For this blog tour, we’re looking at one of the most realistic domestic mystery/ thrillers I’ve ever encountered. For this blog tour, we’re looking at His Secret Daughter by Melissa Wiesner.
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
What Would You Do? Wiesner does a tremendous job here of making a realistic, grounded mystery from a tragic yet all too real setup. Everything else flows fairly naturally here, and all of the character motivations are again all too real. (Particularly as someone who has experienced some version of some of the things that would be a spoiler to reveal, even these sections are, sadly, all too common.) And yes, the ending, while not something everyone will *want* to happen… is again, very, very realistic given the story to that point. Ultimately this really is one of the most realistic domestic mystery/ suspense books I’ve ever encountered – and I don’t know if that is an indictment on the genre or a praise of Wiesner. 😀 Truly a great read, and very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and sales links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: His Secret Daughter by Melissa Wiesner”
Almost Two Semi-Tightly Coupled Novellas. This book is a strange one in that it is almost two separate novellas that are somewhat tightly coupled (with the second one using the same characters and playing off the events in the first one), but which are otherwise fairly distinct in both style and tone. In the first half of this book, it is more of a domestic suspense where we get a countdown every so often of how long is left until someone dies. Then, suddenly, a random perspective we’ve yet encountered… and this person discovers a body. This is effectively the prologue of the second novella, and from here we get more of a crime thriller where the reader is trying to figure out who the killer actually is even as various people reveal themselves to be on one side of the law or another and the two sides eventually converge with interesting and explosive results. Overall, the complete tale works, almost in a Without Remorse (the original Clancy, not the bastardized movie form) manner where you need the first half to make any real sense of the second half. An interesting tale and told using some rare mechanics. Very much recommended.
This review of A Familiar Stranger by A.R. Torre was originally written on September 19, 2022.
For this blog tour we’re looking at an excellent thriller that takes its early cues from the best disaster movies. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Ex Between Us by Nicola Marsh.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Disaster Movie That Spins On Its Head To Leave You Breathless. This tale starts like a disaster movie – people living their normal, complicated lives. Slowly the tension builds, with small weird or disturbing events that seem off but not particularly dangerous. Marsh eventually elevates the danger, and this is when the more suspense/ thriller part kicks in. In the end, the reader is left breathless and yet still questioning of certain things… which this particular reader always enjoys. An excellent tale excellently crafted and told. Very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Ex Between Us by Nicola Marsh”
This week we’re looking at the perfect book to end your 2021 with a bang reading. This week we’re looking at My Darling Husband by Kimberly Belle.
Hole E Sheet! Belle tosses us into the fire from the get-go… and only turns up the gas. All the way until the closing moments. If you’re a fan of Panic Room / The Purge type thrillers, you’re going to *love* this one, where roughly half of the action takes place as a stranger holds a family inside their house – with the other half being the husband/ father of the family racing to try to save them. An interesting story mechanic is also thrown in for good measure, and between the heavy foreshadowing with this and the frequent (usually chapter heading) timestamps driving just how quickly the clock is turning to the pivotal moment… you really are in for a wild ride with this one. There *is* some minor commentary late that is more YMMV, and while it does speak to motivations (as close as I’ll get to mentioning anything remotely specific), it isn’t actually truly essential to anything. Which is why its inclusion is a bit of an irritating note in the aftertaste of the book but isn’t any real reason to like the book any less. If you want to end your year on a bang… you might consider making sure you have this book when it releases in the week between Christmas and New Year’s 2021. 🙂 Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt followed by the various “publisher details”, including the official description of the book, an author bio, social media links, and buy links.
Continue reading “Featured New Release Of The Week: My Darling Husband by Kimberly Belle”
Tonight, On The Conclusion Of The Harbor Hills Saga… This is the final book in this highly interconnected series of much drama and secrets among neighbors on a particular street in small town (fictional) Michigan. As such, you *really* need to start at the beginning of the series and work your way to this point – which you’ll be glad you’ve done by the time you reach this book, as this is absolutely a series that leaves you wanting the next book in your hand the moment the previous book is done. And yet, in this conclusion of the saga… everything *does* get wrapped up. All is revealed. And yet we *also* maintain the fun, intricate, and varied progressions and relationships that have come to define this series. Very much recommended.
This review of The House That Christmas Made by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on September 26, 2021.
Domestic Drama With A Touch Of Loss Lake. This is an engaging, real, and honestly a bit depressing look at the trials and travails of your first marriage being your partner’s second marriage and coming into a situation where they already had a family with another person while you’re still growing and working to establish yourself outside of the marriage as well. In that vein, Mason was startlingly real, including all of the various messy issues that can come up and even showing how finding a place to find support or even just vent can be crucial. The ties to Lake Union stablemate Amber Cowie’s Loss Lake… well, in the title of my review of that book, I proclaimed “Screw You (In The Best Possible Ways), Amber Cowie” – which I still chuckle at and produced a few good laughs by those in the know. And if you do know why I wrote that, know that you’ll be saying the same thing to Ms. Mason for similar (though to be clear, not identical) reasons. And that’s all I’m saying about that. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, I suggest you go read *both* books. 😀
Seriously, this tale was excellently done on a topic and with particulars that I’d never seen done quite this way before, and that is always something I seek out and love to find. Mason executed everything beautifully, and you’ll find yourself constantly reading to see what comes next. You just may want something a bit more bubble gum for your *next* read. 😀 Very much recommended.
