Review: Wicked Ways by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

Wicked Ways (Wicked #4)
by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

coffeesynopsisdThe Greatest Terrors

Elizabeth Gaines Ellis is an ordinary suburban wife and mother. That’s what she tells herself as she flits between her realtor job, yoga class, and caring for her daughter, Chloe. But for months now, Elizabeth has worried that she’s far from normal…that she’s somehow the cause of a series of brutal, horrible deaths.

Are The Ones

Her mean-spirited boss. A bullying traffic cop. Her cheating husband. Elizabeth had reason to be angry with them all. She didn’t mean for them to die. No one will take her fears seriously–except the private investigator prying into her past. . .

Too Close To See

The more scared and angry Elizabeth becomes, the higher the death toll grows. But those who wrong her aren’t the only ones in danger. Because others have secrets too, and a relentless urge to kill without mercy or remorse…

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Whenever Elizabeth is crossed or confronted by someone she really abhorred, she thinks ill of them and sometimes wish them to die. And yes, they soon do! People die a few days after Elizabeth wish for them to disappear forever. From the unfriendly police officer, to her bitch of a boss, and then next, her husband and his mistress. Elizabeth is someone you really should steer away from.

I think this was a fine book, but I can’t help but look for something that seemed off with the pacing. I really like Lisa Jackson, having read some of her books before, like Unspoken. But this time, I have to say I was underwhelmed by the rather long narrative and timeline jumping between the past and the present.

Please don’t take this as a negative comment or review, but rather as a constructive criticism. To tell you the truth, I am really not impressed with stories that goes switching from current storytelling to recalling the past, all under one chapter. Timelines like this a rather leaves me with an unpleasant taste and a confusing state.

Trust me, I have read other books that could expertly jump from one timeline to another but can still hold the interest of the reader and won’t get confused whether or not the specific event is still in the past or in the present. Aside from that, the too much detailed narrative also somehow put me off, too. It was like a long, winding road before I get to the real destination of the story.

Ravinia really got it going at the start of her narrative, but then she started babbling about something that happened here and there, and then thinking and rethinking about her mission and so on – it was exhausting.

To be fair, there were things I liked in the book: The supernatural aspect surprised me a bit and somehow caught my attention. Elizabeth also has the power to see the future and then later on in her life, people die around her. It isn’t everyday that I encounter characters dying after having been wished to be dead. A mean curse, a guilt-ridden one, too.

Overall, this was different from the other Lisa Jackson mysteries I’ve read before. This is not what I expected from her. Although I must admit I haven’t perused one from Nancy Bush, (although I remember reading something about her being Lisa Jackson’s sister!) but I was entertained and somehow got sucked into the supernatural realm. Totally great read!

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3cocu (2)

#ThrowbackThursday: The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins

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It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

Today, I’m featuring the mystery thriller, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which was made into a movie a year ago. Take note, I haven’t seen the movie so this review is purely related to the book.

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

EVERY 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?

Everyday, Rachel Watson rode the train, with alcohol in her hand, reliving the moments of her day, wove stories in her head and somehow still wished she was still married to her ex, Tom. She was an alcoholic and often had blackouts. Everyday, she passed by “Jess and Jason’s” house and imagined their perfect wonderful life. Until one day she saw something that shocked her and changed everything she knew about the people in her old neighborhood.

Megan and Scott didn’t exactly resemble the happy family that Rachel imagined them to be. Megan had issues with her neighbors, her job (or lack thereof), her husband. Megan’s disappearance in the story came as a shock and Scott’s abusive nature gripped my throat.

Anna Watson, Tom’s new wife and mother of their child, was something else. She’s unreliable, pretentious, insecure. I can’t say much about her because really, there was nothing likeable about her in my opinion. So there.

The characters were so unsettling that for the first time in my life, I didn’t favor any of them, wasn’t at all thrilled at anyone,  In my eyes, Rachel Watson was desperate, Anna Watson was unforthcoming, and Megan was erratic. Tom and Scott were both horrendous, that’s all I could say about them.

