Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline

4.5 stars Thriller

I enjoyed this book even though I thought I knew what was going on.  Thinking about this book, what I believe enticed me were the characters and the book’s timeline. I really needed to know the “why” behind the threads of this story, what was the motive?  

When Allie hurt her leg during cross-county tryouts, Sasha came back to help her.  Sasha had never said much to Allie before then, which to me was a red flag.  Sasha points out the two boys, Julian and David, who were in the distance, and wouldn’t you know it, they ended up talking to them.

There seemed to be quite a bit of trauma and drama in the lives of these four teens before they even got together.  Between the four of them, they had a recent divorce, a close family death, one teen already living alone as the parents were never home and one teen who, I thought, was too controlling. These teens become an instant four-some as they hung out together.  I started to dislike a few of them, their attitude and concern for others turned me off.  Looking into the lives of these individuals and their families, I got a good understanding of them and their situations.  I appreciated how the author included this information in the text. 

When Kyle moves into the area, Sasha invites him to hang-out with them.  Imagine that! Oh, did I mention that Kyle is nice to look at. I feel that adding him to the mix isn’t going to be good but I didn’t anticipate what actually occurred.  I have to give credit to Kyle though, he acted smart when he was first approached by the group.  They offered to let him become a member of their gang and Kyle was hesitant. I thought they were all getting along okay but I could feel some tension was building.  Three boys and two girls, that just doesn’t sound like a good combination especially when you add in their personalities. 

They don’t know what went wrong.  At least, that is what they are saying.  The four who fled the area that night, all take that same position.  The one who was left, they don’t even know what happened.  Was this a game or murder? 

We time travel in this book, as the author takes us forward in time.  One of the individuals from that night has now passed away and individuals are gathering for the funeral.  Friends are gathering and reacquainting themselves with one another. Will the three others who were in attendance that night gather and discuss what happened 20 years ago?  Will I learn anything different than what I already know?  The book is not over my friends, it’s only just beginning. 4.5 stars

Thank you, G.P. Putnam’s Sons for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. 

She Crossed the Line Too Many Times. Too Close by Natalie Daniels

5 stars Fiction/Suspense

If only she had listened to her gut feelings, perhaps her life would have turned out differently.  I had to wonder as I turned countless pages, was this woman really off her rocker or was it something else that pushed her over the edge? This was one of those stories that carried me along, page after page, chapter after chapter (and those chapter are long!) until the very end. 

I met Emma, a forensic psychiatrist, who was assigned Connie, a patient at a mental hospital. Emma has a great professional front but personally, Emma is hiding something. What Connie did to land in the hospital, I have no idea at this point, but Emma’s job was to decide if Connie would be able to stand trial. I immediately liked Connie when I met her but as story progressed, my feelings towards her were all over the place.  Connie was clever, crafty and also manipulative yet at times, I was wondering what had possessed her, her actions were driving me up the wall! 

The story flashes back and forth, from the past to the present. We get the story how Connie ended up hospitalized and also about Connie and her relationships now.  The author threw in a few dramatic punches in the stories which I really enjoyed and I couldn’t get this book out of my head. 

With the doctor constantly visiting, Connie gets tired of her endless questions and battering.  She just doesn’t know the answers and doesn’t want to remember. Then, Connie sees an opportunity and decides to turn the tables. It becomes rather fun now when the doctor arrives, as Connie tries on her own invisible white coat and plays her own version of doctor.  In the doctor’s volatile state, Connie manipulates her way into the doctor’s head rather quickly.  I began to wonder with the door closed, who was the patient and who was the doctor, as the line began to get rather blurry.

It all still comes back to, what did Connie do to land herself into the hospital?  The plot deepens as her children are introduced and their feelings towards her are revealed.  I liked that the author slowly reveals parts of this mystery to the readers throughout the chapters, creating suspense and drama.  I could feel the tension building.  This was a great suspenseful story, one that I really enjoyed and one that I highly recommend.

Thanks to HarperCollins Publishing and BookPage for supplying me a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I won a copy of this book in a Sweepstakes at BookPage. I’m sorry that I missed the ARC’s debut deadline.   

