Genre: Thriller

Waiting on Wednesday – My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

October 17, 2018 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 4 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan BraithwaiteMy Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Published by Doubleday Books on November 20, 2018
Pages: 240
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
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Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

"Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer."

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede's practicality is the sisters' saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her "missing" boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit. A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they're perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola's phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it. Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that's as fun as it is frightening.

About Oyinkan Braithwaite

Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo, a Nigerian publishing house, and as a production manager at Ajapaworld, a children’s educational and entertainment company. She now works as a freelance writer and editor. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top-ten spoken-word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam, and in 2016 she was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Life’s Too Short – City of Brass, The Salt Line, Baby Teeth

June 1, 2018 Bonnie Book Reviews, Life's Too Short, Read in 2018 12 Comments

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

Life’s Too Short – City of Brass, The Salt Line, Baby TeethThe City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Narrator: Gabra Zackman
Series: The Daevabad Trilogy #1
Published by Harper Voyager on November 14, 2017
Pages: 544
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

DNF @ 15%

There was a lot of hype surrounding this one when it came out and despite the fact that epic fantasy has a tendency to fly over my head, I really wanted to give it a try. For me, epic fantasy has to hook me, immediately, whether it’s with an amazing main character or some pretty spectacular world-building. There was something off-putting to me about Nahri from the very beginning and the world-building was chock-full of a magical world where everything has to be explained and there are tribes and some of them are at war with each other but I honestly couldn’t ever keep any of it straight. It even has its own lexicon, which I really do appreciate the time involved to truly create a world from the ground up, it just didn’t draw me in enough to make the commitment to finish this 500+ novel plus the expected two additional novels in this magical trilogy.

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

Life’s Too Short – City of Brass, The Salt Line, Baby TeethThe Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on September 5, 2017
Pages: 400
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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In the spirit of Station Eleven and California, award-winning novelist Holly Goddard Jones offers a literary spin on the dystopian genre with this gripping story of survival and humanity about a group of adrenaline junkies who jump -the Salt Line.-

How far will they go for their freedom--once they decide what freedom really means?

In an unspecified future, the United States' borders have receded behind a salt line--a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what's left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife.

Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks--and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line.

DNF @ 60%

It’s truly rare that I get so far in a book only to DNF but it took me almost 2 months to get to 60% and that was far too much time for a mere 400 pages. The beginning held immense appeal and I thoroughly enjoyed how the author unfolded the details of a world where citizens lived behind walls to protect them from disease-carrying ticks. A group of people ventures beyond the walls on some sort of thrill tour, testing the limits of their survival. As the story develops, we’re also given the backstory of each of the members of the group and as you start to realize the dangerous plot they’ve found themselves in the midst of, you also realize that these seemingly innocuous backstories hold more answers than was previously understood. The world building was fantastic and I even enjoyed the backstories even though I was still at a point in the story where I didn’t understand the ultimate purpose, but as soon as the conspiracies were unveiled it just felt way too far-fetched to be taken seriously and didn’t make a whole lot of sense as a whole. It, of course, can be argued that maybe I didn’t give it enough time to answer my lingering questions, but honestly, after reading this for almost two months, I just don’t care.

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

Life’s Too Short – City of Brass, The Salt Line, Baby TeethBaby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Narrator: Gabra Zackman
Published by Macmillan Audio on July 17, 2018
Pages: 320
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Genres: Thriller
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Publisher
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Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

DNF @ 29%

Baby Teeth is the story of seven-year-old Hanna and her stay-at-home mom Suzette. The story alternates between their different points of view painting an extremely unsettling portrait into the domestic life of this family. Hanna doesn’t have anything physically wrong with her, yet she refuses to speak, and her inner dialogue chapters are full of a disturbing vindictiveness towards her mother and complete adoration of her father. Suzette’s chapters show a mother that has reached her limit with an impossible child and a husband that refuses to believe that their child is as bad as she says she is (except she doesn’t tell him half the things that she does, convinced that he simply won’t believe her).

