The American Girl by Kate Horsley

Book Description:

Published: August 2, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A riveting psychological thriller about an American exchange student in France involved in a suspicious accident and the dark secrets a small town is hiding. . .

On a quiet summer morning seventeen-year-old American exchange student Quinn Perkins stumbles out of the woods near the small French town of St. Roch, barefoot, bloodied, and unable to say what has happened to her.

Quinn’s appearance creates a stir, especially since her host family, the Blavettes, has mysteriously disappeared. Now the media, and everyone in the idyllic village, are wondering if the American girl has anything to do with the missing family.

Quinn’s appearance creates a stir, especially since her host family, the Blavettes, has mysteriously disappeared. Now the media, and everyone in the idyllic village, are wondering if the American girl has anything to do with the missing family.

A Boston reporter named Molly Swift travels to St. Roch, prepared to do anything to learn the truth and score the ultimate scoop. After Quinn is arrested and a trial by media ensues, she finds an unlikely ally in the young journalist. Molly unravels the disturbing secrets of the town’s past in an effort to clear Quinn’s name, but even she is forced to admit that the American girl makes a compelling suspect.

Is Quinn truly an innocent abroad, or is she a cunning, diabolical killer intent on getting away with murder?

Review –

Quinn is a seventeen year-old American exchange student spending time in a small French town. One fateful morning, she comes walking out of the woods scared, bloody, and unable to remember what led her there. To top it off, her host family has mysteriously disappeared. Is Quinn responsible, or does it have something to do with the small town’s sinister secrets? Desperate for answers and a shocking story, the media descends upon the town. Among the reporters is American, Molly Swift, who will do anything to get to the bottom of it, including getting way too involved and telling lie after lie.

The story is creepy, mysterious, and incredibly fast paced. The viewpoints alternated between Quinn and Molly, and were told in several formats: blog posts from Quinn leading up to the incident, video diaries from Quinn AFTER the incident, and Molly’s viewpoint in the present. I enjoyed seeing what happened before and what happened after and trying to unravel the mystery and the secrets of the town. I was shocked again and again.

To say that this story is intriguing would be an understatement. I was sucked in from the get-go and felt an unrelenting need to know what was happening.  I found myself constantly second guessing what I thought was going on and was continually puzzled. The end is one you won’t see coming!

I’d highly recommend this one to fans of mysteries and thrillers — I gave this five stars!

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Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

Book Description:

Published: June 20, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots. I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can’t bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago. If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw’s whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact… I’ve spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow. Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn’t been another girl. And now there is.

Review –

Ten years after escaping from a kidnapper who held her prisoner for three years, a young woman must face the reality that he’s taken another little girl.

Thirteen years ago, Ella Santos existed. Now that girl is gone, replaced by Lainey Moreno, an bitter woman who subsists on cigarettes and whatever pills she can find, trying desperately to forget the years she spent locked in a basement with the man who raped her. Until she sees a missing poster for ten-year-old Olivia Shaw, privileged where Lainey was poor, loved where Lainey was neglected. Improbably, the detective on the case is Sean Ortiz, the traffic cop who found Lainey the day she got away, the only one who doesn’t think Lainey is broken beyond repair.

Lainey believes she is worthless but Sean sees her potential  and this happens over and over again as do the allegedly shocking but actually humdrum revelations about Lainey’s past and her connections to Olivia. It’s way overdone and becomes annoying as does the predictability of the plot, but there are a couple of twists that make every thing worth it and that’s why I rated it five stars!

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Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Book Description:

Published: March 14, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

Review –

Never Let You Go is a book that brings the reader up close and personal to the inner workings of an abusive relationship. I was truly sickened by the ways Andrew manipulates Lindsey. In flashbacks to their relationship, Stevens doesn’t shy away from showing readers the many ways that Andrew threatened Lindsey into submission. The book isn’t too violent – there is a lot of  instances of emotional and verbal abuse depicted also. Sometimes it was difficult to read a few of these scenes, but it also served to make me even more invested in Lindsey’s wellbeing. I wanted her and her daughter to finally be free of Andrew so badly. Of course, Stevens has a number of tricks up her sleeve, and Lindsey and her daughter have a twisty path to travel in pursuit of that freedom. 

