Sullivan’s Promise: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis:

Two unforgiving lovers reunite for the sake of their child in this fiery contemporary romance from Joan Johnston, the New York Times bestselling author of Surrender.

Facing the unexpected consequences of a life-altering night of passion with a cowboy she met in a Jackson Hole bar, and with her life committed to protecting endangered species, Victoria Grayhawk does what she believes is the right thing. She hunts down the cowboy, seeking his agreement that their baby should be adopted by a loving family.

Montana rancher Ryan Sullivan has no intention of giving away his own flesh and blood, and takes their son to raise himself. When Vick realizes what a horrible mistake she’s made, and wants back into their child’s life, Rye remains inflexible—because once trust is lost there are no second chances—until an attack by one of the grizzlies Vick has spent her life protecting changes everything and Rye learns that sometimes love can heal all wounds.

The passionate Westerns in Joan Johnston’s Bitter Creek series can be enjoyed together or separately, in any order:
TEXAS BRIDE • WYOMING BRIDE • MONTANA BRIDE • SINFUL • SHAMELESS • BLACKTHORNE’S BRIDE • SULLIVAN’S PROMISE


My Review:

When I started reading Sullivan’s Promise, I was under the impression that it could be construed as a stand-alone book. The blurb states that it can (look above). Having finished the book, I ‘ll say that you need to read the other books before reading this one. There were parts of the book where I was left wondering what the heck was going on or why do people feel that way. I do not like feeling like that, and it factored into my rating.

The plotline was alright. The author did a fantastic job of taking a sensitive subject and showing both sides to it. She was able to explain what Vick went through without taking away from why Ryan was so upset. She also was able to show both sides of conservation. She was able to show the fine lines that ranchers have to walk when it came to protecting their land. My issue with the plotline was that it seemed like the author had to stretch it if that makes sense.

I wasn’t a fan of Ryan. I did admire him for stepping up. It was everything after that I didn’t like. He had a black and white view of the world. He was also unbendable with his opinions of people and events. His treatment of Vick is a great example. I get that he was mad, but she proved over and over that she was a devoted mother. But he refused to bend for five freaking years. That drove me nuts whenever it came up. What drove me nuts was that he wasn’t going to ask his mother about why he had a different blood type than her and his father. Instead, he stewed in it and made up scenarios in his head. Realistic but drove me up a wall.

I did like Vick. Her reactions to finding out that she was pregnant were realistic. She wasn’t happy about being pregnant. When she gave birth, she left the baby with Ryan. But, after six months, she decided she wanted a relationship with her son and got stonewalled by Ryan. I am not going to defend her actions. What she did was wrong. But, she wanted to make it right. Everything she did from that point forward was above board and honest. So, Ryan’s treatment of her was ridiculous. She was more patient than I would have been.

The romance between Vick and Ryan seemed forced. The sex scenes didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t get past Ryan’s treatment of Vick for the first half of the book. What irked me was that when Vick decided to start dating, Ryan ruined it for her. I wanted to pull my hair out at that point.

The last half of the book confused the heck out of me. Instead of being about Ryan and Vick, it was about their extended families, which confused the heck out of me. Other than Ryan’s parentage, I couldn’t understand why the other people were in the book. There were tie ins towards the end, but there were a few chapters where I was going “Why is this in the book? What does this have to do with Vick and Ryan’s story?” I did appreciate those updates, but I haven’t read the other books. So it annoyed me too.

The end of Sullivan’s Promise was your typical romance novel ending. Ryan and Vick’s storyline was wrapped up. It ended like I thought it would of. I did enjoy the epilogue. I liked seeing where Ryan and Vick were a few years later.

Would I have enjoyed Sullivan’s Promise more if I had read the other books in the series. Absolutely. I would have gotten a better grasp of the family dynamics.


I would give Sullivan’s Promise 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 am on the fence if I would reread Sullivan’s Promise. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends.

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


Have you read Sullivan’s Promise?

What are your thoughts on it?

Let me know!!

Inspection by Josh Malerman

Inspection: A Novel by [Malerman, Josh]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: March 19th, 2019

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find Inspection: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Synopsis:

J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.

