2 Must Read October Releases: One Day in December by Josie Silver & The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

One Day in December by Josie Silver
Publication: October 16, 2018 by Broadway Books
416 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon

Short Summary: Laurie has a case of insta-love through a bus window, spends close to a year trying to find him, only to have him show up one day as her best friend’s new boyfriend

My Thoughts: I know a lot of people hear instant-love and automatically write a book off but I really hope you’ll give this one a chance. Whereas another recent love story, Ghosted (My review) didn’t work for me, this one completely did. I would describe the initial “love at first sight” as more of a “wow, I feel an attraction/connection with you” but they can’t even speak to each other because one is on a bus and the other is outside at the stop. Then, just as quickly, the bus is gone, resulting in a missed opportunity for both Laurie and Jack. To me, this was believable.

Time goes by and despite Laurie’s attempts, she’s never able to track down her mystery bus man. During this initial set up we get to know Laurie and her best friend Sarah and I immediately loved both of them and their friendship. You see, the author deftly explores female friendship along with the story’s inherent dilemma of what happens if the love of your life shows up as your very best friend’s new boyfriend. I know this may sound similar to Something Borrowed  by Emily Giffin but it’s really nothing like it. Silver has put her own spin on a familiar storyline, taking me down so many unexpected paths that I couldn’t stop reading! And I didn’t.  I read this in one sitting, laughing, crying and in the end slowing down because I didn’t want it to end. I have a feeling you might be seeing this on my top 10 books of 2018 list.  Yes, it was that good!

Thanks to Broadway Books via Netgalley for my copy 

**********

 

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton
Publication: Oct 16, 2018 by Minotaur Books
432 Pages
Affiliate LinkThe Craftsman

From Publisher: Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Grassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago in a small village in Lancashire. Like something out of a nightmare, the victims were buried alive. But now, decades later, he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.

My Thoughts: Sharon Bolton is an auto-buy author for me, I don’t care what she writes, I’m buying and reading! That being said, I was a smidge hesitant about this one only because I knew it contained a hint of the supernatural and witches. Trust in Sharon Bolton, that’s all I can say because I loved this story.

One thing that really made this story for me was the fact that Bolton has created a multidimensional character with Florence Lovelady. We first meet her in 1999 when she’s returned for the funeral of Larry, the serial killer/creepy coffin maker whom she arrested and had convicted of the murders of 3 young kids in 1969. Can I just say, the scene involving one of these kids being buried alive was not only heartbreaking, but also one of the most uncomfortable, claustrophobic feeling scenes I’ve ever read. Luckily, Bolton doesn’t drag it out but it was enough to cause me to hold my breath.

The story continues by going back to 1969, allowing us to get to know Florence as she faces the many difficulties of being a female detective in the good old boys network of the police. The puzzle is intricate, the suspects many, and I was right there rooting for Florence as she sorted through the intricate web of layers to these crimes. I’ll be honest, the further I got in the story the more I had myself convinced I knew what had happened and I was a little disappointed that this was going to be the first Bolton story I had figured out. Yes, I was feeling smug. Then came some stuff…some happenings… and by the end I wasn’t so smug anymore. Sharon Bolton fooled me again and I’m SO happy she did. Seriously, if you enjoy mysteries, you have to read this book! Then go check out her backlist. You won’t regret it.

 

October Reading Update: My Hits, Misses & In-betweens

Hi Everyone, I hope you all had a good weekend! Life is a little hectic for me right now so I wanted to do a quick reading update in case I don’t get any reviews up this week, although I hope to. Looking back over the last few weeks, I noticed I’ve been reviewing mostly 5 star reads, however, my reading hasn’t been all 5 star books, not by a long shot. I’ve had a couple average reads and I’ve DNFed many. I’m not afraid to put books down if I’m not in the mood or the writing or story isn’t working for me. Anyone else out there a serious mood reader?

