Genre: Mystery

Review: Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

Posted February 26, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: Don’t Wake Up by Liz LawlerDon't Wake Up by Liz Lawler
Series: standalone
Published by Harper Paperbacks on February 5, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:2.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A harrowing psychological thriller debut about a woman who awakens after an assault with no physical proof of the attack and who must try to convince everyone of what really happened.
When Dr. Alex Taylor opens her eyes, she is hooked up to an IV, is bound to an operating table, and her legs are raised in stirrups. Disoriented and alarmed, she assumes she's been anesthetized and brought to surgery after being in an accident. But the man standing over her, with his face hidden behind a surgical mask and wielding instruments, is no doctor she recognizes at the hospital where she works as a successful and respected doctor. He’s a stranger—and he’s calmly and methodically telling her how he's about to attack her. Before Alex can even scream for help, she succumbs to another dose of anesthesia, rendering her unable to defend herself….
When she comes to on a gurney, she finds herself surrounded by her colleagues and immediately reports the attack and rape. The police are skeptical of her bizarre story. And after a physical exam reveals no proof of any attack, even her boyfriend has doubts. Despite Alex's adamant claims, no one believes her, leaving her to wonder if she has, in fact, lost her mind.
Until she meets the next victim…
An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller, Don't Wake Up is also a provocative, timely exploration of victimhood, abuse, and the discrediting of women in our culture.
 
 

Dr. Alex Taylor is a young, but a successful doctor who seems to have everything going for her until the night she gets attacked and her world is turned upside down. She thought the horror was over, but it all begins when she opens her eyes and then meet the other victim…

I have a hard time writing this review. I don’t really know how to feel about this book and I find that I am completely torn on the rating.

The writing was good, it felt fast paced at the beginning, but slowly began to drag and parts of it quickly became boring and annoying.

The story as a whole, I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. It was frustrating. It’s been a while since I’ve found myself so angry with the book. Let me explain.

Dr. Alex Taylor is a smart, successful doctor. She gets attacked and NO ONE. Not one single person believes her. Her colleagues don’t believe her, her fiance does not believe her, even her “best friend” acts like a total jerk to her. I was so angry over everything and how everyone suddenly doubted her mental state and the control Dr. Alex Taylor was losing because of it. I didn’t feel that the extent it went that it was realistic. The police might have doubted her because of the lack of evidence, but I didn’t feel like there wasn’t one person there that shouldn’t have believed her. Even the man that ‘loved’ her was a complete and total loser. She also somehow ends up the prime suspect in the murder cases that follow and the lead detective that was trying to frame her with no evidence was driving me insane. How the hell was that realistic?

I kind of went into this book thinking it was a powerful tool during the #metoo movement as its blurb on the cover, but instead, I got nothing but frustration and not at all where I expected this book to go. It fizzled, it could have delivered some sort of a message, but instead, it left me more than a little underwhelmed.

 

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Review: The Good Twin by Marti Green

Posted May 24, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: The Good Twin by Marti GreenThe Good Twin by Marti Green
Series: standalone
Published by Thomas & Mercer on May 15, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 272
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:2 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In Marti Green’s twisting novel of psychological suspense, twin sisters become engaged in a dangerous deception…
Mallory Holcolm is an unfulfilled waitress and aspiring artist living in a Queens boardinghouse when she learns something astonishing about her past: she has an identical twin sister named Charly she never knew existed.
Charly is a Princeton graduate, a respected gallery owner, and an heiress married to her handsome college sweetheart, Ben. Charly got everything she ever wanted. Everything Mallory wanted, too. And now it might be easier than Mallory ever imagined. Because Ben has reasons of his own for wanting to help her.
It begins with his startling proposal. All Mallory has to do is say yes.
But as their devious plan falls into place, piece by piece, Mallory learns more about her sister and herself than she ever meant to—a discovery that comes with an unexpected twist. A chilling deception is about to become a dangerous double cross. And it’s going to change the rules of Ben and Mallory’s game to the very end.

I honestly don’t know where to start with this book, it was a bit of a mess.

Try to suspend your disbelief when reading this because this book definitely requires you to.

