Author: Shelley Nolden
Published: March 23, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past—and his own family’s dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who’ve already perished on the island?
The Vines intertwines North Brother Island’s horrific and elusive history with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss.
Meh. The setting of this book offered so much promise: an abandoned hospital in North Brother Island in NYC. I mean come on! I was waiting for ghosts and vengeful spirits and a brilliant paranormal adventure … what I got was meh.
I don’t want to spoil the twist, even though the twist was pretty obvious, but I wish Nolden had picked either realistic or fanciful. She mixed the two together, but it just hampered the story. You don’t get to complain about the pandemics of the world, and then add a fantastical element that’s supposed to fix everything; it felt like cheating. And frankly, most of the characters were just unlikable. Didn’t like Cora’s overall attitude, didn’t like Finn’s annoying little woke statements every chapter, didn’t like Lily’s whining; the only ones I had a shred of like for were the villains! Basically, I’m glad I read it, but am I going to continue the series or even read this again? Probably not.
The Night Before
Author: Wendy Walker
Published: May 14, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 20-27, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.
Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.
When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…
This one had a premise that really intrigued me, but the novel itself fell flat. I was looking for a fast moving novel where the woman seemingly is the victim but is actually not and she is holding her date prisoner and who knows what may happen next.
I was at first intrigued by Laura and Rosie being sisters and Laura’s concern and determination to find her sister, but a little later in the novel I was just not invested in their story anymore. The Night Before also has multiple povs, which I normally enjoy but this novel just didn’t agree with me. There is a twist I didn’t see coming and when it is revealed you had to take a minute and think about the reality of this scenario in regards to the story. From that point on I was just ready to end the novel but I only had so much left that I continued.
I did listen to the audiobook version and maybe that was the problem for me with this novel. This may be one to actually read versus have read to you.
I would give Ms. Walker another chance in reading another of her novels, but this one just didn’t work for me so I cannot recommend it.[Top]
Author: Adrian McKinty
Published: July 9, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 1-10, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
It’s something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it’s a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a ransom, and find another child to abduct. This is no ordinary kidnapping: the caller is a mother herself, whose son has been taken, and if Rachel doesn’t do as she’s told, the boy will die.
“You are not the first. And you will certainly not be the last.” Rachel is now part of The Chain, an unending and ingenious scheme that turns victims into criminals — and is making someone else very rich in the process. The rules are simple, the moral challenges impossible; find the money fast, find your victim, and then commit a horrible act you’d have thought yourself incapable of just twenty-four hours ago.
But what the masterminds behind The Chain know is that parents will do anything for their children. It turns out that kidnapping is only the beginning.
Single mother Rachel receives the call that no parent ever wants to receive. Her daughter Kylie has been kidnapped and they are now part of The Chain. To get Kylie back Rachel must pay a ransom… and then kidnap another child, thus continuing The Chain. If Rachel fails at any of this or if the next person she selects fails at any of this, Kylie will be killed. The person who has kidnapped Kylie is not playing games for she is a mother and her own son was also kidnapped. And one more thing: Rachel is a cancer survivor and it looks like her cancer is back. Will Rachel get the ransom and even more… will she kidnap someone else’s child to continue The Chain?
I was lured in from the beginning of this novel and found myself reading it at every moment I could. I had to know what was going to happen! The Chain is a very intense novel and I’m not even a parent!
This will not be a book for everyone, as some readers who are parents may not be able to handle this story. If you are a thriller lover as I am then I say DO READ THIS ONE! It was an original and unique story for me and though it does get a little less realistic towards the ending I was fully invested. This would make quite the movie and I would watch it!
The reader feels for Rachel and sees the change she goes through from disbelief in her situation to what she does later on in the story due to need. This novel shows how much one person can change so quickly when needed. The Chain is also a lesson in social media: Don’t put your whole life on Facebook!
During the novel one character that is math oriented mentions to another that books should not have more than 77 chapters. Lo and behold The Chain is made up of 77 chapters: PSYCH!!! The Chain is a complete story and for me everything tied up well.
As of now, The Chain is my top thriller of the year and my #2 read of the year. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough as this is the kind of book I love to read! The Chain is a club you definitely do not want to be initiated into!