not everything is as it seems to be..

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore – Mathew Sullivan

Mystery, thriller, fiction.

Rating 9/10

Lydia as a child survived the Hammerman Massacre and ever since then hasn’t been the same. Every day she lives her life quietly as a bookseller. Joey, one of her Book Frogs, was found hanging in the bookstore. When she attempts to pull him down, she notices a photo of her and her friend Raj and questions how he got ahold of that photo. Later she finds cut up books with mismatched labels. She finds hidden messages within the pages giving clue of his past. She contacts the old detective of the Hammerman Massacre as well as digs up information about Joey. A dark and sinister truth is revealed, and everything was not as it seemed.

This novel was a slow burn mystery which I do like a slow burn occasionally. This one was perfect for what I was looking for. Perfect pacing and intricate plot that slowly unfolded. The character interactions were excellent. I sort of wished this was a longer novel, but a short standalone novel is just as good. I didn’t expect that twist ending but I was theorizing how the story would unfold. What I had learned is to expect nothing other than a possibly good mystery and this one was perfect. I do recommend this mystery if one wants a tame yet thrilling novel. I read this in one sitting honestly and I wished I paced myself, but I could not resist.

a raving mad man on the loose…

The Terminal Man – Michael Crichton

Science fiction, horror, thriller, fiction.

Rating 7/10

Harry Benson is admitted to a hospital in hopes of curing his seizures after attacking two people. Harry Benson is under careful watch for a while. Before long, Dr. McPherson reads the file and thinks of the options. Dr. McPherson believes he can cure Harry Benson with this procedure. The procedure is a surgical experimentation that fixes these seizures. During the procedure, things take a turn for the worst. Harry Benson gets off the operating table and on the loose. Dr. McPherson calls security to find this man that escaped and if he was caught in the building to restrain Harry Benson. Security footage reveals that the man left the building. It’s a manhunt to find this man before he claims more lives.

This novel was moderately entertaining and had a balance of science as well as plot that were interconnected. I never doubted Crichton’s abilities to create literary works that were thought intensive and very intense. I did enjoy this novel though, but it was not as great as his other works. Not bad though, don’t get me wrong. I was expecting a more thrilling novel, but this was moderate thrill. I have a sense that Crichton loves to write about certain possibilities of playing with genetics, things that shouldn’t be played with in the first place, then having it turn horribly wrong to prove that playing God is never a good idea. That fits with this novel for sure but in its unique morbid way for sure.

a different kind of evil lurks

Jar of Hearts – Jennifer Hillier

Mystery, thriller, suspense, fiction.

Rating 11/10

Georgina remembers the exact day her friend was murdered and how she was somehow an accomplice with her boyfriend, Calvin, whose been known to be an infamous strangler murderer. Fourteen years later her friend’s remains, Angela, was found and Georgina is sentenced to five years in prison and so was Calvin. Georgina serves her time and faces the consequences of her actions. Five years past and she is released but a few days prior to her being released, a mother and child was found murdered behind her childhood home. Her old friend, Kaiser, slowly pieces the story together as another mother and child was murdered. He speculated it was the father of the children but quickly realizes that the murderer is a different sort of beast and Georgina is in grave danger.

I really really really enjoyed this thriller. I didn’t expect the plot twists at all. I was shocked at who the real murderer was. This book really kept me on my toes as well as made me binge read to find out. I love these types of mystery thrillers with unexpected plot twists. I simply could not put this novel down at all. I had tried my hardest but could not resist. The story telling was regularly paced and very colorful and insightful. The characters felt very genuine and unique that aided the plot to create believability. I had thought something else were to have happened but got another ending that was just as good and satisfactory. Sinister and dark, certainly not for the faint of heart. This book filled my dose for some good mystery thrills I wanted.

that was dark…

Friend Request – Laura Marshall

Psychological thriller, social media, friends, stalkers, fiction.