We have a young mother that was thrown out of the house because she was pregnant and refused to give up her baby. At the age of 16 a young girl made a hard choice when she found out that she had twins. She gave up her first born in adoption and kept the second twin to raise by herself. One grew up in a very rich family, the other grew up in poverty.

Years later, Mallory is a waitress and stumbles upon a man who confuses her for someone else. Curious, she tracks down the woman he thought she was only to discover, wow, she looks just like her. Too afraid to approach her in person, she decided to visit the woman at her house only to be greeted by her husband and spun a bunch of lies.

Now Mallory thinks her sister is heartless and that Charly (the sister) believes that Mallory only wants to meet her because she wants her money, she believes her husband Ben who is spinning these lies.

Ben offers Mallory a proposal that if all Mallory does is say yes, her life will be changed forever.

I don’t even know how to review this without spoiling everything.

All the things I found wrong and frustrating

1. I could not wrap my head around Mallory and her decision to go along with Ben’s plan and still claim that she is such a good person and is deserving of so much more because what she agreed to do wasn’t simple as blueberry picking. It’s not a decision that a “good” person would step into lightly and quiet frankly, her reasoning made me sick as well.

2. The end was just a mess piled upon a layer of another mess and turned me beyond angry. I wanted to throttle Mallory, who became the world’s BIGGEST freaking hypocrite, trust me guys, it is taking me a lot of self control here not to let out a string of curse words and how much I loathed that ending. I found it unrealistic, I found myself angry at everyone involved and in the end, I honestly just wanted to see them all burn. After everything that went down and how it went down and all the stupid lies and actions these two sisters did not deserve any kind of happiness.

The end kept kind of jumping forward in time quickly over and over again and I just could not wrap my head around who the hell did Mallory think she is, making those kind of decisions after what she herself tried to do and blah just no.

Overall, it was fast paced. Suspend your disbelief and you might enjoy it. For me? This book just made me angry beyond belief.

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Review: The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen

Posted May 7, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 18 Comments

Review: The Girl I Used to Be by Mary TorjussenThe Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen
Series: standalone
Published by Berkley Books on April 24, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The morning after real estate agent Gemma Brogan has dinner with a prospective client, she's furious at herself for drinking so much. But there will be more to regret than a nasty hangover.
She starts receiving mementos from that night: A photo of a hallway kiss. A video of her complaining about her husband. And worse...much worse. The problem is she doesn't remember any of it.
As the blackmailing and menace ramp up, Gemma fears for her already shaky marriage. The paranoia, the feeling that her life is spiraling out of control, will take her back to another night--years ago--that changed everything. And Gemma will realize just how far the shadows from her past can reach...

An exciting, fast-paced, page turning thriller that had me gripped until the very last page.

The book mostly follows Gemma Brogan, a hard working real estate agent that is also a mom to a little boy that she hardly get’s to see. Gemma has worked hard for her business and it frustrates her that her husband is refusing to look for work and is instead a stay at home dad – something she wishes she could do.

One night while away on a work trip, Gemma runs into a prospective client, get’s a little too drunk and wakes up regretting a nasty hangover. But now strange letters addressed to her’s keep showing up, and Gemma must find out what happened that night and why it’s happening.

This was a really quick read, it was fast paced and it had me wanting more. I liked the characters, I could sympathize with Gemma when it came to her son, and I found myself frustrated with her husband that just did not seem to get it half the time.

I thought the story and the mystery was kind of exciting and the author’s writing was great. There was never really a dull moment. Thought a bit predictable in a sense, I did not find that it took away from the thrill of the story. There is an opening to the story that has you wondering how this ties into present day, so I found myself trying to put the pieces together through the book.

There seemed to have been a bit of overlooked or abandoned plot that happens with Gemma a couple of weeks after the trip that led me astray or the author decided not to go that route. Hard to explain it without giving much of it away, but if you read it and know what I am talking about, let me know if you felt the same. I got an opportunity to speak to the author about this and she clarified the plot for me, so I got to understand  what the author was thinking when she wrote this part and it wasn’t the direction that I thought it was going so, thank you Mary.

Overall, I think so far this is definitely the best thriller I read this year and it hit checks for me as far as what I enjoy in thrillers and I do recommend this.