Recent Hits

    

Both One Day in December  and The Craftsman will be published tomorrow, Oct 16th, and both are fantastic! (I hope to have mini reviews up soon) I’m so glad I gave One Day in December a try, you might think this is just another run of the mill instant love story/missed connection BUT I promise you it’s not. I loved the unexpected paths the author ventured down with respect to love and female friendship. Set over a decade, this had shades of One Day by David Nichols but also reminded me a little of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s type of writing style. I laughed, cried and just loved this book.  The Craftsman is another hit by Sharon Bolton…seriously, the lady can’t write a bad book! This story, filled with graveyards, coffins, an undertaker, murder and a feisty female detective named Florence Lovelady (best name!) checks all my boxes for a must read mystery. If you enjoy puzzling mysteries with perfectly spooky settings this book is for you.

 

The In-betweens

    

I call the in-betweens those books I didn’t love but didn’t hate. They fall in a shaded gray category and are my hardest ones to review. I’ve loved Lisa Genova’s Still Alice and Inside the O’Brian’s but Every Note Played was just ok. I found the main characters really hard to like and the story seemed to lack the emotional connection I felt with her others. There was an abundance of medical data and details, at the expense of the story, in my opinion. Night Film is a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time so I’m really glad I did. I had this in print and audio and chose to go with the audio because the narrator was amazing. I’d give him 5 stars and without him I wouldn’t have stuck this LONG book out in print. While I really enjoyed the creep factor of the overall story, I found it to be very dense and repetitive and the ending was, for me, anticlimactic and disappointing. I’m bummed about this one, I’d hoped to like it more.

 

The DNFs (Did Not Finish)

    

The Royal Runaway DNF 40%….I gave this a good chance to turn around but even with skimming this wasn’t for me. I felt no chemistry between Thea and Nick and expected more romance and less running around trying to be spies. Maybe if they were actual spies or even good ones this would’ve worked better but I found too many plot and character inconsistencies to keep going with this one. The Clockmaker’s Daughter DNF 10%…I know I’m in the minority for this but I couldn’t get into it. This is the second Kate Morton book I’ve tried and DNFed (also The Secret Keeper) so I’m thinking I might not be the reader for her type of writing style. I found the beginning of this too descriptive and the language flow and writing style wasn’t for me. By 10% I found myself confused rather than intrigued.

 

What I’m Reading Now

I thought I could wait until winter for this March release but I can’t! I need a surefire winner to read right now and Taylor Jenkins Reid never disappoints. I’ve only read 15 pages and I’m already interested in the story and characters.

 

Likely to Read Next

I’m in the mood for another missing person (not child) story after reading Night Film and I love Alafair Burke plus I own this one so it seems like a good bet.

Hope you have a good week, let me know what you’ve been reading and loving…or not loving! 

BLOG TOUR AND REVIEW: SIX STORIES By Matt Wesolowski

I’m so excited to welcome everyone to my stop on the blog tour for Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories which is published by the wonderful Orenda Books

SIX STORIES BF AW.indd

The Blurb

One death. Six stories. Which one is true?

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.

2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame … As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.

 

My Review

When I first heard about this book, I knew I would HAVE to read it! I’m a huge crime podcast listener…Serial, In the Dark, Accused, Crime Writers On…I could go on but my point is, a crime fiction book wrote like a podcast…I’m in. What I love about the whole premise of this book is what I have come to love about crime podcasts, and that is, taking a close up look at an unsolved cold case and resurrecting the details and evidence to provide a fresh perspective in the hopes new light shined on the case will break it open. What I hoped this book would deliver that podcasts like Serial don’t is a resolution..the hoped for answers to the cold case.

The year is 2017 as the story begins and Henry Ramsey has agreed to participate in the podcast investigation into the mysterious death of 15 year old Tom Jeffries on his family’s property 20 years ago. Henry is hesitant to dig up (so to speak) his long buried memories of Tom’s death; you see, Henry and his friends were the ones who found Tom’s body one year after he went missing, while they were (supposedly) lamping deer one stormy night. Scott King’s initial interview of Henry brings to light many of the unanswered questions that have swirled around the case for the past 20 years as to what really happened the night Tom Jeffries and his friends stayed at the Scarclaw Fell Woodlands Centre?  

