Book Review: The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter by Linda Lo Scuro

Author: Linda Lo Scuro
Release Date: 22nd October 2018
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 296
Publisher: Sparkling Books
Blurb:
Most victims of the mafia are the Sicilians themselves. The role of women both as perpetrators and victims has been grossly overlooked. Until now.

As the daughter of Sicilian immigrants, in her teens Maria turns her back on her origins and fully embraces the English way of life. Notwithstanding her troubled and humble childhood in London, and backed up by her intelligence, beauty and sheer determination, she triumphantly works her way up to join the upper middle-class of British society.

Maria delves deeper into her mother’s family history and a murky past unravels, drawing her more and more into a mire of vendetta.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter by Linda Lo Scuro is a very gripping book with a well-written plot and a beautiful cast of strong characters. This book was a very quick read and had a lot more to offer to its reader that one can imagine. This book is very culturally rich and it was great to get a detailed glimpse into the family of mobs and also witnessing the repercussions of belonging to such a family.

I enjoyed reading this book from start to end, mainly because the writing was good and had a very easy flow to it. The plot-progression was good and so was the pacing and tension and they all complimented and went along the story very well.

I’d recommend this book to all crime and suspense readers who enjoy reading culturally rich books.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon
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Book Review: On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn

Author: Roger Peppercorn
Release Date: 9th January 2018
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Suspense
Series:
Edition: E-Book
Pages: 583
Publisher: Wallace Publishing
Blurb:
With the drop of a judge’s gavel, Walt Walker has finally lost everything. The badge and gun he used to carry and the moral certainty of right and wrong, good and evil that used to keep him grounded. Now Walt, sans gun, gets his badges from an Army Navy store. He spends his days in South Florida, working for a boutique insurance firm as their investigator. He spends his nights in dive bars, trying to forget the mess he has made of his life.
Ronald Jacobs always preferred the title Human Resource Manger to Hitman. But now that he’s retired, he can concentrate on living in the shadows as a respectable gentlemen farmer. Far from the reach and pull of his past life.
Their transgressions are behind them but a chance encounter and a failed assassination attempt sets the two of them on a collision course of violence and retribution. Hunted by contract killers, the law, and corporate bag men, they are pursued across the unforgiving adobes and the sweeping vistas of the Mesa Valley in Western Colorado.
Survival means putting their past in front of them and their differences aside, because in this world the only thing that matters is to cast not others on the devil’s side of heaven, lest you be cast in with them.

Review

★★★+1/2

On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn is a hard-boiled crime thriller packed with lots of action and suspense.

This book proved to be a decent crime thriller and delivered what it promised – lots of suspense and thriller laced with tons of action and drama. The mystery was good, the characterization decent (though not overly powerful) and the pacing good. The writing was good and consisted of various POVs which turned out to be very interesting and engaging. There were several excellent twists and turns that kept me hooked to the book and the ending paid off well.

The only complain I have about the book is that it was too long. Maybe if some of the cliched scenes weren’t there then it might not feel a bit of a drag at some places, but otherwise, it was a good book. I’d recommend it to all crime, mystery and thriller readers.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Caina by Joe Albanese

Author: Joe Albanese
Release Date: 5th July 2018
Genre: Crime Comedy
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 124
Publisher: Mockingbird Lane Press
Blurb:
Twins tend to be closer than typical siblings. They often share a bond that is oftentimes unexplainable.*
For some reason that bond didn’t apply to Grant and Lee Tolan. Grant was always the responsible one. Lee, on the other hand, was always in trouble and in jail, self-destructing to the point the twins hadn’t seen or spoken in years.
In trouble with the Irish mob who wanted him sleeping with the fishes, finding Grant dead of an apparent suicide, Lee did the only thing that made sense. He switched identities.
Instead of making life easier, Lee is plunged into a world the Irish and Italian crime families, the Mexican cartel and the DEA. Pitting one against the other, Lee enlists the help of friends to save his own life. He will need a miracle.
But Grant’s secret is the biggest shock of all for Lee and he must re-evaluate his entire life.

Review

★★★★

Caina by Jow Albanese is a very entertaining crime comedy about a guy who knows only one thing – how to get in trouble.

It was a very interesting read. The narration was good because more than a book it felt like a movie running in the head.  The writing was solid, the characterization was decent and the plot was very exciting. The well-placed twists and turns kept the story engaging and the high action kept me entertained throughout the book.

The ending was really good and felt apt tot he entire plot build-up. The dialogues were good and made the book, again, feel like a film.

A very quick read in which the author’s sense of humour shone through quite well. Overall, this book is a complete action-comedy package and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining quick read.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Prom Dress Killer by George A. Bernstein

Author: George A. Bernstein
Release Date: 18th July 2017
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Crime, Detective Fiction
Series: 
Detective Al Warner Suspense – #3
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 336
Publisher: GnD Publishing LLC
Blurb:
A psychopathic killer lurks in Miami’s shadows, snatching and murdering young auburn-haired women. Strangely, they are killed without trauma and left clad in frilly prom-style dresses.
Miami’s crack homicide detective, Al Warner, is on the case, but the killer has left few clues. Why were these girls taken and then executed? Was he intent on killing redheads, or was there some other connection? And why were their bodies so carefully arranged in peaceful repose, wearing prom dresses?
Warner’s hunt for this clever psycho is stymied by a lack of clues as he desperately searches for the latest victim. The suspense ramps up when the murderer finally makes one tiny error.
As Warner and the FBI doggedly zero in on their fleeing prey and his newest captive, the action escalates. Unlikely players are drawn into a tense, deadly game. As the stunning climax plays out, Warner is trapped in a classic Catch-22. In order to snare this lethal psycho, he must make a decision that may haunt him forever.