The Vanishing Season By Joanna Schaffhausen

4 stars Mystery

It’s that time of the year again, Ellery’s birthday is right around the corner.  For Ellery, unfortunately, she suspects that again, this birthday will not be a time for celebration.  It always began with her mail.  Opening the envelope, Ellery knew the minute her eyes landed on the colorful front what she was holding.  The greeting inside was just the beginning, its deception was just a part of the mystery that Ellery was a part of. Would this year be any different?

Ellery is a female officer who has moved into a small town where she is the only female on the payroll.  Ellery believes that some murders have been committed yet there haven’t been any bodies recovered. She has been connecting the “dots” in a few cases and she believes that she’s uncovered a pattern.  Now, Ellery is predicting the next murder.  However, no one is listening to her.  The real story is, Ellery is not telling her colleagues everything she knows about these cases and the clock is ticking.  What are you going to do Ellery?  You can’t delay your birthday.

With twists and turns, I enjoyed this griping mystery as Ellery works to uncover the pieces and get everyone on board.  I enjoyed the small town of Woodbury, the main characters with their flaws and the character’s history.  This was an entertaining, exciting book and Joanna Schaffhausen is an author that I look forward to reading in the future.   

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

5 stars Thriller

When I first saw the cover for this book, I was intrigued and then, when all the reviews started popping up saying how great it was, I put myself on the list to read it. As I started reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and then, I started applying the book to my own personal life.  What would I do if I was in Rachel’s shoes?  How far would I go?  I was literally sucked into this book! In the end, what really surprised me, was how involved Rachel became. I was captivated by what was happening inside these pages but Rachel was possessed.

Kylie was taken from the bus stop.  As she makes her way into their car, Kylie’s mind reflects back to all the warnings that she had received over the years about getting into a stranger’s vehicle.  Yet, here she was, sitting next to a hooded man, driven by a woman she didn’t know. 

Her mother, Rachel will soon receive the first of many calls from an “Unknown Caller, and she will wish that she had done many things differently.”  Rachel will then begin fulfilling the requirements to get Kylie back.  Rachel, a woman who is fighting cancer hopes that she too, can fight this chain letter which she will discover, cannot be broken.

I enjoyed all the different viewpoints that the author provided in this story.  I felt these gave me a complete picture of the events and it provided a more elaborate account of what was happening.  I liked how Rachel matured in the story.  In the beginning, Rachel was scared and timid but by the end of the novel, she was a totally different character. As the story progressed, I felt as if something came over Rachel and she was on a mission.  I kept wondering what came over her, why was she acting the way she was and when was this going to end? Planting myself in her shoes, I don’t know if I could have stepped where she did or went as far as she went.

I did feel that the book changed tempo halfway through.  One part felt intense and vibrant while the other part felt stealthy and sly. This was a fantastic, on-edge mystery that kept me focused till the very end.  

Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea

4.5 stars Mystery

She’s talented. Perhaps it all started when she was younger and her great aunt showed her how to repair porcelain dolls or it’s her own strict attention to detail, Rory is great at her job.  As a forensic reconstructionist, Rory gives everything she has, when she is working.  It begins with the task of restoring a porcelain doll which belongs to a grieving father and extends to Rory tending to her father’s affairs after his death. Rory attention to detail, investigation and competition extends to all aspects of her life, no matter the outcome.

Reconnecting with her great aunt in a new environment, Rory uses the toy to try to reconnect her great aunt to the real world.  The simple closing of her father’s business, after his death, turns into a major undertaking as she uncovers some information about her father.  Where exactly that puts Rory now that she is part of her father’s business is another question she has to consider?

I thought this was a fast read and I couldn’t put it down/stop thinking about it after I got about halfway through it. I liked the twists and turns that this novel provided in the second half. I enjoyed the characters and I liked that Rory felt like a normal, everyday person. I enjoyed the drama.  I couldn’t get too comfortable, as something would change in the novel and I would have to readjust my thinking.  This is my first novel by this author but I am looking forward to more by Charlie.

