The Suffering Tree

The Suffering TreeThe Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano

“It’s dark magic brings him back.”

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family—it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events—including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin—that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth—and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel—she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the centuries-old curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried… at any cost.

From award-winning author Elle Cosimano comes a haunting, atmospheric thriller perfect to hand to readers of the Mara Dyer trilogy and Bone Gap.–Goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I realise that a lot of people have taken issue with this book for the graphic descriptions of self harm involved in the story, and I can understand why to some extent. Still, this is a fictional book, and that is what I’m keeping in mind when writing this review. I did not judge fiction books on their ability to make people so things they ordinarily would not do. If a fictional character can fly after jumping off a ten story building, I’m not going to try it just because I read about it. I thought this was a very well-written, unique and wonderful story and that is why it earned five stars in my opinion.

If you like YA books that have outstanding and memorable characters, this is one that you want to get your hands on. From the very first few pages this book hooked me into the story and refused to let go. I found myself walking around with my kindle because I didn’t want to put it down to do menial life tasks without reading the next paragraph.

I liked Tori right away and found her family’s situation interesting. The chapters often began with things that happened in the past and that was just as interesting as the current story. Although Emmeline was not a character in the present portion of the book, she was integral to the plot and I liked her character a lot as well. There were a lot of surprises and unexpected events in this book and it thrilled me to uncover them a page at a time.

This book has stayed with me since I finished reading it a few weeks ago, and I would happily recommend it to those that like a bit of magic and mystery with their historical YA. The romance was sweet and the ending was great.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Reported Missing by Sarah Wray

Reported MissingReported Missing by Sarah Wray

Four months ago, Rebecca Pendle’s husband disappeared. So did 14-year-old Kayleigh Jackson.

Just a coincidence? Rebecca wants to believe so… But as the police start to draw parallels between Chris and Kayleigh, it’s getting harder for her to trust his innocence.

Faced with an angry town that believes Chris has abducted the teenager, Rebecca tries to discover the truth.

But what she finds shocks her more than she ever thought. How well does she really know the man she loves?

A completely gripping, suspenseful thriller, with a shocking twist. Fans of Louise Jensen, K.L Slater and and The Girl on the Train will be hooked until the very last page. –goodreads

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this book had a really interesting premise, but I was never sure that it lived up to the potential of the idea.

Whilst I didn’t expect the tone of this book to be light and happy based on the subject matter, I wasn’t prepared for it to be as dark and gloomy as it was. The main character wasn’t the type that I felt close to throughout the story, and I felt like the author took this too slow. I kept wanting something major to happen that would keep me hooked and turning pages, but it never happened. Even when the truth was revealed toward the end, I kind of just shrugged. It felt like effort to get there, so it wasn’t all that enjoyable.

This wasn’t a bad book, but I certainly wouldn’t say it was one of the better psychological thrillers that I’ve read, either. The story moved from one event to another, but without much excitement and at a relatively slow pace. Perhaps if I could have felt more connected to the main character I would have enjoyed it more. I was hoping for a better turnout at the ending, perhaps a surprise that I didn’t see coming, but that didn’t happen either.

It is a thought provoking book, but one that I wouldn’t read again.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

The Spring Cleaning Murders

The Spring Cleaning Murders (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #7)The Spring Cleaning Murders by Dorothy Cannell

Ellie Haskell swaps scrubbing for sleuthing when yet another member of the Chitterton Fells Charwomen’s Association bites the dust. Someone has more than dust bunnies and dirty dishes to hide. Ellie is helped by handsome husband Bentley, feckless cousin Freddy, and caustic home helper Mrs Malloy.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first of these books that I have had the pleasure of reading, and I found it to be delightful. If you are a lover of cosy mystery as I am, then you will undoubtedly get a kick out of this novel. The author is witty and her characters are both believable and charming. I really like Mrs. Malloy in particular, she has a certain way about her that makes her rather difficult to forget.

The mysteries in this book pile up just as quick as the body count and I loved that the main character didn’t spend her time freaking out over every little thing, but kept her head about her throughout most of the book. There weren’t a lot of ridiculous situations that forced me to suspend belief, so I was able to read right along, satisfied without stopping to roll my eyes as I do with a lot of mystery books.

The family atmosphere and the descriptions of the twins and their antics made me happy, having twins of my own I could relate. I didn’t guess the culprit until they were revealed either, which made me happy.

This book was a lot of fun and I look forward to catching up on this series. Recommended for mystery lovers.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief

The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief (The Curious Affair Of, #1)The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle

Should you find yourself in need of a discreet investigation into any sort of mystery, crime or puzzling circumstances, think of Jesperson and Lane . . .

