End of Year Wrap-Up

2019 Reading Recap

Hi! … remember me!? HA! So back in late August my computer finally gave up the ghost. I had a good 6 year run with it, but it was still sad to see it go. And then I got a case of the cheaps and didn’t want to buy a new one. So I put it off and put it off until finally I realized that my phone and iPad just was no longer cutting it. It was time to get a new computer. So I got the new computer, but still had no interest in blogging. Oops. I’ve gone back and forth for the last 4 months whether or not I wanted to even return to this page. And so I hadn’t. Until I started to see everyone’s yearly recaps. And I decided that I wanted to hop on and at least do a recap because I had my best reading year in a very long time and I wanted to share it with you. Although if you are a friend of mine on Goodreads, you’ve probably seen all my updates. Instead of posting reviews here, I’ve just started leaving reviews there and I’m content with that. I don’t know where this blog will go in the future, but I’d like to at least post a monthly recap so I can keep track of things that way. I highly doubt I get back into the swing of things regularly – I simply do not have the time anymore. Garrett is very involved in sports and scouts right now, and Katelyn is starting to express interest in wanting to get involved in something as soon as she possibly can (how is she going to be going to kindergarten this fall!??!) And I am really no longer interested in receiving ARCs and having deadlines to meet. I think that’s why the second half of my reading year in 2019 was so much better than the first half – I read what I wanted, when I wanted to. It was refreshing and I loved every moment of it. Anyway, you probably aren’t here for all that nonsense … so I’ll get right down to the nitty gritty of things. My year in review:

In 2019 I was able to finish 70 books. That’s my highest number since 2009! WHOA! I also allowed myself no guilt about abandoning books, and I ended up setting aside books.

Of my 70 books:

  •  61 were fiction and 9 were non-fiction
  •  14 were published in 2019
  • 30 had male authors and 40 had female authors (BIG win for me there – I’ve always had more male authors than female)
  • 39 were by new-to-me authors (yay for new authors!)
  • 33 books were from a series. (9 of which were new-to-me series.)
  • 63 books were in physical format, 5 e-books and 2 audio. (Audio just doesn’t work well for me to be honest)
  • 20 were checked out from my local library. That means I read 50 from my own shelves – HUGE WIN!
  • My presidential reading challenge is still going … at a snail’s pace. I got through John Adams and started on Thomas Jefferson but then I kind of fizzled out. I found myself wanting to go back to George Washington. And I wanted to pick up one more John Adams. I think I’m going to rethink this challenge and just pick up whatever interests me. I think it’s the “in order” part that is slowing me down. Again I do my best reading when I’m free of the restraints, so I really think I need to just read in whatever order catches my fancy for this challenge to really work for me.

2019 Favorites

Oh my … this always proves to be so difficult each and every year. I went back to my Goodreads page and sorted my books by rating. I found that I only gave 8 books a 5-star rating (I’m pretty stingy with that 5th star…) Of those 8, only 6 of them still stick out to me today, so those are the ones I’m going to list here:

I'd Rather Be ReadingSo if you’ve been here awhile, you know that I am a Modern Mrs. Darcy book club member. I have been for nearly 2 years. So I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t read her second book before, it sounded right up my alley. And it was! I read this short book of essays in a single sitting. I absolutely flew through them and loved every second. And related to each and every word on every single page.  All book lovers should read this book! These are our people 😀

The Last RomanticsThis book was on the MMD Summer Reading Guide. It was available at my library and so I picked it up and took it on our summer vacation. And I hate to admit that I basically made my husband drive the entire way home because I was so caught up in this book. The actual contents of this one are super fuzzy to my memory (darn it – I should have blogged about this one at the time!), but I remember really loving this one.

Midnight in ChernobylOk. This one I finished a few days ago, so I remember it quite well! This is a non-fiction account of the Chernobyl accident. I wasn’t even a year old when Chernobyl happened, and my only information about it was basically a nuclear explosion where everything had to be deserted. But I had seen this one mentioned on my Goodreads feed and my library had it on the new shelf one day so I picked it up. I was not expecting to be so taken by this one. It reads so incredibly easy. And it’s so informative. And some of the details are simply chilling. The second chapter is very difficult and heavy on the science, but other than that it’s a super simple read. I even bought my father-in-law a copy for his Christmas gift. Everyone should give this one a shot!

