Author: Chris Patchell
Title: Dark Harvest: A Holt Foundation Story
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller, and suspense; Crime fiction; Crime; Serial killers; Kidnapping
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Review: Dark Harvest provides everything you could ever want in a story. This psychological thriller and mystery contains in depth scene descriptions, as well as incredible character development. Unlike a lot of novel's Dark Harvest provides nuanced details of every character through first person point of view. I think it is incredible that Patchell was able to create unique backstories to every character that was introduced. Although a tricky task, she was able to accomplish this without leaving me feeling bored and ready to move on. All of the characters played an intricate role in the plot and story development. Although this falls into the thriller genre, there was an adequate amount of romance that kept my need for love and lust peaked. This novel contained a lot of scientific and medical information and Patchell hit the nail on the head with accuracy; you can tell that she definitely did her research. I really couldn't put this novel down and I will definitely be purchasing the first installment from this series, In The Dark. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a captivating page turner that will keep you up at night.
Book Description: "Becky Kincaid ventures out in the middle of a snowstorm to buy a car seat for her unborn baby and never makes it home. When a second pregnant woman disappears, Marissa Rooney and the team at the Holt Foundation fear a sinister motive lurks behind the crimes. Lead investigator, Seth Crawford, desperately searches for the thread that binds the two cases together, knowing that if he fails, another woman will soon be gone. While Seth hunts for clues, a madman has Marissa in his sights and she carries a secret that could tear her whole world apart. Can Seth stop the killer before he reaps his..."
Author: Riley Sager
Title: Final Girls
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller, suspense; Crime; Murder; Contemporary women
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Review: There is a very good reason why Stephen King gave this novel such high praises. When I read psychological thrillers, I want to basis of the story to be as accurate to a real-life scenario as possible, especially if the author decides to write about real psychological dysfunctions. Sager did an excellent job at creating a horrifying plot that could be reality. This book starts off incredibly fast, which is another thing I look for in thrillers. If think if an author can establish a suspenseful plot development, while maintaining a gripping pace he or she has conquered the difficulties associated with creating a good thriller. Quincy was everything that I looked for in a heroine; she was strong, determined, investigative, and she exhibited growth as her story unfolded. All of the supporting characters were intriguing as well and I think each of them added a really great touch. I hate it when characters are added to a story, but they lack description or major contributions. This is definitely a book that will force you to turn the page. I was constantly second-guessing what would happen and all of the theories of the outcome I had running through my mind were completely off. That is how surprising the ending was for me. To be quite honest, I was so shocked by the ending that I was left speechless, which does not happen often. The only thing I would not recommend regarding this book is to read it alone at night. Sager's descriptions of the crimes and the overall eeriness of Final Girls left me with chills. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you enjoy crime, suspense, or thrillers you have to pick this up! Cheers to Sager for doing an excellent job.
Book Description: "Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet. Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished."
Author: Catherine Lavendar
Title: In Black & White
Genre(s): Romance; Contemporary fiction; Women's fiction
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Review: This book was very touching and emotion evoking. Through the story of Micah learning about her biological father and the overwhelming gift he left her, Lavendar reminds us about the complexities of human relationships and how so many factors play into their success or failure. This book struck home as my own grandfather abandoned my mother and did not reach out to her until later in life. That kind of gesture can be both wonderful and devastating and I think that Micah's experience consisted of both feelings. This book also made me think of how I am living my life and the regrets I do not want to have when my time comes. Although I typically prefer books that take me to another time and place, I also like reading stories that make me think about my own life and how I can make it better. This book definitely makes you think! I really enjoyed the writing style of this novel. Although it was an emotional story, I felt that the words flowed really well making it easier to read.
Book Description: "Micah Winters always knew that she was different. It was the pigment of her skin and the texture of her hair that revealed that she was a woman from biracial parents. For five decades, Micah’s African American mother has remained silent about Micah’s estranged father (Sidney Irving). It is not until after Sidney Irving’s death that Micah learns that she is the daughter of the legendary novelist and screenwriter. Now with her mother’s memory fading away from Alzheimer’s disease, Micah can only rely on a novel that was written from her father years ago to understand her parents past during the time of segregation in the United States. Micah’s once simple life is not so simple anymore as she tries to make sense of an unfamiliar world as she inherits her father’s wealth and private past. With an abandoned heart, Micah must forgive the past in order to discover who she really is."
Author: Michelle Schlicher
Title: Me & Milo the Great
Genre(s): Coming of age; Teen; Literature and fiction
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Review: In just a few words, this novel is heart wrenching, warm, and magical. It has been a while since I have come across a book that truly makes me feel exactly what the characters are feeling. Schlicher has an incredible gift with words in a way that made Holiday and Milo so real for me. Holiday's story is tragic and defeating and in those moments I felt as if I was her. I could feel her depression radiate off the pages. The way her character went through life is a portrait of what someone with depression goes through on a daily basis. In her anxious moments I would begin to feel my own heart race because Schlicher's descriptions were bold and accurate. Until Holiday met Milo I almost felt worried that I wouldn't want to make it through the rest of the book because I was feeling so much for Holiday. However, when Milo was introduced I began to feel better while I was reading; there was light at the end of the tunnel. Once again, Schlicher created a character that made me feel exactly what the character conveyed. He was a ray of sunshine in Holiday's nightmare. I found myself smiling at the thought that sometimes we really do need someone special to pull us away from our devastation. Overall, I think this book is absolutely incredible and would be a dream for anyone who loves to become entrenched in the stories they read. Be prepared to feel what the characters go through!
