Book Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

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BOOK INFO
Title: Little Darlings
Author: Melanie Golding
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publish Date: April 30, 2019
Genre: Mystery – Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.86

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own… creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley — to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw… she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking — and rechecking — your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding
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MY REVIEW
Lauren has newborn twins. In the hospital room one night, Lauren sees a woman try to take her babies and replace them with her own. The police find no one around, and everyone thinks Lauren is imagining things. A month later, the babies disappear. When they are found, they look like Lauren’s twins, but Lauren believes they are not her babies. To get her babies back, Lauren will do the unthinkable.

Lauren is a fantastic unreliable narrator. She is a new mother of twins, so it’s not surprising that everyone around her (husband, doctor, etc.) considers her behavior to be due to exhaustion and postpartum depression. The questioning of what was real, or if there was a supernatural element in play, made for a compelling read. The fairy tale element added to the eerie atmosphere.

A thriller inspired by dark fairy tales. Good for fans of psychological thrillers and Grimms’ fairy tales. Dark, creepy, and clever.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Sound of Echoes by Eric Bernt

The Sound of Echoes by Eric Bernt

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BOOK INFO
Title: The Sound of Echoes
Author: Eric Bernt
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publish Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: Mystery – Thriller
Series: Speed of Sound Thrillers #2
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.45

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Only one man can stop the most dangerous conspiracy ever designed in a shattering thriller about the end of secrets from the author of The Speed of Sound.

After going on the run—for what he knows and has created—autistic Eddie Parks is back in Harmony House, the think tank that has been his sanctuary for sixteen years. With his miraculous invention, an “echo box” that excavates sounds from the past, Eddie achieved the only thing he wanted: to hear his late mother sing. But where Eddie sees good, others see infamy. Because no conversation ever held will be a secret again.

For Bob Stenson, leader of the American Heritage Foundation, whoever controls the echo box controls the future. To seize the game-changing device, he has to get Eddie where he’s most vulnerable: by kidnapping Dr. Skylar Drummond, the only person in the word Eddie trusts.

But Stenson has underestimated his prey. Eddie has the power of echoes on his side. Now he must follow them—into the most dangerous places he’s ever ventured—to save Skylar and the country.

The Sound of Echoes by Eric Bernt
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MY REVIEW
This is the second book in the Speed of Sound thriller series by Eric Bernt. I read the first book in this series, and was looking forward to the next adventure with Eddie and his “echo box”. Since this book picks up where the first book ended, it is best to read The Speed of Sound before reading The Sound of Echoes. My review for The Speed of Sound can be found here.

Eddie is a high-functioning autistic savant. He lives in a place called Harmony House, a think tank for autistic savants. In The Speed of Sound, Eddie was working on an “echo box”. He had dreams of using the box to hear his deceased mother sing. Of course, there were others wanting to use the box for more nefarious plans.

Eddie doesn’t trust many people, or anyone really, but he has formed a trusting relationship with Dr. Skylar Drummond. This book opens with Eddie back at Harmony House and Skylar in danger. The people interested in the echo box decide to go after the one person Eddie cares about. Eddie and Skylar are thrown again into a fast and thrilling mystery.

An exciting and action-packed technothriller. Not exactly realistic, but a fun and fast-paced read. Enjoyable characters, a bit of humor, and plenty of action.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Night Olivia Fell
Author: Christina McDonald
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publish Date: February 5, 2019
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.93

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?


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MY REVIEW
Abi gets a call that every parent fears. Her daughter, Olivia, is in the hospital. Abi rushes to the hospital to find that seventeen-year-old Olivia fell off a bridge and is brain dead. Olivia is dead, but she is on life support because she is pregnant. The police believe Olivia’s fall to be an accident, but Abi thinks someone killed her daughter. She starts to question the people in Olivia’s life, and also ends up learning more about her daughter.

Told with alternating points of view (Abi and Olivia) and timelines (before and after Olivia’s fall). Abi suspects that Olivia’s fall was not an accident, even though it seems everyone else wants her to believe that it was. To learn about what caused Oliva’s fall, Abi must learn about what was going on in Olivia’s life leading up to that night. Olivia’s POV provides insight as to what Olivia was thinking and doing in the months preceding the fall.

An emotional and suspenseful novel. No parent wants to get a call that their child has been in an accident, and even worse, has died as a result. Abi was a strong character in the way she pursued the truth about Oliva’s fall. Sadly, Olivia and Abi were not truthful with one another before the fall, and that hurt their relationship.

A compelling read for fans of domestic suspense. Intense, dramatic, and gripping.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Missing Years
Author: Lexie Elliott
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: April 23, 2019
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.91

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
An eerie, old Scottish manor in the middle of nowhere that’s now hers.

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago–her father.

Leaving London behind to settle the inheritance from her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home, nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, joined by the half-sister who’s almost a stranger to her.

Ailsa can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her– as if her past hungers to consume her. She also can’t ignore how the neighborhood animals refuse to set one foot within the gates of the garden.

When the first nighttime intruder shows up, Ailsa fears that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything.


