Sunday, June 28

Taken by Dee Henderson

Shannon Bliss was abducted when she was sixteen and forced into living with and helping the Jacoby crime family. After many long years she was finally able to escape. But returning to a normal life won’t be easy, and she knows it. She contacts Matthew Dane, a private investigator, to assist her in reentering society. If this is done right, she’ll be free.

The meeting between Matthew and Shannon occurs extremely early, leading to a strong and quick hook. From there, the story moves forward at a mostly constant pace. Author Dee Henderson uses Matthew as the primary protagonist, and we learn everything about Shannon at the same time he does, all the while getting insight into his response and understanding of her past.

Tuesday, June 16

Disclaimer by Renée Knight

After finding a mysterious novel at her bedside, Catherine Ravenscroft decides to give it a try. The suspenseful story draws her in, but then she realizes this isn’t any ordinary novel. Somehow this novel recreates a dark event in her life, and the only other person who could possibly know the details has been long dead. She’d hoped the past was behind her, but now all of her memories come crashing back in. She has no idea who wrote the novel, but whoever it is torments her with it.

Disclaimer alternates between Catherine’s first person POV and the author’s first person POV while occasionally switching over to side characters. The story starts quickly, and Catherine discovers the novel early on, hooking me early on. After the first few chapters the story slows down to a slow burns, as author Renée Knight begins to slowly tease additional information, hiding all of the exact details of what the mysterious book contains. Roughly halfway through the story suddenly jumps again and speeds to the end before wrapping up in a surprising reveal that I did not see coming.

Wednesday, June 10

Ruthless by John Rector

Someone wants to kill Abigail Pierce and Nick White is the only person who can save her. While out having drinks, Nick is approached by a woman who mistakes him for a hit-man. She gives him an envelope containing money, and flash drive, and a picture of Abigail. He decides to try to warn Abigail, but the real hit-man is on his trail. In the process of trying to save Abigail, Nick is drawn further into the conspiracy which reaches far deeper than he ever imagined.

Ruthless grabbed my attention from the first chapter and then never let go. Author John Rector crafts a strong story with plenty of twists and turns. I’m usually a fast reader but I flew through this book in two sittings thanks to the fast pace and gripping storyline.

Tuesday, June 9

Mireille by Molly Cochran

The end of World War II is drawing near when Mireille de Jouarre is forced to flee her after being attacked by her abusive step-father. She meets up with her childhood friend Stefan, who is now a resistance fighter. The two fall in love, but after Stefan doesn’t return from an attack, Mireille once again finds herself fleeing, this time to Paris. On her way she learns she is pregnant. In order to provide for her newborn child she must begin a new life. She becomes a poule (French slang for prostitute) and takes on the name l’Ange (the Angel), and she quickly becomes the most famous poule in all of France. While attending a party she meets American film producer Oliver Jordan who later launches her a huge film career. Now that she is an actress, Mireille is determined to keep her past buried and to keep her daughter safe.

Thursday, June 4

A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel

It is the end of summer, in 2006, and Reggie Shaw was driving to work. While texting, Reggie crosses the center line and hits an oncoming vehicle. The crash kills both men in the car, both rocket scientists, and injures the driver in the car behind Reggie. In his bestselling book A Deadly Wander, Matt Richtel tells Reggie’s story while also taking a look at human attention and how distractions can affect the brain.

It didn’t take me very long to get hooked, and I wasn’t surprised to see that this book had become a best seller. The writing is never dry and Richtel’s focus on Reggie, the subsequent investigation, the court case, and the rest of people involved provided a strong narrative backbone. This narrative structure is what first hooked me and kept me reading.