Welcome back readers!
Today, I'll be discussing Dublin Murder Squad mystery The Secret Place.
The Secret Place by Tana French (DMS #5)
A year ago, a boy was found murdered at a girlsʼ boarding school; the case was never solved.
Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to join Dublin’s Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey arrives to his office with a photo of the boy captioned: “I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.” Stephen joins Detective Antoinette Conway to reopen the case.
With clues leading back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends, their rival clique, and a tangle of relationships that binds them all to the murdered boy, the private underworld of teenage girls turns out to be more mysterious and dangerous than the detectives could’ve imagined.
After completing half of the books in the Dublin Murder Squad series, I love Tana French more than I could've seen coming. Like Faithful Place and Broken Harbor, The Secret Place is a story like nothing I've read before...
The fifth mystery in the Dublin Murder Squad series is quite unlike the third and fourth books. Despite also featuring a merciless murder, The Secret Place is set in an all girls' boarding school and is centered around a group of sixteen-year-olds—that in itself is a recipe for likely disaster. Nonetheless, French once again manges to create an unforgettable and captivating narrative.
Like in French's other pieces, this novel features a very detailed writing style. Through the author's word choice, readers are taken right to where the story takes place. The Secret Place becomes so vivid, audience members feel as if they're a part of the story themselves.
Aside from French's pristine writing, another magnificent element of the story is the cast of characters. Although this novel features a very large cast, most personas work to bring the narrative to life. With the students at St. Kilda's, the students at Colms, and every character in between, Chris Harper's death brings about more a few likely suspects.
Despite French's superb writing style and cast, the standout element of The Secret Place is the plot. The story itself is what keeps readers hooked right until the very last page.
With lies being told and secrets being held, it seems unlikely that Chris' killer will be uncovered. The fifth DMS mystery is a story filled with betrayal and deception.
Eager to discover the wickedness that lies at the heart of St. Kilda's? Pick up a copy of The Secret Place!
Today, I'll be discussing October BOTM pick, The Lies We Told.
The Lies We Told by Camilla Way
A daughter: Beth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behavior, the apparent delight in hurting others... Sometimes Beth is scared of her and what she could be capable of.
A son: Luke comes from the perfect family, with the perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without a trace, and his girlfriend, Clara, is desperate to discover what has happened to him.
A life built on lies: As Clara digs into the past, she realizes that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke's long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke's life is in danger because of the lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can Clara find him before it's too late?
I had a blast reading this twisted thriller with @thrilltalkbookblog. The Lies We Told is, without a doubt, an ideal, spooky October mystery.
Camilla Way's latest novel, The Lies We Told, features a compelling writing style, an immensely gripping storyline, and an incredible cast.
Way's diction is remarkable and detailed but also easy to follow. She gives just enough specifics to rouse interest in the audience without making readers feel overwhelmed.
The plot of this thriller is also quite fascinating. The author introduces the audience to the lives of two families which are later brilliantly connected. By introducing these families separately, readers become engrossed by every single character only to be awe-struck once their long-awaited connection is finally revealed. This perfectly developed plot works to keep readers engaged and enthralled until the very last page.
Besides the amazing writing and storyline, Way also creates an unforgettable cast of characters—all of which are one-of-a-kind. By the end of this novel, readers will come to learn that no one is as innocent as they appear.
Do you like crooked storylines? Pick up a copy of The Lies We Told.
Welcome back to AZE book friends!
Today, I'll be discussing Hercule Poirot mystery: The Mystery of the Blue Train.
The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot #6) by Agatha Christie
When the luxurious Blue Train arrives at Nice, a guard attempts to wake Ruth Kettering from her slumber. But she will not wake—for she has been strangled and a heavy blow has rendered her features unrecognizable. What is more, her rubies are missing.
The prime suspect in the case is Ruth’s husband, Derek. But Hercule Poirot is not yet convinced...
The Mystery of the Blue Train, the sixth book in the Poirot series, can be described as a character-based novel. While this Christie pick features an extremely intriguing premise, the story itself revolves around the cast, not the mystery. Additionally, the book lacks mystique and suspense.
This Hercule Poirot mystery does not read like a mystery. Despite its immense potential, The Mystery of the Blue Train appears more similar to contemporary fiction than to the crime and thriller genres. It does not invoke any sense of eeriness or thrill. As a matter of fact, it's quite anticlimactic.
While this Christie novel cannot be considered a bad read, it is not an ideal pick for readers looking for a suspense-filled mystery.However, if you enjoy contemporary fiction and character-based stories, this might be a great pick for you!
Welcome back to AZE!
Today, I'll be discussing 2018 mystery and new release, Watching You. Lisa Jewell's latest novel will be on sale December 26, 2018!
A BIG thanks to Atria Books (Simon & Schuster) for sending me a free ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Let's get to rating!
Watching You by Lisa Jewell
Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you...
Tom Fitzwilliam, the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, is beloved by everyone—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor. Quickly, Joey develops an infatuation with this charming man. But she's certainly not the only one.
Jenna Tripp, one of Tom’s students, also lives on the same street. However, she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he's taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate.
