4 Star Books · Book Reviews · fiction · mystery · Police Procedural · psychological thriller · suspense · thriller · Uncategorized

Perfect Girls by Alison James

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Perfect Girls by Alison James

Published: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 333

Genres: thriller, mystery, psychological thriller, suspense, crime

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: twisted psychological thrillers, can’t get enough of them books, the horrors of modern day techonlogy

Foodie Vibes: tea and biscuits but beware …

 

Synopsis:

Phoebe. Tiffany. Melissa. They all made one little mistake…

When twenty-five-year-old Phoebe Stiles opens the door to her perfect apartment she doesn’t realise it’s the mistake that will kill her…

The body of the beautiful English girl is discovered months later – dumped behind the back of a department store. But who was the stranger she let into the safety of her home?

As Detective Rachel Prince pieces together the mystery surrounding Phoebe’s death, another young, blonde girl is found brutally murdered and abandoned in the grounds of an old theatre.

In the most dangerous case of her career, Rachel must track down the faceless individual to stop the body count rising. But to uncover the shocking truth, Rachel has to put herself at risk… can she catch the twisted killer, before they catch her?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Alison James for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Perfect Girls is a perfectly addictive novel. A psychological thriller that uses all of the modern day technology and social media advances to truly scare you. The author didn’t resort of cliches to make the book work. Definitely a unique and chilling novel. Perfect for a creepy Halloween read!

The detective from England ends up going to Hollywood to investigate the death of a young woman, who previously lived in her country. The local police wrap up the case quickly, but Rachel has some lingering doubts. Following her hunches, she crosses the country to investigate until she can figure out the truth. 

The book pulled me right in and captivated me throughout the whole read. I thought the premise and little details made for a unique, complex and intriguing story. The author was great at making me feel as if I was right there, especially with her descriptions of scent. Such little details, but they make the book that much better. 

The mystery was great. However the romance, which didn’t play much of a role, was kind of annoying. I could have done without it completely. Since it wasn’t featured much, it didn’t really bother me though. 

Overall, a phenomenal mystery that uses technology and social media to keep you guessing until the very end. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

Have you read this book yet? What did you think? 

2 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Geography · non fiction · politics

ARC Review | Globalography: Mapping Our Connected World by Chris Fitch

 

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Globalography: Mapping Our Connected World by Chris Fitch

Published: October 30, 2018

Publisher: White Lion Publishing

Pages: 224

Genres: geography, non fiction

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: history, geography, unique ways to learn

Foodie Vibes: food that’s imported or exported to/from your country

 

Synopsis:

50 stunning maps reveal our globalized world like never before.

Explore how cities are expanding beyond the reach of their nations, uncover the ways bananas, cobalt and water bottles link the most unlikely of places, and discover how modern phenomena such as messenger apps and sharing platforms are changing not just our interactions, but how we interconnect.

Globalography uncovers the myriad ways we can now connect with one another and in doing so, showcases the radical way globalization is transforming our world.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, White Lion Publishing, and Chris Fitch for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

At first look the book is an interesting concept. Unique maps of the world alternating with text to expand upon the information in the maps. It shows how different countries relate to each other through history, commerce and trade, and other sociopolitical issues. Some topics that are highlighted include banana production and export, satellites, tea, athletic shoes, cement, bottled water, contemporary art, cocoa, honey, smartphone users, and car exports.

The book ends up reading like a school textbook, but not as text heavy. If these concepts interest you, then maybe the book is for you. However, these topics don’t interest me, so I found myself being bored much of the time. There were interesting tidbits, but overall not interesting for me. Much of the information I had already learned in high school.

I loved the last book I read using the same map concepts, but not this one. I think it’s the topic the book discusses, rather than the style of writing. So if you enjoy the topics, check out the book. If not, maybe try something else. 

 

Speaking of school, what was your favorite subject?

3.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · suspense · thriller

The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

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The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

Published: July 10, 2018

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 529

Genres: thriller, mystery, suspense

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: police mysteries, series with cliffhangers to make you read all the books

Read with food: fast food because you’re busy hunting down serial killers

 

Synopsis:

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days.

While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thanks to Goodreads, J.D. Barker and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the book. As always, an honest review from me.

The Fifth to Die seems to be a continuation of the book before it in the series. I haven’t read it, but am able to keep up. Certain references to the characters’ personal lives or little nuances are lost on me, but for the most part makes sense. If you’re looking for a book to really get into the detectives’ lives, then read the whole series. But like most police investigation novels, they’re meant to also be read as a stand alone. Now with that being said, let’s get into the rest of the review.

