Search for Her by Rick Mofina

 

Search For Her

 

Search for Her by Rick Mofina

Publishing: March 10, 2021 by Joffe Books

 

 

Reason I chose to Read this Book:  It has been years since I’ve read anything by this author, although he continues to pop them out like a Pez dispenser.  This one really appealed to me.

 

Search for Her by Rick Mofina is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank the publisher Joffe Books (and in particular Nina Kicul) , and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Grace and John, with their son Blake, and their daughter Riley, rent an RV to take them across the states to Pittsburgh, where a new job and new life awaits.  This is a second marriage for both of them, and their kids are still adjusting.  Riley in particular is not thrilled to be leaving California.

At a massive truck stop and casino near Las Vegas, 14-year old Riley goes missing.

Detectives have their work cut out for them.  They call in every department they can to aid in the search, but fears are growing.  Did she run off?  Was she taken? Is the family involved? Is this a case of human trafficking?  Or is it simply a case of an upset teenager, who decided to run away? A year ago, another girl went missing from the area, and was found dead.  Everyone is taking this seriously.

The family is feeling the loss, as well as guilt.  For they are each keeping their own secrets.  As one day leads to the next, each one is being torn apart.

 

My Opinions:   

Well, I think I will move Rick Mofina back to the top of my authors to be read pile.  I forgot how great a story he tells.  This was a great mystery/thriller.

The plot, the characters, the pace.  Everything meshed.  The twists were good, and although I had my suspicions, I was still surprised when some of them came true.  There were a lot of scenarios that could have worked, so it was interesting how things turned out.  Those different red herrings kept me interested and kept me turning those pages to find out which one was going to be disproved next.  Some of them took a long time to sort out.

This book was just a tad long, although I’m really not sure where it could have been shortened.  Mofina is a talented writer, and this book was just one of many that could be made into a movie.

Recommend to anyone that needs a good mystery with lots of suspects.

 

Read: August, 2021

 

Rick MofinaAbout The Author: Rick Mofina is a Canadian author currently living in Ottawa Ontario.  He is a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row, flown over Los Angeles with the LAPD and patrolled with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. He’s also reported from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, the Caribbean, and Kuwait’s border with Iraq. Check out this author’s website at https://www.rickmofina.com/

*** Photo Credit – taken from GoodReads

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4182195042

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.

 

 

 

Beyond the Veil, Edited by Mark Morris

 

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Beyond the Veil, Edited by Mark Morris

Publishing:  October 19, 2021 by Flame Tree Press

 

 

Reason I chose to Read this Book:  I enjoy short stories, and I love horror….which is often much better told in a short story.

 

Beyond the Veil, edited by Mark Morris is an anthology of short horror stories.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Flame Tree Press and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis and Opinions:

As always with an anthology, I will be reviewing each separately.   There are 20 short stories, a few from authors known to me, but most of these authors are new to me.  A lot of these are about death, in some for or another.

So, let us begin:

The God Bag by Christopher Golden (American) … A woman writes her wishes down and places them in her “God Bag”.  Some on white paper, and some on red. OMG…Loved it.  5 stars

Caker’s Man by Matthew Holness (British) …  The neighbour across the street insists on providing cake for a mother and 3 children, but he’s a creep.  Later, the baby-sitter takes over the cake thing. The whole story is creepy!  4 stars

The Beechfield Miracles by Priya Sharma (British) … A journalist investigates a young woman.  Is she a miracle worker, or just a charismatic leader of a cult?   WOW, that was really good. 5 stars

Clockwork by Dan Coxon (British) … A daughter, after burying her father, finds pieces of an automaton in his flower bed.  Didn’t really enjoy this one, although it did have a certain creep factor, and the writing was fine. 3 stars

Soapstone by Aliya Whiteley (British) … A young woman deals with the death of a friend, or not.  This was creepy, but there was something missing.  3 stars