Rating 9/10

Louise gets a Facebook request from Maria Weston, a supposed dead high school teenager that they went to school with long ago. Louise wonders if she is actually alive or if this was just a prank or a hoax. Louise reminisces their time together as well as what she had done to Maria. The action she did haunted her entire life and this friend request sends her off the rails. When messages start appearing, things take a dark turn. Louise finds out the truth behind Maria Weston and is scared for her life.

This novel was intriguing for sure and did have a plot twist I didn’t expect to read. Well, actually a few plot twists I didn’t see coming. I was predicting one outcome but got another that was better than what I had originally expected. When reading this, do not have any expectations other than to have chills sent down one’s spine and expect the unexpected for sure. This author really done a good job with this specific genre and cliché. Changed it and morphed it into a thriller page turner.

worst mystery thriller ever…

The Birthday Girl – Sue Fortin

Mystery, thriller, fiction.

Rating 2/10

Clarys and her friends get a mysterious invitation to their friend, Joanne’s birthday party. They all are invited but they are put through certain instructions from her. The trip to the mystery spot for the events is strange and unsettling for Clarys. Once they arrive, Joanne acts weird and out of character. Something happens and some secrets are revealed. A secret so deadly that leads to murder.

I didn’t like this novel so much. Very bland and not great at all. Do not recommend this novel unless one likes bland mystery thrillers. I found this to be a copy and paste mystery. I found myself predicting the outcome and legit yawned in boredom.

whoa that was interesting…

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces – Lynn Weingarten

Fiction, young adult, mystery, thriller.

Rating 9/10

Sasha helps her best friend, Xavier, cope with his breakup. Sasha had always disliked his girlfriend Ivy. She had hurt his best friend and Sasha wanted payback. Sasha creates a fake username and persona to mess with Ivy. Sasha subtly tells Xavier that she feels that his girlfriend is cheating and that he should break things off. When this game of pretend becomes too serious and things are taken too far to the point of murder.

I did enjoy this young adult novel. I found it to be very thrilling and exciting as well as fast paced in a way that kept me on my toes. Do not underestimate this tiny young adult novel. I binge read it within a day. Kept wondering how and what would happen to certain characters. Just do not repeat what the protagonist had done. This was a work of fiction and shouldn’t be replicated. Anyways, such a good novel, I enjoyed the characters and their interactions as well as the fast-paced plot that made sense with the character’s relations to each other. I sort of hoped for more, but this was a standalone young adult novel.

too cliche, such a shame

And Then You Were Gone – R.J. Jacobs

Mystery, thriller, fiction.

Rating 4/10

Emily and her boyfriend Paolo go on a fishing trip together. They are happily enjoying their day but the next day he goes missing. His remains are not found, and he is claimed as dead. She mourns the loss and moves onward with her life. Later on, Paolo is found to be alive but the circumstances of his disappearance don’t make sense. Until he tells her some shocking news that alerts her that her life is in danger. He tried to warn her subtly, but she had to learn the hard way.

The idea of the novel and the synopsis caught my attention but after reading the first hundred pages, felt like a copy and paste cliché. This novel was too cliché and not even with a fresh twist. The whole disappearance because lives are in danger scenario has been overdone. I didn’t bother finish reading because I predicted the outcome because I am all too familiar with this cliché. I was satisfyingly right but disappointed in this novel.

a pandemic themed novel… seems appropriate during a pandemic

The Stand: Complete and Uncut Edition – Stephen King

Pandemic, outbreak, survivor, thriller, horror, fiction.

