ARC Book Review: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

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The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

To Be Published: February 11 2014

Pages: 336

Genre: Thriller

Goodreads Synopsis: West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

My Thoughts: I read my first book by Jennifer McMahon in January of 2013, The One I Left Behind. I devoured that book and fell completely in love with Jennifer McMahon’s writing and that story. I couldn’t wait to read more. Here we are now, January of 2014 and I am so pleased to report that Jennifer McMahon has done it again! The Winter People is an incredible thrill ride, filled with suspense and wonder.

I loved absolutely everything about this story. McMahon is such a talented author. Once you’ve made your prediction and you think you have it all figured out, McMahon swoops in and pulls the carpet out from under your feet, then you’re back to the beginning not knowing what is going to happen. She does plot twists very well. 

This is an incredible ghost story with some amazing characters. I truly felt frightened at times while reading. I especially loved Sara and how her “crazy” was captured and described. The writing is another aspect I enjoyed. The writing was very descriptive and compelling. It really sets the scene.

The ending was a perfect ending for me. I didn’t see it coming, but I couldn’t have asked for a better end. All my questions were answered and it felt complete. Another amazing read from author Jennifer McMahon.

I can’t say enough good things about this book! I recommend this to everyone!

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5 of 5 blades to The Winter People.

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Book Review: Find Virgil by Frank Freudberg

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Find Virgil by Frank Freudberg

Published November 2013

Pages: 356

Genre: Thriller

Goodreads Synopsis: Second-hand smoke gave Martin Muntor lung cancer … and he’s mad. Very mad. And he’s going to do something about it. 

It’s 1995, and the tobacco industry thinks it’s invincible. But is it? Muntor devises an ingenious strategy to put Big Tobacco out of business, and he doesn’t care how many people he has to take with him in order to do it.

Down-on-his-luck cigarette company investigator Tommy Rhoads has other ideas, though. Both Muntor and Rhoads are smart, resourceful, and motivated — and neither one has anything to lose. They’re full speed ahead and on a collision course to a showdown you won’t forget. 

Read Find Virgil now, and go along for the wild ride.

My Review: Find Virgil is a story of revenge. Muntor is going to make the tobacco companies suffer because he was diagnosed with lung cancer strictly from inhaling secondhand smoke.  

For me, this book had moments where I was interested and hooked, and it had moments where it felt dry and hard to get through. Some parts felt a little too technical and hard to stick with. I enjoyed the intense Virgil scenes. I like the action and the revenge.

I enjoyed the character of Muntor. His suffering, desire for revenge, and  illness leaped from the pages and felt genuine. The character depth was apparent. However, I felt the other characters of the book, excluding TR, lacked depth. I unfortunately didn’t feel anything from those characters.

 I did thoroughly enjoy the ending of the book. Part Three of the book exploded with intensity. I was looking forward to that feeling throughout the book and when it finally arrived, it was incredible! It was a great ending. A true thriller ending. Grand Finale indeed!

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3/5 Blades to Find Virgil by Frank Freudberg

Brigands Key by Ken Pelham

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Brigands Key by Ken Pelham

Published August 8th 2012 

Pages: 373

Synopsis: Carson Grant discovers a body in a cave at the bottom of the sea. This impossible ageless body has the medical examiner bewildered. Inhabitants of Brigands Key are all becoming sick. Some have died from the sickness and it’s spreading like wildfire. As if the ME wasn’t busy enough, the body count in the morgue is growing because there is also a murderer on the loose. The CDC order that the island of Brigands Key be quarantined. Except a monster hurricane, category five, is heading straight for the island! No one can escape and the hurricane will drown the entirety of Brigands Key.

My Thoughts: Brigands Key is filled with action, mystery, and suspense. The intensity builds and builds, and just when you think it can’t possibly get any more intense, it does! But, don’t turn away, because it is done the right way. This is a true thriller – My heart was beating frantically throughout the entire book. 

I really enjoyed this story. The sequence of events, the rapport between the characters, the adventure, the science, the settings, and the conclusion. I love all things nautical, so the setting was really fun for me. The way Pelham writes is incredible as well. His words jumped from the pages and really gave life to the story.

I loved this book and I highly recommend it! I cannot wait to read more from Ken Pelham. 

My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars.

Shadow Tag by Marjorie Swift Doering

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Shadow Tag by Marjorie Swift Davis

Published August 8th 2013 by CreateSpace

Pages: 258

Summary: Detective Ray Schiller is back in the second book of the series and he’s investigating the murder of Paul Davis, which was included in the first book, Dear Crossing. Paul Davis is a top ACC executive about to be named President when he’s found in the board room with a .38 snub nose revolver in his hand and a gaping hole in his head. Suicide, right? Ray Schiller thinks different. Ray and his partner, Dick Waverly are on the case!