I almost quit when Hanna appears to lust after her naked father’s body, thinking about how when mommy’s gone she’s going to marry him someday. I almost quit when Hanna concocts a plan after using Google that she’s going to pretend to be some woman from the 17th century that was burned at the stake for being a witch. I definitely quit after Hannah made her mother a photo collage of her sleeping body alongside various dead corpses, Suzette said she was going to show it to her father, so then Hanna decides to hurt herself to make it look like her mother did it.

I understand that the whole point of this was meant to be unsettling but it felt gratuitous and apparently even my concrete stomach has its limits.

“Hanna didn’t think it was fair that Sunshine had such perfect hair – the color of Daddy’s. Sometimes she gazed at it, longing to take a knife to Sunshine’s scalp and remove her fine locks. Hannah imagined herself proudly wearing the wig she’d make, unbothered by the stray trickle of blood that might dribble down her forehead.”

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Waiting on Wednesday – Stranded by Bracken MacLeod

April 20, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 5 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Stranded by Bracken MacLeodStranded by Bracken MacLeod
Published by Tor Books on October 4th 2016
Pages: 304
Genres: Horror, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
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In the spirit of John Carpenter's The Thing and Jacob's Ladder comes a terrifying, icebound thriller where nothing is quite what it seems.

Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog. Without functioning navigation or communication equipment, they are lost and completely alone. One by one, the men fall prey to a mysterious illness. Deckhand Noah Cabot is the only person unaffected by the strange force plaguing the ship and her crew, which does little to ease their growing distrust of him.

Dismissing Noah's warnings of worsening conditions, the captain of the ship presses on until the sea freezes into ice and they can go no farther. When the men are ordered overboard in an attempt to break the ship free by hand, the fog clears, revealing a faint shape in the distance that may or may not be their destination. Noah leads the last of the able-bodied crew on a journey across the ice and into an uncertain future where they must fight for their lives against the elements, the ghosts of the past and, ultimately, themselves.

About Bracken MacLeod

Bracken MacLeod has worked as a martial arts teacher, a university philosophy instructor, for a children's non-profit, and as a trial attorney. His short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies including Shotgun Honey, Sex and Murder Magazine, Femme Fatale: Erotic Tales of Dangerous Women, Ominous Realities, Eulogies III, Wicked Tales, Beat to a Pulp, Protectors 2: Heroes, ThugLit, LampLight, Splatterpunk, and Shock Totem Magazine.

He is the author of MOUNTAIN HOME, a novella titled WHITE KNIGHT, and his new novel, STRANDED, is coming in 2016 from TOR Books.

He lives in New England and is currently at work on his next novel..

Wow, this sounds super creepy. Nothing good comes out of foggy adventures.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes

March 18, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2016 0 Comments

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

Book Review – Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline KepnesHidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #2
Published by Emily Bestler Books on February 23rd 2016
Pages: 448
Genres: Thriller
Source: Netgalley
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two-stars

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...

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Hidden Bodies is the continued adventures of one of my favorite psychos: Joe Goldberg. You was the most fantastic of surprises and since we’re on the topic of You it must be said that not only should you read it before you pick up Hidden Bodies, but it’d be best you read that before you read this review because there will definitely be spoilers. Fine print out of the way, Hidden Bodies jumped to the top ten list of my most anticipated of the year. Suffice it to say, there’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up only to have them dashed.

I know. I’m super bummed. But let me explain the why of it all.

Joe Goldberg is quite possibly the most normal yet most intriguing serial killer I have yet to find in fiction. He’s the manager of a bookstore and when not being exasperated by the general population of New York City, is on the hunt for love. He thought he found it with Guinevere but four dead bodies later (including hers) that clearly isn’t the case. But he’s found love with Amy and everything is going splendidly, at least until she disappears with his rare-book collection. And his heart. But Joe is able to set his heartbreak aside and sets his focus on revenge instead. And that’s how he finds himself in sunny Los Angeles.