This review of Between You And Me by Carol Mason was originally written on June 13, 2021.
“So Many Secrets. So Many Lies. And So Much Anger.” Yes, the title of this review is a direct quote from the book. Yes, it is during the final 10%, when everything is being revealed and wrapped up. And yet you still have no idea what it actually refers to. 😉 But that particular line really does sum the book up in and of itself. This is a four person family consisting of mom and dad who have been married for over 20 years, 20 yo college dropout son, and 17yo high school junior daughter – and *every single one of them* are keeping secrets from all the others and actively lying to both the other people and themselves. Harding does a tremendous job of showing flawed, nuanced characters just trying to do what they think is right with limited information… sometimes with tragic results. No one comes out looking squeaky clean, and yet no one comes out looking overly monstrous either. Great job of showing just how murky real life often is. Very much recommended.
This review of The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding was originally written on May 27, 2021.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at a book that has a *phenomenal* sequence after the opening scene… and then gets confusing. But then picks back up by the end and “breaks” a lot of “rules” for its genre, which makes it quite interesting indeed. For this tour, we’re looking at Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Confusing Front. Interesting Ending. This book has one section at the front of the book that seems to go on *forever*… and yet is the singular most fascinating passage of the tale. In this particular section, we get a girl who is trapped in utter darkness and we *feel* what it is doing to her after being here for so long. Then she *finally* breaks free and runs for her life, and we feel her utter terror viscerally.
And then… the book completely transitions into a more “typical” domestic psychological suspense/ thriller. There is someone threatening someone. There is a murder. There is a suicide. And through 2/3 or so of the book, we get a fairly standard (though to be clear, engaging, if a bit confusing to pick up on at first, particularly in the mind-shock of coming from the escape into this) tale.
But then… Kubica begins to do things that you’re not supposed to do in this genre. We get a major reveal *before* the last 20% of the book. And then we build… and we get *another* reveal before the last 10% of the book! And another! And the actual ending… well, it isn’t the complete mind-bender that so many of these books end on. Which may be a good thing, depending on your tastes. And which I enjoyed just because it *didn’t* go the “typical” route, if for no other reason.
Truly an interesting story, one that could have arguably been told in a better way. But still engaging and still worthy of reading – and without any objective flaws to hang a star reduction on. Therefore it maintains the full five stars and is very much recommended.
Below the jump, a chapter long excerpt from one of the early scenes in the book followed by the book and author details.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica”
Balanced Yet Contrived. This is a story where you almost feel like it is more of a 4*, but there is nothing *really* there from a more objective standpoint that I try to rate on to justify the reduction. Yes, it could use better separation of its various narrators’ voices, rather than just the one word at the top of the chapter with their name. Yes, at times it feels that so many situations are thrown in just because the author was hoping some bookstagrammer would hashtag that situation and help market the book based on it. Yes, talking to cops without an attorney present is so GLARINGLY stupid and cringeworthy. *PARTICULARLY* for minorities. And yet, even with all of this, the story ultimately works. Not as a “thriller”, mind you, but more as a women’s fiction/ suspense character study. As a thriller… well, the book spends the first half setting up the titular Party, about 10-15% on the actual Party, and then the back part of the book dealing with the aftermath. It has the requisite secrets, lies, backstabbing, and comeuppance, and ultimately it really does tell a fairly balanced tale from a few different perspectives, but it just never quite feels as satisfying/ mind bending as many readers in this space typically look for. And yet, again, nothing truly “this is objectively wrong/ bad” here to really hang a star reduction on. Thus, 5* and recommended.
This review of The Street Party by Claire Seeber was originally written on April 29, 2021.
Interconnected and Interweaving. Bromke executes on an interconnected and interweaving style here better than many other attempts I’ve seen at such an approach. Told via half a dozen or so perspectives – mostly the various ladies who live in a particular neighborhood – this book has its own central mystery while also revealing bits and pieces of a larger mythos. A mythos that will leave the reader with bated breath desperate for the next book… where it is possible Bromke will continue to tease out this particular larger, seemingly darker, mystery. If you are a reader that can have *no possible spoilers* when reading a book, you’re going to want to start with Book 1 of this series. I personally started with Book 2 and had no real problems following the story (thanks in part to Bromke putting a summary of each character and where they are at the start of the tale), but I generally have no issues doing this and back reading the original stories. This is one of those women’s fiction tales that might come close to the cozy mystery label, perhaps – I’ve never read a book knowing it was labeled as a “cozy mystery”, but knowing how friends speak of what that genre entails, this book certainly gets close to that feeling. Ultimately a fun, compelling, and short-ish (just over 200 page?) read that truly will have you coming back to this series. Very much recommended.
This review of The House With The Blue Front Door by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on April 24, 2021.