THE SHIMMERING ROAD by Hester Young

shimmeringroad
Series: Charlie Cates, #2
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★★


A pulse-pounding mystery from the author of The Gates of Evangeline featuring Charlotte “Charlie” Cates, an unforgettable heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her…

When soon-to-be mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to have recurring dreams about harm coming to her unborn daughter, she knows these are not the nightmares of an anxious mom-to-be. They are the result of her mysterious gift. But before she can decipher what these dreams might mean, Charlie learns that the mother who abandoned her when she was a toddler is the victim of a double murder in Arizona. The other victim — Jasmine, a half-sister Charlie never knew she had — has left behind a child, a little girl who speaks to Charlie in her dreams and was present on the night of the murders. Convinced that she must help her orphaned niece, Charlie travels to Tucson, Arizona, where she must confront her painful ties to her mother and delve into her sister’s shadowy past.

To untangle the web of secrets that will reveal the truth of her nightmares, Charlie can no longer avoid her family’s checkered history. Who is in the racy photos that turned up in Jasmine’s apartment? Where is her niece’s father, whom Jasmine was rumored to have been seeing again on the sly? Was her mother’s charity work in Mexico really as selfless as it seemed? And most important of all, what did her niece really witness on the night of the murders?

The search for answers leads Charlie across the Mexican border, from the resort town of Rocky Point to the border town of Nogales, and elucidates the meaning of her dreams in most unexpected ways. Ultimately, to protect her niece and her unborn child, Charlie must battle not just evil but the forces of nature, in one final terrifying encounter in the Tucson desert.

A thrilling mystery that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist that is unputdownable. If you love Kate Atkinson and Alice Sebold, you should not miss Hester Young.


Is there such a thing as a Southwestern Gothic? If so, this is it. THE SHIMMERING ROAD is an intriguing sequel to Hester Young’s first book, THE GATES OF EVANGELINE. (Read GATES first, so you’ll know the backstory.) Charlie’s paranormal gift brings her and fiancé Noah to Tucson, Arizona, and straight into a complex murder mystery that hits close to the heart. The story grabbed my attention pretty quickly, and of course, Charlie’s dark visions gave me the creeps. I was surprised by Charlie’s initial reaction to her orphaned niece, though by the end I could understand where she was coming from.

I enjoyed the desert setting of this book, both in southern Arizona and just across the border in Mexico. The author did a great job incorporating life in a Mexican-American border town into the mystery. Lots of interesting twists in the plot, and I was never sure what characters could be trusted. Definitely a page-turner!

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

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BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS by Emily Carpenter

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls
BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS by Emily Carpenter
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

First, I have to say that this is an impressive debut novel! The blurb intrigued me, though I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I got was gut-wrenching emotion, complicated characters, a puzzling mystery, and a dash of magical realism.

Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her.

Set in Alabama, the story centers around Althea, a troubled young woman who’s come home to visit her ailing father. It seems that she, too, carries the burden of a curse that strikes the women in her family on their 30th birthday. With her 30th birthday just a couple weeks away, Althea is faced with the seemingly impossible task of saving herself. What is her family’s dark secret? With just a cigar box full of clues her mother left her, Althea sets out to solve the mystery.

The story alternates between Althea in the present, and her great-grandmother Jinn back in the 1930s. I was easily wrapped up in both of their suspenseful tales, on pins and needles waiting to know their fates. The author knows how to build a suspenseful feeling of dread. Great book, would recommend to anyone.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse (Audiobook)

The Taxidermist's Daughter
THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jackdaws, magpies, crows, and more, I love birds from the Corvidae family, and they were the perfect Gothic inspiration for Kate Mosse’s gruesome historical novel, THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER. This dark mystery centers around Connie, the daughter of a taxidermist – she, too, is one – and her quest to solve the mystery of a young woman’s murder. The story hooked me right away with its Poe-esque atmosphere. Chilling! The mystery itself was puzzling, twisty, and complex. Taxidermy give me the creeps, as did this book, so really it was a fitting backdrop to the story. Nice blend of murder mystery and old fashioned Gothic.


Audiobook • 10 hrs, 20 mins • Michelle Ford, Narrator

Parts of this book I listened to on audio, borrowed from the library. I enjoyed Michelle Ford’s performance. One thing that stood out was her ability to inflect a subtle feeling of dread into her voice, which was perfect for the subject matter of the book. She definitely enhanced the eerie Gothic feeling of the story!


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

THE SINNER by Amanda Stevens

The Sinner (Graveyard Queen, #5)
THE SINNER by Amanda Stevens
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Really good! THE SINNER was creeptastic from the very beginning. This one takes place about a year after the previous book. Amelia has taken a job restoring Seven Gates Cemetery in Ascension, South Carolina. While taking a stroll through the surrounding woods, Amelia makes a shocking, gruesome discovery. Gave me chills. The mystery surrounding her discovery puts her paranormal abilities to the test. Suspenseful, very spooky, and ends with an intriguing tease of what’s to come.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.