The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Monday, August 31, 2015

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Bones Will Speak (Gwen Marcey #2) By Carrie Stuart Parks

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Release Date:  August 11, 2015
Pages:  336
Genre: Christian Mystery/Suspense
Format:  e-book

Book Description: 
Forensic artist Gwen Marcey has become the target of a serial killer who believes he's been appointed God's executioner.

In Copper Creek, Montana, Gwen Marcey is struggling to put together her life after cancer and divorce. When her dog retrieves a skull of a murder victim and leads her to the victim's grave, Gwen uses her forensic art ability to identify a serial killer. She is horrified to discover all the victims look like her fourteen-year-old daughter.

The murderer is a "lone wolf," a member of the terrorist group Phineas Priesthood—and he has a score to settle with Gwen. Unraveling the tangled Christian Identity movement, where race—not grace—provides salvation, Gwen is in a frantic rush against time. She must use all her skills to uncover the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her and everyone she loves.

Wanda's Thoughts: 
There is plenty of mystery and suspense in this intriguing novel. The author creates many dangerous situations as she cleverly weaves together the storyline. This is a stand alone read, but I wish I had read the first in the series. It might have created a more in-depth look into the characters.

The premise was certainly an interesting one, but the tempo varied throughout, dragging along until finally picking up in the last half of the book. At that point I was pulled in as the suspense escalated and continued to build into a stunning conclusion.

The dialog was effective with character development that came alive on the pages.

Gwen Marcey – A forensic artist, and a cancer survivor, struggling to raise her daughter alone. Gwen finds her life upended when she becomes involved in finding a serial killer who seems to be focused on her. She struggles to save herself and her daughter as the story takes on many twists and turns. Gwen is a strong woman, but vulnerable and sensitive.

Aynslee is the rebellious 14 year-old-daughter who is rather self-centered, and struggling to find a bit of freedom from her mom. Sometimes she was a little hard to like.

Beth is my favorite character. She is Gwen’s best friend and sidekick who has a lot of good advice for Gwen concerning forgiveness. I loved her quirky personality.

Solid writing, great characters, and plenty of action are all combined to make this book a great read! My rating is 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author: Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants. She has won numerous awards for career excellence. Carrie is a popular platform speaker, presenting a variety of topics from crime to creativity.

Monday, August 24, 2015

All the Beautiful Brides (Graveyard Falls, #1) By Rita Herron⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Publisher:  Montlake Romance
Expected Release Date:  September 15, 2015
Pages:  341
Genre:  Mystery/Suspense
Format:  e-book

About the Book: 
A young woman lies dead at the bottom of a waterfall, dressed in a wedding gown with a rose stem jammed down her throat. And in the small town of Graveyard Falls, the horrifying vision stirs a long-ago nightmare back to life…

FBI Special Agent Cal Coulter gets called in to investigate the murder, which bears a terrifying resemblance to a series of killings committed thirty years ago: three teenage girls were found dead at the waterfall’s base, all bearing rose stems in their throats. But the high school football star was convicted and imprisoned for those murders, leading Cal to suspect that the killer is still out there.

Now, the body count is rising again. The monster’s sights are set on counselor Mona Monroe, Cal’s best friend’s widow…and the woman he’s always loved. Can Cal stop the killer before Mona becomes the next victim?

Wanda's Thoughts:  This was my first time reading a book by Rita Herron and she truly knows how to spin a tale of mystery and suspense. The entourage of interesting characters kept me guessing about their true demeanor right through to the end. And the story moves at a quick, comfortable pace, with a crescendo of suspense all the way through. The author absolutely writes with a vivid imagination. Not all is what it seems as the story unfolds and the mystery unravels little by little with an intricate and well-crafted storyline.

