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review 2018-11-07 18:30
An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
An Unwanted Guest - Shari Lapena

A special thank you to Edelweiss and Penguin Publishing Group for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

Lapena's debut The Couple Next Door was an instant hit and received rave reviews and I thought it was a solid effort.  Admittedly, I was underwhelmed by her second book, A Stranger in the House, and was unsure if I was going to give this one a go.  An Unwanted Guest is on par with The Couple Next Door and that was a 3 out of 5 stars.  It takes place at a secluded hotel and what unfolds is a thriller that is reminiscent of a classic mystery—think Agatha Christie.  

 

Mitchell's Inn, nestled in the Catskills, boasts a cozy atmosphere.  The stately rooms feature woodburning fireplaces and have just the right amount of nostalgia to be quaint, including no Wi-Fi or cell service.  

 

When a winter storm knocks out the power, all contact with the outside world is cut off.  The guests try to make the best of the situation until one of them turns up dead.  At first it appears to be an accident, but then a second guest dies and panic sets in.    

 

With everyone being a suspect, the guests have no choice but to weather the storm and each other.  

 

I liked how Lapena juxtaposed the violence of the storm against the violent acts of murder and thought the premise was very good.  The atmosphere and description saved the book because I was simply tired of the repetitious thoughts about who the killer is—the reader does not need to be reminded that each character needs to figure out which one of them is the killer.  Isn't that the whole point of the book?  

 

 

What baffles me is how removed Lapena is and this is the difference between 3 and 4 stars (to which she absolutely has the potential).  Given that it is told from multiple points of view, this should be a character-driven novel because the characters ought to have enough depth and ultimately are responsible for propelling the narrative.  But there is simply not enough distinction between their voices and for the most part, it feels like there is only one narrator.

 

I haven't given up on Lapena yet—she does has a way of engaging the reader right of the bat.  For the most part, her characters are well developed but their inner dialogues need work and she needs to ensure that they have a distinct voice if relying on their perspectives to tell the story.     

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review 2018-09-28 07:10
Forbidden
Got It Bad - Christi Barth

This book is #3, in the Bad Boys Gone Good series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  To fully understand the series without spoilers, please read this great series in order.

 

Kellan was forced out of his own life, due to his brother's crimes.  Now he has to create a new one.  He also has to avoid the woman who helped him start over.

 

Delaney's attraction to Kellan was instant.  The feeling is also mutual.  Her career is over if she gives in to it.  The heart wants what the heart wants.  Hopefully they can find middle ground before this causes them to combust.

 

This book got so hot so fast!  The characters right from the start had fueled the spark that just kept igniting.  The lure of the forbidden is always harder to ignore.  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review by its publishers and Edelweiss.

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review 2018-09-10 20:21
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton

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

 

"Nothing like a mask to reveal somebody's true nature."

 

Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden Bishop—one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party—can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again.

 

But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath...

 

As far as any book goes, the concept is actually brilliant, especially for a debut.  The book is smart, (mostly) well-executed, and clever.  

 

Here's where my glowing review ends.  I was confused throughout and had to keep going back to reread parts which given the size of the book, was not ideal.  It was unclear at times as to which body Aidan was in and at what times.  There were also a lot of characters and it was challenging to keep them straight.  Having a character change their identity eight times is a gamble for Turton and he almost pulls it off.  Where he fails is that the reader questions how well they know and understand the characters—they are suspect because of all of the different identities inhabited.  

 

The premise, as mentioned, is fantastic.  When you read the synopsis, there is definite intrigue, but actually reading it was a whole other matter.  I was left disinterested around day six.  There was some unnecessary bulk at this point in the storyline and hopefully this will be resolved in the published product.  My final thought is that given the level of detail, the number of players, and the intricate plot, this should have been a series.

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review 2018-09-03 15:00
CROSS HER HEART by Sarah Pinborough
Cross Her Heart: The gripping new psychological thriller from the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author - Sarah Pinborough

 

Starting at 12:01 on Saturday morning and finished by 7pm Sunday night, CROSS HER HEART consumed almost my entire weekend. A fast paced thriller with so many twists and turns, I can honestly say that I did not guess how it would end. I love when that happens!

 

There are so many reviews out already, I'm not sure what I can add to what's already been said, but here we go. Lisa loves her daughter Ava so much, but is suffocating her by being so over-protective. Now that Ava is 16, she's chomping at the bit to get on with her life and for her mom to back off. Ava is an excellent swimmer and on the swim team at school. When a young boy falls into the water at a community fair, Ava doesn't hesitate to jump in and save him, and as a result, both her and her mom's pictures are plastered all over the local papers. This sets in motion a series of events that will change their lives forever. How do their lives change due to these pictures? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This is only my second Sarah Pinborough novel but I'm happy to know there are several older books for me to catch up with. Her writing style appeals to me because of the pacing, the depth of the characters and her ability to change the direction of the story on a dime. A dime, I say! I was rooting for Lisa and Ava to pull through. I was rooting for Lisa's best friend Marilyn too. With bad guys you can easily hate and protagonists that are easy to love, Sarah Pinborough has gained a reader for life.

 

Highly recommended for fans of mystery, suspense and thrillers!

 

*I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-08-31 19:42
Hot Winter Nights (Heartbreaker Bay, #6) by Jill Shalvis
Hot Winter Nights - Jill Shalvis

 

Jill Shalvis knows her way around romance. Hot Winter Nights gave me heart tingles. Molly finally gets her chance to shine. She's sick of waiting on the sidelines. Unfortunately, she jumps from the frying pan rather quickly and lands herself in some serious hot water. Leading with her heart has a way of biting her in the butt. This time around Lucas is there to cushion the fall. She comes into her own with that fighting spirit, I love and a vulnerability she always hides. Shalvis can take a piece of my heart anytime.
 
 

 

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