Tag Archives: Mystery

The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead

 The Secrets We Keep
by Deb Loughead

First she blamed herself. Now she doesn’t know who to trust.

When Kit disappeared at a party and was found drowned in the quarry the next day, Clem knew who to point the finger at: herself. She was the last person to see him alive, the last person who could have helped. If she had just kept a closer eye on him instead of her crush, Jake, maybe Kit would still be here. She knows she made a mistake, and wishes she could just forget about it — but Clem’s friend Ellie says she’ll expose Clem’s secret if she doesn’t play along with Ellie’s lies.

Jake seems to have his own difficult secrets, and when he and Clem start to talk, they make a plan to help themselves move on. But when an unexpected discovery at the quarry makes everyone question what they thought they knew, Clem and Jake decide it’s up to them to uncover the truth.

Rated: DNF
Publisher: Dundurn
Publication: December 10, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead

I started The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead because I was just like yessss, murder mystery, young adult, possible romance, this is so great! I’m such a fan of mysteries and all that angst over characters thinking x person’s death is their fault when in reality something else entirely happened. So, I was super excited to get into this. And then, it all fell through when I actually read the words on the page.

This is a super short review because obviously I Did Not Finish-ed the book. Maybe the story itself is decent, but the writing, I could not get past it. It feels like the written equivalent of the Steve Buscemi’s gif where he is dressed like what he thinks teens wear saying How do you do, fellow kids?

The disconnect between the age the character is supposed to be, and the way it is written, the words used, is so severe and jarring, I just cannot keep going with it. It feels wrong. It feels as though the author is trying to write how she thinks teens talk and think, but at the same time, passing judgement on them?

If you can get past the writing, then I hope the story is an enjoyable one. It definitely seems like there’s something intriguing there, and hopefully my initial hunch that Ellie knows more than she’s saying is wrong, but for me, I’ll never find out. The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead is just a bust.

Murder at Mistletoe Manor by Holly Tierney-Bedord

Murder at Mistletoe Manor by Holly Tierney-Bedord

 Murder at Mistletoe Manor
by Holly Tierney-Bedord

Klarinda Snow is the innkeeper of a beautiful, historic bed and breakfast in Windy Pines, Idaho. Guests come to Mistletoe Manor to escape from their troubles while enjoying the scenic mountain town.

When all seven rooms of the inn get booked on a Tuesday night in December, Klarinda is excited about having so much business, but a little confused as well. After all, her inn normally isn’t exactly a destination hotspot.

The guests have barely settled in before strange things begin happening. Is this the most accident prone group of travelers ever, or is someone out for revenge?

Rated: ★★★
Publication: October 12, 2016
Genre: Mystery
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.


Murder at Mistletoe Manor by Holly Tierney-Bedord

This was SUCH a fun Christmas mystery novella. The main character is relateable and likeable. The plot was solid and the pacing fast enough that you didn’t bored but slow enough that you didn’t get lost or swept away. Holly Tierney-Bedord knows her writing well and makes this a truly enjoyable experience. I definitely look forward to picking up more of her books even though it is outside my usual genre.


Dream Faces by Steve Shanks

Dream Faces by Steve Shanks

 Dream Faces
by Steve Shanks

Mark Stephens’ quiet life as an artist is turned upside down. At age 42 he finally receives the opportunity he has been working for. A national gallery discovers his art and wants to make him wealthy. At the same time he has big problems. His current series of paintings are based on the vivid dreams he has recently been having about three girls. The trouble is, as the girls appear in his paintings, they disappear from their families, and the police are eyeing him as the primary suspect. On top of that, the real kidnappers, a group of Russians from Detroit, discover his paintings, and believe he is aware of them, endangering him and his family. There is a silver lining. Out of the chaos Mark discovers he has a gift. He has the Sight. He can suddenly see his guardian Angel and other more sinister beings. The police think Mark is insane or at best a suspect. So Mark goes after the kidnapped girls to try and rescue them. Mark is not an action hero. He is an artist. But he does have a Guardian Angel. Dream Faces is a powerful new debut suspense supernatural novel about everyday heroes, self sacrifice, and the choices we make.

Rated: ★★
Publisher: CreativeSpace
Publication: July 13, 2016
Genre: Mystery, Angels
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.


