Review: The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I’ve been going through a bit of a reading funk lately. Work is busy, free time is rare, so nothing has really caught my attention for the last couple of weeks. When a recent road trip came up, though, I knew I needed something good. So I went to this one on my TBR list. Because Chris Bohjalian hasn’t disappointed me yet.

The story starts off with a bang with Cassie, aka the flight attendant, waking up in a strange hotel room in Dubai. But wait…there’s more. *See what I did there?* There’s also a very dead man next to her. She knows who he is, sure. And she even knows how she ended up in his room. Beyond that? It’s all lost in an alcohol-induced blackout. So she does what any logical person would do. She cleans up any evidence of her presence and flees back to her hotel just in time to board her next flight and get out of Dodge.

Of course the story can’t end there. Once back in the states, Cassie finds herself in deeper than she could ever have imagined. And her erratic behavior combined with a dependency on drinking make matters so much worse. She’s in trouble on all fronts. Everything is at stake-her career, her freedom, even her life.

This was definitely one of those books I just couldn’t put down. From the very beginning until the last page, I was completely hooked. It has everything. Family drama, Russian spies, suspense, a few nice little twists…

Trust me when I say this one needs to be on your summer reading list!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Flight Attendant

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Review: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is so darn good. I’ve enjoyed every single one of her books. From the very first pages until the last word she keeps you guessing. And this one is no exception.

Maggie has a happy life. Her handsome husband, Noah, is a successful doctor. She adores her stepson Caleb. Together the three of them are living the American dream. There’s just one piece missing for Maggie. She has a daughter, Anna, who she hasn’t seen since she was a baby. But now Anna is back in her life and everything seems perfect. Until it’s not so perfect anymore.

Things begin to quickly go wrong. However, it goes from bad to the absolute worst when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused of the crime. Did he or didn’t he? And what was going on with Anna in the weeks leading up to her death? These are the questions that Maggie is faced with as she tries to cope with the loss of Anna while at the same time Noah is on trial for his life.

Besides the fact that the author is simply brilliant, I loved the way this one was written. Noah’s story begins with the conclusion of his trial and works its way backwards. We hear Maggie’s story going forward from the time she’s reunited with Anna. The two collide in a dramatic finish when Noah’s fate is revealed. Grab this one and be ready for quite a ride!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: After Anna

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”
My goodness!! I am so excited after finishing this book! I pretty must wanna write, “GO READ THIS!” and just leave it at that, but I won’t.

I’ve been told by quite a few people that this book is super fun and intriguing, and will keep you on your toes. And they were so very right. I had so many theories as I was reading. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen when you’re told not to believe anything to you see or hear.

It’s only a game…

Famous last words.

Scarlett and Tella have grown up under the evil hand of their father. In fact, his scenes had me wincing quite a bit. Evil is an understatement. But the girls have a chance to run away to Caraval for a few days and escape their life, before Scarlett is forced to marry someone she’s never met. But things don’t turn out the way that they hoped. The game has a way of changing you, if you’re not too careful.

When Tella is kidnapped, the game gets more real. Scarlett must rely on the help of Julian, the sailor who seems to have an ulterior motive behind his actions, in order to rescue her before the five days is up. Scarlett has always done what needs to be done, in order to protect her sister, so this will push her far beyond her imagination.

As she spends more and more time with Julian, she starts to question everything about him. Romance has no place in this game. By the end, no matter what her feelings are for Julian, it’s all about her sister. Scar will do whatever it takes to find Tella and escape their father.

This is another YA book I’ll be adding to my list. No only is there a sweet romance in the background, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you constantly guessing. A real page turner. In fact, if you liked the movie Now You See Me, then you will like this book. Nothing is real, and yet it is. It’s only a game, and yet it isn’t…

SO.MUCH.FUN.

~Melpomene

Buy Caraval https://amzn.to/2IiEYHh

Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

I’m always a bit suspicious when one book is compared to another. It’s for that very reason I was hesitant to consider this one, described in one review as “the next Harry Potter.” But the blurb was intriguing enough to encourage me to give it a try. And I’m glad I did.

