Friday, July 30, 2021

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens

The acclaimed and beloved author of Still Missing is back with her most breathtaking thriller yet.

The Cold Creek Highway stretches close to five hundred miles through British Columbia’s rugged wilderness to the west coast. Isolated and vast, it has become a prime hunting ground for predators. For decades, young women traveling the road have gone missing. Motorists and hitchhikers, those passing through or living in one of the small towns scattered along the region, have fallen prey time and again. And no killer or abductor who has stalked the highway has ever been brought to justice.

Hailey McBride calls Cold Creek home. Her father taught her to respect nature, how to live and survive off the land, and to never travel the highway alone. Now he’s gone, leaving her a teenage orphan in the care of her aunt whose police officer husband uses his badge as a means to bully and control Hailey. Overwhelmed by grief and forbidden to work, socialize, or date, Hailey vanishes into the mountainous terrain, hoping everyone will believe she’s left town. Rumors spread that she was taken by the highway killer—who’s claimed another victim over the summer.

One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek, where her sister Amber lived—and where she was murdered. Estranged from her parents and seeking closure, Beth takes a waitressing job at the local diner, just as Amber did, desperate to understand what happened to her and why. But Beth’s search for answers puts a target on her back—and threatens to reveal the truth behind Hailey’s disappearance… 

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 3rd 2021
 by St. Martin's Press
4/5 stars

Chevy Stevens had me at Still Missing and I've read every one of her books since.  A Canadian author that always sets her books in Canada, BC actually - one of my favorite places to visit.  Dark Roads is no different with its setting in a fictional town and the disappearance of women. 

I can't exactly say this was a fast paced story, and really a good suspense/thriller doesn't have to be. Just as long as the story keeps me captivated and on my toes I am good.  Dark Roads has a small town setting, Cold Creek where the highway is spotted with memorials to those women that have met with tragic ends.  

I liked both Hailey and Beth, in a sense alone searching for answers.  While this book does have a YA feel it does tackle some serious subject matter.  The mystery was intriguing, except for some time in the middle where it seems to lag a bit, but I found myself reading faster to see the outcome.  I love when there is a dog in books like these, Wolf was a welcome addition and I just loved him.

Dark Roads is a dark, sometimes depressing story, it uncovers the evil in society but for those willing to overcome there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The author notes is where Chevy Stevens talks about the Highway of Tears, since the 1970's women have gone missing or where murdered along that 500 km stretch and many still remain unsolved.  While this book does not revolve around those cases it does bring this situation to light as a reminder for those women.  Thank you for doing that.

My thanks to St. Martin's Press (via Netgalley) for a digital arc in exchange for an honest review.

 It's not an isolated case but its also not unfamiliar to those that know the history. Many women have disappeared without a trace in BC and while this book is not based on those cases but the author notes

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Marin Cole has never:
Seen the ocean
Climbed a mountain
Taken a risk on love

....But if her sister's plan works, she just might do all three.

Ever since her journalist mother died on assignment, Marin has played it safe, refusing to set foot outside the state of Tennessee. Her wild-child younger sister, Sadie, has trotted the globe as a photographer, living off of art and adrenaline.

When Sadie returns from a tough assignment abroad and looks a little worse for wear, Marin reluctantly agrees to a sisters' spa weekend on the tropical island of Saba. But her lifelong fear of travel is affirmed when Sadie misses the flight, Marin's luggage gets mixed up with another passenger's, and an episode of turbulence sends her hurtling into the lap of Lucas Tsai, the handsome stranger who stole her sister's seat.

For the first time in a long time, Marin has to step outside of her comfort zone as she explores the island with Lucas and learns what she's been missing out on. With each breathtaking new experience, Marin gets closer to her real self, the man she's falling for, and the heart-wrenching truth about why she's there in the first place.

Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 23rd 2021
 by Berkley Books
5/5 stars

It feels like its been so long since I've read a 5 star book and I have the fine folks in bookstagrammers world to thank.

