Book Review: Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Friend Request II

MARIA WESTON WANTS TO BE FRIENDS. BUT MARIA WESTON’S DEAD. ISN’T SHE?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

My Thoughts:

When I finished this book, my whole perspective changed about social media and who you accept back into your life after years and years of not hearing from people. I kid you not. After I got through the first chapter I was completely creeped out but I couldn’t stay away. I HAD to know everything that was about to happen. A few times, I had to put the book down because of the suspenseful content. However, that is a good thing, right? I have to admit, I was pretty tense reading this story and as I understand it, this is the authors debut novel. Just, wow! Friend Request is just about the best thriller I have read all year.

The story reminded me how much teenagers can be so cruel and the consequences that come after by that cruelty. Louise boggled my mind as her story unfolds. She is an adult but is still very much stuck in the past and when the past comes a knocking full force, instead of just telling the truth to the police, she creates more danger for herself and the people around her. I’d have to say that is the thrill and suspense of the story however, and it was told really well. There were some twist and turns I didn’t see coming and the ending was so sad but a good conclusion to the story.

I will certainly be more careful what I share to the public!

I have obtained a review copy from the publishers through NetGalley.

I have rated this book four and a half stars.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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Cover Crush: Murderous Mistral by Cay Rademacher

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I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

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Murderous MistralMurderous Mistral (A Provence Mystery) by Cay Rademacher

St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books/Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 19 Sep 2017

Description:

International Dagger Award shortlisted author of The Murderer in Ruins, Cay Rademacher, delivers a beautifully atmospheric new story with a captivating main character in Murderous Mistral: A Provence Mystery.

Capitaine Roger Blanc, an investigator with the anti-corruption-unit of the French Gendarmerie, was a bit too succesfull in his investigations. He finds himself removed from Paris to the south of France, far away from political power. Or so it would seem.

The stress is too much for his marriage, and he attempts to manage the break up while trying to settle into his new life in Provence in a 200-year-old, half-ruined house. At the same time, Blanc is tasked with his first murder case: A man with no friends and a lot of enemies, an outsider, was found shot and burned. When a second man dies under suspicious circumstances in the quaint French countryside, the Capitaine from Paris has to dig deep into the hidden, dark undersides of the Provence he never expected to see.

My thoughts:

I love the colors and the overall layout of this cover. I have not read any stories by this author and look forward to reading this one. I enjoy a murder mystery!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. Erin’s latest cover crush HERE.

Other great book bloggers who cover crush: -Coming Soon!

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Meghan @ Of Quills & Vellum

Stay calm and support book bloggers

 

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

the-girl-on-the-train-by-s-j-boltonEVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

My Thoughts:

Psychological thrillers give you a deeper look into the human mind and the actions of people who are tested to their mental limits and the unthinkable lengths they go to. They feel their motivations and actions are justified in some sick, dark twisted way. Much of this is explored in this story.

Rachel is a pitiful, lonely, sad and a heartbroken woman who is dependent on alcohol. As the story builds you see her losing control or what is perceived as her losing control. People who have personal experience with alcoholics know their minds play tricks on them and they are often times delusional, paranoid and display erratic behavior. They lose sense of what is real and what is not.  Their vision of reality is obscured with their brain saturated with alcohol-if you will. The author of this story portrayed this with detailed imagery and clarity. Which perfectly built tension in the most extraordinary way.

With the twist and turns in the plot, you feel yourself being swept up in the dysfunctionality of the character’s inner struggles, outer turmoil and their actions. When you think you have the plot figured out, there is a surprisingly new development -although I did have my suspicions as I began to see a pattern forming. The story does keeps a reader on edge at all times and the need to keep reading to find out what happens next.

I have to admit when I first started reading this story, I was a bit hesitate to finish it. I was afraid the alternating point of views would be too distracting due to the dark complexity of the content but I quickly adapted. I didn’t feel any sort of sympathy towards the characters except for Megan. Although her life was a deeply disturbed one and she was no innocent, you couldn’t help feel sorry for her. She did not deserve her fate.

If I had read this type of story two and a half years ago, I probably would have given it two stars. Not because it wasn’t well written but because of its darkness and utter depressive story-line. I think one has to be in a right set of mind to jump into this one. I was prepared to hate it right away but glad I picked it up when I did and stuck it out and gave the subject matter consideration.

I have rated this book four stars.

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Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. I read this book last year as a buddy read with a few fellow book reviewers. I needed to write my thoughts about the story but I had put it in the back of my mind. I wasn’t sure the direction I wanted to go with it. The months passed and I had forgotten about it. Writing reviews lately has been tough for me. This could be for several reasons. One is my disappointment in the market and two is this year has not been a great start of reading for me.

Last night, I was in my bedroom sorting clothes and thinking of an old friend’s drinking problem and then my mind turns to a train sounding it’s horn we often here outside our neighborhood. How strange to be thinking of those two things back to back and at that time. Then it hit me, I haven’t written my review for The Girl on The Train and I know exactly what I want to write! Ha! Strange isn’t it?

Those life moments and circumstances can give you unlikely inspiration at the oldest times…

Stephanie M. Hopkins

*This story has certainly given many different attitudes towards it and different perspectives. Below is a couple of fellow book bloggers opinions.

