Book Review: A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson

Book Review: A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson

Thank you to William Morrow for sending me a free copy of A Solitude of Wolverines in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

While studying wolverines on a wildlife sanctuary in Montana, biologist Alex Carter is run off the road and threatened by locals determined to force her off the land.

Undeterred in her mission to help save this threatened species, Alex tracks wolverines on foot and by cameras positioned in remote regions of the preserve. But when she reviews the photos, she discovers disturbing images of an animal of a different kind: a severely injured man seemingly lost and wandering in the wilds.

After searches for the unknown man come up empty, local law enforcement is strangely set on dismissing the case altogether, raising Alex’s suspicions. Then another invasive predator trespasses onto the preserve. The hunter turns out to be another human—and the prey is the wildlife biologist herself. Alex realizes too late that she has seen too much—she’s stumbled onto a far-reaching illegal operation and now has become the biggest threat.

In this wild and dangerous landscape, Alex’s life depends on staying one step ahead—using all she knows about the animal world and what it takes to win the brutal battle for survival.

My Review:

A Solitude of Wolverines was such a fun surprise of a suspense book! Part wildlife conservation novel, part suspense thriller, this book is a rare gem!

Before I go any further, I have to comment on the extremely informative land and wildlife conservation portions of the book. Henderson really did her research, and provided what I have to believe are very accurate facts about conversation efforts as well as the life of a conservationist. This is a topic I am definitley interested in but don’t know much about so I really enjoyed learning more about it, and I always love when I can learn from the books I read!

The suspense parts of this book came in little spurts, and at times the plot felt a little loose, like I wasn’t always sure where it was heading, but the ending was spectacularly exciting! I really liked the main character Alex, I felt like she was one of the most realistic female characters I have read in a while. All of her choices are justified and it made her feel like a friend you might already know. There were never any of those moments when you just have to roll your eyes at the stupid life choices the female lead is making, Alex is a female character you can look up to!

I have heard this is the first book in a series, each book focusing on a different animal for conservation efforts, and if that is true, I am definitely on board for the next wild ride! I would recommend this one to suspense lovers and suspense newbies alike! There wasn’t a ton of violence so it would work for those who prefer a tamer thriller.

The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

D209F495-2755-4281-92C8-76EEBFB145B7Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a free copy of The Girl From Widow Hills in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

My Review:

Megan Miranda really knows how to do the slow burn thriller! The Girl From Widow Hills is full of smoldering mystery.  From the main character’s past, to the shady people in her present, I was guessing until the end on this one. So many shadows were cast, and I did have my suspicions, but the ending unfolded well.

Don’t expect a fast paced suspense novel with The Girl from Widow Hills, but be prepared for mystery and intrigue.  This was the prefect entertaining read for a long weekend (I read it over Memorial Day weekend!) I loved the build up of Olivia’s past with news articles and transcripts, and the way it wove into what was happening to her in the present.  Another plus: short chapters!  Irrelevant, I know, but I like that! Overall, a good, entertaining thriller!

Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry

Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry

F967DB15-DA30-4DFE-987F-718316930112Thank you to Harper books for sending me a free copy of Don’t Turn Around in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

322 miles of road. 6 hours. 2 strangers. 1 killer. Too many secrets.

Midnight. Cait Monaghan and Rebecca McRae are on a desolate road that slices through the New Mexican desert. They’ve never met before tonight.  Both have secrets to protect. Both of their lives are in danger.

When a truck pulls up fast behind them, they assume it’s punk teenagers or run-of-the-mill road rage, but it soon becomes clear that whoever is driving the truck is hunting them for sport—and they are out to draw blood.

As the miles unspool and the dangers mount, the pasts they’ve worked so hard to keep buried have come back to haunt them.  Someone wants one of them dead. But which one?  And given the lives the two women have been leading, that someone could be almost anyone.

If Cait and Rebecca are going to survive, they’ll have to learn to trust one another—and themselves. But trust is a costly business, and they’ve both paid the price before. . . .

My Review:

This book really pulled me in, right from the first page.  Two women, fleeing in the dark of night…but why?  The mystery of their midnight flight had me turning pages to find out what they were doing.  As the novel progresses, Berry weaves in back story for both women, slowly bringing to light what the women are running from.

However, once secrets were revealed, it started to feel like two separate stories: one of suspense and intrigue, one a little on the heart wrenching side. Berry’s writing is fluid and sophisticated, so I definitely enjoyed this one, but I almost wish it had been two books. I just didn’t feel like the present story and the back story went together.

I liked this book, but Freefall was much better, in my opinion.  But I’m not done watching out for this up and coming author, I still plan to read what she comes out with next!

