Review: JP Delaney – The Girl Before

The Girl Before
JP Delaney

First there was Emma, who died a lonely death at the bottom of the stairs. Then there is Jane, trying to recover from the death of her baby and the loss of her high paying job in a house that seems too good to be true. Is it the house that killed Emma? Or is it Edward? Jane needs to find out, but the truth might kill her.

The parallels between the women that Edward can see to exploit are really nicely pulled out by the author so that they are on the edge of the reader’s consciousness as well. And then as the two storylines collide, it’s that not even those things are as they seem.

This novel warns you that Jane will be the next one to die, but it lets itself gradually unfold who the killer might be. Mid-way through the book when I sat down to write myself some notes about it, I couldn’t decide if I wanted her to die or not. I could see how the perfection would work either way!

Now that, that was a killer ending. Perfect. It wasn’t what I expected, but I was satisfied nevertheless. You think you know the characters, and then BAM they turn on you, and themselves. In hindsight, Jane and I both should have noticed these things.

On a more personal note, I think I’d actually love living in a house like that one. So long as I can have books somewhere (ok, so they’d need to be hidden away neatly), I’d like it. The neatness would appeal to me. Someone who saw my house right now wouldn’t agree with me, but truely, I do like things to be neat.

I couldn’t put the novel down, and devoured it in just under 3 hours. The set up as perfect, and the last third of the book even more riveting than the rest. It’s creepy and scary, but I think you’d still be ok to sleep after reading it after dark.

Hachette Australia | 1st February 2017| AU $32.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Andrew Mayne – The Name of the Devil (Jessica Blackwood #2)

The Name of the Devil
Andrew Maine

Jessica Blackwood grew up in a house full of magicians – the real-world kind who can hide in plain sight using nothing but mirrors. Turning her back on it after a near death experience, Jessica now uses her talents off the books in her work as an FBI cop. When a Church seems to explore on its own accord, Jessica can find things with her instincts that noone else can.

If you haven’t read Angel Killer you will feel quite confused about what is happening, and what experiences Jessica already has. Go back and read it right now! I’ll be waiting right here for you, or possible be rereading it over your shoulder.

I loved the first novel in this series, and immediately contacted the publisher to see when the next would be out. Sadly, this was one of those novels that was published later in Australia than in the US, so I decided to wait. Instead, my partner bought me a copy for Christmas and I immediately started reading it then and there under the tree!

This novel is nifty because while it uses the ‘traditional’ magicians’ tricks to explain the unexplainable, some science also comes into it. Jessica’s unflinching strength of will could have been annoying, but instead it was consistent with the person I knew she was.

This reminds me of the Kendra novels, where the protagonist is also excellent at working out things from tiny cues that no-one else would ever pick up. As I said there, I like being given enough details that I could conceivably work it out for myself – even if I don’t know anything about crime solving.

5 stars from me. An engaging plot line, conceivable threats and an endearing and realistic main character whose no-nonsense approach to almost everything will excite you.

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Lisa Unger – Ink and Bone

Ink and Bone
Lisa Unger

Finley Montgomery hears things that noone else can, and they block out her perception of reality. A squeak-clink is the newest sound to interfer with her studies – could it have something to do with the abduction of Abbey?

30073778This didn’t quite have me on the edge of my seat, but close enough! I felt like all the girls were already dead, and that Finley might bring the perpetrator of crime to justice, but it was too late for the children. Finley didn’t seem to catch on that she usually sees dead people… So the ones she is seeing and hearing can’t possibly be alive!

Ok, so I admit I was a bit slow to get the title of this novel. Having read another novel titled Ink and Bone, I kept being a bit confused when I saw the title on my shelf. I’m not sure about the ‘bone’ in the title of Unger’s novel, but the ink certainly makes sense.

To me, this felt complete, but incomplete at the same time. I barely got attached to Finley’s grandmother and the blurb suggests that this is the beginning of Finley’s training – yet she seems to have been there a while. A quick google tells me that this novel is a stand-alone but there are other novels set in The Hollows. I don’t know whether those novels also have something to do with Finley’s grandmother, but I’d perhaps suggest to the reader to try reading those first, even if this is a standalone novel.

A psychological thriller, but not too thrilling that I felt haunted afterwards (or tried to avoid picking it up!). I’ll give it 4 stars.

4star

Simon & Schuster | July 2016 | AU $19.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen – Sight Unseen

Sight Unseen
Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen

Kendra is a successful FBI crime solver, despite her best efforts to stay out of it and focus on her music therapy students. When old crimes she has solved begin to be bloodily reenacted, she has to return to dealing with murder that is too close for comfort.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 1.40.49 PMKendra deals with crimes that would make  a squeamish person nervous in a way that makes you think she has no feelings. In this novel though, you start to see her coming apart at the seams, and what her family and friends need to do to let her recover. I want Kendra to be happy, but I also want her to do more awesome things!

