Just a book blog

Just a book blog

I'm Jenn.

I like to read then blog about it :-)

Review
4 Stars
Mountain of the Dead
Mountain of the Dead - Jeremy Bates

An American true-crime writer has traveled across the world to follow the footsteps of the nine Russian hikers who slashed open their tent in the middle of the night to flee into a blizzard in subpolar temperatures. They all died, some of them violent deaths, but nobody knows exactly what happened.

I found this book to be as strong as the first book, The Suicide Forest, in Bates' World's Scariest Places. The Dyatlov Pass Incident happened in 1959 and of course I had to Google to find out what went on and what's true compared to what Bates has come up with himself. The author has created a great story. What's been covered up? What's really out there? The remote location, the weather, what could go wrong.. it's scary because you just never know. A few parts in this book I found the author went overboard in regards to some situations the American author, Corey, found himself in. It seemed unnecessary and took away from the flow of the story but overall this was really good and definitely interesting.

Review
5 Stars
The Last Time I Lied
The Last Time I Lied - Riley Sager

Fifteen years ago the three girls who were staying with Emma Davis in a tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale vanished into the night never to be seen or heard from again. The camp closed its doors after the tragedy, but Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner, finds Emma and tells her she will be reopening Camp Nightingale and that she would like for her to come back as a painting instructor. Emma sees this as an opportunity to find out what really happened to Vivian, Natalie, and Allison.

I loved The Final Girls, the writing was so good. So I was expecting big things from the author's next book and I was not disappointed! I loved the camp setting, the mystery and suspense.. what happened to these three teenagers? I couldn't wait to find out. I thought the author was going to lose me a few times towards the end but everything came together so well. Definitely an enjoyable page-turner for me. I look forward to reading more from Riley Sager.

Review
2 Stars
An Unwanted Guest
An Unwanted Guest - Shari Lapena

Mitchell's Inn is a secluded mountain lodge. What seemed cozy in the brochure ends up being a nightmare when a storm hits and cuts off the electricity and with it all contact with the outside world leaving the guests and small staff trapped with a killer.

Of course I couldn't wait to get my hands on this. I loved The Couple Next Door and A Stranger in the House. It sounded great - an old mountain lodge nestled in the woods, no wi-fi just enjoying nature and one another's company. But this one was disappointing right from the get-go. I understand there were lots of characters so we could guess who the murderer was and who'd be the next to die but I had a hard time remembering who was who. The writing was juvenile, repetitive and choppy.  The sudden change in character point-of-view was jarring. The story was unbelievable. The reveal was anticlimactic. I can't believe this is written by the same author.

Review
4 Stars
Jar of Hearts
Jar of Hearts - Jennifer Hillier

Georgina, Angela and Kaiser were best friends in high school. Angela, the most popular girl in school, loved her life so it didn't make sense that she'd disappear one night without a trace. Her remains have been found fourteen years later in the woods near Geo's childhood home. Kaiser, now a detective with Seattle PD, finally learns that Angela was a victim of serial killer Calvin James. Calvin was Geo's first love in high school and their relationship was far from perfect. During those fourteen years Geo made something of herself - she's the youngest VP at Shipp Pharmaceuticals and she's engaged to the rich CEO. Nobody ever suspected that she knew what happened to her best friend until she was arrested and sent to prison.

I have to admit this took me a while to get into but since it was a library book I kept turning those pages so I could finish quickly. Somewhere along the line I became absorbed. Poor Angela, what happened to her? I enjoyed reading about their teen years, prison life for Geo, and afterwards when we learn even more secrets. I was impressed with how some things happened but I also couldn't get over how convenient some things were. I hated the epilogue! But overall this was a disturbing, entertaining read. Now that I know how the name of the book ties in with the story I love it!