Review

★★★+1/2

The Prom Dress Killer by George A. Bernstein is a psychological thriller-suspense, full of engaging twists and turns and a strong storyline.

This book had an engaging storyline, a good enough psychopath and a neat flow to it overall. I liked the writing of the author as it was simple and straightforward, just the way I like while reading thrillers. Overall it was a good book, though I felt distant towards the characters, so characterization is the only downside for me in this book. If the characters would have been relatable and the victims a bit more real, then I would have, straight away, given this book a full extra star, but sadly that was not the case.

Still, it is a decent read if you don’t have a strong character-over-plot liking. If you’re okay with a strong plot, then go ahead and check this one out.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

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Book Review: Memory Man by David Baldacci

Author: David Baldacci
Release Date: 21st April 2015
Genre: Mystery, Crime-Thriller, Suspense
Series: 
Amos Decker
Edition: ebook (MOBI)
Pages: 416
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Blurb:
Amos Decker’s life changed forever–twice.
The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect–he can never forget anything.
The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare–his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.
His family destroyed, their killer’s identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.
But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Memory Man will stay with you long after the turn of the final page.

Review

★★★★+1/2

Memory Man by David Baldacci is nothing short of a complete crime-thriller package – entertaining plot, engaging storyline, brilliant writing, the perfect hook and a unique inner conflict that makes for a strong base of this awesome new series.

This is my first book by David Baldacci and I am so glad that I read it. It is an amazing book and I’m very happy to have read it. Lately, I’d been fed up with detective stories because more or less all of them are the same (no matter if the protagonist is a female or a male.) So I had almost abandoned this genre of mystery thrillers when I was asked to review this book. Fortunately, I accepted it because I had heard a lot of praise for David Baldacci’s storytelling and didn’t want to miss out a chance on reading his current sensation back in 2015. However, due to my scepticism, it took me a better part of  2.5 years to even consider reading it ditching the other books I had. And now that I’ve read it, I’m glad that I finally took the step and read it!

This book was so much better than I was expecting it to be. It had life-like characters that were highly relatable, especially the lead, and a plot that had so many twists and turns that I was literally biting my nails because of all the tension and suspense. The mystery was out of the world and I really, really enjoyed the ending.

If you are a mystery buff and love high-tension thrillers, then READ THIS BOOK! It’s really, really good!

this review is also posted on:
goodreads, netgalley, and amazon

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Book Review: A Burning In The Darkness by A.P. McGrath

Author: A P McGrath
Release Date: 12th April 2017
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Romance, Spiritual
Edition: E-book
Pages: 253
Publisher: Troubador

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A murder at one of the world’s busiest airports opens this simmering crime story where a good man’s loyalty is tested to its limits. Michael Kieh is a full time faith representative serving the needs of some of the 80 million passengers, but circumstance and evidence point to his guilt. His struggle to prove his innocence leads him on a charged journey that pitches love against revenge.
Michael’s loneliness was eased by a series of brief encounters with a soul mate. When she confides a dark secret, he is motivated to redress a heart-breaking injustice. Together they must battle against powerful forces as they edge dangerously close to unmasking a past crime. But Michael faces defeat when he chooses to protect a young witness, leaving him a burning spirit in the darkness.
Michael’s commitment to helping those in need was forged in the brutality of the Liberian civil war. Protected by a kind guardian, he too was a young witness to an atrocity that has left a haunting legacy of stolen justice and a lingering need for revenge. More poignantly there is a first love cruelly left behind in Africa because of the impossible choices of war. When Michael and his former lover find each other once again they become formidable allies in proving his innocence and rediscovering their lost love.

Review

A Burning In The Darkness by A.P. McGrath is an exciting crime mystery with an intelligent plot and a cast of life-like characters.

This book is an electric mix of mystery, romance, and spiritual fiction. The plot was fresh, well-built and very engaging. I was pulled into the story right from the first chapter till the very end.

The writing was good considering the fact that the prose was written phonetically from the point of view of the lead, Michael Kieh who was born and spent a considerable time of his childhood in Liberia. It added a realistic touch to the story bringing the readers closer to the protagonist in a very clever way.

The characters were all carefully constructed and relatable. I liked the character of Miachel Kieh, the protagonist and found his background very, very interesting. Even though Michael was too good to be real, the internal conflicts coupled with his personality made him a compelling lead.
I was able to relate to almost every other secondary character as well, which was a bonus.

The mystery itself was well thought out and carefully plotted. I must admit that I wasn’t able to put together all the pieces (though, I came quite close.) The author has done a good job at creating an intricate web of various twists and turns, making the ending unpredictable.

I’d recommend this book to crime and mystery lovers and to anyone who doesn’t mind reading spiritual fiction intelligently weaved into a mystery read.

More from the author: 
Author Interview: A.P. McGrath
Book Excerpt: A Burning In The Darkness by A.P. McGrath
Guest Post: A Sense of Place by A.P. McGrath

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Book Review: Echoes Of Terror by Maris Soule

Author: Maris Soule
Release Date: 22nd March 2017
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 320
Publisher: Five Star Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Katherine Ward is assigned the case, never expecting it to parallel her own kidnapping experience seventeen years before. In Skagway, Alaska, the usual crimes faced by the police department’s small force are DUIs and missing bikes. With the chief in the hospital and one officer missing, they’re not prepared for the kidnapping of a billionaire’s daughter.
Misty Morgan thought running off with a college boy would get her father’s attention. Now she and another teenager
are praying for their lives.
Stuck in China, Misty’s father knew his daughter was up to something, so he his daughter was up to something, so he asked his longtime friend Vince Nanini to fly to Alaska and stop Misty. Problem is Vince arrives too late. The college boy is dead, Misty is missing, and the police
aren’t eager to let him help.
When Katherine realizes the same man who kidnapped and raped her years ago is the one holding Misty and the other teenager, the terror of those months resurfaces. Vince finds her drunk and in tears, and he’s with her when she realizes the kidnapper has struck again. Together they must figure out where this man has taken three people, and they must find him fast.