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Mini Book Reviews

Posted April 25, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Mini Book ReviewsNot That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 27, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.
By Monday morning, one of them is gone.
Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.
As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

Not That I Could Tell is a story about a group of neighborhood women, who one night get together at a campfire and some secrets fly. The next day, one of them disappears with her kids while in the middle of the road and no one seems to remember a chunk of time from that night. This was an okay read, I was honestly wishing for something a bit more. I think in general this book would be much better read in the summer, because there is this whole summer feel of the book which does not work with dreary mood. I was hoping it would be more thrilling, but I am not sure I would consider this a thriller. The ending was definitely surprising, but at the same time giving how the characters reactions are written in the book, felt kind of thrown together. Overall, this is a decent summer read.

Mini Book ReviewsCatacomb by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #3
Published by HarperTeen on September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3 Stars

Sometimes the past is better off buried.
Senior year is finally over. After all they’ve been through, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are excited to take one last road trip together, and they’re just not going to think about what will happen when the summer ends. But on their way to visit Jordan’s uncle in New Orleans, the three friends notice that they are apparently being followed.. And Dan starts receiving phone messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween.
As the strange occurrences escalate, Dan is forced to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year may not be a coincidence, but fate—a fate that ties Dan to a group called the Bone Artists, who have a sinister connection with a notorious killer from the past. Now, Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.
In this finale to the New York Times bestselling Asylum series, found photographs help tell the story of three teens who exist on the line between past and present, genius and insanity.

I finally finished this series. I think? I am not sure if there is supposed to be another book, but the way this one ended, it feels like there should have been another. This series really does have an addictive quality to it, for me, I think, is the format of the book. I really like the mixed format with the pictures thrown in because it adds to the whole experience and the atmosphere of the book. I did struggle with this one. I did not feel like there was any character growth in this series. The kids thought almost on their way to college feel very much younger than their age. Also, it’s repetitive in the way Dan’s friends react to them. Dan is constantly looking into his past and trouble, and his friends get angry at him over it and blame him for it, but in the end always show up to save him. The ending felt open with the possibility of a new book, but I don’t think one is coming. I did enjoy the setting of the book as this one is set in New Orleans.

Mini Book ReviewsLowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer
Series: A Liz Talbot Mystery #1
Published by Henery Press on September 13, 2012
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 316
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars

Private Investigator Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer. She’s fit to be tied when her police-chief brother shuts her out of the investigation, so she opens her own. Then her long-dead best friend pops in and things really get complicated. When more folks start turning up dead in this small seaside town, Liz must use more than just her wits and charm to keep her family safe, chase down clues from the hereafter, and catch a psychopath before he catches her.

An interesting start to a new to me series. Liz Talbot is a private investigator and she moves back home upon her grandmother’s death. She is not only left with her grandmother’s house, but she was also left with the land it is on. When Liz finds out that her grandmother is murdered, she has no choice but stay home and try to find her killer. On top of, she in roped into more drama than she bargained for. This was a quick, fun read, it has a lot going on, probably a lot more than it should and features an array of different characters. Liz could be a little frustrating at times because of her not telling her cop brother much about the investigation and the ending and whodunit came out of no where. But, it’s full of southern charm, great characters and even a bit of the paranormal. I’ll continue with this series.

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Review: The Wife by Alafair Burke

Posted April 5, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: The Wife by Alafair BurkeThe Wife by Alafair Burke
Series: standalone
Published by Harper on January 23, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

His scandal. Her secret.
When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.
Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets.

The Wife is a type of thriller that starts out with a bang, hooks you and never lets you go.

Angela is married to Jason Powell, they live with her son in a charming carriage house in Manhattan. When Jason wrote his book, his career exploded, and he became the center of the media – a place Angela was careful to avoid. Now, charges are being filed against Jason for inappropriate behavior, by one his current intern and another by a woman claiming rape.

I thought this was interesting, but I thought it could always have been a bit better.

I went into this book completely blind and it was definitely a way to do it. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time wondering what was really happening with Jason and the women who accused him of such terrible actions.

I did struggle a bit with this. First, I wasn’t a big fan of Angela. At the beginning she felt like a big pushover, until we learn more about her past and why she is the way she is. It started to shed some light on her actions and demeanor.

