1.5 star, adult

Review: Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci

Introducing a remarkable new character from #1 New York Times bestselling writer David Baldacci: Atlee Pine, an FBI agent with special skills assigned to the remote wilds of the southwestern United States who must confront a new threat . . . and an old nightmare.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a tiger by its toe.

It’s seared into Atlee Pine’s memory: the kidnapper’s chilling rhyme as he chose between six-year-old Atlee and her twin sister, Mercy. Mercy was taken. Atlee was spared.

She never saw Mercy again.

Three decades after that terrifying night, Atlee Pine works for the FBI. She’s the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona resident agency, which is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon.

So when one of the Grand Canyon’s mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon-and its rider missing-Pine is called in to investigate. It soon seems clear the lost tourist had something more clandestine than sightseeing in mind. But just as Pine begins to put together clues pointing to a terrifying plot, she’s abruptly called off the case.

If she disobeys direct orders by continuing to search for the missing man, it will mean the end of her career. But unless Pine keeps working the case and discovers the truth, it could spell the very end of democracy in America as we know it…



Oh man. For what is supposedly a mystery book, I had such a hard time reading through this. It also had elements of suspense and thrillers but it was just….so boring. And the title and backstory don’t even really make sense to me? Let’s just say I borderline didn’t finish it. Maybe I shouldn’t have.

Long Road to Mercy follows an FBI special agent, Atlee Pine, who specializes in the rural part of West America. Her tragic backstory includes a twin sister who was kidnapped at age 6 from their own house – a man had snuck in and spoke a nursery rhyme to choose which sister he would take. 30 years later, Atlee is still on the hunt for what happened to her sister.

Or so you’d expect.

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2.5 star, adult

Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians #1

A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel for adults about a young man practicing magic in the real world.

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.

At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.



So close, yet so far. I would say that this story is a strong combination of The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. This was highly recommended to me by a friend, and while I can see why they enjoyed it, I just wish I enjoyed it more too. While the aforementioned series have more of a hopeful tone and a feel for adventure, The Magicians is much more of an “adult” and “realistic” version of those two worlds, where magic really doesn’t solve your problems, and where the world is much more sinister than just a villain like Lord Voldemort.

The Magicians revolves around our main character, Quentin, who is the classic brilliant but troubled student. He goes through 5 years of training at Hogwarts Brakebills to train as a magician before being thrust back into the adult “normal” world. Eventually he also discovers that his childhood books about crossing into Narnia Fillory are also real. I would say the first half of the book is like going through all of Hogwarts, and the second part is akin to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

I wanted to like this, but I think the biggest factor for me was that I hated Quentin. I just couldn’t get over what a terrible person he was. Incredibly selfish and hedonistic, he often leads the people around him to destruction, all the while whining about it. It supposedly stems from a bit of an inferiority complex and some clinically undiagnosed depression? But I honestly could not empathize at all with him. I guess that would be the biggest gripe for me, sure he was brilliant at learning and knew he was. But the kind of person he was…I just couldn’t stand for it, and therefore never rooted for him at all.

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3.5 star, adult

Review: Piece of My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

In the latest thrilling collaboration from #1 New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, television producer Laurie Moran must solve the kidnapping of her fiancée’s nephew—just days before her wedding.

Television producer Laurie Moran and her fiancée, Alex Buckley, the former host of her investigative television show, are just days away from their mid-summer wedding, when things take a dark turn. Alex’s seven-year-old nephew, Johnny, vanishes from the beach. A search party begins and witnesses recall Johnny playing in the water and collecting shells behind the beach shack, but no one remembers seeing him after the morning. As the sun sets, Johnny’s skim board washes up to shore, and everyone realizes that he could be anywhere, even under water.

A ticking clock, a sinister stalker, and fresh romance combine in this exhilarating follow up to the bestselling You Don’t Own Me—another riveting page-turner from the “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and her dazzling partner-in-crime Alafair Burke.



“Queen of Suspense” is totally correct! While I haven’t read her works before, Mary Higgins Clark definitely does a great job of stretching out the tension and building upon it throughout an entire novel. At moments she lets the tension go a bit slack just to reel you in, before snapping it right back taut. Masterfully manipulated suspense was definitely one of my thoughts as I read through this thriller.

Piece of My Heart centres around a few parallel plotlines, multiple families, each experiencing some sort of tragic loss. The novel takes us through the journey of how these families recover from the tragedies of their past and move forward, all within the suspense of a kidnapping. Many questions are posed from the beginning, and the layers of suspense grows and grows from the beginning all the way to the climax and the denouement.

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