Review

Echoes Of Terror by Maris Soule is a suspenseful novel that turned out to be surprisingly good and different than most DI novels.

After reading so many books on DI and Investigating Officers in general, there’s hardly a time when I get overly excited to read another one on the same lines. I was expecting the same from this one, but as it turned out the plot of this book was not only unique but quite simple and fresh, to put it plainly.

The author did a really great job in making the lead character directly involved with the case. It made the plot feel more personal and made the stakes appear very high, which was a big plus for the overall story.

I wasn’t overly enthused about the main characters, Katherine and Vince, but Katherine was likable enough and I was able to follow her story without losing interest. I liked almost all the secondary character and also the place and settings. It was good to read about a different place and to learn about how people live their lives in a particular setting.

The beginning was good and so was the ending. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend to all the suspense readers and DI fiction lovers.


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Book Review: Losing Lauren by Alretha Thomas

32575253Author: Alretha Thomas
Release Date: 7th September 2016
Series: Detective Rachel Storme (Book #2)
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Detective-Fiction, Thriller, Suspense.
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 358
Publisher: Diverse Arts Collective

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Alexandra Winifred has played a supporting role in her cousin’s life since they were children. When Lauren Water’s parents are killed in a plane crash, Alexandra becomes her protector, and together they navigate their way through childhood and college. They’re both overachievers, but it’s Lauren who steals the spotlight when she’s discovered by a notable agent and goes on to become an award-winning actress, leaving Alexandra in her shadow as her fledgling publicist. Now Hollywood royalty, Lauren starts to cut those people out of her life who were responsible for her success. Alexandra fears she will be next on the chopping block. But her trepidation about her failing relationship with her cousin becomes her least concern when she’s identified as a prime suspect in Lauren’s subsequent disappearance. Detective Rachel Storme, who has a full plate taking care of a parent with Alzheimer’s and supervising a meth-addicted aunt, is eager to get her hands on a challenging case, but nothing could prepare her for the dark secrets and lies that she uncovers while she does everything in her power to find out what happened to Lauren.

Review

Losing Lauren by Alretha Thomas is an exceptionally brilliant book. So much so that I enjoyed it even more than the first book in this series (which, by the way, I absolutely loved!)

This book is intense, gripping, complex and officially un-put-down-able!

I was hooked right from the beginning to the very end. The plot was amazing and had a depth that I found very satisfying considering that it is a crime novel. The level of intrigue, suspense and thrilling action was perfectly balanced. I enjoyed all the twists and turns that kept me guessing and I am not at all ashamed to say that at some point or the other I doubted each and every single character.

The ending completely baffled me! The whole woman thing literally caught me off guard and I ended up mentally kicking myself for doubting all the wrong people.

One thing I noticed in this book (and the last book too) was that author Alretha Thomas has a unique way of creating characters that have so many layers of complexity that you end up doubting the main POV character more than twice and start wondering “is she the murderer? Is she even aware that she killed another person.” And that is why I enjoy reading her books so much!

The characters, as usual, were well-crafted and relatable. I loved Detective Rachel Storme already, but this part made me love her even more and I guess she is actually in line for becoming one of my favorite fiction detectives of all time.
All the other characters were also very well-developed and I was able to connect to them all. I loved reading about the rich backgrounds of each and every character, more so because they belonged to the Hollywood and their lives were shown beautifully and in a very realistic way.

As usual, this book was written brilliantly with the use of simple language and in relatable POVs which made this book a complete package for me.
I’d recommend this book to all the crime-mystery and detective fiction lovers. This is one series you can’t afford to miss.


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Book Review: Captcha Thief by Rosie Claverton

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Author: Rosie Claverton 

Release Date: February 29, 2016
Series: The Amy Lane Mysteries (#3)
Genre: Mystery | Suspense | Crime | Thriller
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 293
Publisher: Crime Scene Books

 

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Blurb:

Agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane and her sidekick ex-con Jason Carr are caught in a tortuous and increasingly dangerous adventure as Amy seeks to help track an art thief and Jason seeks to impress the National Crime Agency investigator Frieda Haas sent to recover the missing painting – and its abductor.
As the evidence leads Amy and the police in circles, Jason finds himself taking more and more risks in his hunt for the thief. Nothing is as it seems. Are Amy and Jason merely playthings for a vicious murderer? Can they survive the game?

Review

Captcha Thief by Rosie Claverton is a brilliantly thought-out and a cleverly written book.

It has a great pace which edges towards fast, yet at the same time being subtle. I felt compelled to read this book in one sitting, but in spite of being terribly busy,  I managed to read it in three.

The suspense and story build-up is truly magical and I was left longing for more when it came to the backgrounds of the lead characters.

The characterization is truly stunning. I felt a really strong connection with Amy in spite of her being too socially awkward for my taste. There were moments when I felt emotions well up inside of me so strong that I literally had to stop myself from screaming at the book.

On the other hand, the character of Jason is so darn unique and good that I developed an instant liking for him. He’s this strong yet sensitive guy who’s always misunderstood in spite of being a really kind person.

At some places, the main plot gets a little overshadowed by the sub-plots, but the author’s clever writing and pacing manage to make the reader feel the urge to know more about the sub-plotline in order to see what’s happening in the character’s lives.

The random sprinkling of chapters of the murderer throughout the book took the story to a whole new level. Also, the use of new hacking techniques made it a really interesting book for me.