I received a copy of this novel from Kensington Publishing Co. in exchange for an honest opinion.  – thank you!

Stone Mothers By Erin Kelly

4 stars Mystery

I was confused when I first started this novel but because I loved He Said/She Said so much, I continued reading and I am so glad that I did. Although, you can promise never to speak about your past, that doesn’t mean that it ever goes away or that the repercussions of it are gone. Your past will always be there, somewhere. 

As the story began to unwind, I finally understood Marianne’s reaction when she was presented with her own apartment at Royal Park Manor.  These luxury units are now sitting on the site of a former mental hospital which she had ties to, when she was younger. Seeing this Manor, brings back a memory of something that had occurred when Marianne was younger. Becoming nervous, Marianne’s afraid that a secret that was shared with a few other individuals, will be exposed. I liked that the author included here, a flashback of Marianne with the events surrounding that secret, so that I could witness the event and understand Marianne’s fear.

We also get to hear from Marianne’s daughter and a character named Helen, who have an important part in Marianne’s mysterious secret.

There were a few surprises for me as I read, things that I didn’t expect to occur but which I totally enjoyed and then, there were the twists that the author added.  I ended up having a great time with this novel.  This was not a fast read for me as the author describes some of the scenes in detail and I didn’t want to miss anything.  I also found that in the beginning it was confusing and I ended up rereading that section again but this book is really great overall. I look forward to Erin Kelly’s next novel.

Thanks so much to MacMillan Publishers for a copy of this novel in exchange for my own honest opinion.  

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

4.5 stars Realistic Fiction

What was that?!?  This story was crazy good!  This novel had some weird twists to it that I wasn’t expecting. Although, I really didn’t get to know the main characters very well in this novel, I really enjoyed it. I liked that there weren’t a lot of characters in this novel. My initial thought was that Susannah was a person who liked to be taken care of and that her husband Max, preferred it that way. Susannah has a teenage son that she leans upon.

The family has just moved into their new home which came with Max’s new job.  As Susannah returns home from a run, she finds a note on their door which alarms her and she phones Max who is traveling for work.

Flashing back, we get the story of Max, who took to the streets at age sixteen.  Max’s story is quite interesting and we learn a lot about him. 

As the stories converge, Max believes that he knows who left the note that Susannah found on the door. Max attitude of “taking care of it” seems to relax Susannah, who has been upset about the note.  How he does that, is another issue.  The story becomes intense at times, as events surrounding this couple, become puzzling and unexpected.  The author does a fantastic job throwing in twists and turns and I was left wondering who was safe. 

This was a great suspenseful novel with a lot of anticipation throughout it. It also was a quick read.

Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

4 stars Mystery

Well, I made it!  I didn’t realize upon opening this novel how long it really was, over 600 pages! Did it feel like 600 pages? Unfortunately for me, it did. The novel started out strong and ended very strong but the middle dragged for me.  That being said, I will read another Karen Rose novel, I will just stick with a shorter one.

What I really liked about this novel was that Karen wasn’t afraid to let her audience in on some disturbing scenes.  Being a thriller, Karen’s killer is cruel and hard, and Karen doesn’t gloss these scenes over, she puts the reader right in on the action.  I also enjoyed the storyline.  I was captivated from the beginning and then the story just rolled along. 

Besides the novel dragging some in the middle, there were a few other issues I had with the novel.  The genre of romantic-suspense is new to me but I had to actually wonder if what went down between Daisy and Special Agent Gideon could actually happen?  Daisy’s a victim and Gideon is an FBI agent and watching their relationship unfold during the investigation felt questionable, to me. Do they not realize they are in the middle of an investigation? Do they not realize what type of investigation it is? I felt that their link also changed her status and how she was seen by others. Also, what about Daisy’s “service dog?” I felt sorry for the dog and I think it was actually an emotional support dog for her.

This is a good, long story with a few slow parts.  For me, the second half of the novel, whizzed by as I began to understand the killer and the motivation behind his madness.  I would like to read more in this series to see what comes next for these characters. 

I want to thank NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.