And after doing some digging, Jenna discovers that a twenty-year-old diary reveals some unyielding information—information that reveals a young schoolgirl's obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam.
Lisa Jewell's latest novel is a fine, character-based mystery. Despite a lack of intense suspense or thrill, there's no doubt that Watching you will have readers hooked until the very last page.
This upcoming piece features Jewell's excellent writing style—one that both paints a vivid picture but is also quite easy to follow. Her word choice is detailed but not overwhelming, which is great because it makes this book an easy and enjoyable read for fans of all genres.
The storyline of Watching You is also quite compelling. Although the novel is based around a gruesome crime, the scenes that lead up to the attack are also gripping, intriguing, and thought-provoking. Fans of psychological thrillers will take pleasure in the fact that Jewell's latest includes more than one mystery.
In spite of the book's unique plot, the star of Watching You is the cast itself. Although the cast appears quite large, most characters play a fundamental role in the story. The author manages to perfectly create and develop each persona, which in turn, makes Melville Heights come alive.
Watching You is an ideal piece for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers but prefer to stay away from dark and gory mysteries.
Enjoyed this review? Pre order Lisa Jewell's latest!
Welcome back readers!
Today, I'll be discussing the Hercule Poirot mystery, Death in the Clouds.
Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #12)
From seat No.9, Hercule Poirot was ideally placed to observe his fellow passengers. Over to his right sat an attractive young woman, clearly delighted by the man opposite to her. Ahead, in seat No.13, sat a Countess with a poorly-concealed cocaine habit; across the aisle in seat No.8, a mystery writer was being troubled by a wasp. But what the passengers on the plane did not know was that in seat No.2, sat the slumped, lifeless body of a woman.
This Hercule Poirot mystery is quite bold and striking. The crime featured in this story is peculiar yet fascinating, and the cast of characters is unique and unusual. Because of this, Death in the Clouds is a one-of-a-kind narrative.
Although the storyline is noteworthy, this Poirot mystery can be described as a good whodunnit. It's certainly not a standout among the series. Some of the characters, although intriguing at first, quickly become uninteresting. And unfortunately, after the halfway point, the murderer becomes a bit apparent.
Nonetheless, Detective Poirot and his unlikely companion make this an enjoyable tale!
Have you read Death in the Clouds? Share your thoughts below!
Welcome back readers!
Today, I'll be discussing a Christie favorite: Ordeal by Innocence.
Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie
According to the courts, Jacko Argyle bludgeoned his mother to death with a poker. The sentence was life in prison. But when Dr. Arthur Calgary arrives with the proof that confirms Jacko’s innocence, it is too late—months prior, Jacko had died behind bars following a bout of pneumonia. Worse still, the doctor’s revelations reopen old wounds in the family, increasing the likelihood that the real murderer will strike again.
Christie's Ordeal by Innocence is a great whodunnit that entails a fan favorite: family betrayal. The featured writing is captivating and engaging, the cast of characters is enticing, but the standout element in this novel is the storyline itself...
When Mrs. Argyle is found in a pool of blood, her family and the police is sure that her son has committed the crime. Jacko Argyle is charged with murder and his family decides to let him pay for his actions.
But months later, the alibi he has sworn by comes to save him too late. Jacko is dead, and Dr. Arthur Calgary assures police that he couldn't have been guilty--they were together at the time of the crime. If Jacko didn't do it, then someone else in that house must have. Everyone else loved Mrs. Argyle... didn't they? Who would betray her in such a horrific way and why?
This Christie standalone shows readers that everyone has secrets to hide, and more importantly, that trusting someone blindly can put your life at risk.
Ordeal by Innocence is a fantastic mystery, but it doesn't invoke an intense sense of suspense or danger. That's why, a shocking turn of events occurs, it quickly becomes apparent that danger had been present all along...
This book is a great pick for Christie fans who enjoyed Crooked House or And Then There Were None. Readers of murder mysteries and psychological thrillers should also consider it.
Have you read Ordeal by Innocence? Share your thoughts below!
Today, I'll be discussing the third novel in Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series.
The Faithful Place by Tana French (DMS #3)
Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was a nineteen-year-old kid with a dream of escaping his family's cramped flat and running away to London with his girl, Rosie Daly. But on the night they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn't show. Frank thought she'd dumped him--probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. Regardless, Frank left on his own and never went home again. However, neither did Rosie.
Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in an abandoned house on Faithful Place, and Frank, now a detective in the Dublin Undercover squad, is going home whether he likes it or not.
After loving Broken Harbor, I decided to pick up The Faithful Place. Fortunately, this time around was as delightful as the first! Although Broken Harbor's plot is slightly more riveting, the familial and reminiscent aspect of Faithful Place makes this a great novel as well.
Like in Broken Harbor, the writing in the third DMS novel is complex and colorful. However, although the author's word choice is elaborate and flowery, it's not at all off-putting.
Another great element of Faithful Place is its engaging storyline. The novel features both a sense of nostalgia and evident distrust among a family that works to make the mystery compelling while also making it relatable and realistic.
