Quick Thoughts: HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS by Raymond Fleischmann


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★★½


The Dry meets The Silence of the Lambs in this intoxicating tale of literary suspense, set in the relentless Alaskan landscape, about madness and obsession, loneliness and grief, and the ferocious bonds of family…

My proposition is very simple: I am going to ask you for three gifts, and for each gift you deliver, I will take you one step closer to Jacqueline.

It’s been twenty years since Elisabeth’s twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared without a trace. Now thirty-year-old Elisabeth is living far from home in a small Alaskan town. She’s in a loveless marriage and has a precocious young daughter she loves more than anything but who reminds her too much of her long-missing sister.

But then Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and commits an inexplicable act of violence. And he offers a startling revelation: He knows exactly what happened to Elisabeth’s sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if she fulfills his three requests.

Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth can almost hear her sister’s voice saying, Come and find me. And so she will, even if it means putting herself—and her family—in danger.


This was my final selection from Penguin’s First to Read program. Unfortunately it is shutting down today! I’ve greatly enjoyed being a part of the program for the past few years. I’ve found many favorites through them, including this book, HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS.

A historical suspense novel set in Alaska in the 1940s was too tempting to pass up, and I got pulled into the story right away. A tiny, isolated town in the Alaskan Interior was the perfect setting for this eerie story. I was very intrigued by Elisabeth’s quest to find her missing sister, gone for 20 years, and the lengths she’d go to get answers. Alfred was a truly creepy character, and I was flipping the pages to find out what he knew! The author did a great job building up tension, and I was pleased with the conclusion. Haunting, riveting, and enjoyable!

Disclosure: A free copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

SNIPER’S PRIDE by Megan Crane {Review}


Series: Alaska Force, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★½


Return to Alaska’s Grizzly Harbor where danger strikes with arctic precision and love thaws the coldest hearts in the newest romantic suspense from the USA Today bestselling author of SEAL’s Honor.

After Mariah McKenna lands in the hospital with a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction she knows she didn’t cause, she realizes her cheating, vindictive husband would rather have a dead wife than a divorce. Afraid that he will succeed in killing her next time, Mariah goes to Grizzly Harbor to hire one of the Alaska Force special operatives to help her survive long enough to finally live a little.

Griffin Cisneros traded in a comfortable future for boot camp, where he learned the virtue of patience and focus—skills that served him well as a Marine sniper. Few things get to him these days, but something about Mariah’s mix of toughness and vulnerability gets right under his skin. Until it’s clear she’s the one thing in the world that might melt the ice in stoic, reserved Griffin, whether he likes it or not.

If he can just keep her alive…


SNIPER’S PRIDE is the second installment in the Alaska Force series, based around a group of former military men who are now special operatives helping people in need. I love books (especially romances) that are set in Alaska, so I knew I had to grab this one.

Mariah is going through a very bitter divorce, and after a couple of attempts on her life, she heads to Grizzly Harbor, Alaska, and hires Alaska Force for protection and to figure out who’s out to get her. Mariah was a tough, courageous woman doing what it took to survive. She’s specifically assigned to Griffin, a former Marine sniper who sees himself more of a machine than man, hurt in the past and hardened by his military career.

I particularly enjoyed the mystery/suspense side of this book. Mariah’s predicament was so scary, and there were plenty of exciting and nail-biting moments. On the other hand, the romance between Mariah and Griffin was so-so. It took a long time to feel any chemistry between them, and Griffin’s stubborn dislike of her and thinking he’s not capable of a relationship with anyone was trying.

Overall, I liked my introduction to Alaska Force, and I was rooting for Mariah the whole way. I would love to take a peek at the rugged, chilly island that Grizzly Harbor sits on, somewhere on Alaska’s southern coast. Next up is SERGEANT’S CHRISTMAS SIEGE set to release in the fall, and I will definitely be picking that one up!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

Thoughts on Books (#16): Northern Encounter / Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Short Stories / A Discovery of Witches


Northern Encounter
Northern Encounter by Jennifer LaBrecque
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I needed an uplifting change of pace from my usual dark suspense/thriller reads, and NORTHERN ENCOUNTER fit the bill perfectly. A romance set in Alaska is the perfect escape. I’ll probably never get there, so reading about it is the next best thing.

Clint is a Native Alaskan and wilderness guide who’s hired by Tessa, a videographer from Arizona. She’s come to the town of Good Riddance to film the magnificent landscape for her latest project. They feel an attraction to each other, though both have reasons for not wanting a relationship. The characters were strong, and their conflicts were realistic. Of course, I absolutely loved the small town Alaska setting. The secondary characters were likable and interesting too. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series!


The Complete Short Stories
The Complete Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A motley collection of short stories from Poe (the complete collection!) – horror, suspense, comedy, detective, general life observations, even science fiction. At times the stories are too wordy, but Poe always entertains with his grand imagination. I greatly enjoyed Bob Thomley’s narration of the audiobook. ♥


A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m finishing up this chunkster book today. I liked it, though maybe not as much as I thought I would. The world building was quite interesting, and I was impressed with the scientific and historical research. I’m very curious about the magical book Diana found, and why the various creatures want it.

On the flip side, the many descriptions of things — rowing, horseback riding, food, wine, hunting, etc — slowed the pace down. I liked witchy Diana, but never warmed up to Matthew. Does he get more likable in future books??

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES has been sitting on my TBR shelf for 8 years (!!!), so I’m glad I finally read it. Will definitely continue the series at some point.


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BRIDES FOR BROTHERS by Debbie Macomber

bridesforbrothers
Series: Midnight Sons, #1
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: October 1995
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★


Hard Luck, Alaska — a Town that Needs Women!

Location: 50 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Population: 150 (mostly men) — but growing! Because the O’Halloran brothers, who run a bush-plane charter service called Midnight Sons, are heading a campaign to bring women to Hard Luck!

Sawyer O’Halloran — He’s the middle brother. Pilot and part owner of Midnight Sons. And, if the truth be told, he’s not entirely in favor of this scheme. But he considers himself immune to the charms of any woman — he’s adamantly against marriage and he’s not too sure about love!

Abbey Sutherland — Single mother of two adorable kids. Veteran of one bad marriage. Wants a new beginning — not a new romance. She responds to the Midnight Sons ad and is delighted to accept their offer. But there’s a complication — or two. She hasn’t told the O’Hallorans she’s arriving with children!


The beginning of the Midnight Sons series set in Alaska, 1995. BRIDES FOR BROTHERS is a sweet romance with a cast of good, down-to-earth people. The O’Halloran brothers who own a plane-charter business in Hard Luck, Alaska hatch a plan to attract women to their remote town. It’s all very innocent and on the up & up. I did have to giggle at the men’s reaction to having fresh womenfolk in their midst. Was it 1895 or 1995? The first to accept their offer is Abbey Sutherland who’s hired to set up a library in Hard Luck. Sawyer O’Halloran takes a liking to her, but of course, there are complications. Overall, just a nice romance to give you a warm, cozy feeling. Looking forward to the next book.

THE QUALITY OF SILENCE by Rosamund Lupton

QualityOfSilence
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Source: Crown’s Blogging for Books
Rating: ★★★


The gripping, moving story of a mother and daughter’s quest to uncover a dark secret in the Alaskan wilderness, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sister and Afterwards.

Thrillingly suspenseful and atmospheric, The Quality of Silence is the story of Yasmin, a beautiful astrophysicist, and her precocious deaf daughter, Ruby, who arrive in a remote part of Alaska to be told that Ruby’s father, Matt, has been the victim of a catastrophic accident. Unable to accept his death as truth, Yasmin and Ruby set out into the hostile winter of the Alaskan tundra in search of answers. But as a storm closes in, Yasmin realizes that a very human danger may be keeping pace with them. And with no one else on the road to help, they must keep moving, alone and terrified, through an endless Alaskan night.


I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. There were parts I absolutely loved and parts that just didn’t work. The premise of THE QUALITY OF SILENCE is hard to believe, but the wild Alaskan setting is amazing.

Matt is a wildlife photographer currently filming in northern-most Alaska. There’s some kind of trouble between him and his wife, Yasmin. She and their 10-year old daughter, Ruby, fly from their home in the UK to Fairbanks to confront Matt, only to be told that he’s been killed in a terrible accident. Yasmin doesn’t believe that he’s dead, so she decides to drive with Ruby across Alaska, over snowy, icy mountains, practically to the Arctic Ocean, to find him.

Now, I did enjoy their frantic journey north toward Deadhorse very much. It was scary and suspenseful. The descriptions of Alaska were breathtaking, “thousands of miles of snow and hardly any people.” Each time a landmark was mentioned, I had to Google it. It’s dark all the time and there’s a blizzard bearing down on them. Gave me chills!

The writing didn’t flow particularly well, mainly due to the many abrupt perspective changes. First to third person, character to character. Flashbacks to the present. Ruby’s part was always in first person, and she was my favorite character by far. It was interesting to learn the challenges she faced as a deaf person in a hearing world, and somehow even getting her mother to understand where’s she’s coming from (with help from Alaska).

Overall, I’m glad I read this book. The twist at the end was disturbing and eyeopening too. It concerns me that something like that could happen, or perhaps already has.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Crown Publishing Group’s Blogging for Books Program in exchange for an honest review.