Teenage girls are going missing in the city of Chicago, and then their bodies found. They’ve been disposed of in some strange ways with other peculiar clues. The police know there’s something strange about it all, but can’t quite put their finger on it. The book takes us through a slow to moderate progression as the cops work to solve the crimes. With the book being over 500 pages, there’s time to dive into the small details of the case and more than just a glance at the characters’ personal lives. While it took me some time to read, the number of pages didn’t feel too overwhelming. I was intrigued throughout.

However, while I enjoyed the book I didn’t absolutely love it. Solving the case pulled me in but I didn’t connect with the anger/passion towards finding the serial killer’s past.

Overall an enjoyable slow burn of a police mystery. I recommend reading the other books in the series first to get the most out of it.

 

 

Do you ever read books in a series out of order?

3 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · suspense · thriller

The Sixth Day by Catherine Coulter

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The Sixth Day by Catherine Coulter

Published: April 10, 2018

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 538

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: mysteries set in London, police procedurals, thrillers mixed with fantasy

Read with food: fish and chips in iconic London

 

Synopsis:

When several major political figures die mysteriously, officials declare the deaths are from natural causes. Then the German Vice-Chancellor dies on the steps of 10 Downing Street and a drone is spotted hovering over the scene. The truth becomes clear – these high-profile deaths are well-constructed assassinations, and the Covert Eyes team is tasked to investigate.

With the help of Dr Isabella Marin, a young expert in the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript and cryptophasia (twin language), Nicholas and Michaela home in on Roman Ardelean, a wealthy cybersecurity genius and a descendant of fifteenth century Romanian Vlad the Impaler – often romanticised as Dracula. Ardelean believes the Voynich Manuscript will unlock the secret to curing his severely ill twin brother’s blood disorder and is willing to murder anyone who gets in his way, including Nicholas and Michaela.

Along with MI5, the Covert Eyes team must race against the clock to find Ardelean before he unleashes a devastating attack on London intended to destroy those he believes betrayed him.

Review: 

Thank you to Goodreads Giveaway for a free copy of the book, as well as the publisher and author. As always, an honest review.

Drones, falcons, cyber warfare, and boots on the ground police determined to solve the mystery of multiple high ranking officials’ deaths pretty much sums up this action packed book. In general The Sixth Day was good but not great.

I enjoyed the page turning action packed intensity of it. I even finished the last 200 pages in an afternoon. The story is extremely relevant to this day and age. It’s even more terrifying, because with technology these sorts of crimes are possible. Definitely creeps me out a bit! The entire book takes place over six days, which works wonderfully.

However a major premise of the story wasn’t a great fit for me as a reader. The foundation of the mystery is the legend of Dracula and The Voynich Manuscript. Ancient curses, bloodletting, twin powers, secret texts and languages. If that’s what you love in a book, then you will probably enjoy the story even more than I already did. This sort of fantasy folklore aspect isn’t my cup of tea, so I enjoyed the actual investigation more than anything else. Also at over 500 pages, the book was too long. I thought it could be shortened by maybe 50 to 100 pages.

The Sixth Day is the first book that I’ve read by the author. I would read more of her books, but would pick and choose carefully based on the subject matter. Overall, a good solid police mystery, set in London, filled with tons of action, and featuring ancient texts.

 

Random question of the blog post:

What advice would you give to someone looking to get more reading done each day?

 

3 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · thriller

Book Review: Last Witness by Chris Merritt

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Last Witness by Chris Merritt

Published by Bookouture on July 24, 2018

Pages: 325

Genres: mystery, thriller

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: crime thrillers set in the U.K., the balance between police work and family life

Read with: a roast chicken and potato dinner~ appropriately matches the homey feel of the characters’ personal lives

 

Synopsis: 

What if you made one mistake and it came back to kill you? 

Detective Zac Boateng’s old friend, Troy McEwen, is found dead in his home. The official verdict is suicide. But Boateng believes it was murder. And he thinks he might be next on the killer’s list.

If Troy didn’t take his own life, then who did? As he investigates, Boateng discovers a link to an incident from decades earlier. Mistakes were made that day. Lives were lost and secrets kept. Until now…

As more people who were there on that fateful day are found dead, Boateng knows that the killer is closing in on him…

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a copy of the book. As always, an honest review.

Overall I enjoyed Last Witness, but it didn’t wow me. The premise is cliche, but it works. Supposed suicides that only a few people think might actually be murders. As I have found, cliches are cliches for a reason. Because they work. And it does work in this book. The story holds up and generally held my interest throughout. However it took me awhile to be completely pulled into the story. For it to really find it’s footing. I think this might be since the story bounced around a lot at the beginning.

