Book Review: Neighborhood Watch by Kevin Patrick Kenealy

Book Details:

Author: Kevin Patrick Kenealy
Release Date: 
10th March 2022
Series:
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Format: E-book 
Pages: 415 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
When the Caseys move into affluent Ridgeport, Ill, searching for a better life for their newborn Scott, they are surprised to find a book entitled Ridgeport Welcomes You: Procedures and Guidelines for Happy Living. The book contains rules and ordinances that citizens must abide by to live in happy neighborhoods. Although mom Loretta Casey is hesitant to live by Ridgeport’s strict rules, all that changes when she meets her neighbor Sue Ellen Norris.
Sue Ellen serves on the Neighborhood Watch Committee, overseeing the town’s safety, and Loretta becomes engrossed in Sue Ellen’s addictive personality. But as Loretta’s son Scott and Sue Ellen’s son Matt grow, they discover that Ridgeport is not as perfect as their moms make it out to be. As Scott and Matt form their band of friends, their journeys into the neighborhood woods prove to be much more than just a place of refuge.

Kevin Patrick Kenealy is in his eighth year teaching AP Literature, English, and journalism high school students. Before that, he wrote for Chicagoland newspapers, where he had the privilege to interview several famous people, including Barack Obama, former Illinois governors Jim Edgar, Rod Blagojevich, and Pat Quinn. He has also published two poetry books, 20 Something and Faith Journey, and the horror novel Life and Death.

“Superb characters headline this chilling, slow-burn crime tale.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Thoroughly enjoyable with just the right amount of suspense.”
Readers Favorite

“This gripping story of a sinister small-town secret will keep you on the edge of your seat! It’s completely unforgettable.”
Reedsy

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Neighborhood Watch by Kevin Patrick Kenealy is a thoroughly entertaining and suspenseful new read that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat till the very last page!

I loved reading this book because it had so many dark and delicious twists and turns that it kept me guessing the entire time. the writing was good and flowed very smoothly throughout the book making it a surprisingly quick read (especially given the length of the novel.) The characterization was good too and very well developed and I was able to relate to almost all the characters, primary and secondary alike.

I’d strongly recommend this book to all suspense and thriller fiction fans as it has a lot to offer to its readers.


You can also read this review on:

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Book Review: The Study of Sentient Things by Trevor McCall

Book Details:

Author: Trevor McCall
Release Date: 
30th May 2022
Series:
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Horror, Short Stories
Format: E-book 
Pages: 367 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
The first four stories in this collection are adapted straight from works by EDGAR ALLAN POE. You will read updated and expanded versions of The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe’s poem The Raven, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Black Cat. They’ve each been given new twists that will intrigue your imagination while maintaining the spirit of the originals. The final story in this collection, Broken Vessels, when reviewed as a standalone novel by Kirkus, received a STARRED review:

“Powered by razor-focused writing, relentless pacing, and a masterfully intricate storyline that includes references to Freud, Descartes, and Edvard Munch, this tightly woven novel reads like a Ray Bradbury short story—especially the brass knuckle thematic impact of the conclusion.
While somewhat uncategorizable, this dark gem of a novel is supremely gratifying.”

– Kirkus Starred Review
All five stories are connected by their dark and powerful imagery, and each features an immurement motif. If you’ve ever enjoyed one of Poe’s stories, you will love these five tales.

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Study Of Sentient Things And Other Stories by Trevor McCall is a collection of short stories that will definitely keep you up at night. I loved reading this book because, a) I am a Poe fan and, b) these stories were indeed very well written! I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every story and was impressed by the author’s take on some of Poe’s legendary tales. Although I love the original, these adapted stories were great too.

The writing of the author is quite impressive and I did feel like I was reading Edgar Allen Poe’s work itself. It wasn’t an imitation of writing style though, the originality of the author’s style did not fail to shine through, especially in gritty scenes. The flow of the stories was really lucid and smooth and I was able to read this book in just one sitting – I simply could not put it down!

I’d highly recommend this book to all horror readers and fans of surreal fiction. I strongly believe this book has a lot to offer to readers of dark fiction in general.


You can also read this review on:

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Amazon


Book Review: Whispers Of Innocence by Natasha Simmons

Book Details:

Author: Natasha Simmons
Release Date: 
7th June 2022
Series:
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Suspense
Format: E-book 
Pages: 272 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
The baby is quiet. Too quiet.
When Madeline checks on her seven-month-old daughter, she discovers the reason for the baby’s silence. Abigail is dead. Madeline is soon living every mother’s worst nightmare among a cacophony of sirens and police interrogations.
Accusations and old resentments can’t stay contained under the pressure of guilt, tears, and the horror of picking out a baby-sized coffin. A line is drawn through Madeline and Brian’s marriage, and a battle begins.
But defining heroes and villains is as difficult as untangling the truth from the impossible web Madeline and Brian have created to protect themselves. Abigail’s killer isn’t the only monster hiding in the shadows. And among the dark secrets, everyone will crumble under the consequences.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Whispers Of Innocence by Natasha Simmons is a very well-written psychological thriller that will make it impossible for you to put down the book for even a second.

As much as this book was emotionally taxing, I loved reading it. The tension throughout the book, right from the first chapter, was wound so tight, that it was impossible to put it aside and do anything else. And that is the best way any author can write a psychological thriller novel, so I am really glad that I read this book. The writing was good, the concept was brilliant, the characterisation was very well developed and the tension and pacing were completely on point.

The story did have its dark moments, but it was to be expected given that the author had been honest about a child’s death in the blurb itself. So be prepared for some reader’s emotional damage (as I like to call it) but unless it is a trigger for you, you shouldn’t worry about it because the book after all is a dark psychological thriller.

I would strongly recommend this book to all thriller readers, especially all dark psychological thriller readers and fans of the genre.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Wrecked by by Nick Stephens

Book Details:

Author: Nick Stephens
Release Date: 
30th April 2022
Series:
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Format: E-book 
Pages: 141 pages
Publisher: Reading Between the Lines pub.
Blurb:
Sam has been stuck on this deserted island for some time. How long? He has no idea. He was just about to give up on trying to survive when Desmond crashd ashore. Unfortunately, not only does Desmond not offer any hopes of rescue, he appears to be insane. Sam must survive the island and Desmond while he attempts to remember who he is and how he got there.

Desmond found himself stranded after his plan for murder goes awry. Perhaps Sam will learn more about himself as he uncovers the truth about Desmond. Perhaps he will find himself descending into madness. Wrecked is a thrilling novel full of suspense, twisting and churning like the rough tides of the open ocean.
Will Sam survive long enough to piece together his past, or will the island, and Desmond, destroy any shred of hope he has left?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wrecked by Nick Stephens is a brilliantly written psychological thriller novel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading right from the very beginning until the last page!