Nonetheless, the star element in this book is the cast of characters. French paints very vivid pictures of each and every character, whether primary or secondary. Through these impressions, readers receive small clues that reveal the killer.
The third pick in the Dublin Murder Squad series is a great choice for readers who prefer character-based novels and authentic, real life mysteries.
Already read The Faithful Place? Share your thoughts below!
Today, I'll be discussing 2015 favorite: What She Knew.
What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
Rachel Jenner is walking in a park with her young child, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben disappears.
The police are called, search parties are formed, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, falls apart. As hours and days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knows him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.
As she desperately pieces together the clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts.
FINALLY... a GREAT police procedural.
What She Knew is my first Macmillan novel, but it certainly won't be the last.
This 2015 novel tells the story of a child's kidnapping from two perspectives: the victim's mother and the detective on the case. This change in point of view provides audiences with a captivating police procedural that reads like a thriller. What She Knew is riveting and unputdownable.
There are various elements that combined, make this an amazing read. The author's writing is concise while also being vivid. The characters are fascinating, real, and relatable. And the narrative itself is compelling.
What She Knew is an ideal whodunnit for readers who enjoy crime, mystery, and even psychological thrillers. Although this is a great pick for Tana French readers, audiences who prefer succinct writing styles are sure to enjoy this one as well. If you enjoyed Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell or even Blink by K.L. Slater, pick up a copy of this 2015 novel!
Have you read this beloved mystery? Share your thoughts below!
Hello book lovers!
Today, I'll be discussing Sara Shepard's latest piece, The Elizas.
The Elizas by Sara Shepard
When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family assumes that it’s another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza is sure she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.
Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her book draws closer, she finds more questions than answers. Like why do her editor, agent, and family continue to mix up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional... isn’t it?
The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation, the closer her life starts to resemble her book, until finally the line between reality and fiction blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.
After having such high expectations for the The Elizas, it's not surprising that I'm feeling disappointed.
Shepard's latest piece features an intriguing and unique storyline, as well as a cast of graphic and lifelike characters. And although there are a couple of great elements in the piece, including the two previously discussed and the author's diction and writing style, in this case, the bad outweighs the good.
Despite the fact that The Elizas is an interesting narrative, the plot quickly becomes repetitive. The protagonist, who is considered an unreliable and paranoid narrator, spends the entire novel questioning her actions as well as that of those around her. And although the purpose of the book is to uncover why Eliza was found at the bottom of a hotel pool, the events that unfold throughout the novel quickly become flat and monotonous.
Even though the storyline has the potential to be exhilarating, the author fails to develop the idea. Additionally, Shepard neglects to include thrilling and spooky twists that serve to keep readers attentive and absorbed in the story.
Because the novel is unchanging and predictable, it becomes boring—which causes many readers to feel restless.
While I didn't particularly enjoy Shepard's latest, I may give her future works a chance.
What's your favorite Shepard novel? Comment down below!
Welcome back to AZE
Today, I'll be discussing April 2018's most popular novel, Sometimes I Lie.
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.
One day, Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. Nonetheless, she can hear everyone around her, and they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a feeling her husband might be involved.
Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this psychological thriller asks:
Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth?
I'd been waiting to get my hands on Alice Feeney's debut for months, and after reading Sometimes I Lie, I assure all readers this one is a must.
Feeney's debut is a dark, captivating narrative that begs one question: who can you actually trust?
Sometimes I Lie is well-written and brilliantly developed. Feeney's writing style is not only easy to understand and follow, it's hypnotizing—which makes her first novel unputdownable.
Along with its superb writing style, Sometimes I Lie hooks readers with its enticing plot and fascinating set of characters. Despite the plot being fantastic, the book's cast is what makes this thriller a favorite.
Although the book is exceptional, the ending is a bit discouraging. Most audience members are fans of plot twists, but there is such thing as too many. As a reader, there is nothing more important than closure at the end of a story, and because of this, a vague conclusion makes the reading experience quite frustrating.
After discussing Sometimes I Lie with @aprilsbookshelf and @flippingpageswithjess and reading reviews on Goodreads, I noticed that I wasn't the only one who was left feeling confused. As a matter of fact, the majority voiced feelings of uncertainty in the moments after finishing the book.
It wasn't until a while after the discussions, that I was able to decipher the ending. Nonetheless, this took away from what could've been a 5-star novel.
While the ending may be a bit chaotic, there's no doubt that Sometimes I Lie is a great pick, especially for those who enjoy the thriller, mystery, and crime genres. However, if you're not up for decoding the story, it's best to pick up another novel!
Have you read Sometimes I Lie? What did you think?
Today, I'll be discussing 2019 mystery and new release, She Lies in Wait. Gytha Lodge's latest novel will be on sale January 8, 2019!
A BIG thanks to Random House for sending me a free ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Let's get to rating!
She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge
On a hot July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest, and the youngest of the group—Aurora Jackson—is eager to tag along. The evening starts like any other—there’s drinking, dancing, fighting, and kissing. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared.
Her friends claim that she was fine the night before. Could they be telling the truth?