Rating 8/10

Charlie is going AWOL with his family due to some disease or sickness like flu that killed most of the base he was enlisted at. They travel east, while his symptoms got worse. His wife and child got the illness. They crash at a town in Texas where their bodies were exhumed and sent to the Health Department for further examination. Stu Redman is taken in to be observed as to why he didn’t catch the flu like sickness. They perform tests and examinations on him. The state patrol catches whatever Charlie, his wife, and child had caught. From there, the sickness spreads outwards affecting more people like wildfire. Fran tells Jesse she’s pregnant, uncertain of what she wants to do, she goes to her dad for advice, he welcomes whatever she decides whether her mother agrees or not. Fran’s father tells Fran that her mother is really sick with a flu like illness. Larry, a famous singer, finds himself in trouble returns home to his mother to stay until he can get back onto his feet. During Larry’s stay, she gets extremely sick with this deadly flu. Nick finds himself robbed and assaulted, he is found and brought into be cared for. The deputy asks him information and realizes that Nick is deaf and mute, a birth defect. The deputy helps Nick catch the people who robbed and assaulted him, locked them in the jailcell. The deputy gets sick with the deadly flu. Each person who had caught the flu results in a fatal death where no one is immune. Randall Flagg senses a rebirth of society and he is ready for his own rebirthing. Survivors must come together and become a community to rebuild society that was nearly destroyed by the Super flu. Stu, Fran, Nick, and other survivors meet, and they decide to follow the old lady, Mother Abigail to Boulder, Colorado to build a community. Some plans go as plan whereas some are disrupted by people who don’t want organized society.

I had been wanting to read this novel for years. I tried many times to read it and couldn’t find myself going beyond a couple hundred pages. I guess the perfect time to read this novel was during a quarantine where I hardly had much to do. To much of my surprise I couldn’t believe I waited so long to read this novel. I am thankful I read it and this novel was a bit scary for me especially since there is a pandemic going on. This novel made me feel thankful that things weren’t too bad, and things could’ve been worse. I love and enjoyed this novel a lot. The pure size is overwhelming but reasonable because of the genre and style of storytelling. King’s novel starts off slow but then picks up the pace then slows down then picks up the pace. I was on my toes while reading this. I came to love some of the characters like Fran and Nick because of their personalities and their interactions they had with other survivors. The old lady, Mother Abigail was sweet. I do recommend this novel but not for the faint of heart.

Dark Truths

The Turn of the Key – Ruth Ware

Thriller, mystery, psychological, domestic, Suspense, fiction.

Rating 8.9/10

Rowan got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. She was put in prison for a murder she didn’t commit. The story told through letters to Mr. Wexham, she asks for help in clearing her name. She tells him how she got to the present circumstance. Rowan saw an advertisement for a live-in nanny that came with good pay and benefits. She decides to send her resume and plan to meet Sandra and the kids she would be taking care of. The kids and other people warned her of the haunted stories of the house. In these letters, she provides details of what occurred during her time at the Heatherbrae House. The truth comes out and unnerving.

This novel was intriguing and fast paced. Nothing that Ruth Ware had written before and I love the style of letters rather than just traditional forms of storytelling. This was fresh and enjoyable. However, the idea of a woman being in the wrong place at the wrong time was a bit of an overused cliché. Overall, I enjoyed the novel and hoping to read more Ruth Ware novels.

Spooky Town With A Dark Secret

Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Thriller, mystery, horror, fiction.

Rating 8/10

Kate is on the run with her son, Christopher, from her abusive ex-boyfriend. She finds a cozy home in a small town and tells her son that this is permanent. A few days in, their lives become better. Christopher uses the answers from his quiz to play the lottery and wins. One day, Christopher hears and senses this being in the forest and is drawn into the forest. A nice man tells Christopher he has to build a treehouse for a specific reason and before Christmas. Once Christopher sees the truth, it is up to him to save the world. Against all odds, Christopher must prepare for the war that lies ahead of him.

This felt like a Stephen King novel but more unique to the author’s style of writing. There was a lot to unpack and to read because of the different points of view as well as a lot of descriptions. I enjoyed the complexity of the storyline and the many different plot twists that the author takes you down on. Not exactly an author trying to be a copycat of Stephen King but inspired by the famous author. I did enjoy the novel. I would highly recommend for those who seek a different thrill.