Book Reviews

Book Review: My Life Before Me by Norah McClintock

My Life Before Me is a gripping YA mystery that takes place in 1964. I absolutely adored the orphaned teen narrator, Cady Andrews, an aspiring journalist on a mission to discover her origins. Right before Cady embarks on her journey, she receives an envelope that contains a clue about where she’s from.

This story involves murder, racism (with historic references), classism and buried secrets. There are also quite a few twists and turns, but McClintock did a superb job of laying the plot points out in an easy-to-follow manner. Even though this book covers several mature themes (all presented tastefully, in my opinion), I think it would be a wonderful addition to any middle or high school library.

I read My Life Before Me out loud to my husband while we were on a road trip. We were bummed when we had to stop reading in order to eat dinner. During dinner, we discussed possible outcomes for the mystery Cady was trying to solve. Then, we finished reading as soon as we got settled into our hotel room for the night. My husband and I both loved Cady’s story!

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AMAZON

 

A big thank you to Orca Book Publishers for providing me with an ARC via LibraryThing!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

Eeeny Meeny is a page-turning thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat and often made me cringe with disgust and disbelief.

The story starts out with a man and a woman trapped in an empty, abandoned swimming pool. They have no recollection of how they got there. The last thing they remember is accepting a ride and hot coffee from a stranger on a cold, rainy night. Soon after realizing they are trapped, they find out that the only way to survive is to kill. One lives. One dies. That’s the game. Eeny Meeny. I was hooked!

Enter Detective Helen Grace, who is tasked with finding the person responsible for the “eeny meeny” kidnappings. She’s tough, intelligent and independent and has a closet full of skeletons (a few that might even have something to do with the case). Oftentimes, detectives in crime/thriller novels do things that make you think: “Hmm. That was kinda dumb.” Not the case with Detective Grace. She’s no-nonsense and now one of my favorite female protagonists.

The only problem I had with this book is that it did not contain section breaks, which hindered the flow of the story. I had to reread several parts where breaks should have been in order to figure out whose thoughts I was reading or where the scene change occurred. Regardless, the premise is so intriguing and the plot points fit so snuggly together like the pieces of a puzzle that the lack of breaks did not affect my overall enjoyment of the story. Since I received my copy from NetGalley, I assume there must be section breaks in purchased copies. If not, then keep reading even if the lack of breaks bothers you. This book is worth finishing!

If you like suspense thrillers with multiple twists and turns, I highly recommend Eeny Meeny. It is simply brilliant, and I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

GOODREADS

AMAZON

Book Reviews

Book Review: Wire (Pierce Securities #2) by Anne Conley

After reading and loving Anne Conley’s The Fixer Upper, I jumped at the chance to receive an ARC of Wire.

What surprised me most about Wire is how different it is from The Fixer Upper, which I would label as a dramatic romance with touches of humor (basically chick lit). Wire, on the other hand, is a unique blend of various genres including romance, humor, mystery and suspense, as well as insight in to the world of online gaming. In fact, there were times when I was so caught up in the mystery and suspense that I completely forgot about the romance. What a cool book!

Not only is the storyline in this book unique and engaging, but so are the characters. I’m amazed by all the details Conley provides about her MCs, making them both complex and memorable. She also has a knack for creating smart, free-flowing dialogue with punches of wit.

As for the romance aspect of the book, let’s just say lovers of the genre will not be disappointed. From chapter one, Conley never lets us forget how hot the MCs (Evan and Paige) are for each other, especially during the blush-worthy intimate scenes. Wow.

Anne Conley is a must-read author. I will definitely be reading Craze (Pierce Securities Book 1) along with any other books she adds to the series.


I usually provide a brief summary in lieu of a book’s description, but there was just so much going on in this one (albeit in an easy-to-follow manner), that I think the official description would be better:

Evan Rocco has been a hero to Paige Lawson for as long as she could remember. So when she runs into him in a bar after a major professional coup, she’s feeling celebratory and reckless. But it can’t go anywhere, because after all, he’s Evan Rocco. When she finds her gaming company in trouble, there’s only one man she can turn to.

Evan can’t get the woman who disappeared after their one-night-stand six months ago out of his head. He’d honestly thought there was more between them besides just sex—a connection he’d never felt before. When PSL, his favorite game software company is the victim of sabotage, he jumps at the chance to help them solve the mystery behind The Crimson Lady, the fan-made character who’s taking credit for murder. Maybe it will get his mind off the woman of his dreams.

When he realizes who the CEO of PSL actually is, he has to get over his own issues or else he’ll put the one woman in danger he never wanted to hurt.

This is book two in the Pierce Securities series, a stand-alone story. The first book, while not necessary to read, is Craze.

GOODREADS

AMAZON

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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The Girl on the Train is a page-turning thriller told from the alternating perspectives of three female characters. The intrigue begins when Rachel (the alcoholic main character) realizes that something she witnessed could be related to the disappearance of a young woman she feels connected to, even though they have never met. You see, Rachel observes people and things closely during frequent train commutes and becomes captivated by one couple (Megan and Scott), in particular. She goes so far as to assign them names, professions, hobbies and even behavioral characteristics. This might sound weird, but doesn’t everyone do this? Make assumptions about others based on outward appearances? Then, we often find out our assumptions were wrong; either people do not deserve the bad rap we’ve assigned them, or people are hiding much darker secrets and personality traits than we imagined. The latter becomes increasingly obvious to Rachel with each new revelation she learns about the real Megan and Scott—individually and as a couple.

I was immediately drawn in by Rachel. She’s lonely, depressed and self-deprecating, and she makes terrible decisions due to her alcoholism and obsessive desire to be involved in Megan’s case. The funny thing is I liked her anyway and felt a lot of sympathy for her. Megan was harder for me to like, but by the end, my heart broke for her. And then there’s Anna, who I disliked from the moment she was introduced to end. As annoying and infuriating as Anna is throughout the story, she’s also very crucial; you just have to wait until the end to find out why.

Hawkins did an excellent job of building suspense. The way she gradually reveals tidbits about the characters while switching from perspective to perspective held my interest throughout the novel and kept me guessing.

One thing I had a hard time with was the way Rachel’s and Anna’s parts were happening in the present, but Megan’s parts were from the past. I found myself constantly flipping back and forth to check dates throughout the first half of the book, and even a few times later on. Overall, it did not detract from my enjoyment of the story, but it might annoy readers who don’t like having to create a mental timeline of events. Another thing that bothered me was who ended up being responsible for Megan’s disappearance, not because I liked this particular character but because it just seemed too convenient.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys suspense.

AMAZON

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