The beginning was really good because the murder pulled me into the story right from the first page. It took me only a few chapters to get the flow of the various POVs and after that, the story kept on getting better and better.

The ending is great. It’s not the typical mystery sort of ending where the killer is revealed and such, but it ends taking the main character’s story into focus. I am eagerly waiting for the next part in this series, and meanwhile, I’m considering buying the first two parts just to get to know Any and Jason better.

I loved this book and I cannot recommend it enough to everyone who loves mystery.

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Other Stuff

Opening Line: Night after night, he returned to that one place.

Highlights: Excellent pacing and brilliant storytelling.

Lowlights: Nothing.

Memorable Quote:

… this time, it wasn’t the dead man’s face that haunted her, but the delicate features of a woman who’d died a century earlier.

The second time was easier, killing someone.

Final Thoughts: An outstanding mystery read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

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Author: Julia Heaberlin
Release Date:
11th August, 2015
Series: None
Genre: Mystery | Psychological-Thriller | Suspense | Crime | Contemporary | Adult
Edition: Kindle (.mobi)
Pages: 369
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A girl’s memory lost in a field of wildflowers.
A killer still spreading seeds.
At seventeen, Tessa became famous for being the only surviving victim of a vicious serial killer. Her testimony put him on death row. Decades later, a mother herself, she receives a message from a monster who should be in prison. Now, as the execution date rapidly approaches, Tessa is forced to confront a chilling possibility: Did she help convict the wrong man?

Review

Black Eyed Susans has a really unique plotline which is brilliant, to say the least. The pacing was great and the twists and turns, along with the suspense build-up was amazing. I enjoyed this book a lot and I’m eagerly waiting to read more books by the author.

The alternating POVs of the lead at 2 different ages provided an ingenious angle to the story and makes it all the more interesting.  I enjoyed the young  POV of the lead character (Tessie) because it was the read deal, but the older one (Tessa) wasn’t disappointing either.

The characterization was great and I was able to feel a strong connection with the main character – Tess (both the selves of her – Tessa and Tessie), which added a new flair to the book. The secondary characters were also well-developed and I was able to connect to almost all of them.

The book started with a great beginning and I couldn’t resist myself from getting lost in this book right from the beginning. And throughout the book, the story had an air of gloominess to it which makes this book a perfect suspense read.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending. The ending felt a little rushed and it came off as if not a lot of thought was put into it. After reading such a great story I was expecting a little more creativity (and also sinistral thinking) towards the end. It wasn’t well executed and it really made me sad because I had to cut back on a star from its rating.

Still, I’d say this book is worth reading. I’d recommend this book to everyone who enjoys multiple POVs and mystery, thriller and suspense novels.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Thirty-two hours of my life are missing.

Highlights: Storyline

Lowlights: Ending

Memorable Quote:

People appreciate pretty fantasies like this, where there is a feisty hero, even when there is no factual basis for it.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant psychological thriller.


You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon, and NetGalley.

Book Review: The Killing Forest by Sara Blaedel

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Author: Sara Blaedel 
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Series: Louise Rick Series
Genre: Crime | Thriller | Mystery | Suspense
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 320
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: Publicist
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Following an extended leave, Louise Rick returns to work at the Special Search Agency, an elite unit of the National Police Department. She’s assigned a case involving a fifteen-year-old who vanished a week earlier. When Louise realizes that the missing teenager is the son of a butcher from Hvalsoe, she seizes the opportunity to combine the search for the teen with her personal investigation of her boyfriend’s long-ago death . . .
Louise’s investigation takes her on a journey back through time. She reconnects with figures from her past, including Kim, the principal investigator at the Holbaek Police Department, her former in-laws, fanatic ancient religion believers, and her longtime close friend, journalist Camilla Lind. As she moves through the small town’s cramped network of deadly connections, Louise unearths toxic truths left unspoken and dangerous secrets.

Review

I read The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel, not so long ago, and quite liked it. I was able to connect to the author’s writing and the story was interesting, to say the least, so when I was contacted for this book, I immediately accepted.

The Killing Forest is the kind of novel that’ll keep you up at night and would pull you into the story making you forget about the world outside. I really liked this book as it kept me intrigued. Like the previous book by author Sara Blaedel, there was not a lot to guess in this book, but the pacing was good enough to keep things interesting throughout. The author again shocked me towards the end with a smart plot twist.

The premise of the story was great and pacing was also good. The suspense was mild but I was able to feel a sense of urgency throughout the book (which is a big plus.)

The characterisation was good and I was happy to read about all the characters from the previous book in detail. I felt a connection with the main lead of the book,  detective Louise, though it was not as strong as it felt in the previous book. Still, the story being the hero in this book, I enjoyed reading it.

The writing was good but I did notice 2 major flaws that made it difficult for me to come up with a proper rating for this book when I was done with it.

Firstly, there are a lot of places in this book where the translation played tricks and hindered the flow of the book. This issue wasn’t there in the previous book so I was a little displeased this time around. The dialogues didn’t feel real and, at more than a couple of places, I was left wondering what the hell was the original dialogue anyway.

And the second thing that bugged me was that there was more ‘telling’ than ‘showing.’ It happened in more than a dozen places and it really affected the entire reading process altogether.

But, in spite of these two flaws, I still enjoyed the book and would love to read the next parts in Louise Rick series. I’d recommend this book to crime and mystery lovers.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: He hesitated before grabbing the dead chicken his father held out to him, its white feathers peppered with blood close to where its head had been chopped off.

Highlights: Story and ending.

Lowlights: Translation.

Memorable Quotes:

“…This is hell. No one gets out.”