An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the girl is found.
Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is discovered in a hideaway that only the six teens knew about, and DCI Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving the cold case.
Back in 1983, as a young cop in the small town, he had known the teenagers personally, even before taking part in the search. Now, he’s determined to get the truth of what happened that night.
Sheens’ investigation brings the members of the camping party back to the small town, where they will be confronted with the events that left one of them dead, and all of them changed forever.
Lodge's upcoming novel is a great summer and autumn read.
This suspense-filled, police procedural features a great cast of characters and a storyline that keeps readers guessing until the very end.
Although Lodge's diction makes the story compelling and easy to follow, it's her attention to detail that brings the story to life. While reading She Lies in Wait, readers will find clues in the characters' thoughts and actions. What seems insignificant at first glance, may actually be essential to solving the mystery of Aurora's disappearance.
Although the cast of characters is perfectly developed and portrayed, the star element of this pick is the plot itself. While the storyline is filled with great mystery, it's the children's evident naivety and innocence that makes danger apparent and inevitable. These combined components make She Lies in Wait a thrilling and modern whodunnit.
Despite there being times in which the novel is slow-paced, there's no doubt that Lodge's latest piece is great for readers who enjoy Tana French or Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories.
Interested in this Random House mystery? Pre Order a copy today!
Today, I'll be discussing September BOTM pick, Cross Her Heart.
Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job and her best friend Marilyn.
But when Ava rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are plastered all over the news, Lisa's world explodes.
As she finds everything she’s built threatened, it's up to Lisa to face her past in order to save what little she has left.
Someone has been pulling the strings, and that person is determined to make Lisa suffer for breaking a promise she made long ago.
Who picked Cross Her Heart as their September BOTM? I sure did!
I read this new release as a buddy read with @thrilltalkbookblog and quite enjoyed it.
Cross Her Heart, Pinborough's latest novel, is a quick and fun thriller. Her writing style can be described as concise and comprehensible. Despite the fact that her word choice is descriptive and vivid, it's not excessively detailed and flowery.
The characters in Cross Her Heart are also quite engaging. Although they're all fairly different from one another, each serves a purpose. Lisa's observant demeanor, Ava's innocence, and Marilyn's strong intuition work together to make an intriguing story. The secondary characters also have a significant role. Simon, Richard, Julia and the rest of the cast serve to pique the audience's interest even further.
Despite Pinborough's fantastic writing and character development, the best element of Cross Her Heart is the fast-paced, suspense-filled plot. However, although the narrative is filled with twists and turns, some of them are far-fetched and unconvincing—for many, this is the fault of CHH.
Nonetheless, Pinborough's latest book is a good choice for those looking for a quick and easy-to-read thriller.
Already read this BOTM pick? Reach out to me and share your thoughts!
Today, I'll be discussing my thoughts on the most popular novel of 2003, The Da Vinci Code.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
While in Paris, Harvard professor Robert Langdon is awakened by a phone call. The curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, his body found covered in ancient symbols.
Even more startling, the victim was involved in the Priory of Sion: a secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton and Da Vinci. It seems the curator was guarding a long-held secret.
As Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through strange riddles, they are shocked to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci—clues visible for all to see and yet cleverly disguised by the painter. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the puzzle, this explosive, ancient truth will be lost forever.
Guess who finally joined the Dan Brown fan club...
After years of debating whether to read The Da Vinci Code, my mom surprised me with a copy she found at a local, second-hand bookstore... I picked it up a couple of weeks later.
In all honesty, I went into The Da Vinci Code with a bit of doubt. Although I'd heard dozens of great reviews, I wondered whether the story would capture my interest.
After only a couple of pages, I knew I had nothing to worry about. The Da Vinci Code is one of the most fascinating and captivating novels I've read so far.
While Brown's writing style is quite wonderful, his storyline and character development are what make The Da Vinci Code a 5-star read.
The characters featured in this novel, such as Robert Langford; Sophie Neveu; and even Jacques Saunière; are complex and fascinating. Despite being a part of a superb narrative, these characters bring the story to life, their authenticity makes the story feel real and genuine.
However, the best element of The Da Vinci Code is the storyline itself. Brown manages to develop a multi-dimensional plot based on factual events and people. That, in itself, is what makes this novel astounding.
This book has everything a reader could want. If you enjoy mysteries, treasure hunts, puzzles, art, history, and are open to alternative theories & concepts regarding the Catholic religion/church, pick up a copy of The Da Vinci Code.
Have you read this novel? Share what you thought in the comments.
Hello again readers!
Starting off Booktober with a review of Sager's second thriller, The Last Time I Lied.
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
Two Truths and a Lie—Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, played the game every night at summer camp. But the games ended the night Emma watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the late hours of the night. The last she—or anyone—saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, pressing a finger to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma channels the feelings and thoughts about her past into her work. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, Camp Nightingale's owner, she urges Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor.
In no time, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats... The closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and and what happened to her friends, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price.
After being blown away by Final Girls, I decided to pick up The Last Time I Lied for some #backtobacksager. It's no surprise that I loved TLTIL just as much as the author's first thriller.