I loved this story, the journeys that took place, yes that is a plural because this was a multi-layered story that kept me reading. Slip in some reminiscing of the past to help define Sadie and Marin's relationship and see why Marin was the way she was.  Add in some adorable island characters along with that tropical setting making this the kind of read that I didn't know I was looking for.  

I enjoyed the author's writing style.  It flowed nicely, intersperse with flashbacks that came across as effortlessly.  The vibe was very rom/com for the first bit but switched over to women's fiction. Not that there weren't com moments along the way.  Meet Me in Paradise is a powerful story, funny, poignant and emotional.

It wasn't until I began this review that I discovered this is Libby Hibscher's debut.  Wow, I am super impressed and can't wait for her next book coming in March 2022 - If You Ask Me.

Psst...she is one of those author I would preorder and have on my shelf vs a library read like this one was.



Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Night She Disappeared by Kevin O'Brien

Some nightmares you can’t forget
From the depths of sleep, Seattle TV reporter Anna Malone awakens to her phone ringing. She rarely drinks, and this hangover is brutal. Why can’t she shake the feeling that something terrible happened last night? And why can’t she recall any of it?

But even worse
What Anna does remember: an awkward restaurant meal with her married lover, Russ Knoll, and his unsuspecting wife, Courtney. Russ’s phone call reveals that Courtney is missing, and as days go by with no trace, he comes under police scrutiny. Anna’s in the spotlight too, thanks to a TV rival with a grudge. Anna’s not proud of her affair, but she and Russ aren’t bad people. They’re certainly not the killing kind.

Is the one you can’t remember . . .

Anna already suspected that Courtney—a successful, charming author—might have a darker side. Is she truly missing? Perhaps the sudden disturbances in Anna’s life aren’t accidental after all. But no scenario that Anna imagines can compare to the twisted game unfolding around her, one chilling piece at a time . . . 

Kindle Edition, 395 pages
Expected publication: July 27th 2021
by Kensington Books
3.5/5 stars

This is a book where the cover grabbed me first, it's also the 2nd of three books that I've read with the same title this year.

The Night She Disappeared is somewhat of a fast paced novel.  The action starts right away when Anna wakes up not remembering what happened the previous night, even on a good day that's scary enough but when the person she was with disappears just adds that just adds an extra creepy factor.

The story alternates between different POVs and reflections of the past.  Yea a lot is going on but it works.  The red herrings kept me on my toes, the unveiling of secrets added to the mystery along with some unreliable characters. I can honestly say that there weren't too many characters here that I even liked but it was the story with it's many layers that kept me reading. 

Although it might have been a tad too long but I still recommend, The Night She Disappeared to those that love a mystery to get lost in.

My thanks to Kensington Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.  You can find this book on bookshelves in the next few days.

Friday, July 23, 2021

A Terrible Tide by Suzanne Meade

November 18th, 1929

In her small village in Newfoundland, Celia is setting the table for her 13th birthday celebration when the house starts to shake. It's an earthquake, rumbling under the Atlantic Ocean. A few hours later, the sea water disappears from the harbor, only to rush back in a wave almost 30 feet high, destroying nearly everything in its path. Buildings, boats, and winter supplies of fish and food are washed away, and Celia and her community are devastated. With their only phone line cut off and no safe route to get help, they are isolated and facing a long, cold, hungry winter.

Their house destroyed and village in ruins, Celia and her family must band together and share the work needed for the community to survive. Can Celia find the courage to help her injured loved ones? Will help arrive before it's too late

Based on the true story of an earthquake that shook Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula, A Terrible Tide tells the tale of this forgotten disaster from the point of view of a young girl whose life is turned upside down. 

Kindle, 208 pages
Expected publication: September 28th 2021 
by Second Story Press
4/5 stars

A Terrible Tale was an educational lesson for me. Being a lover of Canadian HF this one fit the bill nicely with a part of our history I was unfamiliar with.  Taking place in 1929 in Newfoundland, A Terrible Tale follows the story of 13 year old Celia whose world is turned upside-down when an earthquake strikes the Atlantic Ocean sending water to her village.

