Review: MISSING PIECES by Heather Gudenkauf


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:

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.


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!

Review: THE GUEST ROOM by Chris Bohjalian


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:


Review: BROKEN GRACE by E.C. Diskin


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!

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


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:

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.

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…

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!

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!


Review: WEAVERS by Aric Davis


I received WEAVERS several weeks ago from Thomas & Mercer and Net Galley. The concept sounded really interesting: a young girl has the ability to see strings or yarns coming from people’s heads. Their color portrays the person’s emotional state. With some energy expended, she learns she can “weave” the strings to control the person’s emotions and even their actions.

The novel starts with nine-year-old Cynthia, who one day starts seeing these strings coming from people’s heads. She also starts having premonitions and “knows” things. This is pretty scary for a little girl, but a kindly neighbor, who also has this ability, takes her under her wing to teach her and guide her in being a “weaver”. Meanwhile, not everyone who has this ability is using it for good. Some rather nefarious characters are using weaving for their own gain, and leaving a wake of violence and destruction. And the government decides that it will find and control all these “telekinetics” – using them for their own objectives.

This was a fast read for me. I really liked the concept behind the story — the “weavers”. It’s original! I also liked the character of Cynthia. The time frame does move around (WWII, present), as does the point of view (bad guys, Cynthia, government). This didn’t bother me, but I know some people don’t like novels that switch POV and time. The ending suggested that a sequel is in the works — ? We will have to see!

Thank you for my review copy.

Review: FOLLOW YOU HOME by Mark Edwards


Through Net Galley, I received a review e-copy of FOLLOW YOU HOME. I like a good thriller and this one looked engaging.

Daniel and Laura are a young British couple having a fun trip around Europe. They have planned and saved for this, and figure when they return they will settle down to work, get married, and start a family. They are carefree and happy until one night when things go awry. Boarding a train in Romania, they sneak off to sleep in an empty sleeper compartment. When they awake, their belongings are stolen and they are being thrown off the train. A young woman they had met earlier is thrown off, too, when she tries to help them. Daniel and Laura trudge along through the creepy woods with their new friend, but when she steps away to go to the bathroom, things go horribly wrong (No! Don’t go in to that house in the woods! Run away!!).

Through flashback we find out what exactly happened that night – events that completely changed Daniel and Laura’s relationship and their personalities. But then strange things start occurring at their homes in England. Could the evil they witnessed in the woods have followed them back to England?

This was a great read — a heart-stopping thriller at some points, with totally believable  characters dealing with every day “stuff” like their jobs and relationships. I have never read Edwards before, but he writes psychological thrillers, and he is quite skilled at eeking out the details so that you have to keep reading!

Great plot wrap-up and ending — I’ll be looking for more from him.

Thank you, Thomas & Mercer, for my review copy! This book publishes on this Tuesday, 6/30.