Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble Review

_200_360_Book.2306.cover

Synopsis: Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

My Thoughts: This book kept me guessing. The story was fast paced and intense. It follows Dana, who has just left an abusive relationship and returns to her hometown for refuge. A series of murders of women are occurring that are all similar in nature and the suspense continues throughout the book until the final boiling point at the end.

I enjoy Colleen Coble’s writing style, it’s very descriptive and always keeps me turning the pages. The twist of the story was slightly unexpected and surprising but a bit far-fetched. I enjoyed the character of Bree, who trains search and rescue dogs. I also loved the small town feel of the setting. The author did a good job at building suspense throughout the story.

Unfortunately, it felt very over-dramatic at times. These characters had experienced a lot of drama in their lives (so much so that it gave me a soap opera feel at times). It made the book feel a bit unrealistic to read all the things one character had experienced. I also felt that the way murders were handled didn’t seem accurate, given the fact that they were possibly committed by a serial killer (the small town sheriff probably wouldn’t be the one in charge of these murders).

Overall, I was very entertained by this book but I wasn’t extremely impressed with it. I would recommend it for anyone who likes a fun murder mystery with a little bit of grit and some twists.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

 

Advertisements

The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron Review

ia

Synopsis: Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her.

Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

My Thoughts: This book contains a lot of things that I love…Vaudeville, mystery, illusionists, and a surprising twist. The story revolves around Wren Lockhart, a famous illusionist who was an apprentice for Harry Houdini. After a magician performs an illusion that results in the death of a man, the FBI gets the help of Wren to decipher what really happened on that day.

I am gaining more and more appreciation for historical fiction and I love the time period of the 1920s.  As I was reading this book, I felt like I was transported to the 20s…I could picture the theaters and flappers and glamorous parties that were vividly described in the story.

The characters were well developed, although I didn’t care for Wren at first but she grew on me as the story progressed.

I absolutely loved the scenes from Wren’s performances…I always loved watching illusionists and felt like an audience member watching her perform her amazing feats. I love Kristy Cambron’s writing style…it is very fluid and descriptive. She is very gifted at pulling the reader into the story.

The mystery seemed too weak to carry through the entire book. I found the resolution to be a bit rushed. I also didn’t care for the romance…it was very predictable and had an insta-love feel that seemed very unrealistic based on the personalities of the characters.

Overall, the story was a lot of fun and a great escape. I would highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction and the world of illusions.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Murder is No Accident by A.H. Gabhart Review

mi

Synopsis: Young Maggie Greene may be trespassing in the old, empty Victorian mansion on a quiet street in Hidden Springs, but all she wants is some private time in the magnificent tower room to write her stories. Certain she’ll be in trouble if caught, she hides when a realtor shows up. But someone else is in the house too, someone even more worried about getting caught. When Maggie finds the realtor’s body at the bottom of a flight of stairs and the other person gone, Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane is called in. He assumes the realtor’s death is a tragic accident–until a second person is found dead in the house. When Maggie is threatened, Michael must catch the murderer before anyone else dies.

Cozy mystery fans will love this third installment in The Hidden Springs Mysteries series from an author who knows how to make small-town America sweet, sentimental–and a little sinister.

My Thoughts: Up until now, I had only attempted to read one other cozy mystery and I dnf’d it because I found it boring. I wanted to give the genre another chance so I requested this book to review. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion that cozy mysteries are too tame for me.

The book started out great, with a death of a realtor in a large Victorian mansion. I love the setting and the characters…it takes place in a small town called Hidden Springs and everyone knows everyone. I also enjoyed the author’s descriptions of people and places, I was able to picture everything very easily.

Unfortunately, it dragged a lot in the middle and by the end I didn’t even really care who the culprit was.

I also found the procedures used by the police in this book ridiculous. I’m not an expert at crime scene investigation but I’ve watched enough crime shows to know that there are certain procedures that need to be followed (regardless of the size of the town). The romance in the story also felt as though it was just put in to satisfy those who want some romance in a story….it didn’t fit well with the plot and almost felt like an afterthought.

To be fair, if I liked cozy mysteries, I probably would have really enjoyed this book but I like a bit more grit and action in my stories. I would absolutely recommend this if you are a fan of cozy mysteries or stories about small towns.

My Rating: 2 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel Review

rg

Synopsis: After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

My Thoughts: It’s been 2 days since I finished this book and I still can’t get it off my mind. Unfortunately, the more time that passes, the more I’m disturbed by the content of this book. I would call this a “trainwreck” book…as I was reading it, I wanted to stop because of the twisted and disturbing nature of the content but for some reason I couldn’t look away.

This is not a feel good book, it was the opposite for me. I feel disgusted and frustrated and disturbed after reading it. With all that being said, I must say that this book falls into the unputdownable category for me. I devoured it in a few sittings, I needed to know what happened to Allegra and I needed to know how things would end. The writing style was very fluid, the characters were developed very well, and the book is full of several unexpected twists and turns. I think the fact that I have such an adverse reaction to this book is a testament to what a good writer Amy Engel is.

I don’t think this was the book for me…those familiar with me probably know that I am pretty conservative. This book had way too much vulgarity and graphic sexual content in it for my taste. I understand why it was there but I don’t feel that the author needed to go into as much detail as she did at times.