What follows is a story told through her eyes of what her family, friends and neighbours endured.  Geared for the middle grade reader it gives enough detail to get a clear picture of the aftermath and the struggle to survive.

A Terrible Tale is a story of family, survival and discovering whats really important.

My thanks to the publisher (via Netgalley) for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Entitled: Life isn't easy when you're a book by Cookie Boyle

Entitled is the story of a Book seeking to find a home as it is passed from one Reader to another. Along the way, it reveals its own story, The Serendipity of Snow.

As it is read, misplaced, loaned and abandoned, our Book, like the Readers of its pages, discovers love and heartbreak, loneliness and friendship, and ultimately becomes the author of its own journey.

In the end, Entitled examines the pull between the story we are born with and the one we wish to create for ourselves.

Paperback, 306 pages
Published November 24th 2020
by Bespoken Word Press
4/5 stars

Canadian author Cookie Boyle has penned a fun story about a book.  The fun part is it's from the pov of said book, The Serendipity of Snow. A unique prospective as this book does some travelling, meets a variety of personalities - though not all of the literary kind.

Entitled is a great summer read, especially for bookish folks who like books with a bookish theme. It's for those that can easily imagine this setting and feel for Serendipity. While it might sound light Entitled is a book about feeling alone, making friends and creating your own path.

My thanks to the author for reaching out and gifting me with a copy of Entitled (which in no way affected this review).

"Books come into out lives for a reason.  They might not know it themselves. 
 You might not know it.  But there's a reason.  There has to be," says a collection of stories by Joyce Carol Oates.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Hide Away (Rachel Marin Thriller #1) by Jason Pinter

From the bestselling author of the Henry Parker series comes a page-turning thriller about a vigilante who’s desperate to protect her secrets—and bring a killer to justice.

On the surface, Rachel Marin is an ordinary single mother; on the inside, she’s a fierce, brilliant vigilante. After an unspeakable crime shatters her life, she changes her identity and moves to a small town in Illinois, hoping to spare her children from further trauma…or worse. But crime follows her everywhere.

When the former mayor winds up dead, Rachel can’t help but get involved. Where local detectives see suicide, she sees murder. They resent her for butting in—especially since she’s always one step ahead. But her investigative genius may be her undoing: the deeper she digs, the harder it is to keep her own secrets buried.

Her persistence makes her the target of both the cops and a killer. Meanwhile, the terrifying truth about her past threatens to come to light, and Rachel learns the hard way that she can’t trust anyone. Surrounded by danger, she must keep her steely resolve, protect her family, and stay one step ahead, or else she may become the next victim.

Kindle Edition, 365 pages
Published March 1st 2020 
by Thomas & Mercer
5/5 stars

This was another hyped up author on Instagram and Twitter with the release of A Stranger at the Door - book 2 in this series.  I jumped at the kindle deal for Hide Away which is the first book in the Rachel Marin Series.  

It's been awhile since a mystery has grabbed my attention like this one did.  I was invested right away with Rachel, caring about her family and what happened in the past.  She gets herself involved in something that sets off a chain reaction of events that quickly evolve into something dangerous.

This fast paced story was filled with well-developed characters, the easy banter involving Rachel made for a fun read - can I say fun when it's filled with suspense, secrets and intrigue?

The mystery itself was interesting, it kept me on my toes guessing at the outcome. As for the outcome, I loved it!  I was thoroughly entertaining and can't wait to read book 2 in this series. 

This book is from my personal kindle library.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

What's Done in Darkness by Laura McHugh

Abducted as a teenager, a woman must now confront her past and untangle the truth of what really happened to her in this dark thriller from the author of The Wolf Wants In.

