Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

LET ME LIE by Clare Mackintosh

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Clare Mackintosh is one of my favorite suspense writers. I read her books in two days, usually because I can’t put them down! This one was no different: a protagonist who is trying to get to the bottom of her parents’ deaths as she knows something just is not right. It kept me guessing right up to the end!

Thank you for my e-copy via Net Galley!

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LOSING LEAH HOLLOWAY by Lisa Regan

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A Note From the Publisher

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This novel is the second in a series, but can work as a stand-alone. I hadn’t read the previous title.
I chose this book on Net Galley as it looked intriguing and suspenseful. It was, but it was also rather sad and depressing. The novel starts with a carfull of passengers plunging off a bridge. The driver, a young mother, refuses to be saved and drowns. The story then goes from the present unraveling of the mystery to the past to uncover the chain of events that put the tragedy in motion. While at some points you know the characters’ motivations, there are some twists and surprises as well.
While this was a solid read, it felt different from a typical mystery to me. I generally don’t relate to the murder victim (especially when they die at the beginning of the novel). This story was different in that you could see why and how things came to be.  I found the final ending to be so sad for the children involved, too. Definitely not your typical mystery. Well-paced and plotted, I’d recommend it to those who want a mystery that goes beyond the action.
Thank you for my review e-copy.
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FATAL OPTION by Chris Beakey

My friends at Smith Publicity sent me an e-copy of FATAL OPTION (thank you!) so that I could be part of the blog tour on this title.

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This story follows a father, who has already had a lot of pain and distress, as he deals with a life-changing decision he makes one snowy night. He will do anything to protect his two teens, but will he do the right thing?

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

A tragic accident. A family in crisis. And a killer watching every move.

Five months after the mysterious death of his wife, Stephen Porter is pulled from a dreamless sleep by a midnight phone call. His 17-year-old daughter Sara is stranded in a blizzard near the top of a mountain beyond their suburban home. She’s terrified and unable to stop crying as she begs him to come to her rescue.

Unfortunately Stephen went to bed just an hour before after a night of binge drinking. With his blurred vision and unsteady balance he knows it’s dangerously irresponsible to get behind the wheel. But he heads out into the snowstorm to bring Sara home.

High school teacher Kieran O’Shea is also behind the wheel, searching for his autistic younger brother Aidan, who is wandering aimlessly through the storm on that same mountain. Kieran is terrified—of the voices in his mind, that Aidan will be taken from him, and that he may soon be arrested for murdering three women.

In a matter of minutes Stephen will encounter Kieran and drive headlong into a collision that will force him to unlock the secret of his wife’s death, avoid prosecution, and protect his children from violence that hits all too close to home.

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I read this book quickly as I wanted to see what would happen. I did find it pretty heavy, though. This story had, among other things, rape, murder, suicide, incest, child abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional), and a serial killer. Just mentioning these things as I know they can be triggers for readers. I did read it to the end, and I liked the ending as I felt it was positive.  I felt for the main character as he was just an average joe who was in some bad situations and trying to make the best of it while he was trying to keep his life and his kids’ lives together. I will look for Mr. Beakey’s other titles!

Here’s a bit of info on the novel from Smith and a book trailer:

Fatal Option [February 21, Post Hill Press] is a nail-biting thriller that explores the devastating moral consequences of a dangerous choice. It’s garnered the following praise:
“A sharp, intelligent thriller. Really top-notch.”
– Neely Tucker, Washington Post staff writer & author of Only The Hunted Run
“A wintery tale of violence and redemption, artfully balanced by a touching portrayal of a family in crisis.”
– Peter Swanson, author of The Kind Worth Killing
“Fatal Option grabs you from the first page. Plan to stay up.”
– Kathleen Antrim, former Co-President of International Thriller Writers & author of Capital Offense
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YA Review: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

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I first heard about this novel while I was at BEA this past spring. It sounded intriguing, but, due to schedules and long lines, I didn’t get a chance to meet Ms. Weingarten or get a copy, so I purchased one for my kindle when it released in July.

SUICIDE NOTES FROM BEAUTIFUL GIRLS is one of those haunting, compelling reads that picks you up and then drops you, leaving you panting and somewhat bewildered. I LOVED this type of book when I was a teen (actually I still love it!).

June and Delia used to be the very best of friends, from the time they were in grade school until recently in high school, when they’ve grown apart. Then it is announced that Delia has died — apparently from suicide, killing herself by burning to death in her father’s shed. June is troubled by this. She doesn’t believe that Delia did this, and she’s haunted by the fact that Delia had reached out to her shortly before her death, but June had ignored her, choosing to be with her boyfriend instead.

What did happen to Delia? Who is involved? And why does it seem like a lot of people know much more than they are telling? June is determined to find out.

I have to admit — when I picked up this book and began to read it, I didn’t stop for a break until I was halfway through. It pulled me in and I just couldn’t stop reading. This was also the type of story that stays with you long after the last page.

Due to language and sexual content, I’d say it’s for older YA readers.

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Review: WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND by Samantha Hayes

When I was going through my “murder mystery thriller” phase this winter, I pulled this novel from Net Galley. It is part of the Detective Lorraine Fisher series, which was new to me.

When Lorraine takes a holiday with her young daughter to visit her sister in the English countryside, she is drawn into a series of teen deaths that look like suicide; but Lorraine thinks they may be something more sinister. Her nephew, Freddie, is acting strange, and he is apparently struggling with some online harassment. Two years earlier there had been a cluster of teen suicides, and now it looks like it is happening again. Lorraine jumps in to solve the mystery before any more deaths can happen, and especially before something bad happens to Freddie.

There were a lot of characters to keep straight in this story — Lorraine, her sister Jo, husbands, children, friends, friends of friends, employees, shady folks, sinister folks, mysterious folks, dead folks, etc. Even with that I was able to pretty much figure out what had happened, though there were a lot of twists and turns, with new information given near the end of the story. I liked it though, and I kept reading until the end.

Have you read the other Detective Fisher story, “Until You’re Mine”? If so, please let me know and tell me how you liked it! let me know if you’ve read this one, too.

Thanks, Net Galley and Crown Publishing, for my copy!

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Quick Review: THE HEADMASTER’S WIFE by Thomas Christopher Greene

So I had heard about this book when it first came out and put it on my wish list. I bought it as a birthday gift from Amazon (yes, my bday is on Saturday!). Most bloggers had said things like “I can’t even talk about what this book is about because I will give it away!” or something similar, so all I knew was that it was about a headmaster and his wife at an independent boarding school. If you know me, you know I’ve spent my professional life in independent school (aka “prep” schools) and I LOVE to read about them.

So – the bloggers were correct. I can’t talk about this book without giving it away. It is MUCH better to go into this book not knowing what to expect. When I started reading last night after dinner I thought, “Oh no. Not THIS storyline again.” However, I continued, and at the end of part one (there are three major parts/POV in the book) I was blown away and so hooked that I kept reading straight through until the book was finished at 11 PM.

This was a fascinating read – one that kept me guessing and puzzling and thinking about it long after it was over. It some ways it reminded me of “Gone Girl”. In other ways, it reminded me of “Shutter Island”. Regardless, I’ve said enough. Do yourself a favor and if you choose to read it, read it cold. Be surprised.

You can see it on Amazon where I got mine and where I am an Associate:

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