Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck (thoughts)


Summary from Goodreads:

"A bestselling author’s wife has been found dead in a gorgeous black evening gown, sitting at the head of a formally set dinner table. Her most chilling feature—her face is frozen in a ghastly smile.

At first it seems as though a deranged psychopath is reenacting the gruesome murders from The Witch Hunter, the bestseller written by the victim’s husband. But investigator Jessica Niemi soon realizes she’s not looking for a single killer but rather for dozens of believers in a sinister form of witchcraft.

They know her every move and are always one step ahead. As the bodies start piling up, Jessica knows they won’t stop until they get what they want. And when her dark past comes to light, Jessica finds herself battling her own demons while desperately trying to catch a coven of killers before they claim their next victim."

My Thoughts:

The Witch Hunter was an atmospheric read perfect for this time of year.  This is a book meant to be read on a cold fall day where there is enough bite in the air to show that winter will be here all too soon.  Or this would also be a perfect book to read curled up by the fire on a cold, snowy day.  It just has ALL of the atmosphere which was something I really enjoyed about it.  This book also has a few genuinely creepy parts to it that I didn't see coming.  There is this foreboding atmosphere and then combined with those creepy scenes added up to quite a suspenseful read.  In fact, I really enjoyed my time with this book until the very end.  I won't spoil anything but I honestly don't know how I feel about the ending.  I think that I will know more after I read the next book in this series whenever that releases.  And I definitely really do want to read that next book because there were so many things that I enjoyed about this book.  But I also was left with questions...and enough of them that the ending left me feeling a bit taken aback.  That's the most I will say about it.  I will say that I really liked Jessica as a character and was intrigued by her.  She isn't what she seems and I'm hoping that we will have the opportunity to learn more about her as the series goes on.  Because there are so many questions I have also about her and her past.  It's going to be a long wait for that next book I tell you!  

Overall, I enjoyed this book for the most part although the end left me a bit wanting.  I hope that I was able to convey that there are so many good things about this book regardless of how I felt about the ending.  I'm really glad that this is just the beginning of a series so I can get answers and read more about these characters.  I will definitely be continuing on with this series whenever the next book releases.  I think that readers who enjoy Nordic noir, who enjoy an atmospheric police procedural, and those who enjoy their mysteries with a hint of something more should give this book a shot.  Recommended.

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful and atmospheric read that didn't quite meet my expectations at the end.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.  Honest thoughts are my own.

CW: Witchcraft, rape, domestic violence, teeth (I can't say more than that because of spoilers but...), murder

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

And Now She's Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall (thoughts)


Summary from Goodreads:

"Isabel Lincoln is gone.

But is she missing?

It's up to Grayson Sykes to find her. Although she is reluctant to track down a woman who may not want to be found, Gray's search for Isabel Lincoln becomes more complicated and dangerous with every new revelation about the woman's secrets and the truth she's hidden from her friends and family.

Featuring two complicated women in a dangerous cat and mouse game, And Now She's Gone explores the nature of secrets -- and how violence and fear can lead you to abandon everything in order to survive."

My Thoughts:

Wow!  This book was SO, SO good!  In fact, it started my streak of two five star reads back to back which doesn't happen often.  Last year I read and really enjoyed They All Fall Down by this author.  Sidenote: That book is an amazing read as well and is a retelling (not sure if that is the correct term) of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  I just knew that I needed to read more by this author so I eagerly picked this one up and it didn't disappoint.  One of the things that I enjoy most about this author's books is that there is a kind of rhythm to them.  She doesn't tell you everything all at once which adds to the suspense.  There were numerous times that I was going along reading this book thinking one thing only to realize that it was actually something completely different.  That sounds confusing but it really wasn't.  It's actually perfection in my opinion.  I loved how she managed to play with my assumptions in a way that would lead me down the wrong path.  I never knew what was going to happen or what to expect until the author actually wanted me to.  It was all done just so perfectly!  This isn't an easy read only because it deals with some very serious and dark subject matter (I will have content warnings below).  I still couldn't set this book down though even though there were times where it had my anxiety levels humming.  I loved Gray's character and everything about her.  She wasn't perfect but she was a fighter which kept me rooting for her the entire time.  I would actually love to see this become a series because this book was just that good and so was she as the main character!  This is honestly one of the best mysteries I've read all year!  Read this book and let this author take you for a ride you won't forget about anytime soon!  

Overall, I obviously really enjoyed this one as evidenced by all of my gushing.  I will be searching out Hall's backlist and reading everything else she has written after enjoying these two books so much.  The exciting part as it looks like her other books are part of a series (and you know how much I love a series).  I think that readers who enjoy mysteries where everything is not what it seems, those who enjoy suspenseful reads with strong characters, and those who just love a good thrilling read should pick this book up!  Highly recommended!  Please note that I am not an own voices reviewer so I would also suggest checking out some reviews from own voice reviewers.

Bottom Line:  One of the best mysteries I've read this year - that should tell you everything you need to know!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley but I ended up reading a copy from my local library.  Honest thoughts are my own.

CW:  Domestic abuse, miscarriage, domestic violence - these are the big ones but there might be a few others.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea (thoughts)


Summary from Goodreads:

"Inside the walls of Indiana’s elite Westmont Preparatory High School, expectations run high and rules are strictly enforced. But in the woods beyond the manicured campus and playing fields sits an abandoned boarding house that is infamous among Westmont’s students as a late-night hangout. Here, only one rule applies: don’t let your candle go out—unless you want the Man in the Mirror to find you. . . .

