Book Review: She Lies In Wait By Gytha Lodge

From Goodreads:

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

“A dark, deep, terrific thriller and a scorching portrait of friendship and its betrayal” Nicci French

On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

My Review:

I always find British (or any country other than the US, really) procedural books interesting because there’s a definite difference in the way cases (even fictional ones) are approached. This one had an interesting premise, with plenty of suspects. It was well written and held my attention, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I had hoped, probably for the very reason that it was a procedural book set in another country, and while I always find them interesting, there’s also always a little bit of a disconnect because of the very differences I find so interesting. Also, while there were clues left for the reader, I would have enjoyed a stronger “aha!” moment. Overall, though, a good mystery and an enjoyable read.

Book Review – You’ll Be The Death Of Me By Karen McManus

The newest release by YA mystery author Karen McManus is described at Ferriss Bueller’s Day Off – with murder, which, I have to tell you, sounds like an adventure in awesomeness that I very much wanted to be a part of.

There’s no denying that parts of this were suspenseful, but I couldn’t help comparing this to her other books…..and it kind of underwhelmed. I was more interested in the dynamics of the friendship than in the mystery, and even that didn’t make me feel vested enough to stay glued to the pages like she usually keeps me, which is a shame because I wanted to love this one so badly! Entertaining, but definitely not her strongest.

Book Review: The Hathorne Legacy By Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Barnes has done it again! Another smart, twisty, addictive mystery that I found impossible to put down!

In the second book of the Inheritance Games series, our plucky heroine finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery of why a billionaire chose her to inherit his fortune over his own family, and the question of parentage comes into play. The riddles, the clues, and the seemingly impossible trail of breadcrumbs all lead the MC to confront the uncomfortable secrets from her past and truths about her present.

If you haven’t read this author and you enjoy YA thrillers and mysteries, do yourself a favor and check out this and her Naturals series!

From Goodreads:

Intrigue, riches, and romance abound in this thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Inheritance Games perfect for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.

The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions – including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.

Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she’s not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture – by any means necessary.

With nonstop action, aspirational jet-setting, family intrigue, swoonworthy romance, and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, The Hawthorne Legacy will thrill Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans and new readers alike. 

Recent Story Acceptances

My story Tracked will appear in the Bloody Good Horror Anthology, which is expected to release this winter. This is a more recent piece, written during the last year, and is the first horror story I’ve written in half a decade. Tracked is also unique in that it’s the first Young Adult short story I’ve ever written, but fear not – the teenage characters don’t make this story any less dark and disturbing! I had so much fun writing this one that it led to the inception of what is perhaps my most spinetingling, toe-curling horror short ever (also YA), a piece I’m really proud of and hope to be able to share with you soon!

My piece Love Blind has been accepted by the quarterly literary magazine Third Wednesday for their winter issue. Love Blind is a work of flash fiction that I wrote several years ago and recently ‘rediscovered’ in my files. This short mixes what I hope is a surprise ending with a little dark, tongue-in-cheek humor.

Two more flash fiction stories rediscovered in the dark corners of my file drive, A Mother’s Heart and Rare Reception, have both been accepted by The BOULD Awards Anthology. Both pieces lean towards the satirical. A Mother’s Heart is dark (do you see a theme here?) and sardonic and does not end up where you’re expecting! Rare Reception is more of a straight-up humor piece that I still clearly remember writing back when I accepted a job position that required me to help answer the phones. I hate answering phones. You have to find a way to make it fun. (Trust me – you do NOT want me answering your phone!) Expect to see the BOULD Awards Anthology late this November.

Book Review : In My Dreams I Hold A Knife By Ashley Winstead

Things explode at a college reunion when dark secrets and friendships unravel until the killer of a classmate who never made it to graduation is revealed.

This one had a LOT going on in it. Every time there was another twist I looked to see how much was left in the book and then asked myself, “How’s the author going to keep this going now that we know this?” But she did! Because there were SO many secrets! There’s one line near the beginning of the book that made me sure I knew who the killer was, and while I ended up being right, the author made me second guess myself numerous times. Well done!

From Goodreads:

Six friends.

One college reunion.

One unsolved murder.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has been invited back to her university for a reunion and she is obsessed with dazzling everyone with her beauty and success. This time when they see her, it has to be perfect because she is perfect. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelby’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year.

But there’s more at stake than the delicious envy of her peers—not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. In fact, someone has orchestrated the whole weekend to trap the real killer. As the weekend unfolds and they get closer to the truth, the group finds there was more than murder hidden amongst them on campus.

Told in racing dual timelines, with a dark campus setting and a darker look at friendship, love, obsession and ambition, In My Dreams I Hold a Knife is an addictive, propulsive millennial thriller you won’t be able to put down.

Book Review: Bad Call By Stephen Wallenfels

Four high school seniors lie about going to a school-related activity over the weekend and go camping instead – without telling anyone where they’re really going. When a forest fire alters their course, they find themselves lost in the wilderness with no cell service, dwindling supplies, and a freak snowstorm that they aren’t prepared for. As they struggle to survive, one thing becomes clear – the elements might not be their biggest threat. Four go up the mountain. How many will come down?

This book has mixed reviews, but I really liked it. The characters, the plot, and the situation combine to create a perfect storm. I was expecting more of a kill them all high body count thriller, which might be what the disappointed readers were looking for, too. Instead, the author takes a more realistic approach, focusing on the characters and group dynamic rather than thinking up how many different ways he can kill someone off. I thought it worked well. No complaints here.

From Goodreads:

It was supposed to be epic. During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. And poker vows can’t be broken. So the first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there’s the forest fire at their intended campsite. But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From there, the bad decisions really pile up. A freak storm is threatening snow, their Craigslist tent is a piece of junk, and Grahame is pretty sure there’s a bear on the prowl. On top of that, the guys have some serious baggage (and that’s not including the ridiculously heavy ax that Grahame insisted on packing) and Ellie can’t figure out what their deal is. And then one of them doesn’t make it back to the tent. Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences.

Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

An Olympic hopeful gets injured, which leads to the discovery of an aggressive form of cancer, which in turns reveals that her parents aren’t biological. The modern day scenes alternate with scenes of two girls in a mental hospital and their exchange of letters afterwards. This one kept me guessing because I wasn’t sure who was who, and who was the bad guy. It made me think and feel and kept me off balance. Nice and twisty. A good summer beach read.

This book is a fictional account of what may have happened when Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days in 1926. The idea itself is quite compelling – the mystery behind the mystery writer. It certainly kept me reading, but – perhaps because it was based on a real life occurrence – it wasn’t as twisty as I would have liked. Entertaining, but somewhat disappointing. I would have liked more from Christie’s character.

I just started:

Click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads!

Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

I’m breaking the first rule – I’m going to talk about Fight Club! This was an interesting read. I saw the movie years ago and remembered the twist, which was unfortunate because I would have liked to have experienced the surprise while reading it. However, even knowing what happens, the way Palahniuk artfully weaves his web of in your face deception is fascinating. A great study in unreliable narrators for writers and entertaining to boot!

I just started:

Click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads!

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