Tag Archives: suspense

Recent Release Review-House of Silence by Sarah Barthel


Title: House of Silence

Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Suspense (romantic elements)

Author: Sarah Barthel

Publisher: Kensington, Dec. 27, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 300

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 2

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin’s future—like that of every young woman—hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle’s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiancé commit a horrific crime—and no one believes her.   Gregory denies all, and Isabelle’s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband’s assassination.   In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine.


Was this a good read? Well…it was just okay.  I kept reading to find out what would happen.  The plot was interesting.  But it didn’t flow and it left unanswered questions. Why was Gregory living a lie? Why was Isabelle’s mother not willing to give Isabelle the benefit of a doubt, when Isabelle never had told a lie? Another big question was, why is Mary Todd Lincoln in this book at all?  It added nothing to the story.

The book definitely was short on character development.  Side characters, like Isabelle’s friend Lucy, seemed to do things that made no sense.  Such as Lucy’s trip to Montana and back again without even telling her fiancé that she was leaving.  A sanitarium in the late 1800’s would not be a social spa like it is characterized here.  If you read this just for the story then it is just okay but be prepared to find fault with much of the action and characterization.

(This is the kind of book that drives people to say “I think I will write a book.  I can certainly improve on something like this.”)


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Filed under Book review, Historical Fiction, Recent Release, Romance, Suspense

Release Day Review- Named of The Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

Title:  Named of the Dragon

Named of the Dragon

Genre: Contemporary Romance (mystery, suspense, paranormal, history)

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, Oct. 6, 2015

Pages: 322

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:         


The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago.

Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who’s convinced that Lyn’s recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose–and she’s running out of time.

With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.


This is very much a romantic suspense novel with touches of the paranormal just like most of Kearsley’s books.  The setting is Wales and the characters are for the most part English.  Not only do we get a mystery but also some insightful looks at Welsh history. Once again Kearsley touches on all of my favorite tropes; romance, mystery, suspense and learning something new.  The author has combined a real life setting with fictional characters and plot.  Once you start reading you are immersed in the setting, time and place.  It is not apparent that there is evil lurking but there is something that is just a bit off.  As an involved reader you will try to help Lyn figure it out but it is often elusive and difficult to know who to trust. This is truly a wonderful book from a supremely accomplished author.

I recommend this book to all who like a good mystery and a happy ending with doses of history thrown in for good measure.

This edition is a re-issue of the book first published in 1999.



Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, E-Book, History, Mystery, Suspense

Review- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publisher: Crown, 2012

Source: Library

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.


This was undoubtedly the most hyped book of 2012.  So I knew that sooner or later I would succumb to its lure. My one sentence reaction: It definitely deserves all the hype.

The book starts out, appearing to me, like a fictionalized version of that real life California case.  You know the one with that guy named Peterson who killed his pregnant wife.  At least that is how it was playing out to me.  But Flynn had more surprises and twists to deal out in this novel.  Was it a bit over the top at times, you bet, but it was definitely a can’t-put-it-down read.  It is scary to think that there are people in this world like Scot Peterson but Gillian Flynn gives us some ideas about how a psychopath operates as she lays out the story of the marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne.  I recommend this one to all mystery, suspense and thriller lovers.


Filed under Book review, Books, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Review- The Key by Simon Toyne

Title:  The Key (bk 2, The Sanctus Trilogy)

Genre: Religious Conspiracy Thriller

Author: Simon Toyne

Publisher: William Morrow, June 2012

Source: Free for review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3

Description from amazon.com:

Hunted. Hounded. Haunted.

She is the most important person in the world. She is The Key

Journalist Liv Adamsen has escaped from the highly secretive Citadel at the heart of the ancient city of Ruin and now lies in isolation, staring at hospital walls as blank as her memory. Despite her inability to recall her past, something strange is stirring within her. She feels possessed by a sen-sation she can’t name and plagued by whispers only she can hear: “KuShiKaam,” the key.

To others the meaning is clear. For a mercenary operating in the Syrian Desert, a man known only as “the Ghost,” Liv may hold the key to one of history’s most powerful secrets. For the brotherhood of monks in the Citadel—now cursed by a terrible plague—her return to Turkey may be the only way to ensure their survival. And for a powerful faction in Vatican City, her very existence threatens the success of a desperate plan to save the church from ruin.

At the center of events that defy explanation and hunted by someone she believes might be trying to kill her, Liv turns to the only person she can trust—a foundation worker named Gabriel Mann. Together they must elude capture and journey to the place where all life began. From New York to Rome to the deserts of the Middle East, worlds collide in a race to uncover a revelation dating from the creation of man in this electrifying follow-up to the international bestseller Sanctus.


Woo-Hoo! If you read my review of the first book in this trilogy, SANCTUS (here), then you know I’m hooked.  This, the second book in The Sanctus Trilogy, did not disappoint. There is heart pounding action and suspense on every page.  Where there is power there is corruption, the fate of the world rests with one woman and those willing to help her.

Toyne’s style is the short chapter, never more than a few pages long but each leading to interplay of international characters.  There are surprises and twists and, of course, a cliff hanger at the end leading us to the final book of the trilogy.  In spite of the cliff hanger, this novel is wrapped up quite satisfactorily.  I do suggest that you read SANCTUS first because it is such a good book and it will give a better foundation for THE KEY, although the author is quite adapt at bringing us up to date in THE KEY without the much dreaded info-dump.

Anyone who enjoyed THE DAVINCI Code will definitely enjoy this trilogy from Simon Toyne.

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Review- Death Echo by Elizabeth Lowell

Title: Death Echo

Genre: Suspense

Author: Elizabeth Lowell


Source: Purchase

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 4

Description from amazon.com:

When she joined St. Kilda’s, the elite security consulting firm, Emma Cross thought she’d left behind the blood, guilt, and Tribal Wars that defined her life at the CIA. Yet trading spying for investigating yacht thefts didn’t alleviate the danger.

With some arm-twisting, St. Kilda and Emma are tracking a yacht that went missing somewhere between Vladivostok and Portland a year ago. Emma knows the boat’s intended cargo is lethal. What she needs to find out is whether it’s biological, chemical, or fissionable. And she’s got only seven days to uncover the truth . . . or a major American city will be lost.

Fortunately, she’s working with a new partner as menacing and distrustful as the worst enemy she’s ever faced—and as deadly. Thrown together by an organization of enemies with global ties more dangerous than either of them realizes, Mac and Emma must put aside their growing attraction for each other to save more than just their own lives.


I had two friends recommend this book to me so I thought it was going to be a 5-star read.  Unfortunately it wasn’t.  It was exciting as a suspense novel should be but the characters spoke continually in spy-speak and euphemisms which after awhile started to grate on me.  Just call a spade a spade…please!  If you want to know how to run and navigate a yacht through the Pacific northwest then this is your book because there is never ending yachting instruction.  At this time I feel fully qualified to captain your yacht….even if the bad guys are after us.  Is it a bad book?  Absolutely not!  It tells a good story; it just wasn’t my kind of book.





Filed under Book review, Books, Suspense