The Fifth to Die

I fell hard for J.D. Barker’s writing after reading The Fourth Monkey. Bishop is my favorite serial killer character right behind Hannibal Lector(and who knows how much of that is due to Anthony Hopkins portrayal). The book was so well written and unique and I had no idea that I would be captivated from page one. In hindsight, I may have waited for Friday night to begin(sorry job, I wasn’t my usual perky self, but I stayed up all night reading an excellent book). I believe I read that the author plans this tale to be a trilogy, which made me a very happy book lover.

Of course, there was that annoying little thought in my head. Could book lightning strike twice? Could the second book, The Fifth to Die be another 5 star read? For me, I am happy to say I loved it as much as The Fourth Monkey. There are familiar characters, but they follow different paths which meant the book didn’t just repeat what worked in the first book and yet the ultimate story moved forward brilliantly. While Detective Sam Porter pursues his own leads and agenda, his old team is faced with more gruesome murders. Is this Bishop’s work or has another serial killer decided to ‘come out and play’? No spoilers here, you will have to read the book to find out, but if you are like me, you’ll have ‘so much fun’ along the way that it will be well worth it.

I personally would recommend reading The Fourth Monkey first. I’ve given it some thought and while there is enough detail for this to work as a standalone, to me it wouldn’t be the same reading experience. There is still time since The Fifth to Die won’t be published until July 2018. You might also want to visit J.D. Barker’s website too as there is a hidden Fourth Monkey bonus chapter( and who knows what he might add for his latest book). Many sequels are good but just not quite as good as the first book. In this case, this was another 5 star read for me.

Thank you J.D.Barker, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the complimentary DRC.

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Baby Teeth

Book Description

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained homeschooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

From blazing new talent Zoje Stage, Baby Teeth is a story about a perfect-looking family and a darling little girl who wants nothing more than to kill her mother.

My Thoughts

I don’t know about other book lovers, but when I finish a really great book in a particular genre, I find myself choosing something to read next in a different genre. Call me superstitious or just someone who has been disappointed by that follow-up book. It might not have been bad, in fact, it might have been quite good, but it just couldn’t compare to the prior book. In all honesty, if things like Buzz Books and other recommendations didn’t guarantee that my TBR pile wouldn’t grow on a daily basis, I might go back and re-read the “follow up” book and be pleasantly surprised by my reaction.

So I am not quite sure what happened, but a finished a terrific suspenseful thriller and then received Baby Teeth. I had my next non-thriller picked out and purchased and then I read the Baby Teeth description. It sounded so good that I threw my book rules out the window and dove right in. Why would I spend a cold Saturday night curled up under the covers, when the couch, a warm fire, and Baby Teeth were right there waiting for me?

When it comes to Hanna, to me it was a nature versus nurture type dilemma. We see mentally ill or just plain bad and evil characters often in books, but we rarely get to view them as children. Honestly, I think I see most children as works in progress and barring an unhealthy environment or abusive parents, I’ve never really thought about mental illness in the very young. So what about Hanna? Is there something going on in her home life causing her to act out? Is she mentally ill or just plain evil? I think I have gone as far as I can down this specific path since I don’t want to spoil any details not already mentioned in the book blurb. I can tell you Hanna is a character that you won’t soon forget and the family’s story is dark, disturbing, twisted and scary good believable.

Several things really made this a compelling read. It grabbed my full attention from the first page( actually, from the description), the author’s words made me feel like I was right there in the house with the family and I couldn’t stop flipping my virtual Kindle pages. This was a 5-star book for me and I am hoping the author participates in Q&A interviews so I might discover where her idea for this book came from.

Thank you Zoje Stage, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for the digital ARC to read and review. Highly recommended. I’ve got my eye on another suspenseful thriller and I wonder if book lightning can strike yet again.

A Thrilling Mystery

This is the first book I’ve read by Finn Bell. The story is set in southern New Zealand and provides some fascinating glimpses into NZ history and culture. The main character, who also happens to be named Finn, is a man who has lost his way. His marriage has ended, his drinking led to his being in a wheelchair and he has moved to a remote, small town to start over, or perhaps this is where his life will end. The story moves between the precarious position Finn is currently in and the past so that we can see how he got there. This town is full of wonderful, caring characters who accept newcomer Finn without hesitation as well as some who can only be described as pure evil. The tension is high as a series of events plague Finn and he attempts to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions in the present as well as the past. The twists and turns just kept coming and the ending provided an additional revelation. This book held my attention and interest from the first page. While the dark parts are very dark and gruesome the majority of the characters are people with good hearts who make Finn want to be a better person. Without spoiling this for anyone, I will say that the good versus evil perspective was very well developed.

If you like a thrilling mystery with great characters, an intriguing location, friendship, loss, and redemption, this one won’t disappoint. Thank you, Finn Bell, BooksGoSocial, and NetGalley for a digital copy to read and review. A solid 4.5 stars.

