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review 2017-10-16 02:14
Odd Child Out by Gilly MacMillan
Odd Child Out: A Novel - Gilly Macmillan

A special thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

MacMillan's second instalment in the Jim Clemo series is about inseparable best friends.  Despite their vastly different cultures—Noah Sandler is British and Abdi Mahad a Somali refugee—their loyalty sees no boundaries.  After what appears to be a prank gone wrong, Noah is found floating unconscious in a canal in Bristol, and Abdi has been shocked into silence.  

 

Detective Jim Clemo is just back from a mandatory leave as a result of his last case.  Because the investigation seems cut and dried, it is assigned to him.  After tragedy strikes, it is apparent that the case it is more than just an accident.  Social tensions begin to rise as the families fight for their sons and seek the truth.  

 

Told from alternating perspectives, MacMillan's story is a slow, tense burn with a deep plot.  She effectively and deftly captures how relentless the press are.  This is especially relevant and relatable in today's climate—whether they print facts, fiction, or a little of both, people will believe it is spun the right way.  However, there are times where the narrative was clunky which accounts for some of its unnecessary bulk.    

 

While the premise is interesting, the characters were at times a bit too stereotypical and because of this, there are times where the story becomes a bit contrived.  All-in-all, a good read and I will definitely be checking in with Detective Clemo again.     

 

 

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review 2017-10-10 23:53
Necessary Roughness (Love & Football) by Julie Brannagh
Necessary Roughness - Julie Brannagh

 

Life consists of many locker rooms and corridors, but it's the way we play the game that determines the person we're meant to be. Ms. Brannagh understood that in order to make an impact, a person has to step up to the plate. Necessary Roughness is blessed with the humor Julie Brannagh gifted the world and the wisdom of heart that helps in our journey to become better people. That is the legacy of a wonderful author.

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review 2017-10-05 23:58
Bad for Her (Bad Boys Gone Good) by Christi Barth
Bad for Her: A Bad Boys Gone Good Novel - Christi Barth

 

The beauty of a Christi Barth novel is the versatility of the voice behind them. Her characters are not afraid to show the foibles of humanity and that makes them relatable to me as a reader. Rafe is a man with a ton of baggage. His secrets have secrets. His past is full of bad decisions and dangerous situations, but in his heart he wants to be a better man. Will the stigma of his past ruin his chance for a brighter future? Bad For Her is a tale of prejudice, second chances and modern day lessons. Romance and wisdom are a sweet combination that Christi Barth always shines in.

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review 2017-10-01 20:38
Look For Her by Emily Winslow
Look For Her - Emily Winslow

A special thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The fourth in a series, Winslow is getting better with each book.  Told from various points of view in first person narrative, this case is about a cold case of a beautiful missing girl from a small English village.

In 1976, Annalise Wood, a teenage girl disappears on her way home from school.  Her body was later discovered, the person responsible for the crime was never found.  Decades later, Annalise is a celebrity of sorts to the small town and for one woman especially.  Named after the dead girl, Annalise Williams believes that sharing the same name has bonded her to the dead girl.

DNA linked to the Annalise murder surfaces and investigator Morris Keene enlists the help of his former partner, Chloe Frohmann to finally solve the mystery and bring closure to the residents of Lilling.  As the investigation progresses, more questions arise rather than answers, the body that was perceived to be the missing girl may be someone else and that a recent drowning also has connections to the cold case.

The partnership between Keene and Frohmann is what great detective series are made of.  These characters are flawed, but endearing, and just so likeable.  The perspective of Dr. Laurie Ambrose added to the story giving it more of an edge and pushing it more into the psychological thriller genre.

My only criticism is how Winslow ties up some of the storyline.  Again, her downfall is linking too many of the supporting cast—it feels a little forced and sometimes convenient.

Finally, finally the marketing team at William Morrow has stopped using Donna Tartt to advertise these books.  

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review 2017-09-28 21:08
The Night Child by Anna Quinn
The Night Child: A Novel - Anna Quinn

A special thank you to Edelweiss, NetGalley and Blackstone for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Nora Brown is a high school English teacher.  She leads a low-key life in Seattle with her husband, Paul, and six-year old daughter, Fiona.  After dismissing her class for Thanksgiving weekend, Nora sees the face of a young girl.  She is filled with terror and confusion—is she hallucinating or could this be related to the headaches she has been having? 

The next day while on vacation, Nora sees the face again and is left shaken and disturbed.  She consults with a neurologist and eventually sees a psychiatrist to work through the visions and what they mean.  Through these sessions, Quinn moves the narrative.  We learn that Nora is the victim of a traumatic childhood and as a result has suffered a psychological breakdown.  As the plot unravels so does Nora as she begins to fear that what happened to her could happen to her daughter.  The character dissension is sharp and swift and Nora's husband—who has stepped out on their marriage—is less than supportive.  He has completely checked out of the relationship and has little patience for her.   

As stated, this book is not for the faint of heart—there is sexual violence, child abuse, death, mental illness, and suicide. 

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