The Dark Bit by Toby Litt (British) … A couple get “threads” running through their bodies when entering a certain area of their home, and they deal with them.  This was simply wonderful.  5 stars

Provenance Pond by Josh Malerman (American) … A young woman thinks back to her childhood, and her imaginary friends.  This was a little disappointing from one of my favorite authors.  3 stars

For All The Dead by Angeline B. Adams (Irish) and Remco van Straten (Dutch) … A story about men lost at sea, and the women who wait for them.  This one did nothing for me, as it was more sad than scary.  1 star

The Girl in the Pool by Bracken MacLeod (American) … A thief who always wanted to be a good person has the opportunity, or so he thinks.  Good writing, but missing something.  3 stars

Nurse Vaden by Jeremy Dyson (American) … A man tries to determine why he has a fear of being unconscious.  Interesting, but the ending could have been better.  3 stars

If, Then by Lisa L. Hannett (Australian) … A gardener experiments on his loved one to heal her.  This one did nothing for me.  1 star

Aquarium Ward by Karter Mycroft (American) … A bug from beneath the sea emerges, and a doctor will do anything to save his patients.  Interesting!  4 stars

A Mystery for Julie Chue by Stephen Gallagher (British) … A young woman with a knack for finding worthwhile garage sale items. Absolutely loved it!  5 stars

Away Day  by Lisa Tuttle (Scottish) … A young woman on a team-building day gets lost.  It was okay, but I didn’t really like it.  2 stars

Polaroid and Seaweed by Peter Harness (British) … A young child, whose mother left him, decides his real mother came from the sea.  Disturbing.  2 stars

Der Geisterbahnhof by Lynda E. Rucker (American) … A young woman goes with an old “friend” and some others in search of a ghost station in Berlin.  Eerie, but confusing.  2 stars

Arnie’s Ashes by John Everson (American) … Arnie may have been cremated, but his friends keep seeing his face.  This was comical, in a strange way.  I loved it.  5 stars

A Brief Tour of the Night by Nathan Ballingrud (American) …  A man talks to ghosts, who sometimes answer him.  Great story.  5 stars

The Care and Feeding of Household Gods by Frank J. Oreto (American) … A stay-at-home father figures out a way to keep the children happy, the house spotless, and elegant meals prepared.  This, although a little disturbing at times, was good.  4 stars

Yellowback by Gemma Files (British) … A virus which attacks women by covering their face and chest with a mask is running rampant throughout the world.  That was different, but good. 4 stars

 

Overall, there are a lot of good stories in this bunch, more than normal in an anthology.  I never expect to love them all, but I was surprised at the amount that I did.  Yes, there were some that weren’t my cup of tea, but those may be yours, so yes, you should take a chance on this book.

Happy reading! 

 

Read: October, 2021

 

Favorite Quote from Beyond the Veil:

As human beings we kid ourselves that we have a semblance of control over our lives, our circumstances, our environment, our health… but if the year of the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that it doesn’t take much for that control to be wrested from us, and for the rug to be wrenched violently out from under our feet…..And that is the essence of true horror.”  (From the introduction)

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4279946736

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.

 

 

 

 

The Parents by Claire Seeber

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The Parents by Claire Seeber

Publishing:  October 25, 2021 by Bookouture

 

 

Reason I chose to Read this Book:   The premise looked interesting, and this is a new author for me.

 

The Parents by Claire Seeber is a mystery novel, but felt more like a soap opera to me.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

When Alex lost her husband, she left America behind, and moved back to England with her 13-year old son Harry, and her 15-year old daughter Iris.  She moved into the small picture-perfect Primrose Cottage, within an equally picture-perfect village.  Harry immediately makes friends on the soccer field, and her daughter joins a band.  Alex, however, is struggling.   Iris is barely talking to her, and the insurance money from her husband’s death has still not arrived.

As well, not everything is perfect in this small village, especially for the soccer team and their families.  Secrets are being exposed in a video blog that is changing the dynamics of the people involved.  The soccer coach is the first to be humiliated, and then the actress.  It just continues.