What I loved most about Joe is how hilarious and charismatic he was.. for a psychopath. We’re given a front row viewing at how his mind works and while it was, of course, a terrifying place to be, he still managed to garner your sympathy shockingly enough. His diatribes of people and the ridiculous shit they do were the absolute best and I was looking forward to his outlook on the insipid masses that populate Los Angeles. But then we reach about the midway point, while he’s still rambling on about ridiculous people, I slowly realize that he’s becoming just like them. Joe’s original charisma, his appeal as a captivating fictional character? Missing in action. He arrived in California to completely lose sight of the purpose for his presence there in the first place.

While it could be said that Joe’s actions were the same as they were in You, all in a misguided attempt to find and keep love (literally and figuratively, he begins dating a girl in LA that’s actually named Love), it felt far more sporadic and sloppy this time around. Joe was constantly finding himself in the cross-hairs of danger and the majority of it all seemed superfluous and much like how I’d expect it’d feel watching a train wreck.

Suffice it to say, I felt You was a complete story that could (and should) have been left as is. It reminded me a lot of a more modern version of The Collector, with an incredibly entertaining character stylishly rocking a complete lack of morals. I just didn’t enjoy the evolution of Joe’s character or the direction of the plot in Hidden Bodies and it made for a most tedious read. Others have loved this as much as You, so there’s good news for that crowd: there will definitely be a third Joe Goldberg book. I’ll be sitting over here waiting anxiously for Kepnes to create something new because I’m calling it quits with Joe.

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Book Tour Review – Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

October 1, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2015, TLC Book Tours 5 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – Pretty Girls by Karin SlaughterPretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Published by William Morrow on September 29th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Also by this author: Blindsighted

three-half-stars

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girlsis a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of fifteen thrillers, including UNSEEN, CRIMINAL, FALLEN, BROKEN, UNDONE, FRACTURED, BEYOND REACH, TRIPTYCH, FAITHLESS, COP TOWN, and the e-original short stories “Snatched” and “Busted.”

Slaughter was born in a small southern Georgia community, and now resides in Atlanta. She is widely credited with first coining the term "investigoogling" in 2006.

‘You couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing about the missing teenage girl. Sixteen years old. White. Middle class. Very pretty. No one ever seemed quite as outraged when an ugly woman went missing.’

Twenty-four years ago, nineteen-year-old Julia Carroll was walking home one night and disappeared without a trace. The cops believed that she had joined a commune or had run off with a guy and that she’d turn up in a few months. She never did and no body was ever discovered. The Carroll’s have never quite recovered from the loss of Julia, most especially her father who took his own life years after continuing the investigation long after the police had stopped. Claire, Julia’s younger sister, found herself a quiet, comfortable life to rely upon, however, it’s tragically upset when she bears witness to the brutal murder of her husband. Following his death, she discovers a side of her husband that she wouldn’t have thought possible. This discovery sets in motion an inability to know who to trust, and when you don’t know who to trust, what can you do?

Most thrillers these days tend to involve the actual kidnapping, but rather in Pretty Girls, Slaughter hits fast-forward and focuses on the impact on the family left behind even decades later. Most heartbreaking are the snippets between chapters of the fathers journal, his passages written in the form of letters to his deceased daughter. It paints a tragic picture of his inability to give up hope. Their mother, we learn, has kept Julia’s room completely intact as if she’s still expecting her to walk through the front-door. The best characterization is given to Julia’s two estranged sisters, Claire and Lydia. Claire has found a way to have the most normal life possible, one where tragedy doesn’t unexpectedly occur. Lydia seems to have been the one to overcome the memories, yet they crop up when it comes to raising her teenage daughter to not be just another statistic. Claire turns to her sister to help her sort through the chaos that’s become her life, but what she managed to uncover was only the tip of the iceberg. The villain of the story, well, once clues started popping up it all became a bit predictable albeit still incredibly distressing to watch everything unfold.

Kidnapping statistics are pretty heartbreaking to review. Did you know, that according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC), there are 84,924 active missing persons cases as of December 31, 2014? [Source] 74% of kidnapping victims that aren’t taken by a parent, are female. Also, 74% of victims who were ultimately killed had died within 3 hours of being taken. [Source] That’s the harsh reality of the world we live in and Karin Slaughter’s story of “pretty girls” being kidnapped is unfortunately far more common than I think any of us realize.

dvd-pearl

This post was a part of the ‘Pretty Girls’ blog tour.
Check out the other tour stops below!

