Review Rendezvous: 7/7/18


An Eye for an Eye by Caroline Fardig
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller, suspense
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 322
Publish date: January 23rd, 2018
Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble – Book Depository

EyeEllie Matthews is tired of her fifteen minutes of fame. After consulting on a high-profile murder case a few months ago, she wants nothing more than to fade back into obscurity and resume her life as a mild-mannered college professor. But when a family friend goes missing, Ellie finds herself thrust back into the grisly world of crime scene investigation.

It isn’t long before Ellie’s young friend is found murdered and her death is tied to a previously unsolved case. Based on the cryptic poems left on the victims, the department soon realizes that the killer’s vendetta is against them.

It takes all Ellie has to push her personal feelings aside and partner with Detective Nick Baxter one more time. The duo must stop at nothing to catch a vengeful serial killer before it’s too late.

Potential spoiler warning. This is the second book in the “Ellie Matthews” series. Things discussed in this review may spoil plot lines in the first novel.

I haven’t read a non-young adult book in quite a while it feels like, so it was interesting to take a crack at this one. Technically speaking I fall into the target audience for the semi-new genre “new adult”, which encompasses high school grads through their early adult life. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy an actual adult mystery every once in a while. I confess to being used to YA, but the break is quite nice.

Ellie clearly wants nothing but to get back to her regular life in this particular book. She was convinced to assist on a previous case, dragging her criminologist skills out of the attic, but has a strong desire to leave that in the past and just be the professor she has become. Unfortunately, her friend is taken and later murdered, which forces Ellie back into the case.

I sensed some very Sherlock-esque skills in the detective work, and I do quite like mysteries so I enjoyed this one. Having a strong female character in the lead of a crime novel was a nice twist, reminds me of books like Riley Sager’s Final Girls. Technically speaking you could read this book as some kind of stand alone, but reading the first book before this one helps flesh out the characters and their past interactions so much more.

This book can get fairly grisly, and there are religious symbolisms involved, so have that in mind before you proceed. There’s also a fair amount of criminology terms, but honestly I didn’t find them too distracting or difficult to process. It definitely help build the world and give it a good grounding in reality.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 4/21/18


The Rushing of the Brook by Kansas Bradbury
Book stats:
Genre(s): Thriller, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 276
Publish date: July 5th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

TRotBIt’s 1987, and a dark shadow is about to fall upon the city of Sifton and its residents. Hayward Barry and his best friends—Joe, Davey, and Pete—are typical fifth- and sixth-grade boys, hanging out after school and getting into trouble. However, powerful urges and deep feelings have begun to grow in the boys as they approach young adulthood; for Hayward, this is his affection for Beth, a girl in his class who he fears will be swept away by another boy named Daniel. For Pete, it is a volatile temper and the desire to always get his way. When Davey is given something that Pete wants, it sets off a disastrous chain of events that strips them all of their childhood, drowning their innocence to the sound of a rushing brook—a sound none of them will forget.

As misery and happenstance would have it, the day tragedy strikes Hayward and his friends, a murderous monster awakes from hibernation in a town miles away. Getting into a stolen vehicle with bloody clothes and an unspeakable lust for violence, the nameless man drives towards Sifton, wreaking destruction and horror along the way. While his story won’t collide with the boys’ lives until seventeen years later—when they have all grown up—this man will reopen old wounds and awaken the trauma that has never healed. Hayward, now a failed artist and reluctant police officer, is left to pick up the pieces of a shattered community and solve the mystery of the event that has come to dominate his life.

One of the first things that interested me in this book was the split setting. One half is when the boys are young, and then we move into the future (17 years later, to be specific) to see how this has affected them later in life. I will admit, it is a bit of a shorter book, or maybe that’s just because of the different settings that it seems shorter.

If you’re a fan of suspense and murder and all that jazz, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up. Bradbury does a good job of fleshing out the characters and showing real change from their kid lives to their adult personas. He also contrasts the horror and suspense with family and friends and other relationships, which give the tale a grounding that some other stories in the same genre miss. It’s because we have the ability to connect to the characters in those moments that we can then go on to let ourselves believe in the other, more extreme circumstances.

