Review of Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

ThickerThanWaterThicker Than Water 
By: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: December 29th 2015
Publisher: Kensington Books
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

My Rating:
star

Summary:
On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

My Thoughts:
Thicker Than Water was my first Kemmerer book to read- throughout my blogging career I have heard really wonderful things about her writing and books so I was so thrilled to receive a copy for review. This wouldn’t normally be something I’d pick up (that cover is not to my liking) but I was willing to give it a try due to all the positive things I’d heard.

This book started off very strong. The story was told in first person by two separate people- I love when books are set up this way because I feel we get to see things from several perspectives. This usually has me feeling more invested in the story and this book was no different. I formed an attachment early on to Thomas- this poor boy had been through so much so early and I could feel his sadness radiating from the pages. I was so sad for him and hated the way he was treated in this small town. It made me love Charlotte because she could look past the rumors and see (or try to see) who he really was- how brave of her to be able to look past society’s perception of him.

The chemistry between these characters was electric and kept me flipping the pages. I was eager to see who was actually responsible for the crime and see justice served. There was true suspense for the first section of the book and I was riveted…then things changed for me. I thoroughly thought this book was a mystery/contemporary but about 3/4 in things the tone and genre shifted. All of a sudden paranormal aspects started showing up. They felt abrupt and SO not in character for the book. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t expect it or if it really felt disjointed but it made the last section of the book feel completely different than the start. I was so disappointed (and confused) by this shift.

The ending felt contrived due to the shift in genre and things seemed to fall in place a bit too easy. I had expected something so much different- sure I didn’t see the twist coming but it wasn’t a feeling of ‘a-ha!’ it was more, ‘what book am I reading?’ Hopefully other readers won’t be pulled out of the story as badly as I was and can enjoy the strong writing and character chemistry- but for me, it lowered my over-all feel for the book a good amount.

Final Thoughts:
Thicker Than Water had a strong start for me- I felt the character chemistry, tension and suspense but the last section of the book threw me off and felt disjointed from the rest of the book. This was still an enjoyable read but it isn’t a favorite. I will want to check out more from Kemmerer because her character portrayals were done very well.

 Have you read Thicker Than Water? What did you think of the genre shift?

Review of Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)Killer Instinct
By: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

My Thoughts:
I was a big fan of the first in this series, The Naturals. As with the first, Barnes has written another compelling mystery that kept me intrigued once I got back into the world and characters. Barnes’ knowledge of cognitive thought and psychology was evident in her characters motivations and behavior.

I chose not to reread the first book and this caused me a tad bit of struggle in the beginning because I had trouble recalling the characters and their dynamics with one another. It didn’t take long though and I was back into the story. The last book focused on Cassie and the mystery surrounding her mother’s death and the journey to find the person responsible for the killings that were similar to how her mother was murdered. Killer Instinct focused this time on a copycat of Dean’s father.

Dean was an easy favorite for me in both books because I can’t help but be fascinated with his character. The idea that his father was a convicted serial killer was as sad as it was intriguing. In this novel we get much more depth about Dean and his father’s interactions. I thought this was the most fascinating aspect of this book and am so happy that Barnes explored this element.

Though the story focused a good deal on Dean’s past it was told again from Cassie’s view point. Like the first book, Killer Instinct had a significant focus on a love triangle with Cassie struggling between her two interests. This element did detract from the story for me but I’m glad to see that it looks to be coming to a close sooner than later. Though the triangle wasn’t my favorite aspect I could see Cassie’s draw to both Dean and Michael.

Each of the secondary characters were true to their character from the first book. Michael was the welcomed humor in a story focused so much on death. It’s hard not to love him solely for his witty dialog. The reader was given more insight into each of these characters and I felt that as the series continues we’ll continue to get to know them even more.

As with the first book we get small chapters told from the killer’s point of view. I love that these are included since we get to witness the psychological make-up of the killer. It helps to give hints into who it is and kept me invested and intrigued in the mystery.

Final Thoughts:
Killer Instinct was a fast paced mystery that was unpredictable and intriguing. I love Barnes’ use of profiling basics and her ability to keep me guessing who the killer might be. Though there was a love triangle I felt that the story was done well enough to cancel out that aspect and keep me loving this series.

Review of Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Every BreathEvery Breath
By: Ellie Marney
Release Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Tundra Books
Format: E-ARC
Source: NetGalley

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:
Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally.

A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again…

My Rating:
star

My Thoughts:
Nikki from There Were Books Involved was the first person I saw mentioning this book. After she linked to it I knew I had to request it because “what if Sherlock Holmes was the boy next door?” Can we say, dream come true? So, I requested this without much thought at all.

Soon after that glorious email saying I had access to the book I started to think…Mycroft….

Mycroft
I got a tad worried. I love Mycroft but I wasn’t so sure I wanted him to be that boy next door.  I went into this wanting Sherlock, not the older Holmes. So I was a bit apprehensive. Ok, not too much but a tiny bit.

No need to worry! James Mycroft was swoon-worthy, complex, compelling and incredibly original in his own right. I was pleased that the characters of Watts and Mycroft were a fun play off the Sherlock mythology but not a carbon copy.  You can easily see the author’s admiration for Doyle’s classic characters.

I was instantly swept up into Jame’s character and watching him develop through the eyes of Rachel Watts was a complete pleasure. Their chemistry was perfection and Rachel was likeable and relatable. I thought that each of these characters held their own but shone while together. And the secondary cast was not forgotten either. Mycroft and Watt’s friend group was wonderfully represented and equally engaging.

The mystery Marney created was fun to ponder though it wasn’t overly complex to guess who the villain was. I felt that she utilized the suspense and mystery very well and the final showdown was action packed. This was a quick read that kept me highly entertained and glued to the pages. The real driving force for me in this book was the relationship between Mycroft and Watts. I absolutely loved their interactions, pining and anything related to the two of them.

Once finishing Every Breath I was distraught that I could not continue the series immediately. The book ended in a great place, no horrible cliff-hangers or anything but I was so invested in the characters I wasn’t ready to say goodbye just yet. I’ve since ordered Every Word because I must have it.

Final Thoughts:
I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted when I started Every Breath other than a complex relationship between the lead characters and a smart, hard to know main character to fall in love with. I got all of this plus a fun and entertaining book that left me wanting much more.