Dream Faces by Steve Shanks

Such an interesting concept, Dream Faces by Steve Shanks was a unique mystery novel that left me wondering what would happen next. It was an easy read, simple and to the point. Pacing never lagged. The main character seemed real, but the Russian mobsters appeared to be little more than caricatures, as did the cops. I’m unsure if Shanks watches many crime shows or detective series, but I was intrigued that the cops went in so hard on Mark when they didn’t have anything to tie him to the murders. They would usually try to play good guy. Or at the very least, have someone run surveillance on him or ask him for an alibi the night of the disappearances, none of which happened. All of that said, it was still a decent mystery and I really enjoyed the addition of angels and demons whispering and influencing the characters.

The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

The Hidden People
by Alison Littlewood

In 1851, within the grand glass arches of London’s Crystal Palace, Albie Mirralls meets his cousin Lizzie for the first–and, as it turns out, last–time. His cousin is from a backward rural village, and Albie expects she will be a simple country girl, but instead he is struck by her inner beauty and by her lovely singing voice, which is beautiful beyond all reckoning. When next he hears of her, many years later, it is to hear news of her death at the hands of her husband, the village shoemaker.

Unable to countenance the rumors that surround his younger cousin’s murder–apparently, her husband thought she had been replaced by one of the “fair folk” and so burned her alive–Albie becomes obsessed with bringing his young cousin’s murderer to justice. With his father’s blessing, as well as that of his young wife, Albie heads to the village of Halfoak to investigate his cousin’s murder. When he arrives, he finds a community in the grip of superstition, nearly every member of which believes Lizzie’s husband acted with the best of intentions and in the service of the village.

There, Albie begins to look into Lizzie’s death and to search for her murderous husband, who has disappeared. But in a village where the rationalism and rule of science of the Industrial Revolution seem to have found little purchase, the answers to the question of what happened to Lizzie and why prove elusive. And the more he learns, the less sure he is that there aren’t mysterious powers at work.

Rated: ★★
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Publication: November 1st, 2016
Genre: Mystery, Fae
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

With such a gorgeous cover and an intriguing synopsis, I was super excited to read The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood. Slow to build, the pacing was problematic enough that it knocked the rating down two stars to three. Other than the pacing, the characters and story itself were absolutely fantastic! An amazing mystery that messes with your mind and keeps you wondering what is happening from start to end.

The characters were extremely interesting and well developed. The narrator was fantastic and reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe’s narrators in which they are strong of conviction and slowly begin to wonder if they are slowly giving in to madness or if madness is suddenly invading the real world. Leading him to wonder whether he is going insane is his wife Helena and her erratic behavior. While I know her behavior was altered to make the reader and narrator wonder whether she was herself or a fae changeling, it didn’t seem to make sense at the end, with the explanations given after everything unravels. I can’t go into it further without getting into spoilers so I’ll leave it at that. Mrs. Gomersal is perfect at her role as well, just so well developed and complex.

The story itself is great and leaves you as a reader confused and constantly wondering what is happening. Are changelings real? Are they not? What is happening? Then once the reveal happens, everything clicks and you realize what a fool you were for not seeing it earlier. It was incredibly well thought out and put together.

Pacing, however, was a big issue for this book. It didn’t pick up for me until around the 50% mark. It was a big hurdle. I kept having to push myself to keep going, telling myself it would pick up. It did, but if I hadn’t stuck with it, I would never have known have great it was in the end.

The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood has fantastic characters and plot, but with troubling pacing, it will take a dedicated reader to reach the payoff.

The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

 The Telling
by Alexandra Sirowy

Lana used to know what was real.

That was before when her life was small and quiet. Her golden step-brother, Ben, was alive, she could only dream about bonfiring with the populars, their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell the truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.

Then came after.

After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, and living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten: Love, blood, and murder.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication: August 2nd, 2016
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemporary
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: amazon | b&n | book depo
Rated: ★★★★

@ | f

The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

I was definitely drawn into The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy because of two things: that amazing cover and the last line of the synopsis summarizing the book into three simple words, love, blood, and murder. Who doesn’t want to read about love, blood, and murder? Those are the three BEST things to read about! Certainly, I was not disappointed. In fact, Alexandra Sirowy blew me away with The Telling where now I’m hoping there could be a sequel for reasons I’ll talk about below.