Tuesday, September 29th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, September 30th: Curling Up by the Fire
Wednesday, September 30th: Imaginary Reads
Thursday, October 1st: For the Love of Words
Friday, October 2nd: Mary’s Cup of Tea
Monday, October 5th: JulzReads
Tuesday, October 6th: The Book Bag
Wednesday, October 7th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, October 8th: Why Girls Are Weird
Friday, October 9th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Monday, October 12th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, October 13th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, October 14th: Stephany Writes
Thursday, October 15th: I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, October 15th: Book Hooked Blog

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Book Review – Blindsighted (Grant County #1) by Karin Slaughter

July 24, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 1 Comment

Book Review – Blindsighted (Grant County #1) by Karin SlaughterBlindsighted by Karin Slaughter
Series: Grant County #1
Published by Harper on September 4, 2001
Pages: 464
Genres: Detective, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
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Also by this author: Pretty Girls

four-stars

A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it's only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer's twisted work becomes clear.

Sara's ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation—a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he's got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county's sole female detective, Lena Adams—the first victim's sister—want to serve her own justice.

But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath .. or mean her death.

In a small town in Georgia, a tragic and horrific murder shakes its residents to the core. The murder took place in a bathroom of a diner, shortly after the lunch rush, and no one heard or suspected a thing. Sara Linton, the town’s coroner discovers the victim, Sibyl Adams, just barely hanging on to life, with a cross carved into her chest, but is unable to save her. Sara’s ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver is investigating and discovers that another girl is now mysteriously missing only to have her body discovered on the hood of Sara’s car with the wounds of a recent crucifixion. The religious aspects of these crimes have Sara fearing that their deaths are actually related to something that happened in her past and wondering if she knows exactly who is committing these atrocities.

Blindsighted is Karin Slaughter’s debut novel, however, I’m clearly behind since she has a massive amount of books under her belt at this point. But holy. cow. Blindsighted is rife with intensity. The forensic detailing is meticulous, the crimes are horrendously intricate, and yet I couldn’t put this down for anything. What I loved the most about this one though was the characterization. Sara Linton is clearly the main character but didn’t completely take center stage, giving side characters like Jeffrey and Lina enough page time to build their stories as well. Sara Linton was written perfectly average with strong medical skills but her and her actions never gravitated towards the impossible making this story and all the horror that came with it all the more plausible.

I made a new shelf specifically for this book (and I anticipate the other books in this series to be future additions) called “super-sicko”. When I was a teen, thriller/suspense novels were my go-to reads and my mom always called them my sicko books. While I haven’t read too many of them in recent years, this one most definitely qualifies and managed to even horrify me at times.

Horrified Zombie Cat. #LolCat #Meme

I’m happy to say that my iron stomach is still sufficiently intact.

Much thanks to Wendy for recommending this to me years ago and finally sending me my own copy thus giving me the kick in the pants I needed to finally start this. You know me so well. 🙂

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Waiting on Wednesday – We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

June 3, 2015 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 5 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko JeanWe'll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on October 6th 2015
Pages: 288
Genres: Mental Illness, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: We'll Never Be Apart

Murder.

Fire.

Revenge.

That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.

About Emiko Jean

Emiko Jean is the author of the forthcoming YA psychological suspense novel WE’LL NEVER BE APART (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s), which was inspired by her work with children in the foster care system. Aside from reading, writing, and teaching math to elementary school students, Emiko is passionate about bugs. She can often be found in the remote forests of the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband, hunting giant moths and cataloguing rare insect colonies.