Ask Again, YesThis one was another MMD Summer Reading Guide book. It was also a Book of the Month Club pick. Again, my memory is fuzzy on this one… but I did jot down a few notes after finishing, so I’ll just write those here: This was a great read! The story was raw and emotional. It unfolded slowly at first but it quickly picked up speed and I loved every minute of it!

The Silent PatientThis one was another Book of the Month Club pick that I picked up earlier in the year and then let it languish on my shelves. But I kept seeing literally everyone rave about it. So my curiosity drove me to pick this one up and I am so glad that it did. It definitely lived up to the hype! I was totally drawn into this book and read it in about two days. I just could not put it down. And let me just say … THAT TWIST! Ahh! If thrillers are your thing – read this one, it does not disappoint!!

A Woman is No ManAnd last but not least (I went in alphabetical order…) this one was another Book of the Month Club pick. I kind of went out on a limb when I chose this one. It did not sound at all like my kind of book. But for some reason it spoke to me. And then I let it sit on my shelves for a few months until it fit some Goodreads challenge call out I had and I decided to finally pick it up. I was not expecting to love it so much! The story gave me all.the.feels! It was heartbreaking but yet a very important story that needed to be told.


So there you have it… there’s my 2019 reading wrap-up. I really did have my best reading year in 2019. Not just in numbers … but also in quality. I branched out and read a lot of things that aren’t my “normal” reading. Of my 6 favorites, only 1 is a thriller – that’s crazy to me! But then I look back at my overall reading list and realize that while I did read a lot of thrillers (30 of them…), I read a lot of other genres as well. Contemporary fiction was a big genre for me this year. I even read (and gasp!…enjoyed) a few romance novels. And while I know that I’m never going to be as active on here as I once was (and to be honest… I don’t want to be), I hope to be able to pop in occasionally and update.

Promoted Post

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2019, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: The Accidentals by Minrose Gwin


The Accidentals coverAbout The Accidentals

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 13, 2019)

Following the death of their mother from a botched backwoods abortion, the McAlister daughters have to cope with the ripple effect of this tragedy as they come of age in 1950s Mississippi and then grow up to face their own impossible choices—an unforgettable, beautiful novel that is threaded throughout with the stories of mothers and daughters in pre-Roe versus Wade America.

Life heads down back alleys, takes sharp left turns. Then, one fine day it jumps the track and crashes.”

In the fall of 1957, Olivia McAlister is living in Opelika, Mississippi, caring for her two girls, June and Grace, and her husband, Holly. She dreams of living a much larger life–seeing the world and returning to her wartime job at a landing boat factory in New Orleans. As she watches over the birds in her yard, Olivia feels like an “accidental”—a migratory bird blown off course.

When Olivia becomes pregnant again, she makes a fateful decision, compelling Grace, June, and Holly to cope in different ways. While their father digs up the backyard to build a bomb shelter, desperate to protect his family, Olivia’s spinster sister tries to take them all under her wing. But the impact of Olivia’s decision reverberates throughout Grace’s and June’s lives. Grace, caught up in an unconventional love affair, becomes one of the “girls who went away” to have a baby in secret. June, guilt-ridden for her part in exposing Grace’s pregnancy, eventually makes an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile Ed Mae Johnson, an African-American care worker in a New Orleans orphanage, is drastically impacted by Grace’s choices.

As the years go by, their lives intersect in ways that reflect the unpredictable nature of bird flight that lands in accidental locations—and the consolations of imperfect return.

Filled with tragedy, humor, joy, and the indomitable strength of women facing the constricted spaces of the 1950s and 60s, The Accidentals is a poignant, timely novel that reminds us of the hope and consolation that can be found in unexpected landings.