The novel is structured as 6 podcasts in which each episode is one of the friends being interviewed as to what they remember about the night Tom Jeffries went missing. Needless to say, each person seems to have different “remembrances” of the night they all partied, went to bed at the same time, but only Tom ended up missing and then dead. These interviews are interspersed with commentary from Scott and then a shift back to Scarclaw Fell 2017 with Henry. This structure of narration was BRILLIANT!  I literally couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Couple this along with writing that was crisp and seamless and you’ve got a story that begs you to read it in one sitting.  Everything about this book grabbed my attention and had me trying to put together clues…every person interviewed created a new ripple of doubt in what the person before them had said about that night and pretty soon you realize you’re in a well choreographed story of lies and half truths.  And the ending…well I didn’t see THAT coming. Well done Matt Wesolowski!

If you’re looking for an original, creative take on the traditional unsolved mystery story you’re going to love this fantastic debut

4.5/5 Stars

Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Matt Wesolowski for my copy of Six Stories, I’m happy to provide an honest review

Six Stories is available by ebook now on Amazon and paperback (Book Depository) in the U.K. March 15 & U.S June 1

image001-1

 

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.

Be sure to stop by and check out the other awesome blogs on the tour!!

 

image-2-26-17-at-8-50-am

REVIEW: SIRENS By Joseph Knox

30179726

Sirens is the brooding and assured debut from Joseph Knox, the next big name in crime fiction.

Set in a sprawling, twilight northern city, Sirens introduces Aidan Waits, a disgraced young detective caught stealing drugs from evidence and subsequently blackmailed into going undercover. When an MP’s daughter runs away from home, Waits is sent to track her down and finds himself at the centre of a maelstrom of drugs, blackmail and deception.

Uncovering the motives of those involved, he’s thrown forwards through politicians, police and drug lords – towards a conclusion and a truth he really doesn’t want to know. 

******

Like the cover, the story within the pages of Sirens is edgy, realistic and full of dark, descending clouds of corruption, murder, and lies. This is a truly commanding and dynamic work of crime fiction like nothing I’ve read in a very, very long time. The story is told from the perspective of Aidan Waits, a down and out detective who’s managed to get himself into some serious hot water after he’s caught stealing drugs from the evidence locker. To say he’s flawed doesn’t really do him justice because he’s quite aware of the demons that follow him and more often than not he seems to encourage them. I absolutely love the first few sentences of the book which immediately set the tone and show us just a sliver of Aidan’s psyche….

       Afterwards I went back on to the night shift. They’d never trust me in the daylight again. I spent my time responding to 4 a.m. emergency calls, walking up and down dead escalators and trying not to think. I’d been good at that once…

Doesn’t that leave you wondering what happened that he’s back on shift night? Why will they never trust him again? Of course, those questions are just a tiny thread of the larger criminal web that Aidan finds himself entangled in. From dirty politicians to corrupt police to warring drug lords, the webs that were spun in this book left me feeling tense and off balance much of the time. I found myself wondering so often who was telling the truth, who could be trusted, was Aidan truly undercover or had the boundaries between his undercover life converged with his real one to become the same? With his continued drug and alcohol use, it was easy to see how Aidan could have crossed the undercover line to the criminal one with no chance of return.

The author does a brilliant job of creating a connection between the reader and Aidan by using flashbacks of Aidan’s childhood…where and how he grew up and what his heart is missing as a result. The social worker in me understood how his childhood had led him to his current dark place in life…the drugs, the alcohol, the dangerous situations that led to violence…but I also wondered if there could be redemption for Aidan in the end.

I’ve digressed a little in this review with my discussion of Aidan because he was one of the strongest protagonists I’ve rooted for in such a long time! I do, however, really want make sure I discuss some of the other amazing parts of this book. The setting of Manchester in the winter and the taut, detailed descriptions of everything from the weather to the club scenes to deserted buildings on the edge of town were written to perfection. I felt like I was there and it often made me feel very anxious and on edge.  What’s also at the core of this story is a couple extremely well plotted mysteries that had my head spinning with possibilities. Let me tell you, I in no way had anything figured out and I’m completely happy with that. In the end,  I was just holding out hope that Aidan could/would be saved… from corrupt police, psychopathic drug dealers…but most of all from himself.