This book had a really good concept and the execution was spot on. The characterisation was great and I was able to feel a connection with Sam, the main character, and wanted to see how things would turn out for him. And boy, I was not expecting the end to be the way it turned out to be! Absolutely loved the way the book ended. The tension and suspense ran tight and high throughout the book and I really appreciated it as it made the book an un-put-down-able read!

I would strongly recommend this book to all psychological thriller readers. This book has a great premise and an amazingly written plot that’ll blow your mind!


You can also read this review on:

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Amazon


Book Review: Villains (The Reeve #2) by Ian Lewis

Book Details:

Author: Ian Lewis 
Release Date: 
20th December 2021
Genre: Alternate History, Fantasy, Suspense, Mystery, Speculative Fiction
Series: The Reeve (Book #2)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 380 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Beldenridge—a city of aging grandeur adrift in complacency—is reeling in the wake of violence perpetrated by the Wojiin, a legendary foe once thought to be extinct. Now mutated horrors lurk by shadow of night, and opportunistic villains rise to fill the gap left by the perceived abandonment of Beldenridge by Logan Hale, the city’s highest peace officer. Though Logan knows the Wojiin will return, he’s beleaguered by the ignominy of failure and a loss of purpose. To recover, he must not only confront himself but the malevolence that runs like an insidious undercurrent beneath everything he fears.

Just when Lucy is feeling unworthy of happiness, a silver lining presents itself. She lands her dream job as a travel writer. Follow aspiring author Lucy as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery with her best friends by her side. Witness as she blissfully immerses herself in French culture while hitting all of Paris’ hot spots for her new job. Laugh along while she helps throw an epic murder mystery birthday bash. Most of all, join Lucy as she transforms her self-doubt to self-love, ending a tragic year with the surprise of her life.
Will Lucy finally leave David in the past or will he continue to haunt her dreams?

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Villains by Ian Lewis is the sequel to From Legend and the second book in The Reeve series. I absolutely loved this book! It was undoubtedly un-put-down-able!

I had been waiting on this book since I first read From Legends by the author and finally having read this book I am now looking forward to reading the next one! The characterisation in this book was great, and I loved Amelia, the main character. I think the settings in this book felt even better than in the last books and I loved the detailing. The monsters were big and scary and truly dreadful and I enjoyed reading every bit of this book.

I would recommend this book to all readers of Fantasy, Suspense and Alternate History mixed with Speculative Fiction, as I am sure they will definitely love this book and the series!


You can also read this review on:

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Amazon


Book Review: Reflections Of Destiny by Benzon Ray Barbin

Book Details:

Author: Benzon Ray Barbin
Release Date: 7th September 2020
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 148 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Cheating death is becoming an art.
Enauria, a battle-tested heiress and expatriate, journeying between Earth and beyond on a personal vendetta only she understands.
Jaye DiVista, a top government assassin, willing to risk everything to rekindle a love with Arlene Asariel.
Enauria has a plan to thrust Jaye and his colleagues through an interstellar campaign. Can Jaye and Arlene derail Enauria’s grand scheme?
Reflections of Destiny is a science fiction and fantasy thriller. Magic collides in a futuristic landscape where an ensemble cast takes part in gunplay, dogfights, and eyes gaze at every sand in the hourglass.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reflections Of Destiny is a fun sci-fi fantasy thriller novel that will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

This book is well-written, had a cast of versatile characters and an interesting and entertaining story that kept me hooked from the first page to the very last.

The characters are very relatable and I liked the secondary characters too because they added a lot to the story. There was a very interesting and important romantic sub-plot that drove the story with a powerful force raising the stakes and thus, making the story more interesting.

I enjoyed reading this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to all fantasy and sci-fi thriller readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Audiobook Review: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Author: Liane Moriarty
Release Date: 14th September 2021
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult, Contemporary
Series: 
Format: Audiobook
Length: 18 hours
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Blurb:
The Delaney family love one another dearly―it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .
If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?
This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.
The Delaney family is a communal foundation. Stan and Joy are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killer on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are they so miserable?

The four Delaney children―Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke―were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups. Well, that depends on how you define success. No one in the family can really tell you what Troy does, but based on his fancy car and expensive apartment, he seems to do it very well, even if he blew up his perfect marriage. Logan is happy with his routine as a community college professor, but his family finds it easier to communicate with his lovely girlfriend than him. Amy, the eldest, can’t seem to hold down a job or even a lease, but leave it to Brooke, the baby of the family, to be the rock-steady one who is married with a new solo physiotherapy practice . . . which will take off any day now.
One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door. She says she chose their house because it looked the friendliest. And since Savannah is bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend, the Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.
Later, everyone will wonder what exactly went on in that household after Savannah entered their lives that night. Because now Joy is missing, no one knows where Savannah is, and the Delaneys are reexamining their parents’ marriage and their shared family history with fresh, frightened eyes.

REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This book was so perfect… till the last 4 hours ruined it entirely!

I love Liane Moriarty’s books because she is an excellent writer who can create genre-defying plots and build super amazing and realistic as hell characters. In fact, whenever I take a fiction writing class, I always ask my students to read any of her books to study her characteristics and notice the techniques she uses. And this book was no different, at least on the character front. 

The characters in this book are near perfect and they are what brings so much life into this (almost) amazing story. The only thing that totally ruined it was the ending… and the flimsy motivations… and the superficial stakes. 

Why, Liane? Why?

I feel so outrageously angry that the author botched up the ending for no more reason than a stupid girl’s hunger. I mean WTAF!! I get it she was being starved, but shouldn’t Savannah take revenge from her mother who starved her? Or her father who was partially responsible? Or her big-time brother who never took her seriously? 

Why the hell does a person take such a meticulously planned revenge on someone whom she visited only for a brief period in a day 20 years ago? I mean… seriously????

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: The Promise by Teresa Driscoll

Author: Teresa Driscoll
Release Date: 7th February 2019
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 309
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Blurb:
The chilling new psychological thriller from the #1 bestselling author of I Am Watching You.
It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.
Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.
But when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol – before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.
Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made.
But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried. Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?

REVIEW

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is one of those books which has a great concept and plot, but poor execution and unreliable and flat characterisation take away from it so much that there is nothing really left to like. The only reason why I even completed this book is because of the compelling plot, but the ending was predictable and you could see it from the start of the 3rd act.

