The Passengers

90DB3DC1-B587-4023-B877-E1742F80BCE0Published in the US on August 27th.

Book Description

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

My Thoughts

This isn’t the first book I’ve read by John Marrs and I’ve loved every one of his other books. The plot hooked me from the first page and didn’t let go until the end. Imagine if all cars in the UK were self-driving and eight passengers in eight vehicles found themselves under the cars( or someone’s control). The doors won’t unlock, the windows won’t open, and there is seemingly no way to regain control.

Chapters are short and told through multiple POVs. The passengers, the person who has taken over control of the vehicles, and a group of people who have come together as members of the Vehicle Inquest Jury. The passengers and jury are told in two and a half hours, only one passenger will live, and it is up to the jury( and social media where events are live-streaming) to decide who that person will be. Of course, all of the passengers have something to hide and the jury has an unbelievably difficult decision to make. I won’t say more about the story because I might give something away but I will say that secrets are revealed, choices are made, and there is one heck of a final twist.

If John Marrs chose to publish his shopping list, I would most likely read and enjoy it! He has a way of pulling you into the story, and not letting go! The Passengers publishes in the US in August, and if you haven’t read his other books, why not give one a try while you wait? Highly recommended!

A little bit about the author from Goodreads: “John Marrs is the author of The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, Her Last Move and Welcome to Wherever You Are.

A former freelance journalist based in London, England, he spent twenty-five years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film, and music for national newspapers and magazines until becoming a full-time author in 2018.

He has written for publications including the Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online, Total Film, Huffington Post, Empire, Q, GT, the Independent, S Magazine and Company.

His books have been translated into twenty different languages and The One is soon to be a major new Netflix series.”

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The Best Books I Read This Summer

Even though Labor Day is considered the unofficial end of summer  here on Long Island, summer in 2019 began on June 21st, and ends on September 23rd. That means I’ve still got some summer reading time left! So far,these were my favorite summer reads! Reviews to follow.050D4258-10C0-4BBD-8512-1EADE03A82B814EFB504-678E-47CE-9215-8646B699C333BF08BF67-47B2-4CEA-842C-5980F9E4D12F718EF1C5-DDEF-450A-B226-9FFAB1F299FDC7FA1676-D002-4924-BF27-A92CD228449F07833EFE-08D5-4DB2-96E5-FEBBC592E7B0

The Sixth Wicked Child

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The Fourth Monkey and The Fifth to Die(first two books in this trilogy) were among my favorite reads in 2017 and 2018. The release of The Sixth Wicked Child(US – August 27, 2019), means that I have had the pleasure of 3 ***** reads in 3 years by the incredibly talented J.D. Barker. A lot is going on in this book, and if you haven’t managed to keep track of what every character was doing when The Fifth to Die ended, this would be a really good time for a reread.
You know the feeling when something is going to end and you can only imagine how the author is going to wrap things up? Did the end of a series ever not meet your expectations? Yep, as a reader I am nervous, excited, and ‘oh please’, do justice to the characters I love, and let the villains get what they deserve. In this case, the end exceeded my expectations, and as I read the final page, all I could do was ‘sigh’ with satisfaction for a tale well told.
The Sixth Wicked Child is told from multiple POVs(Poole, Porter, Bishop, Nash, Clair, and of course, the Diary). You will learn more about Detective Sam Porter and Anton Bishop’s past, and you will question everything you thought you knew about 4MK, as the twists, turns, and revelations keep coming in every chapter. This was a fast-paced wild ride and the conclusion, well, let’s just say that I thought it was perfect!
I have never wanted to be an author’s ‘Number One Fan’ since reading Stephen King’s Misery, but I reckon I can be a dedicated fan without veering into creepy stalker territory. Well done Mr. Barker!

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.

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 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.