Review: The Burial Society by Nina Sadowsky

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 30, 2018

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

A woman running from a dark past stumbles upon a tangled nest of seductions and family secrets in this psychological thriller of obsession and betrayal.

When Natalie discovers her father dead in a luxury hotel room in Paris, she’s terrified that his death–or is it a murder?–will open up a history she’d rather forget. Years before, her mother went missing from their home in a wealthy Connecticut suburb, triggering a chain of violence that echoed through the years. Now Natalie is set on a collision course with her brother, who has secrets of his own. And watching from the shadows is a mysterious and alluring woman with a talent for making people in trouble disappear, who holds more answers than anyone would guess.

Review:

If you’re looking for a lighter style suspense that’s pure entertainment and a completely addictive page turner, allow me to introduce you to The Burial Society. I devoured this book in just a few hours because I simply could not put it down, it was one of those reads where I had planned on starting before bed and reading only a couple of chapters and before I knew it I was halfway finished!

One of the things that sucked me in and compelled me to keep flipping pages was the set up. There are several points of view and the chapters are super short, sometimes they’re just a single paragraph propelling you forward over and over again. I’m sure some will be put off by so many POV in addition to a lot going on, especially in the beginning but that only served to intrigue me and I didn’t find it confusing at all. Sadowsky has a sharp writing style that fit this structure to perfection and the setting of Paris was an amazing backdrop.

The description tells you just what you need to know and I’m hesitant to go any further than that, half of the entertainment of this one was not knowing exactly what I was getting into. There was a certain amount of sex appeal in this book, a racy little edge that sort of reminded me of The Girl Before. There was also a plot thread with a spy thriller vibe that I enjoyed, maybe it’s because most of it is set internationally but it was all very cloak and dagger and really added something clandestine that I think worked great!

(Quick side note, I’m trying something new at the end of my reviews, I want to sum up a book in three words to give you an overall, super quick feeling! Let me know what you guys think of this)

The Burial Society in three words: Enthralling, entertaining and sharp.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

What I Read Last Week:

Keep Her Safe was a well written romantic suspense that unfortunately missed the mark for me.

The Girlfriend was a slow burning, character driven thriller that I liked.

Let’s Talk About Six was a fun, saucy read.

The First One to Die was an awesome audiobook.

The Start of Something Wonderful was an uplifting read with a fun heroine.

Hydra was SO freaking good, straight onto my top books of 2018 list! Yes, I realize it’s only January but it’s that amazing.

Currently Reading:

Up Next:

No idea what else I’ll pick up this week but lord knows I have plenty to choose from 😂

What are you reading this week? Read anything great last week?

Review: Look for Me by Lisa Gardner

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: February 6, 2018

Publisher: Dutton

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.

Review:

As you can tell even from the short to the point description of this book this has a dark plot, the brutal murder of an entire family (minus one) does not make for light reading but I wouldn’t expect, nor would I want, anything less when I’m diving into a new LG book. She has a knack for writing about tough subjects while showcasing human emotion and behavior that isn’t seen very often in crime fiction all the while coming up with fresh plot lines that never fail to engage me.

Anytime I’m able to catch up with D.D. Warren I’m a happy camper and since she’s teaming up with Flora Dane who made her first appearance in Find Her I was even more excited. These two are quite the pair and since they don’t exactly see eye to eye it adds an additional layer of friction and tension to an already highly intense, emotional plot. Since D.D. became a parent we’ve seen a softer, gentler side to her and this case hits close to home, at times it’s almost too much for her to bear. I’m a fan of seeing this side of D.D. and I think long time fans of this series will agree. She’s not totally mushy by any means, she’s still that fast talking, snarky woman we all love, but she does have a sweet side, who knew?!

Per usual I won’t be discussing the plot, Gardner’s books are too well executed and I wouldn’t be able to describe much without spoilers and that’s not my thing, it’s best to discover this on your own. I will say that sometimes she uses flashbacks in her novels and this time it switches between Flora and D.D. in the present day to a collection of personal essays from Roxy, the teenager who was the only member of her family left when someone murdered the rest. This structure worked incredibly well for me and as much as Roxy’s essays were a difficult read, they were just SO well written that I couldn’t get enough. Her story was utterly heartbreaking, this poor kid has had a rough time and there are mentions of abuse towards children, so heads up on that. Gritty, entertaining and a police procedural with depth and heart, if you haven’t read this series I can highly recommend each book, they’re all fantastic!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

#Audiobook Review: The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins @vicwritescrime @bookouture

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: November 15, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Narrator: Katie Villa

Blurb:

Four friends. A house full of secrets. And a killer picking them off one by one…

She tried to break her fall, twisting desperately, but there was nothing to catch hold of, nothing with which she could stop herself. Her single scream cut through the night air.