J is one of only twenty-six students, all of whom think of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father. J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know—and all they are allowed to know.

But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.


My review:

I was super excited to read Inspection. I had read the blurb and thought to myself “This seems like it is going to be a good book.” Then I started reading it. All I can say is that the book was a huge disappointment.

The plot of Inspection was interesting at first. I thought that the whole premise of the book was interesting. Then it became stale. It faltered about halfway through the book, when K’s storyline was introduced. K’s storyline was the same as J’s. The only difference was the timeline. K’s storyline started off earlier than J’s. Which meant she knew things before J. It was meh to me. Not bad, not good. Just meh.

I did like the kids. J’s confusion over what he read in the book was realistic. As was his anger and disappointment when he realized that D.A.D. wasn’t who he thought he was. K’s determination to find the other tower was great to read also. What she did once she was there set the stage for the rest of the book. The other kids (the rest of the Alphabet Boys and Letter Girls) were well written also.

D.A.D. was an egotistical maniac. His mood swings dominated J’s storyline. The deeper into the book I got, the more the experiment unravel, the more unhinged he became. I didn’t like it. It didn’t sit well with. As for M.O.M., I wasn’t impressed with her either. The main reason was her before scenes. When she met D.A.D. and hatched the plan for the school. She was condescending and it drove me nuts. The other adults made me angry. They saw what was going on. They knew what being sent to the Corner meant. And they still did nothing. Oh, they were sad. There were several passages where people looked at the kids with sadness in their eyes. But they didn’t act. Drove me nuts reading that.

I didn’t get the need for the inspections at first. I couldn’t understand why the boys and girls had to be inspected every morning. But, as the book went on, I started to understand. I won’t say why because it would be a major spoiler.

I thought that the way kept the kids in line was awful. They told the kids that the outside world had diseases. Made up diseases. Diseases that sounded like Harry Potter spells. They also threatened to put them in the Corner. The kids were terrified of the Corner. Why? Because the 2 boys and 1 girl put in the Corner never came back. And they were reminded of that daily.

The end of Inspection underwhelmed me. What ended up happening, I expected. I was interested in the letter that was at the very end of the book. But other than that, I was meh about it. There were certain things that were left up in the air. Things that should have been explained.


I would give Inspection an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is swearing. There is language. I would suggest that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Inspection. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends.


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

All opinions stated in this review of Inspection are mine.


Have you read Inspection?

What were your thoughts on it?

Social experiments? What are your thoughts?

Let me know!!

The Liar’s Child by Carla Buckley

The Liar's Child

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: March 12th, 2019

Genre: General Fiction, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller

Where to find The Liar’s Child: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

In this intense and intimate family portrait that moves at a thriller’s pace, a troubled woman faces a gripping moral dilemma after rescuing two abandoned children from a hurricane.

On the outskirts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks sits The Paradise, an apartment complex where renters never stay long enough to call the place “home”–and neighbors are seldom neighborly. It’s ideal for Sara Lennox, who moved there to escape a complicated past–and even her name–and rebuild a new life for herself under the radar. But Sara cannot help but notice the family next door, especially twelve-year-old Cassie and five-year-old Boon. She hears rumors and whispers of a recent tragedy slowly tearing them apart.

When a raging storm threatens then slams the coastal community, Sara makes a quick, bold decision: Rescue Cassie and Boon from the storm and their broken home–without telling a soul. But this seemingly noble act is not without consequences. Some lethal.

Carla Buckley crafts a richly rewarding psychological portrait, combining a heart-wrenching family drama with high-stakes suspense, as the lives of three characters intertwine in an unforgettable story of fury, fate–and redemption.


My review:

I was so excited to read this book. I had read the blurb and thought “This could be a good book”. And guess what, it was a good as I thought it was going to be.

I am going to come straight out and say it, this book was amazing. It was everything that I thought it was going to be and then some. The book is slow to start and I would hate it but in this case, it was needed. There was so much background that the author needed to build up before the story got going. And when the story got going, it didn’t stop.

