Review: Dead Memories by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture

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On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago. When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known. Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour. Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

 

My review:

This review will be short, as I’d rather you experience this adventure by yourselves!

I always enjoy Angela Marson’s Kim Stone series, but when I read the blurb for this one, DEAD MEMORIES, I was even more excited about it than with any of her other books. I loved the idea of a serial killer recreating Kim Stone’s painful memories and traumas. Who would do something so twisted and horrible?

This might be my favorite book of the series, or top 3 for sure. Both cases were fascinating (there was a secondary storyline involving profiler Alison Lowe), and I love Kim’s team and how they reacted to their boss’ involvement. As for the characters, there’s no secret that Bryant is currently my favorite character, he cares so much about Kim and he’s such a thoughtful and good natured person!

I love how this book served as a homage to the whole series, celebrating the 10th book by taking a trip down memory lane and recalling every person that Kim has ever locked up and might held a grudge against her.  You can imagine how long that list is… But who would go to the extent of recreating Kim’s traumatic past? That’s what the team needs to find out before the next crime occurs…

A thrilling and unforgettable homage to the Kim Stone’s series.

Do you follow this series? Isn’t every new book better than the previous one? 💙

Review: Forgiveness Road by Mandy Mikulencak @DurangoWriter

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On a hot, humid July morning, sixteen-year-old Cissy Pickering calmly and deliberately shoots her father in the back. To their Mississippi community, the death of well-regarded attorney Richard Pickering is a fascinating scandal. To Cissy’s distraught mother, Caroline, it’s an unforgivable crime. But in Cissy’s troubled mind, killing her father was the only way she knew to save the two people she loves most in the world. For years, Cissy has endured a devil’s bargain with her father, hoping that he would leave her younger sisters alone if she kept his abuse to herself. When that thin trust shattered, she saw no other choice. Janelle Clayton, the family’s matriarch, has kept her distance from her daughter, Caroline–a fact she now regrets–yet she hopes to do right by her granddaughter. Cissy has always been an unusual girl, given to compulsive counting and list-making, but Janelle believes her implicitly. When Cissy is remanded to the Greater Mississippi State Hospital, a caring psychiatrist tries to help, yet new revelations drive Cissy to retreat even further from reality. It will fall to Janelle, despite her own failing health, to become Cissy’s advocate and rescuer. And over the course of an unlikely road trip, Janelle and Cissy will confront the truths they’ve hidden from the world and themselves, finding courage, deep-rooted resilience, and a bond tender and tough enough to transform them both.

 

My review:

I read Mandy Mikulencak’s previous novel last year: The Last Suppers and I really enjoyed it. It was a very original novel and I’m glad to say that her new book FORGIVENESS ROAD was also quite unique and I loved it even more. This was a moving, beautiful and delicate book that I would recommend to fans of historical and southern fiction.

The book starts with a bang… literally. When shy and fragile Cissy kills is father, everyone is shocked and can’t understand why this has happened. Soon enough, Cissy begins telling the truth and my heart broke when I realized not everyone believed her. Cissy is then sent to a psychiatric hospital and her life will never be the same.

I don’t want to dive too much into the plot, but let me assure you that this book was a wonderful adventure. It’s sad, beautiful, emotional and, in the end, hopeful. What I loved the most is, of course, the relationship between Cissy and her grandmother Janelle. Janelle was such a fascinating character, I thought their dynamics were unique and depite Janelle’s apparent coldness, she was such a caring person underneath.

This book deals with important themes and topics, some of which are not easy to read about. And although what happens to Cissy in this book is definitely something that we’ve read in other books, I love how Mandy offers a unique perspective and strengthens the relationship between a girl and her grandmother. The road trip part was my favorite and I never knew how the story would end.

In the end, there wasn’t a moment when I was reading FORGIVENESS ROAD when I didn’t feel like I was reading something truly special. This book touched me deeply and had me crying more than once. I know I won’t ever forget it.

Have you read any of Mandy Mikulencak books? Would you be interested in reading this one? 💙

Mini Reviews: A Criminal Defense & The Ringmaster

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Good morning and welcome to the new mini-review post! Today I’m featuring two crime books: one legal and one police procedural which I quite enjoyed. I would recommend both to genre fans.

A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers Jr

32487612.jpgAs soon as I started reading this book I realized it was like reading a legal blockbuster flick. It had all the cliché ingredients (not that I care…), despicable characters, a high-profile case and a mystery that seems pretty clear from the beginning (of couse… nothing is as it seems). The book was non-stop entertaining, super fun to read and there were also plenty of twists, some of which were GREAT. While the writing wasn’t excellent (too much telling, not showing, in my humble opinion), I believe this novel is the perfect “summer” read and I wouldn’t mind reading the sequels when I’m in the mood for a fast-paced, thrilling legal mystery.

