Welcome to the second week in a row of my MINI REVIEW MONDAY! Guess who is finally getting back in the swing of things? Once again, two reviews are better than one; I always get excited about these mini reviews because they feel so cloak and dagger. I like to keep these short and sweet, so today I’m featuring two adult fiction NetGalleys I was approved for: THE END OF TEMPERANCE DARE by Wendy Webb and THE CHILD by Fiona Barton. Both are psychological thrillers, one being more of a classic mystery with a paranormal twist and the other falling more on the grounds of a traditional investigation. I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed both books in their own way and felt like I broadened my reading horizon a bit with each!
Book Title: The End Of Temperance Dare
Author: Wendy Webb
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal, Ghost Story
Pub Date: 06/06/17
When Eleanor Harper becomes the director of a renowned artists’ retreat, she knows nothing of Cliffside Manor’s dark past as a tuberculosis sanatorium, a “waiting room for death.” After years of covering murder and violence as a crime reporter, Eleanor hopes that being around artists and writers in this new job will be a peaceful retreat for her as much as for them.
But from her first fog-filled moments on the manor’s grounds, Eleanor is seized by a sense of impending doom and realizes there’s more to the institution than its reputation of being a haven for creativity. After the arrival of the new fellows―including the intriguing, handsome photographer Richard Banks―she begins to suspect that her predecessor chose the group with a dangerous purpose in mind. As the chilling mysteries of Cliffside Manor unravel and the eerie sins of the past are exposed, Eleanor must fight to save the fellows—and herself—from sinister forces.
When I first spied this book as a pre-order on my kindle, I knew I had to learn more about it. The description yelled READ ME and sounded so incredibly different than most anything I’ve read before published by Lake Union that I literally could not hit the request button fast enough on NetGalley. Fast forward to this week and I finally was able to carve out the time to read it. I was gripped from the very first chapter; I’ve not read a book by Webb before but I’ve heard from all over how well she writes suspense. This was made clear as I was completely consumed by this novel; I couldn’t put it down! I was thinking about it during all my waking hours and dreaming about it in my sleep. I had a few parts figured out, but I was chomping at the bits to find out what would happen in the end.
If I could break my rating down for you, here’s how it would look: 1-80% of the book: 5 STARS, 81-100% of the book: 3.5 stars. The only problem I really had with the book was the big conclusion; while it was simply a matter of personal preference and nothing on the author’s quality of writing, I found the ending to be a bit cheesy, like something out of a B-rated horror film. The entire book up until that point had been a subtle horror, which I find more gripping and terrifying than that of the gruesome stories made to gross out the reader. Aside from this minor detail, I can’t recommend THE END OF TEMPERANCE DARE highly enough! I fell in love with the characters; they felt so real that it was a little depressing having to say goodbye to them. I’m pleased to say I enjoyed this read very much and will definitely be checking out more from Ms. Webb very soon.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy via NetGalley; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.
Book Title: The Child
Author: Fiona Barton
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Crime Fiction
Pub Date: 06/27/17
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn house by house into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women and torn between what she can and cannot tell.
I was in the minority last year when Fiona Barton’s THE WIDOW was published; I didn’t dislike it, but I felt it was another case of the media hyping up a book to unrealistic expectations and touting a killer twist that wasn’t there. None of this is the author’s fault; it was simply a mismatching of book to reader. When I saw THE CHILD being promoted in a similar form this year, I decided to shut my eyes, close my ears, and go in blind. I avoided all reviews, spoilers, media packets, etc because DANG IT I was not going to let this one be ruined as well! I’m really glad I did that because it seems to be just what I needed to ensure I enjoyed this read more than the last.
While it isn’t officially part of a series, this book does feature reporter Kate Waters who we last saw in THE WIDOW. I really liked the idea of having a familiar, reoccurring character with each book left as a standalone story. I’ll be honest, I had trouble getting hooked into this one at first. I’ve been in a terrible slump lately and have been really particular in which books hold my attention and this one almost lost me. I’m glad I pushed through though because that ending was one of the twistiest (not a real word), oh-my-goshiest (also not a real word) conclusions that I have ever read. I think readers like myself who felt the previous book lacked a punch to the gut will be pleased with the way things are wrapped up here. Highly recommended to those who enjoy a slow burning psychological thriller with a seriously messed up ending. <Also known as the highest compliment Chelsea can pay to an author.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.