But darn it, I wasn’t expecting that ending! Sure I’ve had my fair share of mysteries and thrillers, I thought I have already mastered the art of eliminating the possible suspects and guessing whodunnit. But I was wrong. Once again, I was left with my mouth hanging open at the turn of events.

The Girl on the Train had been a great read, quite disturbing and somehow  I found the whole story gripping and madly disturbingly awesome.

 

Throwback Thursday: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Throwback Thursday is a new meme created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. I started joining last week and I loved the idea so I am participating again.

Today, it’s Agatha Christie’s turn for some mystery and suspense. Here’s one of my favorites from her Hercule Poirot series, Murder on the Orient Express.

 

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Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Series: Hercule Poirot #10
Author: Agatha Christie

“The murderer is with us – on the train now…”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again…

I’ve read books featuring Orient Express, and I’ve always been intrigued with its reputation. The first time I heard about this was on the book, Dracula by Bram Stoker, if my memory serves me right, where Dracula escaped to Paris using the renowned train. When I got this book in College, I knew I had to read it because it involved murder and mystery and mayhem.

This had been one of my favorites from Agatha Christie. I liked Hercule Poirot not only for his wit but also for his abrasive personality. This dapper Belgian detective was quite a character, who had the audacity to refuse a certain malevolent millionaire Samuel Ratchett, simply because “I do not like your face, Mr. Ratchett,” he says. Ha! Burn!

I’m sorry if I seem to have enjoyed that particular scene, I was just amazed by Christie’s protagonist’s over-the-top personality. Well, of course, the dead man happened to also be a kidnapper, so I couldn’t blame Poirot if he wasn’t as enthusiastic as he was when he first met him.

Furthermore, the way Poirot handled the murder scene investigations was impressive and meticulous. He used his charm and wit to his advantage in order to solve the case. Every chapter, my guesses shift from one person to another, until that moment when it hit me, I never guessed the murderer correctly.

Overall, I thought this was a well-thought up mystery that only Agatha Christie could deliver. I wouldn’t get tired reading her books!

Review: Christmas, Corpses and Clockwork Kittens by LA Nisula

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Christmas, Corpses, and Clockwork Kittens
by LA Nisula

A short Christmas mystery set in the world of the Cassie Pengear Mysteries. While preparing their tinkering/ haberdashery shop for the Christmas season, Kate and Ada find a body on their doorstep. When Inspector Wainwright is sent to investigate, they start looking into the crime themselves before he can scare away all of their Christmas patrons.

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Ada and Kate found a body at their gift shop’s doorstep and soon the two galloped to the back door and began their own investigation. Lady luck must had been on their side because they easily caught the gossip in the neighborhood. But did the gossip have any bearing to the corpse they had found?

I thought this was hilariously awesome, and I loved it even though it’s only a few pages. I loved how it’s already packed with intrigue and mysteries at a very short span of time. Kate and Ada’s tandem is a little amateurish, compared to Cassie Pangear (Killing at the Carnival book) but they proved to be really quite handy and ready to bring down the bad guys. Love love love this novella, Father Christmas and kittens included!

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Review: Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell

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Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta #4)
by Patricia Cornwell

Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta is called in to autopsy the body of convicted murderer Ronnie Waddell after his execution. Several days after the execution, a young boy is discovered murdered in the fashion of Waddell’s earlier killings, with Waddell’s prints near the body. Scarpetta, along with FBI Agent Benton Wesley and Detective Pete Marino, try to discover how a dead inmate could have possibly committed another murder after his death. As the story progresses she seeks the assistance of her 17-year-old niece Lucy after she discovers a strange folder on her computer.

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Kay Scarpetta steps up her game in this series. She confronted the most bizarre of the many controversies involved in her body of work yet. Everyone wonders how Ronnie Joe Waddell’s unique fingerprint appears at the murder scene of Eddie Heath a few hours after Waddell was executed. Dr. Scarpetta, together with her expert team consisting of the charismatic Pete Marino, Benton Wesley and her niece Lucy, they went to great lengths to investigate and expose the murderer, but not without her getting practically destroyed.