5/5 Stars 

*Many thanks to Amy at NovelGossip.com for sending me her copy of this gem. You’re the best Amy!!

You can purchase Sirens at Amazon and Book Depository

FRIDAY FINDS

images

Friday Finds is a meme hosted by Jenn at Booksandabeat which gives us a chance to share recent books we’ve added to our never-ending TBR pile. !! This year I’m trying to cut down on the amount of books I add in the hopes I’ll get my TBR to under 100:) Wish me luck. Here are a few of my top additions….

27220066

 

Published August 2016 by Orenda Books

September 1977. Mette Misvær, a three-year-old girl, disappears without trace from the sandpit outside her home. Her tiny, close middle-class community in the tranquil suburb of Nordas is devastated, but their enquiries and the police produce nothing. Curtains twitch, suspicions are raised, but Mette is never found. Almost 25 years later, as the expiration date for the statute of limitations draws near, Mette’s mother approaches PI Varg Veum, in a last, desperate attempt to find out what happened to her daughter. As Veum starts to dig, he uncovers an intricate web of secrets, lies and shocking events that have been methodically concealed. When another brutal incident takes place, a pattern begins to emerge. Chilling, shocking and full of extraordinary twists and turns, Where Roses Never Die reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost crime thriller writers

 

27798536

 

Published January 2016 by Quercus 

The master of crime brings murder back to the Outer Hebrides.

A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive and borderline hypothermic. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. He does not know where it will lead him, but filled with dread, fear and uncertainty he knows he must follow it.A detective crosses rough Atlantic seas to a remote rock twenty miles west of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. With a sense of foreboding he steps ashore where three lighthouse keepers disappeared more than a century before – a mystery that remains unsolved. But now there is a new mystery – a man found bludgeoned to death on that same rock, and DS George Gunn must find out who did it and why.  A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her father’s death. Two years after the discovery of the pioneering scientist’s suicide note, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her. And the more she discovers about the nature of his research, the more she suspects that others were behind his disappearance. Coffin Road follows three perilous journeys towards one shocking truth – and the realisation that ignorance can kill us.

 

32188043

 

Published December 2016 by Orenda Books

The novel is constructed as a series of podcasts, in which an investigative journalist describes the circumstances around the death of a teenaged boy in an outward-bound centre, interviewing witnesses, suspects and people close to the incident. Their six accounts form the six stories of the title, creating a “chilling and compelling, page-turning thriller that also delves deep into notions of truth, perception and loyalty”

 

 

 

21853621

 

Published February 2015 by St.Martin’s Press

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

 

So there you have it. These finds are at the top of my TBR!  You might notice a pattern in that two of them are published by Orenda Books:) These are just a couple of the awesome upcoming reads I’ve got on my TBR over the next few months by Orenda books. As for The Nightingale, I’ve had my eye on it since it came out so I’m excited to see if it lives up to the thousands of 5 star ratings it’s received on Amazon and Goodreads

Have you read any of these? What are some of the top finds you’ve added to your TBR this week? 

 

REVIEW: THE DRY By Jane Harper

27824826

 

Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…

******

Sometimes a book comes along (not too often) and I just know from the first sentences that I’m going to like it! This was the case with The Dry, Jane Harper’s debut novel. Try this for yourself and see if you’re not eager to keep reading….

                  It wasn’t as though the farm hadn’t seen death before, and the blowflies didn’t discriminate. To them there was little difference between a carcass and a corpse.

The words are pitch perfect, the writing evocative and the tone just menacing enough that I had to read on to find out about that corpse. Read on I did and I was rewarded with one of the best prologues I’ve read in recent memory! Don’t you love when that happens?

