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

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Review: X by Sue Grafton

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It was many years ago, in the basement of my local library during a used book sale, that I discovered the magic of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series.  Grabbing volumes A, B, and C for a measly .50 each, I soon fell in love with Kinsey Milhone.  I quickly grabbed all available titles and anxiously awaited each new release.  Sadly, I’ve slacked off a bit over the last several years.  Too many books, too little time. But still, I keep coming back to this series like a comfy pair of flannel jammies.

Once again, Kinsey finds herself unwittingly caught up in a mystery.  It starts off simple enough with a seemingly harmless meeting and an easy little job locating a missing person.  Soon, though, Kinsey finds out that she’s been had.  And the mystery goes much deeper than she ever suspected.  Stolen art, murder, robbery, it’s all there.  Of course, along the way, we are treated to generous helpings of the characters we’ve grown to love.  There’s Henry, Kinsey’s lovable landlord/surrogate father.  And Ed the cat, Rosie, William, they’re all there.

Is this the best book of the series?  Not by a long shot.  I found it a bit draggy at times and too drawn out at others.  With a character like Kinsey, however, those are just small bumps in the road.  You read these books for the storyline, sure.  But just as much, you read them because you’ve grown to know and love the characters.  It’ll be a very sad day when I read the very last page of volume Z.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  X

Review: Jana DeLeon

So instead of enticing you with a juicy new read today,  I’m throwing several at you in the form of one of my favorite, most enjoyably fun authors.

Jana DeLeon is fun.  Her stories are amusing, intriguing, can’t put it down”ing” all at the same time.  She has so many more that I still haven’t read.  But these three series are all at the top of my “must read the new one as soon as it comes out” list.

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By far my fav is the Miss Fortune series.  Who knew murder could be so funny?  But I jest, just a bit at least.  Whenever I’m reading one of these marvelous little gems I find myself laughing out loud, and trust me,  I don’t LOL too often when reading a book.  The characters are endearing and hilarious, and I can just picture their shenanigans as I’m reading.

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My second favorite series from Jana is the Ghost-in-Law series.  Almost as funny as Miss Fortune,  but with a happy little helping of the paranormal thrown in.  Same small town antics and appeal as the Miss Fortune setting.

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And finally, we have the newest series featuring Shaye Archer.  Not nearly as humorous, but instead dark and disturbing without losing any of the author’s skill as a mystery writer.  Oh and did I mention that all of these books are set in Louisiana?  Surely slanted my opinion just a tad.

As with many series, it’s not absolutely necessary to read them in order.  But in my opinion, that’s part of the thrill.  Growing with the characters, keeping up with them over time, both things that make serial novels most enjoyable.

As for which series to start with?  Sorry, friends, I’m no help with that.  Your best bet would be to grab the first in each, read them all, and then decide which one you’ll read next!

~Thalia

~Buy It Now:  Shaye Archer series   Miss Fortune series   Ghost-in-Law series

 

Review: Malevolent by Jana DeLeon

51bf4t0pbbL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_There’s something to be said for a good murder mystery. I hesitate to use the term “cozy mystery” because that’s always seemed like such a contradiction to me. But still. I’m not talking about one of the serious psychological thrillers full of blood and gore that leaves you sleeping with the lights on for a week. What I like from time to time is a well-written mystery with a little bit of murder thrown in for good measure. And this introduction to a new series from Jana DeLeon fits that description perfectly.

Shaye Archer is finally getting her life on track after a traumatic childhood, to say the least. And she’s realizing her dream of owning her own business with the opening of a private investigator business. But before all the furniture is even delivered, her first client shows up at her door. Emma has had trauma of her own, escaping her abusive husband only by killing him. So then how can he be stalking her if he’s dead? When she enlists Shaye to help her find the answers she so desperately needs, both of them find themselves in greater danger than they could ever have imagined.

This is a great mystery with great characters. The story moves along nicely, and there’s plenty of suspense along with a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I especially love the lead character, Shaye, and can’t wait to dive in to her next adventure coming out this fall!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Malevolent (Shaye Archer Series Book 1)

Review: February Fever by Jess Lourey

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Holy Moly, Jess Lourey! Here I thought I was embarking on another cozy mystery, threaded with a teensy bit of romance and some humor. But no. Instead I got Murder on the Orient Express sends Valentine’s Day off its tracks, and Things Are Not What They Seem goes deeper than a good disguise.

I laughed a whole bunch at the beginning of Mira’s train ride with nutty Mrs. Berns. All the elements of a good mystery came into play, with Lourey’s usual wit causing me to chuckle. The writing rocks, too. My favorite line about being stuck in a snowstorm: “Overhead, snow fell heavy like dirt on a casket.” Foreshadowing at its finest.

After the halfway mark, however, things got serious. Murders needed to be solved, people’s safety was at risk, and any laughter was only from pure comic relief.

By the end of February Fever I was crying like a baby. Mira may have solved the mystery on the train, but she also brought full-circle some unresolved heartaches.

Writing a funny mystery that naturally turns serious takes talent. Ending same book with a funeral takes guts. And leaving me hanging about the next step for Johnny and Mira’s romance? Pretty clever. When can I read the next book?!

-calliope

buy FEBRUARY FEVER

Review: The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith

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I loved The Cuckoo’s Calling (book 1 in the series), and although The Silkworm is GOOD, it isn’t AS good.

What I liked: tiny snippets of Cormoran and Robin navigating a professional relationship that turns platonically personal once in a while; a complex crime; über-developed characters; and the Hercule-Poirot-esque resolution.

What I didn’t like: too much emphasis on Cormoran’s prosthesis and pain; Strike’s character eliciting pity instead of sympathy; maybe a little too much convolution of the crime and criminals– I was confused at some parts; and the gruesomeness of the actual crime.

Galbraith (JKRowling) is an excellent writer with an extensive vocabulary. The masterful character and setting development created a movie in my mind. Impressive.

All in all, I liked it enough to want to read number 3 in the series, whenever it comes out. But I’ll admit it’s a little bit because I want to see if a love story will develop. I’ve seen the bare beginnings… And I’m a sucker for romance.

-Calliope

buy THE SILKWORM