The Dilemma by B.A.Paris

The Dilemma by B.A.Paris

E160BFE8-37DD-4A23-8E21-D854D0AA3999A new thriller from B.A. Paris that is different from her previous work, The Dilemma is a fantastic read!

Synopsis:

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday, and her husband Adam is throwing her the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding they never had. Everyone she loves will be there, except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad.

But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be there. Livia has recently uncovered a secret about their daughter which, if revealed, will shake the foundation of their family to its core. She needs to tell Adam, but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam, meanwhile, has his own surprise for his wife: he’s arranged for Marnie to secretly fly back for the family celebration. But during the day, he hears some terrible news and he too is faced with a dilemma.

How far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

My Review:

I have so many great things to say about this book!  The writing, the pacing, the relatability: all perfect!  The entire books takes place over the course of one day, alternating between a husband and wife’s point of view. Each set of chapters moving ahead an hour in the long and eventful day. That set up alone made this a very compelling and page turning read!  I read this fast in just two days.

Here’s why The Dilemma is different from Paris’ previous works: it’s an extremely relatable family drama. Nothing shocking, scandalous (well just a little) or vindictive.  This is not Drama with a capital D and a hair flip, this is real life drama that could really happen to someone. This is a story about a family, about the choices people make and how those choices effect the ones we love most.  There is a lot of inner dialogue that explains the choices of the husband and the wife and that made it really impossible to choose a side and as someone who has been married for almost ten years, I could relate to this story so much!  It was emotional, suspenseful, poignant and beautiful.  I loved it.  It might be the best book I’ve read so far in 2020.

The Closer You Get by Mary Torjussen

The Closer You Get by Mary Torjussen

E64603D5-C06D-46C7-B90A-BC768A4FF048Thank you to Berkley for sending me a free copy of The Closer You Get in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Coworkers Ruby and Harry are in love—but they’re married to other people. They decide to tell their spouses that their marriages are over and to start a new life together. Ruby has wanted to leave her controlling husband for a while, so she tells him she’s leaving and waits at the hotel where she and Harry are to meet. But Harry never shows up.

Suddenly, Ruby has lost everything. Harry won’t answer her calls, and she’s fired from her job. She finds a cheap apartment in a run-down part of town, all the while wondering what happened to Harry.

Just as Ruby thinks she’s hit rock bottom, strange and menacing things start to happen—someone is sneaking into her apartment, and someone is following her home late at night—and she is going to have to fight for her survival.

My Review:

This is one of those easy suspense thrillers, the kind that just about anyone can read because the twists aren’t mind blowing, but they are realistic.  The suspense isn’t pounding, but is still definitely there. The characters are despicable, but you can still find things to like in each of them. This is an easy reading beach thriller, it will be perfect to grab this summer!

I liked this author’s writing style and there was suspicion thrown in a lot of places so I was left guessing for most of the book. While the ending of this one wasn’t wild as some people have come to expect in a thriller, I absolutely loved it!  I can’t really share more without spoiling it, but the ending is what made me bump up my rating for this one. Overall, this was an enjoyable read that pulled me in from the first page. I rate it 3.5/5 stars.

The Closer You Get Release Day!

The Closer You Get Release Day!

E64603D5-C06D-46C7-B90A-BC768A4FF048Thanks to Berkley for sending me a free copy of The Closer You Get! I’m so excited to read this suspenseful domestic drama!

Coworkers Ruby and Harry are in love—but they’re married to other people. They decide to tell their spouses that their marriages are over and to start a new life together. Ruby has wanted to leave her controlling husband for a while, so she tells him she’s leaving and waits at the hotel where she and Harry are to meet. But Harry never shows up.

Suddenly, Ruby has lost everything. Harry won’t answer her calls, and she’s fired from her job. She finds a cheap apartment in a run-down part of town, all the while wondering what happened to Harry.

Just as Ruby thinks she’s hit rock bottom, strange and menacing things start to happen—someone is sneaking into her apartment, and someone is following her home late at night—and she is going to have to fight for her survival.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

C2464F78-01DA-410E-A137-1DA3DBC1497EThank you to Dutton books for sending me a free copy of The Familiar Dark in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.

My Review:

This book set it’s hooks in me from the very first page and the reading experience of The Familiar Dark was so visceral that I know I will be thinking about it for a very long time. I found the main character Eve to be so realistic, it was harrowing to see the way she changed after the death of her daughter.  I could so clearly picture Eve, her mother, and the run down town they lived in.  What surprised me was the level of depth into Eve’s relationships that Engel was able to slip into the pages. Even though I am not in a situation like Eve’s, I found I was able to relate with her quite a bit, and I think many readers who are mothers will also.

This is definitely what you call a slow burn but it really smoldered the whole way through. With just enough back story to build to plot, The Familiar Dark is an engrossing read with a very big surprise ending!  This book is dark, gritty, raw and heavy but oh so worth it! I highly recommend this book to just about anyone.  Easily a five star read for me!

