Review : Only Daughter

Only DaughterOnly Daughter by Anna Snoekstra

Published September 20, 2016

MIRA

 

 

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ONLY DAUGHTER is the debut psychological thriller by Anna Snoekstra.

A young woman steps out of her own troubled life and into the life of a woman who has been missing for the past eleven years.

I am having a bit of a hard time rating this book. I read it in just a few sittings, but I’m not sure how much of that was because I was enjoying it or because I wanted to get to the end. I didn’t feel like I wanted to throw in the towel on this one but there were a few things that really affected my enjoyment of the book.

The premise of the book really intrigued me. A young woman on the run is arrested for shoplifting. Terrified of going to jail she tries everything she can to gain sympathy. She recalls a conversation she had with an old boyfriend while watching the news. Her boyfriend was marvelling at how much she looked like the girl from the news story that was on. The story was about Rebecca Winters, a girl who had been missing since 2003. Feeling like she has no other options she tells the officers….

“My name is Rebecca Winter. Eleven years ago I was abducted.”

Suddenly everything changes. She meets the detective who has been in charge of trying to find her. She senses he feels a lot of guilt about not finding her (Rebecca) all these years, and she uses that guilt to her advantage.

She tells him she just wants to go home. She’s “reunited” with the father, the mother and twin brothers. Though everyone seems happy she’s home, something about the family doesn’t seem right. She’s not sure what it is but things feel very strange. She also wonders if she could also be in danger from the person or persons that abducted the real Rebecca.

The story is told from both Rebecca’s perspectives, and alternates back and forth from 2003 and 2014.

I found the book interesting but I felt like it took me quite awhile to get into it. There were some good twists and turns but it didn’t always flow well. Things that didn’t seem relative to the story caused me some confusion. I felt there were many questions left unanswered. Also, I’m fine with things being a bit implausible at times as it is a fiction book, but some things felt a bit too unreal.

The story did start to pick up quite a bit but I was already about two-thirds done. However, I HAD to know what was going to happen.

In the end it all came together and I got what was happening but it felt like I spent much of the book in the dark and kind of confused.

******Warning******
I had a hard time with the animal cruelty in the book. I know the author was trying to make point about psychopathic behavior etc, but I feel like there were too many instances of it and there was way too much detail. I felt ill after reading some parts.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and Anna Snoekstra for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review : Finding Claire (Hill Country Secrets, #1)

Finding Claire (Hill Country Secrets, #1)Finding Claire by Pamela Humphrey

Published December 5, 2016

Phrey Press

 

 

4.5 stars

 

I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense novels, but after reading the description for “Finding Claire” I was immediately intrigued. I thought it sounded like a great story. I wasn’t disappointed.

The book starts 2016, in Texas Hill country with a woman who is kidnapped. She is transferred in a van, then locked in a closet. A couple of days later she’s able to escape. Unfortunately, she has no idea where she is but what’s worse she has no idea who she is. As she stumbles along through tress and brush, she comes upon what looks like an occupied cabin. She is close to losing consciousness and won’t be able to go much further. Just then she sees a cat in the window, she takes that as a good sign, and knocks on the cabin door.

It’s three in the morning when Alex Ramirez’s cat alerts him to the fact that someone is outside. Someone is banging on the door. He opens the door to a woman who is bleeding, covered in scratches with rope tied around her arms. She’s terrified and flinches when he tries to touch her.

She tells him she’s been kidnapped and that she escaped but that she doesn’t know where she’s from or even who she is. She has pictures with her that have the name Claire and Emma written on them and they are dated 1986. Alex asks if she’s one of the people in the picture, but she has no idea. He decides to call his friend, DJ who is an investigator with the local Sheriff’s Office and asks him to meet them at the hospital.

When they get to the hospital, the woman is checked over and interviewed by the investigator. She asks that Alex stays with her. She’s terrified that the men who kidnapped her will come looking for her. He assures her that he will keep her safe. For some reason she feels like she can trust Alex.

*** Possibly very minor spoilers. Usually things that are already mentioned in the description or within the first few pages of the book.

The doctor says that she has a type of amnesia but that her memory will come back in time. She decides to go back to the cabin with Alex, who tells her she can stay with him as long as she needs.The police don’t have much to go on as they don’t even know their victim’s first name. Alex decides to call her Rainy until they can find out who she really is.

All of this is bringing up old memories for Alex and we learn of a woman from his past, Ellie. He feels he wasn’t there for Ellie but he vows he will be there for Rainy. She is desperate to find out who she really is. Alex hopes he can make up for his past mistakes by protecting and helping Rainy.

Interspersed throughout the book are letters from a mother to her daughter. The letters start in 1987 and are dated every year on the daughter’s birthday. We are given more information with each letter. The letters are heartbreaking. You can feel the mother’s love and the agony of missing her child in each letter. The author makes you feel that pain and so many other emotions with her writing. I thought the letters were a great way of explaining some of what happened in the past from the mother’s perspective.

I really enjoyed this book. I found the author’s writing style easy to follow. I liked reading both Alex and Rainy’s perspective. A suspenseful read with a great plot and well-developed characters that I came to care about. I was very invested in the story and anxious to know how it was going to end. Overall, this was a solid and entertaining novel that I quickly devoured.

