Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Audible Find: THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari Lapena ~ Read by Kirsten Potter

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What??

This was one of those “can’t stop listening to this roller coaster ride of a story” experiences for me last week. I had purchased this audiobook with my monthly credit.

Read it! Listen to it! Get it!

If you like those suspenseful books like “Girl on a Train” or “Gone Girl” or “Behind Closed Doors” -things like that, this is one for you!

Overview via Amazon:

How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even yourself?

People are capable of almost anything….

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors – a twisty roller-coaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives.

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all – a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets – secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family, a chilling tale of decepti

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Review: OCHOCO REACH by Jim Stewart

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The nice folks at MindBuck Media recently asked me if I’d like to read and review OCHOCO REACH by Jim Stewart. Here’s what they had to say about it:

Description-

Mike’s usual strategy was to gently stir the pot and wait for patterns to emerge, but this case was boiling over from the day Willimina showed up at his office…

Freelance investigator Mike Ironwood doesn’t hesitate for a moment when a lovely stranger asks him to help her get to the bottom of suspicious happenings on her family’s cattle ranch. The case is intriguing, and Willimina even more so.
Six days in, the case has turned up two dead bodies, an alphabet soup of secretive federal investigators, and a client who just might be The One. That’s when things get complicated.
When a greedy DEA agent and his complex and deadly triggerman kidnap Willy, Mike enlists help from his brother and sets out to rescue her from the conflicted jefe of a major drug cartel. The trail takes them on a surreal tour that extends deep into Mexico, but they come home with unfinished business.
Ochoco Reach introduces Mike Ironwood, his special ops brother Daniel, and Bucket, a Catahoula leopard dog who is equally at home herding cattle and pinning bad guys to the floor. They have each others’ backs, and they have unexpected allies in the natural world, who appear in surprising ways. But they also attract trouble at every turn.

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I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. When I first started reading, the descriptions of the characters, the slight wackiness, the humor, it all caught me off guard. I worried that it might be too much for me – a little too “Mike Hammer” – but the thing that was great was this novel can be outrageous and unique and sarcastic and flippant without being over the top (and believe me – there’s a fine line). Stewart creates the characters of Mike and Willy and makes them believable. Mike has a Native American half-brother, Daniel, and a super smart dog to boot. There is no dearth of action and the story is well-plotted. I had a hard time putting it down.

I’d love to think that this is the first in a series!

Thank you for my opportunity to read and review OCHOCO REACH!

Here’s a bit about the author (who looks like a friendly guy):

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About the Author

A professional writer for over 25 years, Jim has published dozens of stories and essays, technical manuals, and poetry. After starting his journey in the Midwest and spending formative years in New England, he made it to the West Coast just in time to try and figure out what was happening in Vietnam. Music and writing kept him mostly sane. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Laura.

 

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YA Review: AWAKE by Natasha Preston

A while back, I received AWAKE through Net Galley. I love a good YA thriller/mystery.

In Awake, Scarlett Garner starts to “awake” and have memories of an event that changed her life when she was four-years-old. Always told that she escaped a fire and was left with amnesia due to trauma, Scarlett’s memories return in hazy part, and don’t quite fit the story she’s been told. Meanwhile, the new guy in school (Noah)  is drawn to Scarlett (really drawn to her and we later find out why) and they start a relationship. But what really happened in Scarlett’s past? And how does Noah fit in? And why would her family not be telling her the truth?

Well, there’s a complicated back story going on here. I won’t go in to details as I don’t want to spoil it, but Scarlett has a lot going on and it gets weirder and scarier the more she remembers. While I read this whole story and wanted to know what happened, it did pace a bit slowly for me (especially the first half). This is probably because this is book one of a series (or a sequel is coming). The hardest part of reading it for me was that I never really felt I got into Noah’s head. I didn’t understand his actions. In fact, I found most of the characters terribly frustrating. But I kept reading because I really wanted to know what happened to Scarlett (thus my distress over the somewhat “hanging” ending)!

I’ll be curious what others think. This book releases Aug. 4. Thanks for my review e-copy!

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Review: FOR RANSOM by Sarah McClain

A few weeks ago, Sarah McClain contacted me to ask if I would read and review her new novel FOR RANSOM. It was presented as a Christian suspense mystery, which sounded interesting to me, so I offered to read it.

In FOR RANSOM, eighteen-year-old Hailey Bennett is kidnapped and held for ransom. Her bodyguard and boyfriend, Eli, works to beat the clock in order to find her. Her father is a distant and preoccupied British government official who appears to know more about her abduction than he is letting on. Her mother is sincere and caring and willing to do whatever she can to get Hailey back.

This story read very quickly for me — I finished it in a few hours. The storyline centered around Hailey’s abduction and her rescue. While I liked the characters of Hailey and Eli, and found them plucky and courageous, I had some problems with the other characters. Hailey’s mother Anne was very one dimensional to me. Her father was even more one dimensional – in fact I couldn’t get into his head at all and found him almost a caricature. I would have liked to have seen more development of these two. I think it would have made them more believable to me.

I like the idea of “Christian suspense” as a genre. The main characters of Hailey and Eli had great faith and used it to get them through the hard times. The book could be considered less violent than other mysteries, though I thought it had some pretty serious physical stuff in it. Poor Hailey gotten beaten repeatedly by her captors and I found that disturbing.

I thank Sarah for sending me a galley of her novel. Best of luck with it!

You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

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YA Review: “Beautiful Lies” by Jessica Warman (releasing 8/7/12)

Tomorrow “Beautiful Lies” comes out. I got this book as an ARC through Net Galley a few months ago. It is thrilling YA fare: identical twin sisters Alice and Rachel share everything (or do they??). When one twin goes missing, some think she’s run away, but her sister believes she’s in trouble, and she has the physical manifestations to prove it. This supernatural, creepy, at times disturbing and confusing book kept me guessing (and reading) to the last page.

I love a good YA read, and this was no exception. However (and this is a SPOILER ALERT), I was confused at times. The twins are switching identities, yet people are calling them by their other twin’s name, but not all people are; and then there is the whole what is real and what is imaginary and what are ghosts theme that was profoundly confusing at times. It’s the kind of book that I like to read twice so that I can go back and pick up clues the second time through.

All in all, a page-turner that I enjoyed!

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate. And thanks, Net Galley and Walker Children’s Books, for my copy to review!

 

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Quick YA Review: Perilous by Tamara Hart Heiner

This suspenseful book was a Kindle Prime read-for-free for me. Telling the story of four high school friends, kidnapped when they stumble upon a burglary, this novel traces their cross-country trip to try to escape from and outrun their kidnappers and return home.

As a kid I would have loved this book! Yes, there were some places where I had to suspend belief. Yes, those kidnappers were everywhere. Yes, there were a few places where I wondered at the author’s intentions (implied rape, etc.). But overall, I couldn’t stop reading! The ending suggests that this will be part of a series.

Recommended for YA readers who like suspense, I’d say high school and up.

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate!

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