This book digs into the rape “culture” in America. I don’t like to call it that, but I wasn’t sure if there was a politically correct term for it. Thought this plays a huge role in the story, I felt like such an important topic could have been handled a little differently in this book. Needless to say I wasn’t sure I was a fan of how it turned out or was used in this case and when the unraveling came, I found myself a bit upset about it. I don’t think I can say much without spoiling the book, but it just feeds into certain misconceptions.

The ending, I did not see coming. I was trying to put together what was happening, but it ended up being nothing like what I thought it was going to be. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I completely bought it due to the actions throughout the book – at times it felt like it was just thrown there at the end as a shock factor because the original might not have been strong enough.

Overall, despite certain issues with the book, I did find myself enjoying it. I do like endings that are unpredictable, so I cannot complain too much about it and the story flowed and was fast paced. If you are a fan of twisted endings and psychological thriller’s this is definitely worth checking out.

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Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Posted March 28, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia HeaberlinBlack-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
Series: standalone
Published by Ballantine Books on May 31st 2016
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars

A girl's memory lost in a field of wildflowers.A killer still spreading seeds.
At seventeen, Tessa became famous for being the only surviving victim of a vicious serial killer. Her testimony put him on death row. Decades later, a mother herself, she receives a message from a monster who should be in prison. Now, as the execution date rapidly approaches, Tessa is forced to confront a chilling possibility: Did she help convict the wrong man?

Black-Eyed Susan is about a woman named Tessa, who somehow survived the serial killer responsible for killing a bunch of young girls and burying them among the flowers Black Eyed Susan. Years later, she is still known as the surviving Susan, but with the “killer” on death row, Tessa teams up with Bill and Jo to uncover the truth about the real killer and hopefully release the wrongly accused man from being sentenced to his death.

This book follows two different timelines. We follow Tessie, a 16 year old girl and a survivor of her monster and Tessa in present time as a grown woman.

I don’t know how to feel about this to be honest. The mystery was interesting enough, but it was riddled with holes and the pacing made it hard to be really excited about.

Maybe it was just me, but I did not understand how they got the man that they did (the wrongfully accused) as the Black-Eyed Susan murderer. I thought it was going to be revealed through Tessie’s chapters, but I never got the answers I was looking for.

I did not understand why Tessie was spared and the other girls weren’t. How was she picked to be one of the victims?

I also did not understand who kept planting the Black-Eyed Susans years later.

The Lydia storyline seemed a bit far fetched an the end and really hard to believe.

I enjoyed the premise and felt it had a lot of potential, but it fell a bit flat for me. Also enjoyed the underlining commentary and an attempt to bring awareness of the whole justice system in Texas as far as Death Row goes. It was a bit terrifying and uncomfortable. I also enjoyed learning about forensic science and have discovered things I have never heard of before as far as bone identification goes.

Overall, it was a decent read but the pacing and the holes left in the story made me want a bit more. The ending I did not see coming and I was thankful for that, it took me a while to figure out who the killer really was.

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Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Posted November 18, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv ConstantineThe Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Series: standalone
Published by Harper on October 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A mesmerizing debut psychological thriller full of delicious twists about a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants.
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.
With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

A story that follows two points of views, of two very different women. First, we have Amber, a small town girl who grew up dirt poor and believes she deserves better. In fact, she believes that so much that she had set her eyes on Jackson Parrish, the husband of Daphne Parrish – who happens to be handsome and rich – the two portraying the perfect golden couple. The second woman, is Daphne, the perfect wife, the perfect mother. She is gorgeous and rich, and Amber wants her spot.

This was a really interesting story, a really quick paced read with some interesting characters. I hated Amber, but we were meant to hate her. She was so deceitful that at times I couldn’t help but have to put the book down from the anger. I felt bad for Daphne, who we later discover has enough on her plate without this snake wiggling into her life.

This book was a good read, well written, totally engrossing with fantastic character development and progression. It was exciting, as it was uncomfortable and believe me the second part of the book had some really cringe worthy scenes when Daphne unravels everything and keeps us on the edge of the seat.

