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Prepublication Reviews and Expertly Selected Title Lists

Archive for the tag “suspense”

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

The Passion of Dolssa“The Passion of Dolssa” is set in medieval times. It’s 1241, and the Crusade is trying to rid the world of heretics.  Dolssa and her mother are deemed heretics and sentenced to be executed.  Her mother is executed, but Dolssa manages to escape her sentence and run away.  She flees to the countryside. There, Botille finds her half dead in the woods and takes her in.

Botille and her sisters run a tavern in the seaside town of Bajas.  While running their tavern and trying just to survive alongside their neighbors, they nurse Dolssa back to health.  But they can’t hide Dolssa forever, and the truth of the miracles she has performed starts to spread.  The townsfolk stand behind her, but once the Inquisition comes to town, their good intentions are put to the test.

When I read historical fiction, I usually read books from different time periods, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  The story was well-written, and I was drawn into the characters’ lives.  While this is categorized as a YA book, and the writing was age-appropriate, I felt the subject was something that would probably not appeal to most young adults.

– Denise

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The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

The Ice TwinsAngus and Sarah Moorcraft have a good life. Happily married and a set of beautiful identical twin girls Kirstie and Lydia. When it is said that the girls are identical, they truly are identical in every sense of the word. Their blood type, fingerprints, anything that could identify them from each other is virtually identical. Then one day tragedy strikes and a twin is gone forever. But which one? Angus and Sarah are certain that it is Lydia that has perished but when Kirstie starts to behave strangely and starts to refer to herself as Lydia, they begin to wonder if they made a mistake in their own child’s identity.

What really happened on that dreadful day? Why is Kirstie (or is it Lydia) so very haunted by it? Is it merely a grieving twin missing her other half? Or did something more sinister occur? As Angus and Sarah struggle to try to help their surviving daughter they are also struggling to save themselves as well as their marriage. They both feel blame and regret. Did they favor one twin too much? Is the surviving twin reacting to that favoritism? This book is mysterious right to the very end.

They say every parent of multiple children always secretly has a favorite child. They hope that the other children never suspect but this book makes one think that maybe it does show and can have an effect on both the favored and the “not-so-favored” as they grow and become adults. This book definitely makes me grateful to be the parent of only one child and to have grown up as an only child.

If you pick this book up, be prepared for a read-a-thon because you will not want to put it down.

– Glenda

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The Fearless by Emma Pass

The FearlessAuthor Emma Pass has created a world where the worst possible outcome to a potential “World War” has happened. The governments of various world leaders created a drug to minimize the effects of PTSD in our soldiers  and it worked but it also diminished their capacity to feel other feelings as well. They are essentially mindless killing machines. This drug is sold to our enemies and everyone now has some form of their very own “Fearless” soldier. War erupts and mass invasions occur, thus ending life as we know it.

Years after our world has ended, small isolated groups of people that were able to survive the initial wave of invasion continue to live as best as they can.  Cass is a young woman living in one of these groups on an isolated island. Her baby brother was taken by the fearless on the same day a stowaway named Myo is discovered. She is faced with the choice to follow the rules of survival and write her brother off as dead or rescue the only family she has left.  She chooses to rescue him and leave her semi-safe island behind and venture out into the world. Accompanied by Myo, she begins her dangerous search for her brother.

This was a well written and exciting book. You follow Cass and Myo on their journey to rescue her brother and go through many obstacles along the way.  Their relationship develops into something more than friendship and you fall in love with their story.

I look forward to a sequel!

– Renee

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You Can Trust Me by Sophie McKenzie

You Can Trust MeLivy Jackson is a stay at home mom with a hormonal tween and a doting son.

She and the kids head out to her best friend Julia’s house for lunch and are devastated to discover that Julia is dead, an apparent suicide. Livy refuses to believe that her best friend would ever kill herself, but her attempts to convince anyone else of that are fruitless.

Soon after, Livy meets Julia’s secret boyfriend, who also refuses to believe that she killed herself. Together they start to investigate Julia’s last days. Julia’s diary leads them on a chase looking for a killer who is so much closer than they realize. Too late, they discover how much danger they are in and that they may be the next victims.

This was a twisted suspenseful thriller and I really enjoyed it.

– Tina

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The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

The Fifth GospelI can honestly say that I was leery in reading this novel for a couple of reasons.  First being that I didn’t read the author’s first novel, The Rule of Four, and second, I’m not very big on religious reads.  The outcome was pleasantly surprising.

Alex Andreou is a Greek Catholic priest who lives inside the Vatican as a single parent with his five-year-old son.  Simon, Alex’s brother, has moved into the main Catholic Church and is a priest in the Vatican Secretariat.

Simon calls Alex and begs him to pick him up at the Castel Gandolfo.  When Alex arrives, he sees his friend Ugo, curator of a groundbreaking exhibit, dead.    Ugo was set to disprove the scientific evidence based on scriptural and historical documentation of the Shroud of Turin, which has been a symbol of Christianity for centuries, but it was recently proven to be a fake dating back to the Middle Ages.

