43 Following

Momma Says to Read

Avid reader/reviewer and editor. I don't pull punches when I review, love it or hate it, you get what I think.

The Echo Killing

The Echo Killing - Christi Daugherty

This one took me a bit to get into as the introduction of characters and setting felt a bit slow in the beginning. However, once the story picked up, it made for an interesting read. The book is well-written and the characters are a good mix of likable and not so likable, which is to be expected in a crime mystery. I have to say that Harper frustrated me at times in her dogged determination to find answers regardless of the cost - often jeopardizing not only her own safety and career, but that of others. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but to root for her as she worked to find answers to a brutal murder as well as answers to her own troubled past. The whodunit in this one wasn't hard to figure out, especially with a couple of red herrings being a bit on the obvious side, but the journey kept me turning pages to see if I was right and how it would all play out. The conclusion comes together quite well and there are a couple of unanswered questions that I'm assuming will be addressed in a future book. I did like that our heroine isn't perfect and her personal life isn't all sunshine and roses as so often happens in fiction today. Life is messy and the reality of those messes in Harper's life adds to the realistic emotional feel of the story. All in all, this crime mystery is worth the read and the questions raised at the end have me sufficiently intrigued to check out a future Harper McClain book.

Sometimes I Lie

Sometimes I Lie - Alice Feeney

While this debut novel did have potential, it felt a bit like the author was trying too hard for that something that makes a memorable psychological thriller. The twists abound, but there were so many and they became so outrageous that the belief factor just flew out the window. In addition to chapters alternating between then and now, plus before, after, and later, we have characters that are called one name them and another now, characters that may or may not be real, and no one among them all that made me want to root for them. Despite the many attempts, I didn't find anything to give the story that edge of your seat, heart-racing feeling that should come with a thriller, and what started with such great potential quickly became convoluted and disappointing. 

The Girlfriend

The Girlfriend: A Novel - Sarah  Naughton

The Girlfriend is dark and twisted, and there is certainly a mystery to solve. Those things alone should've made this one right up my alley, and it does have its moments, but I finished it with mixed feelings. The story starts out right in the middle of action and then veers off from there to Abe being in a coma and Mags trying to distinguish fact from fiction. We do get back to the events from the beginning and they do tie in, but it takes a while. From this point on, we get multiple points of view and lots of flashbacks, which are at times, quite difficult to read. I did have a problem with the flashbacks at first and found myself flipping back to the beginning of chapters to be sure of who was doing the telling. In all honesty, I found little difference in the voices of young Mags and young Jody. My biggest problem with this book was that after the initial action, the story moves along at a very slow pace and is loaded with filler. Several times, things that could've easily been summed up in a paragraph took pages. I appreciate setting a scene, but too much detail is as bad as too little, especially when any hint of actual answers isn't part of all that detail. At that point, it just muddies the waters and makes for more convoluted mess than gripping thriller, which does little more than pull the reader out of the story. Fortunately, the story does pick up, but not until the last fifteen percent or so. I will say that I did like the conclusion, but with so much filler, along with the back and forth of the various characters, the getting there often felt more like a chore than enjoyment of what could've been a gritty and gripping thriller. 

The Coincidence Makers

The Coincidence Makers: A Novel - Yoav Blum

After reading the blurb for this one, I was excited to start reading it, so I loaded it up on my Kindle immediately and dove in. More than a month later, after laying it aside numerous times, I was still trying to finish. I did finally make it to the end, but for such an intriguing premise, the delivery fell quite short. The book is a bit of a hodge-podge of genres ranging from Sci-fi to romance and even some mystery. The reader is treated to some rather boring, textbook-like 'excerpts' from the Coincidence Makers... Umm... Manual? But, that wasn't the worst of it for me. No, that came when I finally hit about 50% and was still waiting for something to happen to show me where this convoluted tale with its lackluster characters was heading. At that point, I started skimming, but that didn't work either because then things made even less sense. Maybe this one just wasn't for me, but I came away sorely disappointed with the end result of what started as such an interesting concept.