Stevie Bell has achieved her goal. Being accepted at the exclusive Ellingham Academy is all she’s wanted for a very long time. But it’s not for the reason most people would think. It’s a fabulous private school, for sure. And for a highly gifted child such as herself, it’s a dream come true. Stevie, however, has other motives. As a budding young detective, she’s obsessed with solving a decades-old mystery. What exactly happened at Ellingham Academy all those years ago when the owner’s wife and daughter disappeared? Stevie is certain that SHE can be the one to figure it out. Of course, her present day world isn’t without risks of its own…

I absolutely love this character. She’s smart and determined and confident. The other characters aren’t bad, but it’s Stevie who steals the show. The story is told alternately in present times and the time of the original crime. The author allows us to get into Stevie’s head as she works out the details of the original crime while simultaneously dealing with current events. My only complaint is that the book ends with a MAJOR cliffhanger leading me to wait impatiently for the next book.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Truly Devious

Review: How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

I hate it when I get a book and then forget about it. I mean, something drew me to that story. But then, something drew me to another story. And then another. And before I knew it, original story was somewhat forgotten. Admit it, you’ve done the same thing. Luckily, though, this one made its way back onto my radar. Because it would have been a shame to miss it.

Emma/Susan has done her time. No matter that she can’t really remember what she did. She was tried and convicted of the most horrific crime imaginable – killing her baby. But now she’s out and trying to build some semblance of a new life. Then the pictures start coming. Somebody is determined to dredge up a past she’d rather not think about. Soon, though, she begins to have doubts. Is her inability to remember that terrible night actually her mind trying to tell her she didn’t do it? As she begins to dig deeper, someone seems determined to stop her. Too many secrets, too many unanswered questions to just let it go.

This is a good story, predictable at times but gripping nonetheless. There were many things I figured out along the way but just as many that threw me for a loop. The ending did become a bit muddled with too many characters doing too many things in an effort to wrap it all up. My fault for rushing to get to the end, I suppose…

~Thalia

Buy It Now: How I Lost You

Review: Charlatans by Robin Cook

Medical mysteries are a dime a dozen these days. Great ones, however, are a different story. Robin Cook is one of the best, a master of the genre.

Boston Memorial Hospital. Noah’s finally achieved his dream of working at this state of the art medical institution. And everything is going his way. He’s busy and has almost no social life to speak of, sure. But he’s rapidly moving up the ranks and earning quite a reputation as a surgeon. And then several unexpected deaths occur. Not under his hand, but when he’s called upon to help investigate these deaths he finds himself right in the thick of it.

Enter Dr. Ava London. The highly regarded anesthesiologist is under suspicion of negligence and must prove her innocence. When Noah becomes involved with Ava, matters definitely become more complicated. As their relationship intensifies, Noah’s suspicions about Ava begin to grow. He starts to question himself. Is he just being paranoid or is she really hiding something?

This story reads like vintage Robin Cook. Medical jargon, secrets, murder, suspense…it’s all there. I did feel like the ending was rushed and left too many unanswered questions. Still, a good one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Charlatans

Review: This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell

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Teenage love is hard, no doubt.  Surely this is the person you’ll be with for the rest of your life, right?  And there’s no possible way you can live without them, is there?

For young Jessie, it all becomes a bit overwhelming.  Sure, she loves Chris with all her heart.  And she can’t imagine her life without him.  But when things start moving a bit too fast, getting a bit too permanent, she decides to slow it down a bit.  Just a break, she tells, him.  Just one week.  A chance to take a step back and breath for a minute.

And then Chris disappears. And she wants him back.  But it’s too late.  She makes all kinds of promises to herself and everyone else.  If only he’ll come home, things will be different.  She didn’t really want a break.  She’s sorry, she misses him, things will be better than ever.  If only it were that simple.

This story is all kinds of things at once.  It’s a love story, sure.  But it’s also a mystery. Exactly what did happen to Chris?  It’s also an excellent take on teenage issues.  A great read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  This Is Not a Love Letter