Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Mind Games (Kaely Quinn Profiler #1) by Nancy Mehl

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*No Major Spoilers*

Kaely Quinn’s talents as an FBI Behavior Analyst are impossible to ignore, no matter how unorthodox her methods. But when a reporter outs her as the daughter of an infamous serial killer, she’s demoted to field agent and transferred to St. Louis.

When the same reporter who ruined her career claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, the reporter’s ulterior motives bring his claim into question. But when a body is found that fits the poem’s predictions, the threat is undeniable, and the FBI sends Special Agent Noah Hunter to St. Louis.

Initially resentful of the assignment, Noah is surprised at how quickly his respect for Kaely grows, despite her oddities. But with a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else–including Kaely herself–is killed.

First off, I must mention that this is Christian fiction. Not very often do I find this genre intriguing enough for me to read. I felt this novel was a nice break from all of the sex and foul language that most modern novels have. It reminded me that a story doesn’t have to have sex and vulgarity just to make it interesting.

Kaely is a Christian herself, she discusses it with her new partner Noah. Even though this book discusses religion, I didn’t feel like the author was shoving it down my throat. Kaely believes, but she doesn’t pressure others to share her beliefs.

One interesting characteristic is that I diagnosed Kaely as having schizophrenia. As the novel progresses, she’s slowly starting to lose grip on her “technique”. I can’t wait to see how this aspect of her affects her in the novels to come!

This novel’s plot twist was amazing! The pool of reasonable suspects was large enough to keep me guessing until the big unveiling. Along with the plot twist, I felt the murderer’s motives were reasonable and I could understand his frustration and pain.

Mind Games reminded me of the story of the Happy Face Killer. He was a serial killer who is well known for not only his despicable crimes but also because his daughter is out in the media, doing interviews, building a support group for families of serial killers. She feels the need to put some good in the world despite who her father is.

I recommended this novel to my mom. If anyone would be interested in what my mom says about this novel, I might post her review/thoughts in an upcoming blog post.

I would recommend this novel for lovers of Christian FictionMystery, and those who are interested in reading novels about protagonists with mental health issues, low key romance, novels loosely based on true crime, and serial killers and their families.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: As Long As We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney

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*No Spoilers*

“My wife! I think she’s dead!” Matt frantically tells park rangers that he and his wife, Marie, were hiking when she fell off a cliff into the raging river below. They start a search, but they aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall. It was a tragic accident.

But Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances. And when the police pull a body out of the river, they have a lot more questions for Matt.

Detectives Loren and Spengler want to know if Matt is a grieving, twice-unlucky husband or a cold-blooded murderer. They dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?

I am a fan of crime and mystery novels as well as true crime documentaries. When the spouse gets murdered, it’s usually their “dearly beloved” who committed the crime. So this novel caught my interest from the start.

This is told from a vulgar, and negative perspective of how a marriage can be. I was shocked by how vile some of the language is. So if you are sensitive to that kind of thing, you might want to give this one a pass.

Despite the language, I found this novel to be thrilling and hooked me from the first chapter. What happens when the wife comes home early from work and finds her husband in bed with the secretary? Anything can happen.

I felt this novel was put together well. It took logical leaps and bounds, “things aren’t what you think they are”. I found the plot twists weren’t too illogical or bewildering.

The ending was neatly wrapped up, and there weren’t any loose plot threads. I enjoy a novel that’s well written and wrapped up nice and neat.

I would recommend this novel to lovers of crime, mystery, and hard-boiled detective novels. I enjoyed this audiobook and think that you will enjoy it as well!

Posted in Book Club Reads, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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*No Major Spoilers*

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her best friend was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

In this month’s book club read, I was interested in the premise of this novel. A unique twist on the zombie/paranormal genre. Teen Wiccans or “witches” as society calls the group. Solving a possible murder case with no help from friends or family.

“A scoop of dried rosemary goes into the bag, followed by salt. Sometimes, magic looks a lot like how my mom prepares chicken”- Undead Girl Gang

When I found out that this was a young adult novel, I was hesitant. With my book readings, I find most young adult fiction to be immature and drama that is unnecessary to the plot. This novel does have patches of teen drama, but it’s not too much to break the immersion. I groaned and complained when I felt like the drama was going on for too long. But overall, it sticks with the main story fairly well.

I know a lot of adolescents go through with body image issues, but it still bothered me how the main character kept saying that she was a “fat witch” or paints herself in a negative light.

One of my favorite parts that I found to be clever in the storytelling was how the girls couldn’t be further than 100 paces apart without the undead girls to turn into actual-looking zombies.

The only character I found to be likable was Xander, who is Riley’s older brother. Over the course of the book, Mila and Xander become close as they both mourn the loss of their friends and his sister. He seems to be a likable guy who I can relate to somewhat from real life experience.

This book’s plot twist blew me away in that I didn’t see it coming! I won’t spoil who the killer is, but if it’s someone I didn’t guess then you won’t see it coming either.

The bad guy’s motives I found to be realistic and relatable. I was worried about how the author was going to explain the motive for doing the evil deeds. Sometimes authors try and pull a huge plot twist, and they make a weak motive or don’t explain the motive very well.

“Most magic is just telling the universe that you’re thankful to be here”- Undead Girl Gang

Overall, I found this book to be a good read if you want a fun read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you like paranormal, zombies, high school crushes, and a good mystery, this is the book for you!

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James

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*No Major Spoilers*

This thrilling novel follows Ellie Winter, a psychic/medium in 1920s London. Many are searching for answers for the loved ones they lost in the war. There are both real psychics who want to help people and those who feed off of the grieving to make a living.

When one of Ellie’s colleagues is a victim of a gruesome murder, it’s up to Ellie to investigate. She uses her powers and receives help from a couple of resources; James Hawley and George Sutter, to interview people who were at the scene of the crime.

As she closes in on who the killer is, other psychic mediums start dropping dead or fleeing London for safety in Paris. Will she be able to solve this mystery before she becomes a victim too?

In anticipation of her upcoming novel The Broken Girls. I wanted to review one of Simone St. James’ past works. Broken Girls will be hitting bookstores March 20, 2018.

I loved this book! The well-written atmosphere, the attention to detail of the characters made it easy to put me in Ellie’s shoes and solve the mystery with her. The romance between Ellie and James felt natural and real. To be honest, this book would have been fine without the romance angle, but it’s nice to find a genuine story where the guy saves the girl.

The ending was a huge plot twist! I did not expect where that was going to go, but it does make sense on how it worked out in the end. I had to chew on the ending for a bit to see if it felt right to me. The book wrapped up nicely and left no loose ends.

I would recommend this book who loves historical London. Those who love mysteries and the paranormal. The romance was PG-13, so don’t expect a filthy romance here. This book is getting my Choice Award (I’m trying to be critical I promise). So if you’re looking for an awesome read, this is where you’ll find it!