Unfortunately for me, the book was super predictable down to the bone because this was exactly like The Wife Between Us, but on steroids. There was just so much that was super similar, it was kind of weird how similar the two books were? There is even an expression nervous Nellie, which was odd cause it’s not something you see often for it not to be a coincidence? And there were other similarities as far as the story went.

Umm, the difference was how it was told, how it unrevealed and the authors of this one really went farther about the dynamics between Jackson and his wife. Plus the whole Amber plot line was completely different. It was still really well done. I really enjoyed it, a lot, in fact, and why wouldn’t I, I absolutely loved the storyline.

But after reading this, I am a little confused how that happened.

Anyway, that aside. Great book, great characters. The main plot line was different, but the point where this was heading and some things that occurred, felt the same…

I still highly recommended it for fans of psychological thrillers and domestic thrillers, because I found this to be enjoyable, uncomfortable, but still well done.

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Review: Digging for Trouble by Linda Fairstein

Posted November 16, 2017 by Lily B in Interview, Reviews / 12 Comments

Review:  Digging for Trouble by Linda FairsteinDigging for Trouble by Linda Fairstein
Series: Devlin Quick #2
Published by Dial Books on November 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Childrens, Mystery
Pages: 332
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Twelve-year-old supersleuth Devlin Quick heads to Montana to dig out dinosaur bones, but instead she uncovers a mystery.After successfully apprehending a map thief at the beginning of summer, Dev is going to spend the second half of her summer vacation in Montana with her best friend, Katie, exploring the outdoors and NOT getting into trouble. But after participating in a dinosaur dig, Katie and Dev suspect that someone bad is in the Badlands when Katie's found fossils are switched out for old rocks. The good news? With Mom back in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But the fossil thief isn't the only danger here, as snakes, scorpions, and bears abound, making Montana a treacherous place for finding answers. And when the mystery takes Dev and Katie back to Manhattan--to the Museum of Natural History--the case gets even more complicated, even with Dev's friend Booker there to help. Dev has to use her brains, brawn, and yes, okay, the lessons learned from her police commissioner mother if she wants to dig up the truth once and for all.

Devlin and Katie are off to Montana to help dig out some dinosaur bones. When Katie makes a huge discovery, it was suppose to be a big thing. But something isn’t right when the fossils the girls dig up gets switched up for rocks. Soon Devlin and Katie cannot help but feel that something else is going on in the Badlands, and the mystery takes the two girls back to Manhattan and the Museum of Natural History.

This was such a pleasant read. I enjoy the writing, the writing was really well done and the characters are well fleshed out and developed. Devlin is a wonderful character to follow, she is headstrong, smart, and just a charming 12-year-old girl.

I love the strong friendships in this book, especially with the positive relationship between Devlin and her mother as well as between Devlin, Booker and Katie. Devlin cares, and it is evident with the fact when she tries to get to the bottom of a mystery when she feels like her friend Katie’s discovery seems to be underplayed and possibly stolen.

The author also does a great job of incorporating some facts in her books about certain things that end up being weaved as part of the story and does not make you realize that you are in fact also learning.

Devlin Quick is a great series for both adults and children alike. Filled with interesting characters, positive relationships and a fun storyline that makes this book a true keeper.

Author Interview

Hi Linda! I’m Lily and I want to welcome you to my blog, Night Owl Book Cafe. Thank you for taking your time and answering some questions for us today.

Let’s get right to it. What is your new book, Digging For Trouble about?

DIGGING FOR TROUBLE is my second book in a new series for Young Readers (8-12 year olds) that debuted last year. The protagonist is a smart sleuth – a twelve-year old girl named Devlin Quick who lives in New York City and likes nothing better than to engage her friends in solving a mystery. This story opens in Montana, where Dev and her best friend Katie are on a dig for dinosaur bones, and then moves back to Manhattan where they are assisted by their pal Booker. They wind up in the iconic Museum of Natural History – to see whether someone tampered with Dev and Katie’s bones. – and to see whether they can make things right.

I have to admit, I love that it features dinosaur fossils. Where do you get inspiration for your books?