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

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I read and enjoyed Vanda Symon’s first book in the Sam Shepard series and I am happy to admit that the sequel was as good as its predecessor! The setting was quite different this time, changing the rural setting of the first book for Dunedin, but it was still pretty original. I’m gonna be honest here: New Zealand is so far away that I’m super fascinated by it, I wish I could visit it! As for the book, the mystery was intriguing and full of red-herrings. In addition, I never saw that ending coming, so I don’t really have any complaints. What’s more: Sam is wonderful as ever, her best friend Maggie is fierce and fun as well, and there were other supporting characters that made this book stand out.

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of them? 💙

Blog Tour: The Last Act by Brad Parks @Brad_Parks @FaberBooks

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Former Broadway star Tommy Jump isn’t getting the roles he once did; as his final run as Sancho Panza draws to a close, Tommy is getting ready to give up the stage, find a steady paycheck, and settle down with his fiancée. Cue Special Agent Danny Ruiz. An old school friend of Tommy’s, now with the FBI, Ruiz makes Tommy an offer that sounds too good to refuse. All Tommy has to do is spend six months in prison, acting as failed bank robber ‘Pete Goodrich’. Inside, he must find and befriend Mitchell Dupree, who has hidden a secret cache of documents incriminating enough to take down New Colima, one of Mexico’s largest drug cartels. If Tommy can get Dupree to reveal where the documents are hidden, the FBI will give him $300,000. More than enough to jumpstart a new life. But does he have what it takes to pull off this one final role?

My review:

As soon as I read the blurb, I knew this book and I would instantly become best friends. How awesome does the plot sound? I would buy tickets for a movie based on this plot right now. As you can see, my expectations were quite high, which most of the time is pretty dangerous, as over-hyped books tend to end up disappointing me. However, THE LAST ACT was the exception to that rule. This book was simply amazing and will be among my favorite thrillers this year, for sure.

Although the beginning part was kind of slow-paced, I was still dying to know what would happen when Tommy accepted the FBI’s deal and went to prison as an undercover agent. What a dangerous idea… would you guys accept it? Once he was in prison, I literally couldn’t stop reading and ended up devouring the rest of the book in a sitting. And what a thrilling experience…

First of all, plot-wise, THE LAST ACT was fantastic. It doesn’t only start with an intriguing premise, but the storyline develops as realistically as you would expect (after all, this is a thriller!) and it features some of the most shocking twists I’ve read this year. I believe my jaw dropped more than once and you know how much I love to be surprised.

Some of you would assume that just because this is a thriller, that characters are not that important. Well, then you would be absolutely wrong. Actually, what surprised me the most about THE LAST ACT was how attached I became to Tommy and how much I wanted his plan to end well. He was a great character, super likable and smart. His fiancé Amanda was also fantastic and I LOVED how feminist this book was. I’m not going to say much more about this, but you’ll know what I mean once you read it.

This is the kind of thriller that I would recommend to everyone. I honestly can’t see anyone not enjoying this fast-paced, thrilling and shocking adventure. If you read it, please DM so we can discuss all the crazy stuff that happened!

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Review: The Buried Girl by Richard Montanari @RRMontanari @LittleBrownUK

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When New York psychologist Will Hardy’s wife is killed, he and his teenage daughter Bernadette move into Godwin Hall, a dusty, shut-up mansion in the small town of Abbeville, Ohio. Meanwhile, Abbeville Chief of Police Ivy Holgrave is investigating the death of a local girl, convinced this may only be the latest in a long line of murders dating back decades – including her own long-missing sister. But what place does Will’s new home have in the story of the missing girls? And what links the killings to the diary of a young woman written over a century earlier?

 

 

My review:

I read the first book in the Byrne & Balzano series a few years ago and I loved it, although I haven’t continued reading it (I’m planning to!). When I found out that Richard Montanari had released a standalone book and I read the blurb, I knew I couldn’t miss this one. In the end, THE BURIED GIRL was an amazing mystery and a deeply atmospheric novel set in New York and rural Ohio.

The book is divided into different parts and the story spans maaaaaaaany years, from the 1600s to 2019. At first, I was hooked because of the many intriguing elements: a spree of crimes happening every 25 years… 7 vices 7 virtues…. Ritualistic killings… Fires… It had me at the prologue. And another ingredient I love: it’s one of those books where everything is linked and nothing happens by chance.

THE BURIED GIRL is a complex book: there are many storylines and characters to keep track of, which I usually enjoy. But somehow, this time it wasn’t hard to follow at all. I loved Will Hardy and Detta, but my favorite character was probably Ivy, she was brave and fierce and I love this kind of characters who are willing to do anything for the case.

Let me warn you: this is not a whodunnit, you know from the beginning who the killer is. Still, there’s something quite intriguing in here, and I read this in barely two days, dying to learn what the hell was going on and how everything was going to connect in the end. That Will Hardy was a massive movie geek, like me, was another great addition.

THE BURIED GIRL was such a creepy story… and a damn good one! It kind of gave me The Craftsman vibes.

Did you know of this book? I feel like THE BURIED GIRL has gone unnoticed and it’s a pity… totally recommended. 💙