Review
5 Stars
Our House
Our House - Louise Candlish

Fiona Lawson has returned home to find strangers moving into her house. Fi and her estranged husband, Bram, have bird's nest custody - each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons in the prized family home to maintain stability for the children. Bram's not at the house, neither are the children, or any of their possessions. The house has been sold to a young couple but Fi did not agree to sell their house.

This book was good right from the start. It has an interesting and unique premise where this coveted house on Trinity Avenue has been sold while Fi was away for a couple days. She knows absolutely nothing about what's going on. Her husband has been keeping things from her and everything ends up snowballing until every messy detail comes out. It's realistic, too, to have one thing happen after the other and before you know it you've dug yourself into a hole and you feel like it's too late to come out of it. This whole book is solid and hard to put down. The characters, their relationships, their situations are real. Lots of lies, loss of control, deceit, manipulation, hiding. Everything was great especially the ending - loved it!

I won a copy through a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for a hardcover copy.

Review
4 Stars
Three Days Missing
Three Days Missing - Kimberly Belle

Kat Jenkins has let her young son, Ethan, go on an overnight field trip with his class. When she wakes up in the middle of the night to the sound of a policeman pounding on her door, she prays it has something to do with her ex and not their child but that's not the case. Ethan is missing. The authorities have come up empty-handed and the search dogs have lost his scent in the mountain forest. Another mother, Stef Huntington, whose child is in Ethan's class and on the same field trip doesn't know much about Kat but her son's disappearance affects her own life in a big way.

I really liked The Marriage Lie and I enjoy Kimberly Belle's writing so obviously this book was good! I was hooked from the very first page. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. What happened to Ethan?! Lots of suspense and tension. I did see some things coming a mile away, and it did start to unravel for me towards the end, but overall this was an entertaining read that held my attention and had me looking forward to when I could pick it back up. I liked reading from Kat's perspective as well as Stef's and I liked how they were woven together. I can't wait for more from this author.

Review
4 Stars
An Anonymous Girl
An Anonymous Girl - Sarah Pekkanen, Greer Hendricks

Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by Dr. Shields. Jess thinks she's going to answer a few questions, collect the easy cash and it'll be over. But the questions grow more and more invasive and soon Jess believes that Dr. Shields knows exactly what she's thinking. And what she's hiding.

This is written by the same women who wrote "The Wife Between Us" so of course it's going to be good, right? Right! Interesting concept where Jess participates in an anonymous study that focuses on ethics and morality. Dr. Shields is intense. She definitely brought out some emotions from me - frustration, anger, impatience. But her mind was amazing. These characters have so many layers that shaped them into who they are. Most of this book had me thinking not much is happening, but now that it's over I realize that it's one of those quietly good books that leave you thinking. There's passion, betrayal, obsession, deceit, jealousy, manipulation. And even though I felt like not much was happening it was never boring and I could not stop turning the pages.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC.

Review
5 Stars
Just Between You And Me: A Memoir
Just Between You And Me: A Memoir - Myles Goodwyn

When I started this book, I was depressed and I guess because I listen to a lot of April Wine, reading this book felt like a friend sharing their story with me. It kept my mind off things and I couldn't wait to pick it back up. Myles lays it all out in the open for us. He tells us about his childhood. Growing up poor, his mother dying at a young age. His early bands. How April Wine came to be, and their many lineup changes and what their songs are about. He takes us through his later years, talks about his health and his other ventures. There's nothing in here that's crude, he doesn't put anyone down. He seems like a classy, down-to-earth guy and like I said it felt like I had a friend while I was reading this book. I could gush about how I think April Wine is the best band to come out of Canada. And they started in Nova Scotia, where I'm from! So cool. Definitely check this book out if you're a big April Wine/Myles Goodwyn fan.

Review
4 Stars
Like Never and Always
Like Never and Always - Ann Aguirre

Two best friends are dating brothers. They're all hanging out together, driving around on a hot summer night when things go horribly wrong. Liv wakes in the hospital, but everyone is calling her Morgan. She's hoping things will get cleared up when the bandages come off, but sadly that's not what happens. Liv has become her best friend Morgan. Morgan is a beautiful rich girl who seemed to have the perfect life, but as Liv finds out it's anything but. She uncovers one dark secret after the other until she fulfills Morgan's last request.

