Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon December 27, 2015

Filed under: adult fiction,adult mystery,Uncategorized — Bethany @ 11:50 pm
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Night SisterIt’s 2013. Piper gets a phone call in the middle of the night. At first she’s worried it’s bad news about her very pregnant sister, Margot. But the news is about her childhood friend, Amy, whom she’s barely talked to since the summer of 1989. Amy has allegedly killed her family and then herself in her childhood home at the Tower Motel in London, Vermont. Margot called Piper to tell her about the one clue left behind, a photo scrawled with the words 29 ROOMS, a message only Margot and Piper understand.

What follows is an eerie tale that passes along the dark secrets of the Tower Motel from sisters Rose and Sylvie in 1955 to Amy, Piper, and Margot’s grisly discovery in 1989 to the horror in 2013.

This was a page-turner! The story was creepy but not terribly scary. The transitions between the different timelines were smooth and easy to follow. I was impressed with the writing and plan to check out other stories by this author. I would recommend this to adults who like mysteries. Just don’t read it alone at night.

5 out of 5 stars


The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson July 19, 2015

Filed under: adult fiction,adult mystery — Bethany @ 11:59 am
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Kind Worth KillingHave you ever had someone in your life you wish would just disappear? Ted Severson is drinking in an airport bar when he is approached by a beautiful stranger. In a drunken attempt to flirt, he tells this woman he just discovered his wife is cheating on him with the contractor building their new home. In a story reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train, the stranger, Lily, suggests he kill his wife and even volunteers to help him. At first Ted laughs off the idea as a joke, but the more he thinks about it, the more he likes the idea. As the plot thickens, it becomes apparent Ted’s wife is not the only one whose life is on the line.

Wow. This was one of those “stay up all night, have to finish my book” books. I blew through this book in two days and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. The Kind Worth Killing is a dark tale of lies, murder, and revenge. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes murder mysteries.

5 out of 5 stars


The Impersonator by Mary Miley April 25, 2014

Filed under: adult fiction,adult historical fiction,adult mystery — Bethany @ 10:44 pm
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ImpersonatorLeah is in the one place she calls home, the vaudeville stage, when she notices a man staring at her from the audience. He catches up with her after the show, calling her Jessie. She politely corrects him, then goes about her business. He returns later with a proposition. His niece, Jessie Carr, disappeared in 1917 at age 14. This year would have been her 21st birthday, the year she was supposed to inherit the family fortune. Since there is little hope the real Jessie will ever return, her uncle wants Leah, whose resemblance to Jessie is uncanny, to pretend to be Jessie. She would impersonate Jessie long enough to convince the family and their lawyers, then receive the fortune and split it with him.

Leah doesn’t like the plan one bit and refuses to play along. But when she loses her job, she has few options and agrees to become Jessie. With Uncle Oliver’s coaching and her own acting abilities, Leah makes a convincing Jessie. However, as Leah conducts her own secret investigation of the real Jessie’s whereabouts, she realizes there might be more danger to their plan than her true identity being discovered.

This was a nice, light mystery. The details about vaudeville were a unique addition to the setting. I would recommend this book to teens or adults who like historical fiction or mysteries. It’s very clean, too, so I would feel comfortable giving it to anyone interested in the subject.

4 out of 5 stars


You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz April 20, 2014

You Should Have KnownGrace has an ideal life. She lives in New York City with her pediatric oncologist husband and her beloved son. Her son goes to the same private school she went to as a child. She has her own therapy practice and has just written a book. Her book, slated to be a best seller, is called You Should Have Known; it tells women they should recognize red flags in a partner before they commit to a life with him. So imagine Grace’s surprise when a number of things happen one day. First, she gets a message from her son’s school that a student’s parent has died. Second, another mother leaves her a message that the parent was murdered. Third, and most surprising, she realizes that she doesn’t know where her husband is and can’t find him, even when the police ask her to. As Grace’s life starts to fall apart, she realizes she should have taken the advice she thought should be so obvious to her clients.

I was really looking forward to this book. The mystery sounded so intriguing. The plot was interesting with many surprises along the way. I just didn’t really care about the main character. If Grace had been more likeable, I probably would have been crying alongside her. It was a decent book, but it was no Gone Girl.

3 out of 5 stars


The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Husbands SecretCecelia Fitzpatrick, wife and mother of three, is digging around in the attic for something when she runs across a sealed envelope. The writing on the envelope is her husband’s, the contents to be read in the event of his death. What’s a good wife to do? Her husband’s bizarre reaction to her discovery eventually spurs her to read the letter and her orderly life spirals out of control as a result. Rachel and Tess, although they barely know Cecelia, find their lives affected as well. The reader must wonder, how well do you really know your spouse?