Normally, if I read YA, it tends to be fantasy, so for me to pick up a contemporary YA book really felt like a nice break of pace. It honestly, at the start, reminded me a bit of Gossip Girl (the tv show, never got into the books). Rich, privileged, 17 year olds getting away with anything they want thanks to neglectful parents and legal system. Then you have Lana and Willa, the Brooklyn Gossip Girl crowd that somehow make their way into the cool kids group. I loved it to be honest! But, that was only the very first impression since within the first few pages, everything changes as Lana pulls a body out of the water. The body of a girl she hated.

As the book progresses, more people are killed connected to Lana, people Lana hated. Lana begins to doubt her sanity. I begin to doubt her sanity and secretly think she’s committing the crimes and just blacking out. Why would she do that, one might ask. Well, because off screen, before the book has started, her step-brother was murdered.


A STEP-BROTHER SHE WAS IN LOVE WITH!!! IS THIS A SPOILER I DON’T KNOW BUT HONESTLY I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT I JUST NEED TO LET IT OUT! I absolutely love that trope in books, siblings or step-siblings kinda falling in love with each other and not out of abuse or necessity, but naturally. So, I was just reading this and the masterful way Sirowy has Lana talk about Ben just places the barest hint that maybe her feelings were more than just sisterly. So, I waited, and read, and kept thinking please, let it be so, and it was!

Though, okay, that wasn’t what made me love the book. What actually made me love the book was the suspense and trying to figure out who was actually committing the murders and why. Then, trying to untangle Ben’s shadowy past to find out what led him and his mother to Lana and her father. The character development was well done, pacing was FANTASTIC!! Never once did I feel like it was going too slow, or too fast. It just continually had me wanting to know what would happen next.

The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy is a marvelous YA contemporary mystery novel that seems to do everything right. Characters are developed and progress naturally through the story, the plot and mystery are well thought out and written. It was simply a great book!

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About the Author

Alexandra SirowyAlexandra Sirowy was born in Northern California and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended a women’s college as an undergraduate and has a graduate degree in International Studies. She lives in Northern California with her husband. Visit her at alexandrasirowy.com.

Zero by Morgan Dark

Zero by Morgan Dark

by Morgan Dark

A baffling robber.
A mystery hidden for years.
And an elite boarding school where no one is who they say they are.
Kyle Bradford is the envy of Drayton College, but everything takes a turn when a dangerous shadow, hidden in the darkness, starts to stalk him. From then on, his life falls apart. Unjustly accused of being the main suspect behind the robberies terrifying high society, he is forced to prove his innocence. And to do so, he has to find the real culprit: Zero, an infallible criminal who keeps his identity hidden under a silver mask. What Kyle does not know is that his enemy is keeping a secret. A secret he would sacrifice everything for.
A dizzying, heart-stopping thriller you won’t be able to put down.

Publisher: Rubiños, 1860
Publication: June 28th, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Triller
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: amazon | bn | book depo | kobo
Rated: ★★★


Zero by Morgan Dark

I was approached by publisher Rubiños about this fantastic book called Zero by Morgan Dark that was just being released in English after being wildly successful in Spanish. With such a mysterious premise, and an author who is an American of Spanish heritage, I needed to give it a try. I am SO GRATEFUL I DID! Zero has got to be one of the most unique YA novels I have read in a very long time!

The start was a bit rocky. It felt cliche. All I could think was oh no, typical YA rich kid Gossip Girl type book where main character would turn into an amazing hero to stop villain Zero. I could not be more wrong. This book was so involved and well thought out, I am amazed by Morgan Dark’s foresight and planning. Once you finish Zero, you finally you realize how many small pieces fit into place, making the ending one that is extremely satisfying. It is an earned ending, and believable.

Character development may at first seem shallow, but the deeper you get into the book, the more you learn. You get hooked and want to find out more about why these characters do what they do and how I went from not really caring about Kyle, to becoming so intrigued and invested, I could not put the book down until I finished it. I want to say more about the “secondary” characters that also made an amazing impression on me, but I can’t without spoiling the entire book.

Zero by Morgan Dark is seriously a fantastic YA novel that is unlike any other on the market. If you’re looking to read something new and exciting, definitely pick it up! It is great to see an author actually respect their readers enough to give them a novel that forces them to think and piece things together, instead of simply following a typical and predictable YA trope.

A Word from Morgan Dark

I was lucky enough, thanks to the Fantastic Flying Book Club, to have the opportunity to ask Ms. Dark her thoughts on a few topics.