Despite both novels being quite different, each was just as fascinating and suspense-filled. Like Final Girls, TLTIL features concise yet detailed writing and immensely intriguing characters. In Sager's second thriller, each and every character, whether primary or secondary, is suspicious; it's almost as if everyone has something to hide...
In spite of this, the most favored element of this book is its storyline. Although the first couple of chapters lack action and intensity, the narrative picks up when the setting shifts. In that moment, the dynamic of the plot completely changes.
From that point onward, readers can feel a profound sense of eeriness, and as the story progresses, the audience also becomes aware of a great menace. It's quite evident that something horrible is going to happen, it's just unclear when that something will occur.
Because the feeling of imminent danger isn't enough in a Sager thriller, the author introduces a shocking twist that leaves readers completely shocked—their hearts pounding in their chest. Like in Final Girls, the twists in The Last Time I Lied are mind blowing and brilliant.
I'd recommend both Sager novels in a heartbeat; they just might be my favorite reads of 2018.
Did you read this creepy thriller? Let's chat!
Welcome back readers!
Today, I'll be discussing Riley Sager first thriller, Final Girls.
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on a cabin vacation with friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of the infamous club—a group of survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a dropout's knife; Sam, who fought the Sack Man at a motel in the late hours of the night; and now Quincy, who ran through the forest to escape the man she only refers to as Him.
Now, Quincy is doing well—thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring partner, a popular baking blog, a beautiful apartment, and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the officer who saved her life all those years ago.
Despite this, her memory won’t allow her to recall the events of that dreaded night; the past is sealed shut... That is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit; and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep.
Okay readers... Riley Sager is officially one of my favorite thriller authors.
For weeks, my bookstagram peers advised me to pick up one of his novels, and after finally doing so, I am absolutely blown away.
Sager's writing hooks readers from the very first chapter. His word choice is concise yet colorful, and his characters, such as Quincy, Coop, and Samantha, are complex and extremely intriguing.
Despite this, what makes most readers fully engrossed in Final Girls is the plot itself. Sager creates and develops four gruesome scenes, including the sorority massacre and the Pine Cottage murders, which make Final Girls absolutely unputdownable.
Sager's first thriller is also brilliant in that the pace of the novel makes it a true "thriller." From the first chapter, the protagonist recounts narratives that serve to keep readers both on edge and tremendously interested. As the plot progresses, clues and secrets are revealed throughout the chapters that increase the momentum of the story. By the time the climax comes around, there is an intense sense of danger, as if something horrible is about to happen at any moment.
Nonetheless, Final Girls' mind blowing and sincerely heartbreaking ending is what makes the novel a standout, 5-star pick.
Sager's first thriller is superb from the first word to the very last; I can't recommend it enough.
If you enjoy gory, fast-paced thrillers, pick up a copy of Final Girls! Already read it? Let's chat!
Today, I'll be discussing BOTM's August mystery pick, Sweet Littles Lies.
Sweet Littles Lies by Caz Frear
Twenty-six-year-old Detective Cat Kinsella is called to the scene of a crime in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, where she discovers that a young housewife has been brutally murdered.
Cat and her team immediately suspect the woman’s husband, until she receives a mysterious phone call that links the victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier. The call raises uneasy memories for Cat—her family met Maryanne while on holiday, right before she vanished. Though she was only a child, Cat knew that her father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about Maryanne or her disappearance.
Did her father do something to the teenage girl all those years ago? Could he have taken part in a murder now?
Did you pick up a copy of Caz Frear's debut novel?
Get ready for my honest review of this police procedural!
Sweet Littles Lies is an interesting piece. While there's no doubt that the plot of the story is intriguing and enticing, it's not particularly standout.
Caz Frear's writing style is a mix of concise and eloquent word choice. Although her diction and syntax may not be quite direct and brief, it isn't detailed to the point of distraction either. Instead, Frear's writing can be described as a combination of A.J. Finn's and Tana French's writing styles!
Along with her fine word choice, the author also manages to accurately demonstrate the steps taken by detectives to solve a crime. By doing this, Frear develops a realistic and unique narrative.
Sweet Little Lies features a genuine depiction of the police force, a detailed and gruesome murder, shocking crimes, and dozens of secrets. The amazing storyline is what will keep audiences interested until the very end!
Despite this, the pace of the novel is a downfall. Although the second half is captivating and fast-paced, Sweet Little Lies is, unquestionably, a slow burner.
Along with the slow pace, the cast of characters isn't too impressive either. Whilst the strong personalities of Maryanne Doyle, Cat Kinsella, and Gina Hicks are magnificent, there are many characters that prove quite irrelevant to the story.
Nonetheless, Sweet Littles Lies is a good read that features an alluring storyline and strong, female characters. Although the mystery is quite predictable, many will find it enjoyable to uncover all the hidden clues.
I wouldn't recommend this novel to readers looking for a quick, twisted thriller. Instead, I would suggest Sweet Little Lies to readers who enjoy police procedurals and descriptive, detective crime novels.
