All By Myself, Alone

All By Myself, Alone by Mary Higgins Clark

This is Clark’s newest book, and it does not disappoint. This book comes with a slew of characters, all of varying degrees of importance. This book tells the story of the maiden voyage of a brand-new ship, being compared to the Titanic. But, like with the Titanic, tragedy is bound to strike. When someone dies, an investigation is underway, as well as the search for the Man with 1000 Faces who is rumored to be on the ship in search of the priceless emerald necklace. What first starts as a trip of a lifetime,  turns into a trip of disaster, begging the question, “Will you survive?”

This book has many characters that are introduced one after the other and at first it takes a little time to remember who is who. But once the book gets started, it is easy to follow. With each chapter, the viewpoint of the story shifts, allowing all sides of the story to be told. 

If you pay attention to the clues it is easy to decipher who committed the crimes, but it was a quick and easy read. I couldn’t wait to finish the book and can’t wait for her next one to be released!

The Body Reader

The Body Reader by Anne Fraiser

This book was an easy read and kept me fairly well-entertained. There were a few spots I had to go back and reread because I lost track or somethings didn’t make sense, but overall it was a good read.

This book follows Detective Jude Fontaine, a woman that was kidnapped and tortured before finally escaping from her captor. When she enters the real-world again she is in for a lot of surprises. Does she go back to work and is she strong enough to face the brutal world that she now knows so much more about? She works with a Detective Uriah Ashby, and even he doesn’t trust her sanity. At various times people are considering her a threat to the workforce and the way things are run. But when a killer is on the loose, there is no time to waste and everyone needs to try and work together. But will they catch the killer in time? Or will he get away? Fontaine gets caught in the crossfire in more than ways than just one and is starting to be a liability, a liability that potentially will lead to destruction of at least one person.

This book was okay, until closer to the end where it seemed to jump back and forth between a couple of possibilities before finally deciding upon a killer. Overall it was interesting and showed various points of view throughout the story. Sometimes following Jude, or Uriah, or even a random person that you don’t know the identify of until later.

Overall it was a decent read.

The Perfect Girl

The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan

This book is the second book by the author Gilly Macmillan and while it is the first one that I have read, I will try her other book soon.

This book follows Zoe upon her release and chance to being again with her “Second Chance Life” with her mom, new step-dad, Chris, step-brother, Lucas, and new sister, Grace.

Zoe was convicted of killing three of her high school classmates after events at a party turned drastically wrong and her trial didn’t go as well as planned. But, all that aside, Zoe is ready to begin a new life in what her mother has dubbed her “Second Chance Life.” They have moved and started anew. They have to appear perfect.

On the night of her revival, Zoe and Lucas hold a piano performance. Both are piano prodigies. Before the performance has truly begun, Thomas Barlow has burst through the doors and caused a scene, leaving Zoe running for the doors and everyone else aghast. This begins a long night of secrets being revealed, secrets that Zoe and her mother kept hidden from Chris and Lucas to preserve Zoe and allow her to fully move on with a new life. By the end of the night, Zoe’s mother is dead. She is found in the shed and the police cycle starts over again.

All is not as it seems as each person is interviewed the following morning and everyone has secrets to hide. This book is told from multiple viewpoints including Zoe, Lucas, Tessa (Zoe’s aunt), Sam (Zoe’s lawyer from before and the man Tessa is cheating on her husband with), and Richard (Tessa’s self-hating, alcoholic husband).

When I first started reading and each character was introduced in his or her own section it sounded very much like a diary entry because of the groundwork that was working so hard at being laid. The descriptions of oneself and others sounded to contrite and awkward because it isn’t how we talk about ourselves. It sounded like the speaker was speaking straight to the reader,even though that isn’t the way the book was set up. It was set up to tell the story from the various viewpoints so that you saw the entire picture.

The story doesn’t end when you find out who didn’t because at that point there are still other loose ends of the other story versions that need to be tied up. It only gets confusing if you do not pay attention to the name at the top of the page of each new section. It is never the same character twice in a row, but it does pick up the story right where the last one left off, so nothing is missed.