My Thoughts: Shadow Tag is the second police procedural in the  Ray Schiller series. In this book, we revisit the “suicide” of Paul Davis that was briefly touched upon in the first book, Dear Crossing. I enjoyed this book more than I did Dear Crossing. 

I enjoyed how the story unfolded. There is so much to discover in this book and I found it all very interesting. As did the first, this book kept me guessing! I had absolutely no clue what was coming and that was great.

This book felt real and more believable than the first and I enjoyed that aspect. 

I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about Ray after the first book, but after this book I definitely like his character. He now feels more genuine and I enjoyed the connection he has with his partner. 

I loved the ending to this book. My heart rate increased, it was intense, and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen. A really really good ending, very enjoyable. 

I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything for you. There are some real good twists! I recommend to anyone who enjoys a good mystery. 

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5.

Dear Crossing by Marjorie Swift Doering

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Dear Crossing by Marjorie Swift Doering

Self-Published: April 8th, 2012

Pages: 277

Summary: The gruesome murder of a Minneapolis woman at her lakeside summer home shatters the peace of small town Widmer, Minnesota. Ray Schiller, a man with private demons of his own, follows the trail of evidence to Minneapolis where he teams up to investigate the murder with Homicide Detective, Dick Waverly. The scrutiny of the widower’s carefully guarded personal life threatens to ruin the executive’s bid for his father-in-law’s company. Ambition, greed, love and hate result in startling consequences, which threaten to stall the investigation while an unthinkable incident makes Ray the focus of a harrowing Internal Affairs investigation. His shaky marriage and law-enforcement career rest in the balanace. Meanwhile, Ray discovers the significance of several seemingly unrelated events, which turn the murder case on its head.

My Thoughts: If this book could be classified as only one genre, it would definitely be Mystery. It started off with the one big who-did-it question, but so much happened in the book, and I had so many questions! 

The story felt a bit slow to get going, but stick with it, because it climbs into a good story. Usually when I read a mystery, I get a pretty good idea of who the culprit is, but this story had me guessing until the very end.  If you guess who it is halfway through the book, it just doesn’t seem fun, so I liked the unpredictability of this story.

There were times throughout the story that I had to stop and say, “Whoa. What?”.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, just some of the story line seemed a bit far fetched.   

I would recommend this book to you if you like mysteries. I enjoyed it and I hope you will too. Dear Crossing ended with a cliff hanger, so I’m very eager to start reading the second of the series, Shadow Tag.

Goodreads Rating: 3/5.

Up Next: Shadow Tag by Marjorie Swift Doering

Chainsaw Jane by Marie-Jo Fortis

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Chainsaw Jane by Marie-Jo Fortis

Published: March 4th 2013

Pages: 297

Summary: When Dorothea Sishy disappears, the NYPD turns to Chainsaw Jane for help. Jane reads her tarrot cards and reads that Dorothea is not missing, but is in fact deceased. The NYPD asked where they could find the body and Jane gave them several locations as the body had been dismembered. The case turns urgent when Jane’s best friend, Cruz goes missing. It’s evident that the events are linked and the NYPD and Jane must work fast if they want to save Cruz’ life.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed how this book took a new spin on the murder mystery genre. I’ve never read or heard of a book like this and it was nicely done. Detectives turn to a psychic medium. That’s very creative. 

I also really enjoyed the character, Jane. She’s so different from any character I’ve read about before. She’s an old Russian who drinks vodka like water, smokes like a chimney, and curses profusely. She’s an old, rough, stubborn, psychic and I really enjoyed her character.

This story is a real page turner and does not disappoint. The only thing I would have liked to see was more mystery. As the reader, I felt a bit too informed. 

If you like murder mysteries, I definitely recommend you read this. It’s a unique story that I enjoyed. 

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars.

The Clearing by Dan Newman

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The Clearing by Dan Newman

Published: October 29th 2013 by Exhibit A

Pages: 312

Summary: Ever have a traumatic experience as a child? Nate has and it’s the nightmare that has stuck with him. In 1976, four boys walked in to the jungle and only three walked out. Thirty years later, the truth is finally coming out. 

My Thoughts: This is not a book you want to miss out on! You’ll be hooked from the very first line! 

The moment you start reading, you are right there with those boys in the jungle and it is intense. It’s quite an intriguing story and that alone will hook you. I certainly was hooked and so eager to learn how this would play out. 

The characters feel so genuine! They feel like people more than characters. I liked Nate the best and was glad the story followed him.

This book will keep you guessing! The majority of this book, I couldn’t figure out where it was going. I thought it was this, and then that, and then I would be completely thrown. It was such a joyous ride. Towards the end, there is one little clue that gave it away. Don’t fret though, it doesn’t take away from the intrigue!

I don’t want to say much because I don’t want to chance spoiling anything. I recommend to fans of thriller and mystery genres! It certainly has made my Top 10 Best Books of 2013, which I’ll post at the end of December. Read this book, you will not be sorry!

Goodreads Rating: 5/5