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Posts made in June, 2017

Book Review: Thriller

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 |

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker


Thriller > Suspense

In The Fourth Monkey, Detective Sam Porter gets a call one morning that the serial killer he has been chasing for five years has been killed by a bus. The other detectives think it’s him because he’s carrying one of the signature things that have dubbed him The Four Monkey Killer.

Though this is mostly an excellent book, I had a few issues.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: The story is told from multiple perspectives, which I do like—it helped build the tension—but I genuinely could have done without the point of view of the kidnapped teenage girl. That was grueling. Unless you also want to feel like you’re being tortured and about to die, or you’re better than I am in not getting into character’s point of view, it could have been toned down. Also, until I looked J.D. Barker up online, I assumed he must be a much older man, because all of the major players were men. There was one female detective, but ALL the other cops, medical examiners, and IT folk were men. It was just strange to me. Last, and this is really a nitpicky thing, the author uses the word “rather” way too often. Either the cat is large or it isn’t. Please decide.

I did really enjoy this detective/thriller/suspense story. The last fourth of the novel was particularly fast-paced and well done, which is always fun. This is a well-written book by an author who is one to watch.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.


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Book Reviews: Suspense

Posted by on Jun 9, 2017 |

Suspense by Sandra Brown


Romantic Suspense

Seeing Red is a romantic suspense that I didn’t find romantic or all that suspenseful. Maybe my expectations for this were too high, but I didn’t fall in love with either of the characters of broadcast journalist Kerra Bailey and former ATF agent John Trapper—maybe this was why I didn’t feel the heat between them or much care if they got together.

The premise was intriguing enough: Kerra is interviewing Major Trapper (John’s dad), who was catapulted to fame twenty-five years earlier when he helped rescue some folks earlier from a hotel bombing when there is a shooting at Major Trapper’s home. John Trapper acts as a guard for Kerra in case the shooters discover that she survived the incident.

There were a few nice twists and turns, but not enough to keep me furiously turning pages in anticipation of what was going to happen next.

Thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Books for the opportunity to review this novel.

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs



In this suspense novel, former cop Sunday Night is enlisted by a wealthy woman to see if her granddaughter is still alive. Sunnie is a likeable, tough woman who had an abusive childhood. Being adopted by a cop through her high school years couldn’t erase the damage that had been done, but Beau was the reason she enlisted in the Marines. After an unsuccessful stint in the military and then as a cop, she lives off the grid on a tiny island. Though she’s got a hard shell, she is funny in her way.

Sunnie’s adventures take her around the country as she attempts to find out who bombed the Jewish girl’s school where Opaline Drucker’s daughter and grandson were killed and where her granddaughter Stella disappeared a year ago. The pacing is mostly fast.

Reichs has a distinctive writing style—she uses a lot of sentence fragments and her analogies are unique.

The subject matter was timely—I can’t say more without giving up some of the clues that Sunnie discovers as she tries to hunt down the bad guys and save Stella if she’s still alive.

This is a fun book.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel.



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Book Review: Women’s Fiction

Posted by on Jun 3, 2017 |

The Bookshop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry


Women’s Fiction

This is a sweet story of two grown women who are now mothers. Bonny is an ER doc trying to find her way out of a loveless marriage. After an accident in the ER, she needs some time to regroup, so she returns to Water’s End, a small sea side town where she and Lainey became friends when they were thirteen years old. Back then, they had been inseparable. They were known as the Summer Sisters. They had the Girls’ Detective Club, inspired by Nancy Drew mysteries, and their safe haven was a bookstore run by a woman named Mimi. Bonny brings her teenage daughter, Piper, with her to Water’s End, and, even though Lainey has terrible memories of Water’s End, Bonny convinces her to leave her husband in California for a few weeks and bring her two small children out to the beach house.

 Initially, Piper feels like she’s being punished because she flunked out of her freshman year of college. In addition to that blow, she’s also from her boyfriend not just breaking up with her but immediately falling for another girl and taking off to Europe with her. By making friends with a local boy and Mimi and babysitting Lainey’s six- and four-year-old children, Piper slowly begins to heal. Bonny has to decide what to do with her career and her life. Lainey wants to solve the thirty-five year old mystery of what happened to her mother.

 Told from multiple first-person points of view, the complexity of the characters are good. I also like the mystery of Lainey trying to figure out what happened to her mother, a search that has played a large role in her life. The novel is not a completely fluffy summer read, although it does have a sweet mostly-happily-ever-after ending.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkeley Publishing Group for the opportunity to review this book.

The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy


Women’s Fiction

This is a beautifully written story of two sisters surviving on the run after the death of their mother.

Eighteen-year-old Mary is gorgeous and survives through hard work that isn’t always legal. She takes care of her four-year-old sister Hannah with fierce loyalty. Their travels take them from the East Coast through the Midwest to California.

The story is told by going back and forth in time from when Hannah was born to different times in Hannah and Mary’s life. In that way it’s a modern history of the late seventies through the eighties. At some points it seemed there was an undercurrent of something sinister—I genuinely worried about whether the sisters would be OK. The story is also tinged with sadness over missed opportunities. It’s wonderful, however, to read a novel about strong women like Mary and their neighbor, Alice, a woman who was unable to have children of her own. Alice—Mrs. Pool—seems like a pushover, but she’s strong and heroic in her own way.

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley for this Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review.


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