This book is structured in three parts: part one gives readers flashbacks on Lindsey and Andrew’s relationship, alternating between different years in their marriage, allowing readers to see the progression of the violence and control that Andrew exercised over Lindsey. Part two brings readers into the present day, as Lindsey and her daughter try to live their lives alongside Andrew’s release from prison. Part three fast-forwards a few months, showing the reader what has become of Lindsey and her daughter. I loved this plot structure—I found that it gave me a 360-degree view of the lasting effects of an abusive relationship, both on its victims and its perpetrators.

I absolutely loved the plot twists that this story does have, but I kept going back and forth on the “who”— I certainly never saw the “why” coming. I was completely shocked when the final ball drops, and readers realize what’s really going on in Lindsey’s life. Even if you do predict all of the big reveal, I don’t believe it would take away from your enjoyment of the book. This book really isn’t about plot twists, it’s an intimate glimpse into the darkest secrets of its characters, and no amount of plot twist-guessing will take that away from the reader.

It’s a chilling read and one that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Loved it!

The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet

Book Description:

Published: September 21, 2017

Format: E-Book/OverDrive

A frozen body, a murdered biker, and a lawyer with nothing left to lose. In the depths of the Norwegian winter, a woman’s frozen corpse is discovered in the garden of a notorious ex-lawyer, Vilhelm Thygesen. She has been stabbed to death. A young biker, a member of a gang once represented by the lawyer, is found dead in suspicious circumstances. Thygesen starts receiving anonymous threats, and becomes ensnared in a web of violence, crime and blackmail that spreads across Northern Europe. Does the frozen woman hold the key?

Review –

I always LISTEN to foreign crime fiction because I prefer a narrator with the correct accent and pronunciation of words and cities involved to be correct rather than stumble over the vowels and consonants myself.

I was not so lucky with The Frozen Woman in that all I could find was an e-book and so I stumbled my way through it and it was not a pleasant journey.

The storyline was good but I thought the plot was a bit convoluted. I may try this author again IF I can one of his books on audio.

Fractured (Fractured #1) by Elle Charles

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2014

Format: Free Digital Book

Kara Petersen’s life is virtually non-existent. Haunted by memories of the past, and events she cannot accurately remember, she is living half a life inside a world she has purposely created to shield herself from pain.

She is invisible, until one fateful night changes everything – she meets the handsome, enigmatic and very mysterious, Sloan Foster.

Successful, powerful and knowing exactly what he wants, she is inexplicably drawn to him.

Tired of fighting against the foreign emotions he has invoked inside her, she takes a fortuitous leap of faith. Conceding his temptation is too strong to resist, she falls deeper into his world of seduction, wealth and power.

Against her own better judgement, and recognising something isn’t quite right in this rich playboy’s domain, Kara is learning more about herself than she ever thought possible, from a man who seemingly knows more than he should.

A dark, engaging and provocative read that will stay with you long after you put it down.

WARNING: This novel contains serious adult content and descriptive sexual scenes. Intended for readers aged 18+

Review –

I just finished this book and all I can say is “Good God!”

The story line is not new – Young girl, sexually abused for many years to pay off the drug debts of her father is rescued by a stranger and lives to become a strong woman after being taken in by a kind woman. When the young woman is twenty-three a billionaire takes an interest in her and tries to control her every move. He is damaged too, but we don’t know why, and together they TRY to have a relationship but things get in the way and finally someone tells him lies about Kara that he believes and he throws her out of his home.  She moves in with the kind woman, now her boss, and her old girl friend, who is a prostitute, along with an evil  man named Deacon meet her at the door and he beats her horribly and abducts her. END

I knew that Kara and Sloan were destined to fail because this is Book One in a series and writers gonna write. The author has to give you a reason to go one to the second, third and final books.

It wasn’t said in this book but I have a feeling that Sloan is the man who rescued Kara when she was fifteen and might have even known her before that. We don’t know what exactly he does but some call him “dangerous” so I can hardly wait to start the second book as soon as I post this.

There are several triggers in this book and the top two are ABDUCTION and PHYSICAL ABUSE, so if you have trouble in those areas, stay away from this series.

 

 

 

Phantom (Harry Hole #9) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: October 2, 2012

Following from Jo Nesbø’s electrifying international best-sellers The Snowman and The Leopard, now comes Phantom, which plunges the brilliant, deeply troubled, now former police officer Harry Hole into a full-tilt investigation on which his own tenuous future will come to depend.

