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Search tags: mystery-and-suspense
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review 2018-11-13 12:53
Crave the Heat by Marnee Blake
Crave the Heat - Marnee Blake

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Dak Parrish has family issues. That's what he'd jumped at the opportunity to come back to Oregon to fight fires—his father, mother and little brother live on the reservation nearby. While his mother appears not to want to have anything to do with him, his father makes an impromptu visit, blackmailing Dak into helping an arsonist investigator look into suspicious fires...A prickly female investigator that quickly gets under Dak's skin...


Like its predecessor this story also didn't bring much to the table. The characters were bland (although the heroine was slightly too bitchy for my taste), the suspense had its moments, but the final reveal (without much motive behind it, or a worthy resolution) left everything to be desired, the pacing was plodding...

Another puffed-rice-cake equivalent.

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text 2018-11-12 06:28
Tempt the Flames by Marnee Blake
Tempt the Flames - Marnee Blake

Ten years ago, the lives of two families imploded. Two men died in a fire, one was blamed for both deaths and friendships crumbled.

Lance Roberts is back in Redmond, Oregon. First, to get his father's old job and second, to uncover the truth about the death of his and his best friend's father, his father was also blamed for. He doesn't really expect a warm welcome, but he also doesn't expect threats and sabotage...Or falling (again) for his ex-best friend's sister who also happens to be his trainer.


I liked the blurb of this book...But that's pretty much all I liked. Let me put it this way. This book was the reading equivalent of puffed rice cakes. Bland, tasteless and odorless.

The characters were bland, the story was bland, the pacing was poor, the suspense lacked any oomph, the villains were one too many, the romance was lackluster at best (I preferred the angst before they got together)...

It failed to capture my attention and I was bored by the time I got to chapter 4. I admit to only skimming the rest of it, because I kept hoping something would click.

It didn't.

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review 2018-10-31 14:30
Two sides explored
Traitor to the Throne - Alwyn Hamilton

 

Legends were never what you expected when you saw them up close. I was no exception.

 

Second in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy, you definitely want to have read the first in the series before you dive into this one. While the first drops you into this world filled with supernatural beings, our heroine Amani is a demdji, daughter of a human woman and male djinn, and country at war. This first was a lot of action and I felt a little lost as the world building and explanations felt a little forgotten. This second one still had action in it but it slows down a bit with a focus on the characters and we get to know the other side, the father of the Rebel Prince, the Sultan.

 

The world is a lot more complicated than it seems when you are seventeen, Amani.’

 

Amani is captured and spends the majority of the book as a prisoner in the Sultan's harem. The conversations she has with the Sultan were some of my favorite parts of this books, I love when the villains are given more depth, not just evil caricatures. I thought it was very interesting how the author had Amani having an internally battle about what she was fighting for; analytical conflict makes things more compelling.

 

I’d move the whole world to make up for what I’d done to Tamid. But I wouldn’t ever give it up for him. Not for anyone. The difference was, Jin had never asked me to. He’d taken my hand to show it to me instead.

 

If you're looking for a lot of Jin and Amani, you're going to be a bit disappointed, they spend the majority of the book apart. Jin kind of gets the shaft in this book and while I thought all the other characters had great insights and depth explored, he was left out in the cold. When Amani is captured and he “disappears” I was disappointed in how vague and forced his absence seemed to be to keep Amani in the harem, his whereabouts and reasons are given like a sentence to explain it away and didn't make a lot of sense. However, when they are on the page together, they spark enticingly.

 

He stood as tall as one of the huge pillars down here in this ancient palace vault. Only he wasn’t just holding up a palace. He was holding up the world. One of God’s First Beings who had made the First Mortal. Who had made all of mankind. Who’d made me.

 

There was a lot of tales, myth, and history weaved into this, at times I thought it helped with the world building and others it seemed to make things unnecessarily clogged with extra characters and more supernatural ethos that was hard to keep track of. It does set-up the third book nicely though with a new challenge for our Rebel crew and potential for a huge battle.

 

The trouble with belief is that it’s not the same as truth.’

 

Even though it changed the action pace of the first to a more slowed down get to know the characters pace, I really enjoyed this second addition to the trilogy. There is a huge cast of characters and magical world to keep straight and track of but I believe this is worth the effort. I can't wait to read the third where we, hopefully, get more Jin and Amani, and the conclusion to the Rebel Prince's battle for a country.

 

On that day, a hundred thousand men and women would come to watch and each would tell the story of what they saw there.

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review 2018-10-30 18:42
From eerie suspense to psychological historical fiction
A Brief Lunacy - Cynthia Thayer

 

What have I done? Who is he? Does he know something? Does he know Sylvie? He’s not just a camper who’s been robbed, is he?

 

A retired married couple living in Maine get a phone call that their schizophrenic daughter has runaway from her institution with her boyfriend Ralph. As they sit at home waiting by the phone for more information, they get phone calls from their daughter Sylvie saying she is in Ohio to get married to Ralph and at other times she is making her way to them, visits from their neighbor Hans and his wife Marte, and a camper claiming he was robbed looking for a place to sleep for the night. These happenings are told from pov chapters from both Carl and Jessie our married couple as they think back on their life and their connection to one another.

 

Carl, I have to do this. God is watching me.”

 

The first half of this was slow nail biting dread as the story has you get to know the nice normal couple but the atmosphere is building the suspense. Interspersed with the happenings are personal stories that help give us a deep delve into Carl and Jessie. We learn that Carl was interned at Birkenau during WWII but Jessie has never really asked about it, she knows but doesn't know.

 

The second half kind of shifts from the horror suspense angle into psychological thriller with emotional historical fiction leanings. It felt a bit unnatural with characters, Jessie almost starts to join forces with their mysterious camper to learn about Carl's past, acting in a way that was obvious to push this more towards a historical fiction recounting of the atrocities performed at internment camps. This is where I began to lose a lot of enjoyment for the story. I, personally, can find it hard at times to read fictional accounts of such horrific acts, like the Holocaust, in books that are not for educational purposes or non-fiction personal accounts; it starts to feel like salacious horror for entertainment to me. I'm not saying it never works for me but, here, the contrast from the beginning was too jarring.

 

Sometimes mothers hope against hope for their children.

 

The mood (stark, dread, building suspense) and writing style (the pov chapters almost read like stream of consciousness at times) in the first half sucked me in but the second half had characters acting in ways that felt unnatural, left some questions unanswered (why was tree so focused on??), and for the most part abandoned it's horror suspense for psychological historical fiction, a transition that didn't work for me.

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review 2018-10-28 01:00
Zany overload
Out of the Frying Pan - A cozy little romance ... with murder on the side. - Kelly Klepfer,Michelle Griep

 

The myriad of crime novels she’d read had surely trained her for a moment like this. Author Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta dug into every murder she encountered. She’d never leave a crime scene. Fern squared her shoulders.

 

The cover should say cozy mystery with zany amateur sleuths and a little romance on the side instead of the other way around, this was about 90% zany amateur sleuthing with 10% romance. 

 

Zula and Fern are sisters who find a dead body in their little retirement community and set-out to find the killer. Fern suspects Black Widow Bob, Zula's intended beau and Zula suspects overly suave Phillipe, Fern's intended beau. Detective Jared is sent in to solve the case and Fern and Zula decide he would make a fantastic life long partner for their niece. Little do they know, their niece KC and Jared had met online, developed a close online relationship but KC broke it off when she thought she meet a great guy in real life. 

 

As you can imagine, misunderstandings, white lies, zany interactions, official and not official investigating, and some actual danger fill out the story. Jared and KC don't actually meet in person until around the 50% (the coincidence of it all was thisclose to being too much for me), I would definitely say this story is centered on Fern and Zula as you'll follow them around for the vast majority of the time. 

 

I'm not big on zany stuff, breaking into someone's home and snooping around because you think they are a murderer only to be caught because the little dog with you lets out a yelp/screech/bark, just isn't in my funny wheelhouse but if it's your thing, this story is chalk full of scenes and instances like that.

 

The eventual unwinding of the mystery and who was guilty seemed overly convoluted and extremely rushed at the end. This story was strong on Fern and Zula running around being zany and not so much on solid mystery plot thread, or maybe the this is who is guilty dump at the end disappointed me enough to not think it was worth wading through all the zany.

 

This is also a Christian book but wasn't overhanded with it, the beginning mentions it, the middle ignores any heavy tones, and the end brushes broad strokes over certain characters at the end. 

 

The coincidences and seemingly adding and connecting of characters made the story seemed haphazardly thrown together. If you're wanting to read a story with two retirement members running around being zany and quite possibly causing more harm than good with a pinch of clean romance, this will more than fill your zany tank.

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