PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Tag: Murder (Page 1 of 5)

Book Review: In Honor’s Defense

 

In Honor’s Defense

– Karen Witemeyer –

Hanger’s Horsemen #3

Bethany House Publishers

Published 7 June 2022

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Aside from my Australian dictionary not much liking this book’s title, there was a lot I liked about In Honor’s Defense. It is apparently the third and, sadly, final, book of the Hanger’s Horsemen series. What a series it has been. Full of adventure, danger and romance.

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Book Review: Daughter

Daughter book cover image of girl standing behind cracked glass

 

Daughter

– Kate McLaughlin –

Wednesday Books

Published 8 March 2022

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What would you do if you found out your father was the worst kind of serial killer? How would you act when you have to come face-to-face with him for the first time. This is a gritty and dark novel, but didn’t quite sit right with me.

Scarlet’s life is forever changed when two FBI agents arrive at her door. It turns out, the father she never knew is actually on death row for a string of murders and other crimes. Now, dying, her father has one last request. If he can speak with Scarlet, he’ll reveal the locations of the bodies of the other women he killed. Thrown into a world of serial killers, media storms and cold cases, Scarlet must reconcile who is she now that she knows everything she once knew about her life, including her own name, is a lie.

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Book Review: We Were Kings

 

We Were Kings

– Court Stevens –

Thomas Nelson

Published 1 February 2022

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I do love a good murder mystery and We Were Kings is a jolly fantastic murder mystery. Despite the elements of modern life (masks, hand sanitiser and YouTube) it has a very classic feel. Maybe it’s just because the mystery is in the past, or maybe it’s the setting and overall feel. Classic mystery at its best.

Nyla has lived her whole life knowing her mother loves the woman sitting in jail more than she loves her. When Frankie’s death is pushed forward thanks to a new death penalty ruling, Nyla’s mother falls apart. When a journalist drops a clue that Nyla’s mother might not be who she has always said she is, Nyla decides to investigate and finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation. If she is going to save Frankie and find the real killer, she’ll need to be quick. But no one wants her poking around, especially not the real killer.

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Book Review: These Deadly Games

 

These Deadly Games

– Diana Urban –

Wednesday Books

Published 1 February 2022

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I’m not entirely sure if I am super impressed with this book, super annoyed or impressed that it both intrigued me and annoyed and horrified me at the same time. Can one be so conflicted about a book? I’m going to lay out the good and the annoying.

These Deadly Games is a thriller that leads its main character Chrystal on a wild game that very quickly turns deadly. No end of twists, puzzles, dares and tasks that might seem innocent but quickly turn deadly. This mystery thriller is high stakes and there are some very serious consequences.

For Chrystal, her focus is completely set on winning a spot in her friends’ esports team. The prize money would ensure her family could stay in their home. But when she receives a text with an image of her younger sister tied up with a message – complete the dares or she dies. Chrystal must decide – her sister or her family’s future? Can she do it all and make sure her friends never learn the truth?

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Book Review: Life Flight

Life Flight book cover. Woman's face, helicopter and mountain scene

 

Life Flight

– Lynette Eason –

Extreme Measures #1

Revell

Published 4 January 2022

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If you enjoy books that will have you checking over your shoulder and keeping the lights on at night, then you’ll enjoy Life Flight. A mix of romance, suspense and mystery as the characters race to stay out of the crosshairs of a serial killer.

When Penny Carlton is forced to make an emergency landing during a medial evac flight, she doesn’t expect to find herself the target of a dangerous serial killer. But that’s exactly what happens when a storm takes out her tail rotor blade and she sets out on foot to find help. It’s the perfect night for an escaped prisoner. Dark, wild and stormy. And a helicopter might be the perfect ride out of there. That’s exactly what FBI Agent Holt Satterfield must prevent. With danger closing in and time running out, Penny and Holt team up, because surviving this night is not the only danger they will face as they race to track down this serial killer before he claims more victims.

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Book Review: Only A Monster

only a monster book cover black with red swirls

 

Only A Monster

– Vanessa Len –

Monsters #1

Harper Teen

Published 22 February 2022

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Only A Monster is AMAZING!!! Seriously. So good. By the first quarter of the book all but two of the characters we have met have been gloriously, brutally murdered. (Not lying!). It’s dark but funny, placed so well within the world that has been created and yet we get to journey across time. It’s unique and delicious.

Here’s what I loved:

Australia author. Debut (holy wow!!). Paranormal. Monsters (not like strange creature monsters, more like scary people monsters who do bad things). Monster slayers. Time travel. Humour. Star-crossed love. History. An almost love triangle that just doesn’t go there. And did I mention monsters?

Joan spends every summer with her mother’s family in London. She knows they’re a little strange but they’re family. She also loves the time she spends volunteering at the historic Holland House. Doesn’t hurt that her co-worker Nick is gorgeous, charming and, maybe, as into her as she is him. But when she accidentally travels herself a day into the future, Joan realises that her family isn’t just a little strange, they are gifted with the ability to steal time from others and use it to time travel. And that makes them, and her, monsters. And, it turns out that Nick, a legendary monster slayer, will do everything in his power to wipe out monsters for good.

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Book Review: A Dragonbird in the Fern

A Dragonbird In The Fern – Laura Rueckert – Flux – Published 3 August 2021

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Synopsis

When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.

Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.

Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this fantasy novel that features political scheming, vengeful ghosts and emphasises the importance of how we communicate. It’s a unique fantasy novel and I liked how refreshing it was. No epic fantasy battles, but plenty of tantalising romance, politics, betrayal, and a touch of magic.

Princess Jiara’s life is utterly changed when her older sister is murdered. Jiara knows they have just months to find her sister’s killer before her sister, left to wander the earth, becomes increasingly violent. In the midst of this her sister’s intended arrives. Raffar, King of Farnskag, makes a proposition – he will marry Jiara instead and seal their countries’ alliance. The Queen and Jiara agree and Jiara is thrust into a new world. She travels with Raffar to Farnskag, but she must rely on a translator as neither she nor her new husband speak the other’s language.

As Jiara travels to Farnskag we learn a little more about her, her relationship with her sister and what she had planned for her future. When her friend and one of her translators has to leave the party, we learn Jiara is a caring person. We also learn how much she struggles with reading and learning. While they never use the word, Jiara has the signs of being dyslexic. It weighs heavily on her mind, especially when she arrives in Farnskag and begins learning their language. Unable to communicate with her new husband, Jiara relies on her translator for everything.

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Book Review: Lies Like Poison

Lies Like Poison – Chelsea Pitcher – Margaret K. McElderry Books – Published 10 November 2020

 

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Synopsis

Poppy, Lily, and Belladonna would do anything to protect their best friend, Raven. So when they discovered he was suffering abuse at the hands of his stepmother, they came up with a lethal plan: petals of poppy, belladonna, and lily in her evening tea so she’d never be able to hurt Raven again. But someone got cold feet, the plot faded to a secret of the past, and the group fell apart.

Three years later, on the eve of Raven’s seventeenth birthday, his stepmother turns up dead. But it’s only belladonna found in her tea, and it’s only Belladonna who’s carted off to jail. Desperate for help, Belle reaches out to her estranged friends to prove her innocence. They answer the call, but no one is prepared for what comes next.

Now, everyone has something to lose and something equally dangerous to hide. And when the tangled web of secrets and betrayal is finally unwound, what lies at its heart will change the group forever.

My thoughts

I love, love YA mysteries and Lies Like Poison was just as compelling, twisty, and intriguing as expected but totally surprised me with its complex romance and relationships.

Belle and Poppy had a plan to save their friend Raven from his evil stepmother. Circumstances forced them to abandon their plan. Now, years on, Raven’s stepmother has been murdered – using Belle and Poppy’s plan. Only one other person knew and now Lily, Poppy (aka Jack) and Belle must decipher the secrets of the past and present if they are to find the person responsible and clear their own names.

The romance in this book is less like a love triangle and more like a triangle crossed with a venn diagram. I’m not going to label any of the characters or their relationships – they are just figuring out who they are and what they want and labels aren’t helpful here, but suffice to say they all fall under the LGBTQIA+ banner. A chunk of the story is actually devoted to the characters going through their ‘coming out’ process as well as becoming more accepting of themselves and each other. Continue reading

Book Review: You Were Never Here

You Were Never Here – Kathleen Peacock – HarperTeen – Published 20 October 2020

 

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Synopsis

Cat hasn’t been to Montgomery Falls, the town her family founded, since she was twelve years old. Since the summer she discovered she could do things that no normal twelve-year-old could do. Since she had her first kiss with Riley Fraser. Since she destroyed their friendship.

Now, five years later, she’s back and Riley has disappeared.

For the last three months no one has heard from or seen Riley. And while there are all sorts of conspiracy theories about where he went, neither the police nor his parents are any closer to finding him. When Noah, Riley’s brother, asks for help in discovering what happened, Cat is torn between wanting to learn the truth and protecting the secret that she’s been guarding ever since that summer she and Riley stopped speaking.

But then a girl is discovered floating in the river, barely alive with no knowledge of who attacked her or why. With the possibility that someone out there is hunting teens, Cat must make a choice: Use her unusual ability to discover the truth and find Riley or keep running away from a power she can’t control. Only one choice will put her in a killer’s sights…

My thoughts

Let’s hear it for books about murder and mystery and teenage investigators and slightly paranormal skills. You Were Never Here is an atmospheric mystery that hooked me right from the start. Fans of The Body Finder (and wow, do I have a lot of those fans in my library) are just going to adore You Were Never Here.

Cat hasn’t been to Montgomery Falls since she was twelve. Now her father is sending her there to stay with her aunt. Cat is dreading the summer, but it becomes a lot worse when she learns that her ex-best friend Riley has been missing for three months. Written off as a runaway, the police and town have no leads. Riley’s brother asks Cat to help discover what really happened, and after Cat and her new friends discover a girl floating half dead in the river, Cat agrees. But there is something most people don’t know about Cat – she can discover a person’s worse secrets just by touching them.

This book has so many things going for it. Alongside the mystery of the missing or hurt teenagers, the reader is also given the mystery of what happened last term at school that caused Cat to be so secretive about it and for her father to send her to Montgomery Falls, completely cut off from the world. There is also, of course, Cat’s unusual ability. How she got this ability is never explained, aside from the women in her family having special gifts for generations. Her father refuses her to talk or acknowledge it and while her aunt has her own gift, she too has been forbidden to speak of it. That’s okay, though, as the focus is not on the how or why of Cat’s gift, but rather  far more on her acceptance of it and how she might use it to help find Riley. And really, she uses her intellect and sleuthing to find the clues more than her ability.

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