Final Thoughts: A nice mystery read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads, Netgalley, and Amazon.

Book Review: Dying To Tell by T.J. O’Conner (Gumshoe Ghost Mystery #3)

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Author: TJ O’Connor 
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Series: Gumshoe Ghost Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Paranormal, Detective Series
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 384
Publisher: Duvinchi Media Group
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Detective Oliver Tucker never knew how perilous the past was until his wife, Angel, is nearly killed and the reclusive banker, William Mendelson, is found murdered in a hidden vault where ancient Egyptian relics and World War II secrets are stashed.
Now those relics are missing. The secrets are coming out. The dead are talking.
Tuck, the detective for the dead, knows there’s more to Mendelson’s murder than haunting family secrets and decades-old skullduggery. With Angel and his detective partners, Tuck’s guided by his long-dead grandfather, World War II OSS Captain Oliver Tucker I. Ollie is still on a mission from 1942 as murderers, thieves, and spies descend on small-town Winchester.
As the case unfolds, Tuck must also confront the growing distance between his death and Angel’s life–and the outcome is a killer of its own.

Review

This book is a real masterpiece. I enjoyed each and every chapter thoroughly and had a great time enjoying the great narration and the amusing twists and turns throughout the story. The steady flow of twists and turns and the odd reveals are perfectly timed and make reading this book a brilliant experience.

I was really impressed with the author’s writing style. It’s fresh, engaging and has a really good flow that makes reading this book one hell of an experience. And the best part of this book was the author’s sense of humor. The witty writing is just out of the world. I was chuckling the entire time whenever Tuck made a witty remark. I even cracked up laughing hard at more than a dozen instances (and my hubby found it rather amusing.)

The characterization is AMAZing and the author has done a fabulous job in creating, what I would call EPIC characters. I’m in love with all the main characters and I feel a sense of close connection with all of them.

The mystery itself was the highlight of the book and the author nailed it right to the very minute details.

This book has everything- a fabulous mystery, perfect characterization, brilliant timings, humor, ghosts, emotional nit-picks, funny one-liners, elements from the past (WWII) and a time-travelling detective. What else can a reader want more! I LOVED this book and I’m going to read all the other parts in this series (each and everyone!)

The small chapters and the alternating POVs kept me completely glued to the book and whenever I had to keep the book aside, you know for everyday life, it really irritated me to no end. I simply wanted to sit and be lost in this amazing story where a dead detective, and that too a stud one, solves the crime with his partner and wife.

I loved the idea of involving stuff from the past in the crime of the present and the entire ghost-family-thing The concept is really unique to me and I must say that I really, really loved it!

Bookstagram:

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Instagram

Other Stuff

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Opening Line: “Dying is as perilous as secrets and lies. Depending, of course, on who is keeping the secrets and who is telling the lies.”

Highlights: Writing and author’s sense of humor.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

When I was alive, I was a hotshot homicide cop. Now, dead, I’m still a hotshot homicide cop- it’s just that my clients are nearly always dead or, at least, connected to someone who is dead.

Sometimes being dead is a pain in the ass.

Memorable Paragraphs:

A tall distinguished man in a heavy wool overcoat stood beside her now. He had one arm around her, speaking slowlyto her – consoling her- and his other arm hung to his side, a black, compact .45semiautomatic handgun in his grasp. He looked like a younger Clooney, but perhaps better looking. I instantly distrusted him.

Final Thoughts: A terrific cozy mystery.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Dead Eyed (DCI Michael Lambert #1)

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Author: Matt Brolly 
Release Date: September 3, 2015
Series: DCI Lambert
Genre: Crime | Detective Fiction | Mystery | Suspense | Psychological Thriller | Adult
Edition: E-Book (mobi)
Pages: 315
Publisher: Carina UK
Source: Publishing Push
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★☆

Blurb:

DCI Michael Lambert thought he’d closed his last case…
Yet when he’s passed a file detailing a particularly gruesome murder, Michael knows that this is no ordinary killer at work.
The removal of the victim’s eyes and the Latin inscription carved into the chest is the chilling calling-card of the ‘soul jacker’: a cold-blooded murderer who struck close to Michael once before, twenty-five years ago.
Now the long-buried case is being re-opened, and Michael is determined to use his inside knowledge to finally bring the killer to justice. But as the body count rises, Michael realises that his own links to the victims could mean that he is next on the killer’s list…
The gripping first novel in a thrilling new crime series by Matt Brolly. Perfect for fans of Tony Parsons, Lee Child and Angela Marsons.

Review

This book started out slow and took its sweet time to pick up the pace. Initially, I had to struggle a bit to get into the book, but once I was 15% through, I was in for good. The pace picked up and the book went from slightly interesting to quite interesting and then I was on the edge of my seat almost biting my nails.

The story felt a little too long but considering that it is the first book in a detective series, I’m okay with it because I know that establishing the basics and the background is really important.

I like Lambert… a lot. He’s one hell of a stud detective. One that I would love to read about. He’s all broken and stuff but, again, he is a real stud! He is everything a detective should be like- smart, intelligent, sharp and daring. And this is all to say that the author truly nailed the characterization. Even the other characters, esp. Sarah May, were quite good and totally relatable.

The writing is great and the shifting POVs keep the book interesting and intriguing. The descriptions were so good that I squirmed every time another victim turned up with either their eyes cut out or stitched shut with black thread… And, trust me, it is one of the best things about this book.

The only thing that I find a little off is that the motive of the killer wasn’t made clear. I mean after reading a seemingly lengthy book, there’s nothing that I wanted more than to know the gory and dirty details of the killer’s motives or, at least, the driving force behind them.

