Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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A missing baby.  A maybe slightly psychotic mother.  A lying father.  Kinky next door neighbors.  They’re all there, a cast of characters to set you up for one heck of a story.

When their babysitter cancels at the last minute,  Anne’s first instinct is to skip the dinner party next door.  But somehow, her husband Marco convinces her that it’ll be okay to leave the sleeping baby home alone.  Their houses share a wall, after all.  And they’ll be checking up on Cora every thirty minutes.  What could possibly go wrong?

Of course it does go wrong.  Baby Cora goes missing.  And there are very few clues left behind.  It’s natural that suspicion would fall upon her parents.  Anne has been slightly depressed, after all. And Marco’s business isn’t doing so well. Was he so desperate for money that he’d stage a kidnapping and ransom demand?

But wait.  There’s more. There are also the shady dinner party neighbors, especially the wife Cynthia who has eyes for Marco.  And Anne’s dad? He’s got a ton of money, thanks to her mom.  Along with that, he has some questionable business dealings.  Or was it really just a random event, a crime of opportunity?  Somehow the detectives in charge don’t think so.  But the deeper they dig, the more twists and turns they find.

This was quite an enjoyable book.  There are so many characters who could be guilty that even when I found how who dunnit, I was still suspicious of the others.  And it’s very twisty and turny, right up until the very end.  Also to note, I listened to the audio version which had an excellent narrator.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Couple Next Door

 

Review: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

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Beautiful.  If I had to describe this story using just one word, that’s what it would be.  From the very beginning until the absolute end, it truly weeps with emotion on every page.

It begins with a baby left in a basket. Aptly named, Moses is a crack baby abandoned by his mother. But for the love and sacrifice of his grandmother, who knows where he would have ended up?  He and Georgia are unwillingly thrown together at a young age.  And even though they grow up together in a sense, they’re not really together.  Until one day, Georgia begins to feel something.  And she thinks Moses does, too, although he denies it. Georgia has a normal family life, Moses does not.  He’s damaged, at least in his mind.  But love is love, and love conquers all.  Sometimes.

This is a romance, a mystery, a book of suspense.  It’s a story of family, of life and loss and death.  It’s a story with good guys and bad guys, and sometimes they’re one in the same.  Very soon after I started this book, I was afraid it would break my heart.  And it did.  But that’s okay.  Because often those are the stories that stick with you the longest.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Law of Moses

 

Review ~ The Trespasser, by Tana French.

29430013I must admit, I picked up this book in error. I had heard a lot of positive reviews regarding French’s books, and in particular, her Dublin Murder Squad series. Me being me, at midnight on a work-night, browsing Audible, I saw this book and thought “Oh, I’ll try the first book in the series”. It wasn’t until about chapter 10, that I realised that this is actually the 6th, yes, 6th, book in the series! However, even though, this is a continuing series, the characters come and go, and it just so happens that the characters in this novel, only featured in one other previous story. I missed a little background, but it was barely noticeable as I continued to read/listen to the story.

The plot was a fairly standard “who dunnit” type deal, and I must say, there was a plot point introduced that didn’t seem to gel, and in my opinion, could have been left out entirely. In spit of these small misgivings, the tone and characters really carried this novel.

Dark, gritty, and dirty, are some phrases I would associate with the tone, and the pace is fast, keeping the narrative at a good pace. The characters, on first glance, seem quite traditional; societal attitudes are still steeped in an air of patriarchy and French seems to spend quite a bit of time in establishing that the main character is a lone female in a squad of patronising and bullying males. Even though a lot of time, I was thinking to myself, doesn’t this police station have a HR department, the repetition of the antiquated attitudes actually reinforced the character development of Detective Conway.

I really recommend this book if you want to escape for a while, and read some good police procedural fiction. Is it in my top ten? Probably not. However, it is a good little read in its own right, competing with a ton, and indeed winning, of other similarly themed thriller fiction.

Until next time,

Pegasus

The Trespasser

Review: The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

01-ab “Love what they destroyed.
Destroy what they loved.”

This story is nothing like I’ve read from Ms. Reisz before. NOTHING. In fact, this story has to be one the most insane stories I have ever read. I went in knowing nothing. No spoilers or anything, just a vague idea that it’s about thievery and bourbon. That’s it. But when I finished I sat back and wish I took Dramamine for all the twists and turns this book had. A truly wild ride.

SYNOPSIS
When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it’s to discover he’s been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it’s property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris.

In the small hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery that became an empire. But the family tree is rooted in tainted soil and has borne rotten fruit. Theirs is a legacy of wealth and power, but also of lies, secrets and sins of omission. The Maddoxes have bourbon in their blood—and blood in their bourbon. Why Paris wants the bottle of Red Thread remains a secret until the truth of her identity is at last revealed, and the century-old vengeance Tamara vowed against her family can finally be completed.