"Laura McHugh expertly delivers a harrowing tale of a world where little is what it first appears to be."--Ron Rash, bestselling author of Serena

Seventeen-year-old Sarabeth has become increasingly rebellious since her parents found God and moved their family to a remote Arkansas farmstead where she's forced to wear long dresses, follow strict rules, and grow her hair down to her waist. She's all but given up on escaping the farm when a masked man appears one stifling summer morning and snatches her out of the cornfield.

A week after her abduction, she's found alongside a highway in a bloodstained dress--alive--but her family treats her like she's tainted, and there's little hope of finding her captor, who kept Sarabeth blindfolded in the dark the entire time, never uttering a word. One good thing arises from the horrific ordeal: a chance to leave the Ozarks and start a new life.

Five years later, Sarabeth is struggling to keep her past buried when investigator Nick Farrow calls. Convinced that her case is connected to the strikingly similar disappearance of another young girl, Farrow wants Sarabeth's help, and he'll do whatever it takes to get it, even if that means dragging her back to the last place she wants to go--the hills and hollers of home, to face her estranged family and all her deepest fears.

In this riveting new novel from Laura McHugh, blood ties and buried secrets draw a young woman back into the nightmare of her past to save a missing girl, unaware of what awaits her in the darkness. 

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 22nd 2021
by Random House
4/5 stars

This is my first time reading a Laura McHugh book, I thank all the hype over on Instagram for bringing this book to my attention.  It definitely lived up to the buzz.

What's Done in Darkness comes in at 256 pages and packs a punch.  There was the mystery that played out with before and after points of view.  It shows a dark side of a Christian but honestly I don't feel there were Christians at all but rather dominating people who wanted control without any form of compassion or love. 

There were many twists and turns making it hard for me to unravel this mystery.  The setting felt like going back in time when husbands took control, made all the decisions and ruled with an iron fist.  While I found the mystery interesting with its many layers it was Sarah's journey that spoke to me.  Definitely an author I will read more of.

I obtained this book from my local public library.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

The Hunted by Roz Nay

The Beach meets The Woman in Cabin 10 in this twisty new thriller about two couples who meet backpacking through Africa, but what begins as friendship quickly turns to obsession, with deadly consequences—from bestselling author Roz Nay.

Stevie Erickson is looking for a fresh start. The sudden loss of her grandmother has sent her life into a tailspin, dredging up old losses and putting a strain on her relationship with her boyfriend, Jacob. So when Jacob is offered a job as a diver for GoEco, a dive operation for ecotourists on Rafiki, a beautiful, secluded island off the coast of Tanzania, he thinks it’s just the adventure they need and Stevie reluctantly agrees to go with him.

Their trip gets off to a rough start with a nighttime scare at their first hostel. Already fragile, Stevie can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched. Things improve when they meet seasoned backpackers Leo and Tamsin, a drop-dead gorgeous couple who instantly take a shine to Stevie and Jacob.

But on Rafiki Island, their new friendship is put to the test, as is Stevie and Jacob’s own relationship. And when innocent flirting goes too far, past truths surface, exposing a killer in their midst—a killer whose sights are set on Stevie.

A high dive into the dangers of obsession, this sinister and seductive thriller will leave you breathless. 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: July 6th 2021 
by Simon & Schuster
3.5/5 stars

This is my second book by Canadian author Roz Nay and also her 3rd book.

The Hunted started with a bang that set a creepy tone beginning that sense of suspense and mystery I love in this genre.

Stevie needs a fresh start and gets way more than she bargained for.  When her boyfriend Jacob gets a job in Africa it seems like a good place to start. Told with alternating POVs between Stevie and Leo, someone they met during their travels. The travel was an adventure in itself, not the travelling I'm used to, it gave the real sense of being in another country altogether. 

The Hunted was a wild ride, especially given a 'oh my goodness he's crazy' character.  I was kept on my toes and honestly thought I had things figured out but alas I was wrong. I might not have liked the majority of the characters but the story was mysterious, suspenseful with an ending that surprised me.

My thanks to Simon & Schuster CA for a digital ARC (via Netgalley)
 in exchange for an honest review.