Still, I enjoyed the book. And for a debut novel, this book is really amazing. Unfortunately, I’ve stopped rating books with 1/2 stars, otherwise, this book would have been 4+1/2 instead of just 4.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “The man hovered on the edge of the dance floor.”

Highlights: Characterization.

Lowlights: Ending.

Memorable Quotes:

In oculis animus habitat. The soul dwells in the eyes.

She viewed her past like a voyeur, her memories akin to a reader imagining a character from a book.

Final Thoughts: A fantastic start to a new Detective/Crime series.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Head In The Box

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Author: C.P. Kemabia
Release Date: January 4, 2014
Series: 
Genre: Mystery | Crime
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 141
Publisher: Speedy Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Rating: 3/5
Blog Rating: 2.5/5
Buy it here: Amazon


Blurb

Charlie and her roommates along with their friends could have never imagined that, after the birthday party of the night before, their morning would take a twisted turn with a macabre discovery: a box containing the head of a stranger.
Because of their different personalities and also because of another unfortunate event, they can’t decide on the right way to deal with it.
Their disagreement ultimately triggers heated arguments and unsuspected passions. And as the story unfolds, the strain of their situation will take their relationship with one another to the very edge.
Yet most shocking will be the answer to the main question that is on everyone’s mind: who is the man whose head ended up in the box and… who brought the box into their apartment?

Review

The Reading Bud Stars Black-2

This book started out pretty good and the mystery involved was also nice, but by the time I neared the end I started to wonder what was the point of the entire thing. I mean I get that this is more like a novella, a very quick read, but still, what was the point of it all. If you have 7 people in a story then the suspect is all too clear, because apparently everyone has read Agatha Christie’s books and, hence, everyone knows that it won’t be the guy the author clearly tries to show as the suspect. We’ve all been there where the butler or the maid turns out to be the suspect- the person who appears only twice or thrice in the entire story. So, in spite of having a good plot, I seriously thought that the story lacked when it came to execution.

One of the positives about the book is that it is a real quick read. So, if you want to try it, it won’t take long. And as you can see from my rating, it is a bearable read (if you don’t read a lot of mysteries.) But if you do then you might find it a little odd.
The characterization in this book is surprisingly good and I’ve given 3 stars for that matter alone.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: On the morning of October 22nd, 2011, something terribly shocking happened.

Highlights: Characterization.

Lowlights: Plot.

Final Thoughts: Okay-okay.


You can also read this review at Goodreads, NetGalley and Amazon.

Book Review: The Secrets Of Lizzie Borden

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Author: Brandy Purdy
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Historical Fiction  | Crime Fiction | Mystery
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 384
Publisher: Kensington
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Rating: 5/5
Blog Rating: 5/5
Buy it here: Amazon


Blurb

In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime.  

Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters.   Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes…   Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer.

Review

5 Stars Black

This book is simply beyond words. All I can say is that I loved it and that Brandy Purdy is a BRILLIANT author. This is the first book that I’m reading by her, but it is most definitely not the last one. I loved her vivid imagination and the powerful writing which compelled me to forget all the facts and believe in the story that she crafted/weaved so artfully.

For a crime author like myself, this book is a piece of art in the most literal sense and I salute the author for pulling off this book on such a talked about crime. She recreated the entire life of Lizzie Borden in such detail that it’s crazily scary At more than a dozen places I actually wondered if the author really found some diary or a personal journal of Lizzie in her research for the book. It was that believable!

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Lizzie Borden [Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030437/Lizzie-Borden-gravesite-defaced-graffiti.html%5D
I wish this wasn’t a fictitious tale but an autobiography. It definitely felt like one. It seems like Lizzie is one of my old friends and that her deeds were totally justified. Not that I’m a sadist who likes to see people butchered, but I do believe that sometimes motive behind the crime does, in fact, justify it.

Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030437/Lizzie-Borden-gravesite-defaced-graffiti.html
Borden Residence- Crime Scene [Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030437/Lizzie-Borden-gravesite-defaced-graffiti.html%5D
Coming back to the book, I did find it quite lengthy which is quite surprising given that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. But I feel that the reason behind it was the fact that the much-anticipated murders are committed just after the half-way point in the book (around 55%-60%) and, at that point, I was wondering what the hell is left now. But the author smartly told the tale after the murders were committed, which for me, later proved to be the highlight of the book.newspaper

Each and every fact I read about the Borden murders (in my obsessive research of course) was beautifully weaved into the story and made me believe that this tale is not just a fragment of someone’s imagination but the real tale itself. And how I wish it were true, because after reading this book I’ve found myself sympathizing with Lizzie more than a dozen times. My heart really ached for the lost soul that she was and I kept obsessively thinking about the would haves and the could haves for days after reading this book.

Sometimes, though, the writing seemed a little complex considering the lengthy sentences which sometimes stretched as long as one entire paragraph. Especially in the starting of the book. After the first quarter of the book either the sentences got better or I got used to them and didn’t notice them again. Other than this, the writing is superb and I managed to learn a few new words from this book (which is always a plus.)

Here’s the famous rhyme that would have definitely tortured Lizzie to no end:

Lizzie Borden took an ax

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one.

You can read all about Lizzie Borden on Wikipedia here.

If you want to read about the details of her trial then visit these awesome links:

Other Stuff

Opening Line: I awoke from the dream, wishing, as I always did, that it would vanish right away without lingering to torment me, or, better yet, never come to visit me again.

Highlights: Well crafted story.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

Sometimes it is easier to tell a lie. To say No closes the door on the conversation, whereas saying Yes flings it open wide and invites further inquiry and to slam and bar it then is to be branded rude and inhospitable.

I do not know; nor do I want to. I cherish my illusion, if illusion it was.

