Book Review: Five Little Pigs By Agatha Christie

After her mother is convicted of killing her father, a young girl is sent to live with relatives in another country. On her 21st birthday, she’s given a letter from her mother that declares her innocence. Someway, somehow, the young woman must find out the truth about what happened all those years ago. Hercule Poirot to the rescue!

I thought I had read almost all of Christie’s books, but when this one showed up in my Kindle daily deals email and it didn’t sound familiar, I decided to scoop it up.

It’s amazing how this book, written in the 1940s, still manages to compare with those written today. Truly the Queen of Mystery, Christie weaves a tangled web of secrets and deceit, giving the reader all the clues they need to figure out who committed the crime while creating enough diversions and plausible scenarios to keep them guessing!

From Goodreads: In Agatha Christie’s classic, Five Little Pigs, beloved detective Hercule Poirot races to solve a case from out of the past.

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other “little pigs” who could have done it: Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcée), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

Sixteen years later, Caroline’s daughter is determined to prove her mother’s innocence, and Poirot just can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.

Book Review: That Weekend by Kara Thomas

Three teens go up a mountain, but only one comes back down . . . and she can’t remember what happened. Is she a victim? Or a killer? An unreliable narrator? Or is her convenient case of amnesia true?

Mystery abounds in this book, and although my original hypothesis for what happened “That Weekend” turned out to be true, making this YA mystery thriller somewhat predictable, the why behind what happened?!?! I never in a million years would have seen that coming! I was totally blindsided by the twist at the end. I’ve read several books by this author before and have discovered she can be counted on for a fun, entertaining tale.

From Goodreads:

It was supposed to be the perfect prom weekend getaway. But it’s clear something terrible happened when Claire wakes up alone and bloodied on a hiking trail with no memory of the past forty-eight hours.

Three went up the mountain, but only one came back.

Now everyone wants answers – most of all, Claire. She remembers Friday night, but after that… nothing. And now Kat and Jesse – her best friends – are missing.

That weekend changes everything.

What happened on the mountain? And where are Kat and Jesse? Claire knows the answers are buried somewhere in her memory, but as she’s learning, everyone has secrets – even her best friends. And she’s pretty sure she’s not going to like what she remembers.

Review: The Box In The Woods by Maureen Johnson

I absolutely LOVED the Truly Devious series, so I was thrilled when I learned that Maureen Johnson was writing another mystery featuring the same characters! I rarely preorder a book, preferring instead to wait until it appears in one of the half dozen Kindle daily deal emails I receive, but I knew had to get my hands on this one as soon as possible, so I purchased this one months before its release date. After what seemed like eons of waiting, finally the day came when I got to see beyond the cover to the actual pages of the book!

While I really enjoyed this story, it was definitely different from the previous novels in the series. For one, it felt darker, which I didn’t mind at all, but there were other differences that were an uncomfortable fit, like a too tight sock. The supporting characters (Stevie’s friends) felt a little off to me, maybe because they didn’t have as much of a chance to show their personalities in this one. They almost felt like window dressing to me – only there to serve a specific purpose instead of adding to the dynamics of the plot.

But I think the biggest difference for me was the mystery itself. There aren’t many suspects in this one, so the big payoff of the reveal is more focused on the how and why of the crime. The author does leave a trail of breadcrumbs for readers to follow, and while I don’t mind when I can’t put all the clues together early, when the motivation of the killer comes to light it this one, it almost felt like it wasn’t fair play.

Ultimately, I did like this book, but suspect I would have enjoyed it more had it used characters I was unfamiliar with. After waiting so long to reconnect with Stevie and the gang, the reunion felt a little underwhelming, but Maureen Johnson puts on a good show! 4.5 stars!

From Goodreads:

The Truly Devious series continues as Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery.

Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.

But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls–the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.

Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.

But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.

Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness: Lisa Unger’s House Of Crows Novella Series

This week I read:

This novella series is about 4 adults who were friends as teenagers, a dark secret that they share, and the past that’s come back to haunt them.

This was a good introduction to the novella series. In this book we’re introduced to the major characters and we get a glimpse of their troubled pasts as well as the creepy house at the center of the mystery.

In the 2nd part of the series, we learn more about the dynamics of the characters’ childhood friendships, their adult relationships, and the darkness that followed them from their past into their present.

In the 3rd part of the series, we learn that things aren’t always as they seem. Danger lurks around every corner, and no one is safe.