I am really looking forward to more from this author. Hopefully book two isn’t too far off.

Thank you, Pamela Humphrey for providing me with an advanced copy to read and review.

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Review : Stalked (The Profiler #4)

Stalked (The Profiler #4)Stalked by Elizabeth Heiter

TO BE RELEASED: December 27, 2016

MIRA

 

 

 

4.5 Stars!

Haley Cooke has been missing for one month. Her boyfriend, Jordan dropped her off at cheerleading practice and she hasn’t been seen since. She walked into the school to get changed for practice but never came out….

How do you walk into a school and disappear without ANYONE seeing?

The book opens as Linda Warner is searching her daughter’s bedroom. She wants to see if she can find something the police might have missed. Linda still clings to the hope that her daughter is out there somewhere. Every day she goes to the police station for an update, she talks to news people to keep Haley’s name and face in the news, uses social media to help reach as many people as she possibly can.

After a long day, exhausted from searching she slides to the floor clutching her daughters sweatshirt to her, smelling it to see if there is any scent of her daughter left on it. At that moment something by the bed catches her eye. A black notebook. The police must have missed it. She opens it and sees her daughter’s handwriting with the words…

“If you’re reading this, I’m already dead”

Haley is a nice girl and a straight A student. She has a close relationship with her mother but does sometimes clash with her stepfather, Pete who has only been around for a few years. She has good friends, including her best friend, Marissa. Haley has also been dating an older college guy, Jordan. By all accounts Haley doesn’t have any enemies, and certainly no one would ever want to hurt her.

Would they?

But rumours abound and it looks like everything may not be what it seems. Her mother insists that Haley would never run away but her biological father, Bill thinks she ran away to get away from her mom and stepfather.

People are keeping secrets, it even seems like someone close to the investigation has something to hide. Is one of these secrets the reason for Haley’s disappearance?

FBI profiler, Evelyn Baine is called in to help and will be working with a detective on Haley’s case. Evelyn has been dating Kyle McKenzie for the last six months. They both work for the FBI. Evelyn is a profiler with the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Kyle was working for the Hostage Rescue Team but was shot in the line of duty and is now working in the field office. While Evelyn is helping with the Haley Cooke case, Kyle is working a possible human trafficking case. A university student was attacked and left for dead but miraculously survived. But she doesn’t want to speak with police. Instead, she specifically asks to speak with the FBI….

There is a lot going on in this book but it is an interesting read. I didn’t realize that it was part of a series before I started reading it (this has happened to me before but is my fault for not looking closer). However, it actually worked out very well as a stand-alone.

It was very suspenseful and the story-line was great. There were a few times I thought that things felt a bit implausible, but overall it was a good story with really interesting characters. The characters were well-developed and although I felt a few lacked depth, I think in most cases those characters were probably fleshed out in the previous books in the series.

I definitely want to continue with this series as I really enjoyed the story and want to see what happens next for these characters.

Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin (MIRA), and Elizabeth Reiter for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review : The Girl You Lost

The Girl You LostThe Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft

Published February 5, 2016

Bookouture

 

 

 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book by Kathryn Croft that I’ve read. I’ve heard many good things about her previous books. When I read the description for “The Girl You Lost” I was intrigued to say the least.

As the book begins we are taken back eighteen years. Simone and Matt are a young couple adjusting to life as new parents in their tiny apartment. Matt is twenty-two and studying to be a doctor and for now nineteen-year-old Simone has put school on hold to raise their six-month old daughter, Helena. They are lucky though that Matt’s mother, Miriam is around to help out. She frequently takes Helena out to give the young couple a bit of a break.

Matt’s mother comes to take Helena to the park one afternoon so Matt can study. The tired parents are happy to have a few moments to themselves. Just as they say how happy they are, how great everything is, the phone rings and their world is forever changed..

Helena is missing.

The book then jumps to the present. Simone Porter is now a successful journalist and is married to Matt, who is now a doctor. Their daughter, Helena has been missing for eighteen years and they are no closer to finding her then they were before. That is until one day. Simone is approached by a young woman named Grace. Grace tells her she needs to talk to her about her missing daughter. Simone is hesitant as she’s been fooled before by people who claim to have information about Helena. But she decides to hear what the young woman has to say.

What Grace says gives Simone hope for the first time in years. But can she trust this woman? When Grace also goes missing Simone will do anything to find her and find out if what she says is true. However, she becomes involved with people who will do anything to keep her from finding out the truth.

I was pulled into the story very quickly. The book was narrated by Simone for the most part. But there were also chapters throughout the book from an unknown persons point of view. This person has hideous secrets and has carried out horrific acts. They tell us that are part of a group who enjoyed carrying out these truly evil deeds. (Some of these deeds can be hard to read about and could possibly be triggering for some people).

“I need to start somewhere near the beginning, to help you understand, don’t I? Not that you ever truly will because what would that make you if you did?”

There were multiple story-lines and I felt they were interesting and all fit together very well. I was positive I knew what was going on one minute and then something would change my mind. It really did keep me guessing. There were many twists and turns until the final big twist that I honestly did not see coming.

“How is it that someone capable of such atrocities, can still have love in their hearts?”

An excellent psychological thriller. I thought it was well written with an exciting story and great character development.

I will definitely be reading more from Kathryn Croft.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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