INK AND BONE by Lisa Unger

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This was my first Lisa Unger and I could not put it down! I read this book in 24 hours as I had to know what happened. Definitely, this won’t be my last Lisa Unger mystery/thriller. Thanks to Net Galley for this find.

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Review: A DOOR UNLOCKED by Calvin Dean

Recently, Mr. Dean sent me an email and asked if I’d like to read and review his book, a supernatural thriller. I said yes as I was in the mood for a thriller/mystery read. In A DOOR UNLOCKED, a home invasion goes wrong when the bad guy kills the homeowner, rapes the wife, and abducts their eight year old daughter. Vanessa Fitzgerald makes it her mission to find her daughter and bring the perpetrator to justice. However, Vanessa has some help from beyond – when unconscious (e.g. in a coma), she can hear and communicate with her recently deceased husband. He gives her guidance in finding and saving their young daughter, Lydia.

This book reminded me a bit of a Mary Higgins Clark mystery. It read quickly and focused on a heroine who was bent but not broken, and very determined to find her daughter. I wish that the storyline had not included rape and molestation (which I don’t like to read), but they did occur mostly “off stage” so to speak (there wasn’t a graphic, violent, drawn out scene to read). I kept reading to make sure that there was a happy ending!

At less than 300 pages, I finished this book in a few sittings.

Thanks, Mr. Dean, for sending me a download of your novel!

Review: THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS by Karen Brown

Just published this past week, I received THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS as an ARC through Net Galley last month. I really enjoyed this book, in part for the nostalgia I felt for the lazy summer childhood days of the 70’s that are so aptly depicted in this intriguing and sometimes disturbing story within a story.

As the novel starts, Sadie is an adult and trying to regroup after the losing her baby. She lives in the town where she grew up and where, twenty years earlier, two girls disappeared. One girl had been in Sadie’s class, and she was never found again. The other girl was a sometimes friend of Sadie, and she still harbors guilt for her disappearance. Through flashback, we learn of Sadies’ childhood in her dysfunctional family, with an alcoholic actress mother and often absent father. Sadie is somewhat of a ringleader amongst her friends, and they spend their days in complex imaginary dramas, dressing up in the basement or creating forts in the woods surrounding the Connecticut neighborhood (I loved this depiction of childhood before everyone became “plugged in”!). The lost girl, assumed abducted, hangs as a specter over them all. Then Sadie and her friend play a trick on another (unpopular) girl, and she goes missing, too.

Back in the present day, Sadie is just trying to get by when a man who was a childhood friend returns to the neighborhood, setting into motion a chain of events that bring the past and present together in a tumultuous crash.

I really enjoyed reading this book and couldn’t put it down! I wanted to know what would happen, would the mystery be solved, and what would become of Sadie. I can’t say I loved Sadie as a character, but I did feel sympathy for her. And I really liked the depiction of pre-adolescent Sadie. I enjoyed Ms. Brown’s writing and will look for her other works – which are short story collections.

Highly recommended as a summer read!

Thank you, Net Galley and Washington Square Press, for my copy!

Two Quick YA Reviews: “Fog” by Caroline Cooney and “The Twisted Window” by Lois Duncan

I recently got two creepy, YA suspense thrillers from Net Galley. These are the type of book that I loved to read when I was in middle school! Both were re-releases from Open Road Media – thanks, Open Road and Net Galley for my copies!

“Fog” is the first in a trilogy by Caroline Cooney (who has apparently over 100 books for teens; the one I know best: “The Face on the Milk Carton”). In this story a group of Maine island teens leave their homes to attend school on the mainland. Creepy and disturbing things begin happening and one girl, Christina, fights against the evil. Who will win?

When I started “The Twisted Window” by Lois Duncan I knew it seemed familiar. I had actually read it in the 1980’s. Lois Duncan is a masterful storyteller with all sorts of YA titles to her credit, most of them scary and/or supernatural thrillers. In this one, Tracy Lloyd befriends the new guy in school and gets involved in helping him get his supposedly kidnapped sister back from his stepfather. As a kid, Duncan was always one of my favorite authors as her stories are well-plotted and paced.