Closer Than You Know

Closer Than You Know: A Novel - Brad Parks

Closer Than You Know starts with every parent's worst nightmare and doesn't let up. The story moves at a fast pace, the characters are interesting, and there are plenty of twists along the way. All of these things combined should've made this a four or even five star read, but my problems lay with the completely implausible events scattered throughout this tale. The reasons for what was happening to Melanie were obvious very early on, if not the identity of the person behind it all. However, that became pretty clear to me about half-way through, despite a ringer thrown into the mix. Without going into too much detail, so as not to give spoilers, I found it hard to believe that no one around the antagonist would have any idea of things going in their personal life, especially given who it is. So, by the time I reached the big reveal and conclusion, I was left with a couple of choices - either the big baddie is a brilliant criminal mastermind, which is a big stretch given what we're told, or everyone around them is an idiot. Either way, the story had potential, but came up a bit lacking in the delivery for me. I realize that this is fiction, so a certain amount of leeway can be given, but everything combined was just a little too much, making this just an okay read.

The Family Next Door

The Family Next Door - Sally Hepworth

This one had great potential to be a gripping story of suspense. Unfortunately, I didn't find it particularly gripping or suspenseful. There is a bit of mystery, but even with a few red herrings thrown in, it wasn't hard to figure it out. The whole thing reads a bit like a soap opera or a bad Lifetime movie, except that there are fewer characters here likable enough to root for. I spent a good portion of this book feeling sorry for Essie's husband, Ben, who seems to be the only person on this street that has any sense. And not to belittle postpartum depression in any way, but I might've had more than a hot minute's worth of sympathy for Essie except that three years later, she has a second child who is apparently the perfect baby - until she's not and Essie isn't getting enough sleep, so starts having similar problems as she did the first time. Of course, the rest of the people living on this street aren't any better. Among the men we have one who can't keep it in his pants and another who makes a bad financial decision and goes through a rather exaggerated depression, and among the women, we have the one who gets pregnant to keep her husband, the one who's baby may or may not belong to her husband, the clingy mother/grandmother, and the mysterious single woman who's in everybody's business. A couple of these not so likable characters do redeem themselves somewhat toward the end, but it wasn't enough for me to care much about them. After glancing at the many four and five star reviews for this story, I realize I'm in the minority here, but for me, this was a rather depressing story and the mystery, which could've been a redeeming element, was just too easy to figure out. 

The Bad Daughter

The Bad Daughter: A Novel - Joy Fielding

I came away from this one with mixed feelings. While the story did hold my interest, it is far from the gripping, edge of your seat thriller that is promised in the blurb. The pacing throughout most of the story is very slow until we get to the last handful of chapters, then it picks up considerably. Even with the slow pace, there were a couple of things that did keep me turning the pages. The first thing was the family dynamic. If you looked up dysfunctional, you'd find this family's picture. It was a bit like a train wreck - you don't really want to see, but you just can't look away. The second thing was the identity of the killer, which is glaringly obvious from very early on, but I've been wrong before so I kept going to see if I'd guessed correctly and what this person's motive could possibly be. Honestly, the cliche of a motive was the biggest disappointment for me, but as much as it's been done, it still manages to send chills down a person's spine. Our main character, Robin was likable enough, but her play by play of dreams became a little tedious and she's not very perceptive for a therapist. With the exception of Blake, there's not a single character in this one that isn't flawed in some way - some worse than others, and some of those flaws made the character more likable and for others, not so much. I do have to comment on the sheer amount of dialogue in this one as it was considerable. But as I read, I began to realize that the dialogue could have been cut almost in half if the author had left out the annoying repetition of statements in question form. Once it caught my attention, I couldn't help but notice how often it was happening and it started becoming a distraction. In the end, I did finish the book and the story did hold my interest, but this one was a middle of the road read for me. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either and I can't say that it would lead me to search out other books from this author. 

Darkest Night

Darkest Night: A Romantic Thriller (Sons of Broad) - Tara Thomas

This romantic suspense tale was certainly loaded with suspense, but the romance side fell short for me. Tilly and Keaton shared one kiss when they were fourteen and due to family drama and accusations, they don't see each other for eight years. Both characters are likable and they share a quick wit that adds some levity to the story. They're also intelligent and wise beyond their years in everything except for their romance. The idea that they fell into each other's arms so quickly with so much past drama between them just wasn't believable for this reader. I will say that their intimate scenes were well done and what I would consider steamy light. If the romance had been a bit more developed, it would've been perfect. That aside, the book has plenty of suspense and intrigue, which did keep me reading to see who would be behind it all. There is one edge of your seat scene toward the end, but I expected that. What I didn't expect was the disappointing lack of information about the Gentleman's identity or about how Jade ties into things. As I got closer and closer to the end of the book, I knew there would have to be a cliffhanger, but this one just stops, leaving a lot more questions than answers. It felt more like the end of a chapter than the end of a book and I can only assume that it will pick up from there in the next addition to the series. As it stands, I'm left with a bit of "meh" feeling about this one and haven't decided yet if I'm intrigued enough to continue with the series. 


