SPIN

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“A somber but meritorious tale that profoundly examines a subject affecting adolescents and adults alike . . . Farnham masterfully dramatizes the serious subject matter.” Kirkus Reviews

“A beautifully written, suspenseful and poignant page-turner.” – E.S. Carter, USA Today Bestselling Author

“Spin is a pacey, edgy read which immediately grabbed me; a compulsive page-turner.” – Sarah L. King, Author of Ethersay

“I couldn’t put it down . . . gripping and suspenseful.” – Cathy, Goodreads Reviewer

“It covers heavy topics which are very prominent in current society and will send anybody on an emotional roller coaster.” – Kayla, Goodreads Reviewer

“A true reminder of how you have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors, or behind people’s facades.” – Sophie Ruthven, Amazon Reviewer

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Book Reviews

Book Review: The Nine Minutes Series by Beth Flynn

I know nothing about motorcycles or bikers and have never been interested in books about motorcycle clubs/gangs. That’s why it took so long for me to get around to reading Nine Minutes, despite the fact that everyone I know who’s read it has loved it. Plus, I know I shouldn’t, but I do judge books by their covers. So based on the cover (with the motorcycle and the tattooed biker), I assumed I might not love it as much as others did. Well, I stand corrected.

NINE MINUTES IS PHENOMENAL!

I was sucked in from the very first page, and I could not stop thinking about it when other things prevented me from reading. All of the characters are so well developed that they felt real to me, as if the story was a diary about true events. In fact, Beth Flynn did such a great job developing these characters that I actually miss them. And I have absolutely no idea how she did it, but she made me fall in love with a big, burly biker! #TeamGrizz ❤

Immediately after I finished Nine Minutes, I one-clicked Out of Time (The Nine Minutes Trilogy Book 2) and LOVED it. Then immediately after I finished part two, I one-clicked A Gift of Time (The Nine Minutes Trilogy Book 3). Loved that one too. Thanks for the amazing ride, Ms. Flynn!

Nine Minutes

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Out of Time

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A Gift of Time

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Emancipation by Jo Michaels

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I’m a big fan of books about serial killers, whether they’re fiction or not. There’s just something about the mind of a psychopath that intrigues me… Anyway, Emancipation is a must-read for anyone like me who enjoys reading about the more gruesome side of the human psyche.

In this book, Michaels not only takes readers into the mind of a serial killer, but she also provides an up close and personal look at prison life. It was all absolutely fascinating. She also accomplished something quite difficult; she fleshed out Tobias’s character so well that I actually felt drawn to him and bad for him at times, making it completely believable that Jess (the pretty, young lawyer who’s trying to get him out of prison) is enamored by him. Now, that’s messed up, yet really cool at the same time.

A few things that occurred might seem a bit far-fetched as far as what would be allowed in a prison, but truth really is often stranger than fiction, and it all made sense in the end. Speaking of the end…WOW. What a twist! I suspected there had to be a twist and wondered a time or two if it would involve a certain something, but even so, I loved it!

This is the third book by Jo Michaels that I’ve read and definitely not the last. The cool thing about her (besides the fact that she’s a great writer) is her versatility. Historical fiction. Fantasy. Horror. Thrillers. ZOMBIES! And no matter what she writes, she writes it well. So if you haven’t read a book by Ms. Michaels yet, I highly recommend you do so.

AMAZON

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Book Reviews

Book Review: The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

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A friend recommended this one to me. When I asked her what it was about, she didn’t want to give anything away but said something about the family and situation being messed up. Now that I’ve read it, I concur. Extremely. Messed. Up. But I didn’t want to put it down, and it’s one of the best novels I’ve read this year.

The Light of the Fireflies is well-crafted with elements of mystery and suspense. At first, it reminded me of ROOM by Emma Donoghue because much of the book is told from the perspective of a young boy who’s lived his entire life in a confined space without contact from the outside world. He’s oblivious to the lies he’s been told by family members and about what exists beyond the walls of their residence, but he eventually begins questioning the way they live and trying to piece things together. Unfortunately, certain members of his family are not what they seem, which impedes his road to discovery.

Pen is a fabulous writer. He pieced together every little detail of this story just right, so I never felt confused or lost. All I felt was intrigued, desperate for answers and emotionally invested in finding out what would happen to the boy.

