Review: Any Second by Kevin Emerson

Is it fate that brings Eli and Maya together? Or is it just luck? Either way, it’s life-changing for both of them. Each dealing with their own version of trauma, they’re thrown together under the most unlikely of circumstances.

Eli is truly a victim. Kidnapped at a young age, he’s currently on a mission from his abductor – walk into the mall with explosives strapped to his chest and get redemption from all who have done the world wrong.

Maya is a victim of another sort. She’s a victim of her own anxiety. Hair pulling, skin tearing, sinking deep within herself…this is how she deals. She’s also at the mall that day, keeping her dad company while he gets a new driver’s license to complement his new life.

When their paths cross, neither of their lives will ever be the same. You see, Maya’s the one who sees Eli. She’s the one who notices something amiss. And she’s the one who decides to save not only everyone around her but also Eli himself.

Fast forward several months…Eli is trying to get back to a normal life, whatever that is. And Maya is still dealing with her anxiety, made understandably worse with her close encounter with death. And they meet again, this time when Eli transfers to Maya’s school. They’re drawn to each other, understandably. Will Maya be able to save Eli a second time? And will Eli be able to save Maya as well?

This is a very intense book starting from the first page. Heartbreaking at times, uplifting and hopeful at others, it’s the story of what can happen when we open our doors and let others in.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Any Second

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Review: Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webbk

Sometimes you just need a good ghost story. Something slightly spooky without being over the top, something that’ll give you a touch of the goosebumps. This story by Wendy Webb does just that.

After her marriage ends badly, Kate returns home to recover. Peace and quiet, time to reflect, is just what she needs. Those thoughts are tossed aside when a body washes ashore near the family home. And it’s not just any body. Kate recognizes the woman. She knows her, not from real life but from her dreams. How does one explain this to the authorities, though? Especially since Kate herself is somewhat of a suspect.

With the help of her cousin, Simon, Kate begins to dig deeper into the mystery of the dead woman. As she uncovers more and more of her family’s past, she finds secrets she’s not prepared to confront. And some of these secrets are a danger to her.

This was a really good story, better than I expected it to be. Part murder mystery, part historical fiction, part ghost story, it has a bit of everything!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Daughters of the Lake

Review: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson

I seem to be on a roll with these kinds of stories lately. Stories so far outside of the norm that it’s hard to wrap your brain around them. But so good that you can’t pull yourself away…

When seventeen-year-old Eleanor wakes up in the river, she’s not quite sure what happened. A strong sense of choking, water filling her lungs, being held down, all these things soon add up to the realization that she was drowned. And that she died. But, inexplicably, she’s not completely dead. Sure, there are some annoying things she can no longer do. Like eat. Or sleep. Or feel anything. Oh and she’s always cold, even though it’s the middle of the summer. Still, she’s determined to find out what happened to her that night in the river. All the while knowing that not everyone wants her to discover the truth.

I loved this story. It’s much easier to follow than it may seem. It’s very intriguing and twisty, one I couldn’t put down!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker

Review: Mercy’s Chase by Jess Lourey

FBI agent Salem Wiley is a tough cookie who was raised by an even tougher cookie. In this book 2 of a series, Salem needs to solve a decades-old mystery involving Stonehenge, secret codes, and underground societies.

I never knew who to trust in this book (I mean, neither did Salem!), and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Even when Salem thought she knew someone… e.g. Agent Lucan Stone… she had no guarantee that her government partners, family members, or colleagues had her back.

I loved the adventure and the suspense, I totally missed a fabulous clue about who the bad guy was, and I got to be a fly on the wall watching conspiracy theories and patriarchal politics intersect. Plus, Salem Wiley pretty much had me by the arm, bringing me from one point of interest to another, giving me the sightseeing tour of a lifetime. Really a fun ride.

-calliope

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Review: You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart

I tried. Really I did. But I just couldn’t do it. No matter how badly I wanted to stay awake into the wee hours of the morning to finish this thriller, my eyes just wouldn’t cooperate. So I did what any self-respecting book worm would do. I reached for it as soon as I woke up the next morning and didn’t get out of bed until it was finished.

In the blink of an eye, Jessica Chamberlain finds her world turned upside down. With one phone call, life as she knows it is forever changed. Even though she and Evan were separated, in her heart she always believed that eventually they’d find their way back to each other. But his unexpected death put those hopes to rest.

So she tries to move on, if nothing else then for the sake of her two young sons. Something was going on with Evan, though. Something that involved their youngest son, Gabe, and his birth mother. Jessica is determined to find out what Evan was working on and how it led to his death.

This book has been described as a “race to the finish” drama and that’s no lie. I honest to goodness didn’t know what was going to happen until almost the very end. Trust me, you want to read this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: You Were Always Mine

Review: Providence by Caroline Kepnes

If you loved other books by Caroline Kepnes, you must read this one. And if you’ve never read any of her work, this one’s a great place to start.

Jon and Chloe are very different, but they share an unbreakable bond. Best friends during childhood, that bond is almost broken when Jon is abducted. Chloe is devastated at first but is eventually able to move on and form some sort of a normal life. But then Jon returns. Although four long years have passed, that bond is still there. Jon’s different, though. Not only in appearance, but in something deeper. He now possesses a terrifying power, the power to hurt people with just a look. And it’s not something he can fully control. So he runs as far away as he can, hoping to keep Chloe and his family safe.

While he’s on the run, he’s also looking for answers. What happened during those four lost years? Because he doesn’t remember anything, only being taken and then waking up years later. The secret to this power he doesn’t want lies with his abductor, if he can find him.

This book is very much like the author’s previous books while at the same time being very different. It has that same element of suspense, that thread of obsession running through it. But it veers off that familiar course into sci fi territory although not so far off the path that the main story is lost. A great one for summer!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Providence

Review: The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

I’m so excited about this new series from Paula Brackston. I mean, the cover alone is enough to make you want to visit…

Xanthe (don’t you just love that name?!?) and her mother are looking for a fresh start. Both of them are trying to move on, and the charming little town of Marlborough seems like just the place to do that. They’re ready to make their dream of owning an antique shop a reality.

It’s while they’re looking for merchandise that Xanthe comes across an ancient chatelaine (I had to look this one up) that she just has to have. You see, it speaks to her. Xanthe has an intense connection to certain antiques. And this chatelaine speaks to her loudly. In the form of a ghost. She finds herself transported back to the seventeenth century. There’s a mystery to be solved, and that ghost won’t let her have any peace until it’s done.

This is such a promising start to a new series. It’s historical and mysterious and suspenseful and magical all at the same time. The author has a true gift for these kinds of stories. I can’t wait for the next one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Little Shop of Found Things