Grist Mill Road

Book Description

Grist Mill Road is a dark, twisted, and expertly plotted Rashomon-style tale. The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends—Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah—are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again—with even more devastating results.

My Thoughts

This dark thriller grabbed me on page one and didn’t let go. While at first glance, the violent act that changed Hannah, Patrick and Matthew seem straightforward and without room for interpretation, there is much more to the story than meets the eye. What each character saw in the past, what they see now and how their individual perspectives vary provide pieces of the puzzle. What captivated me the most was how Mr. Yates puzzle pieces initially came together showing one picture, then when the puzzle is taken apart and put back together by Hannah, Patrick, and Matthew, a different version emerges. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was happy to discover that this is the author’s second, so I am excited to read Black Chalk, his debut novel. If you are a fan of dark and disturbing tales full of twists and turns I highly recommend Grist Mill Road.

Thank you, Christopher J. Yates, Macmillan-Picador, and NetGalley for the ARC to read and review. It will be a while before I stop thinking about these characters as well as this very talented author.

The Whispering Room

The Whispering Room is the second book in Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk series. I am a Koontz fan and was prepared to give up some sleep to read this one. Luck was with me though, since I received my copyright before a scheduled train trip. This was planned ‘awake’ time, so I was able to start and finish the book before I got back home.

Often with a series, it is difficult if not impossible to jump in at any point other than the beginning. While I certainly had more background information, I do think that if this was the first book you read, you wouldn’t be lost. Of course, if you enjoyed it as much as I did, you would probably go get the first in the series, The Silent Corner.

Jane Hawk is a former FBI agent gone rogue. She is totally alone and constantly looking over her shoulder since she had uncovered a mind control conspiracy in the first book and is now a wanted fugitive. While there are many people determined to silence Jane, she is just as unwavering in her commitment to exposing the truth. That begets the question, can Jane survive against such terrible odds and will she find anyone she can trust? All the answers won’t be provided as the story ends, which is where the third book will come in to play.

I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that you could give me a book with no reference to Dean Koontz and I would know he was the writer. He has a very distinctive style and while I haven’t loved every book he has written, the good ones far outweigh those that didn’t quite resonate with me. Jane is one of those characters that I am hoping will triumph. As always in a Koontz story with evil villains, there are always some people who are good to the core and provide a beacon of hope when things appear darkest. For whatever reason, I kept thinking Hawk, Jane Hawk, so I am hoping that like Bond, James Bond, she succeeds. Koontz conspiracy theories are always way out there, or are they? In today’s world, hard to tell.

Thank you, Dean Koontz,Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. It appears the publication date is now set for November. Maybe treat yourself to an early holiday gift, just because, well who better than you and enjoy Jane’s latest adventure.

The Silent Corner

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I have a fairly extensive list of authors including Dean Koontz and at least two dozen others whose new releases I eagerly await and mark on my calendar. The opportunity to read an ARC from one of my go to authors was a great surprise and one that certainly did not disappoint. While I don’t think I have missed reading any of his books, many have left me wishing for more, while a few I’ve just finished and never given them another thought. Knowing that the character of Jane Hawk has more to tell in future books was an added bonus if the book engaged me, and yes it did.

Jane Hawk has lost her husband to an apparent suicide, something totally out of character for the man she knows and loves. Not only does Jane sense something darker and more sinister, but as an F.B.I. agent, she has the skills and determination to push through her grief and discover the truth. Jane discovers other “suicides” that don’t ring true and she finds herself being followed, not by someone who wants to provide answers, but by someone who wants to silence her forever. With no idea who she can trust, Jane goes off the grid and finds that the wrong people can use mind control with terrifying and tragic results.

As a long-time fan of Dean Koontz, I am always excited when he releases a new book and especially one with a character that I just really enjoyed. I loved Odd Thomas and enjoyed following his journey through multiple adventures and I am excited to see where Jane Hawk goes in the future.

Thank you Dean Koontz, Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for the ARC to read and review.

Catakism

When I adopted a rescue kitten, I had no idea that her toys, her furniture, and her preferences would turn my orderly house into her catastrophically, messy house. I’ve laughed at her antics, cried when she was sick and have accepted the fact that my cat, TK, most definitely is the ‘boss of me’.
This book was funny, entertaining and I even learned how cats first came indoors. The author does such a good job explaining cat behavior that I felt the need to check that TK hadn’t figured out how to correspond with the author. Great pictures, an engaging writing style, and Mr. Lazarus totally gets cats. (At least as much as any human can!) As I was reading, I kept having to stop to text quotes to other ‘cat parents’ and because I was laughing so hard. I am so glad the release date is in November as this will be the ‘purrfect’ holiday gift.
Thank you, Mr. Lazarus, Darcie Rowan PR and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. If you love cats, know someone who loves cats or know someone thinking about adding a cat to their household, I highly recommend this book. No cat lover will be able to resist smiling while reading this hilarious book.