Monday (Mini Book Review) Madness

This week I read:

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You may have noticed by now that I love the whole trapped in an isolated situation with a killer trope. This one made for easy reading. While I figured out the who (but not the why) early on, I must say that the author did a great job of handling so many characters – I was able to keep them straight right away, which isn’t always the case. Recommended for readers who want a fun, quick paced, mystery. Not recommended for those who want an intricate, hard to solve mystery.
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This is the sequel to The Things You Find In Rockpools, which I loved. While this one was good, the author normalized the MC too much, losing some of the quirky charm that made the first book so appealing. Recommended for readers looking for a fun, if somewhat unbelievable, dual mystery. Not recommended for readers who are driven crazy by typos, etc. – while the first book was clean, this one was in dire need of a good edit. Dire. Need. My head almost exploded.

On audiobook:

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This was the second audiobook I’ve finished, and, again, I really wish I’d have read it instead of listening to it (it took me several months to finish). It seemed like a fun YA mystery thriller. There was a lot going on, and I feel I lost a lot in translation with the frequent gaps and breaks I took in listening to this. I liked it enough to read another of her books.

I just started:

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I used to LOVE this author, then her books sort of . . . lost my interest. Really looking forward to seeing if the spark is reignited!

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Monday (Mini Book Review) Madness

This week I read:

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This one had suspense and intrigue, but I didn’t feel vested in the characters. There were several subplots and plenty of red herrings, but ultimately lacked that little something that would have elevated it from a good mystery thriller to a great one. Recommended for those looking for an easy beach read. Not recommend for those looking for a procedural mystery.
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This one seemed to be almost as much about outgrowing old friendships as it was about the murder mystery. There were lots of directions this one could have gone in, and I liked the way the author kept you guessing about who it was who had been murdered for the first half of the book, but the foreshadowing was a little heavy handed and once I knew who the body belonged to, I knew what had happened except for a subplot that came as a surprise. Recommended for those looking for a mystery set in an interesting locale. Not recommended for readers who want likeable characters.

I just started:

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Click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads and unite our bookish communities!

Thursday’s Thoughts on Writing – Crime Baked

New England Crime Bake

This past weekend I attended the 2018 New England Crime Bake, which was my first writing conference. For a while I’d been reading about how important it is to network with other writers for both support and to establish a writing community, so I decided to give it a try.

I met so many AMAZING people there that it was worth going for that experience alone!

scoreI also met the authors of these three fantastic books and got them signed, which was a major score because they are all wonderful, yet very different, stories, and I cherish the opportunity to let a writer know how much I enjoyed reading their book. The authors are absolutely awesome, too! How awesome? Let me count the ways. . .

Walter Mosley was the guest of honor of this year’s conference. The author of more than 40 book and a multiple award winner, he’s probably best known for his Easy Rawlins mysteries, yet he contributes to many genres and writes for TV and film as well (ever heard of the series Snowfall?).

Mosley is hilarious, but he’s also a very insightful, eloquent speaker who doesn’t mince words when sharing his experiences in the publishing industry. If you get a chance to hear him speak, don’t miss it – you won’t regret it!

As both an agent and a writer, Munier considers herself a “storyteller and storyseller”. She is a huge animal lover, which is all I need to know to turn into a super fan! She is also incredibly nice and friendly, a very genuine person.

Her latest release, “A Borrowing of Bones”, was inspired by the “hero working dogs she met through MissionK9Rescue”. I really enjoyed the mystery and recommend you give it a try!

 

Image result for hank phillippi ryanHank Phillippi Ryan is a firecracker! So much energy and enthusiasm and with personality for days, Ryan knows how to keep an entire room enthralled! I took a master class with her at the conference, and she was definitely one of the major highlights of the weekend!

She may be best known for her day job as an investigative reporter who has won over 34 EMMYs and dozens of other awards, but she hasn’t done too shabby in the writing department. “Ryan’s also an award-winner in her second profession—with five Agathas, three Anthonys, two Macavitys, the Daphne, and for The Other Woman, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award.” Her schedule is PACKED full of events for her latest release, “Trust Me”. This is an author that you have got to see for yourself! #TrustMe

Was it perfect? No. #CrimeBake wasn’t everything I had imagined or hoped for. I don’t feel like I learned very much, but as an event for both readers and writers, it wasn’t as instructive as conferences that focus exclusively on writing and craft development. (I learned that at the conference!)

I did, however, have a truly memorable and enjoyable time. Talking with other writers, hearing about their experiences, the other conferences and events that they had attended, was truly priceless.

Was it worth it? Yes!

