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

Eye

Ellie 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:


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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

TRotB

It’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:


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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

TF

Sixteen-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:


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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: AmazonBook Depository

Bad Day

Stella 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:


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Review Rendezvous: 11/4/17


Zero Day by Jan Gangsei
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 368
Publish date: January 12th, 2016
Purchase: AmazonBook Depository

Zero Day

Eight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping of the decade. Addie vanished—and her high-profile parents were forced to move on.

Mark Webster is now president of the United States, fighting to keep the Oval Office after a tumultuous first term. Then, the unthinkable happens: the president’s daughter resurfaces. Addie is brought back into her family’s fold…but who is this sixteen-year-old girl with a quiet, burning intelligence now living in the White House? There are those in the administration who find her timely return suspicious.

When a national security advisor approaches Darrow Fergusson, Addie’s childhood best friend and the son of the president’s chief of staff, he doesn’t know what to think. How could the girl he’s missed for all these years be a threat to the United States? Still, at the risk of having his own secrets exposed, Darrow agrees to spy on Addie.

He soon realizes that his old friend is much more than the traumatized victim of a political fringe group. Addie has come with a mission…but will she choose to complete it?


I read this one in an interesting form because I was quite hooked on it. I found it at my local library, but the physical copies were out and I really wanted to read it, so I settled for reading it on my laptop. If I e-read books, it’s always on my Kindle, but this wasn’t a bad format.

Moving on.

There’s a lot of plot lines and ideas that converge here, which is part of the reason why it seemed so interesting. We’ve got kidnapping going on, the presidential family, a bit of friendship/romance (but not too much, which would have complicated the entire plotline), terrorists, hacking…. I think that’s it. That sounds like a lot now that I type it out, but Gangsei has managed to weave it all together quite successfully.

There is something off about Addie from the very beginning. The book is told between both Addie and Darrow’s points of view, with the occasional third person thrown in whenever there is a major event. I did like the occasional third person chapter, but I also felt that the book could’ve done without it.

There was a very “two-faced” feeling I got from Addie to start with, so I don’t know if it was Gangsei’s intention to let us in so quickly, but it felt like I automatically was being told what side she was one. I’d much rather have decided that myself and then had it revealed later. But, with some of the things Addie does, it would’ve been hard to keep her neutral. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Addie at first, but I did end up endeared to her because of certain revelations and sympathizing with how she was taught while she was kidnapped.

I felt bad for her family though, at first they were all trying to get to know her and help her, and she kinda just brushed them all off. But, Addie was coming back from quite the experience, to be fair.

While it took me a few days to actually begin the book, I ended up sucked in by the end. It sets up well for a sequel, but there is nothing in the works so far. I can only hope Gangsei decides to write one, because I’d certainly be interested in it.

Rating:


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