Simon is being implicated in Ugo’s murder and Alex’s only hope to save him is to reconstruct Ugo’s secret.    This secret is about the four Christian gospels and the fifth gospel named the Diatessaron, which reveals information about the Church’s most controversial holy relic.

Can Alex uncover the mystery and save his brother?  Pick up a copy and find out for yourself.

  • Amanda

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Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding

Someone is WatchingBailey Carpenter is a private investigator who is very good at her job. But late one night, while watching a house, she is brutally beaten and raped. Devastated, and with her whole life turned upside down, Bailey refuses to leave her apartment and is suffering from PTSD and panic attacks. When her estranged half-sister, Claire, and her daughter start coming around to help take care of her, Bailey begins to get her strength back and decides to start investigating the attack herself.

After several false alarms thinking she’s seen her rapist the cops are not taking her seriously anymore. When Bailey begins spying on her male neighbor and sees alarming things happening, she reports them to the police who are threatening to arrest her for harassment and stalking. Is Bailey losing her mind or is someone close to her messing with her head? Her attacker may be closer than she thinks.

I really enjoyed this suspense thriller by Fielding. It moved along at a fast pace and keeps you guessing right to the very last page.

– Tina

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Fractured by Kate Watterson

FracturedHomicide detective Ellie MacIntosh and her partner Jason Santiago are investigating a couple of very gruesome homicides.  They aren’t having much luck finding any leads. When the murderer strikes again they start to feel the pressure to find a possible serial killer.

Ellie and Jason are both seeing the same court appointed therapist, Georgia, who also happens to be treating a disturbed young woman who is having issues with her roommate. When this young woman starts insinuating that there may be connections between the murders and her roommate, Georgia must make a choice between informing Ellie and Jason or keeping patient/client confidentiality.

This is the 3rd installment in this series with Ellie as the main character. Jason was introduced in the 2nd book. This was the first book I’ve read by this author and it flowed fairly well, although I was very disappointed by the ending. It seems to just stop abruptly and I felt like there were chunks of the story missing. All in all, this was a good thriller with a good story line.

– Tina

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Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger

Crazy Love YouIan and Priss have been friends since they were children growing up in The Hollows in upstate New York. Priss was Ian’s best friend when he really needed one. Now, Ian is an adult and has moved to New York City and has become a successful graphic novelist. Due to a traumatic childhood, he is also dealing with some addiction and anger issues.

Priss still comes around but usually when she does she brings trouble. Ian is growing tired of partying all the time with Priss and wants to get his life together. When Ian meets Megan, he falls for her instantly. He convinces her to start dating him and before long they are planning their wedding. Things begin going quickly downhill for Ian after he meets Megan.

Priss doesn’t like change and is worried that she’ll lose Ian.  Fearful of losing Megan, Ian tries to cut Priss out of his life. This leads to many terrible things happening in Ian’s life. Ian is at the point where he thinks he may be losing his mind. Is Priss responsible for all the bad things or is it all in Ian’s head?

I devoured this psychological thriller just as fast as Unger’s last one, In the Blood. She has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

– Tina

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The First Wife by Erica Spindler

The First WifeBailey Browne has just lost her mother to cancer and has gone on vacation in the Grand Cayman’s.

While there, she meets Logan Abbott and they begin a whirlwind romance.  They end up married within weeks. When Logan takes her to his home, she meets his friends and family who are cynical of their quick marriage.

As Bailey learns more and more about her husband, she finds out that the local sheriff suspects him of murdering multiple women including his first wife who disappeared years ago. When more women go missing the heat is on the police to arrest a suspect. Is Bailey’s new husband a serial killer? Or are there others around her keeping shocking secrets that could clear his name?

I enjoy all of Spindler’s books and this one did not disappoint. This was definitely a suspense thriller that keeps you guessing and trying to figure out who did it right to the very end.

– Tina

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The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

The Forgotten GirlsLouise Rick is in her second week as commander of Denmark’s Missing Persons Agency, a newly established unit in the police department. Her first case is a woman who was found dead in the forest. The unknown woman should be easy to identify as the side of her face was covered by a large scar.

When no one comes forward to report a missing person, Louise releases a photo to the media in hopes that this would lead to some answers. An elderly woman comes forward to say that she recognized the person in the photo as a child she once cared for in the state mental institution many years ago. The dead woman’s name was Lisemette and she had been abandoned by her family at a young age.  Like other children at the institution, she was thought of as one of the “forgotten girls”.

Upon talking with Lisemette’s father, Louise is informed of some shocking news.  Many years ago, the father had been told that Lisemette and her twin sister had both died from pneumonia. The girls had been living in an institution after their mother had died after a difficult childbirth. Now the greater mystery is where have they been all this time and where is the other twin?

As Louise gets closer to solving this mystery, she uncovers more hidden crimes as well as links to her own past and memories of love and heartbreak.

– Ellen

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