This picture-perfect village has a lot of secrets.

 

My Opinions:   

First, any novel that starts with a list of all the players and their families does not instill confidence in me.  If there are that many characters to keep track of and it isn’t an epic fantasy or historical novel, I’m already put off.

Second, British authors shouldn’t attempt to write about American things…. for example, I’ve never known a carport to have a garage door.  As well, the recurring words “babs” and “lover” for friends just didn’t sit well with me.

The book is about families, and secrets, and lies.  Deception was abundant, and typical family squabbles were momentous.

The whole book read like a soap opera, with one family drama after the next.  However, after about 75%, I found I was finally interested in what would happen next.  Too late for real enjoyment though.  There was a rather major twist, but I had an inkling early on, so it was no real surprise.

Overall, the writing was okay, but the book just missed the mark  (well, mine anyway).

 

Read: October, 2021

 

 

Claire SeeberAbout The Author: Claire Seeber (1970  –  )  is a British author, who tried her hand at acting, but quickly moved to directing, before writing psychological thrillers.  She also writes for stage and screen. Check out her website: https://www.claireseeber.com/ 

*** Photo Taken from GoodReads

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4181479118

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.

 

 

 

 

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco  (#1 Kingdom of the Wicked)

 

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1)

 

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco  

Publishing: October 27, 2020 by Jimmy Patterson (Little, Brown & Company

 

Reasons I chose to Read this Book:   Sudden urge to find a new author who writes about witches?  Sometimes you have to read YA.  I was so excited to get this book.  However, somehow this was removed from both my e-reader and computer, and hence the delay in reading it.

 

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco is the first in the series of the same name.  It is a YA/fantasy novel.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Jimmy Patterson (Little, Brown & Company) and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Series Information:

The di Carlo family are “streghe”, witches who live in Sicily, among humans, but keeping a very low profile, for fear of persecution.  Their power is feared.  They are true Daughters of the Moon, descendants of an actual goddess, and only the women have magic. For everyone’s safety, the family does not interact with any of the twelve other streghe families scattered across the island, and they shun the dark arts. Their enemy is the Malvagi, or the “Wicked”, the seven demon princes, four of which the di Carlos should fear: Wrath, Greed, Envy and Pride. One will crave your blood.  One will capture your heart.  One will steal your soul. And One will take your life.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Twin sisters Vittoria and Emilia di Carlo live in Sicily with their parents and Nonna.  Nonna has been teaching the twins magic since a young age.  Vittoria seems rather flippant about their powers, but Emilia is more cautious.

When they turn 18, two bodies are found, both witches. Nonna is very nervous, knowing that the signs are all there.  The  Wicked are seeking their vengeance, and are looking for souls to steal for their king, the devil.  The next victim is Vittoria.  Emilia swears to find her sisters’ killer, using whatever tools she can, and if that includes dark magic, so be it.

Unfortunately, Emilia calls forth one of the major demons of the underworld.  Although she supposedly has him under her control, it becomes obvious that he has his own plans.  As well, Emilia learns that not everything she grew up learning, was true.  She also learns that every decision has consequences

 

My Opinions:   

I sometimes felt I was reading a cookbook….it was a little too many food descriptions.  As well, I am learning that if I am going to read fantasy novels, I am going to have to get used to the romance angles, even if I am not a romance reader.  (I’m working on it)

The plot was good, but occasionally it felt neglected, got side-tracked. This book was just as much of a murder mystery as it was fantasy.  I had figured out the actual perpetrator early on, but the journey was interesting.  The book is about family, loss, and grief, in addition to the love angle.  Then there were the witches and demons.

The characters were well thought-out, and relatively deep.  That being said, I wanted to slap Emilia often, as she was very immature and reckless.  I actually loved her grandmother, who I also wanted to slap occasionally since she didn’t really tell the truth to her charges….and yet, she was still a favorite of mine.