REVIEW:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

Can we just take a moment to admire that cover? I mean, is it not absolutely gorgeous?! I personally think so and that’s what initially caught my eye about this book (and I am, as a general rule, not a cover person). But then I read the blurb and I was sold. I had a great feeling going into this book.

And for the most part, it definitely lived up to the expectations I had set for it. It made me realize just how thankful I should be for being a woman in the time period that I am now rather than in the 1950s. I mean … just yikes. What women had to go through and deal with during that time period. It’s definitely eye-opening for sure.

However, the book wasn’t entirely perfect. I sometimes felt like it jumped here and there when it could have had better “flow” I guess you could say. Maybe a little disjointed even? But oh the character development! My long-time readers know that I am a sucker for good character development and this particular book had that in spades! It definitely made me want to keep reading!

I probably set the bar a little too high on this book and that’s why I felt a little disappointed in spots, but for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed this one and would definitely recommend it!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Minrose Gwin AP Kim Jew Photography Studios.jpgKim Jew Photography Studios

About Minrose Gwin

Minrose Gwin is the author of The Queen of Palmyra, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, and the memoir Wishing for Snow, cited by Booklist as “eloquent” and “lyrical”—“a real life story we all need to know.” She has written four scholarly books and coedited The Literature of the American South. She grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, hearing stories of the Tupelo tornado of 1936. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Find out more about Minrose at her website.

4/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Nonfiction, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
by Anne Bogel

I'd Rather Be Reading

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 160

Read: July 16, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: Reading isn’t just a way to pass the time – it’s a lifestyle. Books shape, define, and enchant us. They are part of who we are and we can’t imagine life without them. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads you to remember the book that first hooked you, the place where you first fell in love with reading, and all the books and moments afterward that helped make you the reader you are today.


Review:

Bookish enthusiasm is contagious, but it isn’t sufficient – not if I want to find the books that are truly right for me, and for you to find the ones right for you. It’s easy enough for me to say, “I liked that book,” or “I didn’t,” but I often struggle to explain why. I’m constantly surprised at how difficult it is to articulate my thoughts on what I’ve read in a way that is coherent, useful, and enjoyable, whether I’m sharing a five-thousand-word formal review or a twenty-word text message. But I feel I owe it to my fellow readers to try, because my comments help others decide what is worth reading and what should be read next. [p. 115]

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Anne Bogel and her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy. I’ve also been a member of her online book club for over a year. So I’m not entirely sure why I’ve waited so long to read this book of hers. Well, it’s probably because a collection of essays is not something I’ve ever really been drawn to read. But I should have known better – these are bookish essays, and bookish things are my jam!

At 160 pages I knocked this book out in an afternoon at home with my sick daughter. I book darted the heck out of it as well. It was just a really fun read. I found myself nodding and smiling throughout the entire thing. All I could think of was – THESE ARE MY PEOPLE! And let’s be honest, if you’re reading this, you probably fall in that designation as well – BOOK PEOPLE!

So if you’re looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon reading a book about books pick this one up. Or you could spread it out and read one or two here and there. But let’s be honest – who has that kind of self-control when reading/thinking about books!? And be prepared for Chapter 10 – Bookworm Problems. If you’re like me, you will relate to every single sentence in that entire chapter. THESE ARE MY PEOPLE, folks!

Highly recommended!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019, X-Y-Z

Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

The Girls at 17 Swann Street
by Yara Zgheib

The Girls at 17 Swann Street

 

Copyright: 2019

Pages: 384

Read: July 13 – July 15, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound. 

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down into anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach-pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, who is always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.


Review: I picked this one up on a whim at my library. I was just browsing the shelf and this one caught my eye. I had seen it mentioned before online, but I was really drawn in by that cover (and the “Z” author certainly helped for my Goodreads challenges 🙂 )

This book is a heartbreaking tale. My stomach was just in knots most of the time. I suffered the same anxiety as the ladies did when it was their meal times. I was terrified for them and how they would make it through. It brought out such an emotional response from me that I was not prepared for.

