Her Last Goodbye by Melinda Leigh

HerLastGoodbye

Her Last Goodbye by Melinda Leigh

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s Morgan Dane series continues as the fearless attorney and her partner, investigator Lance Kruger, take on a disturbing disappearance…

Young mother Chelsea Clark leaves the house for a girls’ night out…and vanishes. Her family knows she would never voluntarily leave her two small children. Her desperate husband—also the prime suspect—hires Morgan to find his wife and prove his innocence.

As a single mother, Morgan sympathizes with Chelsea’s family and is determined to find her. She teams up with private investigator Lance Kruger. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier their investigation gets. When Morgan is stalked by a violent predator, everything—and everyone—she holds dear is in grave danger.

Now, Morgan must track down a deranged criminal to protect her own family…but she won’t need to leave home to find him. She’s his next target.

This is my first book from Melinda Leigh but it won’t be my last, that’s for sure. I started reading this book and was hooked instantly.

This author made the story flow extremely well. Part of the reason I couldn’t put it down was because every chapter gave me another little breadcrumb. Whether it’s the budding romantic relationship between Morgan and Lance, or the actual mystery of what happened to Chelsea Clark, this author kept me wanting more throughout the story. As we see the story from different viewpoints, you are pulled in more and more to this tangled web.

One theme that runs throughout the story is the character’s last goodbye. I appreciated this because I feel like this might be one of the few times where the overall theme of the story coincided with the title. When we see Chelsea’s character, she’s remembering her last goodbye to her husband and family. When we see Morgan with her family, she’s reminded of the frailty of life. The same goes for her partner, Lance Kruger, who’s doing his job, caring for his mother, and trying to pursue a relationship with Morgan.

The mystery in this story is intense and I was left wondering what was really the truth throughout the story. For me, that makes the story a truly incredible mystery. When we finally find out what really happened, it’s really surprising because you never see it coming.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It was captivating, mysterious, and one of those books that I just could not bring myself to put down.

 

 

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Pitch Dark by Alex Grayson & A.M. Wilson

Pitch Dark

Pitch Dark by Alex Grayson & A.M. Wilson

One girl disappeared. After fifteen years, her cold lifeless body was found on the damp forest floor. Not an inch of her was unmarked by the horrors she endured. Alone, malnourished, abused in horrific ways; this was how she died.

One girl was found walking the streets, covered in dirt and scars. She had no memory of who she was, where she came from, or what happened to her. Even though the marks on her body attested to years of heinous abuse, her strength shone through at every turn.

Revenge and justice were sworn.

Years of searching brought up nothing but dead ends. Detective Niko James was too late to save his childhood friend, but he vows not to let down another.

The clock is ticking and the trail is pitch dark.

*This book contains dark triggers.*

This book is one that will stay with me for awhile. I don’t normally go for dark romance, and I would honestly consider this book to be more of a suspense, than romance. But there is definitely dark, very graphic content. The reason this book worked for me is because it isn’t all darkness the entire time. The chapters alternate back and forth between past and present, and different viewpoints. I think that’s essential for this story because otherwise, the pitch darkness would be all-consuming.

I was reading a few other reviews about this book because I love seeing how other bloggers and readers interpret something. One thing I read a lot was that Niko needs anger management. He might, but for whatever reason, I aligned with his character and his anger. I did find the scenes where he was so angry to be a little repetitive, but at the same time, he deserved to be angry. I could see where every time he thought of Aislin, he would get riled up again.

This book has a lot of heartbreak, despair, and hopelessness in it. But at the same time, we see the characters showing their strength and perseverance. One scene that really stuck out to me was one of the darker ones. Our victim, while being tortured, has miraculously found ways to cope. Not cope with what’s happening, but just a way to get through it. It’s not pretty, it’s not sugar-coated. But in this terrible circumstance, she’s found a way to get herself through it.

The authors should be proud of the work they did on this story. It pulled at my emotions, and while I didn’t want to put it down, I also felt like I needed a break from it. This story was one of those that I would read a bit, stop and digest, and then go back in. If you enjoy dark romance, or suspense in general, I think you would enjoy this story from Alex Grayson and A.M. Wilson.

 

 

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

GirlInSnow

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

WHO ARE YOU WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING?

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory.

Compulsively readable and powerfully moving, Girl in Snow offers an unforgettable reading experience and introduces a singular new talent in Danya Kukafka.