Would I do it again? Absolutely!

The bottom line is that I was there to meet other writers, and that’s exactly what I did. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and most authors don’t get an agent or a publishing contract overnight. (While #CrimeBake does have a pitch option, I did not partake. This time.) To me, the important thing is that I took some time for myself and spent it immersed in my passion. What more can I ask for?!?!

 

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas ~ #YA #Mystery #BookReview

40670509It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA book, and after my love affair with the Pretty Little Liars series, I was read for a ‘little’ something, and monsters turned out to be that thing.

This book deals with the usual teenage angst of family issues, feeling like you don’t belong, not fitting in, and feeling like you have to compromise yourself to satisfy the demands of peer pressure, among other issues, yet it takes it one step further with a murder, which creates a mystery.

The plots seems plausible enough. The writing is good, the characters well-developed, and the suspense keeps the pages turning. There was enough angst to satisfy my YA craving. It was good, but not quite everything I was hoping for. (I think my standards for this one may have been impossibly high.) 4 stars.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reed ~ #Mystery #BookReview

40605223It seems like I heard a lot of hype about this book, and how good it was supposed to be. Despite the mixed reviews, I gave it a shot.

I liked, (not loved), the beginning. There was something slightly juvenile feeling about it, but the character from whose point of view the story was told was slightly juvenile, so I figured the author was just following his character’s lead.

While there was an underlying feeling of creepiness, I felt more impatient than held in suspense. Three quarters of the way through the book, the impatience was for the book to be over, and when it finally was, I wanted to throw something. I HATED the ending. It seemed like a cop-out to me, even though I would guess that it was the destination where the author had intended to go the whole time. I felt let down. I felt betrayed. I felt like I had wasted my time. That said, the author can write/the book is readable. You might like it better than I did. You might even love it. But I didn’t. 3 stars.

In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White ~ #Mystery #BookReview

29243822This is the third book that I’ve read by this author, and I have to say that if you’re looking for suspense, she delivers! I didn’t like this one as much as the other two – I liked the characters and plot from the others better – but this kept my attention AND kept me guessing until the end.

The setting – the far, northern wilds of Canada – is almost a character in itself. It certainly makes for a creepy atmosphere.

This book was fast paced, well plotted, and sinister. Quite honestly, it almost bordered on horror. If you’re looking for a book to keep you up at night, this just might be it! 4 stars!

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn ~ #Mystery #BookReview

40389527I roll my eyes every time a book is hailed as, “The next Gone Girl.” Let’s be clear  – whether you loved it, hated it, or didn’t read it, there’s only one Gone Girl. Novels are creations; each should be considered on it’s own merits. Have you ever heard someone say a painting is going to be the next Mona Lisa?

Rant completed, I will say that while this book wasn’t the next Gone Girl, as advertised, it was good. Really good. I enjoyed it immensely, and was taken by surprise several times.

The story was easy to read. The plot was simple, yet at the same time, elaborate. The character was well developed, and her internal dialogue and memories do a good job of endearing her to readers, whether they like her or not. I felt myself rooting for her. And how can a mystery lover not love the Hitchcock references? This one was time well spent. 5 stars!

The Last Girl by Nick Twist ~ #Mystery #BookReview

38925046This book started off with a bang. It was creepy, suspenseful, and mysterious. What it lacked in certain areas was made up for in others . . . until it wasn’t.

What started off as a promising read slowly spiraled into something else. Something I didn’t want to read. I kept going, hoping that the author would recapture what he initially had going. Eventually, it became clear that wasn’t going to happen; would it be rude to say that the author deviated from a good course to indulge himself?

I gave this book 3.5 stars, rounded to 4 where applicable, because the author has talent and had something good for a minute there. It was action packed and hard to put down at first. By the end, everything about it annoyed me, even things that I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about if the author had delivered. Scratch the previous rating. Writing this review has made me realize how utterly offended I became over the pages of this book. 3 stars.

Dying Truth by Angela Marsons ~ #Mystery #BookReview

39501802This is the 8th book I’ve read in the D.I. Kim Stone series, and like the seven before it, it was a suspenseful, roller coaster of a mystery. Angela Marsons is an expert at keeping her readers on their toes!

In this one, the author continues to explore the group dynamic among the detectives while delving into the dark side of elite school groups and hazing. I hate giving spoilers, but I will say that this book changes the group forever.

My biggest concern is that Marsons book deal was for 8 books – please let there be more! This is the only series I’ve encountered over the last few years that has me completely hooked; there are a few others I keep up with, but more out of curiosity than need. This series is an addiction as much as a guilty pleasure. 5 stars!

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