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MY REVIEW
Alisa Calder inherited an old Scottish manor from her mother’s estate, but she really only owns half of it. Her father, who disappeared 27 years earlier, owns the other half. With no way to sell or rent the manor, Alisa moves in. She doesn’t relocate alone though, her half-sister, who she doesn’t know well, moves with her.

During her childhood, Alisa lived in the home with her parents, but it’s been so long, she doesn’t feel much of a connection to the local village or the people. The locals remember the Calder family, though not all memories are that favorable. Alisa deals with her present situation, but is also faced with memories from her past… specifically, her father’s disappearance.

While staying in the manor, Alisa encounters a few strange things. In addition, Alisa sometimes questions herself on what is real. This combination makes for a suspenseful and somewhat eerie read.

A slow-building story with intriguing characters. In fact, the home itself is developed as a character rather than a setting. An interesting and complex novel.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine

Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Wolfhunter River
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publish Date: April 23, 2019
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.11

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
She can’t ignore a cry for help. But in this remote hunting town, it’s open season.

Gwen Proctor escaped her serial-killer husband and saved her family. What she can’t seem to outrun is his notoriety. Or the sick internet vigilantes still seeking to avenge his crimes. For Gwen, hiding isn’t an option. Not when her only mission is to create a normal life for her kids.

But now, a threatened woman has reached out. Marlene Crockett, from the remote town of Wolfhunter, is panicked for herself and her daughter. When Gwen arrives in the small, isolated rural community, Marlene is already dead—her own daughter blamed for the murder. Except that’s not the person Marlene feared at all. And Gwen isn’t leaving until she finds out who that was.

But it may already be too late. A trap has been set. And it’s poised to snap shut on everyone Gwen loves. Her stalkers are closing in. And in a town as dark as Wolfhunter, it’s so easy for them to hide…


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MY REVIEW
First off, this book isn’t really needed for the series. I think most things were wrapped up in book 2, Killman Creek. That said, I enjoy Rachel Caine’s writing style, and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Gwen and the others in this series.

The third, and final, book in the Stillhouse Lake series. This book has a couple of main stories. One, Gwen is trying to live a normal life with her kids. Unfortunately, there are some people who would like to see her suffer for her husband’s crimes. Two, a woman in Wolfhunter contacts Gwen with a story that intrigues her. Gwen travels to Wolfhunter, and soon suspects something is seriously wrong in the small town. Of course, these storylines intersect to make a fast-paced and exciting read.

Readers who enjoyed Stillhouse Lake and Killman Creek are sure to be thrilled with Wolfhunter River. A suspenseful read that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Better Sister by Alafair Burke

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Better Sister
Author: Alafair Burke
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: April 16, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.89

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Keep your enemies close and your sister closer.

Though Chloe was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be the one in charge. She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicky—always restless and more than a little reckless—was the opposite of her ambitious little sister. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland.

For a while, it seemed that both sisters had found happiness. Chloe earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. Nicky married promising young attorney Adam Macintosh and gave birth to a baby boy they named Ethan. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers.

Now, more than fifteen years later, their lives are drastically different—and Chloe is married to Adam. When he’s murdered by an intruder at the couple’s East Hampton beach house, Chloe reluctantly allows her teenage stepson’s biological mother—her estranged sister, Nicky—back into her life. But when the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect in his father’s death, the two sisters are forced to unite . . . and to confront the truth behind family secrets they have tried to bury in the past.


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MY REVIEW
Chloe and Nicky are sisters. Though Chloe is the younger sister, she has always been the more responsible one. As adults, it seemed Nicky’s restless behavior improved when she married Adam and had a baby. Then things took a dramatic turn. Now, fifteen years later, Chloe is married to Adam, she is stepmother to her nephew Ethan, and estranged from her sister. When Adam is found murdered in their beach house, Ethan becomes the prime suspect. These events bring Nicky back into Chloe’s life. When finally reconnected, the sisters are forced to confront their past.

This mystery starts off strong with Adam’s murder, but the pace does slow down. When the police start looking at Ethan as a prime suspect, the sisters are brought together to support him and help prove his innocence. Both sisters have secrets they have been keeping, and as things unfold, the sisters relationship changes.

An easy reading novel. Murder mystery, courtroom drama, and family secrets.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: I Will Never Leave You by S.M. Thayer

I Will Never Leave You by S.M. Thayer

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: I Will Never Leave You
Author: S.M. Thayer
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publish Date: September 1, 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.47

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
All they want is a baby — and they’ll do anything to have one.

Banking heiress Trish and her husband, James, seem to have it all, from a lavish lifestyle to a historic mansion in the nation’s capital. All that’s missing from their privileged life is a baby.

So when Trish sees Anne Elise for the first time, it’s no surprise that she falls deeply in love. There’s just one problem: Trish isn’t the mother. The baby belongs to Laurel, James’s young mistress. And James and Laurel want the wife out of the picture.

When Trish becomes perversely obsessed with making Laurel’s baby her own, the lovers come up with a wicked plan to end James’s marriage that quickly goes awry. As the love triangle becomes more and more dangerous, how far is each of them willing to go to get what they want?