Among the female crime writers I’ve read, I think the legendary Patricia Cornwell is my favorite. She’s got to be an exceptional author who uses her expertise in the investigative field to make sure that there is substance in the novels that she write. I like how her stories get me engaged until I have reached the last page of the book. Truly this has been a nail-biting suspense mystery that readers and thrill seekers would appreciate and enjoy.

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4cups

Review: A Composition in Murder by Larissa Reinhart

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A Composition in Murder (A Cherry Tucker Mystery #6)
by Larissa Reinhart

coffeesynopsisdAt Halo House, Cherry Tucker finds the tea deadly sweet…

With a new art teaching gig at Halo House—Halo, Georgia’s posh independent living home—and Halo society scrutinizing her family and her love life, Cherry Tucker needs to stay out of trouble. However, her sleuthing skills are sought out by Halo House’s most famous resident: Belvia Brakeman, the ninety-year-old, blind CEO and founder of Meemaw’s Tea. Belvia confides in Cherry that the family tea empire is in jeopardy. The CEO suspects her daughter, the COO, has been murdered and she might be next. Her offer is hard to refuse, but will have Cherry treading on Forks County Sheriff toes, namely her personal Deputy Heartache, Luke Harper.

Amid her town troubles, can Cherry put her reputation, romance, and life on the line for the final request of a sweet tea tycoon? While she juggles senior citizen shenanigans, small-town politics, and corporate family scandals, Cherry finds the sweet tea business cutthroat in more ways than one.

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Cherry Tucker was a great painter but was having money issues and boyfriend dilemma. One day, the famous and wealthy matriarch, Belvia Brakeman, who was also blind and ailing, requested Cherry’s services regarding her last will and testament, but Cherry suspected something else was amiss. A few days later, Belvia was found dead after her daughter was hit and ran. Talk about highly coincidental occurrences.

Cherry’s love life was also on the bend, as she got involved with the enemy family. Luke, the sheriff was a Branson, and his family had put her brother in jail after an altercation with an ex-girlfriend. As much as I wanted Cherry and Luke together, the complications of their relationship always put me on edge.

And when a triple-death / murder shook the community, nosy Cherry could no longer keep still and she knew she must solve the crime, by hook or by crook, with or without the Sheriff.

When you have read a series of mysteries in a row, you start to get nosy, you suspect everyone around you, you think like a detective, and you shoot people one by one. Okay, not the last one, obviously.

Like in the past, I have had a lot of guesses as to who had done the crime or murders in the book. This time, I was able to narrow my suspects into three, but still, in the end, my hunch was incorrect. Cherry Tucker was a delight to read. She oozes with charm, sensuality, artistic personality and one heck of a trouble maker. The ending was left open for a possible and  promising book 7 and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

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4cups

Review: Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17) by Agatha Christie

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Death on the Nile
(Hercule Poirot #17)
by Agatha Christie
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 1st 2001

The tranquility of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Yet in this exotic setting, nothing is ever quite what it seems…

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This was my first Agatha Christie novel which I was able to read 10 years ago. I guess there’s something about Agatha Christie that compelled me to read her mysteries over and over again. This one happened to be one of my favorites, aside from Murder in the Orient Express.

achristieWhile on board a cruise ship for a vacation/honeymoon in Egypt, dashingly beautiful and wealthy woman, Linnet Doyle was found dead in her cabin, and Hercule Poirot tried his best to discover the murderer. In a distinctive Poirot fashion, he was able to find clues among the personal things inside the ship, like a velvet stole (long shawl) and a bottle of red ink, plus a string of faux pearls. To tell you frankly, my first guess suspect had been the jealous ex-lover of Linnet’s husband Simon.. But as I perused the whole book, my guesses kept on changing. Until I finally reached the end.

Wow, it was mind blowing! I loved that it kept me at the edge of my seat, that it was quick paced and very much intriguing, even if the book’s timeline was too many decades ago. Agatha Christie may have been in cahoots with Sherlock Holmes when she wrote this book. If you are a lover of mysteries and thrillers, then this book is for you!

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4cups