NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

4.0 out of 5 stars - A sudden impulse to help a teenage girl and her baby places a family in peril, but the danger comes from an unexpected direction.

Heidi Woods has always been the kind of woman who helps the underdog -- much to the dismay of her family. They definitely don't understand Heidi's motives and decision when she brings home the strange and disheveled Willow with the baby. The house is in an uproar and Heidi's family uninterested and almost hostile. What they don't see is that Heidi is becoming much too involved...

A psychological study of a character in pain and some good writing bring tension to the narrative. The reader knows that something is coming, but may be surprised by the climax. I enjoyed this one as much as her first book (THE GOOD GIRL also reviewed on this blog - May 30, 2014) and will be looking for more novels by this author.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

4.0 out of 5 stars -- "Knowing the details won't make it any easier...the details will tear you apart."

A thrilling standalone novel by an author whose books grab hold and won't let go until the final page is turned. Filled with great characters and a suspenseful plot, the story is one you will be tempted to read in one sitting.

Claire is devastated when her loving handsome, rich and intelligent husband, Paul Scott, is murdered right before her eyes in an alley after an evening out together. When her home is broken into on the day of Paul's funeral, Claire reviews the security files but finds something very disturbing on her husband's computer.

As she copes with her overwhelming grief, Claire is confronted once again by the memories of the unsolved mystery of her older sister's disappearance 20 years previously. Julia was never found and Claire's father could never give up the search which completely decimated their family. Claire's estranged sister, Lydia, reappears just when Claire needs her most.

Told in alternating points of view, this riveting suspense novel twists and turns in unexpected ways and I'll say no more except to urge readers to get a copy and settle in!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

3.0 out of 5 stars -- Music has the power to "inspire and to change lives, even across the centuries."

Strange things start happening after Julia Ansdell finds an old piece of music hidden in a book at an antique shop in Rome. Her daughter becomes violent when Julia first plays the music on her violin. It takes a bit before realizes that she must trace the provenance of this eerie and haunting waltz.

It seems the composer of the music wrote the piece right before Hitler deported and murdered the Jews in Italy during the years of WWII. We hear his story along with Julia's as voice and time alternate between those years and present day.

I have read so many books about the Holocaust during WWII -- from almost every possible point of view and this is another. We won't ever forget what happened, and this novel once again reminds us of that reign of horror and terror.

I've read almost every novel that this author has written, and this is a genre departure for her it seems. I prefer the books she's written that are suspense/thrillers, especially those that allow the author to use her medical expertise and background to tell the story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for the e-book ARC to review.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

4.0 out of 5 stars -- Bachelor party in the suburbs goes terribly wrong...

Richard Chapman thought he was doing a Best Man's job when he offered to host his younger brother's bachelor party at his upscale home. By the time the night was over, he had some very serious problems. Two men dead and the night's "talent" on the lam. Plus a very angry wife and his employers at the bank have some issues with what's being reported in the papers. Not to mention a very guilty conscience about what may or may not have happened in his guest room between him and one of the girls.

Told in alternating points of view, the plot evolves into a portrait of sex slaves, the men who think they own them, and those that hire them.

I think I have read every book by this author, so when this one came up on NetGalley, I requested it, received approval, and read it all in one sitting. Bohjalian has a knack for a descriptive phrase and great word choices, and I enjoy the writing style. His characters are interesting and usually complex, and the story line of this novel puts ordinary nice man -- husband, father, good provider -- in a bad situation and the reader watches his life spiral out of control.

Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for the e-book ARC to review.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cold Moon (#3) by Alexandra Sokoloff

4.0 out of 5 stars - "There is something larger at work...a force beyond the simply human. A female vengeance against outrages."

This third in the suspenseful and thrilling series featuring FBI Special Agents Roarke, Epps and Singh focuses on their continued hunt for Cara Lindstrom and Jade. The pair has been murdering pimps and johns all over California. In addition, their spree has induced devotees of Santa Muerte, the unconsecrated Catholic Saint of those on the fringe of society -- the victims of extreme violence -- to use the murders of those pimps and johns as a call to arms against rape culture when an internet blogger called Bitch starts writing about them.

The storyline deals with sex trafficking and the heinous acts of cruelty and abuse by those who buy and sell women, and especially underage girls. Cara and Jade are portrayed as vigilantes and their crimes affect the FBI team and many others because it becomes obvious to all that law enforcement and the courts are not able to stop the trade. If there were no buyers, they could not sell the merchandise.

I have grown to really like the main FBI characters in the book but sometimes I am rooting for Cara and Jade to evade capture, arrest, and incarceration because they are killing some really evil men and both have been horribly abused by some they kill. On the other hand, it is hard to morally and ethically justify any type of vigilantism and this same quandary has been in the minds and actions of the FBI team though they are intent on finding the two women.

The narrative is fast-paced and full of details and action that keep a reader glued to the pages. Definitely this book could provide a great platform for lots of discussion in book groups though the concepts of vigilantism and revenge are not new. I cannot wait for book #4 and I was lucky enough to get to read these first 3 back to back. Definitely a series that must be read in order!

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the e-book ARC to review.