The deaths of the Hadler family were tragic, heartbreaking, and once law enforcement delved deeper past the initial scene, they became suspicious. There were aspects of the crime scene that just didn’t make sense to local police sergeant Greg Raco. Federal investigator Aaron Falk, who was childhood friends with Luke Hadler was also left questioning aspects of the crime scene and at the request of Luke’s parents decides to stay in town a little longer to delve into the deaths with Raco. I really enjoyed these two characters. I thought they were intelligent, insightful and well-written.  I especially found Aaron’s backstory compelling as we discover very early on that he has a long history with the town and with Luke Hadler.

Of the many things I loved about this book, the main mystery surrounding the deaths of the Hadlers was just one part. There was a second mystery which I won’t spoil for you but I will say the author did a fantastic job of incorporating both mysteries into the narrative without flipping perspectives or jumping back and forth between time periods. This was such a refreshing surprise to read a linear narrative structure that allowed you to stay present with the mysteries but still provided just the right amount of backstory at the perfect times in the story. In fact, about halfway through the book, I was enjoying it so much I headed to Goodreads to find out what else Jane Harper had written so I could see check with my library and request the books. Imagine my shock when I discovered this is her DEBUT! All I can say is WOW! I wish every debut was as strong and well-written as this one. That being said, the only critique I have and it’s a small one, is that I felt a slight disconnect with the ending and the resolution of the Hadler’s deaths. I won’t say more but when others read this I’d love to discuss! Hats off to Jane Harper for writing such a wonderful story to kick off 2017! One thing is for sure, I’ll be auto- buying whatever she writes next.

4.5/5 Stars

This book will be published January 10th, 2017 so hit your preorder buttons now or get on your library website and request this!

Many thanks to Netgalley, Flatiron Books, and Jane Harper for my advanced copy. I’m  happy to provide an honest review

MY TOP READS OF 2016

images

This year I’ve read some truly outstanding books! For my top choices, I chose many of my 5 star reads with the exception of one 4 1/2 star read which I just had to include. Also, these are books I’ve read in 2016, and that were published this year or before. Since I just started blogging Oct 1 of this year, most of these reads are books I read before I started reviewing.

In no particular order…..

27418655

 

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I don’t think Sharon Bolton can write a bad book! I loved the premise of a possible wrongly convicted killer, I loved the characters and as always with her books, I loved that I couldn’t figure out the puzzle! I can’t ask for more from a book. You can read my review here

 

 

 

20821614

 

 

I may have been late to the Joe Goldberg party but all I can say is better late than never that I finally got around to reading/listening to this brilliant book! This is my absolute favorite audiobook of all time thanks to the perfect narration of Santino Fontana who made sociopath Joe come alive. I can’t begin to praise the writing of Caroline Kepnes enough as I was completely addicted to this book! You can read my review here 

 

 

16158535

 

 

I had this book sitting on my kindle for over a year and believe me, I could’ve kicked myself after I read it for having let this gem sit unread for that long. This was my first Beatriz William’s book and I loved everything about it. The historical timeframe, the shifting perspectives, the coastal setting and the memorable characters all combined to make this unputdownable! You can read my review here

 

 

 

25899336

 

 

You’ll notice this book on many best of lists and for good reason. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction but I was so intrigued by this topic and author. His story is heartbreaking yet inspiring. His writing is outstanding. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

 

 

 

24452249

 

 

The cover of this book does not do it justice! This is one of the most beautifully written stories I’ve read in years. There’s a little bit of everything in this book…mystery, drama, tragedy, resilience , hope…I could go on. This is a story that will haunt you. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out the mystery surrounding the disaster and how the many characters involved were connected. A must read. 

 

 

 

854757

 

This book might stand out a little on my list of top reads! However, I love a good romantic comedy/chick-lit every now and then but I haven’t rated many of them 5 stars. Except Bet Me. This was the perfect vacation beach read for me this summer. I loved the characters, they felt real and engaging. The dialogue in this book was fantastic…realistic, witty, sarcastic, laugh out loud funny…it had everything. Such a fun read!