Have you read Frear's debut novel? Share your thoughts below!
Welcome back to AZE!
Today, I'll be discussing my thoughts on Patrick Canning's latest novel, The Colonel and the Bee.
Thank you Evolved Publishing, LLC and Patrick Canning for the free reader copy in exchange for my honest review!
The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning
Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than what her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world.
One night, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix's show. This fascinating English gentleman is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon, The Ox.
That night, Beatrix flees to join the Colonel, the two of them making a narrow escape. Feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, Beatrix vows to help him catch the murderous criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his balloon.
Will this peculiar match find what they desire?
The Colonel and the Bee is not my kind of read, but it's a good read nonetheless.
Patrick Canning's latest novel features an eloquent writing style, similar to that of traditional, contemporary novels. His word choice perfectly conveys the magical world he's created—a surprising combination that can be described as Wizard of Oz meets Around the World in 80 Days. Canning's latest novel was written for readers who are ready to travel to another world and let their imaginations roam. It combines adventure and mystery, but most importantly, it features magnificent characters.
The best element of The Colonel and the Bee is, unquestionably, the various personalities found throughout the novel. James Bacchus is charming and determined, while Beatrix is bold and strong-willed. Even though Beatrix faces mistreatment, she is unapologetically herself. Canning's decision to create such a strong, female protagonist is admired and refreshing.
Despite the fact that The Colonel and the Bee is a good novel, it's not the kind of book I consider gripping. The storyline is unique and the characters are marvelous, but Canning's traditional writing style drove away my attention and interest at times.
However, as I've mentioned in other pieces, my fondness of concise, modern diction is simply a preference. There is no doubt that Canning is a tremendous author.
The Colonel and the Bee is an exceptional pick for readers who enjoy a traditional writing style, such as that of Arthur Conan Doyle.
If this review has intrigued you, check out Canning's latest novel on Goodreads or on https://www.patrickcanningbooks.com/
Already read The Colonel and the Bee? Share your thoughts below!
Time to chat, thriller readers!
Today, I'll be discussing my thoughts on the latest B.A. Paris.
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car and goes inside. But when he returns, Layla is gone―never to be seen again.
Ten years later, Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them together years ago. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him, but a sixth sense tells him something's wrong...
After what felt like forever, I finally got my hands on the new B.A. Paris (and check out the breathtaking cover).
I was quite hesitant to pick this novel up because of its mixed reviews. Many found the plot repetitive while others disagreed with the ending. However, there were plenty of readers, like me, who loved Bring Me Back and were not at all disappointed.
Those of you who have kept up with AZE since the beginning know that B.A. Paris is one of my go-to authors. There are very few writers who can create graphic, lifelike characters and stories while making you feel as if you're living the narrative from the inside. Paris' past novels took readers on thrilling and suspenseful journeys; Bring Me Back is no different.
This novel features an enticing and captivating story, one that will have you turning pages so quickly that you'll have finished before you know it.
The characters, however, are what make Bring Me Back an unputdownable novel. Throughout the book you will find yourself suspecting each and every single character. You'll try to come up with theories of what exactly happened to Layla, but you'll be wrong. The only thing that is certain is that everyone in this story has something to hide.
Bring Me Back is a great pick for fans of thrillers, mysteries, and whodunnits. Paris' latest novel will have you on the edge of your seat, craving the truth.
If you've read mixed reviews and are unsure of picking up a copy, I hope this discussion has convinced you. Take the chance and check it out for yourself!
Welcome to AZE readers,
Today, I'll be discussing my thoughts on a July 2018 release: Green Zone Jack.
A BIG thanks to East Third Street Press, LLC, I. James Bertolina, and Ryder for sending me a free copy in exchange for my honest review.
Let's get to rating!
Green Zone Jack by I. James Bertolini
Just back from an assignment and looking forward to his vacation, special agent Payton Ladd receives an urgent request to lead a manhunt in Baghdad. Ben Ater, nephew of a powerful senator, has disappeared, and the RSO, Ladd's ex girlfriend, needs Payton to find him.
Once in Baghdad, Payton retraces Ben’s steps and speaks to those who claim to know why the young auditor mysteriously left the Green Zone. But the explanation that Ben was dealing drugs doesn’t explain why he went missing in the Red Zone, a place he had no business being.
As Payton continues to dig, he uncovers pieces of the puzzle that don’t fit, and suddenly, he's convinced that Ben wasn’t kidnapped over anything as simple as a drug deal.
With the help a perfectly organized task force, Payton uncovers a conspiracy that could topple nations.
After reading the synopsis of Green Zone Jack, I found myself intrigued by this military mystery. As most of you know, I usually read thrillers, mysteries, crime, or detective novels. Despite the fact that Bertolina's latest novel is classified as a mystery, GZJ proved to be outside my comfort zone.
Although I found myself overwhelmed by the military jargon, I was able to focus on the overall story... who doesn't enjoy a conspiracy?