If you are a fan of suspense and realistically flawed characters who make horrible mistakes, then I highly recommend The Light of the Fireflies.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

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When I heard All the Missing Girls was being compared to The Girl on the Train, I just had to read it. After all, I love suspenseful psychological thrillers. Unfortunately, this book did not live up to the comparison, but I still liked it for other reasons.

One unique, yet confusing, quality of this book is that much of it is told in reverse order. It starts out in the present, with Nicolette (Nic) returning to her hometown to help sell her father’s house after being away for ten years. Going home is difficult for her due to the reason she left in the first place: Her best friend Corrine disappeared without a trace and the case was never solved. Right after she arrives at her childhood home and visits her senile father, the story is catapulted forward two weeks. And that’s when things became hard for me to follow.

Over the course of the two weeks (told in reverse), another girl disappears, and everyone is wondering if it has anything to do with Corrine’s disappearance. Well, here’s a SPOILER for you…the disappearances are related, just not in the way you will most likely think they are.

Two things All the Missing Girls does have in common with The Girl on the Train is that it has an intricately woven plotline, and there are a few twists and turns–none nearly as shocking as those in The Girl on the Train, but surprising nonetheless.

Despite the misleading title (there are really only two missing girls) and the confusing reverse order narration, I liked the story and appreciate the way Miranda brought everything together in the end. Honestly, I might have liked it more had the comparison bar not been set so high.

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Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary review copy of this book via NetGalley.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Craze (Pierce Securities Book 1) by Anne Conley

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Craze is the third Anne Conley book I’ve read, and I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan. While The Fixer Upper, Craze, and Wire are all heavy on the romance, fans of other genres (suspense, humor, general women’s fiction) are likely to be satisfied too.

When Krista catches her boss in a compromising position, her world is turned upside down. To make matters worse, her boss has a powerful accomplice who will stop at nothing to make sure Krista tells no one what she witnessed. Knowing that her safety is on the line, she flees and does her best to disappear. But her plans are thwarted when her boss hires Pierce Securities to track her down. Enter Coast Guard veteran Ryan, the muscle behind Pierce, who’s tasked with finding her. And that’s where the romance comes into play.

I really enjoyed the shift that occurs when Ryan goes from tracking Krista to protecting her. And I liked all the details related to how the Pierce boys all have their roles to play in figuring out exactly what the boss is involved in.

Conley’s writing style is smooth and easy, yielding a quick, enjoyable read. The characters are well drawn, and she really had me pulling for the H and h. But at the same time, she had my stomach in knots over what the bad guys had done and their individual plans for Krista.

If you’re looking for a solid series of books that can be read as standalones, I highly recommend Conley’s Pierce Securities boys. Starting with Craze!

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AMAZON

Book Reviews

Book Review: An Unforgivable Love Story by B.L. Berry

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Compelling. Unique. Suspenseful. Tragic. Infuriating.

An Unforgivable Love Story is all of these things and more. And the title is spot-on. The actions of two of the main characters (one more so than the other) are UNFORGIVABLE! Miraculously, Berry had me sympathizing with one of them. There’s a third key character, too, whose obliviousness broke my heart.

“He will always be my Simon. My unintended. My favorite, most hated mistake.”

The topic of this story–the BIG reveal–is nothing new, but the way Berry tackles it is brilliant. Early on, I thought I knew where things were headed, and I was right. But not entirely. You see, the key to the uniqueness of this novel is a result of the narrative angles Berry chose. I never expected the shift in narration between part one and part two. It blew my mind, and I found myself flipping back and forth to reread coinciding or related events. And then there’s part four. Oh my. It was fascinating (and unsettling at times) to compare the motivations and perceived realities of these three individuals.

I know people who have been in the shoes of all three of these characters, but I’ve never been close to ALL involved parties in a situation like this. And because of that, I’ve been left with only half or a third of the story or perceived truth. This book is a good reminder that sometimes the most deplorable actions can be viewed as unavoidable or even necessary in the eyes of the offender. It’s also a good reminder that people and relationships aren’t always who or what they appear to be.