Okay, I am currently obsessed with this author. This book has been so popular that the waiting list to borrow it from the library was a mile long. I happened across another book by her and decided to read it in the meantime. The characters in her books are just so ordinary, so completely relatable, that I fell in love with them. That said, I thought this book was the weakest out of the three I’ve read by Moriarty. I still liked it, just not as much as the other two, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and What Alice Forgot. Still, it’s an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to adult females who like family drama with a little mystery.


Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason June 20, 2013

Filed under: adult fiction,adult mystery — Bethany @ 4:35 pm
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Three Graves FullJason Getty does not stand out in any way. He’s quiet with average looks and gets along with most people. Until a year ago when he killed a man who had pushed him too far- the man who is now buried in his backyard, away from prying eyes. But when a landscaping company uncovers two other bodies in Jason’s yard, people he had no idea existed, he knows it’s time for him to take action to protect himself. What happens next draws all kinds of people together for an unexpected climax filled with misunderstandings and a little dark humor.

I first head about this book in Library Journal and thought it sounded like a good summer read. It wasn’t as funny or as good as I thought it would be. I didn’t really care about any of the characters and found a few parts confusing and a few others boring. Good, not great.

3 out of 5 stars



The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton January 17, 2013

Secret KeeperIn 1961, when Laurel was sixteen years old, she witnessed her mother commit a crime. Fifty years later, in 2011, Laurel comes back to town for her mother’s 90th birthday and sees a photograph of her mother as a young woman with a friend named Vivien.  What follows is Laurel’s search for the truth of what happened that day.  As she finds out more about her mother’s past, she realizes that she is not the only one whose teenage dreams led her down a different path in life.  Told in flashbacks between her mother’s experiences in World War II London and the current time, a mystery unravels and long-kept secrets are revealed.

This is an exciting historical fiction/mystery. Two plot twists kept me guessing until the very end.  I really enjoyed the story and stayed up late to find out the answers to Laurel’s questions. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys family dramas, World War II era stories, or mysteries.

5 out of 5 stars


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn August 1, 2012

Boy meets girl.  Boy marries girl.  Girl disappears.  Boy is in trouble.

Amy is the daughter of authors; they began writing the Amazing Amy series featuring their daughter as the main character when she was just a child.  As a result, Amy is a perfectionist and has money and many admirers.  Nick is a ladies’ man.  He likes Amy’s “Cool Girl” attitude.

Fast forward a few years.  Amy’s money is almost gone and both of them have lost their jobs in the magazine industry.  Nick gets a call that his mother is sick and decides to move them from New York City to his small hometown in Missouri.  On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick comes home to find the house trashed and his wife missing.  He goes to the police, but who is always the first suspect when the wife disappears?…

This book was intense and thrilling.  I couldn’t put it down.  It has adult language and adult situations, so I would recommend it only to adults who are okay with those things.  Be prepared to wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night and make sure your bedroom door is locked.

5 out of 5 stars


Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich May 6, 2012

Filed under: adult mystery,humor,mystery — Bethany @ 6:20 pm
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Vinnie Plum, owner of the bail bonds office where Stephanie works, is in trouble.  He gambled and scammed the wrong guy and now mobster Bobby Sunflower is mad.  When Vinnie disappears, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie realize that they rely on him for a job.  No matter how many dumb mistakes he made, they need him back.  Armed with an Uzi, stink bombs, and a wild plan, the women of the bail bonds office are to the rescue.  Of course, things never go exactly to plan…

Another entertaining chapter of the Stephanie Plum saga complete with fried chicken, doughnuts, and explosions.  This one wasn’t quite as good as previous books in the series, but it made me laugh out loud and was a light read during my lunch breaks.

4 out of 5 stars


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern March 22, 2012

Filed under: adult drama,adult mystery — Bethany @ 12:57 pm
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The circus arrives in town.  There are no advertisements, no advance notice.  It simply appears in an empty field.  But this is unlike any other circus- it is only open at night.  It is not bright and colorful- everything from the costumes, to the tents, even the bonfire is black and white. It is Le Cirque des Reves.

There is more to this circus than what its enchanted patrons see.  It is the venue for a competition between two young illusionists, Marco and Celia.  They were bound to the game when they were just children, not old enough to understand the stakes.  They finally discover they are competitors, that the game ends when only one of them is left standing.  But by then, it is too late.  They are deeply in love and must decide how far they are willing to go to be together.

This was a magical book- full of mystery, suspense, and even a little romance.  I enjoyed the fantastical elements as well as the characters’ interactions with each other and the descriptions of the circus.  I was intrigued by The Night Circus, hoping it had the drama and mystery of the HBO series, Carnivale.  It did not disappoint.

5 out of 5 stars


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