This is not an easy read, but I feel like it’s an important read. I knew a girl in high school who sought treatment for anorexia. I don’t remember that she ever got that thin – I think her family caught it before it got too serious. But I remember not really understanding it at the time. This book really helped me to understand it better. I wish I had had a book like this all those years ago. It would have helped all of us understand what she was dealing with a little bit better.

Overall I highly recommend this book. It’s a tough read about a tough subject, but one that I think is necessary for us to better understand eating disorders and those suffering from them.

 

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

The Last Romantics
by Tara Conklin

The Last Romantics

 

Copyright: 2019

Pages: 386

Read: July 6 – July 9, 2019

Rating: 5/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.

It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected.  Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.

A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.


Review: This one is on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide. I remember when it came out back in February I was interested in it, but it sounded a little outside of my wheelhouse so I wasn’t entirely sure that I would enjoy it. So I put it in the back of my mind and moved on. Then when I realized that it was sitting on my library’s shelf, immediately available, right before I went on vacation I thought – why not? So I checked it out and took it down to Florida with me.

When I was finally able to pick it up (I had two books on deck before it) it was the day before we left for home. I was completely swept up in the story. I ended up reading a very large majority of this book while we were on our 15 hour drive home. I could barely tear myself away from the story. I felt like I was right there with the Skinner’s as Fiona weaved her story through the years. I cheered them on, I grieved with them. This book elicited the gamut of emotions out of me. It is so, so good. Such a great story.

I really and truly enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it! It’s definitely going to go on my “best of” list at the end of the year. Seriously … read this book!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Q, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network

 

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 494

Read: June 23 – July 5, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased new
Blurb: 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth … no matter where it leads.


Review: I purchased this one new some time ago and I was really excited about this one – it sounded so good! And then I did what I always do – I let it languish on my bookshelves. So I was excited to finally get around to this one.

For the most part, I enjoyed it. However, I struggled in the beginning – it had quite a slow start for me. But I powered through it and was pleasantly rewarded by sticking it out.

I definitely enjoyed it and am glad that I finally got around to reading this one. I’d definitely recommend this one!

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: The River by Peter Heller

The River
by Peter Heller

The River

 

Copyright: 2019

Pages: 253

Read: June 30 – July 2, 2019

Rating: 2/5

Source: Library
Blurb: Wynn an dJack 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 tale of desperate wilderness survival.


Review: This book is on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide this year. And it was available at the library, so I decided to take a chance on it. I wasn’t too sure about the  outdoorsy aspect of it (so not my cup of tea), but I was a little intrigued by the blurb – who was this man? Where was the woman? What was the argument about?

To be completely honest … it fell short for me. I found it to be extremely wordy. And unfortunately it was wordy about things that simply did not interest me. I really have no interest in the outdoors or canoeing and this book really centers around this. And then I was disappointed that there wasn’t really more to the man and woman arguing aspect of the book. Had it gone more in that direction it likely would have worked better for me. I also didn’t care much for the ending.

Overall it’s a quick read but I did find myself skimming a lot more than I usually do in a book. There was just a lot of information about canoeing and the general outdoors that simply bored me. This one just wasn’t a book for me.

Life, Miscellaneous Ramblings

Accidental Radio Silence…

…well I certainly didn’t intend to go dark for quite as long as I did. We spent the first week of July in Florida on a family vacation. When we got back it was straight back to work and I was absolutely covered up. Throw in a night up to St. Louis for the Hootie & the Blowfish concert and two days home with a sick child, and nearly two weeks has gone by. Oops.

The good news is that I’ve got 4 book reviews coming up. And I’ve acquired entirely too many new and new-to-me books that I still need to share with everyone. So I’ve got some good content coming up, stay tuned!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

 

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 415

Read: June 17 – 22, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap


Blurb
: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.


Review: I swear I am probably the last person on earth who calls themself a thriller reader to have read this book. When it came out it had all that huge buzz that sends me the complete opposite direction of the book. A few years after it came out I tried to read it but ultimately DNF’d it – I can’t even really remember why I DNF’d it, but I remember I didn’t get very far in. So I’ve been hesitant to pick it back up. Yet I still wanted to give it at least one more good shot.