Keira North falls to her death at a party. It initially seems like an accident, but Detectives Alex King and Chloe Lane suspect foul play: they are convinced they are dealing with a murder.

When the detectives start to investigate, they soon find that all of Keira’s closest friends have secrets that someone might kill to keep.

And as Alex and Chloe are fighting their own demons and struggling to stay on top of the case, Keira’s killer is circling the group of friends, who one by one find that their lives are in danger…

The First One to Die is a heart-stopping and shocking detective thriller that will have you gripped until the very last page. Perfect for fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons, and Val McDermid.

Review:

This is the second in a series following the dynamic duo of Alex and Chloe, I really enjoyed the first book The Girls in the Water and was eager to catch up with them again. I think one of the things that I love the most about this series is the fact that you have two strong women working as partners, it’s unique and I’m all about the girl power! I also enjoyed diving deeper into their personal lives and finding out more about what motivates them and seeing what Alex in particular is dealing with in her personal life was heartbreaking and really helped to explain some of her behavior.

The case they’re working is certainly intriguing, a group of friends seem to be harboring plenty of secrets and the further Alex and Chloe investigate, the more darkness they uncover. Though the list of suspects is on the smaller side I still couldn’t pin down a culprit, Jenkins definitely plotted this one well and kept me guessing and then second guessing over and over again. I found this to be set at a quicker pace than the previous book and I’m always down for a high speed, exciting story and this surely delivered.

Villa was an amazing narrator, her nuances for expressing various emotions or different characters was outstanding. I’m always enraptured by listening to someone with an accent and I swear Bookouture has the BEST narrators around, every single one of their audiobooks has a fantastic narrator as well as a fantastic story, so if you’re a fan of audiobooks I can highly recommend them!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances #MeetTheGirlfriend

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 30, 2018

Publisher: Kensington

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Laura Cavendish can’t wait to meet the woman who’s won her son’s affection. Despite a successful career in television and a long, prosperous marriage, Laura’s world revolves around kind, talented Daniel. She pictures his new girlfriend, Cherry, becoming a close friend and confidante . . . one day, even a daughter-in-law.

But although Cherry is beautiful and amiable, Laura can’t warm to her. There’s something about the possessive way she touches Daniel, the little lies Laura detects. Cherry seems to resent Laura, driving a wedge between mother and son—until one day Daniel is injured in a terrible accident. Six months later, with Daniel still in a coma and facing death, Laura makes a fateful decision—and carries out an astonishing deceit.

A handsome doctor for a husband, with a trust fund and a family villa in St. Tropez—it was all supposed to be Cherry’s. Now, instead of living with Daniel in his impeccable home, she’s jobless and broke. And then Cherry discovers Laura’s stunning deception. But Cherry is too clever, too ambitious to let her get away with it. She’s already transformed herself into Daniel’s dream woman. Now she’ll become Laura’s worst nightmare.

Review:

This book was not was I was expecting but I don’t mean that in a negative way, I guess I was thinking it would be fast paced, intense and twisty and instead it was slower, with a subtle intensity and while it definitely had some surprises it wasn’t as twisty as I had imagined it would be. I do think it’s best to go into this knowing as little as possible about the plot so I won’t be delving into that too much, you really need to discover things on your own to fully appreciate this book.

This is a slow burn, it opens with an intriguing beginning and then it flips back in time. You hear from Laura, her son Daniel and his new girlfriend Cherry and there sections sometimes overlap and aren’t clearly labeled which is usually a popular choice. This wasn’t an issue for me, I actually found myself appreciating this structure and found the switches in narratives to be smooth and uncomplicated. I didn’t find either woman to be likable but they were very entertaining, there was a real feeling of cat and mouse and I was always wondering who would do what next, that aspect was unpredictable though there were some minor plot points that I saw coming. I wasn’t bothered by this though as the writing was so strong and there was a powerful, palpable sense of anticipation and apprehension that steadily increased as the story unfolded.

