Last Seen – Lucy Clarke

33260180  4,5 Stars

Sarah and Isla know each other since they were kids. They are still close friends. They got pregnant almost at the same time. Sarah is married to Isla’s ex-lover- Isla is a single mother. Both bought beach huts on the English coastline where they spent their summers. All is perfect until one day the boys went swimming but only Jacob, Sarah’s son, returned. Marley, Isla’s boy, was never found and presumed drowned. Isla is desperate. But despite this happened on this sandbank she returns every year to to visit Sarah and her family and feel close to Marley. She loves remembering how happy her little boy was while they were at the hut. How he played with Jacob. But after a few years she senses little fractions in her friendship to Sarah. It seems as Sarah doesn’t want to share her family any more with Isla.

The book begins after Jacob disappears. He is 17 know and he did not come home after a beach party. Isla just left after the anniversary of Marley’s death. It is obvious that something happened between the two women.

The story is told alternating from Sarah an Islas point of view. We learn that everybody has secrets. Especially one of them has a huge problem with telling the truth. One lie leads to the next and soon there are many layers of lies which build up to a tragedy.

The author did a great job in creating a very atmospheric story. I loved the setting of this English sandbank and the little beach huts. Both women love their huts where they spent so many happy summers with their sons. Especially Isla loves to return to the hut because it reminds her so much of Marley. For me this was a dark and sad story. I felt especially sorry for Isla and poor Marley. Lies are told to protect somebody but mostly to protect oneself. But these lies destroyed two families. A little boy died tragically and another life was ruined.

The characters in this book are very realistic and strong. I felt with both women although I started to despise one of them while reading. It is a complex and clever story but also a slow burner. It is not a fast paced book but it is worth your reading time.

This was my second book from Lucy Clarke but definitely not my last one

The Good Widow – Liz Fenton

33852868  3,5 Stars

I expected this book to have more thriller elements. It is more about a woman comes to terms with the fact that her husband died in a car accident in Hawaii with his mistress.

I could criticize many thinks. The characters for example. I did not like Jacks, she is weak and obviously needs always somebody to take care of her. Her annoying and dominant sister. The dead macho husband James. Mousy Dylan. The pace is quite slow. There is also a love story (I don’t like chit-lit) and twist you can see coming from afar. But somehow and to my own astonishment, I enjoyed reading it. It is well written and easy to read. Maybe it was a mixture of me sitting relaxed in the sun and be reminded how I used to read love stories when I was a teenager. I don’t know. This book just flows and does not invite you to think too much about its story. It is just an easy summer read. You don’t really have to read it but it does not hurt you if you do. I could go deeper into its flaws but I think I just don’t. It was a nice and uncomplicated read.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

 

The Roses Of May – Dot Hutchison

30109999  2 Stars

 

I really had a hard time reading this book.

A lot of reviewers were disappointed that this book was so different to “The Butterfly Garden”. I must admit that I read it exactly because of that. I was not a huge fan of the Butterfly book. It was a very creepy read with a lot of weird characters and a very unrealistic story. But at least it was entertaining. This one here was such a slow burner. I thought about quitting multiple times. It was just so boring. Nothing really happens. It is all repetition. Flower deliveries. Agents traveling back and forth. All the same over and over. And you can easily figure out who the killer is. The characters are also again very weird. I disliked them all and none of them felt actually natural. I never felt “the force of nature” Prya’s mum allegedly should be. I also disliked Prya herself. And I could have done without the “butterflies”.

It a very slowly developing book with a boring story. The characters were all too edgy and creepy. I am very sorry because NetGalley and the publisher provided me with a copy but I must honestly admit that I did not enjoy it. I think I will not read another book from this author. Her idea a good story is not my cup of tea.

One Of Us Is Lying – Karen McManus

41P+Ljo-zJL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_ 5 Stars

 

Wow, this was a surprise. I did not expect that I would enjoy this book so much.

 

I am not a fan of YA books. Usually I am not interested in kid’s problems and teenage stuff. When I found this book on NetGalley I was intrigued by the blurb and hit the Request button. I just did not think about the fact that students having detention means they would be quite young. Stupid me. But I am glad now that I requested it because I really enjoyed it. I was into the story from page one. The mystery about the sudden death of one of their friends is a classical whodunit. It is hard to guess what happened and the revelation at the end was a surprise for me.

