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Book Review: Baggage by S.G. Redling

Baggage by S.G. Redling
Released 2/9/16
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 3 bones(2.5/5 bones)

This book definitely held my interest, but left me a bit disappointed.  Like many mysteries, tiny details were revealed throughout the book, but this one definitely held on to secrets until the bitter end.  Like 95-97% of the way through to get answers.  And the outcome, to me, felt disconnected from the rest of the book.  I won’t reveal any spoilers, but you really won’t ever guess it, at least I didn’t.  Which is usually a good thing, and while explained, I still felt it was a stretch.

The main character Anna Ray is a train wreck.  She’s been through hell but tends to dwell in it, through ignorance, self-pity, and wine, lots of wine.  We know that February 17th is a tough day for her and the general details around why, but it takes the whole book to get the whole story.  And this year, this date is no different when more bad things happen on February 17th.  Her cousin Jeannie, the only family she really knows, comes to town to help her deal, but seems to be just as bad as Anna as their first night together ends with them black out drunk!

I just wasn’t invested in the story and was glad when it was over.  Which is a bit disappointing because I loved The Widow File, a 5 bone read for me, which I hold for only my very favorites!  I won’t let this keep me from picking up books from Ms. Redling in the future, this one just didn’t do it for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for allowing me to preview this book.

Book Description:

A new thriller from the bestselling author of Flowertown, The Widow File, and Redemption Key.

Over the years, terrible things keep happening to Anna Ray on February 17. First, there was the childhood trauma she’s never been able to speak about. Then, to her horror, her husband killed himself on that date.

A year later and a thousand miles away, Anna tries to find solace in the fresh start of a new job in a new place. She takes comfort in her outspoken cousin Jeannie, the confidant and best friend who’s there whenever she needs help. On the eve of the dreaded anniversary, Anna and Jeannie hit the town, planning to ease the pain with an alcohol-induced stupor and then sleep…

But when Anna awakes on the darkest day of her year, she has no idea that fate is about to intervene in the form of a pair of gruesome murders with eerie similarities to her violent past. This time, however, she won’t be an abandoned daughter or a grieving widow. This time, she’ll be a suspect.

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Book Review: A Cure for Madness by Jodi McIsaac

A Cure for Madness
By Jodi McIsaac
Released 1/19/16

Rating: 3 bones(3/5 bones)

What a scary concept – a virus that makes people crazy.  Now I know our world has it’s share of crazy people – but what if it was contagious?  And there wasn’t a cure!

It’s a story, not unlike others I’ve read, of a homecoming for someone who has tried hard to escape their past.  In this case it is Clare Campbell, who left Clarkeston Maine five or so years ago.  She is brought back after her parents are murdered.  She is forced to face many people from her past and make some tough decisions.  Overall it’s a bit of a redemption story, which I always appreciate.  But it took her awhile to get there and she sort of drove my crazy too at times!

The other main player in the book is Clare’s brother, Wes.  I loved the vivid descriptions of him and had a very clear picture of him in my head as we went through the book.  He just seemed like a troubled, but very good guy who Clare had taken advantage at times.  But the sibling bond was there throughout the book and they ultimately had to work together to get through the scary situation they were in.

Throw in the government and hospitals being secretive and no one really wanting to divulge answers, and this was a very fast paced read.  The description keeps it pretty vague – so I will follow suit.  It was an interesting read, contained all the elements of a good book (even some romance thrown in!), just felt a little familiar and compared some others of late just didn’t hold up.

But thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for allowing me to preview!

Book Description:

Clare Campbell has worked hard to create distance between herself and her troubled family. But when she receives news of her parents’ murder, she’s forced to return to the quiet town of Clarkeston, Maine, to arrange their funeral and take legal guardianship of her unpredictable and mentally ill brother, Wes.

While Clare struggles to come to grips with the death of her parents, a terrifying pathogen outbreak overtakes the town. She is all too familiar with the resulting symptoms, which resemble those of her brother’s schizophrenia: hallucinations, paranoia, and bizarre, even violent, behavior. Before long, the government steps in—and one agent takes a special interest in Wes. Clare must make a horrifying decision: save her brother or save the world.

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