I won my freedom and baptized it in blood, with Death acting as midwife at the bloody birth that spawned my new life! In one blood-bathed day I was transfigured! I was set FREE! Free, rich, and orphaned all in the same bloody day.

I was sorry, and yet I wasn’t. I had done the right thing, even though it was wrong. If only things, if only we- all of us- had been different it might never have come to this. If only, if only, if only…

“If I were you, Lizzie, I wouldn’t have let anyone see me doing that. I’m afraid that burning that dress is the worst thing you could have done!” Besides killing your own parents of course! her chilly blue eyes silently finished the sentence.

If life were a theater play or a novel this is where my story would end- happily, in a spirit of jubilation, with me vindicated and set free.

But life is not like that.

Memorable Paragraph:

How very ironic that all the world sees her as the very picture of the meek as a mouse prim and pious brittle and birdlike little maiden lady in eternal mourning too afraid to ever say Boo! to a goose. They don’t know the real Emma; no one does except me.

Sometimes the sadness still steals over me and I cry for what might have been. How different my life would have been! I would have been lost to history; there would have been no murders at 92 Second Street, no immortal singsong rhyme about forty whacks; no one would have even remembered my name after I died – I would have had a different name; he would have changed that, just like he changed my life.

All I wanted to do was forget. And I wanted everyone to forget too and just leave me in peace to live my life the way I saw fit. I don’t go prying into their business and private lives! Why couldn’t they accord me the same respect? But I had traded the prison of my father’s house for actual prison bars, only to find when I was vindicated and freed from those that I had become a prisoner of my own notoriety and a higher judge had decreed that it should be a life sentence with no possibility of parole. Ostensibly, I was free to come and go and do as I pleased, but I would never be truly free.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant Crime Mystery!


You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley.

Book Review: Cold Girl (West Coast Crime #1)

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Author: R.M. Greenaway 
Release Date: March 26, 2016 
Series: None
Genre: Mystery|Thriller|Suspense|Crime Fiction
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 336
Publisher:  
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It’s too cold to go missing in northern B.C., as a mismatched team of investigators battle the clock while the disappearances add up.

Smart urbanite RCMP Constable Cal Dion isn’t designed for snow, silence, and deep, dark woods. But that’s where he finds himself after a life-altering car crash: coping with brain damage and posted in the snowbound Hazeltons of northern B.C. But how can he find his footing in a new life when he can’t find his own keys?

Detective David Leith has his own demons to tackle. Forty-two years old and a dogged investigator, he’s seen a lifetime’s worth of cruelty on the job, and his conscience has taken a battering. And now a monster is murdering young women on his turf.

Kiera Rilkoff, a popular young singer, is missing. Has she also fallen victim to the so-called Pickup Killer? The urgency ramps up as one missing woman becomes two. It isn’t until the bitter end that Leith discovers who is the coldest girl of all.

Rating

4half-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

Cold Girl is one of those books that you can either love or hate. And for me, fortunately, it’s the first one. I really enjoyed the story and relished the way it ended. The plot is not only outright gripping but quite unique as well but in its own subtle way. Cold Girl has a character driven plotline and the author successfully pulls it off. The plot line is simple enough, but the twists and the turns scattered throughout the book makes it a fairly complicated one but in a good way.

The writing is a little different, which took me a fair amount of time to get used to, but by the end I got the hang of it. The story flowed well and the pace of the story was also good. But, in spite of everything being great, I thought that the book was exceptionally lengthy. In my opinion, it can be reduced to 3/4th of its length and still have the same impact. This little fact bugged me to no end because it was a really, really time-consuming read.

So, if you have enough time on your hands, then go ahead and read Cold Girl, as it’s a superb detective fiction.

Characters:

As I just said Cold Girl is a character-driven book and the author has managed to create something that I call as “awesomeness.” The main characters, Leith and Dion, are the life of this book and I can still picture them moving around and doing stuff in their daily lives –  that’s how powerful the characterization in this book is. I was totally able to connect with them and the bond that formed is a really strong one.

When we have two male leads who hate each other there is bound to a favorite. Mine is Dion. His vulnerability is what draws me to him and I’m sure in the coming books he’ll emerge as a really strong lead, even more than Leith.

The other characters such as the Law brothers, other constables and DCs, the victims and the suspects, each and everyone had a unique personality and surprisingly I was able to relate to them all. Full marks for characterization!

Romance/Kills:

There is no romance as such, but a major part of the investigation revolves around the relationship of the deceased and the suspect.

There is also a considerable number of killings prior to the main case which involves a serial killer. It serves as a great diversion initially and later on connects beautifully to the case-at-hand.

Writing:

The writing in this book is a little different than what I’m normally used to. Some of the sentences felt a little awkward at times but later I realized that it had more to do with the author’s style of writing than glitches. Fortunately, after reading half of the book I found myself getting used to it.

Having said that I would have definitely enjoyed the book more if the editor had straightened out those awkward sentences and made them a little less painful to read.

Still, I enjoyed the book and the amazing characterization totally made up for whatever problems I had with the writing in the first half of the book.

Beginning:

The book started off perfectly well with an intriguing prologue and then continued on a high note that kept me engaged the entire time. I enjoyed the detailed insight into the police procedurals and enjoyed the overall suspense that kept on building till the end.

Ending:

The ending of the book was perfect considering that it’s a part of a series. In fact, I’m really looking forward to how things are going to shape up in the next part. The mystery also ended well. A classic example of a simple situation going out of hands.

Blurb:

The blurb is apt and gives a really clear idea about what to expect from the book. If I had come across this book in a bookstore then I would have definitely grabbed it after reading the blurb.

Cover Art:

The cover art is good but not excellent. It could have a been a lot better.