The most unique element of this novel is the author's diction and writing style. While Bertolina's word choice isn't concise, it's not immensely detailed either. Green Zone Jack also features a variety of military jargon which makes it very different from other novels in the mystery genre. Because of this, GZJ is an interesting and refreshing read for individuals who are familiar with or interested in the armed forces.
Aside from the unique writing style and engaging storyline, the wide variety of characters featured in the novel were a bit of a distraction. Nonetheless, the development of the primary characters, such as Payton Ladd and Catherine McGabe, was superb.
Green Zone Jack is a great read for readers interested in the armed forces and even individuals who have served! Despite this, I wouldn't recommend this book to readers simply looking for a mystery or crime book. If you are familiar with military argot and want to dive into the world of crime, order a copy of Green Zone Jack!
Hello book lovers!
Today, I'll be discussing my thoughts on beloved thriller pick, The Wife Between Us.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
“When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement—a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Here's the deal readers... I did not enjoy The Wife Between Us as much as I thought I would.
I had been dying to get my hands on a copy of this novel for ages, and when I finally picked it up, my peers assured me I would absolutely love it.
Unfortunately, The Wife Between Us fell flat.
While the writing was concise and vibrant and the characters were exceptionally lifelike, the story itself was uneventful and predictable. I blame this predictability on the book's blurb, not the narrative itself.
If the synopsis would not warn readers about "making assumptions" the twists would be genuinely shocking and enjoyable, resulting in a much better reading experience. Unfortunately, the "warnings" made it easy to figure out the pivotal moments that were meant to make The Wife Between Us an enthralling tale.
Despite the novel missing the element of surprise, I also felt that it lacked suspense and thrill. Although this novel is categorized as a psychological thriller and mystery, I felt that it lacked both of these elements. There was no moment in which I felt shock, tension, or even a sense of eeriness.
There's no doubt that The Wife Between Us is a good novel and a great choice for readers looking for a quick read. However, I would not recommend this novel to anyone looking for a thriller or mystery.
Here's some tips that might help enrich your reading experience with The Wife Between Us:
1. Ignore the synopsis
2. Don't think try to figure out the ending, just read.
3. Don't pick this up thinking it's a mystery or thriller; instead, think of it as contemporary fiction.
Have you read The Wife Between Us? Share what you thought below!
Welcome back book friends!
Today, I'll be discussing my FAVORITE Gillian Flynn novel, Dark Places.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” Despite being in the house during the attack, Libby survived and testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer.
Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby in hopes of uncovering details of the crime that may help to free Ben.
Libby, who hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history, agrees to reconnect with faces from her past and report her findings to the club—for a hefty fee.
Unfortunately, Libby wouldn’t have imagined that she’d find herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
WHOA. This is what I call an unputdownable novel.
Dark Places is packed with shocking twists, dirty secrets, and striking characters.
From the moment the story begins, Flynn takes readers on a twisted tale of murder, betrayal, and deception. Dark Places is violent, gory, and sinister—everything that a thriller fanatic could possibly want in a novel.
Not only is Flynn's piece driven by its captivating plot, Dark Places is surprisingly character-based. The combination of its fascinating storyline along with its featured authentic, lively characters, such as Diondra Wertzner and Krissy Cates, makes this book one to remember.
Although there's no doubt that Dark Places is a brilliant, I was quite disappointed with the outcome of the novel.
The narrative was thrilling and enticing... until the last 40 pages. There's no better way to explain the ending other than that it was simply anticlimactic. While it wasn't as dreadful and upsetting as Gone Girl, the ending of Dark Places can be described as unrealistic and seemingly irrelevant to the plot. Despite this, I absolutely loved the book and would recommend it to all thriller and mystery fanatics.
Which Gillian Flynn is your favorite? Let's chat down below!
Hello again booksters!
Today, I'll be discussing one of the most popular true crime novels of the year- I'll Be Gone in the Dark.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he committed ten horrific murders. Then he disappeared, escaping capture from some of the best detectives in the area.
Three decades later, true crime journalist Michelle McNamara is determined to find the Golden State Killer.
As many of you know, I absolutely love the crime, mystery, and thriller genres.
Despite that, I had been very skeptical about picking up I'll Be Gone in the Dark. Although the topic was fascinating, I feared that the story itself, specifically the reportive/journalistic aspect, would be monotonous. Unfortunately those fears came true.
I decided to read I'll Be Gone in the Dark because of the novel's wonderful reviews. Sadly, I didn't feel the way most of my peers felt about this book.
I'd like to start off by saying that although I did not enjoy reading this novel, I admire McNamara's endless dedication to the case.
With that said, let's discuss the book itself.
One of my biggest complaints about IBGITD is its lack of structure. I am appalled by the fact that the novel has no method of organization- it's simply dozens of short stories compiled together in no particular order. The book jumps from the story of a rape, to the story of a murder, to the narration of McNamara discussing the case with various detectives.
This lack of organization makes the book sloppy which causes many readers, myself included, to feel disengaged and bored the majority of the time.
If the novel had been organized chronologically, IBGITD would've been much more enthralling.
