The Line Between by Tosca Lee

About the book:

An extinct disease has re-emerged from the melting Alaskan permafrost to cause madness in its victims.

For former apocalyptic cult member Wynter Roth, it’s the end she’s always been told was coming.

When 22 year-old Wynter Roth is cast out of self-contained doomsday cult New Earth, a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia is spreading across the nation.

As she struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, Wynter finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life, convinced she’s made a terrible mistake. Until the night her sister shows up with a set of medical samples key to decoding the disease and Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play.

Now, as the power grid fails and the country descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself.

Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, The Line Between is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness.

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My review:

The Line Between shoved its way to the top of my favorite reads list last night as I plowed through it, rapidly turning the pages, desperate to know how it would end, but horrified that I would finish it and not have any more pages to read. I read most of this extraordinary book in one shot, because I could not stop and have an inadequate respect for sleep, especially when faced with the prospect of not knowing what would happen to Wynter next!

The story seems so real, so possible, that it is frightening. But Tosca Lee does such an amazing job of building a world gone completely mad, yet still full of beautiful, touching moments that your heart absolutely runs the gamut of emotions.

And Wynter is such a fascinating character: unsure of herself, her faith, her reality in so many ways, yet still strong and snarky. My heart broke for her, and I cheered her on; I teared up alongside her, and I laughed at her wit. Such a complete character, backed by a complementary cast that bring out the best in Wynter Roth and show the depth and breadth of Tosca Lee’s art.

If for some bizarre reason you have not read a Tosca Lee book, start now! Do not wait a moment longer! Pre-order The Line Between from your favorite bookstore, request it at your local library, do whatever you have to do to get your hands on a copy, because you don’t want to miss this one! 🙂

So very many thanks to Howard Books and Tosca Lee for the advanced digital copy of this awesome book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review — it totally deserved it! All opinions are my very own. 🙂

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The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley

About the book:

Although it is autumn in the small English town of Bishop’s Lacey, the chapel is decked with exotic flowers. Yes, Flavia de Luce’s sister Ophelia is at last getting hitched, like a mule to a wagon. “A church is a wonderful place for a wedding,” muses Flavia, “surrounded as it is by the legions of the dead, whose listening bones bear silent witness to every promise made at the altar.” Flavia is not your normal twelve-year-old girl. An expert in the chemical nature of poisons, she has solved many mysteries, sharpening her considerable detection skills to the point where she had little choice but to turn professional. So Flavia and dependable Dogger, estate gardener and sounding board extraordinaire, set up shop at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, eager to serve—not so simple an endeavor with her odious little moon-faced cousin, Undine, constantly underfoot. But Flavia and Dogger persevere. Little does she know that their first case will be extremely close to home, beginning with an unwelcome discovery in Ophelia’s wedding cake: a human finger.

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My review:

Alan Bradley is a master! He knows just how to plait humor, tension, intelligence, excitement, wit, hope, and interesting history all into one beautiful braid of a story.

Flavia de Luce is definitely one of my all-time favorite characters: she is smart, snarky, and willing to do anything for adventure; but she’s also deeply sensitive and so longs for strong, lasting relationships with people who she cares about. And as she grows, she gains depth of emotion that brings her even more to life. She’s a very complicated young girl, and that is exactly what makes her an amazing character. 

And I always learn the most interesting tidbits of history while enmeshed in a Flavia de Luce novel: reading them is like finding the chocolate covered peanuts in your Rocky Road–they add that little bit of awesome to take it to the next level.

If you’ve never read a Flavia de Luce mystery, you must! They are intelligent and charming reads that I can’t get enough of. And you have time to get caught up on the first nine books in the series before this tenth book hits the shelves on January 22, 2019. Hurry up and get to it! 🙂

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group/Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

A Hideous Beauty by Jack Cavanaugh

 

hideous beauty

About the book:

This isn’t the world you think it is…

Every day they slip across our borders to infiltrate our government, our schools, our neighborhoods.

Homeland security can’t stop them.

The armed forces are no threat to them.

Powerful and unseen, they cannot be stopped.

They have been doing this for millennia.

On what should have been the best day of his life, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Grant Austin learns of a plan to assassinate the president of the United States. Every attempt to sound the alarm is thwarted, and Grant soon finds himself at the center of an even greater battle that predates time as he stands alone against ancient powers and unspeakable evil — evil that can only be described as a hideous beauty.


My review:

I guess the best way I can explain  this book is that it is kind of a combination of Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, in its bringing spiritual warfare to life; Tosca Lee’s Demon, in its telling the history of angels/fallen angels; and maybe even a bit of Joel C. Rosenberg’s works in its adventures in D.C. politics.

It was an relatively engaging read, with plenty of action (more towards the end), interesting enough characters, and an intriguing take on spiritual warfare. However, I unfortunately didn’t feel like it lived up to its blurb. For most of the book, the focus was so much more on the main character, Grant Austin, than on the spiritual battle, that I found my mind wandering while I read, having to go back and re-read to figure out what was going on. And, while I know it’s a work of fiction, I didn’t always agree with the theology presented, so I got frustrated with some of the characters. I also set the book down several times, debating about whether or not I should finish it.

I’m glad I did finish it, because the climactic scene was more compelling than I expected it to be. If the rest of the series keeps up with the level the first book was at near the end, I would definitely read the remaining books when Enclave publishes them.

Many thanks to Enclave Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

 

evelynhardcastle

About the book:

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.  Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.


