Tag: #review

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths Review

Guys, I finally finished a book! I’m actually getting to do a review! I picked The Stranger Diaries for my monthly challenge. My prompt was, “read a book that was nominated for an award in 2020.” The Stranger Diaries won the 2020 Edgar Award for best novel. It deserved it. It was a great read!

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder, but most of the time it is a work of fiction. She is a high school English teacher that specializes in gothic horror. When her friend is murdered her life collides with her favorite novel. When Clare turns to her diary to document her feelings, she discovers writing that isn’t hers. Suddenly, she finds herself living in a horror novel.

The Stranger Diaries is what I wanted The Broken Girls to be. It incorporated a haunted school, a horror novel, and a murder mystery. Each element brought great depth to the story.

I loved the inclusion of multiple points of view. It had Clare’s point of view, her daughter Georgie’s, and Detective Sergeant Harbinder’s point of view. Even with multiple points of view I couldn’t single in on one suspect. I honestly suspected everyone.

The ending was unexpected. I love the way it wrapped up. I also enjoyed the friendship that developed between Clare and Harbinder. The Stranger Diaries was a well developed mystery with a lot of depth. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it until now. I feel like it is so underrated!

My Rating: 5/5

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The Afflictions of Praha by Simon Gillard Review

Murder mysteries and historical fiction have been my two favorite genres recently. The Affliction of Praha combines those into one quick read. Keep reading to see what I thought about it.

The Teralov Family are adored in 20th century Prague. Everyone was shocked when Peter Teralov was murdered. Detective Edgar Rollenvart is tasked with the job of bringing the killer to justice. Edgar teams up with Peter’s brother to learn more about the case. As suspects mount, the evidence dead ends, leaving the Teralov family with more questions than they had at the beginning.

The Affliction of Praha is fast paced. There was not a dull moment in the entire book. It didn’t take me long to finish. However, that did lead into my main problem with the book. The characters weren’t fully developed. I didn’t really connect with any of them. Trying to figure out the motive of the killer was impossible because Peter is barely discussed. I enjoy character motivated stories, but if you like plot driven stories this might not be an issue for you.

I do hope the author continues to write. His writing reminded me of Agatha Christie’s. With a bit more polishing and development I think he will be a great mystery writer. Toward the end there are several plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat. He put a lot of thought and creativity into them. It made for a strong ending.

My Rating: 3/5

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Thanks to the author for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

The Boy from the Woods was my first Harlan Coben experience. Unfortunately, I think it’s going to be my last as well. To be honest, I don’t have many positive thoughts on this one.

Years ago, Wilde was found living in the woods with no memory of his previous life. No one could find his family so he was turned over to a foster home. Now he is living on the outskirts of town. When a girl goes missing, he must return to the community to help find her.

After reading the synopsis I thought the girl went missing in the woods. I thought Wilde would use his knowledge to help the community find her. That was not what I got at all.

Wilde gets involved when his godson, Matthew, becomes concerned about the missing girl from his class. The next thing I know the search for the missing girl turns political. Very political. Like dirty presidential candidate political. That was not what I signed up for. I am so dang tired of politics. I don’t even know why I finished this.

Between the lack of woods, a dirty politician, and a half baked kidnapping I was so over the whole thing. I guess I kept reading because I liked Wilde as a character. I wish he had have been more involved.

The ending was almost painful. It was disjointed and half hearted. If read several reviews that say that the entire book doesn’t even feel like Harlan Coben wrote it. I was definitely expecting more.

If you have read anything you liked by Harlan Coben let me know. I want to give him a fair chance.

My Rating: 1/5

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Home Before Dark by Riley Sager Review

Home Before Dark was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Riley Sager continues to be one of my favorite authors. Home Before Dark did not let me down.

Maggie Holt is tired of living in the shadows of House of Horrors, the book her father wrote many years ago. Maggie doesn’t remember her time at Baneberry Hall. If it was as terrifying as the book says wouldn’t she remember? Houses can’t be haunted because ghosts don’t exist. Twenty five years later, Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death. Maggie moves in to remodel it. She soon finds that the stories from her father’s book might be true after all.

As always, Riley Sager’s ability to create an eerie, complex atmosphere amazes me. It could feel the walls of Baneberry Hall surrounding me. It was spooky and unsettling. I could feel the tension building.

I loved the inclusion of excerpts from House of Horrors. It perfectly paralleled the events that were happening to Maggie, which added to the suspense. It was impressive that Sager could change his writing style enough to make House of Horrors seem like it was written by someone else. I have read books with faux excerpts of other books where the author’s style bleed over and takes away from the contrast between the two. That wasn’t a problem here. Honestly, I wish House of Horrors was an actual book because I would love to read it.

Sager’s endings are always shocking. I thought I had anticipated the plot twist, but then he added another twist in. The ending was not as jarring as the endings of The Last Time I Lied or Final Girls. I did miss that wow factor, but it was still a solid twist. I can’t wait to see what he writes in the future.

My Rating: 4/5

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Verity by Colleen Hoover Review

Verity|Colleen Hoover

If you are hunting a great psychological thriller, Verity is the book for you. I kept seeing it all over the bookish internet so I finally read it. It is completely worth the hype!

When bestselling author Verity Crawford is injured in a tragic car accident her publisher hires struggling writer, Lowen Ashleigh, to finish her series. Lowen temporarily moves into the Crawford’s home to sort through Verity’s notes. While she is there Lowen finds a horrifying unfinished autobiography that admits what happened on the day Verity’s daughter died. Lowen tries to hide the manuscript from Jeremy Crawford even as her feelings for him intensify. She knows that the truth in the manuscript is just too much for the grieving father to handle.

I was hooked from page one. I knew I couldn’t put it down. I can’t say very much about the book because I don’t want to spoil it, but believe me when I say you need to read this.

The thriller plot was great, but I also liked how it focused on the writing process. It showed a sneak peek inside the publishing world.I am sure I have read from an author’s perspective before but it’s still not a perspective I read often.

Reading from the unfinished manuscript was horrifying. It gave a great insight into Verity’s mind and writing style. In her best selling novel series she writes from the villain’s perspective. I really wish they were real novels because they sound amazing.

This is the first book I have ever read by Colleen Hoover. I never realized that she had written a mystery/thriller. I am going to have to research her to see if she has written anymore thrillers because I would definitely read more of her work.

My Rating: 5/5

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