This book immediately had me hooked. What is going on?! Liv died but now she's in Morgan's body? And all these secrets Morgan had - wow. This book can serve as a reminder that everyone has their own story, we shouldn't judge or jump to conclusions. I liked the characters. The story was never boring - one thing snowballed into a lot of dirty secrets coming out and Morgan/Liv found strength and courage to keep her head held high. I liked how she no longer took the little things for granted and that she also found out who her true friends were. A compulsive and interesting read for me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for a copy of this book
.

Review
2 Stars
Invite Me In
By Private Invitation - Stephanie Julian

This started off good - Annabelle Elder is an antiques dealer. She collects erotic art, but her life is the complete opposite of steamy. When she attends a New Year's Eve party at Haven Hotel with her best friend she decides to be a little more open-minded, especially when she meets handsome, rich, charming Jared Golden and discovers the pleasure palace he has set up in the hotel. Only those who've received invitations may go and nobody will spill what goes on behind closed doors. I liked the fancy hotel and waiting to see what will happen between Annabelle and Jared, who seemed to be interesting as individuals, but things became soo boring between them. It was the same thing over and over and over with one completely weird scene in the middle that had me wondering things like 'why??' and 'what the fuck???' So much heat in their eyes, their blood, their touch, their everything! To be honest I skimmed the hell out of this book after I managed to get to the halfway mark. I caught the part where Annabelle was jealous of the piece of property Jared wanted to buy because that's the way he looks at her.. really????? Ugh.

Review
2 Stars
Nailed
Nailed - Lucia Jordan

This had an interesting premise - newly single Conrad Blunt has his secretary find an escort for him to take to the charity ball.. his sister doesn't like that idea and has her best friend done up to accompany him which he doesn't know and he doesn't remember Emma anyway. But this was boring. It was repetitious. It was like the author went through the thesaurus and used weird words to describe the anticlimactic sex scene between these two. Ugh. Thank God it was short and it was free. I won't be reading more in this series or looking for more from this author.

Review
2 Stars
On Bone Bridge
On Bone Bridge - Maria Hoey

As a child Kay Kelly had always envied Violet-May Duff - she was pretty and she was privileged. As new friends Kay is welcomed into the grand old Duff house. She is charmed by Violet-May's younger sister, Rosemary-June. She takes a liking to Mr. Duff, is intrigued by Mrs. Duff. And she falls hopelessly in love with Violet-May's older brother, Robbie. It all seems too good to be true. And Kay finds out one September afternoon that it is, when the three young girls take baby Alexander Duff for a walk.

Kay Kelly is now in her thirties and when her path crosses with the Duff family once again, it doesn't take her long to realize something is wrong. Kay has to go through what happened that day long ago on Bone Bridge and face the terrible truth.

This started off good. It's divided into book one and book two. Book one is when Kay and Violet-May were younger and how quiet Kay Kelly is accepted into Violet-May's very different world. I found their lives interesting and I wanted to know what exactly happened on Bone Bridge. I just could not get into book two when everyone is grown up and terrible things happen and the truth finally comes out. I found it so long and filled with nothing. It was boring. By the time everything came out in the open I didn't care. And the ending felt extremely rushed.

I won a copy through LibraryThing. Thank you to Poolbeg Press for my copy.

Review
5 Stars
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined - Danielle Younge-Ullman

When Ingrid was younger she traveled all over Europe with her opera star mother, Margot-Sophia. They were so happy. But then Margot-Sophia could no longer sing and they no longer acknowledged the past. They settled into a small, normal life but Ingrid desperately wanted their old life back. Now Ingrid is on a summer wilderness survival trek for at-risk teens. She has no idea why her mother sent her here. It's grueling and every day she feels as though she's going to break. But she has to figure out why she's here and why the music really stopped.