This is easily one of the most interesting, and also somewhat disturbing, books I’ve read in a long time. The start of our story is raw and honest, and it chilled me immediately.

This story follows Cameron, the boy who loved Lucinda too much; Jade, the girl who wanted her life; and Russ, an officer assigned to investigate the murder. The first thing I will say is that this author impressed me with how she took what is considered a thriller, and flipped it all around. While Lucinda’s murder is the glue binding everything together, you almost start to forget about her at points. You get so engrossed with the characters, what’s happening, their secrets, their thoughts. It was a unique take on the idea of a thriller and I enjoyed that.

I read this book in about six hours. I only put it down the first night to sleep and immediately started in again the next day. The way this story is laid out worked well. Each chapter focuses on one particular character and even with a large cast of characters, it was easy to follow, and not lose anyone in the story.

Cameron’s character swung from scary to timid. You weren’t sure if you wanted to help him or hide from him. Jade…I felt for her character. As we learn more about her as the story continues on, you feel your heart break for this teenage girl who is trying to figure things out while also protecting herself. Russ’s character is unique, and yet almost what you’d expect at the same time. He’s lost. Even though he’s a police officer and middle-age, he’s lost. All of our characters are. I think that’s what makes this story captivating; everyone is lost in their own way.

If you’re looking for a thriller that brings a fresh perspective to what we normally think of as a thriller, this is the book for you. The story is painful, visceral, and almost feels a little too raw in parts. But those are the aspects that I enjoyed the most. The characters are extremely flawed, but also not unlike most of us. A fantastic debut for the author.

 

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

watch me disappear

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found, just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie’s death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends.

But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan?

Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, but also about themselves, learning, in the process, about all the ways that love can distort what we choose to see. Janelle Brown’s insights into the dynamics of intimate relationships will make you question the stories you tell yourself about the people you love, while her nervy storytelling will keep you guessing until the very last page.

I finished this book last week. I needed a day to process it all and here I am, a week later, still obsessed with this twitchy tale. I can’t stop thinking about it, and have already debated re-reading it. It’s THAT good.

This story follows Olive and Jonathan, dealing with life about a year after Billie’s disappearance. Olive is having visions of her mother and Jonathan is trying to make sense of everything. His marriage, his wife’s past, who his wife, and her friends, might really be, and then worrying about his daughter, Olive, on top of that. One thing that really struck me with this book was how the characters, even if they did something unscrupulous, managed to keep you on their side.

You want to hate Jonathan as he starts having doubts over his presumed dead wife. You find yourself angry at him for being naive, but then you also feel heartbreaking compassion for him. Olive is trying to find herself. Others see things in her that she herself has yet to discover. You find yourself annoyed at her chasing these visions, but at the same time, you can’t blame her for running headfirst into this mystery.

This is the first book that I can say I actually popped in a post-it note. There were so many pieces that I wanted to remember and hold onto myself.

Billie’s character is exceptional. I don’t know if I mean that in a good or bad way yet. Her character is one that has stayed with me and I can say I’m still thinking about her. When we start to get a deeper look at her life, it makes you question how you feel about her. Is she cruel or was she doing the best she could? Should we love her, hate her?

Anyone who loves a good thriller will love this book. Moreover, anyone who enjoys a good mystery, while also on a search for self-discovery, would adore this novel. I really cannot say enough amazing things about this story.

 

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Don't You Cry

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

From the author of the New York Times bestseller everyone is talking about THE GOOD GIRL, Mary Kubica returns an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession.

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

I finished this book a week or so ago. I was needing a day to let this book settle in my system, but I still am just blown away by it and I really struggle to find the words for this story.

This book was an absolute mind-fuck. I was so completely twisted and turned around, trying to understand what was happening, what was real. I kept coming back to this book over and over. I’d read for a bit, put it down so I could get something done, and then I’d have my nose right back in it because even when I wasn’t reading, it consumed my thoughts.

Quinn and Esther are roommates and when Esther goes missing, it causes Quinn to question everything in her life. Quinn is described as being a bit of a slow learner, but I personally didn’t see that in her character at all. I felt more like she was a young girl just trying to find her way, and constantly being compared to her over-achiever sister. Which is how she stumbles on Esther, who happens to be looking for a roommate. The two have a great friendship and Esther sounds like the person you’d love to have as your roommate. But are things always what they seem?

When Esther goes missing, Quinn starts finding out more and more about Esther. About her last roommate, secret letters, shredded pictures and documents. Who is Esther Vaughan?