This plot could have been so much better had the ending was revised and the characters were built better, but that was not the case and therefore I will not be recommending it to thriller fans. Although, I do have a feeling that if you are new to the thriller genre, then you might like this book (seeing as it did have a good plot.)

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Audiobook Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks And Sarah Pekkanen

Author: Greer Hendricks  and Sarah Pekkanen
Release Date: 9th January 2018
Genre: Dark Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series:
Format: Audiobook
Length: 12 hours
Publisher: Macmillan Audio 
Blurb:
When you listen to this audiobook, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are listening to a story about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. 
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing. 
Twisted and deliciously chilling, The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Listen for the truth between the lies.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Woah! You will not know what hit you in the face when the big reveal is unravelled!

The book begins with a run-of-the-mill plot where you assume that a good chunk of the book is going to be about stalking in a revenge drama, but then the author leaves and omits certain details that make you question whether that is the case or not because you cannot be certain!

And then, after many twists and turns you realise that you have been wrong, or more likely mislead, but who cares! Because by then you are so taken aback that the entire plot was a set-up – for the readers! I know I shouldn’t be liking it as much because it is borderline wrong to mislead readers to this extent, but what the hell, Riley Sager and Alex Michaelidis use it all the time – and not quite this effectively I must add. I applaud Hendricks for plotting such a clever book because this kind of thriller cannot be written, it can only be plotted and I respect the author for it!

I’d recommend this book to all thriller buffs!

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: Trigger Point by Douglas Misquita

Author: Douglas Misquita 
Release Date: 14th January 2021
Genre: Adventure, Thriller, Suspense
Series:
Format: Paperback
Pages: 401 pages
Publisher: Pencil
Blurb:
Smuggling himself into Europe despite an Interpol Red Notice? Possible. Avenging a German BKA officer? Easy. Evading special ops teams hunting him for the secrets he possesses? Impossible. 
Things are about to get more… interesting for Luc Fortesque.
An escaped terrorist threatens a landmark dialogue between Muslims and Christians. More terrifying is the theft of a bioweapon from a secret vault operated by the Holy See. That the damaging news is not public hints the weapon will be detonated. 
With cataclysm imminent, the world’s oldest espionage agency – the Vatican’s L’ Entity – must get to Luc Fortesque first, hoping he might possess the cure.

Accepting an off-the-books mission, former DEA agent, Raymond Garrett, intends to put an end Colombian drug lord, El Fantasma. But El Fantasma has a mission of his own for Garrett.
Treachery and corruption infect the highest reaches of religion and government, and Fortesque and Garrett must confront their past to be truly free of it.
If they survive the confrontation.

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Trigger Point: A Luc Fortesque adventure thriller by Douglas Misquita is a heart-pumping rush of adrenaline that will definitely leave you asking for more.

I have one word for this book, and that is – Wow. I am not a huge fan of Indian authors but author Douglas’ book totally blew my mind. It was jam-packed with high octane action taking place in beautiful and exotic settings and well-built characters. And to top it all off, the writing was simply amazing! This is a well-written book, with strong characterisation, great pacing, high tension and brilliant concept. This book had so much going on that I simply couldn’t put it down even for an hour!

If you’re looking for a fast-paced and action-packed book with amazing locations or settings this you should definitely read this book! I’d highly recommend it to all readers.

You can watch the video for the review of this book on my IGTV channel here:

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: The Marring by Ben Hoene

Author: Ben Hoene 
Release Date: 31st October 2020
Genre: Crime, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 96 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:

Natasha Cole was an angelic thirteen-year-old girl. She grew up in a fatherless home in the ghetto of Clever Rock; the murder capital of the country. Despite her bleak upbringing, she was a light in darkness with her uplifting and whimsical personality. All of that changed when she fell victim to rape. She was forced under the threat of death by her rapist to never tell a soul what he did.

Thirty years have passed since that incident. Natasha is now a mentally ill drug addict in her forties. After thirty years of silence, she reveals the identity of her rapist. Almost immediately after this confession, a mysterious stalker murderously pursues her. Who’s after her? Natasha must maintain what little sanity she has left to solve this mystery and stop the attacker; while trying to stop her own demons in the process.

Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Marring by Ben Hoene is a psychological crime thriller that addresses the issue of rape and its consequences.

I love psychological thrillers as much as I love writing them. So when I was approached for this book, I was really curious to read this book. I liked the overall story of the book, but I felt that this book was on the heavier side and leaned more towards the dark side of the internal conflict of the character than I would have preferred. Make no mistake, I am a dark fiction writer myself and prefer dark works over the lighter ones, but in this book, the suspense and mystery were completely overshadowed by the internal conflict and the crime and therefore I wasn’t sure about how the book is listed as a psychological thriller. It is more about the consequences of rape and the character dealing with it than about the stalker, who feels like a sub-plot and not the main conflict.

As I said, I liked the overall story. I wasn’t overly in love with the main character but I was intrigued enough to want to know how the story ends. Also, the writing was okay for most parts, but at some places, the prose felt choppy and full of adverbs. But it was a quick read, so it has that going for it.

Again as I said, I felt the element of suspense and mystery felt overshadowed by the character’s past which, in my humble opinion, drowned out the plot. With better editing, these issues could have been easily worked on, but the copy I received had these issues.

I would recommend it to all thriller readers who don’t have a problem of trigger with rape and abuse related themes.

You can also read this review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Book Review: The Conviction: Enacting Vigilante Justice by John Mathews

Author: John Mathews
Release Date: 25th January 2015
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 72 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications
Blurb:
Two criminals are responsible for an innocent man getting sentenced to life for murder. An inept defense attorney and a crooked prosecutor are the other players in this case of egregious American corruption. 
The four of them have been lured into a trap in an abandoned warehouse. Someone wants vengeance. This is a story of vigilante justice for the wrongfully convicted. Marked doors lead to four locked rooms, one where each of them will have to pay a price for what they have done. What will they be required to do in order to survive? 
This riveting crime thriller puts the American justice system in public view and will keep you guessing until the very last scene. A dark masked figure watches…waits…and wants revenge.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Conviction: Enacting Vigilante Justice by John Mathews is a surprisingly amazing read! I usually don’t expect much from a novella unless of course it is written by authors like Stephen King, but this book turned out to be an absolute delight.

This novella is jam-packed with high tension scenes, mind-boggling manipulative games, fast-paced action and clever twists and turns – all this in just 72 pages! And for me that itself was the best part. This book was an intense yet quick read and kept me on the edge the entire time.

This book was able to accomplish what a lot of lengthy mystery and thriller novels fail to achieve and so I would definitely recommend this book to all thriller lovers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads & Amazon

Book Review: First Gear (Sadie Hawkins Mystery #1) by Patricia C. Lee

Author: Patricia C. Lee 
Release Date: 4th August 2020
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Detective Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 374 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Recently divorced, petite and feisty Texan, Sadie Hawkins, struggles to get her newly established logistics business off the ground. When the opportunity to haul antiquities, including a mummy, drops into her lap, she jumps at the chance, despite the tight timeline. But when her cargo gets stolen and a fresh corpse mysteriously replaces the mummy, Sadie is arrested for theft and suspicion of murder.

Out on recognizance thanks to her lawyer ex-husband, and not willing to watch her business sink farther in debt while the police search for clues, Sadie yanks up her Dan Post boots and does some investigative work on her own. Stymied by her lack of success, she reluctantly enlists a few members with specific skills from Streetsmart, an organization made up of rehabilitated young adult offenders and managed by her best friend Tanya.

While trying to maintain her business from going under and making sure Tanya never learns of her collaboration with Streetsmart, Sadie endeavors to uncover the truth, the whole time wondering if this crime is some form of retribution to an event in her past. However, when she is framed for the real thief’s murder, it appears not even her accomplices in Streetsmart will be able to save her now.

Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

First Gear by Patricia C. Lee is a start to a new detective fiction series that revolves around the female protagonist, Sadie Hawkins.

I’m generally not a huge fan of detective fiction genre, but I like a good detective mystery and given that this was the first book in the series, I had no inhibitions to dive right in. The story was good, the characterisation was okay – the characters were likeable, though not overly relatable, the narration was decent and the ending was good.

The best thing about this book was that it was a surprisingly quick read, which says a lot about the writing style of the author.

Knowing that first book in any series is generally meant to set things up for the next books, I’m willing to cut this one some slack and recommend it to mystery lovers, especially those who like reading detective fiction.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Billionaire’s Secret by Ravina Hillard

Author: Ravina Hilliard
Release Date: 22nd May 2020
Genre: Romantic-thriller
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 170
Publisher: Dawn Hill Publications
Blurb: Serena Aisling has made it to the top as a high-powered executive all on her own merit. No thanks to her millionaire father who’d abandoned her at birth to be raised single-handedly by her mother. She has come a long way, so she’ll be damned if she allows him to have a hand in her career by dangling the CEO position of the Mäkelä Group in her face.

When Serena’s company coincidentally assigns her to spearhead a revolutionizing project run by the same corporation, she ends up working alongside the innovator himself—tech guru, Matias Mäkelä. The savvy, self-made millionaire is moody, ill-tempered, arrogant, and a giant thorn in her side, yet she can’t deny that he’s irresistibly handsome and stunningly
delicious.
A malicious traitor very close to Matias is divulging company secrets, and they must work together to uncover and shut them down before it’s too late.
When Serena uncovers the culprit, fearing Matias will not believe her, she keeps the discovery to herself and acts on her own, landing herself in hot waters with Matias. Waters so hot and flaming that she ends up tangled in his sheets, intoxicated with a desire that threatens to engulf her in an uncontrollable fireball of ecstatic delights.
As untold discoveries, secrets, and schemes unravel, Serena and Matias find themselves on a wild and unending tide of colliding together before being ripped apart again.
Will their feelings for each other be enough to survive the diabolical intrigue that threatens their very lives? Or will they crash and burn?

Book Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Billionaire’s Secret by Ravina Hillard is a contemporary romance thriller with good action, nice plot and some decent steamy bits.

Lately, I’ve been exploring the romance genre a bit, aside from my usual gothic dark reads and the contrast is refreshing to me as a reader as well as a writer. This book had good writing and that was the main reason I was drawn to it. The plot is a bit full of cliches and common tropes of the genre, but as I always say, when done well, even the common tropes become interesting.

I liked the cast of characters in this book. I rooted for both, Serena as well as Matias, and was glad that I read this book. I’d definitely recommend it to romance readers and to those people who like to read lighter thrillers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Audiobook Review: Those People by Louise Candlish

Author: by Louise Candlish
NarratorKatharine McEwanJonathan CowleyJayne EntwistleAndrew FallaisePaul FoxBillie JD PorterMoira Quirk
Release Date: 11th June 2019
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Series:
Format: Audiobook
Length: 24 hrs and 32 minutes
Publisher: Penguine Audio 
Blurb:
From the internationally bestselling author of Our House, a new addictive novel of domestic suspense that dives into the world of suburban neighborhood drama and asks, “Could your neighbor make you angry enough to kill?”

Lowland Way is the epitome of the suburban dream. Every house and yard is carefully maintained for maximum curb appeal, and everyone knows one another and gets along. One homeowner, Sissy Watkins, runs a successful B and B from her house. Two brothers and their families live next door to each other. It’s the picture-perfect neighborhood.
When Darren Booth and his girlfriend, Jodie, move in across from Sissy, it doesn’t take long for them to begin making trouble. They’re loud, rude, messy, and don’t play by the community rules. They blast music at all hours and have started an unsightly renovation on their house. Before long, guests don’t want to stay at Sissy’s B and B, and everyone is fed up with the new neighbors.
An all-out war is brewing on Lowland Way. When a person is killed, accusations start flying. Someone is dead, and everyone has something to hide….

Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This book was a legit BOMB
that…
is…
until…
the…. 
………. END!

I mean WTF happened there???

I had to read the last 3-4 chapters THRICE to be sure that I listened to it correctly and didn’t actually miss out a chapter or two!!!

The book just ended abruptly! The saddest part is that is was such a delicious and sensational story right until the last third of the book and then god knows what happened!

I am so effing disappointed!! 😦

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Author: Riley Sager 
Release Date: 3rd July 2018
Genre: Dark Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 384
Publisher: Dutton Books 
Blurb:
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she—or anyone—saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings—massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price. 

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is my 2nd book by Riley Sager. I can imagine why my big expectations weren’t met by this book – because I read the 3rd book by him before this one and now reading a previous work feels like reading a weaker book so I only ended up liking this book. It was a great read though, entertaining for sure and fast-paced. I enjoyed the entire bit about camping as I’ve never been to a camp so it was a welcome side-plot.

I think I am only disappointed with the ending – I was hoping for a scandalous reveal or bomb-shell climax (which I was blind-sided by in Lock Every Door.) That was what was missing in this book. The entire thing about the asylum was really, really good and by that point, I was sure that the author is going to pull out something big in the end, but sadly it was an okay-ish ending. I’m sure a lot of people will love the ending as it was good from a thriller book’s perspective, but I guess in my case the author penned the 3rd book so well the 2nd one seems a bit bland in front of it. So I am not sure now if I should read Final Girls, their first book. Though I am sure as hell going to be reading the next one by Sager as I’m sure it is going to be good!

If you haven’t read anything by Riley Sager yet, then follow the chronological order of the books. That way you can enjoy the building momentum in each book and will be blown away by their awesomeness individually rather than comparing their best work to the previous ones.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Audiobook Review: Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Author: Stephen Chbosky
NarratorChristine Lakin
Release Date: 1st October 2019
Genre: Supernatural, Horror, Thriller, Dark Fiction
Series:
Format: Audiobook
Length: 24 hrs and 32 minutes
Publisher: Hachette Audio 
Blurb:
Imagine… Leaving your house in the middle of the night. Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she’s just as scared as you.

Imagine… Starting a new school, making friends. Seeing how happy it makes your mother. Hearing a voice, calling out to you.
Imagine… Following the signs, into the woods. Going missing for six days. Remembering nothing about what happened.
Imagine… Something that will change everything… And having to save everyone you love.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I started out reading this book with this big paperback copy that I had received as one of the books on my birthday. But as I started reading and progressed, I realised it was straining my back to hold this book up and read (I had spine surgery in Feb 2020 due to spine degeneration.) I tried to read it while laying down, but it simply didn’t work as is the case with bulky physical books, so I had to abandon the book reluctantly… that is, until I got my hands on the audiobook! And then what a fun ride it was! Although it was a long, long book – 24 hours and 35 minutes, it was a real treat!

This book is super amazing, for the most part. It had everything I generally crave in a good dark supernatural thriller. The characterisation was brilliant, as was obviously expected from Mr Stephen Chbosky, whose first book I absolutely fell in love with – The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. 
The story was great, the concept although seen before felt fresh and unique and the plot well thought out. This book was everything I had expected and a lot more.

The twists were good, but I did see the main one coming. I think the author’s pacing lacked there and therefore he revealed the twist a couple of pages before it should have been revealed. There was a fair bit of wandering but it was mostly good so I enjoyed reading it.

The only thing I didn’t like was the whole Jesus angle. I mean, it seriously came out of nowhere. Or maybe not, but I guess I just wasn’t expecting it. I mean what the hell was that even about – Eve voluntarily staying in hell to keep the devil in check?! That was way too cringe-worthy and too spiritual for my taste. Apart from that, there was only the issue of repetition where I was going insane and wanted to shout at the author to move on already! I mean how many times do we need a reminder about David and the baseball glove smell. 

BUT, the narration, guys! IT WAS SPECTACULAR!! The narrator’s dramatic reading made me jump out of my skin when the first couple of times she said CHRIS….TO….PppppHER….. HZZZZZZZZZZ… I mean it was totally insane! And then there was the part where she cried like a baby… that was way too creepy than anything I’ve ever heard! Hats off to Christine Lakin. 

THIS IS HOW YOU NARRATE AN AUDIOBOOK!!!

Overall, I’d say that I’d recommend the audiobook over all the other formats and that is only because of Christine Lakin’s narration.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: Billionaire Boss, Undercover Affair by Kyra Radcliff

Author: Kyra Radcliff
Release Date: 17th March 2020
Genre: Romantic-thriller
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 178
Publisher: Dawn Hill Publications Ltd.
Blurb: Susan Johansen is efficient, ambitious and cool-headed in a crisis, which is exactly why her boss, Charles Dunlap, needs her. As the successful owner of one of the richest old money industrialist conglomerates in the world, he is under pressure of a different kind when his daughter Alicia becomes involved with internet entrepreneur Miles Middleton. 

With an ego as big as his bank balance, Miles has a reputation for a string of affairs and Charles doesn’t want his daughter anywhere near him. And so he enlists Susan, as a Trojan Horse, burying her deep within Miles’ business interests in the hope that she can sabotage his relationship with Alicia.

It isn’t long before the plan seems to be working and Miles is missing lunches, dinners and other dates with Alicia in favour of making money and sealing deals. But it’s when he takes Susan away on a business trip and tries to seduce her that she sees him for what he really is. But now that she is close to her goal, Susan suddenly has a crisis of confidence? Is she really still working for Charles or is she now pursuing her own agenda with Miles?

As he continues to get under her skin with his continuous attempts at seduction, Susan finds that she is more conflicted than ever. And the closer she gets to completing the assignment, the greater the chances are that Miles will discover her secret.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Billionaire Boss, Undercover Affair by Kyra Radcliff was a heady romantic-thriller that successfully delivered what it promises – good romance and decent thrills.

The story had a lot of cliches, but overall the book was entertaining and purely for that, I liked it as I had been busy reading so many intense reads that I needed a breather and a break from my normal choice of dark fiction books. I was looking for something light and good and this book was exactly it.

I didn’t exactly fall in love with the character tees, but I ended up liking Susan, the female lead, who drove the story well and made the book worth reading. The writing was good and the plot very interesting.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Tech by Mark Ravine

Author: Mark Ravine
Release Date: 3rd February 2020
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Futuristic
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 463 
Publisher: Dawn Hill Publications Ltd.
Blurb: Alexandra has just taken charge of her new team, a motley crew of screw-ups at the Arizona Field Office, the latest in a series of forgettable assignments. With a history of rebelling against authority and blunt speaking, she vows to change her ways and make this assignment work. 

Within minutes of her taking charge, she is drawn into a bank robbery case. She leads her new team to catch the robbers but discovers that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. The very next day three girls go missing. Before they could be trafficked out of the country, she races against time to rescue them. Soon, she begins to realize that all the cases coming her way are mysteriously connected. As she unravels the threads of a massive conspiracy, she discovers that a secret organization with immense power and authority is behind these horrific crimes. Forces within the FBI thwart her every move to discover the truth. Helping her navigate this maze is the shadowy Michael Patterson. But can she trust him? Can she trust anyone? Soon, witnesses disappear, suspects are killed, with her life and the lives of her team in lethal danger. Will she come out of this alive? Will she uncover and expose this cabal? As time starts running out, Alexandra Cassidy has to evade indictment and defy death in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Tech by Mark Ravine is a surprisingly good crime which kept me hooked with the several cases the main characters solved throughout the book.

This book was really engaging and had a lot of action, drama and situations going on that it was hard to put it down! This is my first book by the author, and seeing that there are a lot of detective fiction novels, I was a bit sceptical about it when I started reading the book but in no time the plot hooked me and then I was in for good.

The book is well-written, nicely structured and has good characterisation. I loved the female lead, Alexandra, and rooted for her in all the situations, right till the end. The secondary characters were good too and the elements of futuristic technology kept things very interesting.

I’d recommend it to readers who enjoy detective mysteries and crime thrillers and won’t mind the presence of unbelievable futuristic technologies.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: 22 Dutch Road by T. C. Schueler

Author: T.C. Schueler
Release Date: 13th January 2020
Genre: Speculative Fiction Fantasy, Psychological Thriller, Horror, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Paranormal
Series: 
Format: E-book
Pages: 492
Publisher: 
Blurb:
An estranged son drives twelve hours to collect badly needed money from his father’s estate. The same ugly McMansion still sits behind a security wall, but there are new features: a gaudy slate roof, a 70s-style conversation pit, and nearly two dozen statues posted along the wall like sentinels. It makes no sense: Billy Buchanan’s scheming father was broke; where had these fierce, obviously valuable sculptures come from?  Forced to spend the week at 22 Dutch Road, Billy begins believing these samurai-styled carvings can talk to him by day, and worse, move at night—his father might not be so dead after all.

REVIEW

★★★★

22 Dutch Road by T.C. Schueler is a very unique blend of and a cross-over of a lot of interesting genres such as Paranormal horror thriller with elements of sci-fi fantasy and speculative fiction but still giving off the overall vibe of a fantasy read. So many things happen in this book that it is hard to get bored while reading it so it definitely made for an entertaining read.

When I started reading the book, I was instantly pulled into the plot with a great opening and thankfully found myself involved and engaged with the story throughout till then end. The characterisation was okay but the writing was good along with the overall story-line.

It was a surreal read if I have to describe it in one word, and I really think that it is worth a read, so I’d recommend it to all the readers of sci-fi fiction-fantasy and paranormal and horror fantasy fans (well, that was quite a handful, innit?!)

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Transference by B.T. Keaton

Author: B.T. Keaton
Release Date: 13th January 2020
Genre: New Adult Fiction
Series: 
Format: E-book
Pages: 394
Publisher: Ingleside Avenue Press
Blurb:
When everything you believe about civilization is a lie, the ultimate power is truth.
Eighty years from now mankind has discovered the secret of eternal life. Human souls can be moved from one body to another through the process known as transference. Control of this new technology has fallen under the dominion of Jovian, a powerful prophet and head of the Church which governs every aspect of existence.
Banished to a mining colony on a distant planet for lawlessness is Barrabas Madzimure, the king of thieves. Only when Barrabas faces execution does he claim that another man committed his infamous crimes decades earlier. The authorities are suspicious. Is he the Madzimure of legend and a potential threat to Jovian’s new world order, or just another victim of transference?
The story of a grim personal mission, Transference takes the reader on a heart-racing journey through rebellion, revenge, self-sacrifice, and the soul’s search for identity.

REVIEW

★★★★

Transference by B.T. Keaton made for a very thrilling story, with an unpredictable protagonist with a complex personality, coupled with a fast-paced plot-line made for a really compelling read. I was looking forward to reading this book right since the time I had a look at its blurb and to my great relief, the book was every bit as good as I had expected it to be.

The writing was really good and this book a very smooth and quick read. After reading this thrilling sci-fi, I am looking forward to reading more book by the author, hopefully soon!

If you like suspenseful and fast-paced sci-fi adventure stories then this book is definitely for you! It is totally worth it so do give it a read.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Sidney Sheldon’s The Phoenix by Tilly Bragshawe

Author: Tilly Bagshawe
Release Date: 13th June 2019
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Speculative Fiction, Mystery
Series:
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 432
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Blurb:
Thrilling and nail-biting, The Phoenix has all the trademark glamour, suspense and unexpected twists of a classic Sidney Sheldon novel.
A deadly enemy will rise again….
Ella Praeger has always felt like an outsider. So when she is called to join the ranks of The Group, a force for good operating in the shadows, her world shifts. She is gifted a purpose – and a dangerous legacy.
Years ago, The Group rid the world of one of its most powerful criminal masterminds. Yet when a child washes up on a beach in Greece, a mysterious symbol tattooed on its heel, it is a clear warning: impossibly, Athena Petridis has returned to reclaim her empire.
Ella’s connection to Athena is deeply personal. Thrown into an underworld of treachery and corruption, and haunted by the tragedies of her own past, Ella is reborn as an agent, chasing a villain risen from the ashes. But only one of them can fulfil their destiny….

REVIEW

★★

Sidney Sheldon’s The Phoenix by Tilly Bragshawe is the latest int he long line of books that have been written by Bragshwae in the vein of Sidney Sheldon’s novels. I’ve always enjoyed reading these novels as Sidney Sheldon is one of my all-time favourite authors but this time sadly it wasn’t the case.

I tried to really enjoy this book but a lot of elements prevented me from doing so – under-developed characterisation, weak plot-line, bad pacing, the overall predictability of the plot and the bad ending. There was too much going on and the protagonist felt too weak to be able to drive the plot by herself.

Overall, this book was a miss for me and therefore I won’t be able to recommend it to anyone. Hopefully, the author’s next book would be better than this one.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: Tailspin by Sandra Brown

Author: Sandra Brown
Release Date: 7th August 2018
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Romance
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 432
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Blurb:
Rye Mallett, a fearless “freight dog” pilot charged with flying cargo to far-flung locations, is often rough-spoken, usually unshaven, and he never gets the regulation eight hours of shut-eye before a flight; but he does have a rock-solid reputation: he will fly in the foulest weather, day or night, and deliver the goods safely to their destination. So, when Rye is asked to fly into a completely fogbound Northern Georgia town and deliver a mysterious black box to a Dr. Lambert, he doesn’t ask why–he just ups his price.

As Rye’s plane nears the isolated landing strip, more trouble than inclement weather awaits him. He is greeted first by a sabotage attempt that causes him to crash land, and then by Dr. Brynn O’Neal, who claims she was sent for the box in Dr. Lambert’s stead. Despite Rye’s “no-involvement” policy when it comes other people’s problems, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the intrigue surrounding his cargo…and to the mysterious and attractive Brynn O’Neal.

Soon Rye and Brynn are in a treacherous 48-hour race to deliver the box before time runs out. With the hours slipping by and everyone from law enforcement officials to hired thugs hot on their heels, the two must protect their valuable cargo from those who would kill for it–that is, if they can trust each other.

REVIEW

★★★

A typical Brown book with an okay plot sprinkled with cheesy cliches, okay-ish characters, and somewhat unnecessary but totally steamy romance. I like the stories Sandra Brown creates, but the other elements kind of serve as a turn-off and often seem repetitive which kills most fo the fun. If you’re reading her book for the first time (any of her novels) then you’ll love them, just like I did, but if you continue on with other books they all will start feeling awfully predictable and repetitious.

Still, it made for a good quick read (I skimmed over a lot of romance and cheesy bits) which was nothing if not entertaining. I bummed down one star because I didn’t feel a connection to the main characters, which generally doesn’t happen in her books.

If you are new to the author, then do give any one of her other books a read. This one is not her best work, so read it only if you have already read one of her books and really like it (though it might feel repetitive, at least you won’t be judging all her books on this one alone.)

 

You can also read this review on Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

Author: Sandie Jones
Release Date: 
11th June 2019
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 304
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Blurb:

THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.

HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.

HER BEST FRIEND: When Alice met Beth, her best friend, it was the icing on the cake. A friend without judgement, to celebrate with, commiserate with, Beth is the most trustworthy and loyal person that Alice knows. So when Nathan starts disappearing for stretches of time, Alice turns to Beth. But soon, she begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced…

REVIEW

★★

I have absolutely no idea what the hype about this book phenomenal is all about! Because of the rave reviews, I was expecting a spectacular thriller when I decided to read this book but when I started reading it, I kind of started to get the feel of an okay-ish book right from the beginning. But I continued on because in one of the many praising reviews I read that the book’s 2nd part is better than the 1st and that in the 3rd part everything comes together, so I ploughed on despite not liking the main character one A very predictable read. The writing was okay but the characterization was poorly done.

Though one thing I can say for sure is that the 2nd part of this book was way, way, way better than the 1st part which is a shame because the 2nd part is all about the secondary character, who BTW, came across more real than everyone else in the book. So the characterization was poor so was the originality. Even though I enjoyed one of the twists, the overall story was still below average.

The writing seemed immature and felt like it was someone’s debut novel rather than having been written by a bestselling and well-established author. Most of the scenes were either too cheesy or outright cringe-worthy. And there was no sense of structure to the plot.

Now, you might find this book an absolute hit if you read thrillers rarely, but if you’ve been an ardent thriller lover, you’d know the book for what it really is in the first couple of pages.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Netgalley

Book Review: Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

Author: Lucinda Berry
Release Date: 1st March 2019
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Dark Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 364
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Blurb:
A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.

But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.

Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.

REVIEW

★★★★★

HOLY–F**k!!! THIS BOOK IS ABSOLUTELY INSANE

When I started reading this book it gave me an intense “Orphan” (movie) vibe, but then the plot started to change its track and I was like, “Okay… well, this is different, but nothing new.” But then somewhere around the last third of the book, I was completely and irrevocably mind-blown!

This book is AMAZING!!!

And the reality of how the author played with the reader’s mind using seemingly-normal characters and a seemingly-normal plot still continues to mesmerize me…

And I did NOT see that coming!!!

And that one line in the last pages of the book (where a man’s voice is mentioned) is still driving me insane! Was there really someone? Was it a supernatural presence? Was it just the broken psyche of the child? Or was it something else entirely?

OMG, I guess I have fallen in love with Dr Lucinda Berry’s intelligence and cannot stop thinking about how brilliant she is! For once, someone has dared to write about how complicated human psyche is and that some people are damaged forever and that there is absolutely nothing that can be done.

This book is full of triggers and can be dangerous if you are sensitive towards more than half of the things that is wrong with this world. But if you want to read a truly chilling work, then go for it.

Prose-wise, the author had completely re-defined the meaning of unreliable narrator for me. And it has completely changed my perspective on the subject.

This book is a gem for anyone who loves reading about sociopaths, people with psychosis and other troubled souls. This book is intense, dark and unforgivingly chilling. I loved every bit of it!

You can also read my review on Goodreads

Audiobook Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Author: Blake Crouch
Narrator(s): Jon Lindstrom and Abby Craden
Date Of Publication: 11th June 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction, Thriller
Series:
Duration: 11 hours
Publisher: Random House Audio
Blurb: A mind-bending new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter and The Wayward Pines trilogy.
Barry Sutton is driving home from another long shift as an NYPD detective when the call comes in. A woman is threatening to commit suicide, and someone’s got to try to talk her down. Only as he stands on the rooftop, mere inches away from her, does he realize that the woman is infected with False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious disease that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. When Barry is unable to save her, he’s rocked to his core–not only by her death but the fear that he’s been exposed to this devastating illness.
Helena Smith is a brilliant but frustrated neuroscientist. If she could only get the funding, she’s sure she could build the ambitious device she’s long imagined–one that would allow people to preserve their most intense memories and relive them whenever they want. So when a billionaire entrepreneur offers to bankroll her project, she jumps at the opportunity–even if there are some strange conditions attached.
As Helena’s efforts yield stunning results, Barry investigates the mystery behind the woman he failed to save. He finds himself on a journey as astonishing as it is terrifying, ultimately revealing the true danger posed by Helena’s invention–and a plot that could bring about the end of reality as we know it.
Weaving together Barry’s story and Helena’s in ways even the savviest reader will never guess, Recurson is a brilliant science fiction thriller about time, memory, and the illusion of the present, built on our inability to escape the flashbulb moments that define us.

REVIEW

This is my 5th book by Blake Crouch and I loved all the four previous books and so obviously I expected a LOT from this one. So the moment I was able to I bought the audiobook and dove right in. But then the reality hit me hard like a patch of a dry concrete wall in the face…

What the actual f**k?!

I wanted to LOVE this book and I was so sure about it being good that the thought that it might not be good never even crosse my mind for a second. But as I started this book, it felt like slow torture and I lost interest in it in only about 2 hours.

Not sure if I’ll even try to listen to this one again as the lead characters were very, very bland and kind of felt like a poor replica of the other characters in Blake Crouches previous books. The concept, although felt like had a lot of potential initially, started to feel too abstract and I wasn’t able to go any further. I am a very impulsive person and that reflects in my reading tastes so if I have to commit to a book I better like it in the first hour of reading or listening otherwise I abandon it no matter how many good reviews it has because I hate wasting my reading time (as little as I have because of my writing) on trying to like books that my heart and mind seem to dislike. SO basically if a book fails to grab my attention within an hour or the first 50 pages then I don’t bother with it. And unfortunately, this was one of those reads.

You can also read this review on Goodreads 

Book Review: Why She Lied by Julie Coons

Author: Julie Coons
Release Date: 3rd March 2019
Genre: Psychological thriller, Dark Fiction, Crime, Adult, Suspense, Mystery
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 183
Publisher: Self-Published
Blurb:
Will she have to lose her child to save her child?
The day she tells her boyfriend she’s pregnant, is the same day he tells her he’s been accused of molestation. His trial is set to begin the following day.
She needs answers…
To get them, she tricks her boyfriend into signing a release form, giving her full access to all of his legal documents. She uncovers the truth, he’s guilty.
To save her unborn child from this monster, she gets an abortion.
FIVE YEARS LATER and still rebuilding her life, Julie finds out her ex-boyfriend has just become the most wanted man in America, involved in human trafficking. When detectives ask for her help locating him, she gets drawn into a baffling mystery. What began as a seemingly simple search soon turns into a much darker reality.
Someone from her past is watching…
Bit by bit, the tapestry of her own secret childhood begins to unravel. What she learns about her past will haunt her forever: family isn’t always what it seems.
Can she help bring this predator to justice, or will she die trying?

WHY SHE LIED is a gripping psychological thriller full of mystery, intrigue, and buried secrets.

REVIEW

★★★★

Why She Lied by Julie Coons is a refreshing new dark psychological thriller with a great concept, a nicely executed plot and decent characterization. This book had just the right amount of complexity to make it an engaging read without being too overly complex.

Overall, this book was a gripping thriller. The characterization wasn’t exactly spot on, but I cared for the main character, Julie, enough to read through the entire book with interest. The layers of background made her a likeable lead and, although the flashbacks and some character traits felt redundant, I felt she was a decent protagonist. Though, again, I wasn’t able to connect or relate to her entirely for some reason.

The writing was good for most parts, though at times the narration felt redundant and there was more of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing.’ As it was on the simpler side, the reading was easy and the book, because of the tight pacing, turned out to be a surprisingly quick read even for a less-than-200-pages-book.

I liked this book and would recommend to all thriller lovers, especially the ones who love reading dark thrillers with layered and complex characters.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: In The Shadow Of The Kingmakers by Vahid Imani

Author: Vahid Imani
Release Date: 9th February 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 300
Publisher: Stormtop Publishing
Blurb:
The shadows were closer than he thought …
Tehran in 1924 is the stage for a daring international showdown over the control of Persian oil fields. James Malcolm, a British operative stationed in Tehran weaves an intricate plot in hopes of installing a new loyal Persian king. A teenage boy’s accidental involvement becomes a distraction. When his plot is sabotaged, the fragile peace in Persia is threatened along with the boy’s life. Malcolm’s clandestine investigation entangles him with unwitting American diplomats, treacherous double agents, and murderous Soviet spies, all seeking to foil the oil grab of the British.

REVIEW

★★★★

In The Shadow Of The Kingmakers by Vahid Imani is an immersive historical suspense thriller that pulled me in right from the start to the very end. I really liked it because of the complexity of the plot and the ease with which it was laid by the author for the reader to read.

The writing is really good and the book is easy to follow, making it a relatively quick read. The characterization was also good and I was able to feel a connection to the protagonist, James, and was rooting for him throughout the book. The plot was the hero for me and the story felt very well fleshed out, especially the cultural details and the rich exposition.

The ending was apt and it made a lot of sense. I enjoyed this book through and through and would recommend it to all historical fiction fans and readers of mystery and thriller genre.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Last Trollid (The Sunset Of Magic #1) by Alistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 13th May 2014
Genre: Science-Fiction-Fantasy, Thriller, Action, Adventure, Magic-Elementals
SeriesThe Sunset Of Magic (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 272
Publisher: 
Blurb:
There’s; world jumping magic, Dragons, ruthless invaders, epic battles, unlikely heroes, bravery, sacrifice, and a steam cannon worthy of Archimedes! And yes it does have wizards, both good and very bad. Romance? Yes, a little of that too! What more do you want in an adventure story?

A disparate band: fussy spinster, Ida Fairweather; crusty old soldier, Endor Caffri; dishonest manservant, Moleskin; King’s guard, Lineth, and Last of the Trollid, Bort, engage in a desperate struggle against the Harrowen invaders.

 

REVIEW

★★★+1/2

The Last Trollid by Allistair Potter is the start to a new series The Sunset Of Magic. After having read three other books by the author, I was confident that this book is going to be a smashing read, and, thankfully, to a great extent, it was. Just like his previous books, this book had a brilliant premise and an amazingly awesome world built with a great deal of detailing. The pacing and tension were good as they both had good highs and lows and the overall progression of the plot can’t be faulted. So all in all, it was a good read.

My only problem was with the characterization, somehow, unlike in the previous instances, I was not able to feel a connection to either of the characters. I liked Bort and even Ida and Moleskin to some extent, but that was all, I just liked them enough to be able to read the book without wanting to stop, but not more than that. Still, I enjoyed the book, if for nothing than for the plot and some of the high-tension battle scenes and the ending, which was really well written.

I’d recommend this book to all science-fiction readers, especially who prefer plot over characters.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

ARC Review: Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent

Author: Minka Kent
Release Date: 9th April 2019
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 256
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Blurb:
Two sisters raised in fear are about to find out why in a chilling novel of psychological suspense from the author of The Thinnest Air.
Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return.
As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them.
To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.
Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Stillwater Girlsby Minka Kent is one of those few books that managed to grab my attention on NetGalley with a beautiful blurb and cover image when I was trying hard not to request any new titles at all. I was very excited to read this book and finally when I dove in expecting a mind-blowing thriller, I ended up marking it as another disappointing DNF read.

For some reason, I was not able to get past the first 8% of the book. Even though I really wanted to read this book, a couple of intolerable things led me to abandon this book even though when I almost made up my mind to simply skim over the pages in order to at least find out the mystery:

  1. Chapters full of fragmented sentences for exposition which led to overtreatment of a technique I otherwise love and use in my own works.
  2. Excessive foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is good, necessary even in thrillers for building suspense, but here it was too much.
  3. I felt forced by the author to feel sympathetic to the girls living alone. It felt like the girls themselves (or at least the POV one) were screaming at the readers to feel sorry for them and their conditions. As a result, I simply felt irritation and nothing more.
  4. focus on the unnecessary details and overall, the writing felt immature; it felt like the author wanted to go for Gillian Flynn’s writing style but ended up totally botching it up.

All in all, I think this book has a lot of potential in terms of the plot, or so the blurb has led me to believe but failed miserably.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and NetGalley