Family dynamics were a huge focal point in The Liar’s Child. Cassie and Boon had a dysfunctional family. By the descriptions given, it seemed like she was bipolar at the least. She was also known to take off with the kids. Hank, their father, was the only stable person in their lives but he worked a ton of hours. He was never around. I had no doubt that this was the reason why Cassie started hanging around with the kids that she did. I also don’t doubt that was the reason why Boon was the way he was.

Sarawas an enigma. The author made it a point of not releasing a ton of information about her background. Heck, even her name was fake. She was in the Witness Protection program because of a case that she had no choice but to testify in. It was that or jail. Sara was at The Paradise under duress.

To be honest, I didn’t like Sara very much during the book. She was always scheming, seeing who could get her what. She formed friendships to get things. Take her friendship with her boss. She used it to get to her computer and to steal booze from the customers. Let’s not forget to add that she used her boss’s boyfriend to get laid and get a car. I also wanted to know why she was so hot to get out of the Witness Protection program. I understand that she chafed at being watched but hello, she got involved with human trafficking. Which is a bad thing.

I did feel bad for Cassie. She was acting out, hardcore. At 12, she shouldn’t have had to step into her mother’s shoes. While I didn’t agree with how she rebelled (sleeping around, doing drugs, skipping school) but I definitely could understand why. She did love Boon and she did try to protect him. But she also resented him. There were times in the book where I thought that she was going to need a good therapist.

Hank came across as a pushover. He allowed his wife to do whatever she wanted and chose to turn a blind eye to what she was doing. Even when she almost killed Boon, he still coddled her. It should have been a relief when she left. But it seemed to add more stress to him. I didn’t understand exactly why he was so stressed out until the end of the book. That’s when I did an “aha“. But, even that wasn’t what it seemed.

The plotline with the hurricane was almost anti-climatic compared to what was going on with the people. I liked that it didn’t take over the book but instead was the background for everything that happened after the middle.

I am still trying to figure out why Sara decided to take the kids. It wasn’t because she wanted to rescue them or felt bad for them. She felt that they were a pain in the butt and told them so. So why did she? I know that she saw a lot of herself in Cassie. So maybe that called to her. Who knows.

The book wrapped up on a happy note. I was happy to see everyone was thriving and doing well. I wasn’t happy to see that Hank was where he was but I understood why he did it. Never underestimate a parent’s love for their child.


I would give The Liar’s Child an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is language. There is violence. There are triggers. They would be the abandonment of a parent, death of a parent, horrific accident involving a child, dealing children services, destruction from a hurricane, underage sex, talk of drug use and a child becoming ill. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Liar’s Child. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Liar’s Child.

All opinions stated in this review of The Liar’s Child are mine.

After She’s Gone (Hanne Lagerlind-Schon: Book 2) by Camilla Grebe

After She's Gone: A Novel (Hanne Lagerlind-Schon Book 2) by [Grebe, Camilla]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: February 26th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Hanne Lagerlind-Schon

The Ice Beneath Her—Book 1

After She’s Gone—Book 2

Where you can find After She’s Gone: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Bookbub

Synopsis:

In a small backwater town in Sweden, a young boy with a dark secret comes across a diary. As a cold case investigation suddenly becomes eerily current, a police investigator mysteriously disappears. What links these seemingly random events?

As atrocious acts from the past haunt the present and lives are changed forever, some will struggle to remember – while others struggle to forget . . .

The new thriller from the acclaimed author of THE ICE BENEATH HER, described as ‘Scandi-noir at its powerful bleakest’ by the Daily Mail and ‘unsettling, menacing and compulsively written’ by Heat, this is another slice of tense and twisted drama that will chill you to the bone.


My review:

I seem to be reading a lot of police mysteries/thrillers that are set in Finland/Sweden/Iceland lately. I don’t know why I am drawn to them, but I am. It is a combination of fascination with how their laws work and the culture.

The first 30-35% was slow. I don’t like books with slow beginnings. But, in this case, it worked. This plotline needed to be built up. I needed to read about what happened to Malin and Jake. I needed to see what formed them into the people that they were. I also needed to read about what was happening to Hanne through her diary. Once all the backstories were explained, then the ball started rolling. And man did it catch momentum.

