Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

For my ears: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas; Read by Phoebe Strole

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Description via Amazon/Audible:

Sharp, brilliantly plotted, and totally engrossing.” (Karen M. McManus, New York Times best-selling author of One of Us Is Lying)

“A crafty, dark, and disturbing story.” (Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times best-selling author of Girl In Pieces)

“A little bit Riverdale and a little bit Veronica Mars.” (Riley Sager, best-selling author of Final Girls, a Goodreads Best Young Adult Book of the Year Nominee)

From the author of The Darkest Corners and Little Monsters comes an all-new edge-of-your-seat thriller set in upstate New York about an eerie sequence of seemingly unrelated events that leaves five cheerleaders dead.

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook. First there was the car accident – two girls dead after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know his reasons.

Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they’d lost. That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . .

Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow, Monica is at the center of it all. There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

More praise for Kara Thomas:

“Gripping from start to finish…with twists that left me shocked.” (Victoria Aveyard, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Red Queen)

“You’ll be up all night tearing through the pages.” (BUSTLE)

“This deliciously deceptive thriller…is a must-have.” (SLJ)

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I love these YA thriller novels- they are my guilty pleasure! This was a well-crafted story that kept me guessing (and listening!). The ultimate compliment for an audiobook is when I can drive the 75 minutes to work and then want to stay in the car to keep listening!

I’ve read other Kara Thomas novels and she’s a talented writer, with a penchant for capturing the harsh realities of teenage life. Her characters are believable. They may be likable (or not).

This story was told in present day and in flashback, which can be tricky while listening, but it was clear to me and never confusing. The voices were distinct.

I got mine with an audible credit via Amazon!

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PICTour for: A Wolf in the Woods by Nancy Allen

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I’m happy today to be part of the Partners in Crime Tour for A Wolf in the Woods, a suspenseful mystery by Nancy Allen. While it is part of a mystery series, it is a stand-alone title (I hadn’t read any of the other books). I read this novel straight through as I couldn’t put it down! I will admit to having to suspend my disbelief at times due to “coincidences” in the story line, but overall, it was a solid read. My favorite part, though, was the main heroine, who is a bit down on her luck, a tad overweight, in a relationship that is going nowhere fast, and wanting to investigate a disappearance (though, as a lawyer, she is supposed to leave that to the “professionals”). I laughed out loud at some points. The twist at the end made me want to read more!

Thank you for my review e-copy via Edelweiss and for making me part of the tour!

A Wolf in the Woods

by Nancy Allen

Tour March 1-31, 2018

A Wolf in the Woods by Nancy AllenMcCown County assistant prosecutor Elsie Arnold is prepping an assault case when a girl is found beaten and bloodied at a roadside no-tell motel. Elsie tries to convince the teen to reveal who attacked her, but Mandy is too scared—and stubborn—to cooperate… and then she disappears. Elsie’s positive a predator is targeting the Ozark hills, yet the authorities refuse to believe their small town could be plagued by sex trafficking.

Then middle school student Desiree Wickham goes missing, but only Elsie suspects it could be connected to Mandy’s assault. As she digs deeper into the events leading up to Desiree’s disappearance, she stumbles upon an alarming discovery: local girls are falling prey to a dubious online modeling agency, and never seen again. Elsie shares her concerns with Detective Ashlock and the FBI, but they shut her out.

She takes matters into her own hands and lands an interview with the head of the modeling agency. But when she meets him face-to-face, she discovers the fate of Desiree and Mandy… and becomes his newest captive. Elsie’s desperate to free the girls—and save herself—before the unspeakable happens. And she’s in for the fight of her life.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062438786 (ISBN13: 9780062438782)
Series: Ozarks Mysteries #4 | Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Grab Your copy of A Wolf in the Woods: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗 | HarperCollins 🔗

Author Bio:

Nancy AllenNancy Allen practiced law for 15 years as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks.

She tried over 30 jury trials, including murder and sexual offenses, and is now a law instructor at Missouri State University.

Catch Up With Ms. Allen On:
nancyallenbooks.com
Goodreads – Nancy Allen
Twitter – @TheNancyAllen
Facebook – NancyAllenAuthor

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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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WHAT SHE KNEW by Gilly Macmillan

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You all know that I can’t stay away from these suspense novels! Here’s another one that I recently found on sale on Amazon for my kindle:

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother’s search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the Train and The Guilty One.