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan town, Alex stops a bewitching girl sitting in the diner he works at. A strange friendship is born between the two. Alex is incredibly smart, but taking care of his alcoholic father consumes his time and money. So while Alex did have a scholarship to a great college, he couldn’t take it because of his father. As a reader, your heart breaks for Alex. From the moment I read his character, I felt he deserved so much better than what he had.

Overall, I loved this story. It hooked me in from the first page. That said, I did feel like the ending was somewhat anti-climactic. I’m unsure if I like that or not, simply because the ending is such a shock to begin with. I’m torn on if I feel like I wanted more from the ending or if I’m happy the way things were. Either way, this story will leave your jaw hanging open at the end because the end is more insane than anything your mind could ever conjure up on it’s own.

 

Dying Breath by Heather Graham

DyingBreath

Dying Breath by Heather Graham

Buried alive… 

As a teenager, Vickie Preston survived an attack by a serial killer. That was the first time she saw a ghost. Now the city of Boston is being terrorized—someone is kidnapping women and burying them alive, but cruelly leaving a glimmer of hope for the authorities by sending a clue about their location. Vickie is pulled into the investigation when her name is mentioned in one of the notes. And as a historian, she has the knowledge to help uncover the graves the killer known as the Undertaker is choosing. But she also has another, unique lead: the spirit of one of the victims is appearing to her in dreams.

Special Agent Griffin Price is on the case for the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI’s special unit for paranormal investigators. He feels particularly protective of Vickie, since their shared past is connected to the threat that currently surrounds them. With the killer accelerating his plans, time is running out for more victims hidden around the city. Vickie is becoming closer with Griffin, but she’s getting too close to the danger, and every breath could be her last.

The Krewe of Hunters are back!!! (Insert me screaming with excitement here) Seriously, this is probably my favorite all-time series. I just cannot get enough.

Our story starts with 17 year old Vickie Preston babysitting baby Noah for the Ballantine family. What Vickie doesn’t know is that an escaped prison convict is hiding in the house. Until Dylan Ballantine gets her out of the house. But Dylan is a ghost…

This book will probably rank as one of my favorites from Heather Graham. It got my adrenaline running from the very beginning. Vickie later becomes a bit of a history buff and while Griffin was initially the officer who helped Vickie in the past, now he’s part of the Krewe of Hunters. I really enjoyed them as a couple, even when their feelings for each other wasn’t realized. I think of all couples that I’ve read, I felt like these two are some of most compatible I’ve seen. I know that might sound strange, but I feel like if I met Vickie and Griffin in real life, I’d want to set them up together.

Another facet that I love about all Heather Graham books that really shone in this book was the history. The reason Vickie is so vital to this investigation is that she’s a total history buff. She’s also incredibly intelligent. So as the Undertake is giving out clues, Vickie is busy solving the puzzle.

Heather Graham always delivers and so do the Krewe of Hunters. This series has been one of my all-time favorites for a long time now, and it continues to be. Graham knows what works but always keeps things fresh and keeps readers on their toes the entire time.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

TheGirlWhoKnewTooMuch

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Amanda Quick, the bestselling author of ’Til Death Do Us Part, transports readers to 1930s California, where glamour and seduction spawn a multitude of sins…

When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…

The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

This book had me in awe of the author. Talk about incredible writing! Amanda Quick literally takes the reader back in time to the 1930’s. Of all of the books I have read, this one truly transformed my entire surroundings into California, and the Hollywood scene, of the past. It was a remarkable experience.

Our heroine, Irene Glasson, is the rookie with a gossip paper. But her latest story about a dead actress connected to a famous actor has touched the wrong nerve with the wrong people.

One of the biggest factors that I enjoyed about this story is that while there are many twists and turns, I never felt confused or lost. In the past, I’ve somewhat stayed away from books considered in the historical genre because there is usually a language difference, on top of the names and locations maybe not being as familiar, thus making it harder for me to keep track of all of our players in the book. The fact that in this story, Irene Glasson isn’t even Irene Glasson, the above mentioned point is even more true for me.

I really enjoyed this story. It kept me on my toes the entire time. You aren’t really sure who is good and who is bad in this story. Someone you think is good can end up doing something entirely heinous and the bad ones are only worse.

If you enjoy historicals, or you enjoy Amanda Quick already, you will enjoy this story a lot. I have only read a few books from this particular author and I have always found myself transported back in time and I’ve loved it every single time.