Anyone who’s familiar with my reading tastes knows how much I enjoy flawed characters and depressing, messed up situations that mirror real life. This book did not disappoint! There was so much honesty and reality within the pages of this book. And the writing? Perfection. B.L. Berry is a must-read author.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

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The Passenger is perfect for readers who enjoy a good mystery. However, if you prefer concrete clues that help you piece together a book’s big reveal, then this one might make you antsy.

Tanya Dubois aka Amelia Keen aka Debra Maze aka Emma Lark aka Sonia Lubovich (these are just some of the names she goes by throughout the story) has been hiding from law enforcement for a decade. Why does she keep assuming the identities of other women? That’s exactly what I was dying to know and trying to figure out all the way up until chapter 28. In fact, I’m pretty certain most who read this one will be left guessing as well.

Here are some of the thoughts I had while reading:

  • Who is this woman?
  • If she didn’t do it, then why doesn’t she just call the cops?
  • Wait, that’s not why she’s on the run? Why then?
  • Who is this Ryan guy? Why is he keeping tabs on her? Why would it be bad for him if she gave herself up? Why would he send her money?
  • Is this new friend of hers the passenger?
  • Wait, maybe he’s the passenger.
  • Okay, this lady definitely has to be the passenger.
  • Who the heck is the passenger?

When I finally realized who “The Passenger” is, everything clicked into place and I completely understood the MC’s motives. I also understood her pain.

Despite the occasional irritation I felt while wracking my brain trying to figure out what was going on, I really enjoyed this book. After all, Lutz is a great storyteller. The way she toggled between describing the MC’s life on the run and her real life (past and present) was remarkable. And all the while, she managed to provide small pieces of the puzzle, which made little sense up until the big reveal when every last tidbit locked into place, leaving me 100% satisfied.

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AMAZON

 

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary review copy via NetGalley.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

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Much like The Girl on the Train, which is also a mystery that unravels through alternating perspectives, I was mesmerized by Try Not to Breathe. As in glued to the pages until the very last word mesmerized.

Brutally attacked as a teen, Amy has been confined to a hospital bed for fifteen years. She thinks and dreams, breathes on her own and hears what’s going on around her; however, she can’t talk. And even though her eyes are open, she doesn’t see anyone because she’s trapped inside her own head. Who’s responsible for Amy’s condition? That’s what I was dying to know throughout the entire novel!

Seddon expertly toggled between multiple perspectives to tell Amy’s story. There’s Amy, of course, whose narration dates back to the day she was attacked all the way up to the day her attacker is revealed. I have never encountered a narrator like Amy before. At times I was confused because she was confused, but then after processing what it might be like for someone who’s in a coma-like state with self-inflicted amnesia (for lack of a better term), I found myself in awe of the way Seddon presented Amy’s perspective. Wow. Just brilliant. Then there’s Alex, an alcoholic who’s trying to crawl her way back to being the respected reporter she once was, and Jacob, a man who sits and talks to Amy regularly.

If you’re a suspense junkie like me, then I highly recommend Try Not to Breathe.

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*Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

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The Widow is a psychological thriller that captivated me from page one. It begins with a meeting between widow Jean Taylor and reporter Kate Waters. Kate is the first reporter Jean has ever agreed to speak with regarding accusations against her recently deceased husband, Glen Taylor. The whole world wants to know: Now that Glen’s dead, is Jean willing to reveal what she knows? Did she know about Glen’s habit? Did she know whether he did what people say he did? Did she lie for him? How could she live with him after what he was accused of? And Kate wants to be the the one to deliver Jean’s side of the story to the world.

But this brilliantly complex story isn’t told by way of Jean simply sitting down and spilling her guts to Kate. Glen’s alleged crimes are slowly revealed through alternating points of view (The Widow, The Reporter, The Detective, The Mother, and The Husband) that weave back and forth through time. The time hops and multiple perspectives were pieced together perfectly to create one heck of a suspenseful tale. My only gripe with the narrative is that I had to double-check dates several times to clarify the timeline.

Barton did a marvelous job of fleshing out all of the key players in this story so that I understood their behaviors and motivations. In fact, they became so real to me that I couldn’t sleep when I finished the book. It was nearly 3 a.m. and I was dead tired, but I could not stop thinking about real-life court cases that have been publicized to no end. I thought about the families of the accused individuals and about the accused themselves. And I got chills when I thought about the fact that people like Glen Taylor really do exist.

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AMAZON

 

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.