Should you find yourself in need of a discreet investigation into any sort of mystery, crime or puzzling circumstances, think of Jesperson and Lane . . .

For several years Miss Lane was companion, amanuensis, collaborator and friend to the lady known to the Psychical Societs only as Miss X – until she discovered that Miss X was actually a fraud.

Now she works with Mr Jasper Jesperson as a consulting detective, but the cases are not as plentiful as they might be and money is getting tight – until a case that reaches across the entirety of London lands in their laps.

It concerns a somnambulist, the disappearance of several mediums, and a cat stuck up a tree . . . the links with the cat are negligible, but there is only one team that can investigate the seemingly supernatural disappearances of the psychics and defy the nefarious purpose behind them.

Jesperson and Lane, at your service.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love books set in the age of spiritualism and this novel was perfect to satisfy that kind of reader craving. The plot works with an interesting idea that the author took to the next level, providing the reader with a richly detailed atmosphere and a story that won’t let go of you once it grabs your attention. If you like literature set in Victorian times, this will be one that you don’t want to miss.

This book takes you on a perilous journey, slowly building up the mystery with the introduction of new characters and impossible to figure out situations. I liked that the author took the time to create a good, solid background for her characters before she set out to solve the mystery. I felt like these characters were old friends and there is a certain sly humour to her work that keeps you smiling even at the most intense points in the novel.

Overall, this was a great book that kept me fascinated from the first page to the last and I look forward to hearing the thoughts and opinions of others who have read it. Definitely recommended for the amateur sleuths out there.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Toward a Secret Sky

Toward a Secret SkyToward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.–Goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by what a great book with an intriguing story line this turned out to be. Sometimes I pick up a YA novel and just struggle the whole time to connect to the characters and get into it, but this one was different. I liked Maren, the main character right away and feeling close to her led me to enjoy the rest of the book. There is a bit of a Twilight feel to this–especially when one considers how Maren feels during the absence of her love interest, but it was different enough that it didn’t feel like a copy.

There is plenty of action in this novel to keep you going and the romance is sweet, but not overdone–as in it doesn’t take centre focus on every page of the book. I liked the way the author portrayed the secondary characters as well. No one felt like useless padding and everyone served a clearly defines purpose within the story.

I am looking forward to seeing where she goes with this series, and to reading the next book. If you want a book that will keep you busy for hours and make you feel things–this is a good one to choose. The descriptions were lovely, the story was exciting and the ending made me want more.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two NightsTwo Nights by Kathy Reichs

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.–Goodreads

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I usually love Kathy Reichs, but I have to be honest, this book just didn’t give me the same thrill as her others. Perhaps it was the dry way it was written, being mostly dialogue based, or maybe it was the characters themselves, but either way, this is certainly not what I have come to expect from this author.

The plot is interesting, but I felt like this book just didn’t hit the mark. I wanted to like it and I stuck with it until the end, but even when I read the last page I still felt like it was missing something. There were entire sections of this book that I found my mind wandering away from and times when I switched to another book before coming back and reading more of it.

I had high hopes for this one, but it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t feel any connection to the main character, or the story itself.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Twilight Wife

The Twilight WifeThe Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can trust the people around us.

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting mystery with a few unexpected twists that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

The first couple of chapters in this book drew me in and I was hooked by the third. I liked the main character right away and wanted to know what was going on with her. After she began discovering that things weren’t as they seemed, my curiosity grew and the pages started flying by. This is a very exciting book from the beginning and only gets better as you get farther into it.

I love psychological suspense books that keep you guessing at what is really going on all the way to the end, and this one does that well. Even when you think you have it figured out, there is still something left to be revealed around every corner.

If you love the kind of books where you and the main character have to figure out the mystery together, this would be a good one to pick. Recommended.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Avery by Ken Kratz

And now, for some sour grapes and whining…

Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What “Making a Murderer” Gets Wrong by Ken Kratz
It’s time to set the record straight about Steven Avery.

The Netflix series Making a Murderer was a runaway hit, with over 19 million US viewers in the first 35 days. The series left many with the opinion that Steven Avery, a man falsely imprisoned for almost 20 years on a previous, unrelated assault charge, had been framed by a corrupt police force and district attorney’s office for the murder of a young photographer. Viewers were outraged, and hundreds of thousands demanded a pardon for Avery. The chief villain of the series? Ken Kratz, the special prosecutor who headed the investigation and trial. Kratz’s later misdeeds—prescription drug abuse and sexual harassment—only cemented belief in his corruption.

This book tells you what Making a Murderer didn’t.

While indignation at the injustice of his first imprisonment makes it tempting to believe in his innocence, Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What Making a Murderer Gets Wrong and the evidence shared inside—examined thoroughly and dispassionately—prove that, in this case, the criminal justice system worked just as it should.

