Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White

Twelve years ago, Sarah Baker was abducted by the Watt Lake Killer and sexually assaulted for months before managing to escape. The killer was caught, but Sarah lost everything: her marriage, her child, and the life she loved.

Struggling with PTSD, Sarah changes her name to Olivia West and finds sanctuary working on Broken Bar Ranch. But as her scars finally begin to heal, a cop involved with her horrific case remains convinced the Watt Lake Killer is still out there. He sets a lure for the murderer, and a fresh body is discovered. Now Olivia must face the impossible—could the butcher be back, this time to finish the job?

As a frigid winter isolates the ranch, only one person can help Olivia: Cole McDonough, a writer, adventurer, and ranch heir who stirs long-dormant feelings in her. But this time, Olivia’s determination to shut out her past may destroy more than her chance at love. It could cost her her life.

Publication Date: July 1, 2015

A Dark Lure is perfect for anyone who’s looking to turn off their brains for a few hours and just enjoy the ride. The plot was somewhat predictable, but I still found myself getting lost in the story.

The setting was perfect for a romantic suspense read: an isolated ranch where Olivia has relocated to start over after a horrific ordeal. Olivia is being stalked while also starting to develop feelings for ranch heir Cole. Cole also has his baggage and I was absorbed in finding out what his back story was. It was really sweet to see how these two broken characters could help each other heal.

I love novels with the killer’s point of view included. Freaking creepy as anything! I had to leave all the lights on while reading. There was a great buildup to the complex and I found my heart racing as Olivia finally faced her tormentor.

Fans of thrillers will find A Dark Lure to be the ultimate beach book for the summer!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Friday, July 8, 2016

Review: Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy

Helplessly drawn like moths to the light, two girls go missing in an evocative and gripping tale . . .

They called them the Moth Girls because they were attracted to the house. They were drawn to it. Or at least that is what is written in the newspapers that Mandy reads on the anniversary of when her two best friends went missing. Five years have passed since Petra and Tina were determined to explore the dilapidated house on Princess Street. But what started off as a dare ended with the two girls vanishing. As Mandy's memories of the disappearance of her two friends are ignited once again, disturbing details will resurface in her mind.

Publication Date: January 7, 2016

Moth Girls had a good premise, but not my favorite execution. I found Mandy’s day-to-day life a little boring to read about. I liked the chapters that delved into the past friendship Mandy had with the two missing girls: Petra and Tina. The mystery about what happened to the girls is what kept me reading.

The characters were mostly all interesting except for Mandy. For some reason, I couldn’t relate to her or find myself invested in her character. I liked Petra’s chapters, but a lot of the younger versions of the characters didn’t really sound or act like authentic twelve year olds.

The mystery is a very slow boil and it wasn’t until probably the last quarter of the novel that the plot took off. I didn’t guess what had happened to Petra and Tina, but I think that was because the reveal seemed a little far fetched for what I was expecting. Although most of the mystery is resolved, the ending does leave the reader hanging somewhat.

Although I didn’t love Moth Girls, the mystery was appealing enough that I would look for another title from the author.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

Publication Date: April 19, 2016

I feel like it’s so hard to come across a good psychological suspense book. This was the reason I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of The Darkest Corners. The Darkest Corners didn’t disappoint and kept me guessing up until the very last pages. Although YA, this is definitely on the mature side.

Although the book is a murder mystery, the story is also a close examination about the complexities of friendship and family. Tessa and Callie have a strained friendship with more downs than ups. They both handle their emotions differently, which has caused friction between them. I was just as eager to have them work out their issues as I was to find out who killed Lori.

I felt for Tessa, because her family was a train wreck. And the more we learned about them, the darker and more heartbreaking the story became. The Darkest Corners is definitely a book you should vow to stick with, the plot only gets better the more you read.

I can’t say much else without spoiling, but this is a marathon read for sure. The climax is exciting with a twist I never saw coming. Pick this book up ASAP! 

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Monday, July 4, 2016

Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

The May Queen Murders was a very okay book for me. I actually expected to like it a whole lot more than I did. The setup was fantastic and the setting eerie. Despite all the makings of a perfect creepy YA novel, I found myself putting it down more often than I anticipated.

The setting felt much like a retelling of The Village to me. The community where Ivy resides is isolated and has a superstitious way of life. The beginning chapter drew me in as I felt eager to find out who was behind the murders occurring in the settlement.

Ivy is a very naïve character, but she still felt believable. Instead of thinking of her as too stupid to live, I actually could understand why she acted so sheltered. The second characters were interesting too, especially her cousin Heather.

The writing was the strongest aspect of the novel. Beautiful. Atmospheric. I’d love to read more from the author.

The pacing was probably the biggest issue I had. After the excitement of the beginning, everything slowed down dramatically and then sped up again at the end. There seemed to be no middle ground. Also, I love a few twists, but the consistent reveals were a little over the top.

Final thoughts: Good book from an author with lots of potential!

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Friday, July 1, 2016

Review: Please Don't Tell by Laura Tims

Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.

What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.

In this darkly compelling narrative, debut author Laura Tims explores the complicated relationship between two sisters, and what one will do for the other. It’s a story that will keep readers turning pages and questioning their own sense of right and wrong.

Publication Date: May 24, 2016

This was a YA book that had wonderful crossover appeal. Sometimes when I read YA, I start thinking to myself, “Wow, I’m way too old to be reading this.” However, this wasn’t the case with Please Don’t Tell and I loved the themes the author presented over the course of the story.

Please Don’t Tell is told in alternating points of view, hopping between Joy and Grace. On the surface, Joy is the wild and carefree twin while Grace is the do-gooder, overachiever. But there’s so much going on with the characters beneath the surface. I especially loved Grace’s chapters as she narrates the events that lead up to a character’s death.

There was a lot of darkness in the book and I loved the complexity of the characters. The author made each character three-dimensional, even minor ones. There is a hint of romance in the book, but it was realistically done. All the characters felt so real to me and I rarely find that quality.

The mystery wasn’t the strongest and I figured out the twist early on. However, I still enjoyed how everything came together as past and present collided. The resolution had the same realism as the rest of the novel. Highly recommend this book!

Rating: 4/5 Stars