This is a thriller that you will feel comfortable reading by yourself. There aren’t too many cases where Kendra is on her own and the reader would be scared to read it at night! That’s not to say there is an tension or drama – there’s lots of it.

I feel certain that most crimes aren’t dealt with in this way, and that serial killers don’t go in for a particular detective quite so badly, but I loved reading about it anyway. We don’t have the death sentence in Australia – and it seems like it isn’t that effective anyway! There are always people who think that they won’t be caught (and some never are).

Oh Kendra. You can’t protect everyone, no matter how hard you try. You seriously should check to make sure your students are ok though – this is the second time they have come into danger because of you. I don’t know how to feel about that. Maybe you should work anonymously? You know enough about disguises to make it work.

This was an ebook I accepted because I had loved the first in the series so much (Close Your Eyes). There’s going to be two more books with Kendra in them, and I’m hoping that I will see copies of those too. It is a real shame that these are only ebooks, but they are worth picking up anyway.

 

4star

Macmillan Australia | August 2016 | $9.99 AU | ebook

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Tim Johnston – Descent

Descent
Tim Johnston

Caitlin and Sean go for an early morning run, yet only Sean returns. Years on, nothing has changed and her family is continuing to rip apart at the seams. The locals have given up the search, but her father remains looking for closure.

Johnston_DESCENT_pbkcvr_rev.inddWhat I liked about this novel were the wide range of characters included. It felt like you were really getting entwined in the communities. They weren’t just one-dimensional characters brought in to further the story, it felt like they actually contributed to the lives of the family.

What I didn’t like about this novel was the pace. I started reading the novel, and didn’t get past ‘The Life Before’. I picked it up again and got about half way through. I just couldn’t get myself moving! That might have had something to do with the style of writing, particularly of Sean’s character.

This one of the better abduction novels I’ve read lately, although I wouldn’t classify it as a thriller the same way I would Babydoll. Far, far better than the last good day of the year, and better than The Leaving.

There’s a set of discussion questions in the back, which I appreciated. The one that resonated with me was the fact that Caitlin got into the car with her abductor, and whether I would have done the same thing. I considered that she had no way to know that this man was going to hurt her, so it was reasonable. If it was the only way she thought she had of getting help it’s what I would have done too. Maybe. All these abduction novels are setting me on edge!

I’m finding it hard to give this novel a star rating. It took a long time for me to be enthralled. I could give it 4 stars, because its so much better than the other offerings, but then again it didn’t grab me as hard as it should have. Rather, let’s give it 3.5 stars.

3star

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Hollie Overton – Baby doll

Baby doll
Hollie Overton

Lily was stolen away from her life at age 16. 2 years later, she gave birth to a baby girl in captivity and named her in honour of the biggest thing she missed – the sky. Now her captor has left the door open, and she is free – to flee, but not necessarily safe yet.

26889278Here the multiple perspectives worked quite well, but not flawlessly. I could have done without some in favour of some more from Lily’s captor. I imagine that he would have been the hardest character to write, as he needed to be realistic and yet creepily absent at the same time. He reminded me of Breaking Butterflies.

The abuse scenes aren’t that bad, per se, but still will be triggering for someone who may have been in an abusive relationship. The manipulative lying, the barren comments, all of it is horrifying with the knowledge that in real life, people do this, and not all of them are caught.

I’m feeling a bit weak in my heart at the moment, so I didn’t want anything too scary. I haven’t read ‘Fear is the Rider’ yet because I’ve been terrified of it! This was fine, even though I worried that there wouldn’t be a ‘happy ending’. I think the ending was more realistic than anything else. I wish you luck Abby and Lily, getting your lives back.

Oh my goodness. This was haunting. I couldn’t put it down. I HAD to keep reading. For that reason, I’ll forgive some other ills and give it 4 stars.

4star

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen – Close Your Eyes

Close Your Eyes
Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen

Kendra was born blind and spent years honing her remaining senses in order to avoid danger. After a stem cell operation restores her eyesight at age 20 years, her uncanny perceptions make the FBI call her in for case after case where they are baffled and she can solve a crime scene by simply walking in the door.

image001This novel was trying to see itself by other reviewers as a ‘thriller [and] a titillating delight’. Sorry, the sexual tension that Kendra seems to feel towards Lynch isn’t even that tensioned for me as a reader. I saw it, yes, but the gripping storyline was what did it for me.

If you liked Angel Killer, you’re going to love this one. This one does have some danger to Kendra herself, so if that’s your thing, this is going to tick the right boxes. Ok, so some of this one is a bit gorey and I really wanted to look away, but other times it just made me sympathise with Kendra even more.