Book Description: "My name is Holiday Sanchez. I carry a heavy burden. But I'm not the only one. There are others who know what it feels like to remember. Maybe they are the answer. Maybe we can help each other. Maybe I'll finally get past it. Maybe it just takes time—and a little bit of magic."
Author: Beau North
Title: Modern Love
Genre(s): Romance; Bisexual romance; LGBT romance; Multicultrual
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Review: This novel is very different from the typical romance stories that I read, yet it was also very familiar. For some reason, a lot of current romance authors fall trap to the vogue story of a young woman falling in love with a powerful mysterious man. Although Modern Love definitely had some different components from this popular storyline, the gist was essentially the same. I think that there could have been a lot more that North could have added to this story in terms of providing more intimate details of the characters and their troubles. Both Al and Will were extremely dynamic characters and they each had interesting pasts that I wish would have been more developed. The idea of this story was really cool and I enjoyed it as a light read, but I think the readers could have gotten a lot more from the characters and the story if it was longer and more detailed. When I did learn about the characters' pasts, the information was just dropped and not as intertwined within the story as I would have liked it to be. Will and Al also have a connection that I wish would have been developed more, either through more pages or even a second novel. I think there was a lot in the story and I really wanted more from it. Yeah, sure, the main characters are infatuated with one another and there is sexual tension, but when the writing becomes quick and sudden we sometimes lose the gravity of that tension. I wanted the lust to linger a bit more, which is why I think the book would have been a lot better if it was longer. This was especially true for me when it came to Will's chapters. I wanted to be inside of his head more, but the chapters were incredibly brief that it almost seemed pointless to read about his perspective. I ultimately gave this book 4 stars because it was really enjoyable as a quick summer read, and I liked the dynamic of Al being bisexual since I do not typically come across modern novels with various sexual attractions. However, I do wish it were longer because I could have gotten more from the characters and there were also several external references that I had to look up because I was unfamiliar with the individuals that were referenced. After knowing who the references were, it made sense for the characters, but not all readers would take the time to look them up if they did not know who they were. With all of that being said, I recommend this to anyone looking for a great romance novel with a different perspective. The characters were entertaining and will stay with you!
Book Description: "“Love at first sight wasn’t meant for millennials.” - So thinks Alice Aberdeen—art student, recovering addict, David Bowie enthusiast. Alice is among the recently dumped, and just wants to keep her nose down until she finishes her degree. Her sister Emma has other ideas, and sets her up with new-in-town Warinder “Will” Murphy- tall, dark, and aloof. To say it wasn’t love at first sight is an overstatement. He finds her too abrasive, with her sharp tongue and a don’t-screw-with-me attitude. She thinks he’s too reserved, too damn serious. But the more time Alice spends with Will, the more their slow burn begins to thaw her heart. A man of two worlds, half-Irish, half-Indian Will Murphy only feels at home when he’s with Alice. He soon realizes that her tough shell is hiding a lot of scar tissue, from her trials with addiction and recovery, to her spectacularly bad ex-girlfriend Jamie, to the loss of her mother. Modern Love isn’t a story about love at first sight, it’s about learning to love yourself before being able to see the one you love."
Author: Bella Forrest
Title: The Gender Secret
Genre(s): Scienct fiction & fantasy; Science fiction; Dystopian; Teens; Literature & fiction
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Review: When I read a series, I usually look for each installment to have its own mini story that can, in a way, stand on its own. The Gender Secret encompasses this trait that I desire in such a profound way. This book helped the series to move along through adventure, romance, and the addition of exciting characters. It also showed character development of both Violet and Vigo, as well as the development of their relationship and what it means to the story. When I first started listening to this audiobook, I became a little bit nervous that I would be able to easily predict the ending of the book. However, there were so many revelations and intriguing turns that I never saw the ending coming. I gave this book 4.5 stars instead of 5 because there was a great amount of the story that took place in the Green and I feel like the setting could have been developed a little bit further. There were some descriptions of different animals and even the forest that I wish would have been more descriptive because it left the intrigue lacking. Other than that, this installment was full of adventure and I am really excited to listen to the next installment!
Book Description: "Gliding over the treacherous Green in a shaky aircraft that she has no idea how to land, Violet Bates is still in shock. The harrowing events of the previous night play over in her mind as she asks herself question after question. Why did Lee Desmond Bertrand behave the way he did? What is the truth about the mysterious silver egg stowed beneath her seat? What happened to Viggo and where is her brother? Is either of them still alive? When Violet manages to reach the toxic ground alive, she has landed in a world of unimaginable danger. She has barely time to catch her breath before she is sucked into a perilous journey at breakneck speed - to uncover secrets guarded for centuries and find the only two people that matter."