I don't think there's anything I disliked. Ingrid had a magical childhood. Then things went downhill and fast. I liked her very much. She was a strong person. She was self-aware. She didn't give up. She was sarcastic. I liked the setting. The wilderness survival thing was fun to read. Ingrid went through a lot - physically, emotionally, mentally. She would write letters to her mother telling her about all the fun she was not having. It goes back and forth between Ingrid's childhood and present day during her three weeks of hell. I enjoyed both story lines. I felt all the secondary characters were important, had their own personalities and made the book feel real. There was one part in the book where everything just came together for me and made me feel for Ingrid and there was absolutely no coming down from five stars after that. This was such a great read.

I won a copy through LibraryThing. Thank you to Penguin Teen for my physical copy.

Review
5 Stars
For Better and Worse
For Better and Worse - Margot Hunt

On their first date Natalie and Will, both law students, joked that they could plan the perfect murder together. After fifteen years of marriage, one son together, and a principal who has molested that son they will find out if they were right about getting away with murder. As a defense attorney Natalie does not want her son to go through the trauma of a trial. So she decides to take care of the problem with the help of her unwilling husband.

I love the cover. At first I wasn't sure about this book because it kind of reminded me of The Murder Game by Catherine McKenzie which was excellent, so this one didn't stand a chance. I was wrong on so many levels. I couldn't get enough of this story. I had to know what was going to happen. Could they really get away with it?! It was so suspenseful! I liked Natalie. I liked how their family seemed normal - both parents loved their kid and would do anything for him, after many years of marriage Natalie and Will weren't as close as they used to be, good people making bad choices. Did I mention the suspense? Constantly worrying if today would be the day they'd be thrown in jail. So good. Margot Hunt's "Best Friends Forever" has been on my TBR list forever. I definitely won't be putting that one off any longer!

Thank you to Netgalley and HARLEQUIN - MIRA for an ARC.

Review
3 Stars
The Date
The Date - Louise Jensen

Alison Taylor and her husband have just recently separated. Now, Saturday night, she's been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a guy from a dating site. But by Sunday morning her life is turned upside down. She has no memory of the night before and she doesn't recognize herself in the mirror. She can't recognize her friends and family. She can't recognize who is trying to ruin her life.

I read The Sister by Louise Jensen and really enjoyed it. I love the cover of this one. The writing is fun and it took no time to fly through the pages. There were some interesting aspects to the story but it was predictable. I'm bad at figuring things out, in fact I don't even try anymore, but with this book I could see things a mile away. So the book was a mix of entertaining, disappointing, and lackluster. But I'll still keep my eyes open for more from this author.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for a copy of this book.

Review
5 Stars
If I Die Before I Wake
If I die before I wake - Emily Koch

Alex Jackson is in a coma and his family and friends have been told he is unlikely to ever wake up. He's in a vegetative state, and that's true - he's unable to move, he can't open his eyes and look around, he can't say a word. But the doctors were wrong about two things - he can feel and he can hear what everyone's saying when they come into his hospital room. His family is debating withdrawing life support, after all it's been a year and a half since his climbing accident. His friends want the love of his life, Bea, to move on. Alex has decided to give up, until he hears that his accident may not have been an accident. As he puts the pieces together he begins to realize that he's not the only one in danger. But there's nothing he can do about it.

I really enjoyed this book and didn't know whether to give it four or five stars, so I left it for a bit. But I couldn't stop thinking about Alex Jackson. How he ended up in this situation, what he was going through day after day laying in that hospital bed listening to everyone who visited.. it just makes me sad. So five stars because the author has created a young man I'm sure I'll never forget and whose circumstances brought out a sensitive side I didn't even know I had. It's a page-turner even though it's only Alex's perspective and he never physically leaves his hospital bed. I appreciated how the author ended the book. Excellent debut, excellent read. I look forward to reading more from Emily Koch.