Category Archives: Mystery/ Thriller

“Waiting on” Wednesday: The Shattering

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

The Shattering by Karen Healey

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publication date: September 5, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

From Amazon:

Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn’t prepared for her brother’s suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna’s brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.

As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year’s Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.

As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?

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In My Mailbox (01)

My first In My Mailbox post! Hosted by The Story Siren, In My Mailbox is a chance to showcase new books, ones checked out from the library, bought, won or received for review. All summaries taken from either Goodreads or Amazon.

Touching Silver by Jamie Craig

The chase of the Silver Maiden continues in this second of the series . . . A young woman reappears five years after being kidnapped and cold-case detective Olivia Wright reopens the investigation. The dangerous Gabriel de los Rios appears to be involved so Olivia turns to Isaac McGuire, the LAPD detective who knows Gabriel all too well. Gabrial wants to gain the supernatural power of the Silver Maiden coin and kidnapping is not the only crime he is willing to commit in order to possess it. Olivia and Isaac hope to stop Gabriel before he can do more harm, but Olivia’s single-minded professionalism is derailed by the highly distracting Isaac . . .

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. Charming and debonair, the spitting image of Cary Grant, Martin sweeps Cornelia off her feet, but, as it turns out, Martin Grace is more the harbinger of change than the change itself.” Meanwhile, on the other side of town, eleven-year-old Clare Hobbes must learn to fend for herself after her increasingly unstable mother has a breakdown and disappears. Taking inspiration from famous orphans (Anne Shirley, Sara Crewe, Mary Lennox, and even Harry Potter) Clare musters the courage to seek out her estranged father. When the two of them show up at Cornelia’s cafe, Cornelia and Clare form a bond as unlikely as it is deep. Together, they face difficult choices and discover that knowing what you love and why is as real as life gets.

Somewhere Inside by Laura & Lisa Ling

In 2009, Laura Ling, a reporter with Current TV, traveled with a film crew to the region of China that bordered on North Korea to report on defections, particularly of women who were later forced into arranged marriages or sex slavery. The crew momentarily crossed into North Korea, and Ling and Euna Lee, her editor and translator, were captured. Given the hostilities between North Korea and China and a recent critical documentary on North Korea by Laura’s sister, journalist Lisa Ling, the women knew they were in for an ordeal. Laura was beaten during the capture, and the women were held in isolation and faced meager meals, cold, and little medical treatment. In the U.S., Lisa and her family prayed and called on powerful contacts, including Al Gore and Bill Richardson, to win the women’s release. During the time of their captivity, North Korea conducted a nuclear test and fired off missiles, increasing tensions with the U.S. and UN. The women were eventually tried for attempting to overthrow the government and sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp, but through behind-the-scenes maneuvering and negotiations with prickly North Korea, they were finally released after five months in captivity. This memoir alternates between the sisters, with Laura recalling the escalating peril of her capture and imprisonment and Lisa recalling heightened worries as weeks dragged into months. A riveting story of captivity and the enduring faith, determination, and love of two sisters.

Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

In this coming-of-age story set in a medieval kingdom, Andrea is a headstrong princess longing to be a knight who finds her way to modern-day California. But her accidental return to her family’s kingdom and a disastrous romance brings war, along with her discovery of some dark family secrets. Readers will love this mix of traditional fantasy elements with unique twists and will identify with Andrea and her difficult choices between duty and desire.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 23, 2009)
Paperback: 664 pages
Series: Millenium #1
Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch – and there’s always a catch – is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

Review:

Let me start by saying, I’m probably one of the few people who didn’t immediately fall in love with this book (if at all). I’ll admit though, Larsson had an interesting idea. Partly because of my aunt’s recommendation and to be able to watch the movies guilt-free, I forged through and read the book.

Set in Sweden, it was interesting to read about a foreign place. The story circles aroudn the two main charachters: Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who recent lost a major libel case, and Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant but largely misunderstood girl who is considered legally incompetent in the eyes of the Swedish law. Then we throw Henry Vanger into the mix, the elderly former CEO of Vanger Enterprises. Vanger is obsessive over the cold case, and now, in his old age, wants to try one last time to put it all to rest.

Definitely an interesting plot, and a great set of well developed, flawed characters to keep us interested. But maybe in part due to my lack of understanding for Swedish society, there were times when it felt like the story dragged. More often then not, I found myself skimming through quite a few information centered sections, and the story didn’t progress as swiftly as I would have liked.

Again, I mostly read this book for the movie. There were several topics that made me quite uncomfortable (because I have the sensibilities of a maiden aunt). There were things like adultery, rape and corruption in the system. One particular scene involved Lisbeth and the scum ball social worker (or whatever they’re called in Sweden), who makes his appearance again in the next book so I wasn’t allowed to forget his existence easily. I’m inclined to believe people love these books for a reason, so I tentatively recommend this book in hopes you all find something redeeming that I missed. It’s a slow start, but for others (just not myself) it does pick up as you get into the book.


One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (Fiction)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (February 24, 1999)
Kindle: 352 pages / 379 KB
Series: Stephanie Plum #1
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

After her Miata is repossessed, Stephanie Plum turns to bounty hunting for quick cash, and her first quarry, an ex-cop accused of murder, turns out to be her first lover, with whom she still shares a powerful chemistry.

Review:

For anyone who reads mystery/ thrillers and has browsed in a book store, it more than likely you have seen this book before, even in passing. It’s Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Sporting bright, colorful and bordering obnoxious covers, I almost avoided picking up this first book.

The reason I picked up this series was the countless recommendations. One way it was described to me was as being “light, easy reading”. And, it is. I’ve read a few of Janet Evanovich’s re-published romance novels & “Wicked Appetite”, her new book that came out last fall (which is a spin-off of the Stephanie Plum un-numbered set of books). Her romance always had too much packed in to really work well. With the Plum series, by simply being a series it gives Evanovich adequate time to fit in what plot themes she wants and time to develop her characters.

In this first book, we meet the main cast of characters. There’s Stephanie’s family: her mother (who constantly wants Stephanie to settle down and live up to the “Burg” expectations), her Grandma Mazur (who decided to let loose after her husband passed on), and her father (who tries his hardest to ignore them all at the dinner table and focus on his meal). Vinnie is her cousin, whom she blackmails into giving her a job as a Bond Enforcement Agent (BEA) aka bounty hunter. Then there’s Joe Morelli, the bad boy turned cop turned Failure to Appear (FTA), who has a sexual history with Stephanie. Through Stephanie’s new job, she meets Ranger. He’s the hot Cuban American bountry hunter, who, on a lark, takes Stephanie under his wing. He likens it to a Professor Higgins and Eliza Dolittle type of relationship.

It’s an interesting mix of characters with an interesting plot to boot. However as a standalone, the sheer amount of people you meet can be overwhelming. Luckily it’s part of a series, and Evanovich has the space to spread her creative wings. Overall, this series is definitely an easy read. Give it a chance, and you’ll find yourself flying through all the books.