I’ve found so few YA psychological thrillers that really impress but I have yet to give up yet on the genre. This sounds like it certainly has serious potential though and I can’t wait to see for myself!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

dvd-pearl

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – The Skin Collector (Lincoln Rhyme #11) by Jeffery Deaver

December 13, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

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

Book Review – The Skin Collector (Lincoln Rhyme #11) by Jeffery DeaverThe Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver
Series: Lincoln Rhyme #11
Published by Grand Cen­tral Publishing on May 13th 2014
Pages: 448
Genres: Detective, Mystery, Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: A Textbook Case, The Kill Room, The October List

two-half-stars

A new type of serial killer is stalking the streets of New York – one more devious and disturbing than ever before.

They call this butcher The Skin Collector: a tattooist with a chamber of torture hidden deep underground. But instead of using ink to create each masterpiece, the artist uses a lethal poison which will render targets dead before they can even entertain the prospect of escape . . .

Drafted in to investigate, NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme and his associate Amelia Sachs have little to go on but a series of cryptic messages left etched into the skin of the deceased. As the pair struggle to discover the meaning behind the designs, they are led down a treacherous and twisting path where nothing is as it seems. And with the clock rapidly ticking before the killer strikes again, they must untangle the twisted web of clues before more victims – or they themselves – are next.

A woman is discovered dead in an underground passage after being tattooed by poison with only a partial message “The Second”. Is this the second victim or is it only a partial message meaning that more deaths are in the works? The killer, known as Billy Haven, is seemingly killing at random and is constantly two steps ahead of the brilliant NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme. It’s discovered that the killer has not only been researching Rhyme and Saches and their past cases together but one case, in particular, receives the most attention; the one where it all began: The Bone Collector. The two killers modus operandi seem entirely different and the detective is left grasping at straws in an attempt to collect clues for one of his most difficult cases to date.

I do so hate to criticize a lifelong favorite of mine but we all have our off days, right? I’ve been reading the tales of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs for well over a decade but this mystery was completely lacking in more ways than one. I found the killer tattooing people with poison to be definitely crazy and creepy and it kept me guessing for sure but there was a second storyline that was actually ongoing from a previous installment in the series where the man that Rhyme caught had just recently died in prison. It was completely unnecessary and forced setups that we all could have done without. The tattoo killer mystery keeps you completely in the dark for the majority of the story only to give you an ‘ending’, but oh wait! Just kidding. Forgot that pesky second storyline… okay, let’s just combine the two stories even though neither seems to have a single bit to do with one another. And then we’ll have the requisite bad guy at the end tell all to make it all seem super legit. I had a similar reaction to another longtime favorite of mine I read last year and it makes me wonder if I’ve simply read too many of these authors works and at this point, I’ve become bored with their tried and true formulas or if they’ve just lost their spunk.

Are there more installments to come? No doubt after that ending. Will I be picking it up? I’m a sucker for continuing a series after this damn long. I’d love to see Deaver get back to his roots where the bad guys were sick and twisted and the mysteries weren’t so bizarre and outlandish that they ended up falling apart at the end. The Coffin Dancer, The Empty Chair, and The Stone Monkey are the best of this series and I’d love to see more installments along those lines.

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Duo Review – The Fever by Megan Abbott

November 7, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Dani's Reviews, Duo Review, Read in 2014 3 Comments

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

Duo Review – The Fever by Megan AbbottThe Fever by Megan Abbott
Published by Little Brown and Company on June 17th 2014
Pages: 303
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: Dare Me

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

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‘You spend a long time waiting for life to start–the past year or two filled with all these firsts, everything new and terrifying and significant–and then it does start and you realize it isn’t what you’d expected, or asked for.’

The Fever centers around the Nash family: 16-year-old Deenie, her 18-year-old brother Eli and their divorced dad, Tom, who is a science teacher at the two siblings high school. On a seemingly ordinary day, Deenie’s friend Lise falls from her school desk convulsing from a seizure. Their friend Gabby suffers a similar incident shortly after and the hysteria swells further when another girl at their high school succumbs to this strange sickness. The reasons range between environmental concerns to a recent vaccine all the girls received but the doctor’s all fail to provide any solution to the problem.

“It has to do with all of them. All of them. Don’t you see? It’s just begun.”