 

It is really funny that I liked this book so much. It has a lot of high school stereotypes and the typical teenage love mess. But somehow it worked. I liked the characters and how they changed during the investigation. The story is only told through the 4 students who were in detention when Simon died. There is no insight into the police work. But the whole thing stays a mystery until the end. I could see some things coming but I did not guess the end. It is an easy read and a very likable book. I enjoyed reading it and because I am so surprised that I liked it so much I give it 5 stars.

I would llke to thank NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Skitters – Ezekiel Boone

61onCCLXM6L._SY346_  3 Stars

This is the second book in the creepy spider trilogy. I liked the first book although it was full of frightening crawlies. This book takes of where the last one ended and it is build similar. We have again a lot of characters. The important ones from the first book of course but also again a hack of a lot of people we meet for one chapter and they all got a full background story. For this reason the book develops slowly. We see how the spider apocalypse develops and spreads over the USA.  I disliked these full stories for minor characters already in the first book. But here I found it quite boring. What’s happening is mostly interesting but it is a bit annoying to read 2 or 3 pages of information I don’t need. It slows the book down. In the last third it gets a little bit more interesting. The story begins to head to the end, the cliffhangers and makes me wanting to read immediately the last book.

 

I think this book is a typically middle book. It gives us a few more information and developments but for itself it would not work. I think it would have been better to put the story into one book, maybe with a lot more pages but just tighten it up a bit and just make  one single book. But this is marketing I suppose. Nevertheless the book does its job. I was a bit bored during reading and I skipped sometimes a few pages- But I also want to read the next book and learn what it is all about this creepy spiders.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review

Charlie Donlea – The Girl Who Was Taken

51hMmkODNsL._SY346_  5 Stars

Yay, finally I got my first 5 star review for 2017! I began to ask myself if I choose the wrong books or if I became over-critical. I read a lot of books which everybody was raving about and I felt like “meh, what’s that fuss about”. I really feared that I would not like this book as well. But it was quite the contrary. I really enjoyed this one.

The story is about two young girls who disappeared a year ago during a beach party. Megan was found two weeks later. She has almost no memory of the time she was held captive in a bunker because of heavy drugging. Nicole, the other girl, is still missing. Megan wrote a book and became a little bit of a celebrity. But nobody speaks about Nicole.

Nicole’s sister Livia is a forensic intern. She fears the day her sister may show up on her table. But instead the body of a young man comes onto her table. His case is a bit complicated. And it gets even more complicated when she learns that he knew her sister. Livia starts her own investigation and slowly she begins to unravel the mystery about the abductions.

I don’t want to say too much about the story. At first it was a bit slow but you can see how thoroughly the author builds his story and the characters. With every page it gets more fascinating and unputdownable. It is a dark and disturbing story. There are a lot of strong characters. The author does a terrific job developing the complex story and bringing in a lot of details and information. I liked the insight of the forensics; that was quite interesting. I also liked the ending, as sad and sudden as it is.

This was my second book from Charlie Donlea but certainly not my last one. I liked “Summit Lake” but I loved this one. It’s a terrific and mind-bending read and would highly recommend it

I’d like to thank Kensington Books and NetGalley for giving me an advanced ARC in exchange for an honest review

Megan Miranda – The Perfect Stranger

31443398   4,5 Stars

This is the second book from Megan Miranda. I really enjoyed “All the Missing Girls”. It was one of the most unusual books I have ever read. This book is different although you can recognize the unique writhing style. I really liked this one, too.

 

Former reporter Leah has lost her job. She just wants to leave her mistakes and misjudgments behind. When she ran into an old friend one night which offers hers spontaneously to move into rural Pennsylvania with her she is happy to agree. Leah and Emmy used to live together for a few months after college. Then the lost contact for 8 years but Leah always felt deeply connected to Emmy.

 

In this little town in Pennsylvania Leah does her best to blend in. But she has the feeling that somebody is stalking her. Then a young woman is found almost beaten to dead and soon afterwards a second body turns up in a nearby lake. Then Leah realized that she has not seen Emmy for days and can’t track her whereabouts. She reports her missing and suddenly has to face the fact that she knows literally nothing about her friend.

 

The author weaves a dark and complex story. There are a lot of flashbacks which explains what happened back in Boston with the story Leah wrote and what went wrong. Her characters are not very likable, especially Leah. She is sullen and secretive. But that did not bother me. I don’t have to connect or like the characters in a book. I enjoyed the slow building tension, how with every new piece of information the story became more and more mysterious and that everybody was so unreliable. And I also liked the ending.

 

I will definitely look out for Megan Miranda’s next book.

 

I received an ARC from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Merken