Another element that I struggled with was the fact that IBGITD was just 328 pages of speculation. Although there were dozens of facts regarding the crime scenes, there was no concrete evidence pointing to the identity of the killer. Despite detectives having a possible profile, the novel was just hundreds of pages of "what ifs."
While there's no doubt that Michelle McNamara and her book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark, brought back attention to one of the most heinous and coldest cases in history, that's basically all this book accomplished.
Her dedication to this case was remarkable and admirable, but new technology is what put Joseph James DeAngelo behind bars.
Did you read I'll Be Gone in the Dark? What did you think? Leave your comments down below.
Welcome back to AZE!
Today, I'll be discussing The Canary's Song, Natalie Banks' latest work.
I want to give a huge thanks to the author and publisher for sending me a free review copy in exchange for my honest review. Now, let's get to rating!
The Canary's Song by Natalie Banks
Juliette Bennett’s life was in shambles. Losing her son to a shocking accident had broken her heart, and now, she was on the verge of losing her husband too.
In a last effort to save her marriage, Juliette books a cabin retreat in the mountains of North Carolina.
She thought she had overcome the worst time of her life. Little does she know, the wilderness has something dreadful in store.
Natalie Banks is back with remarkable character development in her latest work, The Canary's Song. This latest book features incredible, authentic representations of motherhood and relationships while also addressing the issues of overcoming hardships, struggling with faith, and healing and forgiveness.
For readers who have struggled with partnerships or parenthood, The Canary's Song will hit very close to home.
While the story felt slow at times, the genuineness of the featured characters made for an unputdownable novel.
The Canary's Song is a quick and short read packed with immense and intense emotion. And while the thriller addict side of me would prefer The Dark Room, there's no doubt that Banks' latest work is a good pick for lovers of contemporary fiction.
If you enjoy emotion packed novels and character-based reads, pick up a copy of The Canary's Song!
Today, I'll be discussing one the most anticipated thrillers of the year, Tear Me Apart. J.T. Ellison's latest novel will be released on August 28, 2018!
A BIG thanks to Mira Books (Harlequin and Harper Collins) for sending me a free ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Let's get to rating!
Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison
Competitive Skier Mindy Wright is a star in the making until a horrific accident threatens her life. During surgery, doctors discover she's suffering from a severe illness, and a stem cell transplant is her only chance at recovery. But when her parents are tested, a shocking truth is uncovered- Mindy is not their daughter.
Who has the answers? And why would someone go to such extremes to keep the past hidden?
Just when I thought it couldn't possibly get better than Lie to Me... IT DOES.
Readers, I literally devoured this book. Tear Me Apart is 485 pages and I managed to read the entire novel in a little over a day. I was taking this book with me to doctor appointments, to family gatherings, even to lunch. I just could not put it down.
J.T. Ellison's writing is just as gripping and mesmerizing in Tear Me Apart as it was in Lie to Me. It's concise and straightforward yet colorful and detailed.
The characters, both primary and secondary, are also quite intriguing. From Juliet's independent and intelligent persona to Jasper's cool and composed demeanor, each character is not only extraordinary but highly significant to the story.
Despite the fact that Ellison's writing style and character development are remarkable, what hooked me instantly was the plot of the story. From the moment I finished the prologue, I knew Tear Me Apart would be dark, sinister, and filled with betrayal.
Although the villain in the novel was quite apparent to me, each and every word was riveting nonetheless.
This book is so much more than the tale of a family. Tear Me Apart is a daunting reminder that no one is as harmless and innocent as they appear to be.
Eager to uncover the Wrights' darkest secrets? Pick up a copy of Tear Me Apart on August 28th!
Welcome back to AZE!
This week, I'll be discussing Sunday Times bestseller Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She says exactly what she’s thinking and sees no problem with it. Nothing is missing in her carefully planned routine. Days include frozen pizza, vodka, watching the telly, and phone chats with Mummy.
Then one day, Eleanor meets Raymond. And with time, her daily customs come to halt. Through this unlikely friendship, Eleanor will come to find that routine and social isolation aren't the only way to live life after all.
"I remember thinking, as I put the phone down, that I really, really hoped that Janey wouldn't bring in one of her homemade cakes to mark my return, as she often did when people had been off. Dry doesn't even come close to describing the arid desert texture of her coffee-and-walnut sponge."
Time to fess' up... Apart from Hermione Granger, no other character has made me laugh as much as Eleanor Oliphant has.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is amusing and delightful but it's also compelling and powerful. While the novel had me completely captivated through humor and its enchanting featured characters, what made me fall in love with the story was its advocacy of the power of kindness and friendship.
Although Gail Honeyman's writing style was splendid, the story and characters she created were quite remarkable. I found myself laughing-out-loud at Eleanor's outrageously blatant responses while also smiling at Raymond's compassionate deeds.
Despite Honeyman creating a magnificent story of friendship and acceptance, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is more than a heartwarming tale.
This novel addresses significant topics such as mental health, trauma, emotional abuse, suicide, and so many other issues that people around the world struggle with everyday.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine serves to remind every individual that no matter how hopeless you feel, you're never alone and unloved.
Have YOU picked up a copy of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine?