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review 2017-10-17 21:33
Little Secrets
Little Secrets - Anna Snoekstra

By: Anna Snoekstra

ISBN: 9780778331094

Publisher: MIRA

Publication Date:  10/17/2017 

Format:  Paperback 

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

 

Anna Snoekstra returns following her dark and edgy debut, Only Daughter, with her second psychological suspense thriller, LITTLE SECRETS — an arsonist, a cop, porcelain dolls, a stranger, dark secrets, mystery, and a journalist are all part of a dying town. 

Rose Blakey is living in the small town of Colmstock, Australia. a small town. She is tired of the dead-end job at the Eamon’s Tavern Hotel and her dead-end life. 

After the car factory shut down the town had quickly lost its sense of purpose. Small enough to have a strong community, but big enough that you could walk down the street without recognizing every person you passed.

Everything and everyone seemed broken and ugly. People were not friendly. Crime was up. People had meth habits. She wanted out. She is a journalist. 

The local paper had closed with all the setbacks. She was still on a list for a larger national paper. It had been a wealthy town with its grand buildings. Now cracked and weathered. 

The mines closed in the eighties. The newspaper closing, had been the worst for her. 

A boy had died. Ben Riley. He had been only thirteen and was brain damaged. He acted like a kid instead of a teen but everyone liked him. His parents owned the local grocery store. 

A fire at the courthouse. Bored teens or a psycho? Since the high school had been closed down, the crime was worse. 

Then there was Senior Sergent Frank Ghirardello. He was hot for Rose since she started working there. His partner Bazza was a good looking buy. Frank could picture them double dating. Mia, Rose’s friend with Bazza and he with Rose.

She had written about everything including the search for the arsonist. Regardless of the topic, there were endless rejections. 

Rose wonders about the mysterious newcomer, Will. 

Then someone was leaving porcelain dolls on the doorsteps of houses. Plus the dolls looked like the little girls in the respective home. Creepy. 

 



If she does not get a good paying job, she will never escape this dark town. She was living on borrowed time. Most people in the town had given up, trying to escape. She would not give up on her dreams. 

She would write about the “Porcelain Terror in Colmstock.”After all, everyone loved a good mystery. Is there a link to child molesters and pedophiles?

There is also the mum, stepfather, and the younger siblings. If she could learn more about the fire and person behind the dolls, it would help her stories.

Rose gets caught up in the stories. She may be making things worse. She needs to dramatize the stories for flair. The person who had left the dolls was marking his victims. Some monster had her sister.

“Hack journalist wanting their piece of the pie, religious groups looking for a cause, children’s groups trying to find a new level of outrage, they were all here.”

The entire town felt changed, paranoid and suspicious. It was her fault. Did the truth matter? 

. . . "People didn’t care about human life like she’d thoughts they did. People cared about purity, they cared when something unexpected happened, something that confirmed the deep-seated fears they already held. They wanted black and white, someone was good or someone was bad and nothing in between."

If something didn’t sound good in a headline, it wasn’t news. 

From a bleak remote town pulled down by its economic misfortunes and crime, there is a sense of ongoing claustrophobic darkness infiltrating the town. 

Gloom and doom. A town of devastation. From police misconduct, an old mine, desperation, drug trafficking, as well as being overwhelmed by arson attacked and the highly publicized porcelain doll case. 

On an emotional level, there is betrayal, dark secrets, revenge, tension, domestic abuse, anger, rage, friendship, menace, evil, lust, unhappy families, and envy. A need to protect. A means of survival. Fear. Coverups. 

The author creates Rose, a complex woman who wants nothing more than to escape this Aussie town. She is desperate. However, how far will she go? 

Not a "feel good" kind of book; however, some intriguing twists and turns you do not see coming. Several of the characters had plans, with good intentions in the beginning, but their plans unravel and ignite a spark which spirals out of control. Creating havoc for many. The butterfly effect. 

The author does a good job of creating that “Noir” feeling and a sense of dark foreboding lurking with mystery, suspense, and tragedy — throughout the book. 

A lot of tug-and-pull between characters; at war, with one another and themselves. The characters are deeply flawed and everyone seems to wear a mask. A good pick for Halloween. 

A town full of little secrets and big lies. For those who enjoyed Big Little Lies and The Blackbird Season,  in a rural darker Australian remote setting. 

A special thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. 

I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld(love her accent) for an engaging listening experience.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/09/11/Little-Secrets
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review 2017-10-17 08:00
De Eetclub
De Eetclub - Saskia Noort

~Short English review below~

 

Saskia Noort is een van dé thrillerschrijfsters van Nederland. Toen ik de Eetclub (inmiddels ook verfilmd) als luisterboek tegenkwam, ben ik het maar gaan lezen, onder mijn motto om zoveel mogelijk verschillende schrijvers te lezen (en zo natuurlijk goede schrijvers hoop te ontdekken).

Ik vond dit boek een beetje zoals alle Nederlandse literaire thrillers. Ik vond het boek voorspelbaar en de personages ook niet echt origineel. De schrijfstijl is dan wel vlot en het leest lekker weg, maar ik zou het toch absoluut geen literatuur durven noemen. Voor mij betekent het predikaat literaire thriller dan ook niet zoveel. De eetclub heeft mij niet aangezet tot meer van Saskia Noort's boeken.

 

~

 

Saskia Noort is one of the most popular suspense writers in The Netherlands, and I would have to check but I think only Back to the coast has been translated into English. Some of her books have by now also been made into movies.

 

I basically decided to read it as I wanted to broaden my horizon and find some good authors to read. I've always been a bit cautious with Dutch writers, as I seem to not really like their books. This book fitted in with that. The book was fast paced and an easy read, but unfortunately the story was predictable and unoriginal.

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review 2017-10-16 10:00
New Release Review: Never Let Go (Lazarus Rising #1) by Cynthia Eden

 

 

He was more than just a man...

Dr. Elizabeth Parker didn't like wild, dangerous men...yet she still found herself falling for sexy Navy SEAL Sawyer Cage. He was her exact opposite--a man she should definitely stay away from, a man who lived for the thrill of danger...but he was also the man she found herself wanting more than any other.

But their secret relationship ended in heartbreak when Sawyer was killed on a mission. Grieving for him, the last thing Elizabeth ever expected was to find Sawyer listed as a test subject for the top secret government project she was heading--a project called Lazarus.

For years, Elizabeth had worked feverishly to unlock the secrets of life and death, and with her Lazarus formula, she finally thought she'd made a breakthrough. Only she never expected to use Lazarus on her lover.

But the choice is taken out of Elizabeth's hands...

Sawyer is given the Lazarus formula, and he's transported to a remote government facility. At that facility, Sawyer wakes once more, only he's not the same man. He's stronger, he's faster, his reflexes and his senses are ten times better than an average man's. The government calls Sawyer a super soldier... Elizabeth still calls him...hers.

Unfortunately, Sawyer has no memory of his life before Lazarus. All he knows is that something about the sexy doctor awakes a primal response in him. He wants her, and he'll do anything to possess her. Soul-deep, he feels that she was meant to be his.

Death waits in the darkness.

But something is wrong inside the Lazarus facility. The test subjects are holding back secrets, and danger seems to lurk in the air. The Lazarus subjects are super-human now, and some of those subjects have a very, very dark side. Twisted cravings drive them to the very edge of sanity. Can Sawyer keep Elizabeth safe from the madness around them...or will the growing darkness consume them both?

NEVER LET GO...a gripping new romantic suspense from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Cynthia Eden.

 

 

Cynthia Eden’s newest series Lazarus Rising is off to a great start with Never Let Go!

 

It brings us into a military world full of action, drama, intrigue and romance with a touch of paranormal and as always with Cynthia Eden’s books a thrilling plot that just doesn’t let the readers go. It was medium to fast paced as the situations called for and full of thrills and the uncertainty of not knowing what would happen next which of course meant that I had to keep reading. The surprising twists happened throughout the book but none more surprising than the ones toward the end of the book which kind put a whole new perspective on the story and introduces readers to a character whose cagey, intriguing and leads us to believe that he just may have a few surprises of his own for us readers to uncover in future books.

 

All the characters were dynamic and attention grabbing with Elizabeth and Sawyer’s chemistry exploding from each and every page. Their romance was hot and steamy with some major emotional and turbulent times keeping the reader on pins and needles throughout. The secondary characters also added drama and chemistry to the book and ensured that readers will want to come back for more.

 

It is always a pleasure to read a book by Cynthia Eden and this is certainly no exception with its volatile topic that captures every readers attention as well as their imagination, I mean who isn’t captivated by the thought of bring the dead back to life, right?  Anyway, I am very excited that the next book, Keep Me Close is due to be released in just a few days because this is one series that I can’t wait to find out what happens next in.

 

 

 

Never Let Go is the first book in the Lazarus Rising series

Keep Me Close the second book is due to be released on October 24, 2017

 

Never Let Go is Available in print or ebook at:

Amazon   B&N   GPlay   ibooks   Kobo      

 

Cynthia Eden can be found at:

Goodreads   Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pintrest

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review 2017-10-15 05:08
Who's the real alien?
The Last Hour of Gann - R. Lee Smith

 

She should have been prepared to see something like this. An alien, that was. From the moment she'd first seen the scaly deer if not sooner. But there was a big difference between knowing intellectually that there were forms of animal life on this world and seeing a six-foot tall lizardman come at you out of the bushes with a knife in his hand.

 

 

This was 1,000 pgs. I'm exhausted because as you can tell by rating, it was only an ok 1,000pgs. 

Look, everyone seems to love this book, so grain of salt and all that but here's my probably not coherent exhausted luke warm take:

 

The first three books(parts) was pretty interesting, meeting our first person pov heroine Amber and how she has had a poopy life on Earth and decided the best way to survive was jumping on a space ship. Her whole life seems to be taking care of her sister Nicci who is completely a waste of space. Nicci depends solely on Amber and blames her if anything goes wrong. The ship gets hit by a bunch of asteroids, killing most of the 500,000 or so, gets knocked off course and crash lands on an unknown Alien planet. 

48 survive with a guy named Scott who wants to be leader and really has it out for Amber. 

I've never been in such a survival situation with a group of people but I would hope food and shelter would be first on their mind, at least for a hot minute, over what guy gets what "womb" out of the 11 to repopulate their colony. Looking over reviews, I see this is classified by some as erotica, which could help explain the huge focus on sex, which felt over focused on to me. 

People needing leaders but too scared to lead I get, but the hate on Amber felt so forced and the lack of anyone questioning stuff, again, felt forced to serve a narrative. It was a good narrative on society with a Lord of the Flies feel but still, a bit forced. 

 

 Meoraq and his world that Amber crash landed on was interesting, especially with the importance of religion the author added in and how it tied into their society and cultural values. Meoraq's faith and sureness in his world and role in it was interesting to follow along with as he met Amber and how she slowly but surely put it dent in it all.

 

After book three, things slowed way down for me as it was endless Amber fighting against the group trying to get them to survive, her sister treating her like crap, and Meoraq being annoyed with the whining humans but also kind of attracted to Amber, a lot of rinse and repeat. Book six has Amber being kidnapped and the constant rape scenes start, it was incredibly exhausting. 

 

I liked how the author addressed religion, how its needed, what it provides, and how it can lie. I liked how this was something pretty different with the alien world and culture and how Meoraq was a lizard, no human characteristics at all. I also liked how the humans were the "aliens" and how the author played with that theme. Ultimately, this was too long with repeated scenes, forced or simplistic actions, and too many rape scenes. If you want something different with a lizard hero, many others really enjoyed this.

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review 2017-10-15 04:23
Dream of Orchids by Phyllis Whitney
Dream of Orchids - Phyllis A. Whitney

Phyllis Whitney was 82 years old when she wrote this book. Seriously, guys - she was my mother-in-law's age (and I'm 51) and she would go on to write another 10 freaking books after she was 82. I'm giving it a third star just for that reason.

As far as the book itself, it certainly wasn't a bad book, although it also wasn't a great book. It's set in Key West, and at times Whitney got a little too travelogue in her descriptions. She usually does a better job integrating the setting details into the story itself. But, did I mention that she was 82 years old when she wrote this book? I'm still dealing with that fact.

This book definitely follows the Whitney formula: appealing young woman goes to a place where she is on her own, and some sort of dangerous situation develops. There is always romance, and sometimes the object of desire is a decent sort and sometimes he's the villain. There's always at least one questionable death that is usually murder, and the villain - who can be either male or female - often has a tenuous grip on reality. Often times, some historical crime is exposed.

In Dream of Orchids, Laurel is a young bookseller in New England whose mother has recently passed away, and who was abandoned by her father, Clifton York, a well known author. A young man shows up at her bookstore, asking her to visit it her father in Key West. Once she arrives in Key West, she learns that things are not as she had believed, and that there is something quite sinister going on with her father, her two younger sisters, Iris and Fern, a sunken Spanish galleon and the orchid house where her step-mother, Poppy, bled to death in a bizarre accident. There's also a creepy secretary, her scarred ex-husband, and Iris's much older and far too sketchy fiance, Derek.

This is not Whitney's best work. But goddammit, she was 82 when she wrote it. And that's amazing.

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