Reading

The Boy from the Woods – Harlan Coben | A Book Review

The Boy from the Woods - Harlan Coben

Title: The Boy from the Woods

Author: Harlan Coben

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the first book in the Wilde series where he tries to find a local girl who goes missing. As a boy, he was found living in the woods with no memory of the past. He’s content with being an outcast, but in order to find Naomi Pine, he returns to a community where powerful people have secrets with dangerous consequences.

First impressions: I’ve never read anything by Coben before, but I’ve wanted to for a long time. The premise piqued my curiosity. Although the story started out differently than I expected, I enjoyed it nonetheless. Even from the beginning, I found the characters to be intriguing and the plot to be interesting.

Characters: Wilde is a complex individual with a mysterious past, so I think the author will continue to explore his backstory in the rest of the series. There are morally grey characters who do questionable things but have good reasons for doing so. I liked the depth of the interactions and conversations as well.

Quote:

“Memory is faulty because it insists on filling in the blanks.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages with short chapter breaks. In my opinion, Coben did a great job in regards to the pacing of the novel. Some of the twists and turns surprised me.

Final thoughts: The ending wraps up loose ends while also setting the stage for the second book. Overall, it’s a solid read that weaves character development with a layered plot. If you enjoy a novel with multiple storylines about power and politics, check out The Boy from the Woods.


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Reading

The Good Samaritan – CJ Parsons | A Book Review

The Good Samaritan - CJ Parsons

Title: The Good Samaritan

Author: CJ Parsons

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone about a mother named Carrie whose five-year-old child gets abducted from the park. She’s unable to read people’s facial expressions, which may have put her daughter in danger. When a stranger brings Sofia home after a few days, Carrie wonders if the good Samaritans who helped her have ulterior motives.

I received a reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: After reading the premise, I was excited to see where the story would go. I also like the title and cover. The beginning made me even more curious about the characters.

Characters: The diversity and representation added a different layer to the story. Carrie is a complex but likeable individual. She has social-emotional agnosia, so she can’t read people’s emotions. While the plot is interesting, I found myself more invested in the people involved because I could relate to them.

Quote:

“Because when it matters most, you’ll know who to trust.”

Writing: It’s almost 400 pages with short chapters written in the third person. The pacing of the plot picks up at the end. Some events aren’t too difficult to predict, but it was fun to see how everything played out, especially at the end.

Final thoughts: The ending is satisfying in that it wraps up loose ends without dragging things out. I also enjoyed the police procedural parts where an investigator and her team try to find out who abducted Sofia. If you’re looking for a thriller with great characterization and development, check out The Good Samaritan.


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Reading

The Replacement Wife – Darby Kane | A Book Review

The Replacement Wife - Darby Kane

Title: The Replacement Wife

Author: Darby Kane

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone about Elisa Wright who’s convinced her brother-in-law, Josh, is a killer. He has a dead wife, a missing fiancée, and a new girlfriend. Elisa tries to discover what happened to the women in his life while dealing with her own trauma.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I like the title, cover, and premise. The beginning sets the stage for the rest of the story by introducing the main characters. The chapters are short, especially at the start, which helps to build suspense.

Characters: Many of the characters are flawed with problems of their own. They aren’t always the most likeable, but I could still relate to them. Although I went through a different traumatic event than Elisa, the scenes that talk about her trauma resonated with me.

Quote:

“You get to struggle with what happened for as long as you need to.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages, written in third person point of view with an unreliable narrator. The pacing slows down a bit in the middle, but things pick up at the end. Some of the issues explored include trauma, mental illness, and family relationships. As such, it’s not the easiest read because of the sad, stressful events in the story.

Final thoughts: I wasn’t too sure how it would end at first. Since there aren’t too many people involved, it’s not impossible to predict who did what. The ending answers most of the lingering questions. If you enjoy domestic psychological thrillers about different characters, you may want to check out The Replacement Wife.


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Reading

Walk the Wire – David Baldacci | A Book Review

Walk the Wire - David Baldacci

Title: Walk the Wire

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the sixth book in the Amos Decker series that follows two FBI agents in London, North Dakota. Amos and Alex investigate the murder of Irene Cramer, a teacher for a religious sect that’s operating on land owned by a government facility. As more people die, they have to figure out the identity of the killer before things get worse.

First impressions: I was excited for this novel because I’ve read many of Baldacci’s previous books. The premise piqued my curiosity because it seemed different than other plots. I also like how the title and cover go together.

Characters: I’m a fan of Amos and Alex. I love the crossover with other characters from another series in this story. There’s a lot of individuals involved, but I found it easy enough to follow along.

Quote:

“Sometimes time doesn’t make a difference in how you feel about someone.”

Writing: It’s almost 500 pages long with short chapters. I enjoyed the twists and turns as I couldn’t predict some of them. The plot is quite complicated with multi-layered storylines.

Final thoughts: I wasn’t too sure how everything would tie together, but the ending felt satisfying in my opinion. Although this isn’t my favourite novel by the author, it’s still a fun read. If you want to read a complex mystery thriller about people with secrets in a fracking town, check out Walk the Wire.