When the book found it’s footing halfway through, I just kept reading to find out who was the killer. I appreciated that both male and female police are represented well. Also, the characters’ family lives are well established and create believable characters. The story still focuses mostly on the mystery, but it’s evident that there’s an entire backstory for all the characters. The author gives them a depth and realness that rounds out the story.

In general, the book has a bit of an unsure start, but comes together to intrigue the reader.

 

What’s the most important aspect of a book for you? 

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Humorous Fiction · Realistic Fiction

Book Review: Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden

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Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden

Published by River Street Books on August 1, 2018

Pages: 319

Genres: realistic fiction, humorous fiction 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: workplace settings, socially relevant novels, realistic fiction 

Read with food: cheetos~ the real thing not that baked stuff 

 

Synopsis: 

From the mundane to the insane, Adequate Yearly Progress captures the teaching experience with insight, humor, and heart.

Each year brings familiar educational challenges to Brae Hill Valley, a struggling urban high school in Texas. But the school’s teachers face plenty of challenges of their own. English teacher Lena Wright, a spoken-word poet with a deep love for her roots, can never seem to satisfy her students that she’s for real. Hernan D. Hernandez is confident in front of his biology classes, yet tongue-tied around the woman he most wants to impress: namely, Lena. Down the hall, math teacher Maybelline Galang focuses on the numbers as she blocks out problems whose solutions aren’t so clear, while Coach Ray hustles his football team toward another winning season, at least on the field. Recording it all is idealistic history teacher Kaytee Mahoney, whose blog gains new readers by the day but drifts ever further from her in-class reality.
And this year, a new celebrity superintendent is determined to leave his own mark on the school—even if that means shutting the whole place down. The fallout will shake up the teachers’ lives both inside and outside the classroom.

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a copy of the book. As always, an honest review. 

Adequate Yearly Progress accurately captures what I would imagine it’s like to work in an inner city high school. The story starts out a few days before the beginning of the school year. There’s a new superintendent who is ready to make some changes. Maybe with the students’ best interests at heart, but definitely with an enormous lack of experience in the school setting. It sets up what’s bound to be an eventful school year. 

The chapters are told from different teachers points of view. This choice keeps the book fresh, interesting, and moving along quickly. The reader also gets a well rounded perspective of all the happenings within the high school. We mainly follow Lena, Hernan, Maybelline and the football coach. I like that the characters are diverse regarding gender, age, race, and life experiences. The story is a discussion about life in and out of the classroom. I really appreciated when the story would show the rich complex inner lives of the teachers. A great combination of serious and funny. I also liked the inclusion of one teacher’s blog posts. I found it fun, modern, and added an additional perspective. 

Most of the book was amazing; there were a few aspects that I didn’t enjoy as much. A few of the teachers bothered me, personality wise. It’s in keeping with a realistic perspective of a school, but they could still really annoy me at times. Also, the ending of the school year seemed a little rushed. However the teachers’ personal lives were well paced. 

Overall I really enjoyed getting to know the teachers in Adequate Yearly Progress. A humorous, realistic perspective of teaching with all of its challenges and wonderful moments.

Definitely give this a read when it’s released! 

 

What are you favorite books about school?

 

What do they get right? What could they do better?

Book Reviews

Book Review: Trade Me by Courtney Milan

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Trade Me by Courtney Milan 

Published by: Courtney Milan

Pages: 279

Genres: romance, contemporary romance, new adult

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: contemporary romance, strong but flawed characters, tech companies

Read with food: bottled water and rice dish

Bottled water: Blake- could be economical but is made expensive

Rice: Tina- practical, substancial, and adaptable

 

Synopsis:

Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.

To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.

But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart…but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life. 

Review:

Blake and Tina couldn’t be from more different life circumstances, and yet they find themselves in the same college course. They say that opposites attract, and in Trade Me that is absolutely true. The characters of Tina and Blake are perfect compliments to each other. More importantly they respect each other first as humans beings, then friends, and then something more. Also the romantic bits of the story help to fuel it along, but don’t make up the entirety, which is my kind of romance.

I do wish that the relationship with Blake and his father was a bit more transparent. As a reader, I felt confused and unsure about Blake’s father’s intentions. It detracted from my enjoyment of the story at times.

Lately I’ve been reading more romance novels. The main reason? … I’ve been doing my research and found books that are really high quality and speak to me within the romance genre. Trade Me has inspired me to keep reading within this genre.