Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

I’ve absolutely loved everything Jennifer Hillier has written, so of course I was beyond thrilled to receive an advance copy of her newest one.

Fourteen years ago Geo did the unthinkable. And now that past has caught up with her. When her best friend Angela disappeared, most people assumed that she’d run away. But not Geo. Geo knew the truth. And when everyone else finds out about her crime, there’s no escaping the consequences. So she goes to prison, does her time, and tries to put her life back together when she’s released. When bodies start piling up again, though, the question must be asked. What’s the connection to Angela’s death? And how does it involve Geo?

This book is everything you’d want in a thriller. Great characters, gripping storyline, psychopathic suspense, twists and turns…it’s all there. So do yourself a favor and read it. And then read the author’s others if you haven’t already.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Jar of Hearts

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The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson

Miranda inherits a bookshop – and a whole slew of secrets. Fun and clever, The Bookshop contains many allusions to Shakespeare, a literary mystery, and a box of family treasures.

Problem was, I solved the mystery in the first couple chapters, and the Shakespearean quotes bogged me down after a while. I think a little more work ensuring the book flowed effortlessly (for the reader!) would have helped. Even though I really liked Miranda and the other bookshop staff, and I thought that Meyerson did a good job developing the friendships, the family relationships and the mystery itself all seemed a little contrived. All’s well that ends well, though, right?

(get it?)

-calliope

Buy BOOKSHOP OF YESTERDAYS

Review: Liar, Liar by Lisa Jackson

I’ve loved Lisa Jackson for a very long time. She writes one heck of a whodunnit. Her latest offering is no exception.

It’s been 20 years since Remmi last saw her mother. An explosion in the desert, a shooting, missing children, and then Didi Storm was gone. Nobody knew what happened to her, even her teenage daughter. A minor celebrity in her day, Didi slowly slipped off the radar. Interest is renewed, however, when a mysterious author writes a tell-all book about Didi’s life. And then there’s the jumper, a woman clearly trying to look like Didi leaping to her death. Or was she pushed? Oh and let’s not forget Remmi’s infant sister and brother, both missing since the night of Didi’s disappearance. And last but not least, Noah, an almost love interest who coincidentally also went missing that night.

Seems like a lot going on, I know. But trust me, it goes together. And everything fits, slowing coming together to complete the puzzle. A nice little mystery with a great storyline and interesting characters.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Liar, Liar

Review: The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens

** spoiler alert ** Okay, so I really enjoyed plenty in this book. However I had to take off major marks for the actual mystery. I don’t know. The whole concept just didn’t mesh for me.

Let me explain. I had no issues with the whole ghost seeing thing. I enjoyed the whole graveyard/ghost bit. I had no issues with most of the mystery. But I did feel like certain bits were thrown in just to misguide or to confuse the reader. They had no real purpose in Amelia’s story and they just showed up at just the right time. It was just too smooth. My other major issue (probably more so than any other) was the fact that at the end we find out that one of the players in the novel was actually a ghost and Amelia had no clue. So her and her father have went through their entire lives and met/seen countless ghosts and this has never came up before? Again, I felt that Stevens just threw this in there to confuse us and to lead us off track. That was the real purpose. It’s fine for an author to try to confuse us with FACTS, but not to just invent a different reality to lead us off course is not.

I don’t suppose many would see an issue with something like this, but I did. I really would have enjoyed the book more if I didn’t feel everything was just so forced and convoluted just for the sake of trying to make it more interesting and more of a hard solve. The storyline was already interesting by Amelia herself and also with the added tension between her and Devlin. It didn’t need more. The actual story and enjoyment I could have gotten from both the characters and story was lost in all the added details that really added nothing to the story except more words and misguidance.

Not sure if I’m really vested in continuing this series. I want to see more of Amelia and see her relationship with Devlin evolve, but I don’t fancy another cheat by Stevens to do so…

JMHO

Until next time…
Urania xx

buy it here The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Review: Bring Me Back by BA Paris

There’s a thread of commonality in most psychological thrillers. Jilted lover, mental illness, murder and mayhem…it almost reads like a recipe. Many of them are still very good, though. However, I’m always excited when I read one that’s so far off that path that it rocks my reading world.

It’s been 12 years since Layla disappeared. Suspected at first of causing her harm, Finn has finally moved on. Quite unexpectedly, he’s found love and happiness with Ellen, Layla’s sister. But just as they are ready to begin planning their wedding, the memory of Layla rears its head. At first they brush it off as coincidence, maybe even someone playing a cruel joke. Eventually, though, there’s no denying that Layla, or someone pretending to be her, is back. The question is, what does she want? And where has she been all this time?

Outstanding. That’s about all I can say about this one. It’s dark and foreboding and you just know something bad is going to happen. And I gotta admit, I’m pretty good at figuring things out before the very end. But even I didn’t see this one coming!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Bring Me Back

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

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