 

 

 

28273664

 

I loved the atmospheric setting, the dialogue, the web-like puzzle that was the mystery of this latest topnotch Tana French novel. You just know you’re in the hands of a master storyteller when you open one of her books. To top it off, her books can be read as standalones, so don’t feel you have to start at book one in the series! You can read my review here

 

 

 

33586819

 

 

The title of this book had caused me to pass it by in the past, but I’m so glad I finally picked it up. This is a true book lover’s book. The story, the characters, the bookstore setting all drew me in and I read this charming, heartfelt novel in one sitting. I read this in March last year and I still think about the bittersweet ending. 

 

 

 

 

22822858

 

Once I got past that cover (which is awful) this book became my obsession for 3 full days and nights last New Years. In my defense, it’s 720 pages! It’s the story of four male friends who’s friendship began in college and continued on several decades. I can honestly say I’ve never read a book so devastating and tragic, yet also filled with the healing power of love and friendship. This book gets the award for causing my longest book hangover, lasting 6 weeks! Get your box of tissues ready for this one.

 

 

 

20385637

 

Another cover that doesn’t at all do this book justice! A novel about the impact of war, immigration, infidelity, family, and ultimately love and hope this book weaves seemingly unconnected storylines into a beautifully told story. You won’t be able to stop reading until you find out how they all connect and what becomes of one special little boy

 

 

 

 

So those are my top 5 star reads of the year but my top reads list wouldn’t be complete without adding one very worthy 4.5 Star read that had one of my very favorite characters I read all year and still think about…..

28933003

 

This book was such a pleasant surprise as I had never heard of this author or title. The plot lived up to it’s blurb…everyone really did have secrets and the ending was a shocker! What put this on my top reads list was the outstanding character of Manny. If you’ve read this you know what I’m talking about and if not, you just have to read this for yourself to experience the memorable Manny:)

 

 

 

Each of these books were so fantastic because they all, in one way or another, made me FEEL something be it good, bad or sad! That’s ultimately what I look for when I pick up a book:) I would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read any of these or would like to, so feel free to drop me a line. I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to everyone’s 2017 reads.

unknown

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it

My Pick this week is:

18635057

 

Published June 2014 by Harper

My Rating: 4 Stars

A murder case with ties to a convicted serial killer leads a young defense lawyer and an NYPD homicide detective into parallel investigations with explosive and deadly results in this superb mystery.

The latest story dominating the tabloids – the murder of psychotherapist Helen Brunswick-couldn’t be further from Carrie Blank’s world handling federal appeals at an elite Manhattan law firm. But then a hard-charging celebrity trial lawyer calls Carrie with an offer she can’t refuse: Anthony Amaro, the serial killer police blamed for the murder of Carrie’s older sister, Donna, has new evidence related to Brunswick’s murder that he believes can exonerate him. Determined to force the government to catch Donna’s real killer, Carrie takes on Amaro’s wrongful conviction claim.

On the other side of Amaro’s case is NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher, who, along with her partner, JJ Rogan, is tapped as the “fresh look” team to reassess the investigation that led to Amaro’s conviction. The case is personal for them, too: Ellie wonders whether they got the assignment because of her relationship with the lead prosecutor, and Rogan has his own reasons to distrust Amaro’s defense team.

As the NYPD and Amaro’s lawyers search for certainty among years of conflicting evidence, their investigations take them back to Carrie’s hometown and secrets left behind there. And when Carrie falls victim to a brutal attack, it becomes clear that the young attorney got too close to the truth. 

******

When I read the blurb for this a couple summers ago, I thought it sounded right up my alley, so when I started reading I didn’t even realize it was actually the fifth book in the Ellie Hatcher series. Oops! I have to say I didn’t have any problem getting to know Ellie or following the story threads as Alafair Burke did a great job providing adequate backstory. I loved the wrongful conviction storyline, I always find those so fascinating as it really adds another dimension of did-he/didn’t-he. I also really enjoyed Ellie’s character. If you’re in the mood to put together an intriguing puzzle give this page turner a try!