In a heartbeat, everything changes…

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, 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 vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew 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 threadbare 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 the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

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Yep – it was another “read all night until it’s over” event. I have to say that I thought this novel did an excellent job portraying how this poor woman was vilified on social media after her son went missing. Everyone is an expert these days and no one waits to throw the first stone.

Pick it up and enjoy it!

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Litfuse Blog Tour with GIVEAWAY for MERMAID MOON by Colleen Coble

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I’m happy to  be part of the Litfuse Blog Tour for Colleen Coble’s new novel: MERMAID MOON.

Here’s what the tour has to say:

About the book:

Mermaid Moon (Thomas Nelson, January 2016)

Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.

When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.


Purchase a copy:
http://bit.ly/1J0PXVl

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn,Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Her books have sold more than 3 million copies.

Connect with Coble: website, Twitter, Facebook

 

 

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This was my first Colleen Coble book, and I know she has quite a following. This book is “romantic suspense” – not my typical genre, but I enjoyed it. Poor Mallory has a lot of issues here and while trying to discover the events leading up to her father’s death (murder?), she uncovers and revisits things from her past that she’d rather leave forgotten. Mallory teams with Kevin, former beau and trusty game warden, to solve the mystery, and ultimately to save her own daughter’s life.

Yes, I will admit to having to suspend disbelief a bit during this story, but the bigger element here for me was that this was a story of redemption and self-forgiveness and if you read my blog at all, you know that I love that theme in books. Mallory has some things in her past that she needs to deal with, and she needs to forgive herself before she  can truly move on in her life.

With a wide cast of characters, this novel is number two in a series. It stands alone, but I did want to go back and read number one in the Sunset Cove series.

Thank you for my review copy!

But wait – there’s more — A GIVEAWAY!!

Colleen Coble’s Mystery e-Reader Prize Pack Giveaway

One grand prize winner will receive:

 Link: http://bit.ly/1PVlGXk (if link is not “hot”, please copy and paste into your browser).

Good luck!

 

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Review: MISSING PIECES by Heather Gudenkauf

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I recently came across this mystery thriller on Net Galley and read it in two days over the holiday break!

Here’s the description from Net Galley:

Description
A woman uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband’s family in this chilling page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf

Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

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Okay — this was one story that you had to pay attention to, because things kept changing! There were a lot of twists and turns, with new information being discovered that would change the way you thought about the characters.

There were a few things here that I had to suspend my disbelief for — (SPOIER ALERT) for instance, there was a lot of upset about needing a lawyer and the person couldn’t afford one (I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure a lawyer is provided for you by the courts if you can’t afford one – it’s part of the Miranda rights, right?). Also, this woman found out some things about her husband and her first impulse was “wow – he kept this a secret for 20 years? I can’t be married to him anymore”. If I discovered my husband had a secret past I think I would say “We need to sit down and talk about this” long before I’d start planning to divorce him. My biggest issue was that there was a prior murder in the story and an assumed murderer who was just that: assumed to be the murderer – to the point where everyone felt the case was closed. Of course that murderer was missing, there was only circumstantial evidence, etc. but everyone – even the law enforcement – referred to him as the murderer until he ends up dead and decayed. I really think in real life that police officers don’t just say “well, it must be that guy we can’t find” — or at least I HOPE they don’t do business that way!

All criticisms aside, I really did like this story. It was fun and kept me guessing and I couldn’t put it down. The bottom line is – if I don’t like a book, I don’t finish it, and if I don’t finish, I don’t review. I definitely finished this one!

Thank you, Net Galley and Harlequin, for my review copy!

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Review: THE GUEST ROOM by Chris Bohjalian

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Chris Bohjalian is one of my very favorite authors, so I was more than thrilled to get his new novel through Net Galley for review.

Here’s the description via Net Galley:

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Review: BROKEN GRACE by E.C. Diskin

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This book was a Net Galley find a few weeks ago. Here’s the description from Net Galley:

On an icy winter’s day in southwest Michigan, Grace Abbot wakes up as the survivor of a car crash. But she’s left with a traumatic brain injury and a terrifying reality: she can’t remember anything.