Jake was the character I connected with. He had a lot of turmoil over the past year and kept to himself. It was his secret and what he thought about himself because of it that hurt my heart. His character growth came when he started to read Hanne’s diary. He related to Hanne and started to care for her. Not going to give anything away but Jake was the true hero of the book. He came to accept himself for what he was. His actions at the end of the book broke a cold case wide open and released secrets that were long buried.

I didn’t care for Malin. While she was a great detective, I didn’t care for her on a personal level. Her dislike for her fellow team member had no reason. She didn’t like him. I did agree with Manfred that she was racist. She protested way too much throughout that scene. She wasn’t a sympathetic character. Even with everything that was revealed at the end, I couldn’t help but go “Oh well” when it happened.

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I felt awful for Hanne. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be losing my memory. Especially if I had a job where my memory has to be sharp. Hanne’s confusion and sadness came across the pages. I understood why she needed the diary. To be honest, I thought that Peter was drugging her at one point in the book. His secretiveness (or what Hanne perceived to be) was suspicious. I also wondered if she was going to remember everything that happened to her.

I thought that the plotlines were well written. I got involved with the mystery behind who the woman was and how she could be related to the girl found 8 years earlier. The author did a fantastic job of pointing out latent racism. The resentfulness that people had against the refugees could have been pulled from the headlines. Same with the bullying that Jake endured.

I was surprised at the end of the book. I wasn’t expecting the “bad guys” to be who they were. It was a twist that came out of nowhere. I was thinking how Malin and her partner picked up was the killer. Also, the confession was chilling. Talk about no remorse. I was also surprised at how Malin was tied into what happened. Again, a twist that I didn’t see coming.


I would give After She’s Gone an Adult rating. There are sex and sexual references (nothing graphic). There is violence. There is language. There are triggers. They would be imprisonment, refugees, bullying, and homophobia.

I would reread After She’s Gone. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review After She’s Gone.

All opinions stated in this review of After She’s Gone are mine.


Have you read After She’s Gone.

Let me know your thoughts!!


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Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy: Book 3) by Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch: A Novel (Winternight Trilogy Book 3) by [Arden, Katherine]

4.5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: January 8th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Winternight Trilogy

The Bear and the Nightingale—Book 1 (review here)

The Girl in the Tower—Book 2 (review here)

The Winter of the Witch—Book 3

Where you can find The Winter of the Witch: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Bookbub

Synopsis:

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.


My review:

I had a mix of emotion when I started reading The Winter of the Witch. I was happy because this book was out. I was apprehensive because of the blurb. I was sad because the trilogy was ending. My feelings were validated for The Winter of the Witch. I never get emotional reading a book. But I did for this one.

Vasya was one of my favorite people in The Winter of the Witch. Even when pushed to her limits, she was one of the strongest people in the book. What she endured in this book would have killed lesser people. Instead, it made her a stronger person. It fueled her desire to bind Bear. I was worried about what was going to happen to her after Bear was bound. I was worried that the story was going to flounder.

Morozko is one of my favorite characters to date. He stole every single scene that he was in. The fight scene with Bear, his twin, was one of the best supernatural fight scenes that I have read to date. His scenes with Vasya after that were touching. I mean, he did follow her to summer. If that doesn’t tell anyone how he felt, that I don’t know what would. My only complaint is that he refused to get involved in the war. But I understood why.

Vasya’s rise to power in this book was amazing to read. I knew that something was going to happen when she was thrust into Midnight. I was thrown for a surprise when it was revealed who her grandmother was. I remember shaking my head and saying “Well, that explains a lot”. I liked how Vasya was able to keep her promise to the chyerti. There were points in the book, after her journey to Midnight, where I thought that she was failed. I have never been more happy to be proved wrong!!

There were several deaths in The Winter of the Witch. The death of Solovey, at the beginning of the book, broke my heart. Vasya never recovered from it. There was one death where I cheered. The other notable death was at the end of the book. I was crushed at that person’s death. Freaking crushed. I did cry. No shame here in admitting that.

The end of The Winter of the Witch was an emotional read for me. I am not going to give away spoilers but I was thrilled with how it ended. I was also thrilled with the other thing that happened. That came out of left field for me. I was happy. I might have done a fist pump and say “Yes!!“.