The Liar's Girl

The Liar's Girl - Catherine Ryan Howard

After reading the blurb for this one, I was hoping for an edge of your seat thriller, but to say that the story moves at a snail's pace is an understatement. As if that weren't enough, the switches from past to present and back again, as well as those moving from Alison to the killer were abrupt enough to be distracting. Other than a couple of mildly creepy scenes with the killer, there's little in the way of  action until the end when we do get a couple of pages of what I would consider gripping and fast-paced. By that time, we have our big reveal on the killer's identity, and while they weren't completely new to the story, they were darn close. Enough so that it was next to impossible to make an accurate guess, which is one of the things that draws me to a mystery/thriller. In my opinion, the best part of the whole book was the last couple of pages where we do get an interesting twist in the story, but since that twist is only revealed to the reader, it has zero impact on anything else that's happened. In the end, this was a disappointing story with an even more disappointing conclusion. 

Brute Force book 1

Collision Point: A Brute Force Novel - Lora Leigh

I spent a good portion of this book feeling like I was missing something, like I was starting a story in the middle. Considering that this the first book in the series, I thought (hoped?) that things would start to come together and backstories would be explained. As it turns out, Collision Point is the first in a spin-off series. Given that information, I don't see any way for a new reader to even come close to figuring out the complexities that led to this one. That aside, I kept reading to see if my interest would be piqued enough to warrant checking out the series that started it all. Sadly, as the story progressed, it became more and more about this couple's sexual appetites than anything else. That second half of the book is more steam than story with Riordan and Amara pawing at each other, often at completely inappropriate times. I appreciate well-written intimacy, and the author is certainly talented when it comes to turning up the heat, but the book quickly became pages and pages of sex with bits of story thrown in during the down-time. While this does show attraction and chemistry, that's lust, not love, and even though they eventually do say the words, the only thing I felt was that Riordan and Amara seemed more like hormonal teenagers than adults supposedly in a dangerous situation. In fact, at one point, Amara is finally remembering details from her abduction - something everyone has been waiting for - but wait, before we can get those answers, they absolutely can't wait another minute before having sex again. We'll get to the answers later. Given the nature of those answers, the whole thing became completely ridiculous at that point. It didn't take me long to start skimming these parts to see where the actual story would go. What I ended up with was a rushed ending stuck between steamy times and a less than satisfactory conclusion. The book closes with a somewhat open ending of a story that's not quite finished, but given my experience with this one, I won't be reading further in the series. Fans of the author and the original series would probably enjoy this one much more than I did, but I can't say that I would recommend it to a new reader.


Playmaker: A Breakaway Novel - L.P. Dover

I finished this second chance, sports romance with mixed feelings. On the surface, the story is a bit different than most of the genre in that Maddox and Lacey are married when they get their second chance, and there are some interesting characters throughout the book. So, while the bones of the story are good, what started as a promising story line came up a bit lacking. I loved Maddox. He's a little broken but knows what he wants and is willing to do the work to get there. However, Lacey is an irksome combination of hot and cold. Throughout most of the book, she bounces back and forth between wanting to make the relationship work and having no faith in Maddox whatsoever. Several times, she would say that it wasn't going to work while her actions would completely negate those words. While Maddox has some self-worth issues, most of the angst for this pair comes from Lacey's continuous back and forth along with a couple of outside sources that were more distraction than anything else. About fifty percent of this romance is Lacey pulling away while Maddox chases and jumps through hoops to show her how he feels. We do eventually see some character growth with Lacey and things start coming together, but in the end, it just didn't have that stand out something to make me want to root for this couple, making it just an okay read for me.