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Reading

The Third to Die – Allison Brennan | A Book Review

The Third to Die - Allison Brennan

Title: The Third to Die

Author: Allison Brennan

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the first in a new series that follows a police detective in Kara Quinn and an FBI agent in Matt Costa. They investigate a case involving a serial killer who kills every three years, murdering three victims, each three days apart. As Kara and Matt learn more about the murderer, they realize one member of their own team may be the next target.

First impressions: I love a good thriller, so I was curious to see how the story would play out. The book is longer than I expected at over 550 pages, but I enjoyed the beginning.

Characters: Both Kara and Matt are complex individuals with different personalities. I liked learning more about their backstory. There are a lot of different characters, so it took me some time to keep track of everyone. That being said, the unique relationships add an interesting layer to the novel.

Quote:

“She hoped that he kept that spark of optimism and joy because so few people had it.”

Writing: Brennan does a good job weaving multiple storylines together. The book explores many issues with some mature and graphic scenes. It is written in third person, and the short chapters help to build suspense.

Final thoughts: The ending ties up loose ends while setting the stage for the next novel in the series. I would recommend The Third to Die if you’re looking to read a crime thriller that feels like watching an episode of Criminal Minds.


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Reading

The Turn of the Key – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

The Turn of the Key - Ruth Ware

Title: The Turn of the Key

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone following Rowan who stumbles across a live-in nanny job, which seems like a great opportunity at first. When a child in her care ends up dead, Rowan finds herself in prison and awaiting trial for murder. But if she didn’t kill anyone, that means someone else did.

First impressions: I was curious to see how the plot would unfold. The author chose to have Rowan writing letters to a lawyer, which added an interesting layer to the story.

Characters: Rowan is a complex individual with flaws and secrets of her own. The use of first person point of view allows readers to follow Rowan and learn more about her. There aren’t too many characters, which makes it easier to keep track of everyone.

Quote:

“I never knew there were so many ways to deal with pain so unbearable that it cannot be endured, but in here I have seen them all.”

Writing: It’s a little over 350 pages with short chapters. I found some parts in the middle of the story to be a bit repetitive. Even though I couldn’t predict all the twists and turns, Ware does a good job hinting at the truth without revealing too much.

Final thoughts: The ending wraps up some questions but leaves others unanswered. While it isn’t the most realistic read in my opinion, the story is still fun and different. If you enjoy contemporary thrillers with horror elements, consider checking out The Turn of the Key.


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Reading

The Postmistress of Paris – Meg Waite Clayton | A Book Review

The Postmistress of Paris - Meg Waite Clayton

Title: The Postmistress of Paris

Author: Meg Waite Clayton

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It’s a standalone following a young American woman named Nanée. She helps artists hunted by Nazis escape Europe by delivering information to those in hiding. Edouard Moss has left Germany with his daughter only to be sent to an internment camp in France. When their lives collide, Nanée puts herself in danger to help Edouard.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I like the title and cover. The premise piqued my curiosity, so I was looking forward to seeing what would happen. The pacing is slower at first, but it picks up as the story goes on.

Characters: Nanée and Edouard are likeable and easy to root for. I enjoyed learning about their past as well as watching them grow in the present. I also found the secondary characters to be interesting.

Quote:

“To have expectations was to open your heart to breaking.”

Writing: The book is inspired by Mary Jayne Gold, a Chicago heiress who worked with American journalist Varian Fry, helping to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France. It’s about 400 pages with short chapters written in the third person. The description and detail make the events seem even more vivid and real.

Final thoughts: The early references to art and photography confused me at first, but everything comes full circle. I didn’t know what to expect, but the ending is so emotional and fitting. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and romantic relationships set during World War II, check out The Postmistress of Paris.


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Reading

Last Girl Ghosted – Lisa Unger | A Book Review

Last Girl Ghosted - Lisa Unger

Title: Last Girl Ghosted

Author: Lisa Unger

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone that follows Wren Greenwood who meets Adam Harper on a dating app. She starts falling in love only for him to ghost her. When Wren discovers that there were other girls who fell for him and later went missing, she starts looking into his dark past.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The premise piqued my curiosity, so I was excited to read this novel to see how the plot would play out. I also like the title and cover. The beginning sets the stage for what’s to come by introducing some of the main characters.

Characters: Wren grew on me as I learned more about her backstory. Since the book is a mystery thriller, some events aren’t as realistic, but I could relate to the characters and their experiences.

Quote:

“Home is the place you choose.”

Writing: It’s about 400 pages long with short chapters. The pacing is slower in the middle but picks up at the end. It’s mainly told from Wren’s point of view while alternating between the past and the present. I didn’t find it too confusing to follow along. The novel explores issues such as PTSD, trauma, abuse, and more.

Final thoughts: I found certain parts of the plot easier to predict than others. The ending provides closure on different storylines, so I enjoyed how it wraps up. If you’re looking for a cat and mouse thriller about online dating and psychological trauma, look into the Last Girl Ghosted.


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