I want to add that the Author’s Note was a welcome surprise. I liked that the author used an actual battle as the backdrop of the one that took place at the end of the book. The Grand Prince and Sasha were actual people. She admitted to tweaking parts of the battle (which I expected). She pointed out something interesting about Russia that ended with the Revolution. Made me go “Hmmmm“. As was her fitting reference about the guardians of Russia.

What I loved was that she included a glossary. She also included a note on Russian names. Both were helpful!!


I would give The Winter of the Witch an Older Teen rating. There are mentions of sex (not graphic). There is no language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread The Winter of the Witch. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Winter of the Witch.

All opinions stated in this review of The Winter of the Witch are mine.

Sisters of the Fire (Blood and Gold: Book 2) by Kim Wilkins

Sisters of the Fire (Blood and Gold, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: February 5th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Blood and Gold

The Crown of Rowan—Book 0.5

Daughters of the Storm—Book 1 (review here)

Sisters of the Fire—Book 2

Queens of the Sea—-Book 3 (expected publication date: 2019)

Where you can find Sisters of the Fire: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

An action-packed, compelling historical fantasy, from the pen of an award-winning author

The battle-scarred warrior princess Bluebell, heir to her father’s throne, is rumoured to be unkillable. So when she learns of a sword wrought specifically to slay her by the fearsome raven king, Hakon, she sets out on a journey to find it before it finds her. The sword is rumoured to be in the possession of one of her four younger sisters. But which one? Scattered as they are across the kingdoms, she sets out on a journey to find them.

Her four sisters all have their own paths to tread, the gifted magician Ash is on a journey to find a dragon that could determine her destiny. The beautiful, unhappy Rose has left her undermagician Aunt and is speeding to the aid of her daughter, Rowan, who has been lost to her. Ivy, sold into marriage for the sake of an alliance, is now set to become the ruling Duchess of Seacaster with the imminent death of her older and sick husband, and the power-hungry Willow is raising her infant child as a potential trimartyr king and training to be a warrior for the fanatical religious order Maava.

From wild rocky coastline to granite-topped tors, from bustling harbours to echoing ghost towns, from halls of kings to ancient primal woodlands, this story follows five sisters upon whose actions kingdoms will rise and fall.


My review:

Sisters of the Fire takes place 4 years after the ending of Daughters of the Storm. Each of the princesses has gone to different lives. Bluebell hasn’t changed much from the last book. She is charged with protecting the kingdom and she takes that seriously. After a battle that ends with a randerman raider held captive, Bluebell learns something interesting. She learns that one of her sisters has possession of a sword that can kill her. But which one hates her that much that they want her dead? Is it Rose? Who’s actions caused her to be separated from her daughter Rowan and live in isolation with her undermagician aunt. Or is it Ash? Ash has kept herself isolated from her sisters. She fears that the prophecy she saw in a vision will not only kill her but her sisters. Plus, she has a dragon to kill and a vision that she is determined not to come true. How about Ivy? Ivy who was the reason Rose was sent away from her daughter. Ivy, who’s scheming will end up costing her more than she thought it would. And then Willow. Meek, mousey Willow whose outer appearance doesn’t hint at the fanatic inside. Willow, who is willing to do anything to bring Maava to her father’s kingdom. Which sister will betray her?

I enjoyed reading Sisters of the Fire but it did take me a while to get into the book. The book got off to a slow start. The author had to give the background on 6 separate storylines before the book could get off the ground. She had to explain what happened to the sisters and Rowan in those 4 years. I would say that the first 30% of the book crept by for me. But, when Bluebell met with Rose, then I saw the book pick up steam. After that, the book flew. I couldn’t put it down.

If I had to have a sister that I disliked the most, it would have to be Willow. I knew that her mind wasn’t well during the first book. I mean, she heard flipping angels for crying out loud. What she morphed into in this book frightened me. She was what I call an uber fantastic. I felt so bad for her child. Look at what she put the poor thing through. She cut off eyelashes, gave the kid a bath and used a wire brush and refused to let the kid act like a child. But, what shocked me the most, was what Willow did. Even though she was bat poop crazy, I wasn’t expecting her to do what she did. I was saddened and surprised by it.