As a writer, I’ve long found that there is inspiration all around us, as long as we always have our eyes open. I grew up near New York City, and the first place in Manhattan that totally enchanted me was the Museum of Natural History. What kid doesn’t love dino fossils? And how those discoveries have changed over the years. Also, I spend part of every summer in Montana, which is unusually rich in fossils from the dinosaur ages, so the combination came pretty easily.

Devlin sounds like a fun character! How did you get inspired to write her character?

When I was a young reader – in exactly this age range – I became hooked on the adventures of Nancy Drew. I envied her courage and her independence – not traits you would have found in me back then – and I loved that she was a character who came back to her fans in story after story. My goal was never to imitate that great series of stories, but to write a modern day character – familiar with new forensic tools – as a tribute to the books that inspired me in so many ways.

Which character did you find the most difficult to write?

I think creating Devlin was the most difficult part of this undertaking. INTO THE LION’S DEN was the first book, and I was well aware – as a writer of a long-running series of crime novels – that if I didn’t get Dev ‘right’ from the outset, I wouldn’t capture the imagination of readers. So a lot of thought went into figuring out who Devlin Quick is before I sat down at the computer to write the first page.

Do the characters ever try to take over your writing?

Of course they do! Before I started to write, I’d listen to authors I admired when they appeared on TV talk shows or lectures, and I would roll my eyes when they would say that their characters ‘spoke’ to them and often took over the story-telling. Most days, and especially when you write a series populated by continuing characters, it’s entirely true! I hear Booker telling me not to make him ‘do’ certain things, and Devlin asking for more freedom to go rogue. It’s part of the great fun of writing these books.

How did it feel when you published your first book?

All my young life – in school yearbooks and such – I always said that I wanted to be a writer. My father, who was terrifically loving and supportive, encouraged me to go to law school so that I would always have a career and a way to take care of myself in case the writing didn’t work. In the middle of a very rewarding career in the law, I wrote a non-fiction book called SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Our War Against Rape, which was published in 1993. One can talk about dreams coming true, but it’s all an understatement. The day I went to the post office and opened the package with the first bound copy in my hands, well, it’s one of the most memorable moments of my life.

What is it that you find about writing children’s book most rewarding?

I was a voracious reader as a kid, and it’s a trait that has served me well all my life. I love books, libraries, bookstores and people who love to read as much as I do. The stories I connected with as a child were such an influence on the rest of my life that it is a real joy to think I might be able to return that kind of pleasure by giving kids a new and entertaining experience with a good book.

What is it that you want young readers, diving into your book, to walk away with?

I want my readers to be entertained, of course. I want them to have fun with Devlin and Katie and Booker, and to want to see them back in book after book. But I also want them to be a bit smarter at the end of the pages. There’s information about forensics in each book, and in this one, there is a lot to learn about dinosaurs. Entertain and inform each reader, which I think is a good combination.

Do you mind sharing what’s next for Devlin?

Devlin’s next caper is entitled SECRETS OF THE DEEP. She and Booker are ending their summer vacation at his grandmother’s home on Martha’s Vineyard. Dev is supposed to be working on a science project, when they make some very unexpected discoveries. That should hook my young readers, I hope.

Final question before you go. Thank you for sharing everything with us. I do have to ask. What would you say your favorite food or dish is?

Hands down, from childhood to right now, if I could have one thing to eat if shipwrecked on a deserted island, it would be a supply of chocolate ice cream. Thanks for inviting me into the NIGHT OWL BOOK CAFÉ!

Thank you Linda 🙂

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Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

Posted November 13, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 22 Comments

Review:  The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah PekkanenThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 9th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.Assume nothing.
Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

The Wife Between Us is a story about a woman whose husband has left her for another younger replacement. Richard was a lovely doting husband, who was wealthy, charming, and attractive. She thought she gave him everything, but now she lives with her aunt in a small apartment and works for the department store trying to keep as low key as possible.

She thought she was done with Richard, until she find out that Richard is now getting married to her younger replacement and now she must stop the wedding from happening. Especially since the young replacement has no clue.

Oh.., Wow.., Wow.. I will stop right there. I don’t think I can go on past this point without ruining the book and with this book you have to go into this completely blindly. It is far the best way to experience what is coming.

There is an abundance of secondary characters at play and everything is very well done, including the main characters.