A Literary Vacation’s review HERE

2 Kids and Tired Book’s review HERE

 

 

Cover Crush:Paradox Forged in Blood by Mary Frances Fisher

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paradox-forged-in-bloodParadox Forged in Blood by Mary Frances Fisher

A murder on Millionaire’s Row.
A killer’s chilling words, “Shh. I know where you live.”
A woman tormented by her guilt-ridden past.

A historical murder mystery, Paradox Forged in Blood is set in Cleveland, Ohio, during the late 1930s. Four decades after the murder of socialite Louis Sheridan, the cold case is resurrected with receipt of new evidence that transports detectives back to Nazi Germany. The only living witness, Ellen O’Malley, must confront a haunting secret and her complicit actions.

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My thoughts on the cover and premise:

I’ve said this before and I will say it again. I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of books and I must admit I first judge a book by its cover.

I think the cover is perfect for the premise of the story. The blood spattered on the cover certainly gives it a dramatic flair.

I love a good murder mystery and I am highly interested in the setting and period for the story. A cold case is an intriguing part of this story and I can’t wait to discover what the detectives find in Nazi Germany. Bumping up this book on my to-read list!

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Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Other great book bloggers who cover crush: 

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court-coming soon

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books 

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation -Coming soon

Be sure to check out Colleen’s latest indieBRAG’s cover crush here

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers

Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

i-see-you-ii

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015.

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Three sentences that grabbed me in the book description not mentioned above:

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

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My Thoughts:

How much privacy do you think we really have? With social media-it’s next to none. Imagine opening a newspaper and finding your picture shown big as a day on it with no explanation. There are no words to describe how one would feel. Or is there? Did Clare Mackintish accomplish that goal in, I See You?

I am absolutely fascinated with psychological thrillers. Why? I am curious about the human condition and what makes people tick. What motivates them to commit the acts they do. I do- however- think there is a fine line writers should not cross in this genre. Some things are too dark and disturbing for the average reader to venture to or for anyone for that matter. Clare Mackintosh is one of the few writers who can get into the mind of a psychopath or sociopath-if you will and stay in the boundaries just enough to not leave you feeling physically ill. She gives you the right amount of tension and chill factor to leave you totally creeped out. She has you thinking about just how much information do you put out there and what could happen. The ramifications in this story are mind-boggling and so intense!

I love how she has you thinking throughout the whole story-guessing-who is the perp. Who is the mastermind behind these unnerving and horrible acts? I was quite surprised the end but started to have my suspicions about a little over halfway through. I admired how she ended the story and I wanted more! I would also like to mention I was really intrigued with how the detectives handled the case and their process.

Be sure to check out I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh as well! Fabulous read.

I rated this book four and a half stars!

I received an ARC Copy from the publishers through NetGalley for an honest review.

Book Publishing Information:
Berkley Publishing Group/Berkley/Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 04 Apr 2017

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Cover Crush bannerThis week cover crush is The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. First book I have read of hers. I understand it she has another-In a Dark, Dark Wood-that is highly recommended.

I stayed up late last night to finish reading this story. A totally different thriller than I am used too. Enjoyed it though. I might write a review about it. Maybe.

Anyhow, the cover is perfect for the story!

The woman in cabin 10From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Other great book bloggers who cover crush

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court-coming soon

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired 

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation -Coming soon

 

New Book Releases by Mathew Harffy

CROSS-finalThe Bernicia Chronicles Book 2

THE CROSS AND THE CURSE

634AD. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and second instalment in the Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Warlords battle across Britain to become the first king of the English.

After a stunning victory against the native Waelisc, Beobrand returns a hero. His valour is rewarded with wealth and land by Oswald, king of Northumbria. He retires to his new estate with his bride only to find himself surrounded by enemies old and new.

With treachery and death on all sides, Beobrand fears he will lose all he holds dear.

On a quest for revenge and redemption, he accepts the mantle of lord, leading his men into the darkest of nights and the bloodiest of battles.

BLOOD and the bladeThe Bernicia Chronicles Book 3

BLOOD AND BLADE

635AD. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and third instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Oswald is now King of Northumbria. However, his plans for further alliances and conquests are quickly thrown into disarray when his wedding to a princess of Wessex is interrupted by news of a Pictish uprising.

Rushing north, Oswald leaves Beobrand to escort the young queen to her new home. Their path is fraught with danger and uncertainty, Beobrand must try to unravel secrets and lies if they are to survive.

Meanwhile, old enemies are closing in, seeking brutal revenge. Beobrand will give his blood and blade in service to his king, but will that be enough to avert disaster and save his kith and kin from the evil forces that surround them?

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THE CROSS AND THE CURSE SAMPLE

MatthewHarffy

Author bio and links:

Matthew Harffy is the author of the Bernicia Chronicles, a series of novels set in seventh century Britain. The first of the series, The Serpent Sword, was published by Aria, an imprint of Head of Zeus on 1st June 2016. The sequel, The Cross and The Curse was released on 1st August 2016. Book three, Blood and Blade, is due for publication in December 2016.

The Serpent Sword and The Cross and the Curse are available on AmazonKoboGoogle Play, and all good online bookstores.

Blood and Blade is available for pre-order on Amazon and all good online bookstores.

Website

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

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