I wasn’t expecting to be immediately drawn into it. It was just like revelation after revelation. And then you get to the “twist” and it was like WHOA! I was enthralled. It was so deliciously creepy I could hardly stop reading.

And then came the ending.

And it was like a freaking train wreck.

Ugh.

I cannot remember the last time I was so disappointed by a book ending. I was absolutely disgusted by the way it ended. I can think of at least three ways it could have ended better. But the way it ended? Just a total and complete disappointment.

Also – did anyone else have a really creepy reminder of Scott Peterson throughout this book when Nick would speak or was described? I just couldn’t get past the parallels of that case and some of the things in this book. Maybe that was just me – but I can’t tell you how many separate times Scott Peterson kept popping into my head while reading this one.

I can’t say much more than that. I don’t even really feel like I could honestly recommend this book without prefacing my recommendation about the terrible ending. Maybe I was just expecting too much out of this one – but it just didn’t work for me. And as a result it went from an almost 5 star read to a 3 star.

I am eager to see the movie now though – because I can totally see Ben Affleck as Nick!

AUTHOR, Book Review, D, Fiction, Read in 2019, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: The Cutting Room by Ashley Dyer

unnamed-5About The Cutting Room

• Hardcover: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (June 18, 2019)

Detectives Ruth Lake and Greg Carver, introduced in the electrifying Splinter in the Blood, must stop a serial killer whose victims are the centerpiece of his macabre works of art.

While Britain is obsessed with the newest hit true-crime television show, Fact, or Fable? detectives Ruth Lake and Greg Carver are tormented by a fiendish flesh-and-blood killer on the loose.

Lured to a “crime scene” by a mysterious digital invitation, Ruth Lake is horrified by what she finds: a bizarre and gruesome tableau surrounded by a crowd of gawkers. The deadly work is the latest “art installation” designed by a diabolical criminal dubbed the Ferryman. Not only is this criminal cold-blooded; he’s a narcissistic exhibitionist desperate for an audience. He’s also clever at promoting his deadly handiwork. Exploiting England’s current true-crime craze, he uses social media to titillate and terrorize the public.

Ruth is joined in the investigation by her partner Greg Carver, who is slowly regaining his strength after a run-in with another sadistic criminal. But Greg can’t seem to shake the bewildering effects of the head wound that nearly ended him. Are the strange auras blurring his vision an annoying side effect of his injury, or could they be something more . . . a tool to help him see a person’s true nature?

In this utterly engrossing and thrilling tale of suspense, a pair of seasoned detectives face off against a wickedly smart and inventive psychopath in a tense, bloody game that leads to a shocking end.


REVIEW:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

Whoa! Now THIS was a thriller! It was fast paced and just a roller coaster ride with some crazy twists and turns. When I was first pitched this book I had no idea that it was actually the second book in a series, but I can tell you that while the background of that first book would have been nice, I easily fell right in with Ruth and Greg.

This book is told from multiple perspectives. Sometimes that works for me and sometimes it doesn’t. In this particular book it definitely worked for me! It really made for very well-developed characters. And can I just say that I really relished the parts of the killer? Talk about creepy!

I’m really glad that I was able to find this book and I will definitely keep any future books in this series on my radar! Definitely recommended!!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Ashley Dyer

Ashley Dyer is a writing duo based in the United Kingdom.

Margaret Murphy is a Writing Fellow and Reading Round Lector for the Royal Literary Fund, a past chair of the Crime Writers Association (CWA), and founder of Murder Squad. A CWA Short Story Dagger winner, she has been shortlisted for the First Blood critics’ award for crime fiction as well as the CWA Dagger in the Library. Under her own name she has published nine psychological suspense and police procedural novels.

Helen Pepper is a senior lecturer in policing at Teesside University. She has been an analyst, forensic scientist, scene of crime officer, CSI, and crime scene manager. She has coauthored, as well as contributed to, professional policing texts. Her expertise is in great demand with crime writers: she is a judge for the CWA’s Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction Award, and is a forensic consultant on both the Vera and Shetland TV series.

Find out more at their website, www.ashley-dyer.com.