Hendricks and Pekkanen do and amazing collaboration job with this book. Once I started it, I was completely hooked from the first chapter. I could not put it down. The writing just drew me in and did not relinquish me until I was done. I wanted to know what was happening, I needed to know how it was going to end.

There are a lot of twists and turns, at times it feels like the authors spun you around into a circle. I don’t find it a bad thing, despite the fact that it felt a little flip floppy and at times I was questioning what I originally knew about the book. Looking back at it, it was all just part of the ploy to keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

I applaud the two ladies for a job well done. For the addictive writing style of this book. For a well done, interesting plot that kept me hooked and flipping through the pages.

This book felt like a puzzle and it is because it’s not till you keep reading do you see the pieces come together as more is revealed through the story and finally everything starts to come together as a whole.

I personally found that I really enjoyed this, not because just for how it was done, but because of the plot. I found that I really loved the plot. It wasn’t easy to read at time, especially the relationship parts, but oh, I was hooked.

I think the only issue I had was, that I wanted to know more about Richard’s sister and the fact that at times it did feel a little flip floppy – but again – this was all part of the plan and that plan was the reason I was so hooked through the entire book. The style was creative, it felt original, I have not myself read anything like it, and I really appreciated it. But, guys I absolutely love books like these that feel like domestic thrillers, they get bonus brownie points.

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Review: Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

Posted November 9, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review:  Blood Sisters by Jane CorryBlood Sisters: A Novel by Jane Corry
Series: standalone
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on January 30th 2018
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From the bestselling author of My Husband's Wife, a new thriller featuring three girls, one accident, and a lifetime of lies.

Three little girls set off to school one sunny morning. Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Kitty lives in an institution. She can't speak, and has no memory of the accident that put her there, or her life before it.

Nearby, Alison, a local artisan, struggles to make ends meet and to forget her past. When a job opens up in a prison as an art teacher, she takes it. Soon, though, she starts to receive alarming notes--followed by a frightening prisoner-on-prisoner assault while her back is turned. When an impressive new student arrives in Alison's class, things seem to settle down. But not for long.

For someone is watching both Kitty and Alison. Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day. And only another life will do. . .

Phew! This book took a lot longer to finish than I would have liked.

Oops, not a great way to start a book review.

Let’s back track a little.

One school day, three girls go to school, but a terrible accident happens, one girl is dead, one girl gets a head injury and the third girl walks away carrying an abundance of secrets.

Years later, those secrets come back to stalk Alison, who walked away. Ali is a teacher at a college doing glass classes. She feels something about what happened years ago, guilt, guilt for what happened to her sister Kitty and the secret she carries with her about what really happened that day.

Meanwhile, Kitty has a brain injury. She cannot speak, because the only thing coming out of her mouth is babbles that no one understands, so Kitty is stuck in her own mind. She doesn’t remember what happened, why she is the way she is. In a way, Kitty is trapped in a child’s mind, with tantrums and quiet a bit of profanity.

This book not only alternates between Kitty and Alison, but it also throws us back and forth between the past and present.

Okay, I am not 100% sure how to feel about this book. I didn’t like either of the characters, I honestly did not care for them, which seems harsh because Kitty underwent this traumatic experience. I am fully sympathetic about it and sad, it’s a horrible thing for anyone to go through and it’s a lifelong injury, that’s not something that you can always recover from. Thought Kitty was really hard to read, I really hope the author did her research when she wrote her character, I cannot vouch for the validity in this situation , it just seemed plausible.

Alison on the other hand, I just did not like her. I almost care by the end because of the twist, but the second part of the twist just nailed that coffin for me.

The writing itself was good. The story itself was enough to keep me somewhat interested and reading. I did enjoy the first part of the reveal/twist. I also really adored Ali and Kitty’s mom, she was probably my favorite person in all of this because she just tries so hard and has so much on her plate.

Overall, I found this okay, but it just wasn’t completely for me. Things just did not work. This is a story where you have to completely suspend your disbelief.

 

Favorite Quote

Love is close to hate when it comes to sisters. You’re as close as two humans can be. You came from the same womb. The same background. Even if you’re poles apart, mentally. That’s why it hurts so much when your sister is unkind. It’s as though part of you is turning against yourself.

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