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MY REVIEW
Trish and James seem like a couple who has everything, but nothing is as perfect as it seems. Trish desperately wants a baby, but she and James have been unable to conceive. However, James’s mistress Laurel just had a baby. Laurel wants Trish out of the picture, so she and James can be a family. Trish wants the baby.

Told with alternating points of view – Trish, Laurel, and James. Trish is a wealthy woman and has everything she wants, except for a child. When James has a child with another woman, Trish sees it as an opportunity. James is a scoundrel. Besides cheating on his wife, he’s terrible with money, which is why their finances are kept separate. He’s in debt, and needs money fast. Laurel is young and naive. She trusts James, and believes they could have a nice life together, if only Trish wasn’t in their way.

Fast-paced story full of unlikable characters. This is a quick and entertaining read, but it does require a suspension of disbelief.

This was my pick for Amazon’s First Reads in August 2018.

Book Review: The River by Peter Heller

The River by Peter Heller

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The River
Author: Peter Heller
Publisher: Knopf
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Mystery – Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 4.06

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars, the story of two college students on a wilderness canoe trip–a gripping tale of a friendship tested by fire, white water, and violence

Wynn and Jack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries, and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey. When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman? From this charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding story of desperate wilderness survival.


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MY REVIEW
Two college best friends, Wynn and Jack, travel to Canada to canoe the Maskwa River and spend time in the wilderness. They envision a leisurely trip to enjoy nature, but their journey soon takes a turn. For starters, a wildfire is heading their way. Then, they hear a couple arguing, but the next day, they encounter a man paddling alone. Wynn and Jack decide to go in search of the missing woman.

A lovely story of male friendship, adventure, and nature. Wynn and Jack met as freshmen in college and soon bonded over their love for books and nature. The young men are both knowledgeable of the wilderness and capable of taking care of themselves. Their canoeing adventure turns into a suspenseful search for a missing woman and a trip out of the wilderness before the wildfire reaches them.

This is a beautifully written novel. I enjoy novels that focus on nature, and found this one to be very well done. Also, the wonderful male friendship in this book was great to read. The story is slow-paced, though it does get more exciting toward the end.

I received a free digital copy of this book via First to Read.

Book Review: The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger

The Banker's Wife by Cristina Alger

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Banker’s Wife
Author: Cristina Alger
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: July 3, 2018
Genre: Mystery
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.95

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
On an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar, and its wreckage is later uncovered in the Alps. Among the disappeared is Matthew Werner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind, including an encrypted laptop and a shady client list. As she begins a desperate search for answers, she determines that Matthew’s death was no accident, and that she is now in the crosshairs of his powerful enemies.

Meanwhile, ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau has finally landed at the top. Now that she’s engaged to Grant Ellis, she will stop writing about powerful families and finally be a part of one. Her entry into the upper echelons of New York’s social scene is more appealing than any article could ever be, but, after the death of her mentor, she agrees to dig into one more story. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including a few who are too close to home. The story could also be the answer to Annabel’s heartbreaking search–if Marina chooses to publish it.

The Banker’s Wife is both a high-stakes thriller and an inside look at the personal lives in the intriguing world of finance, introducing Cristina Alger as a powerful new voice in the genre.


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MY REVIEW
Annabel’s husband Matthew dies when the private plane he was on crashes. Matthew worked in the world of finance. After his death, Annabel discovers her husband was keeping secrets, and she becomes a target of her husband’s enemies. Meanwhile, Marina, a journalist, is working on a story that could disrupt the financial world.

Told with the alternating viewpoints of multiple characters. I enjoyed the different POVs and found it worked well for this story. Both Annabel and Marina are strong female protagonists with interesting stories.

An intriguing thriller focused on the financial world. There is a fair amount of financial jargon, but it works and is not boring. Complex, compelling, and suspenseful.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Line Between by Tosca Lee

The Line Between by Tosca Lee

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Line Between
Author: Tosca Lee
Publisher: Howard Books
Publish Date: January 29, 2019
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.40

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
In this frighteningly believable thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee, an extinct disease re-emerges from the melting Alaskan permafrost to cause madness in its victims. For recent apocalyptic cult escapee Wynter Roth, it’s the end she’d always been told was coming.

When Wynter Roth is turned out of New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.

As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.

Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself.

Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, The Line Between is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness.


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MY REVIEW
Wynter Roth is banished from the cult New Earth. Now in her twenties, Wynter has lived with them since she was a kid. New Earth has cut itself off from the rest of the world and maintained a self-sufficient environment. New Earth has always told its members that the end of the world was coming. When Wynter leaves, she enters a world where a mysterious disease is quickly spreading. She has been told the apocalypse was coming, and now she is faced with that reality. However, Wynter soon learns she may be able to help save the world.

Wynter is a smart and courageous young woman. She wants to protect her sister and her niece, but she doesn’t know how after she is banished from New Earth. When Wynter’s sister locates her and gives her some medical samples, along with information that Wynter did not know, Wynter does all she can to help. Wynter needs to get the samples to Colorado, and she’s not sure who she can trust along the way. Enter Chase, a former military man.

A fast-paced and exciting thriller. Intriguing characters. Suspenseful story. Great for fans of novels involving cults and apocalyptic storylines.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.