Ghost Roads #1

Sparrow Hill Road - Seanan McGuire

If you ever told ghost stories around a campfire, you've heard some variation of this one. That combined with the intriguing blurb for this caught my attention. I expected something a bit creepy and possibly some action. I didn't find much of either, but that's on me and my own assumptions. On the whole, the book is well written and the author is certainly talented, but I found myself struggling to get through the book. What started as a seemingly great premise ended up being what was more like a series of not so scary ghost stories told from the ghosts point of view. We do have the underlying plot line of this man that is forever hunting Rose, but he's only mentioned here and there through a tangle of seemingly disjointed tales with little in common other than Rose. Some of these stories were interesting, some not so much, which led to a lengthy, drawn out read. I did keep at it to see where things would go and that underlying plot did finally bear some fruit, but it was a rather disappointing conclusion. There were also several unfamiliar words used throughout the book - some easier to figure out than others - and I was surprised to find a glossary of sorts to explain those words. Sadly, it was at the end of the book. Since I don't read the back of the book first, I wasn't aware of this, but it would've been nice to know as I was actually reading the story. So, while the idea was terrific, the end result was just okay for me and certainly wasn't enough for me to read further into the series. 

Conflict of Interest Book 3

Approaching the Bench (The Conflict of Interest Series Book 3) - Chantal Fernando

Great combination of sweet and sexy with a bit of suspense thrown in. The story is fast paced and entertaining, the characters are likable, and the dialogue is witty. I've enjoyed each book in this series, but I think Callum may be my favorite hero so far. He's funny and self-assured enough to be himself without being arrogant, and as it turns out, he's exactly what the hard-nosed Judge needs in her life. He and Trinity have good chemistry and while the suspense element is secondary to the attraction between them, it does make for an interesting turn of events. I'll be anxiously awaiting the next in this engaging series.

High Stakes

High Stakes (Betting Hearts) - Lilly Cain, Corinne DeMaagd

While I wouldn't necessarily call this one a comedy, it is an amusing and fun read. On first glance, it seems like the romance happens really fast, especially when you consider that the whole thing takes place over a weekend. But, Adrian and Jenn have known each other for most of their lives and been attracted to each other for quite awhile, so it's not the whirlwind romance that it seems. On the whole, this one is a fast paced, sexy but not overly steamy, light-hearted romance with some great characters and a bit of silly thrown in. 

Surprise Me

Surprise Me: A Novel - Sophie Kinsella Fast-paced, witty, and entertaining. After reading the blurb, I'll admit that I went into this one expecting more fluff than substance, but the prologue had me rethinking that assumption. Then I get to the first chapter and was worried again - Sylvie and Dan are just a bit too perfect. And then the story takes an interesting turn. As this couple is faced with what should be good news from a physician, they react differently than what most would expect. They freak completely out. They then set about on a mission to surprise each other in order to keep things interesting in their marriage, but these surprises don't turn out quite like they planned. Ranging from the simple and sweet to outright hilarious bungles, these surprises lead to some miscommunication and suspicion. That's when the story takes a more serious turn. While the last part of the book is more serious, that same sharp wit is still present to keep things from getting too heavy. All in all, the story is a bit over the top at times, but it's well written and a surprisingly entertaining and at times compelling read.

Lullaby Road

Lullaby Road - James          Anderson

From the synopsis, Lullaby Road sounded like a suspenseful thriller that I could sink my teeth into. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to that expectation. While I appreciate a good description for setting a scene, I found this book to be so overly wordy that it became tedious and so focused on those details that it left little room for the actual story. The only suspense for me lay in when the thriller part of this novel would start. As Ben travels up and down Highway 117 in Utah, we meet a rather odd mix of characters, but other than Ben’s interactions with them, they don’t seem to have much in common or any link to a mystery. On top of that, Ben is traveling with not one, but two children that belong to other people. That, in itself, had me scratching my head from the beginning. Who leaves their child to ride up and down treacherous roads with an acquaintance? There was also a number of rather ambiguous references to what turned out to be a first book that I assume leads into this sequel. Sadly, there is no reference to this in Lullaby Road’s information. I did muddle through out of sheer determination to finish this one and a hope that the story would improve. Had I read the first book in Ben’s story, or had there been a bit of explanation about those references to it, I may have been more invested in this one, but in the end, what I had was a tedious, long-winded story and a conclusion that was convoluted at best. There were also some unanswered questions that were possibly left for a future book, and I realize I'm in the minority here, but considering my experience with this one, I think I’ll skip it.