I will admit, this isn’t usually the type of book I go after, but I was pleasantly surprised. I have read a few good mystery/horror types, and this one deserves a place beside them. It was slightly hard for me to get into the heads of the characters as they are quite different from myself, but Bradbury writes them in a way to still be relatable. Also, there is a bit of language, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about letting younger readers take a crack at it.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 4/7/18


Final Girls by Riley Sager
Book stats:
Genre(s): Thriller, mystery, horror
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 342
Publish date: July 11th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

FGTen years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. 

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Murder, lies, betrayal. Quite the recipe for disaster. And yet, Quincy Carpenter made it through. Of course, she doesn’t remember anything that happened, but that’s probably a good thing. In the time since her horrific incident, Quincy has made herself a new life and refuses to acknowledge that she is a ‘final girl’ as the media has dubbed her.

On the outside, everything looks good. She’s got a mildly successful baking blog, she’s living with her boyfriend (the one she expects to be upgraded to fiancé at any time), and she’s moved on with life. Of course, when you’re the victim of a mass murder event, life is never going to be that easy for you.

I love slowly peeling back the layers of Quinn. She’s got quite the complex character, which is key for authors to achieve. There’s also quite a few misdirects and red herrings, and this book was a wild ride from beginning to end. You also get snippets of Quinn’s memories from that night, and it all culminates in one vicious night when the memories finally return and everything is out in the daylight.

There’s so much good realization and character arc in here, not to mention plot twists everywhere. I highly recommend this book, if you haven’t read it already!

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 1/20/18


The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller, contemporary, young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 372
Publish date: July 7th, 2015
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

TFSixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

If you’re a fan of ABC’s political thriller Scandal, then I have just the book for you. Granted, this one has much less death, destruction, and all around mayhem, but the certainly doesn’t mean it’s lacking.

I love the idea of a teenage fixer, because it’s no secret that teens love to present themselves and their lives as perfect. The stakes are raised in the lives of D.C.’s elite families, because the wrong move can bring down tough consequences. At first, Tess doesn’t plan to make herself a fixer for her classmates, she kind of just stumbles into it. However, she’s good at it, just like her older sister who fixes bigger, badder problems for the adults of D.C.

Of course, anytime a teenager in YA decides to run free and do their own thing, they usually end up in a host of trouble, this book not withstanding. Tess stumbles upon something that could actually be big, which gets her into very hot water and send her sister scrambling to try and fixer Tess’ own life.

If you’re interested, there is also a second book to this duology that throws some major curveballs. you should totally check it out!

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 11/25/17


A Bad Day For Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 288
Publish date: August 4th, 2009
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Bad DayStella Hardesty, our salty, unlikely heroine, runs a sewing shop in rural Missouri. She also has a side business helping battered women with their abusive boyfriends and husbands. When Chrissy Shaw asks Stella for help, it seems like a straightforward case, until Chrissy’s no-good husband disappears with her two-year-old son. Now Stella finds herself in a battle against a more formidable enemy as she risks her own life to recover the boy.

I had such high hopes. So high. After coming down from the amazing-ness that is Kelly Oram’s books, I jumped into this one, and was supremely disappointed. Nothing against the book, but I had envisioned the protagonist quite a bit different than she actually is.

Stella Hardesty is an older (I believe 40s or 50s?) woman on her own in Missouri. She’s taken it upon herself to stop men from beating up on their wives and girlfriends, which would be fine, but she delivers “justice” however she see’s fit. From the review I wrote of “Premeditated” by Josie L McQuein, you should know that I really don’t like characters that take justice into their own hands.

I tried, I really did. This is another of the books that I read precisely two chapters and proceeded to skim the rest so I could decipher the plot. There was a twist at the end, but unlike other books where the twist has hooked me and I go back to read, there was no saving this book.

I’ll be chalking this one up to an unsuccessful finish, and it may interest you in a different way, it’s just not my cup of tea.

Rating:
Heart


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