Dare Me made me an instant Abbott fan, primarily due to her most impressive skill of being able to accurately portray teenagers without cutting any corners or lessening the intensity and her skills are on display once again in The Fever. Abbott provides various points of view, separate from the teenagers, including that of  Tom who presents the ‘parental’ point of view of the story and allows us a glimpse firsthand the paranoia consuming the town because of these incidents. I found the mystery to be riveting and baffling (yet scarily plausible) but was ultimately left displeased by the perfunctory and almost ambiguous ending. That is until I found out that this story of hysteria in a small town is actually based on a real-life incident in Le Roy, New York. After reading up on a New York Times article detailing this event, Abbott’s story doesn’t stray far from the truth. (If you don’t want to be spoiled, I wouldn’t read up on Le Roy until you’ve finished The Fever.) Knowing that this story is based on truth, only makes it more fearful than it was originally.

Megan Abbott is a truly unique writer, portraying female adolescence in a way that we can all (frighteningly) understand. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Bonnie’s Rating:
four-stars
 

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“We put them at risk just by having them. And the hazards never stop.”

The plot grabs you at the very beginning with a huge shocking “ka-pow” of an introduction. A mysterious illness is ravaging through all the girls of a small town high school. The story continues to be shrouded by false paths and deception. With all of the build-up, the resolution demands to be shocking and in your face. Instead, it could be summed up in three words: Girls are batshit.

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“Maybe you bring the darkness inside you. Maybe [she] has it inside her now.”

Fever is full of gorgeous writing that accurately captures so much of a teenage girl’s thoughts and emotions in her relationships and everyday life. Megan Abbott very convincingly describes small-town paranoia and mob mentality during chaos. I was ultimately concerned with my perception that the moral of the story was slut-shaming gone viral, literally. While this book left me feeling unsatisfied, I’m not put off from reading her other works – that’s how beautiful the writing is alone.

For great reads on pandemics, check out Blindness by José Saramago or The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. Want to more of all the joy of snarky teenage girls, look for Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (for the ultimate Mean Girls) or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (for the best friend forever experience).

Dani’s Rating:

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Book Review – The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

October 25, 2014 Dani Dani's Reviews 1 Comment

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

Book Review – The Good Girl by Mary KubicaThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Published by Harlequin MIRA on July 29th 2014
Pages: 355
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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two-half-stars

"I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don't know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she's scared. But I will." 

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

Colin's job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems….

“I’ve been following her for the last few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I’ve never spoken to her. I wouldn’t recognize the sound of her voice. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

Meet Mia/Chloe. Mia was kidnapped by a stalker with the intent to extort money from her very wealthy and prominent father. Chloe is the girl who returns to her family while Mia remains trapped by her own subconscious after the horror she faced.

The Good Girl relies heavily on cliché; It has a pretty, little rich girl who loathes her wealth and status, a kidnapper with a conscience, a dickish detective with a heart of gold, and totally aloof, distant parents that Mia detests with little foundation. I never grew to care for Mia – not when she was cold and crying in her captor’s lair, and not after a shell of her former self had been returned to her family. I never disliked or feared her kidnapper, but I took larger issue with him sprouting a conscience after abducting someone.

“But there’s the gun. She sees it. And in that moment, things change. There’s a moment of recognition. Of her mind registering the gun, of her figuring out what the fuck is about to happen. Her mouth parts and out comes a word: ‘Oh.’”

“Oh” precisely sums up my reaction to this book. It didn’t get scary psychologically and the suspense built within one chapter would quickly diminish with the frequent chapter breaks that not only change point-of-view narrators, but also had temporal shifts before and after the kidnapping. The result was jarring and confusing, not mysterious.

I think the largest problem this book had was me as a reader. I just recently finished two awesomely creepy books about missing women: Gone Girl and The Collector. On the heels of those 4-star works, this novel didn’t stand up. It was conventional and predictable, even in the midst of its “major” shocker (which I won’t spoil for you).

If you’re looking for a genuine thriller about a kidnapper, check out the oldie but goodie Along Came a Spider by James Patterson. Want something about a rich girls who you don’t hate, go for Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar.

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