If I had to have a favorite character, it would have to be Rowan. For a small child, she was very wise. She saw what people were like. She also suffered from Rose not being there. Snowy was a good father figure but it wasn’t enough. She needed her mother. I thought her hearing the singing tree was interesting. Even more interesting was her connection to the First Folk. I wish more time had been spent explaining her time with the First Folk.

I can’t even get into all the storylines. If I did, this review would be way too long. Let me say that I thought they were amazing. I also thought that the author did a fantastic job at merging all them.

There was even a bit of romance in the book. I wasn’t expecting who the characters were (took me by surprise) but I thought it was sweet. I can’t wait to see if that romance will survive the next book.

The end of the book was good. I liked how the author took each sister and left their storyline open. The epilogue fascinated me. It left more questions than anything.


I gave Sisters of the Fire a 4-star rating. This was a good read. It did get off to a slow start but once the book got rolling, it took off. It was well written. I liked (or hated) the characters. The plotlines were intriguing. I did wish that there was more of an explanation of Rowan’s time with the First People. Other than that, I enjoyed the book.

I would give Sisters of the Fire an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is graphic violence. There is language. There are triggers. They would be the talk of child abuse. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Sisters of the Fire. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Del Ray, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Sisters of Fire.

All opinions stated in this review of Sisters of Fire are mine.

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


Have you read Sisters of Fire?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

The Forbidden Door (Jane Hawk: Book 4) by Dean Koontz

The Forbidden Door (Jane Hawk, #4)

Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: September 11th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Series: Jane Hawk

The Bone Farm—Book 0.5

The Silent Corner—Book 1 (review here)

The Whispering Room—Book 2 (review here)

The Crooked Staircase—Book 3 (review here)

The Forbidden Door—Book 4

The Night Window—Book 5 (expected publication date: May 14th, 2019)

Where you can find The Forbidden Door: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

When this relentless rogue FBI agent comes knocking, her adversaries will have to answer—with their lives—in the latest thrilling Jane Hawk novel by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Corner.

“We’re rewriting the play, and the play is this country, the world, the future. We break Jane’s heart, we’ll also break her will.”

She was one of the FBI’s top agents until she became the nation’s most-wanted fugitive. Now Jane Hawk may be all that stands between a free nation and its enslavement by a powerful secret society’s terrifying mind-control technology. She couldn’t save her husband, or the others whose lives have been destroyed, but equipped with superior tactical and survival skills—and the fury born of a broken heart and a hunger for justice—Jane has struck major blows against the insidious cabal.

But Jane’s enemies are about to hit back hard. If their best operatives can’t outrun her, they mean to bring her running to them, using her five-year-old son as bait. Jane knows there’s no underestimating their capabilities, but she must battle her way back across the country to the remote shelter where her boy is safely hidden . . . for now.

As she moves resolutely forward, new threats begin to emerge: a growing number of brain-altered victims driven hopelessly, violently insane. With the madness spreading like a virus, the war between Jane and her enemies will become a fight for all their lives—against the lethal terror unleashed from behind the forbidden door.

Don’t miss any of Dean Koontz’s gripping Jane Hawk thrillers:
THE SILENT CORNER • THE WHISPERING ROOM • THE CROOKED STAIRCASE • THE FORBIDDEN DOOR • THE NIGHT WINDOW


My review:

I am not going to go on a crazy fangirl but I love me some Dean Koontz. I have fangirled in earlier reviews and in hindsight, it made me look like a nerd. So, yes I love Dean Koontz. And yes, I have read almost every single book that he has written. That includes what he was written under his pseudonym and excludes any books written from 2007-2017.  I have enjoyed reading the Jane Hawk series. So when I saw that The Forbidden Door was up for review, I jumped on it. And did a happy dance when I got accepted.