With Avery, Ken Kratz puts doubts about Steven Avery’s guilt to rest. In this exclu- sive insider’s look into the controversial case, Kratz lets the evidence tell the story, sharing details and insights unknown to the public. He reveals the facts Making a Murderer conveniently left out and then candidly addresses the aftermath—openly discussing, for the first time, his own struggle with addiction that led him to lose everything.

Avery systematically erases the uncertainties introduced by the Netflix series, confirming, once and for all, that Steven Avery is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach.
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

It’s rather amusing that in the blurb for this book the word “indignation” is tossed out, considering what you find when you open the cover and read the contents.

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the idea that this might contain crucial details about the Steven Avery case that the Netflix show did not offer to viewers. Perhaps it does just that, but it is so buried in the mire of Ken Kratz trying to systematically take down “Making a Murderer” and defend his position (no pun intended) that one nearly forgets at times that this book is about Mr. Avery at all.

Whether you like him or don’t, believe him or not, this book, for me, seemed to be more about why the author should not be viewed as a criminal than the man at the heart of it all. I really can’t keep track of the number of eye rolls that came with the reading of this book.

I understand that there are various addictions out there that do not get the proper respect and attention, and I am certainly not trying to discount those, but, according to the blurb, this book was supposed to be about Stephen Avery and the evidence against him. I thought, after finishing it, that it was more about the author than anyone else.

Needless to say, I found it disappointing.

My opinion of this case has not been swayed either way by reading this, but my opinion of Ken Kratz has gone down another few points, for all the good it does.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Little One by Timothy G. Huguenin

Little OneLittle One by Timothy G. Huguenin

Death is cold.

Kelsea Stone can’t remember her childhood, and frankly, she doesn’t really care. She’s doing fine on her own in L.A. without any family to tie her down. But when she finds out her estranged birth parents have died and left her their house in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, she discovers more than just an inheritance waiting for her in the mountains. An angry presence lingers there, and it won’t rest until it has had its revenge.–Goodreads

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t think this was a bad book, but perhaps it was a little more on the younger reader side than I would have imagined from reading the description. Some of the actions of the characters seemed a bit silly to me and at times the story felt a little clunky, like it was afraid to move forward.

The plot is interesting and I was looking forward to solving the mystery at the heart of the book, but then I would fall into a spot where the story seemed to bog down and wonder if I really had the desire to finish it or not. Eventually, I did make it all the way to the end, but it was not without a struggle to keep paying attention.

My honest opinion is that this is a talented author that has a great imagination, but could have benefited from giving this book further consideration and the use of good beta readers before releasing it. If you cut out the portions of this that slow the story down, it would have been great. The setting was interesting and the descriptions were good.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Dead Seeping Shaman by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Dead Sleeping Shaman (Emily Kincaid Mysteries Book 3)Dead Sleeping Shaman by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

The End Timers, a cult-like group, have descended on part-time journalist and aspiring mystery author Emily Kincaid’s small Michigan town. With dire warnings that the end of the world is just two weeks away, the entire community has been disrupted by psychics, cult followers, believers and disbelievers alike. But when Emily’s latest job assignment leads her to an eerily motionless woman propped against a tree, she realizes that at least one person’s world has come to an end all too soon.

Emily soon learns that the victim, an eccentric psychic and leader of a shamanic healing group, harbored painful memories of the area and had mysterious ties to certain members of the cult. Turning to her friend Deputy Dolly Wakowski for help, she’s stunned to learn that Dolly has turned in her badge and joined the cult, leaving Emily to fear for her friend’s sanity and forcing her to try to solve the case on her own.

As the days tick away to the end of the world, Emily has to navigate her way through a crowd of true believers, a group of shamanic well-wishers, and a suspiciously secretive cult leader to rescue her friend and catch a killer—all the while dreading that these few precious days may be her last.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a rather rare jewel among writers. She can make you laugh, keep you interested and make you angry with a certain character all at the same time. It is these conflicting emotions that make me return to her writing time and again.

In this book, Emily literally stumbles upon the scene of a murder and once more, things are not as simple as they might first seem. I am always thrilled to see what she and Dolly do with the information they gather. I love the interaction between those two ladies, and for me, Dolly is always what makes the book.

There is more ex-husband drama to be had in this story, and it gave me a good reason to smile, watching the way Emily shuts him down. I liked the way the story flowed and thought the mystery was interesting and original.

I love the setting of these stories and the way the author describes the place that her main character lives as well as the surrounding areas. She makes great use of not only proper word choices, but of the seasons, the time of day, etc. for a full immersion reading experience.

This book kept me entertained for the better part of a day, with few breaks in between. If you like mysteries that think outside the box, this is perfect.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.