Overall the story was an interesting one and I look forward to reading her other book.

Stranded on Vail Mountain

Stranded on Vail Mountain by Desiree L. Scott

This book follows the life of Joan Clayton and her interactions with those around her while she is on a week-long vacation at a mountain resort with her husband, her best friend, Stacey,who showed up out of the blue, a few other guests at the resort, and the employees at the resort. Shortly after her arrival to the resort, her friend makes an unannounced welcome to the resort as well. She just happens to be staying at the same resort, for the same amount of time. Joan soon learns that it is too good to be true and leaves the resort on a trek in efforts to calm herself down. While out and about, she gets stuck and a storm is about to ensue. Stephen is assigned the task of rescuing her and completes the task, but not without a few surprises along the way back down the mountain, good and bad.

Once back at the resort, Joan hides herself away from everyone, including her now ex-best friend. Joan is beside herself with grief over all that has happened to her and those around her. When she finally agrees to talk to Stacey, she learns that the truth is not as easy and as crystal clear as it always seems. Her life is turned upside down once more. When the storm finally dies down enough for her and the remaining guests to leave, they do so, but Joan doesn’t do it without some hesitation about leaving Stephen behind. Stacey urges her to stay and Stephen urges her to come back soon. But with both people leading such completely different lives can she give up everything for one and move forward with her life?

This book was a quick, easy read. Great for a cold,winter evening! There is minimal language in this book and despite a few Kindle glitches (nothing that interfered with the reading), this book was interesting and held my interest the entire time.

Maybe happy endings do exist, we just have to take the risks and know where to find them…

The Chemist

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

When I started reading this book it was hard to forget that it was written by Stephenie Meyer and ideas of vampires and werewolves were on my mind because that is what she is most famous for. (Yes, I have read The Host. That is actually the first book of hers that I read.) Having read The Host, I know that her writing does travel into other genres and that she is able to write this type of book. After a while, I forgot that it was Stephenie Meyer writing the book, and I was able to fully enjoy the book. There were times when it was very Twilight-ish and that would throw off my reading flow. Overall the writing flowed decently well, more like in The Host.

This story follows “Alex,” though that isn’t her real name. Her real name and persona is dead. She is in hiding from those that want to kill her, but one intriguing email from an old boss and she slowly comes out of hiding, but not without all her safety precautions and medical and chemical knowledge. She is a fighter, not a lover. Her old job was to get confessions out of people, by any means necessary and she used mixtures of chemicals that would induce bodily pain and other effects. She was a pro at her job, until her job almost cost her her life.

When she comes out to see the assignment, she agrees, but on her terms. She is able to locate the target, Daniel, and subdue him, luring him to a make shift laboratory room. But, during the interrogation, she realizes her feelings, which she has a true lack of, are starting to show and she is beginning to care for some reason. At around the same time she realizes that something is going wrong with the interrogation and it isn’t long before more things begin to unravel. When a man, Kevin, bursts through to save the one she has incapacitated, it takes her a few minutes to understand what is going on, but after that she teams up with both of them to stop a common threat.  This all happens in a short amount of time in the book. After that it is a lot of running, fighting back against common threats, and hiding from those that want to cause them harm.

Some parts of the book dragged on, like when they are at Kevin’s, but that is because Meyer was trying to set other things into motion and the only way that could happen was with the passage of time and thus we learn more about our new characters. What bothered me the most is how this woman, Alex, who secludes herself from everyone, finds herself falling in love so helplessly (for her). She doesn’t fall head over heels, but she starts falling in love from the first moment. I don’t think it would have happened that fast or easy, but maybe that is my own personal opinion from my perception and what I thought I learned about Alex before she is interacting with Daniel.

Overall this book was a decent read and the Epilogue is worth a read; it is a good laugh.

The Sleeping Beauty Killer

The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

It has happened again. A book that I could not put down. I had to squeeze in time where ever I could to read this book, and I did between work and other commitments in a matter of 2 days. It was amazing. I love how cohesively these two are able to work together on this project of Under Suspicion novels. They have done an outstanding job.