One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. The case has since become the focus of a hit podcast, The Suicide House. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why so many students who survived that horrific night have returned to the boarding house—to kill themselves.

Rory, an expert in reconstructing cold cases, is working on The Suicide House podcast with Lane, recreating the night of the killings in order to find answers that have eluded the school, the town, and the police. But the more they learn about the troubled students, the chillingly stoic culprit, and a dangerous game gone tragically wrong, the more convinced they become that something sinister is still happening. Inside Westmont Prep, the game hasn’t ended. It thrives on secrecy and silence. And for its players, there may be no way to win—or to survive. . . ."

My Thoughts:

I feel like I picked this book up at the perfect time of year for it.  Fall days call for slightly creepy thrillers just like this one!  Last year I read (and loved ) Some Choose Darkness by this author.  This book would actually be considered to be the sequel as it focuses on the same characters but the author stated at the end of this book that he intentionally wrote it so you could read this one as a standalone.  Do I think you should read them both (and in order)?  Definitely!  Only because they are both SO good so it's definitely worth your time!  I'm going off on a tangent here but I love how the author tied the other books he has written together at the end in that same author's note.  It makes me want to go back and catch up on everything else that he has written.  This book though was such a great read!  I picked it up and just couldn't set it down.  The combination of a boarding school, a secret society, the legend of the Man in the mirror, and then all of the mysterious death surrounding that abandoned house had me completely hooked!  The bonus to all of that (which totally would have been enough for me to pick this book up based on all of that alone) was getting to read more about Rory and Lane.  Rory's character is so unique and I was happy to get to read another book focused on her.  We also got to get to know Lane a bit more which was an added bonus.  There is also a true crime podcast aspect to this book that I think that readers will enjoy.  This book was such a page turner!  It's told from multiple viewpoints with short chapters which meant I just kept reading to see what happened next.  There hits one point though where - wham - the author completely pulled the rug out on me and I was here for it!  I loved that I didn't see that piece of the storyline coming at all!  I did feel like I had an idea of who was behind it all halfway through the book but I didn't mind.  There was just enough that I wasn't certain and let me tell you that I was completely compelled to see how it would all turn out regardless.  I really loved this one and cannot wait to read more by this author!

Overall, I definitely recommend checking this one out!  It was just SO good!  I'm really looking forward to going back and reading this author's backlist after enjoying both of the books I've read by him so much.  If you enjoy thrillers that keep you turning the page, this book is one to check out!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A five star read for me!  That should tell you everything you need to know!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher.  I read a copy courtesy of my local library.  Honest thoughts are my own.

CW:  Suicide, domestic abuse, violence, murder

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Sunday Post #64 (Is This Thing On? Edition)


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme"

It has been a bit since my last post!  I unintentionally took a blogging break for the entirety of September.  This year has just been so unexpected in so many ways.  School started back up for my kids - all three were signed up to do the hybrid process which is a mixture of in class and remote learning.  My youngest two kiddos made it three days in person (so like a week and a half total) before the school moved to online only.  My oldest is a senior this year and has been doing doing his school's version of the hybrid school year the entire time.  I'm SO thankful that I already worked from home, that my kids are old enough that they don't need my constant help and attention because wow.....I feel for the parents where this isn't the case.  And still my time has been taken up with helping with schoolwork and assisting with technical issues when needed.  Something had to give and both blogging and reading took the hit.  I managed to read three books in total in September.  Definitely not my best month numbers wise.  There were some positives in there of course too but I think that mostly explains why I've been so absent here.  Honestly, it remains to be seen how much free time I will have but I'm really focusing on getting in more reading time this month because I NEED it!  Reading is a stress reliever for me - in October I'm hoping to prioritize reading a lot more (and scrolling on my phone a lot less).

That was a long winded explanation to why I haven't been blogging but I was reading some really great things in August before I hit my slump.  I have some really great books I want to share my thoughts on with all of you.  And prior to all of this, I was doing decent at just keeping up with reviews so that is something that I would like to work on catching back up on.  I'm currently in the midst of reading two books:

And Now She's Gone by Rachel Howell Hall is my current print read.  Last year I read and loved her book They All Fall Down which if you haven't read yet - I definitely recommend!  This is her newest release and so far I'm intrigued.  Nothing seems to be what it seems and I'm HERE for it.  On my e-reader, I've just begun reading Love is a Rogue by Lenora Bell.  I haven't read a historical romance in forever it feels like, I saw an amazing review for this one on Instagram, and it releases later this month so I just knew that I needed to give this one a go.  It will be the perfect break from all of the scary, dark, thrilling reads that I'm hoping to get to in October.  My library stack is absolutely overflowing with books perfect for fall reading!  

I may still be a sporadic blogger these next few weeks but I am really looking forward to getting back into the swing of blogging on a regular basis again.  I'm hoping to get a few reviews scheduled and then I can work on additional content once I've played catch-up a bit.  Tell me in the comments what book or books that you've been loving lately!  Not that I need to add to my TBR list any more than I already have but....that's just what I do.  Read and add more books than I can possibly read to my never-ending TBR list!

Happy Reading!