REVIEW: THE ICE PRINCESS By Camilla Lackberg

7058405

Returning to her hometown of Fjallbacka after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life.

Erica conceives a book about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their own shared past. While her interest grows into an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about a small town with a deeply disturbing past. 

 

******

Camilla Lackberg has been high on my list of authors I need to read. After discovering I needed to start at the beginning and read the series in order (thanks Chelsea at TheSuspenseisThrillingMe & Abby at CrimeBytheBook 🙂 I was happy I was able to snag this at my local library! The story begins with the discovery of Alex Wijkner’s dead body which is found frozen in her bathtub and at first glance looks to be suicide. Questions about whether it was suicide or murder, however, quickly arise. Writer Erica Falck , who was a childhood friend of Alex and also found her body, is pulled deeper into the mystery of Alex’s death when she is asked by Alex’s parents to write about her life. As she delves deeper into Alex’s past, she begins to realize her childhood friend harbored many secrets.

In the course of her “investigation” Alex runs into another childhood friend, Patrik Hedstrom, who’s now a detective and running the official police investigation into Alex’s death. It seems Patrik had a crush on Erica when they were growing up, and now recently divorced, his interest in her is immediately rekindled and the two begin to share information on Alex’s death. I have to say, I thought Patrik was the most well-developed character in the book. I liked him right away and really hoped his feelings for Erica would be reciprocated. I did, however, wonder about him sharing details of the police investigation with Erica…I’m not convinced a police detective in the real world would do that.

Along with the main storyline of Alex’s death, there were threads of other subplots weaved throughout the story, some relevant and at least one not so much. I thought the subplot involving Erica’s sister Anna actually broke up the narrative flow of the story when it was brought in. The other subplots I found intriguing and wondered how they would end up being tied to the resolution of the mystery. Then, when another person with key ties to Alex’s death is also found dead, things began to get very interesting.

I found myself thoroughly enjoying the set up of the mysteries and the key players, right up until about the halfway mark and then, for me, the pace seemed to slow down and I felt there was quite a bit of extraneous details about the characters personal feelings and emotional states which often left me feeling pretty bored. The ending was somewhat of a disappointment as I had most of the mystery figured out. I also thought the way those who were guilty was revealed was extremely neat and tidy; thorough confessions by the guilty come across as very unrealistic to me. That being said, I’m very interested in seeing where the author takes Patrik in the future so I do plan on picking up the next installment in the series sometime in the near future.

3/5 Stars

STANDALONE SUNDAY:THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE By Lou Berney

standalone-sunday

 

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick is:

20663088

 

Published Feb 2015 by William Morrow

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

With the compelling narrative tension and psychological complexity of the works of Laura Lippman, Dennis Lehane, Kate Atkinson, and Michael Connelly, Edgar Award-nominee Lou Berney’s The Long and Faraway Gone is a smart, fiercely compassionate crime story that explores the mysteries of memory and the impact of violence on survivors—and the lengths they will go to find the painful truth of the events that scarred their lives

In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead.

Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.

As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened, that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them? 

******

The interesting thing that drew me to this novel was the lettering of the title. That may sound weird but I remember scrolling through Bookbub’s daily deals one day and the style of this title as well as the title itself just caught my eye. I find it so interesting to think think about what draws us in or repels us as far as titles and book covers go. I had never heard of this author but once I read the book’s description I was sold. I loved the idea of two mysteries being set in the summer of the late 1980’s. I have to tell you, not only is this an excellent crime story, it’s beautifully written.  The characters and setting felt real as his writing puts you there, in that movie theatre and at the county fair.  I really believe you’ll be hard pressed to put this one down once you start reading as Berney’s writing compels you to want to find out what happened that long ago summer. He expertly shifts perspectives between Wyatt and Julianna as well as between past and present. This book was one of my top 5 favorites of 2015 and I’d say if you love crime fiction with intriguing mysteries and you haven’t yet read this one, I think you’ll want to put this at the top of your TBR.