Phew! July 11th is a popular day for book releases! I feel like every month ends up having a day or two where a ton of great books come out. I’m definitely not going to complain though.
Some of these are highly anticipated releases and all were either #allthebookreviews or #cjsreads titles 🙂
I’d like to thank all of the awesome publishers for the copies in exchange for my honest reviews! Prometheus, Berkley, Blackstone Publishing, Doubleday, Scribner, Random House, Quirk Books, and Dutton.
Releasing Today – July 11th
BETRAYAL AT IGA – Susan Spann: 4/5 stars!
BETRAYAL AT IGA by Susan Spann is book five in the Shinobi Mystery series, but it read very well as a standalone. I was surprisingly sucked into this murder mystery set in feudal Japan (1500’s). It was an incredibly fast read (at just under 300 pages) and I feel like I learned a lot about the Japanese culture in this time period.
We follow Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo in the Iga province. When an ambassador of a rival province, the Koga, is assassinated at dinner before peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer. They’re racing against the clock to stop the murderer before the inevitable war between the Iga and Koga provinces.
This murder mystery becomes complicated when all of the potential suspects are highly respected ninjas and trained assassins – including the commander of the Iga. Hiro’s family become intertwined in their search for the killer when he strikes again – will he have to choose between his family and his honor to serve them?
Spann did an incredible job with this novel. I can only imagine how the other four novels were before this. She is so true to the culture and the time period. The book even has a glossary of terms in the back so that you can learn what the terms mean. I also enjoyed her writing style. You wouldn’t think that suspenseful murder mystery and feudal Japan would mix well, but she effortlessly weaves them together for a page turning read. With the short chapters, I found myself flying through this one!
I give this one 4/5 stars and I’ll be looking for the other Shinobi Mystery novels.
BRING HER HOME – David Bell: Will be posting #CJSReads2017 reviews on July 13th!
LOVED – PC Cast and Kristin Cast: 4/5 stars!
Not going to lie, when I read the intro and some of the descriptions I was incredibly confused. The thought, “isn’t this book one in a series??” popped into my head a couple of times. However, as I continued I found that I wasn’t lost at all. LOVED by PC Cast and Kristin Cast is book one of A House of Night Other World series. This book had a great pace and was a quick and fluid read.
This book takes place a year after the House of Night series ended – Zoey and her fellow Nerd Herd have defeated Neferet. The close friends have now gone their separate ways. However, when Zoey is visited in a dream by Kalona, everything is about to change. Kalona brings warning that Neferet could be stirring again, and the potential key to stopping her is hiding in her journal. Zoey calls together the Nerd Herd once again, but have these once close friends been apart for too long?
Everyone of the Nerd Herd is facing their own personal struggles – Stevie Rae is homesick, Damien is beginning to battle the resurgence of depression, and Aphrodite is cracking under the immense pressure from her mother. The characters must battle their inner demons, but in the meantime, zombie vampires are unleashed upon their world.
To be honest, if this book didn’t have that intro/recap in the beginning, I wouldn’t have liked this book as much. It did cause some confusion at first, but it definitely got me completely up-to-date and a little familiar with the characters. I really enjoyed their writing. It’s always interesting when books are co-written because you always wonder if their styles will mesh together seamlessly – I definitely couldn’t see any disconnects between chapters!
Despite this being a book with preexisting characters from another series, I still feel like I got to know them well enough. I really enjoyed Aphrodite’s character. This is definitely a fantasy and paranormal YA novel. So if you aren’t a fan of YA, then this probably won’t be for you. It was a pleasant surprise for me! If you like vampires and zombies, then it’d highly recommend this one to you.
I give this one 4/5 stars! Without that introduction it would have probably gone towards 3.5 stars.
MEDDLING KIDS – Edgar Cantero: 4.5/5 stars!
The second I saw this cover and heard, “Lovecraft meets Scooby-Doo” I was instantly intrigued. MEDDLING KIDS by Edgar Cantero was nothing less than that! It was horror and humor mixed together and I definitely enjoyed the read. I can already say that this won’t be for everyone – some of the words/language used and the mix of styles made it an awkward read at times, but I still enjoyed the unique reading experience.
We go back and forth between present day, 1990, and the past, 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club – a group of teen detectives and their dog – haven’t seen each other since their last, failed, case back in 1977. Our characters are Andy, Kerri and Tim (the Weimaraner), Nate, and Peter. Andy, the tomboy, is now on the run and she is wanted in two states, Kerri, the kid genius and blossoming biologist, is now a bartender with a serious drinking problem. Time, the Weimaraner, isn’t the original dog side kick of the group, but he is the descendant! Then we have Nate, the lover of all things horror, has been in and out of mental institutions for the last 13 years. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the jock turned movie star, but there’s only one problem, Peter’s been dead for years.
The time has come where they must go back to Blyton Hills, their small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley (Oregon), to uncover their final mystery from 1977, the Sleepy Lake Monster Case. This was the case that ruined them and resulted in the wrong man going to prison for the crimes.
Cantero has a very interesting writing style. Something that keeps you on your toes – changing from narrative to a more screenplay-type style. I can see this putting some people off. He also adds in some over the top words that aren’t words. It was definitely an interesting read from start to finish.
I enjoyed the mystery and will definitely say that it is more on the humorous side than the scary side. Still lots of spooky and eeriness to it though! Just what you’d expect from Scooby-Doo and the Gang. The characters are well developed and likable, they definitely came into their own and weren’t the clear images of Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy.
If you want a mystery horror story with a lot of comedic relief, then this is the book for you. If you’re looking for something terrifying, this probably wouldn’t be my first recommendation. Now, excuse me while I go watch some Scooby-Doo!
THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS – Michael Robotham: 5/5 stars!
Yet another book where the King is quoted on the cover! “Robotham is an absolute master.” If Stephen King is calling you the master of psychological suspense, then I definitely need to be reading this book! THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS by Michael Robotham is psychological thriller that follows the lives of two pregnant women. They cross paths and their lives are forever changed.
We follow Agatha and Meghan. Two pregnant women who lives are about to irreversibly intertwine. Agatha is working part time stocking shelves at a grocery store in an expensive London suburb. While she works she always hopes to catch a glimpse of a customer she idolizes – Meghan. Meghan has the seemingly perfect life – two perfect children, an adoring husband, a happy marriage, and a successful parenting blog, that Agatha reads religiously.
Meghan’s life is far from perfect. With her marriage on the rocks lately and her husband, Jack, becoming increasingly argumentative Meghan is hoping that baby number three will help put things back to how they were. But everyone has their secrets, and Meghan has plenty of them.
Learning that Meghan is pregnant again, she finally gets up the courage to approach her. Coincidentally, their due dates are within the same month, so that gives Agatha another thing in common with her. Little does Meghan know, a seemingly innocent exchange with a grocery store employee would completely change her life forever.
I love the alternating perspectives in this book. Back and forth between Agatha and Meghan. Robotham does an incredible job developing these two female characters. The differences in their pregnancies, state of mind, and their lives are so perfectly illustrated and described to the reader. There were many times this story got in my head and gave me the creeps. The level of obsession and delusion that Agatha was reaching – in regards to her “relationship” with Meghan – made my skin crawl.
This book had twists and thrills. It was a gripping page turner and I loved it. This really brings into question, what do you really know about someone and their life? We all think we know each other well through social media, but that’s the sides of them they want us to see. The secrets and lies throughout this book kept you on your toes! I will definitely be reading more of Robotham’s work after this one.
If you want a gripping psychological thriller with in depth character development, then I’d highly recommend this one to you! The King wasn’t lying when he said that Robotham was the absolute master.
WATCH ME DISAPPEAR – Janelle Brown: Will be posting #CJSReads2017 reviews on July 14th!
TEN DEAD COMEDIANS – Fred Van Lente: Will be posting #allthebookreviews thoughts this week!
FINAL GIRLS – Riley Sager: 5/5 stars!
Here is probably one of the most talked about thrillers of 2017 – and with good reason! When the King has a blurb on the cover, I’m drawn to it instantly. When he says this is the best thriller of 2017, then I need it! Riley Sager’s debut FINAL GIRLS was an incredible thriller with a nonstop pace that had me flipping through pages.
Quincy, Lisa, and Sam are all Final Girls. All three are the survivors of horrific, horror movie worthy killings. Quincy was the only one to make it back from her vacation with five college friends. Lisa survived a knife attack when her nine sorority sisters did now. Sam went up against the Sack Man during her shift at work at the Nightlight Inn. Despite the constant attempts from the media, the three girls have not met. They just want to get on with their lives.
Quincy has finally gotten on with her life – a fiance, job, beautiful apartment, and her Xanax make for a great life. That is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, from an apparent suicide. Sam, the second Final Girl, shows up on Quincy’s doorstep and her world is turned upside down.
Quincy is our narrator, but we alternated between past and present to try and work through all the lies and buried memories. The characters were so well developed – you could relate to Quincy and she felt like a real person. The girls are multi-dimensional and as the story goes on we learn more and more about them. I loved how original this story was – a girl wandering out of the woods and covered in blood. That only happens in horror movies, right? Not for these Final Girls, that is only the beginning of their nightmares.
From the first page this book has you on the edge of your seat. If I didn’t have work interrupting, then I would have easily read this in one sitting. The ending! Did not see that coming – I thought I could predict where things were going to end, but then a huge twist was thrown in. Sager tied together everything so well in this novel and I will be waiting for more from this author!
If you want an addictive thriller with nonstop suspense, then stop looking because this is the book you need!!
THE DEVIL’S COLONY – Bill Schweigart: 3.5/5 stars! (ebook – not pictured)
When I read the description for Bill Schweigart’s THE DEVIL’S COLONY I was instantly intrigued. Monsters, skinheads, “a chilling decent into horror and human depravity”. Sign me up! The only problem was that I didn’t realize this was book three in a trilogy – I found this out halfway through the book, too.
Ben McKelvie had a good job, a nice house, a beautiful fiancée, until a bloodthirsty shapeshifter took it all away. Ever since, he’s been chasing supernatural beings and monsters all across the country. By his side are Lindsay Clark (zoologist) and Richard Severance (cryptozoologist). They’re about to face their hardest challenge!
In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Henry Drexler operates a private compound called Välkommen (Swedish for welcome). Drexler welcomes all visitors—as long as they’re racists or neo-Nazis. Drexler used to be Serverance’s mentor, and his research could have potentially summoned a monster to the Pine Barrens. To find out the truth, Ben and Lindsay must enter the camp incognito. While there, they learn that the most evil monsters lurk inside the human heart.
So, while the premise was good I was completely lost in some points in the novel. Since I’m on book three of a trilogy – and it’s not the type of detective series where they could be standalones – I was missing a lot of references and character development. So that definitely ruined the flow of the book and there were probably some events that lost some significance because I wasn’t clued in. The horror element was there and the compound was really interesting to go through and see how Ben and Lindsay tried to blend in.
The writing was great and the horror was there. I’d highly recommend reading the first two in the trilogy if this one sounds appealing to you! I wish this was better marked to make it clear it was book three.
So many great releases! Have you read any of these? Are they on your TBR? Let’s discuss!