Read this if you’re looking for a character driven drama about manipulation with chilling moments and are able to be patient enough to wait awhile before the story really heats up. There was something intoxicating about being drawn in slowly instead of hit in the face with a crazy, action packed plot that worked well for me. As strong as things were by the last quarter of the book I do have to admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed by the ending, it was a little weak. But I can overlook it this time because I was addicted and throughly entertained by most of it.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and the Great Thoughts Ninja review team for my review copy.

Review: Keep Her Safe by K. A. Tucker

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 23, 2018

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Blurb:

Noah Marshall has had a privileged life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that’s been rattling in her closet for years: she doesn’t deserve her commendations or her medals—in fact, she deserves to be locked behind bars for what she did to a fellow officer to save her own reputation. When she finally succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family’s life, she leaves Noah alone to carry the burden of this shocking secret, which she makes him vow never to share.

Gracie Reynolds wasn’t born into trailer park life, but after ten years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it’s all she knows anymore. At least here people don’t care that she is a byproduct of a white mother and a black father. And they certainly don’t care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop. Here, she and her mother can almost forget the shame he brought upon them…until a man who clearly doesn’t belong shows up on her doorstep one night, asking questions.

Together, Noah and Gracie set out to uncover the truth about the Austin police department’s dark and messy past­—but the scandal they uncover is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

Complex, gritty, sexy, and suspenseful, We Sold Our Souls solidifies K.A. Tucker’s reputation as one of today’s most talented new writers of romantic suspense.

Review:

I didn’t pick up on the fact that this one is labeled as a romantic suspense novel before I read it and that’s completely my fault, somehow when I first read the description I assumed it was a mystery police procedural type of read even though it says romantic suspense in the blurb! All of that to say, my expectations were not correct when I started this and I think it had an impact on my overall feelings about this one so keep that in mind when reading this review.

This is told using various timelines and several viewpoints and that portion of the book was very well done. The switches back and forth were seamless and the writing was fluid and engaging. The core of the plot was interesting and I always love a cold case type of mystery with an unsolved crime being unearthed years later. Noah and Grace were both well drawn and the secondary characters were as well and there were quite a few here, this was a well though out plot but I think veteran mystery readers will have a fairly easy time sussing things out.

Now for how my expectations effected my enjoyment and overall feelings about this. It really felt like I was reading a new adult romance and I totally wasn’t in the mood for that when I started this. It wasn’t too over the top but there is definitely romance and I could’ve done with less of the kissy stuff and more action and intensity. Again, totally my fault but I do want to make sure anyone eyeing this knows romance plays a pretty big role and the suspense takes a backseat. I also felt like parts of this were drawn out, maybe it’s because I could see where things were heading early on but I had a few moments where I was thinking, come ON already!

If you’re into RS this is a solid read, if you’re looking for a mystery without gore and graphic details, this is a good one. If you’re like me and prefer gritty, dark thrillers with tense moments and surprising twists this is probably not the book for you, however I can see it working for many people as long as they know what to expect.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

What I Read Last Week:

The English Wife was a really well written historical fiction with a mystery.

The Woman in the Window was an outstanding psychological thriller, cinematic with Hitchcock vibes.

The Immortalists was a thought provoking read, ideal for book clubs.

An Engineered Injustice was a great legal thriller.

The Little French Guesthouse was a wonderful audiobook.

Two Girls Down was an intense missing persons story.

Between Me and You was a love story told in a clever way.

Deep Blue Trouble is an ass licking thriller, LOVED it!

Currently Reading:

Up Next:

These are a few I’m debating between, I’m not actually sure which ones I’ll read this week.

How was your week? Mine was meh, most of my family was sick and that’s never fun! We had a pretty crappy winter break, lots of illness and annoyances. I’m excited they’re heading back to school this week, we all thrive on a schedule and I’m dying to get back to it!

Review: Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 9, 2018

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

From New York Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch comes an honest, touching, and funny exploration of falling in and out of love, told from two perspectives—one rewinding history, one moving it forward—and each with bias and regret.

When their paths first cross, Ben Livingston is a fledgling scriptwriter on the brink of success; Tatum Connelly is a struggling actress tending bar in a New York City dive. They fall in love, they marry, they become parents, and they think only of the future. But as the years go by, Tatum’s stardom rises while Ben’s fades. In a marriage that bears the fallout of ambition and fame, Ben and Tatum are at a crossroads. Now all they can do is think back…

A life of passion, joy, tragedy, and loss—once shared—becomes one as shifting and unpredictable as a memory. As the pieces of their past come together, as they explore the ways love can bend and break, Ben and Tatum come to see how it all went wrong—and wonder what they can do now to make it all right.