We find ourselves with Laurie, again looking for another case for her new TV series. She now no longer has Alex as her host as he is diving back into his career. Instead she is left with Ryan as the new host. There are many problems that come with Ryan, mainly that she fears he is a favorite from Brett, without much consideration of her input for her new host. But, is he really that bad? You might learn to hate him, then again you might learn to love him, but don’t let Laurie completely jade your opinion of him from the get-go.

In this new book, Laurie takes on the case of “Crazy Casey” the woman convicted of being the “Sleeping Beauty” killer and killing her fiance, but not remembering a bit of what happened. She already served her time, but wants to use Laurie and her show to help clear her name. We have many important characters including Casey, Angela (her cousin), Paula (her mother), Charlotte (who we know from the last installment), and many people from Hunter’s family (Casey’s fiance that she was convicted of killing). All these people have different perspectives on what happened and why. Everyone has secrets to hide. When do they not? While reading, I had a hunch as to who did it early on, and my hunch was well-rewarded. I was correct, but I will leave it at that. All the clues are there. Read and tread carefully. There are also a lot of red herrings thrown throughout the book, that though they are important bits of information, if you look too much into them, it will throw you onto the wrong track. Alex is no longer involved in the case as he normally is when he worked on the show, but he is still involved. Oh, is he involved, but not how you think. By the end of the book, justice is served, as always.

In this book, since it is one of getting a new sense of justice for a client it takes a different spin than the previous ones where they are trying to prove someone else’s guilt and get the limelight off the innocent. There is a lot of character jumping, but this book wouldn’t be half of what it is if it were not for all those character jumps. It helps the reader to see the bigger picture and truly understand what is going on. No character jumps just happen, everything happens with some type of break.

One more side note on Alex, yes he isn’t “involved” in the case like he usually is, but he is involved. And, without giving too much away, by the end of the book, I despise his character, to the core.

Oh, and there will definitely be another installment with how the book ended, but Alex, justice better be served…

A Cry in the Night

A Cry in the Night by Mary Higgins Clark

Clark is at it again! I cannot get enough of her books. She is an amazing author and does a spectacular job at creating a suspenseful environment! In this novel, Jenny MacPartland is a single mom of two young children, whose father does not care much for them. The father, rather than providing for his kids and helping with expenses, comes to Jenny to ask for help with his own expenses, even when he knows she has very little. Jenny’s open heart makes her gullible to this as she feels unfair to not help out her children’s father. Knowing this about Jenny is important to understanding her reasoning and why she acts the way that she does.

Jenny works at an art gallery in NYC when the famous painter Erich Krueger, a landscape and portrait painter, holds an exhibit. She immediately falls in love with him. He seems perfect, and longs her for in the same way. It is a whirlwind romance, and before she knows it she is married and whisked away from her city life, to life with him in the country. Erich hides himself away in his cabin to work on his paintings in solitude to be able to work without interruption. Jenny accepts this, as he has accepted her children as his own and even got her ex to give over his parental rights. Erich is very peculiar about certain rooms in the house, rooms that may not be entered or touch because they are as they were when his mother left him forever. Jenny looks identical to his mother, adding to this odd attraction as everyone on the farm is astounded by this notion. As the days continue, Jenny is sending her further into solitude and soon, she has been disconnected from her own children as well at the hands of Erich. With lonely days streaming ahead of her, and hints of Erich’s mother’s ghost roaming the halls and property at night, Jenny sets out on her own adventure to uncover the truth about his past. When tragic events collapse upon each other, Jenny discovers a horrifying truth that threatens to forever change her future.

This was a captivating read and a true page-turner. Clark leaves clues throughout the story so that you can uncover the truth yourself, but there are parts that you do not see coming that will chill you to the bone. This novel does begin with a cut scene from further in the book, but it truly sets the stage for the novel and makes you begin to question everything that happens and if you really can trust what you hear and see. Falling in love can be tragically beautiful, or tragically dreadful for all involved.