I felt the ending was a little rushed, and of course it landed in a bit of a cliff-hanger, but only because it’s the first book in the series, so that was to be expected.

Overall, not a bad YA fantasy novel.  I will be checking out the next in the series.

 

For a more complete review of this book and others (including the reason I chose to read/review this book, author information and a favorite quotation or two from the book), please visit my blog: https://katlovesbooksblog.wordpress.com/

 

Read: August, 2021

 

 

Favorite Quotes from Kingdom of the Wicked:

“When witch blood spills across Sicily, take your daughters and hide. The Malvagi have arrived.”

“A twig was just a bit of broken wood until it had been sharpened into a spear. Grief carved me in half. And fury honed the pieces into a weapon.”

“I believe I’m powerful, therefore I am.”

 

 

Kerri Maniscalco

 

About The Author: Kerri Maniscalco is an American author, who credits her imagination to her grandmother.  When she is not reading or writing, she loves to cook.  Kerri lives in New York. Check out her website:  https://kerrimaniscalco.com/

*** Photo Credit – taken from GoodReads

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3571009267

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.

 

 

 

The Last Time She Died by Zoë Sharp (#1 – Byron and Blake)

 

Book Cover

 

The Last Time She Died by Zoë Sharp 

Publishing: October 20, 2021 by Bookouture

 

 

Reason I chose to Read this Book:   Looked interesting, and I have read other books by this author in the past, but this is the first in a new series 🤞

 

The Last Time She Died by Zoë Sharp is the 1st in the Byron and Blake series, and as I read it, the “Blake” part of that series continually came into question.  Interesting!

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Series Information:  DS John Byron, in his mid-30’s is on medical leave from the police services. Blake Claremont is a con artist who grew up on the streets.  Two very different people, working together.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

The day of Gideon Fitzroy’s funeral takes a turn when the daughter that has been missing for 10 years makes an appearance.  But is the woman claiming to be Blake the real deal?

DS John Byron, although on medical leave, has been asked to investigate.  He was at the funeral to see if he could determine if Fitzroy died from a car accident, or had been murdered.  Now, he is looking into the mysterious Blake.

Fitzroy’s second wife Virginia, and her children 12 year old Lily and 15 year old Tom have been living on the estate for six years, along with Virginia’s brother Roger.  If Blake is the long-lost daughter, repercussions are a given.

So many questions.  Why did Fitzroy step down from his parliamentary seat?  Was he murdered? Why did he never report his daughter missing?  Who really inherits?  Most importantly, who is this bright young woman claiming to be Blake?

 

My Opinions:   

First….I liked the cover.

Second, the writing is excellent, as I found myself fully engaged within minutes.

The characters were well developed, even the supporting cast.  I thought the premise of a cop and a con artist working together was quite unique.  They are both intelligent, wily individuals capable of deception and lies, both a little flawed,  but both of their hearts seem to be in the right place.

The plot contained enough twists to keep things interesting.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series!

 

Read: October, 2021

 

Zoë SharpAbout The Author: Zoë Sharp is a British author, who became a freelance photojournalist in 1988 and started writing her Charlie Fox crime thriller series after receiving death-threats in the course of her work. She is a keen biker, car-driver and yachtswoman. Check out her website at https://www.zoesharp.com/

*** Photo taken from GoodReads

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4155128395

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.

 

 

 

 

The Watchers by A.M. Shine

 

Book Cover

 

The Watchers by A.M. Shine

Publishing:  October 14, 2021 by Head of Zeus – Aries

 

 

Reason I chose to Read this Book: I was in the mood for a new author, and a new horror book.

 

The Watchers by A.M. Shine is a horror novel, and a debut novel……and I can’t wait for more by this author!

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Head of Zeus – Aries, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

The forest is not on the map, but any vehicle that tries to pass it breaks down.  There is no cell service, and no other traffic.  There doesn’t seem to be a choice.  People leave their vehicles and hope there is something at the other end of the forest.

