Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Book Reviews - Starting with a Mystery X 3

So, as I was compiling these reviews, I realized that 3 of the 4 of these begin with a mysterious death. That was definitely not planned, and honestly a bit of an odd common thread. Anyway, here's the latest quartet!

My Sister's Lies by Rachel Hargrove was the story of strained relationships and secrets all around. It begins with a death (so content warning right away that this is a suicide), and you wonder what has happened and who is involved. The story then fully begins when after a decade of being estranged, Hannah's sister Diane shows up on her doorstep with her teenage daughter Mia in tow. With no context as to the request other than that she needs help, Diane asks Hannah and her husband to watch Mia for a few days while she gets some things in order. The rest of the book is then the unraveling of the mystery in both the past and the present. It's understanding what drove the sisters apart, as well as what's going on with Diane (and Hannah) now. I'll be honest and tell you that there was a twist in this one that I figured out (y'all, I've watched a lot of Lifetime movies), so it meant some of the thrills weren't as big for me. For me, this one was just okay. It was an intriguing premise, but just not my jam. That said, if you like your thrillers steep in family dynamics, this could be for you. Thanks to NetGalley for the sneak peek in exchange for my (always) honest review.

Read this book if - You want something involving family, sisters specifically, and the secrets between them past and present.

Those People by Louise Candlish is my second book by this author. The best way to describe her books is simply "THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY." This one begins with a death. Something has gone wrong in the neighborhood. The first half of the book is then piecing together how things go there. Lowland Way is a nice neighborhood. It's family friendly with neighbors who are friends, and they have their way of doing things. Then, Darren and Jodie move in. Imagine all the worst things about neighbors - Loud music, a used car lot in the front yard, bad DIY projects - That's what they bring. Told through the eyes of a variety of the neighbors, frustrations grow with who has come to live on the block. This causes strain and impact in a variety of ways for the neighbors. About halfway through, the book reveals what happened in the death that began the book. Honestly, that was the peak of the story for me. It was a twist I did not see coming, and it made me legit gasp. From there, I'll be honest that the story didn't pack the same excitement. What happens next is the fallout from the death and piecing together what has happened. This is one of those books that will stress you out to read. You will be so frustrated by the neighbors, but you also want to know what's going to happen next. We've all had that worry of who lives next door, and this is that exponentially realized. Again, the second half of this one dragged a bit for me, but still a solid thriller about suburbia gone way, way wrong. Thanks to Berkley Publishing for the giveaway allowing me to preview and review this June release!

Read this book if - You like a book that is literally the worst possible outcome over and over again. You like drama that just escalates again and again and again.

Light from Other Stars by Erika Swyler was an interesting read. The description of the book didn't share this had an element of science fiction. Once I figured out it did, the plot all made far more sense. The story focuses on Nedda during two timeframes. First, there is 11 year old Nedda. Her father has been let go from NASA, and he is taking on projects in her basement around how to control and alter time. Then, there is Nedda as an astronaut. She is on a mission, and she is reflecting on her work and what led her there. When Nedda was 11, the Challenger tragedy happened, and by virtue of her dad, she knew those who were on the mission, so this connection is interwoven. This one was all-around intriguing, but I also wanted so much more in a good way. There were so many stories of characters that weren't told, as well as "Wait, what?" reveals where I had questions and wanted to have so many more details. This is a little off the beaten path of what I would normally read, but the relationships and connections between Nedda and her dad were quite wonderfully written. It keeps secrets and makes reveals in such a captivating way. I wasn't sure what I was getting in this one, but came out on the other side really loving what I'd read. Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to check out this read! 

Read this book if - You want a book that is a unique exploration of the relationship of a father and daughter.

Girl in Snow by Danya Kufafka was another thriller that began with a death. In this one, Lucinda Hayes, a popular high schooler, has been murdered. The story is then told from three perspectives to figure out what happened and what folks are hiding. There's Cameron, the loner who has been watching Lucinda, Jade, the girl who envies what Lucinda has and has taken from her, and Russ, a cop working the case who may be more connected than people realize. Through the three stories, bits and pieces of the story are told to decipher who killed Lucinda. For me, the three narrators is what worked about this. Told from a stand-alone perspective I would not have enjoyed it enough. But with each of the ways these three interfaced with Lucinda (and others involved), it built the suspense. It was suspenseful enough to keep me reading, and I didn't figure out how it was going to end which is always a plus. As someone who reads a lot of thrillers, I think the only drawback was I wanted more thrills and drama. It had a sufficient amount, but I just needed more depth to the action.

Read this book if - You want a thriller that is a quick read and interesting enough.