My review:

Intrigued by the title; absolutely fascinated by the story. From the very first page to the last, I was captivated. I never expected the answer, and that is the hallmark of an amazing mystery.

There was so much about this book that I loved. The mixed-up timelines and the uncertain chemistry between Aiden and Anna reminded me of River Song and The Doctor. Each of Aiden’s “hosts” was so well-crafted and their movements so intricately woven together, it was mind-boggling. The lyricism Turton entwined throughout the story brought beauty to what could have been an overly dark plot. He managed to write a non-stop, mind-bending mystery wrapped in lyrically intense prose with a dash of social commentary…and it was awesome!

I most highly recommend you grab a copy of The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle as soon as it hits the shelves next month. You will definitely enjoy the ride! 🙂

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark Publishers and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

City of Endless Night by Preston & Child

city of endless night

About the book:

When Grace Ozmian, the beautiful and reckless daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire, first goes missing, the NYPD assumes she has simply sped off on another wild adventure. Until the young woman’s body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Queens, the head nowhere to be found.
Lieutenant CDS Vincent D’Agosta quickly takes the lead. He knows his investigation will attract fierce scrutiny, so D’Agosta is delighted when FBI Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast shows up at the crime scene assigned to the case. “I feel rather like Brer Rabbit being thrown into the briar patch,” Pendergast tells D’Agosta, “because I have found you here, in charge. Just like when we first met, back at the Museum of Natural History.”
But neither Pendergast nor D’Agosta are prepared for what lies ahead. A diabolical presence is haunting the greater metropolitan area, and Grace Ozmian was only the first of many victims to be murdered . . . and decapitated. Worse still, there’s something unique to the city itself that has attracted the evil eye of the killer.
As mass hysteria sets in, Pendergast and D’Agosta find themselves in the crosshairs of an opponent who has threatened the very lifeblood of the city. It’ll take all of Pendergast’s skill to unmask this most dangerous foe-let alone survive to tell the tale.


My review:

I mentioned in my “Sneak Preview” post last week that I am a fan of Preston & Child and their Agent Pendergast series. Because I am a fan and have read all previous sixteen novels in the series, I’m always a tiny bit leery when I start a new one: I would hate to be disappointed! Thankfully, again that is not the case with book number seventeen in the Pendergast series. Yay!

With City of Endless Night Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child showed me once again why I am a fan. Their books are always packed with tension, building and building to a magnificent crescendo, where you are so caught up, you are completely lost to the action. And their characterization, of even minor characters, is phenomenal. You can’t beat a Preston & Child for the atmosphere and action that keep you turning pages into the very wee hours and gripping your book so tightly your hands cramp up!

Be sure to block out a nice section of time where you won’t be disturbed to read City of Endless Night, because you won’t want to put it down.

Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle

Curious-Affair-of-the-Witch-of-Wayside-Cross-The-315x466

From the book:

The paranormal answer to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Jesperson and Lane are turning the Victorian era upside down in this bewitching series from John W. Campbell Award winner Lisa Tuttle.

“Witch!” cries the young man after stumbling unexpectedly into the London address of the consulting-detective partnership of Mr. Jasper Jesperson and Miss Lane. He makes the startling accusation while pointing toward Miss Lane . . . then he drops dead. Thus begins the strangest case yet to land—quite literally—on the doorstep of Jesperson and Lane.

According to the coroner, Charles Manning died of a heart attack—despite being in perfect health. Could he have been struck down by a witch’s spell? The late Mr. Manning’s address book leads Jesperson and Lane to the shrieking pits of Aylmerton, an ancient archaeological site reputed to be haunted by a vengeful ghost. There they sift through the local characters, each more suspicious than the last: Manning’s associate, Felix Ott, an English folklore enthusiast; Reverend Ringer, a fierce opponent of superstition; and the Bulstrode sisters, a trio of beauties with a reputation for witchcraft.

But when an innocent child goes missing, suddenly Jesperson and Lane aren’t merely trying to solve one murder—they’re racing to prevent another.


My review:

Reading the description of this book made it sound like it was going to be fabulous. Unfortunately, it didn’t fully live up to its expectations for me. While I did enjoy parts of the story, I found that I just couldn’t really get lost in this book for some reason.

Now, let me clarify…the book is not bad. It is fairly well-crafted, with plenty of little twists and a variety of interesting characters. However, I simply had trouble staying interested. Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps you should try it for yourself and prove me wrong. Let me know if you do! 🙂

Thanks to Random House Publishing Group-Hydra and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!! 🙂

 

Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig

crown of souls

From the book:

When you stare into the abyss, it also stares into you.

The bullet that rips into Cole “Tox” Russell was never meant to kill. It was meant to send a message. Only one man is skilled enough to have taken the shot, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.


My Review:

Ronie Kendig has done it again—written a book I couldn’t put down! I really enjoyed reading the prequel novella to this series, The Warrior’s Seal (which is free on Kindle, if you’d like to get to know Tox and his crew), and I was impressed with the first Tox Files novel, Conspiracy of Silence (you can check out my review here). But Crown of Souls surpassed them in my eyes.

Cole “Tox” Russell has deepened even more as a character, torn between love and justice. And the plot was full of so many twists, turns, and whaaaats??, that I couldn’t help staying up way past my bedtime to keep turning the pages. And did I regret it the next morning? Absolutely not! The read was definitely worth the bags under my eyes!

With shades of some of my favorite suspense authors, like Steve Berry and David Baldacci, Kendig has crafted a series that I want to keep reading (and re-reading!). Here’s hoping a new installment of the Tox Files comes soon!

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