The “lucky” ones, come across a concrete bunker, and meet others who have managed to stay safe.  Lights come on at dusk and go off at daylight.  The doors are locked at night, but the residents are awake, and on display.  For at night, they are watched by something that screams.

Madeline has been there for over two years, and runs the place.  She is strong-willed.  David is 19, and trying to help, although his lack of confidence makes him weak.  He is in charge of setting the traps to bring in birds for dinner.  Ciara goes to the spring and brings fresh water, as well as picks  berries.  She is struggling, as her husband went out one morning to try and find a way out of the forest.  He has never returned.

Mina has just arrived, toting a parrot that she was to deliver in return for payment.  She barely made it to the bunker before night fell and the creatures arrived.  She  has many questions, but not sure Madeline is providing sufficient answers.

Together, they are in for the fight of their lives.  Their individual strengths and weaknesses will be put to the test, and not all will make it.

 

My Opinions:   

First, I loved the cover.

This book grabbed me from the get-go and didn’t release me til the end…and even then my thoughts stayed with the characters.  This a creepy, atmospheric horror tale, filled with monsters, built on Irish mythology and fairy tales.  Those fairy tales would not be suitable for children.

The book is written from different points of view, although the main one is Mina. I loved the different personalities of the 4 individuals in the coop, and how each played a vital role in their escape attempt.  They were all well-developed characters.

The pace was fast, and overall it was a fast read (although that could be because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next).

I admit that the first major twist was not a big surprise to me…the author had provided a major clue. My knowledge did not detract from the plot, and I still questioned that twist occasionally.   However, that ending was a real surprise….and I loved it.

For a debut novel, this was simply amazing.

Read: October, 2021

 

Favorite Quote from The Watchers:

“Hope isn’t founded in certainties.  It’s the belief that the bad ending might not happen.”

 

A.M. ShineAbout The Author:  A.M. Shine is an Irish author, and his imagination was inspired by Edgar Alan Poe from an early age.  Check out his website: http://www.amshinewriter.com/

*** Photo taken from GoodReads

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4279919343

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.

 

 

 

The Secrets of Us by Lucinda Berry

The Secrets of Us

 

The Secrets of Us by Lucinda Berry

Published: June 1, 2021 by Thomas & Mercer

 

Reason I chose to Read this Book:  The premise looked interesting, and I haven’t read anything by this author.

 

The Secrets of Us by Lucinda Berry is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Thomas & Mercer, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Krystal and Nichole, although only foster sisters, are close.  They managed to survive their troubled past.  Nichole is happily married to Aiden, and Krystal is a lawyer.  Life is good.

So when Nichole is committed to a psychiatric hospital after trying to kill her husband, Krystal is confused, but she is right there to defend her sister.  And defend her she must, because Aiden’s family is out to have her charged with attempted murder, and Aiden is being a little sketchy.

After visiting her sister, Krystal agrees, Nichole definitely needs to be in the psych ward, but she can’t understand how this could happen.  She starts asking questions, but some of the answers are not what she was hoping for.  Krystal and Nichole share a dark secret, but now it appears that it is coming back to haunt them once again.

 

My Opinions:   

I struggled with this one.  The premise was good, as was the writing.  Usually I like books where the timelines go back and forth between Then and Now, but for some reason it didn’t work for me in this book.  It seemed to make the direction the story was taking too obvious.  As well, it was a very slow moving book, partly because so much time was spent in the past.

Then there were the characters.  I found it difficult to like anyone.  I would have expected to feel more sympathy for the sisters as they grew up in an awful foster family.  But I didn’t.  They seemed to cope just fine until the accident.

The main topic of the book centers around mental illness, but it also looks at childhood trauma, lies, and deceit.  At times, those topics made it a difficult read.  But overall, I started to enjoy the book.  I wanted to know what was going to happen to Nichole next.  I started caring.  Unfortunately, it was too late into the story.