You can also read this review at:
Goodreads and NetGalley

Other Stuff

Opening Line: She was the only patch of stillness on the planet, to Dion, the dark-haired girl sitting on the far wing of the bleachers, second to lowest tier, watching the band play.

Highlights: Exceptional characterization.

Lowlights: Length of the book.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant but lengthy read.

Book Review: The Forgotten Girls (Louise Rick #7)

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Author: Sara Blaedel
Release Date: February 3, 2015 
Series: Louise Rick
Genre: Mystery | Thriller | Crime-Fiction | Scandinavian Fiction | Suspense | Adult
Edition: e-book (mobi) 
Pages: 315
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: NetGalley (Thanks, Tiffany!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

In a forest in Denmark, a ranger discovers the fresh corpse of an unidentified woman. A large scar on one side of her face should make the identification easy, but nobody has reported her missing. After four days, Louise Rick—the new commander of the Missing Persons Department—is still without answers. But when she releases a photo to the media, an older woman phones to say that she recognizes the woman as Lisemette, a child she once cared for in the state mental institution many years ago. Lisemette, like the other children in the institution, was abandoned by her family and branded a “forgotten girl.” But Louise soon discovers something more disturbing: Lisemette had a twin, and both girls were issued death certificates over 30 years ago. As the investigation brings Louise closer to her childhood home, she uncovers more crimes that were committed—and hidden—n the forest, and finds a terrible link to her own past that has been carefully concealed.

Rating

4-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

The Forgotten Girls is a brilliant book with an exciting plotline which engulfs  the reader right from the beginning. The enjoyed the storyline thoroughly and would definitely love to read more from the author. This book has so many elements that it’ll keep the reader guessing at all  times. This book is what a real psychological thriller should be. The twists and turns were well timed and the intrigue factor was always present.

I loved the story from beginning to end and I’d recommend it to everyone, especially the genre lovers.

Characters:

The characterization felt a little weak to me. The main character, Louise Rick, is a decent character. I won’t say that I felt an out-of-the-world connection with the lead, but still I was able to relate to her on some level. Maybe it’s just me or the fact that I don’t particularly enjoy reading about 30 something women. Still Louise Rick, as a character, was quite good.

I enjoyed reading about her partner, Eik, and her son and neighbor. All these characters are also well-built and relatable, but again, only at some levels. but the little bit of romance seemed a little awkward as again I’m not used to reading about women with children.

Romance/Kills:

There were one or two killings, which contributed to creating the whole mystery. The killings were not really gruesome or gut-wrenchingly intense so I’d say that it’s actually a light thriller.

There was also a little romance, though it was more like flirting and it was quite awkward cause it happened so suddenly that I thought that I missed a page. It doesn’t even matter as it’s a thriller and not a romance book.

Writing:

The  book is written in third-person narrative and the writing style of the author is really simple and understandable. To be honest, I felt that the writing was decent, but the story-telling was quite weak. With a plotline this amazing I was expecting the book to be an outstanding read, though it was not quite there. And for me, that was because of the story-telling.

Having said that, I think maybe it’s because of the fact that the book is translated or poorly edited. Whatever it is, it’s the only thing that, according to me, pulled the book down a little.

Beginning:

I enjoyed the beginning of the book and was sucked into it right from the first page. Though, after the prologue the story  flowed quite slowly. But after a while it picked up the pace.

Ending:

The ending was quite unpredictable. I was completely blown off by it and it’s one of the strongest parts of the book (after the plot itself.)

Cover Art:

I love this cover art. It gives the feeling of being forgotten and the darkness of the woods really intensifies the feel.

Blurb:

The blurb is just perfect. it made me accept the book in spite of being completely packed with review-requests. I would have definitely bought it if I had stumbled upon it either on Amazon or in my bookstore.

You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Gone is coming, Gone is coming!

Highlights: Brilliant plotline.

Lowlights: Storytelling.

Final Thoughts: A decent psychological thriller with a strong plotline.


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P. aka The Reading Bud

My name is Heena and I’m a freelance writer, blogger and a book-reviewer (and soon-to-be author.) I’m an introvert, thinker, neat freak (cleanliness OCD), hardcore idealist, fitness junkie, music fanatic, compulsive reader, self-assertive, opinionated, dog lover and an atheist.

The Reading Bud is my brain-child and is a huge part of my life. I love reading and reviewing. What started as a hobby has become my passion.

Read more about me here.

Book Review: Wayzata

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Author: Ted Korsmo
Release Date:  31st July, 2014
Series: None 
Genre: Mystery | Crime | Suspense | Relationships | Contemporary Fiction
Edition: Kindle (mobi)
Pages: 178 
Publisher: Self-Published 
Source: Author (Thanks Ted!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Book Review: Innocent Assassins

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Genre: Mystery | Crime | YA | Contemporary Thriller | Action

My Rating: 4 + 1/2

Read my review of Relative Evil at JC’s Book Haven.

You can also read this review at Goodreads.

Blurb

There are three rules to staying an assassin at the corporation of Covert Operatives: (1) your parents must be deceased, (2) your contracts must remain confidential, and (3) you must be under the age of eighteen.

After a murder mission goes awry a month before her eighteenth birthday, Covert Operatives assassin Jane Lu finds herself caught by the federal government and forced to spy for the CIA while remaining in Covert Operatives. Once her spying mission is over she will be allowed to live a civilian life without facing criminal consequences, a life she’s only dreamed of having.

As Jane leaks information to the CIA, she uncovers secrets with enough power to both destroy Covert Operatives and her own boyfriend, Adrian King, who’s next in line to be CEO of the company. When her identity as a double agent for the CIA is discovered within Covert Operatives, she must decide where her allegiance, and her heart, truly lies.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts 🙂