The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben

The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben

3635602F-9B44-4838-829D-38C99233D261Thank you to Grand Central Pub for sending me a free copy of The Boy From the Woods in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

My Review:

The Boy From the Woods will delight Coben fans as it follows his signature style of writing, and while reading I was reminded a lot of last year’s Run Away. This book is an easy page turner and will make a great beach read for this summer.

I did have a few issues with this one, however.  The boy from the woods, while a main character in this story was only that: a character.  I was hoping for more of his story, so the title actually confused me. This book isn’t about him. I also felt like there were just a few too many moving parts and characters so that instead of throwing suspicion around, the plot just lacked cohesion.

Sometimes when there are a lot of characters and separate storylines going on, I don’t get the chance to latch onto one of them while reading and the experience overall can feel superficial. I think that this book was a light read.  Fun and easy, but also without much depth.  I finished it, so I did like it but it wasn’t my favorite.  However I still plan to read more of his work both in the future and backlist titles.

Darling Rose Gold by

Darling Rose Gold by

F3D57A89-1311-4329-8365-CD3639B74B06Thank you to Berkley for sending me a free advanced copy of Darling Rose Gold in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

My Review:

Here’s a little rule of thumb I use to decide how many stars to rate a book: How much did I think about the book when I wasn’t reading it?  For the few days that I was reading Darling Rose Gold, I was thinking about it a lot when not reading, I was so compelled by the characters and their story and I just had to know how things were going to unfold.  Needless to say, this was a five star read for, me!

With that being said, this story was dark,  very dark, with an extremely unhealthy mother-daughter relationship. I liked that the reader knows right off the bat that theirs is a story of Munch Hausen by proxy, rather than building up to it.  There are some stories out there already that follow this disturbing mental illness but what makes this take on it different is that the plot follows the aftermath.  You get to watch as the mother and daughter make an effort to rebuild their relationship, except neither the mother nor daughter has the most honest of intentions.

Darling Rose Gold is dark, addictive and pleasantly unusual. If you are looking for something a little less basic than most thrillers, you should definitely give this one a try! I highly recommend it!

 

 

 

The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens

The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens

A9892DF7-5B59-4A13-8452-9787365B7F52Thank you to Prometheus/Seventh Street Books for providing me with a free copy of The Deep Dark Descending in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Homicide Detective Max Rupert never fully accepted his wife’s death, even when he believed that a reckless hit-and-run driver was to blame. Haunted by memories both beautiful and painful, he is plagued by feelings of unfinished business. When Max learns that, in fact, Jenni was murdered, he must come to terms with this new information—and determine what to do with it.

Struggling to balance his impulses as a vengeful husband with his obligations as a law enforcement officer, Max devotes himself to relentlessly hunting down those responsible. For most of his life, he has thought of himself as a decent man. But now he’s so consumed with anguish and thoughts of retribution that he finds himself on the edge, questioning who he is and what he stands for.

On a frozen lake at the US–Canadian border, he wrestles with decisions that could change his life forever, as his rage threatens to turn him into the kind of person he has spent his entire career bringing to justice.

 

My Review:

Wow. Just: wow.  The Deep Dark Descending is hands down the best book from Eskens yet. This book is the fourth in a series, and it’s the kind of story that has been simmering in the background for a while now and is finally coming to a head. If you’ve read the other books in the series, then you know that Max never got over his wife’s death and was never satisfied with the investigation that ensued. In this novel, he has decided he’s had enough and starts investigating on his own, using his connections as a Detective to find out what he can. When he discovers that his wife’s death was not an accident, he cannot control his need for revenge.

The first chapter takes place ‘Up North’, and the reader knows that Max has found someone who he thinks is responsible for his wife’s murder.  We just don’t know yet what he plans to do with this person he’s tracked down nor who this person is. The alternating chapters tell the journey Max took to find clues, track leads, and finally reach the killer.

More ‘Up North’ chapters are throughout the book, as Max makes a plan with what he is going to do to the killer.  But in addition to that suspense, he is visited with memories and flashbacks from his life with Jeni as well as the woman who raised him as a child.  These memories give Max pause with his task at hand: what he will do, out in the middle of nowhere, with his wife’s murderer. This added so much emotion to Max’s character and the book.  Many crime fiction novels are devoid of much empathy or emotion which is a characteristic that I think sets Allen Eskens apart.

I find that the books I love best end up being the hardest reviews to write and I don’t know if I’ve come close to doing this one justice.  The novel is intense, emotional, suspenseful and hard to put down.  Allen Eksens is among my favorite authors, I highly encourage you to read his work, you won’t regret it! Five star read!