The conclusion to the series packs a wallop with enough tension, suspense and unexpected twists to keep the reader on the edge of their seats! All in all a creepy, atmospheric series.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

Gifted teens in Vegas? What’s the worst that could happen? The 3rd installment of The Naturals series presents a tightly plotted, super smart mystery that deepens the arc that connects all the books. We get to know the characters, their backgrounds, and their motivations better as the author teases the reader with answers they so desperately want, all while deftly laying clues for them to solve the case at hand.

This final installment wraps the series up nicely. I’m sad that it’s over, but now maybe I can finally get some sleep! 🙂 Barnes is a master of creating tension and suspense even as the events teased throughout the series finally come to fruition. The stakes are high – not just because they’re life or death, but because it feels like you’ve come to know the characters and are invested in their fates. There you are, holding your breath, hoping for the best, and then whammy! What an emotional rollercoaster!

This novella picks up 6 years after the novels leave off. I was eager to read more about the characters I had come to know over the course of the series, and to discover how they had evolved as they aged. The case presented in this one was interesting and had a nice twist, but there was something missing. It felt a bit rushed, not just because there was a clock ticking down, creating a sense of urgency and suspense, but because the time usually spent with the characters and their development was missing. This was like a 2 hour movie paring down to a 1/2 hour show with half the cast. Good but not great.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

Three friends who share a mysterious secret from their past find themselves treading water as their lives start to unravel. Has the past come back to haunt them? Or is the threat a reality? This was good, but not my favorite by this author. A bit predictable and unbelievable at times. I enjoyed the dynamics of the friendship and the character development more than the suspense, which is rare for me.

Four college friends – or are they frienemies – meet up for a reunion. When the secrets come out, so do the claws, but some will pay more than others. Who do you trust when everybody’s a suspect? I enjoyed my time with this twisty mystery but wish I hadn’t pegged the culprit as early as I did.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

I loved the idea behind this book – a club of high schoolers who celebrate their love of all things horror by pulling pranks and ‘fear tests’ on their fellow students. But even better than that, I loved the execution of this book! It’s all fun and games until someone takes it too far . . . that’s when things get really interesting. The thrills, the chills, the ‘everybody’s a suspect’ kept me gripped until the very end! My only complaint would be that the ending left so many questions unanswered – I can only assume that means there’s a sequel!

Three 12 year old girls who have been researching the man at the center of a local urban legend sneak out of a slumber party and go to the train yard, where one of them gets severely beaten. But who’s to blame?

It’s certainly a compelling plot, and brings to mind news reports surrounding murky figures such as slender man. Gudenkauf had me hooked! She does a good job of providing plenty of suspects for the reader, and while the twist had occurred to me while reading, it and was the one I had hoped she wouldn’t take, there’s no denying that I couldn’t put this book down!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book was spooky and creepy and seriously messed up! What begins with a teenage girl who has a supernatural ability to find things using her power to locate and end the reign or terror of a man who ‘feeds’ on the souls of children ends with the same girl – now a woman – trying to save her own son from the same man. At it’s core it’s a book about people with special powers who use them for good or evil, but it’s so much more than that. The character development and atmosphere are downright literary coupled with a sense of dread that makes your toes curl!

Take a remote setting, add plenty of secrets, and trap a group of people with someone who wants revenge and you have the recipe for success! This suspenseful story took me on a sleighride to thriller land! Plenty of atmosphere and a cast of characters who all had something to hide kept me glued to this book until the end – best of all, it kept me guessing! Hard to believe it’s a debut!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

A couple leaves their baby home alone while they’re at a dinner party next door, and even though they check on her every half hour, she’s missing when they return. All the characters are hard to like, but they’re all possibly the culprit. This book was twisty and suspenseful, but some of it was hard to swallow, and while I appreciate a book where nothing is as it seems and everyone’s a suspect, this one might have taken it a touch too far for me. Still, a good, entertaining read.

The mean girl frienemies trope taken to an entirely different level! This thriller bounces back and forth between a 10 year college reunion and the characters’ freshman year, where they’re struggling to make the adjustment to their new lives – and each other. Backstabbing, lies and drama ensue until the unthinkable happens. Now someone wants revenge for what happened all those years ago, and the stakes are higher than ever – because the truth may not come out, but the claws will!

I just started:

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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:

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