When Harry left Oslo again for Hong Kong—fleeing the traumas of life as a cop—he thought he was there for good. But then the unthinkable happened. The son of the woman he loved, lost, and still loves is arrested for murder: Oleg, the boy Harry helped raise but couldn’t help deserting when he fled. Harry has come back to prove that Oleg is not a killer. Barred from rejoining the police force, he sets out on a solitary, increasingly dangerous investigation that takes him deep into the world of the most virulent drug to ever hit the streets of Oslo (and the careers of some of the city’s highest officials), and into the maze of his own past, where he will find the wrenching truth that finally matters to Oleg, and to himself.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

Loved this book, just wish I had read the  series in order.  Here are the highlights:

  • Harry Hole has returned to his life of self-imposed exile in Hong Kong, but is brought back to Norway as the book begins as he is told that Oleg, the son of his on-off girlfriend, Rakel Fauke, has been arrested for the murder of his flatmate, Gusto. Since Harry has become a father figure to Oleg, he comes to Norway to determine the truth about the murder.
  • An airline pilot is arrested for transporting heroin into Norway, but – thanks to a burner within the Oslo Police Force, he is released and – although suspended from his job – is tasked by the heroin smuggling gang to work for them.
  • Harry meets an elderly priest at the hotel where he stays who, throughout the novel, gives Harry seemingly random information that ultimately aids him in solving the murder of Gusto. He also discovers that the drug-scene in Oslo no longer revolves around heroin, but around a morphine-based drug called Violin, which gives a bigger drug “high” and is much more addictive, but lacks some of the fatal consequences involved with the injection of heroin.
  • Harry manages to sneak into Oleg’s cell, pretending to be his lawyer, a man called Hans Christian, who is dating Oleg’s mother. After hearing Oleg’s side of the story he is convinced that the police have the wrong suspect and that Oleg has been arrested to keep the people who run the Violin trade going from being arrested. This theory is confirmed when Oleg is attacked in his cell moments after Harry has left.
  • Throughout the novel, the back-story, told from the point of view of a dying Gusto, explains how Oleg, Gusto and Gusto’s foster-sister, Irene, got involved in the Violin trade and how Irene has been kidnapped by the man who developed Violin to use as a sex slave. There are also passages written from the point of view of a mother rat, who is barred from reaching her hungry children by humans fighting and shooting each other and a falling body blocking her way; the significance of the rat’s experience in the main story told from the human point of view only becomes evident in the end.
  • Harry manages to find where Irene is being kept and free her, and then heads to a house where he has found out that the mysterious man behind the smuggling and dealing ring (a man no-one confirms having met) lives. He kills two bodyguards, but is trapped in the cellar of the house, which fills with water. However using an empty whisky bottle as an air pocket, Harry is able to escape drowning – the alcoholism which had often complicated Harry’s life in this case helping to save them.
  • An object in the drug lord’s house gives Harry a hint about the drug lord’s identity, and he realizes that he unknowingly met him already. He confronts the man in a life-and-death struggle which also involved a paradoxical grudging respect and mutual attraction. The encounter also enables Harry to discover who had killed Gusto, and how he was related to the drug lord. Harry then confronts Gusto’s killer. But before he can be taken in, he fires his gun at Harry apparently fatally.
  • Careful reading of the final part of the novel shows that the mother rat who appears elsewhere in the novel could sense ‘the barely perceptible vibrations’ of Harry’s heart. There are major loose ends – though the drug lord is dead, a corrupt and criminal officer is about to take command of the Oslo Police with the connivance of a corrupt city official – so Harry may survive to deal with them.

I will not tell you who killed the drug addict  at the beginning of the book but let’s just say it broke my heart and because I have already read/listened to the next book (and maybe the last book) in the series, I know that Harry is NOT dead   Hallelujah!!!!!!!

Five stars *****

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Private Paris (Private #10) by James Patterson and Mark T. Sullivan

Book Description:

Published: April 21, 2016

Paris is burning–and only Private’s Jack Morgan can put out the fire.
When Jack Morgan stops by Private’s Paris office, he envisions a quick hello during an otherwise relaxing trip filled with fine food and sightseeing. But Jack is quickly pressed into duty after a call from his client Sherman Wilkerson, asking Jack to track down his young granddaughter who is on the run from a brutal drug dealer.