Roadside Reader: Originally published in Spanish, how difficult was it to maintain the integrity of the story when so many  nuances can be lost in translation. After all, there are so many phrases and words in Spanish that simply have no coherent carry-over in English.

Morgan Dark: The translation of any book is always a challenge because a translator is, in some way, like a second author who has to maintain the gist of the plot, the essence of the words you use and make it work in a language that’s different from the one it was originally written in. I’m lucky in that I know English well (my parents are Spanish, but I was born in the US), so I was able to read the translation of the book when it was done and be sure that it was right. I won’t have that luxury when it gets translated into other language, but it’s a question of trust. I like to talk to the translators of my books before they start because it helps me get to know them and get a feel for whether they’ll do [a] good translations or not.

RR: Zero is very different from most other YA novels. What struggles did you face in publishing a book so contrary to the majority of the YA market?

MD: Zero is definitely different. Actually, I think that’s one of the most remarkable aspects of the book: just how different it is from other YA books. It’s also one of its major selling points and what people have responded most positively to. It’s interesting, but I didn’t run into any problems getting the book published. In fact, when I finished the manuscript, I sent it off to my editor to read, and he called me just a few hours later to tell me he was dead set on getting published at all cost. Finally, I’d like to emphasize just how important it is to dedicate yourself heart and soul to a book you really like and not follow the trends nor the work of other authors.

RR: What were your inspirations (literal or musical) in creating Zero (the novel, not the thief)?

MD: I often listen to music when I write. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was young. I always try to pick songs that go with the scene I’m writing; it helps me get inspired. For Zero, I listened to lots of songs from Thirty Seconds to Mars, Imagine Dragons, and Rihanna because they really fit the story. By the time I’d finished the book, I knew those albums by heart! Nowadays when I h;ear one of those songs, I think of Zero and the parts of the book I wrote listening to that particular song.

I think it would be amazing to see a spotify playlist perhaps of some of the major songs that influenced the book to listen to as readers read along. Thank you so much to Ms. Morgan Dark for taking time out to speak with me. 

Zero Book Tour


Morgan Darkfacebook | @_MorganDark

Morgan Dark is one of the most original teenage literature writers. Always enveloped in suspense, as of yet no one knows her true identity. She began writing Zero after a hooded man robbed her in her New York apartment. Included amongst the stolen items was her favorite ring. Yet in exchange, she received a publishing contract for her new novel. After Zero became one of the most awaited teenage books in 2015, her ring showed up in her house again…in black envelope with no sender.


Five by Ursula Archer

Five by Ursula Archer


A woman’s corpse is discovered in a meadow. A strange combination of letters and numbers has been tattooed on the soles of her feet. Detective inspector Beatrice Kaspary from the local murder squad quickly identifies the digits as map coordinates. These lead to a series of gruesome discoveries as she and her colleague Florin Wenninger embark on a bloody trail – a modern-day scavenger hunt using GPS navigation devices to locate hidden caches. The “owner” of these unofficial, unpublished geocaches is a highly calculating and elusive fiend who leaves his victims’ body-parts sealed in plastic bags, complete with riddles that culminate in a five-stage plot. Kaspary herself becomes an unwilling pawn in the perpetrator’s game of cat and mouse as she risks all to uncover the motives behind the murderer’s actions. Five is definitely not a book for the faint-hearted, but it delivers great suspense, unexpected plot twists, and multi-dimensional characters.

Five: A Novel
Ursula Archer
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication: December 2014
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat library
Rated: ★★★★


The Three Sarah Lotz

The Three by Sarah Lotz


Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists “The Three” are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?

The world is stunned when four planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. There doesn’t seem to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters, a single child is the sole survivor. Dubbed “the three” by the press, these “miracle children” achieve international celebrity. Things take a dark turn when a fanatical preacher starts insisting that the young survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse.

As the children’s behavior grows increasingly disturbing, even their loved ones start to suspect there could be some truth behind the conspiracy theory. And when a survivor from the fourth accident is found, deadly alliances are formed and it becomes ever more difficult- and dangerous -to decipher the truth.

The Three
Sarah Lotz
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication: May 2014
Genre: Dystopian, Mystery, Speculative Fiction, “Horror” 
Personally purchased title
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat
Rated: ★★½