The Forbidden Door is the 4th book in the Jane Hawk series. Jane is trying to get to her son after learning that her friends died protecting him. Her son is safe with an autistic genius. A genius who is nervous about being in charge of a child but determined to protect him as much as he can. While she is traveling to get her son, the Arcadians are searching for her in-laws. They want to adjust Nick’s parents and use them to find out where Jane’s son is. They think that if they have the son, then they will be able to bring Jane to her knees. But, that is not the case. Nick’s parents have become ghosts and force the Arcadians to search for them. The Arcadians also have another huge issue, besides Jane trying to take them down. Recently adjusted people are being driven insane. They are committing heinous crimes. Can Jane reach her son before the Arcadians? Can the Arcadians contain the epidemic of adjusted people going insane? Will the Arcadians find Nick’s parents?


What I liked about The Forbidden Door:

I loved Jane. She was as fresh and as complex as she was in the first 3 books. I like that the author chose to highlight her maternal instinct. I also liked how he balanced it with her need to find justice for Nick’s and all the other adjusted people’s deaths. Her interactions with Luther, Bernie, Travis, and Cornell were awesome. Plus, I liked seeing a heroine that wasn’t afraid to use shady connections to help her.

I was so happy to see Luther make an appearance in the book. I had missed him in book 3. I was wondering what happened to Rebecca, Jolie, and Twyla (and yes, I am still tickled that I see my name in a book!!). My wondering about them wasn’t answered. I was glad to see that Jolie was safe. It was Rebecca and Twyla that was my concern. I wanted to know where they were. I am hoping that my questions are answered in book 5.

I loved that Cornell was in this book. I liked that the author went more into his background and his autistic tendencies. I liked, that in spite of his limitations, that he was able to hide Travis for as long as he did. His terror at taking care of Travis made me sad for him. He was afraid that he was going to fail him. He was a gentle giant.

Travis was a remarkable kid. It didn’t seem like all the upheavals that went on in his life affected him. The only sign I saw was when he called JaneMommy” instead of “Mom“. I am wondering if his character will be in book 5 and what will happen to him.

As with all books, the secondary characters are key to keeping the book flowing. The author did a great job at introducing various characters and keeping them constant for the entire time they are in the book. He also brought in secondary characters that were in the other books. Techno Arcadians and good guys.

There were 3 major plotlines in The Forbidden Door. What I enjoyed was that the author was able to bring them all together at the end of the book. I also liked that none of them were resolved. None. It made me very excited about book 5!!

The first plotline is the one involving Jane and her trek to get Travis. She revisited some familiar people. She also made some new allies. Ferrante was a remarkable one. His obsession with blood skeeved me out. What he asked Jane to do got me even more skeeved.

The second plotline involved the Arcadians and their search for Nick’s parents. I loved it because I had no clue where they went. That ending chapter, when all was revealed, was interesting. I am hoping that this plotline is revisited. I want to know what happens to Egon.

The third plotline involved the Arcadians and the people that they adjusted going insane. This plotline was introduced late in the book. I am curious to see what is going to happen with that. Will all the adjusted people start going insane? Or just the ones recently infected?


What I disliked about The Forbidden Door:

There were a few things that I didn’t like about The Forbidden Door.

I did not like the Arcadians. The single-mindedness that they showed to their cause. They kept using the brain-altering drug even though they knew that it was driving people insane. They turned almost a whole town to track Travis down. And how did that turn out? Not so great for their cause. I also didn’t like how Laurie was treated by Janis. And man, Janis’s psychotic break. It was awful.

I did think that the storyline with the Arcadians hunting down Nick’s parents was a bit drawn out. While I understand why it went on for so long, I started to get bored by it.


The end of The Forbidden Door was great. None of the storylines were ended. Instead, they were all left up in the air. Normally, I would be complaining about this. But because there is going to be a book 5, I know that the storylines will be ended in that book. So, it is fine with me.

I gave The Forbidden Door a 4-star rating. I liked the plotlines and the characters. The only thing that I didn’t like about The Forbidden Door were the Arcadians. I also thought that storyline about them hunting down Nick’s parents dragged on for longer than it needed to.

I would give The Forbidden Door an Adult rating. There is no sex. But there are scenes that discuss child sexual abuse and one man contemplating raping a child. There is violence. There is a disturbing scene where a man is attacked and his chin is almost bitten off. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Forbidden Door. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a warning about possible triggers (see above).

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Forbidden Door.

All opinions stated in this review of The Forbidden Door are mine.

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