Before Jack can locate her, several members of France’s cultural elite are found dead–murdered in stunning, symbolic fashion. The only link between the crimes is a mysterious graffiti tag. As religious and ethnic tensions simmer in the City of Lights, only Jack and his Private team can connect the dots before the smoldering powder keg explodes.

Review –

 Another new foreign office, another series of local challenges to go along with an assortment of story lines.

 It is a fast paced thriller complete with tension, mayhem,murder and terrorism and will keep you turning pages or listening for many hours at a time.  I believe this is one of James Patterson’s better books in the series but if I had been reading instead of listening I would have stumbled over most of the French names of people, places and things. Thank heavens for the audio book.!

The next in the series is Private Rio which come out later this month.

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Private #1 Suspect (Private #2) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Description:

Published: January 2, 2012

Unsolvable cases

Since former Marine Jack Morgan started Private, it has become the world’s most effective investigation firm–sought out by the famous and the powerful to discreetly handle their most intimate problems. Private’s investigators are the smartest, the fastest, and the most technologically advanced in the world–and they always uncover the truth.

Impossible murders

When his former lover is found murdered in Jack Morgan’s bed, he is instantly the number one suspect. While Jack is under police investigation, the mob strong-arms him into recovering $30 million in stolen pharmaceuticals for them. And the beautiful manager of a luxury hotel chain persuades him to quietly investigate a string of murders at her properties.

The #1 suspect is Jack Morgan

While Jack is fighting for his life, one of his most trusted colleagues threatens to leave Private, and Jack realizes he is confronting the cleverest and most powerful enemies ever. With more action, more intrigue, and more twists than ever before, PRIVATE #1 SUSPECT is James Patterson at his unstoppable best.

Review –

This subject of this book is primarily Jack Morgan. Someone is framing him for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and he doesn’t know why or who but he has a pretty good idea, his twin brother Tommy.

As usual, the story is a combination of multiple stories going on at the same time and all being solved by Private, a private investigating firm that can get away with things others can’t.

It fast paced, action-packed but sometimes frustrating.  All in all, a great read or listen.

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Murder of an Angel (Confessions #4) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Description:

Published: October 26, 2015

In the dramatic conclusion of the bestselling Confessions series, Tandy Angel’s next murder case could be her own!

Tandy Angel is losing her mind—or so she thinks. Even as she’s forced to fight for the family company, she’s imagining new dangers in every shadow. And as her detective prowess is called into question and her paranoia builds, she has to face the very real possibility that the stalker she’s convinced will take her life could be all in her head—or the very real danger that finally brings her down.

Review –
I had looked forward to this book for a long time and I’m sad to say it was very disappointing.
I think the author, James Patterson, was too busy with other projects to give this concluding installment of the Confessions series his full attention and do it justice.
We knew the identity of the “bad guy” from the get go and their was no mystery or depth to the characters this time. Instead, everything seemed rushed and the total outcome was underwhelming.
I’m glad I read it but I hate that there are still questions without answers and that it ended with a semi cliff-hanger (not really) but there are things said that could have led to another installment.
Maybe Maxine Paetro  should have done the majority of the writing  and gone on to write #5 and give it a proper conclusion.
What about it, Ms. Paetro?
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We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Book Description:

Published: March 24, 2015

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live.

Review –

In the simplest terms ,We All Looked Up is a story about Andy (a stoner punk who’s in the charmingly named band Perineum), Eliza (the artist with a reputation for being sexually  easy), Anita (the perfect good girl with straight A’s headed to Princeton), and Peter (an athlete having an existential crisis), who are brought together by an asteroid, named Ardor.  The world is thrown into chaos when scientists decide that the asteroid is 66.6% likely to collide with Earth. Everyone has 7 or 8 weeks to just wait for this to (potentially) happen.

I found the majority of the book bland and slow and the chemistry between the main characters was lack-luster. What saved the book for me was the last few chapters when things really ramped up.

You can imagine how  society would break down and violence would become a normal occurence if the end of the word is supposedly a few weeks away. Along with this you have drug dealers and “crazy people” losing it and that doesn’t bode well for one of the four teenagers. To find out with one, you’ll have to read the book.

I was VERY disappointed with the ending-and I won’t say what happened but suffice it to say that I like things spelled out for me.

Good book that makes you think.  What would you do if you had 6-7 weeks left to live?

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I love this cover!