I didn’t see this as a thriller, because I didn’t make the connection with a couple of ‘coincidences’. That being said, I kept reading and reading because I couldn’t work out what might happen next. I was sad when I finished it, because it hadn’t explained all the questions I had – but that just left us in the same position as Kendra.

This reminded me of the movie ‘The Librarian’, where the guy is just so geeky he can work out random things about others from the merest hints. Being so observant seems to make people a bit prickly though. I wouldn’t like people much either!

This was a fantastic novel that a publisher sent me, and that I ended up reading anyway even though it was an ebook. That’s what being stuck in an airport for 2 hours does to you, it makes you read ebooks when you’re too lazy to pack a novel in your carry on (because you are supposed to be working). I’ve giving it 4 stars.

4star

Macmillan Australia | July 2016 | $9.99 AU | ebook

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Jessica Warman – the last good day of the year

the last good day of the year
Jessica Warman

Turtle is taken on New Years Eve, and her sister Sam watches a man take her and is able to describe him accurately for the police to pick him up, and charge him with murder. Years later, she moves back and other things begin to fall into place.

20613800If this novel had been billed as an expose of what it looks like when a family is ripped apart by a disappearance, then maybe I could have gotten into it. Even then, it was too caught up in what Sam felt for anything else to really come through. I never want to be in that position.

The twists and turns that could have added up so that the reader could get their own idea of the story? Yeah, I didn’t see why they were relevant until the end, and then I wasn’t interested. I was just grateful it was over. The front cover is lovely and creepy and subtle, but the storytelling and plot simply didn’t live up to it.

There was nothing redeeming about the end of this novel. I struggled to keep reading, and the thriller it should have been was broken for me by the constant jumping around in time. I simply wasn’t invested enough in Sam’s story. It’s a novel, it’s perfectly ok to give me a concrete ending to make sure everything is good. Or bad. Whatever.

Whether you’re looking for a low-key thriller, such as The Leaving or babydoll, or prefer something a bit more gritty like Irene or PainKiller, this novel doesn’t need to come near the top of your list. 2 stars from me.

2star

Bloomsbury | July 2016 | $12.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Holly Seddon – try not to breathe

try not to breathe
Holly Seddon

Alex is a semi-functioning alcoholic uninterested in recovery, and with nothing to live for. When she finds herself researching coma patients for a freelance story, the pathos finally gets to her and she is able to take further steps forward in her life.

This was such a slow novel. I was halfway through and saying to my partner that I wasn’t sure I could face keeping on reading it. I started out being a bit wary of it, because of the changing perspectives.

Ugh. I don’t get the title. Everyone is happily breathing. By the end, I couldn’t have cared less who-dun-it. Those suspects? No, don’t care. Alex’s way of dealing with her alcoholic life? Nothing new there either, another novel I’ve read recently covers the willpower method.

For those people finding themselves captivated, I’m not sure I understand what you have seen in this novel. I haven’t read the original mainstream thriller ‘The Girl on the Train’, which is what this one is favourably compared to. I’m not sure now that I want to read it either. I want one where the danger actually becomes real to the reader and I’m looking over my shoulder in fear!

I’ve read other suspense novels that had more life to them than this one. Haha. Even ones where they actually die! Think Painkiller or Irene to see fantastic examples of this genre instead. With this in mind, I’m giving this one 2-3 stars. It’s fine for reading, it’s just not the astonishing work of fiction that I was promised.

3star

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Tara Altebrando – The Leaving

The Leaving
Tara Altebrando

11 years ago, six children went missing from their school. Now they have returned, with nothing but a few scraps of memory of their time away. Stop there – only five have returned? What happened to Max? Why were they chosen?

26073074I wasn’t won over by the way there were ‘bytes’ of information from the way that Scarlett and Lucas thought. I didn’t like the consciousnesses changing, and I thought Avery was an idiot. A rich, spoilt idiot.

I think that the ‘romance’ in this one was just a distraction from the whole premise of the book. This is apparently a thriller, yet I never felt threatened. In fact, I’m not sure that the kids that returned felt threatened either.

That was one of the most unsatisfactory endings in my whole life. What is this, is it going to be a series? Is it just a discussion of losing your memory?

I’d like to read the science behind this. Brains are fascinating in the way that they forget things and develop false memories. I think it is well documented how dementia patients begin to suffer, and the way memories can be lost in childhood. I could certainly do without some of mine!

I so wanted to like this novel. Look at the pretty cover? Yes yes, it called to me. The blurb? Seemed good. But then it just took my time and I wasn’t even that keen on it. 2 stars from me.

2star

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit