Ciao, amici! Welcome to July. I hope those of you who celebrated America’s Independence Day had a wonderful holiday. I attended a couple of family picnics and watched some fireworks. I missed my kids and my dogs (and my pool), but I’m choosing to count my blessings rather than dwell on the things I missed.
I’ve got two reviews for you today. Without further ado…
Socially Relevant Without Preaching
Maybe it’s the mom in me, but I cheered to see the book begin with teens who were sent to a camp with no technology, forced to unplug from the world because their dependence on the Internet had gotten out of hand. Granted, it was a very posh camp, but the girls didn’t have it easy.
Then it all went downhill from there. Their guide was murdered, and there was no sign of the girls. Were they abducted? Did they flee? Was this an elaborate Internet prank to increase their viewers that somehow went horribly wrong?
Enter the cop (Daniel) and the profiler (Reni), both with more emotional baggage than they can fit in their knapsacks as they hike the mountain. There’s a lot of history there. (I didn’t realize this is the second book in the series, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this story, though I’d like to go back and read the first to fill in some blanks.) The way their pasts and presents collide makes for some heart-wrenching moments.
The plot unravels at a brisk, steady pace and has as many twists and turns as the trail the girls disappeared on. The ending was telegraphed throughout, but I think some readers might miss the hints and find it to be a surprise. All in all, it was a solid mystery that kept me engaged, and I’m interested in more from this series.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this work in exchange for my unbiased opinion.
Talk about a Pin to the Heart!
This quick read by Jan Sikes is worth every second you’ll spend with it. Anyone who’s ever known the sting of betrayal knows the catharsis felt by any harmless purging act.
But what if it wasn’t harmless?
Claire Winters tried to ease her suffering with what she thought was a joke—a voodoo doll of her cheating husband who asked for a divorce. Now she’s living with the ramifications of that decision. There’s no way to prove whether the magic was real, but she has to come to terms with her intentions and the results, regardless. And the ending is enough to steal your breath.
This story is short, but there’s a lot to unpack. If you want to. On the surface, it’s almost a horror story. But in the complex layers underneath, if you sit with it and mull things over, there’s a complex construct of emotional family dynamics and painful interpersonal traumas worth a second and even a third look. As a short story, this is good. Had this been a novel that explored all these concepts in depth, it would have been outstanding.
That’s it from me today. I hope you found something that sparked your interest. If you did, or if you read one of these, or if you’d just like to talk about these stories or others like them, sound off in the comments below. Grazie!