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What Book's Up, Buttercup?

The Magpies by Mark Edwards

Hum. What to say about this book. I had such high hopes. I read the backstory for this book and how he came up with the idea online. It sounded scary and wonderful. The introduction was wonderful and while reading it in the dark of my bedroom I was thoroughly creeped out. Almost afraid. Fast forward to the rest of the book.

Jamie and Kirsty are a young couple who have moved into their first “flat” that is completely their own. They paid a good price, as the seller wanted to leave quickly we would later learn. Upon moving into the apartment, they throw a party and get to know several of the neighbors. Some are kind, some are odd. Mary a herbalist is quick to dispense advice on how to use herbs to heal the body. Kirsty who is a nurse in a children’s ward at the hospital is quick to say that it is a bunch of nonsense. Jamie who works with computers becomes an asset to one of the residents who works on children’s horror novels. A couple Lucy and Chris are friendly enough, but are strange upon meeting them.

When Jamie and Kirsty first begin to receive hoaxes such as packages of crazy books from Amazon, pizzas they did not order, cabs they did not request, they wonder who the culprit could be. As time goes on more and more disturbing things begin to occur. One particular is a total phobia of mine and I could hardly read it.

Soon, Jamie realizes that this is no cat and mouse game, this is deadly. Can they stop the monsters who lurk within their apartment complex before it destroys both of their lives?

I was not crazy about this book. The entire time I thought Jamie was such a wimp and needed to grow a pair. The ending was unsatisfying to me, not because it did or did not end with a pretty bow, but because I needed a main character with guts. I did not find this book to be scary or really that much of a thriller. It was just an okay book. Something to pass the time. I read it on audio, and the narrator did a wonderful job. I give this book three stars.

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The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

I just finished The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen this past weekend. It was a good read, but not my favorite in this series. I enjoyed the Chinese culture part, but did not enjoy the entire execution.

In this novel of the Rizzoli and Isles series, a mystery woman is found on a rooftop in Chinatown after her amputated arm is discovered by some kids on a Boston ghost tour. Rizzoli cannot determine who this woman is, only that she is dressed all in black, the cuts to her body were clean and precise, and on her body are silver hairs that are not from any human. While trying to uncover the identity, Rizzoli meets two women who are familiar with the martial arts, and have backgrounds with swords, not unlike the one that could have made the cuts on the victim’s body. When the victim is discovered to be an assassin, Rizzoli must find out who she was after.

While working the case, Maura and Rizzoli make a chilling discovery. This case is related to a horrific crime that took place in a Chinese restaurant 19 year prior. There was a bloody massacre thought to be lead by a cook leading to a mass murder and suicide. While most believe this to be the case, someone does not. They are sending messages and obituaries every year to the victim’s families, and has taken out a full page ad proclaiming the cook’s innocence. Who is this person? What is the goal? Why are they doing this?

Along with that, there appear to be a group of missing girls. One is the daughter of the teacher in the martial arts studio who went missing 19 years ago as well.

Soon there is a vigilante on the loose who is out to not only save lives, but deliver justice as well.

Will Rizzoli be able to clear the cook of murder/suicide? And will she ever know the reason for the assassins in black? And most importantly, how do a group of missing girls tie into all of this, or does it?

Tess Gerritsen has done it again with a great page turner. I enjoyed the characters, the story, the culture that I came to know, and the storyline. But I had a problem with this book. Something just did not click for me. While I love this series, this was my least favorite so far. And I think I knew it would be. I had been putting it off for a long time and dreaded reading this one. I think it was because when it initially came out, so many people did not like it. The reviews I saw were not all great, and that affected how I saw the book. I am glad I read it, but it was not the best. I give this book 3.5, rounded up to 4, stars.

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Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke

I loved this installment of the Hannah Swensen Mysteries. In Blueberry Muffin Murder, we have a new case with new characters. A famous cook, cookbook author, TV personality, entrepreneur, leading lady (similar to Paula Deen) Connie Mac is found murdered in Hannah’s kitchen. The list of suspects is pretty large considering how terrible Connie Mac actually was in real life. She was not the happy, nice person she portrayed on television. As Hannah “promises” not to get involved, we find her doing that very thing.

I thought this was once of the best that I read so far in the series. I usually guess whodunit around 50% into the book, and this time it was more like 80%. I liked the storyline, the characters, the setting of a winter festival, everything. If you like this series, you will love this book. If you like cozy mysteries at all, I highly recommend this one for you! Five shiny gold stars!

Also, I listened on audio, and the narrator is wonderful!

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The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard

This book has been compared to Gone Girl (of course) and The Girl on the Train on steroids. I am sad to report that it was not. The entire time I was reading this book I thought that is was slow, and I was ready for it to pick up, but it never did.

Phil, his wife Liz, and Liz’s daughter Danielle move into an expensive community called The Palms. This resort type community is full of interesting characters and events. Phil has moved the family here so he can run the day to day operations of the community. Liz is a school counselor at a local high school. When Danielle first meets Kelsey, Liz is surprised she takes an interest in her daughter. Danielle is not the most popular girl in school, while Kelsey is and beautiful as well. Kelsey begins to take a special interest in Phil, an obsession more like. When Kelsey is discovered in the family’s pool, how she got to be there and why is unfolded through past and present tense and told from the POV of Phil and Liz.

This was an interesting story and I liked it, but did not love it. It was just a good read. Most people do not care for the ending, but if you read Gone Girl and like it, then you will be satisfied. I enjoyed the ending, and thought it was fitting.

If you like a quiet thriller this book is for you. 3 stars.

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Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

I read Nuts by Alice Clayton, and I was so excited to read Cream of the Crop. In this book we are introduced again to Natalie, who we first met in Nuts. She is a great main character because she is a plus-size woman who is confident in all areas. She is successful in work, sex, and play. She is able to get any guy, any time, anywhere. Being a size 18 does not make her ashamed of her body, it just makes her more confident.

When Natalie first sees Oscar at the Farmer’s Market selling his homemade cheese, she is literally weak in the knees. This is the first time she is not in control. Oscar is a quiet farmer from Bailey Falls, the same town as Leo in Nuts, and is reserved. He is six foot six of gorgeous male.

When Natalie has the chance to promote Bailey Falls with an ad campaign with her firm, she jumps at the chance. Not only will she get to see her friend Roxie, she might also get to meet the hot farmer who makes the delicious cheese.

This was a wonderful book, but nowhere near as funny as Nuts. I was actually slightly disappointed. I liked this book, but I did not love it. I will recommend it to my friends, but not with the same enthusiasm as Nuts.

I cannot wait for the next in the series which I hope is about Clara. Thank you so much to Netgalley to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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