Left in the care of her sister, Grace returns to the family’s secluded old farmhouse to recover—but within an hour of her return, the police arrive. Grace’s boyfriend has been murdered. Without any memory, Grace has no alibi.

With suspicion weighing heavily on her and flashes of memory returning, Grace searches for clues to her past. But with every glimpse, her anxiety grows. There is something about the house, her family, her childhood…perhaps the accident isn’t the only reason she can’t remember. Are the dark recesses of her mind hiding something even more sinister and terrifying than she could ever imagine?

Is someone willing to kill again to hide the truth?

If you know me, you know I love, love, love a thriller, especially a psychological one. As the amnesia slowly recedes Grace’s memories return and the tension builds. There were some twists here (some I saw coming, some not). Throughout I felt connected to poor Grace and hoped that she would get it all together (because really — just how much can one person handle??). Can’t say too much more without revealing plot elements and spoilers!

I received an e-copy for review through Net Galley from Thomas & Mercer — thank you!

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Review: NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW by Kevin O’Brien

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If you read me regularly, you know I love a good mystery! I had never read Kevin O’Brien before but this one looked intriguing — a talented chef is being tormented by someone from her past, a movie is being made about a Manson-like murder, people are dying in accidents and a ghost is being blamed, and it all ties together in this fast-paced, twisty murder mystery!

Here’s the description from Net Galley:

A SECRET WORTH KILLING FOR…
In July 1970, actress Elaina Styles was slain in her rented Seattle mansion along with her husband and their son’s nanny. When the baby’s remains were found buried in a shallow grave close to a hippie commune, police moved in—only to find all its members already dead in a grisly mass suicide.

AGAIN…
Now, decades later, a film about the murders is shooting at the mansion. On-set caterer Laurie Trotter ignores gossip that the production is cursed. But then people start dying…

AND AGAIN…
As Laurie digs deep into what happened all those years ago, the truth emerges more twisted than any whispered rumor, as a legacy of brutal vengeance reaches its terrifying climax…

Me again!!

This was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down! Poor Laurie has enough problems – she’s a single mom and young widow, who’s trying to put a major mistake in her past behind her, when she starts being stalked by a guy she had a relationship with. Heading off to Seattle to work with a caterer seems like a great idea until the stalkers seem to have followed her and her new boss appears to be covering up some serious stuff. Secrets abound in this novel – just when you think you’ve figured it out, it changes. Throughout, though, I really liked the character of Laurie who was tough but not perfect. There were lots of side characters who were interesting, too – I particularly liked all her neighbors.

I really can’t say much more without giving too much away — but if you like a fun, fast, mystery/thriller, pick up a copy of NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW!

Thank you, Net Galley and Kensington Books, for my review e-copy!

See it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

No One Needs To Know

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YA Review: AWAKE by Natasha Preston

A while back, I received AWAKE through Net Galley. I love a good YA thriller/mystery.

In Awake, Scarlett Garner starts to “awake” and have memories of an event that changed her life when she was four-years-old. Always told that she escaped a fire and was left with amnesia due to trauma, Scarlett’s memories return in hazy part, and don’t quite fit the story she’s been told. Meanwhile, the new guy in school (Noah)  is drawn to Scarlett (really drawn to her and we later find out why) and they start a relationship. But what really happened in Scarlett’s past? And how does Noah fit in? And why would her family not be telling her the truth?

Well, there’s a complicated back story going on here. I won’t go in to details as I don’t want to spoil it, but Scarlett has a lot going on and it gets weirder and scarier the more she remembers. While I read this whole story and wanted to know what happened, it did pace a bit slowly for me (especially the first half). This is probably because this is book one of a series (or a sequel is coming). The hardest part of reading it for me was that I never really felt I got into Noah’s head. I didn’t understand his actions. In fact, I found most of the characters terribly frustrating. But I kept reading because I really wanted to know what happened to Scarlett (thus my distress over the somewhat “hanging” ending)!

I’ll be curious what others think. This book releases Aug. 4. Thanks for my review e-copy!

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