My Rating: This is one of the most difficult books for me to rate as I found it extremely compelling and well written but I can’t say that I liked it. Because of the unputdownable factor I rated it 4 /5 stars.

4 stars

I can’t in good conscience recommend this book to anyone as I really didn’t like the content but I will say that this is a book with a lot of adult content. If you like dark, disturbing, taboo subjects, you might want to try it.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

Because You’re Mine by Colleen Coble Re

bym

Synopsis: Alanna has been plagued by tragedy. So it should come as no surprise that in the beauty that surrounds Charleston, all is not as it seems.

When her husband is killed by a car bomb while their band is on tour in Charleston, Alanna doesn’t know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but the one thing she knows for sure is that she can’t lose the last piece of Liam she has left.

Their manager offers her a marriage of convenience to gain her U.S. citizenship and allow her to escape her father-in-law’s control. It seems like the perfect solution . . . but her doubts begin almost as soon as she arrives at Barry’s family home, a decaying mansion surrounded by swamp.

To make matters worse, Liam’s best friend survived the car bomb. She’s never really liked Jesse and now she can’t seem to get away from him. When he takes Liam’s place in their band, it’s almost more than she can bear.

But then things start happening. Things that could easily cost Alanna her life—or the life of her unborn child. Are they merely coincidences? Or is there something much more sinister at work?

My Thoughts: I had never read a book by Colleen Coble but she’s a popular author in the Christian Fiction world so I was excited to request and read this book. I was a bit hesitant about it as I’m not a fan of romance but this book was light on the romance and heavy on the suspense (which is what I love).

The story was unique and had a gothic feel as a large part of it took place in a large dilapidated mansion in Charleston, South Carolina. It was very atmospheric and entertaining to read.

I enjoyed each page that I read, the writing was very fluid and the pacing was steady. I found the story very entertaining. Unfortunately, it was also very predictable and extremely far-fetched and unrealistic. I guessed each surprise and was a bit disappointed in the main character’s lack of insight into what was really happening.

Although the story was far-fetched and predictable, I still found it very entertaining and would definitely pick up another book by Colleen Coble in the future.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Poison by Jordyn Redwood Review

po

Synopsis: Five years ago, Keelyn Blake’s stepfather took her family hostage, raving about Lucent, a being who forced him to commit unspeakable acts. Some of the family made it out alive; the rest did not. Even Lee Watson, the best of SWAT, failed to overcome the man’s delusions and end the standoff peacefully.

Now, Lucent is back– and he’s no hallucination. He has kidnapped Keelyn’s niece, and although Keelyn is estranged from her half-sister, Raven, she feels compelled to save what little family she has left. But Raven is nowhere to be found, and when others involved in that fateful day start dying under mysterious circumstances, Keelyn wonders if she and Lee– and their budding relationship– will surive.

My Thoughts: The premise of this book was very interesting and I found myself intrigued to find out what was going on. Everything came together nicely in the end and I was unable to predict most of the twists (which there were many twists). The author is extremely gifted as a writer and is also a very creative story teller…she always seems to present ideas that make me think long after I’ve finished the book. I will definitely be picking up more of her books.

I read Book 1 in this Trilogy (Proof) last month and loved it. I gave it 5 stars and couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed this book as well, but not quite as much as the first one. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately though so it has been difficult for me to connect with most of the books I’ve picked up lately.  I had a little bit of trouble with the amount of characters in this book, there was a lot going on and I had a little trouble keeping everything straight at times.

Overall, this was a great addition to the trilogy and I recommend it if you enjoy suspense and twists.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Bookfun in exchange for an honest review.

Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch Review

dearm

Synopsis: Once a celebrated writer, M’s greatest success came with a suspense novel based on a real-life disappearance. The book was called The Reckoning, and it told the story of Jan Landzaat, a history teacher who went missing one winter after his brief affair with Laura, his stunning pupil. Jan was last seen at the holiday cottage where Laura was staying with her new boyfriend. Upon publication, M.’s novel was a bestseller, one that marked his international breakthrough.

That was years ago, and now M.’s career is almost over as he fades increasingly into obscurity. But not when it comes to his bizarre, seemingly timid neighbor who keeps a close eye on him. Why?

From various perspectives, Herman Koch tells the dark tale of a writer in decline, a teenage couple in love, a missing teacher, and a single book that entwines all of their fates. Thanks to The Reckoning, supposedly a work of fiction, everyone seems to be linked forever, until something unexpected spins the “story” off its rails.

My Thoughts: I loved Summer House With Swimming Pool so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to read this book. Unfortunately, it really fell flat. It started out good, albeit confusing, but the storyline was intriguing. I was expecting a thrilling stalker story with a whodunit mystery thrown in. Around the middle of the book it became very slow and the story felt stagnant, like it was stuck. I became extremely bored and completely lost interest.

I skimmed to the end and although there were some surprises, they weren’t enough for me to recommend this book. I love twists but the pacing of this book was so slow building up to them that they didn’t have as much effect. By the time I got to them, I just wanted it all to be over.

My Rating: 1-star

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.