So, overall, I think a lot of people will love this, and  I did end up enjoying it…just not as much as I had hoped.

 

Read: July, 2021

 

Lucinda BerryAbout The Author:  Dr. Lucinda Berry is a former psychologist and leading researcher in childhood trauma. Now she writes full-time, using her clinical experience to blur the line between fiction and nonfiction. She enjoys taking her readers on a journey through the dark recesses of the human psyche. If Berry isn’t chasing after her son, you can find her running through Los Angeles, prepping for her next marathon. Check out her website: https://lucindaberryauthor.com.

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4037087858

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.

 

 

 

The Spirit Engineer by A.J. West

 

Book Cover

 

The Spirit Engineer by A.J. West

Publishing:  October 7, 2021 by Duckworth Books

 

 

Reason I chose to Read this Book:  I needed a ghost story, and this looked promising.  As well, I love debut novels, and always hope for the best!

 

The Spirit Engineer by A.J. West is a ghost story.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Duckworth Books and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Belfast, 1914.  34 year old William Jackson Crawford, father of 3, teacher, scientist and engineer.  He is trying to complete his book on scientific calculations.

One night he follows his wife, who he suspects is having an affair.  Instead, it seems she is trying to communicate with the dead.  In particular, she is trying to contact her brother and her son.

William is a sceptic, but a scientist, and with some wealthy benefactors, is out to prove that medium Kathleen Goligher is a fake.  He surprises himself.

 

My Opinions:

First, I will probably be in the minority on this one, but not every book is for every person.  I am not a real fan of historical fiction, but I am a fan of ghosts and psychics and mediums, so I thought…..

This book is based on real people.  Engineer William Jackson Crawford did indeed investigate medium Kathleen Goligher.  He did, indeed, commit suicide.  The story we read here is based “around” those facts.

The book is about psychic phenomena, mediums, religion.  It is about faith, and beliefs.  It is also about grief, obsession and exploitation, and about ambition, lies and deception.

I really struggled with this novel.  I hated the main character, and found it impossible to warm to him. He’s a pompous ass, so full of himself.  The book had a slow and boring start.  Between that boring beginning and my intense dislike of  William, I seriously considered giving up.  I’m not even sure how I felt with the addition of Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (of whom I am a big fan).  That felt wrong to me.

However, I really enjoyed the last 20% of the book, and I absolutely loved the ending!

(Oh, and I liked the cover)

 

Read: October, 2021

 

Favorite Quote from The Spirit Engineer:

“Death is a beginning.”

 

A.J. West

About The Author: A.J. West is a British author.  He is also a former award-winning BBC journalist, radio broadcaster and voice artist.  He lives in London with his husband, Nicholas Robinson.  Check out his website: https://ajwestauthor.com/

*** Photo taken from GoodReads

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4187635420

 

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.

 

 

 

 

Forget Me Not by Alexandra Oliva

Forget Me Not

 

Forget Me Not by Alexandra Oliva

Published: March 2, 2021 by Ballantine Books (Random House)

 

Reason I chose to Read this Book: Given a widget from the publisher, and it looked interesting.

 

Forget Me Not by Alexandra Oliva is part mystery/thriller, but also touted as and part Sci-Fi/Fantasy…which I don’t really agree with, other than the fact that it took place in a near-distant time-frame where technology is a little more advanced.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Ballantine Books (Random House) – particularly Kathleen Quinlan for sending me a widget, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Linda Russell was raised in a rather strange environment.  No father around, and a mother who only wanted Linda to replace another daughter who died in an accident years before.  Unfortunately, Linda was not anything like the sister she was meant to replace.  Once her mother figured that out, Linda basically ran wild in the woods within their walled-off property.  Her mother did not show her much attention.