Be forewarned there are a few sexual scenes and a handful of vulgarities, so if that bothers you, just know you’ll have some skimming to do. I must also add that sometimes the dialogue felt disjointed and rather clumsy. That being said, the net result is a book that constantly entices the reader to read just one more chapter before putting it down. I enthusiastically recommend it to readers who love suspense. 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author: USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author Rita Herron fell in love with books at the ripe age of eight when she read her first Trixie Belden mystery. Although she wanted to be a writer then and actually scrawled her first novel at age twelve, she didn’t think real people grew up to be writers, so she became a kindergarten teacher instead. Ten years ago, she traded her classroom storytelling and puppets for a computer and now writes so she doesn’t have to get a real job.
Having sold over fifty books to date, she enjoys spinning spine-tingling romantic suspense tales filled with murder, mayhem, and spicy romance as well as sexy romantic comedies. Rita Herron currently writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue and she’s writing dark, gritty romantic suspense thrillers for Amazon Montlake.

Monday, August 10, 2015

THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE By Sonja Yoerg⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Publisher:  NAL
Pages:  336
Release Date:  September 1, 2015
Genre:  Women's Fiction
Format:  Kindle

About the Book: 
A troubled, young widow hikes from Yosemite Valley deep into the wilderness on the John Muir Trail to elude her shameful past in this emotionally gripping story from the author of House Broken.

With her thirtieth birthday looming, Liz Kroft is heading for the hills—literally. Her emotional baggage weighs her down more than her backpack, but a three-week trek promises the solitude she craves—at least until her boyfriend, Dante, decides to tag along. His broad moral streak makes the prospect of confessing her sins more difficult, but as much as she fears his judgment, she fears losing him more. Maybe.

They set off together alone under blue skies, but it’s not long before storms threaten and two strange brothers appear along the trail. Amid the jagged, towering peaks, Liz must decide whether to admit her mistakes and confront her fears, or face the trail, the brothers and her future alone.

Wanda's Thoughts:  A story of adventure, suspense, and romance, you will certainly be touched by a swirl of emotions evoked in this unique book. The finely layered novel provides vivid realism through the descriptive writing – both the well-described scenes and vibrant characters. I was completely absorbed from beginning to end in the storyline that never lost momentum. A compelling story, indeed!

Negative comments – I didn’t like the profanity used, finding it to be offensive, although it was used by just one character, so it is minimal. Also, I thought the ending was rather lukewarm concerning the evil and creepy Root brothers. I was expecting more suspense at the end.

I do highly recommend this novel and my rating is 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:  My debut novel, House Broken, was released 6 January 2015 courtesy of Penguin/NAL. My second novel, Middle of Somewhere, will be out on September 1, 2015.

I grew up in Stowe, Vermont, the daughter of a ski instructor. In my first incarnation, I was a animal behaviorist who studied learning in blue jays, hyenas and kangaroo rats. I wrote a book about that. Now I make stuff up.

I run, garden, cook, eat, drink wine, then run some more. My husband and I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It's quiet and pretty, like Vermont.

Join me all over the place:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

No One Needs To Know By Kevin O'Brien⭐️⭐️⭐️

Publisher:  Pinnacle
Release Date:  July 28, 2015
Pages:  416
Genre:  Mystery

Book Description: 
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…

Wanda's Thoughts:  A web of deceit and lies, No One Needs To Know is constructed in a very complex manner, with more than one intricate crafted storyline. This is a story filled with disappointments, regrets, and loss as Laurie Trotter faces difficult choices and challenges.

Laurie’s life has changed drastically because of a foolish affair she had with Tad McBride while her husband was in Afghanistan. She is now a war-widow and mother of an infant son. Laurie is a trained chef and doubles as a waitress and short-order-grill cook at the Superstar Diner. She is respected around town, but her life is falling apart because Tad and his despicable brother are stalking her. Laurie is looking for a safe haven for her son and herself and finds a job in Seattle. She begins to work in a food truck and catering business owned by Cheryl Wheeler. And the story unfolds as tensions escalate and mysteries unravel little by little.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It was certainly well written, with stressful and tense moments throughout, and there were great plot twists that kept me guessing. But I must say – I just didn’t find the storyline to be addictive or engrossing. It was just lukewarm. There was a large cast of characters that made it difficult to keep up. The premise of the book was intriguing, but slow moving. It could’ve been wrapped up 100 pages sooner. The ending was acceptable, but rather disappointing, and not very realistic. My rating is 3 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:   “I'm shamelessly promoting my new thriller, NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW (look for it on 7/28), and I'm ready to answer your questions and dish some dirt! Thanks for checking out my books! ” Kevin O'Brien