Review:

The structure of this is ambitious and at first glance you may think it sounds confusing but I didn’t find it to be too hard to follow. It alternates with one chapter told from Ben beginning in 2016 and working it’s way backwards to 1999 when him and Tatum first meet then her chapters are told in chronological order. There are no big surprises since you know from the very start that where they are today is nowhere near that young, happy go lucky couple from their early days, but there was something bittersweet about reading one chapter full of resentment and bickering and then the next one is a sweet little anecdote from the past. It was unique and put a fresh spin on a love story and I admire the risk the author took, I can imagine it wasn’t easy to write.

I’ve read a couple of Scotch’s books now and I what I really like about her style is that she can show relationships that appear real, they’re flawed, imperfect and wholly relatable. Getting to see a marriage from both sides was interesting, sometimes their individual perception of an event was so completely different from each other it was crazy but I think that’s an honest observation and true for any relationship. I liked the way the format played into the plot in the end, it was a little AHA moment that I appreciated. If you’re looking for a relationship drama/love story with a clever spin give this a try.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and the Great Thoughts Ninja review team for my copy.

Review: Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 9, 2018

Publisher: Doubleday

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.

With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.

Review:

Good God this was one hell of a roller coaster ride! From the strong opening sentence all the way until the end this one had me glued to the pages as I wondered what happened to Bailey and Kylie Brandt?! Missing children stories always get to me, no idea why I’m so drawn to them because it’s such a nightmare thing to imagine happening to my own kids, yet they never fail to gain my attention and Two Girls Down was one of the most riveting missing persons stories that I’ve read in awhile.

Vega and Cap are not your usual duo in terms of people investigating a case which provides a unique point of view. She’s a sort of bounty hunter and he’s an ex cop turned PI who is mainly is hired to catch cheating spouses. They’re an unlikely partnership especially as they have never met each other before the Brandt case, but they are a force to be reckoned with and I’m really hoping that they’ll be a sequel. Vega is such a badass, I love reading about someone reckless, you have no idea what they’ll do next and that keeps things so exciting. Cap isn’t quite as unpredictable as Vega, he has a daughter to worry about so he walks the straight and narrow a bit more than she does but he has a certain type of charm that appealed to me.

I’m avoiding the plot because it went in so many dark places I didn’t see coming, I binge read this and think that’s the best way to tackle this one. It’s fast paced with a ton of red herrings and misdirections and the final resolution surprised me so much, I had never even considered the possibility and that’s rare for me. While the resolution of the case satisfied me I was a little underwhelmed by the actual ending, after such a strong book I had hoped for a bit more, but overall a really fantastic read, I would definitely read another book from Luna.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Throwback Thursday #Audiobook Edition: The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard #TBT @bookouture

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Release date: April 28, 2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

Narrator: Helen Johns

Blurb:

Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?

When Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.

Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes will help keep her mind off her misery.

Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.

Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?

Fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Nick Alexander will want to join Emmy for a glass of wine as the sun sets on the terrace at La Cour des Roses.

Review:

 

I’m joining in again with Throwback Thursday which was created by my good friend Renee at It’s Book Talk . She started this weekly feature as a way to highlight old favorites and read books that have already been published. I have so many older books on my TBR that get ignored in favor of review copies and I figure participating in Throwback Thursday will help me to read at a least one older title a week!

 

Oh this book was an absolute joy to listen to! It was bright and humorous with plenty of feel good warmth. It opens with Emmy finding her long term boyfriend, Nathan in a…ahem…delicate situation with Gloria,  one of the owners of the guesthouse where Nathan and Emmy are supposed to having a romantic vacation. So clearly this one grabbed my attention right away, as much as I felt awful for the lovely Emmy the way Pollard wrote the scene and then Johns delivered it was just too hilarious! It set the perfect tone for the story and was highly memorable.

As much as this has romantic elements the plot doesn’t hinge on a love story and I really liked that. It focuses more on Emmy doing what makes her happy, with or without a man in her life and I found the way everything played out to be realistic and true to real life. I adored Emmy and found myself wishing I had a friend like her myself and then there was Rupert a charming old guy, his meddling and bossiness made me giggle. The location was gorgeous as well and both the author and the narrator did a fantastic job of bringing the story to life! There’s a sequel and I’ll definitely be reading it ASAP, I can’t wait to catch up with these lovely characters.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.