When she is twelve, her mother totally abandons her, and Linda climbs the wall and escapes her prison.  Unfortunately, she is ill-prepared for life outside the wall.  Her father (who up til this point was unaware of Linda’s existence) steps up,  and raises her as best he can.  But the stigma of having lived that other life follows her.  Publicity over the poor child who was born under strange circumstances goes viral, and even though it is untrue, people call her the Clone Girl.

Linda is now 24,  living on her own, but rarely leaving her apartment.  She is closely monitored by her father.  When she meets a new neighbour, Linda sees the possibility of having her first friend.  So, when a fire starts at her infamous childhood home, she asks Anvi if she will take her to see it.  From this point on, a chain of events starts Linda on a roller-coaster ride that has her learn the truth about her childhood.

 

My Opinions:

This was a lot better than I thought it would be.  It started a little slow, and took me a little bit to get into the story.  I wasn’t that fond of the Virtual Reality segments in the book, but overall, the plot was quite interesting, and the suspense build-up was good.

I really liked the characters. Linda was a very shy, introverted young woman, who is just learning to trust in herself.  From her background, the character rang true.  As did that of Anvi, who came across as rather “loud”, but she too, was just learning her way in a new place, away from family and friends.  I loved their friendship, and the fact that Anvi was not trying to take advantage of Linda, even though her new job would lend itself to that quite easily.

Overall, it was an entertaining read!

Read: August, 2021

 

 

Alexandra OlivaAbout The Author: Alexandra (Ali) Oliva grew up in a tiny town in the mountains of upstate New York. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, young son, and their brindled mutt, Codex. Check out this author’s website at http://www.alexandraoliva.com/

 

*** Photo Credit – taken from GoodReads

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3899688887

 

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.

 

 

 

I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad

Book Cover

 

I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad

Publishing: September 28, 2021 by Blackstone Publishing

 

 

Reason I chose to Read this Book: The description appealed to me, and I haven’t read anything by this author, although I know he has written a few other books.

 

I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Blackstone Publishing and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Wayland Maynard is only eight when his father commits suicide right in front of him.  Wayland steals the note that his father left.  On it are the words “I am not who you think I am”.  Wayland doesn’t have a clue as to what that could mean, but he misses his father, and he hides the note.  His mother throws out everything she could find that belonged to his father, but Wayland rescued a few things, especially his books.

When Wayland is 16, he starts to wonder what he really saw the night his father committed suicide.  He starts to doubt things, and is determined to find out the truth, even though his mother is of no help.

He finds some strange messages in his father’s old books, and a tie to the town’s most powerful family.  Unfortunately, Wayland doesn’t know who he can trust, and the story that is unfolding has him fearing no one would believe him anyway.

 

My Opinions:   

WOW.  This one grabbed me hard, and as the suspense rose, so did my need to turn those pages.   The pace was good, and the twists perfect.

While I had anticipated one of the major twists, others were a real surprise.  The way the author provided the reader with little tidbits of information was really good.  Okay, one mystery solved, now we have another one…..

The book is about family, and grief, and obsession.  It is also about secrets and lies.  But a big part of it is a coming-of-age story about a teenager who has gone through a devastating “Incident”, that he never really got over, and never understood.  Add hormones and typical teenage angst to the mix, and it is a rather sad story.  It is also a little dark.

I liked the ending, where everything got tied up nicely.

The author did an amazing job of taking us into a small town in 1984 America, where the library pays an important role.  Rickstad’s  writing is really good, and he kept me engaged from start to finish.  I will definitely be looking into his other books.

 

Read: September, 2021

 

Favorite Quotes from I Am Not Who You Think I Am:

“Books— words—hold power. Not magic. Not wonder. Power. Power to convince you of things, even things that do not exist.”

 

 

 

Eric RickstadAbout The Author: Eric Rickstad is an American best-selling author.  He currently lives in Vermont with his wife, son and daughter.  Check out his website https://rickstad.com/

*** Photo taken from GoodReads

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4037070908

 

Have you read it?  Do you plan to?  Tell me your thoughts…do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Either way, I’d love to know.