You must go into this story blind to truly appreciate the way the story unwinds itself on the pages. Deception, lies and revenge are the main themes of this tale. And one seriously messed up family. I won’t reveal spoilers, but I will say that you’ll never see the end coming. While some parts in this story will make you squirm, if you just take a deep breath, you’ll be fine.

To be honest, I held off reading this because I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this more, or even as much, as her Original Sinners series. That series is bananas. But I am so glad I took a chance. Tiffany has a writing style that is so addicting, you can’t help but be sucked in. You won’t be disappointed in anything you read from her.

~Melpomene

Buy The Bourbon Thief HERE

Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

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There are those books that, while good enough to keep you reading, aren’t necessarily in the “can’t put it down until I finish it” category.  And as voracious readers, we understand that.  Not every story can be a page turner of epic proportions.  That’s what I was thinking as I worked my way through the first half of this one.  But then, oh boy.

The loss of a child is unimaginable for most of us, thankfully.  So it’s impossible to truly understand how we might react.  Would you find the strength to go on?  Or would you curl up in a ball and simply wither away?  Jacob’s mother is faced with just this dilemma when his young life is tragically ended on a rainy street.  To make matters worse, the driver just keeps on going.  Justice is not served, she’s left without a child and a purpose, and a killer runs free.  So she leaves town, presumably hoping for a fresh start elsewhere.

The detectives on the case, however, can’t let it go.  Lead after lead is exhausted, and still they plow on, hoping for that big break.  And finally it comes.  But it’s not what they expected.  Actually, it’s not what anyone expected.  And this is where I’ll stop.

Told in differing viewpoints alternating between past and present, this story is unforgettable.  Seems like a simple detective novel at first, but ends up being so much more.  So much more that I did not move from my couch as I raced through the last half.  Get it, read it, and enjoy!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  I Let You Go

Review: A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell, #2) by Deanna Raybourn

30008834I didn’t just fall in love with this novel like I did the first in the series. However, after finishing it, I think I do appreciate this one much more.

In Veronica we now see someone that has grown a bit since we last saw her. She isn’t nearly as annoying as she was in the first book. She seems to no longer feel the need to let everyone else she knows everything…yes, she still believes she’s more clever than most, but she isn’t determined to prove it in this novel.

Stoker…damn, he was so attractive to me in the first novel…he was no less in this one.

This mystery wasn’t as engaging as the last one was (for me). There also is much less *tension* between Veronica and Stoker. However, what Raybourn has managed to do is simply amazing.

What do I mean by this? Veronica and Stoker are both very independent people. Often authors present us with what they believe independent people, but at the same time, they are actually very dependent. They go out of their way to prove to their independence when all they really want to do is be dependent. It’s what I find most annoying about romantic novels. Women or men that are suppose to be so strong and then overnight become weak and hopeless waiting on someone to rescue them. I’m not trying to be mean here…I’m just giving my viewpoint…

But this? Veronica and Stoker are fast friends and best mates, but they are still independent thinkers. I don’t see that changing. Somehow Raybourn has managed to keep the characters true to themselves. Veronica and Stoker are a united front against the world. We all know that eventually they will be together (YES YES YES) however, I don’t believe they will ever fit in with society’s norm to do so. I don’t believe they will ever find it necessary to become dependent on each other…yes, of course they will depend on each other…they do that now…but you’ll never find one sniveling and hiding in the corner and acting the fool to win the other’s love…they won’t need to…they truly are secure in their own identity…

I know this is probably my worst review EVER!!! But I place all the blame on just how much I love what Raybourn has created in these two characters. Two people that have very checkered pasts, two people that aren’t holding themselves pure and chaste for the perfect love, two people that are self confident enough to not try to manipulate (although they both have no problem doing so to get to the truth of the matter in their investigations) each other…and yet they trust each other 100% and don’t feel a need to give one iota of a care to what anyone else thinks about their relationship. This novel might not be the best…this mystery might not be the best…but this relationship is so refreshing to me that I am just at a loss of words…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Review: Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

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What a great mystery this book was.  I can’t remember the last time I read a story with so many twists and turns.  And then those twists and turns had twists and turns.

Small towns are hard, especially if you’re a teenager with a secret.  When Hattie Hoffman goes missing, it’s all anyone can talk about.  And when her body is found a short time later, the rumors begin flying.  Hattie was a good girl from a good family with everything going for her and a bright future ahead.  But even good girls have secrets, and good girls may not be who we think they are.

Told from three points of view alternating between past and present, we find out that Hattie wasn’t who she pretended to be.  And the bad person may or may not be who we think it is.  Even when you think you know who it is, it really isn’t.

Again, a very vague review.  But do you really want me to spoil it for you?  Of course you don’t.  So just trust me and read it.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Everything You Want Me To Be