Book Review: Amber Alert by Dan Lawton

31847203Author:  Dan Lawton
Release Date: 11th November 2016
Series: –
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 300
Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Time is running out.
Nine-year-old Chloe Janis is abducted.
Abby, her mom, is now faced with revealing her dark past, hidden these last seventeen years, or losing her daughter forever. A cryptic message from a man she’d shoved into the dark recesses of her mind forces her into an impossible situation—revealing secrets best kept hidden or losing her daughter forever.
Secrets, deception, and betrayal surround the small town of Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. All eyes are on the community, threatening to split open as yet unhealed wounds are probed. Fates will be rewritten and careers redefined. Everyone involved will confront their pasts if there’s any hope of Mifflinburg becoming a town at the heart of redemption and forgiveness.

Review

Amber Alert by Dan Lawton is a suspenseful mystery read that keeps the reader engaged throughout the book.

The plot line of the story is fairly straight and this is not your typical who-dun-it suspense story. The real deal is in the plot buildup that is done excellently well with the use of multiple POVs that keeps the reader reading further without wanting to miss anything.

The characters were all nicely done. I felt bad for Scott, though I did not like Abby at all and I’m quite sure that this was intentional based on the story. I felt really sad for what little Chloe had to go through and felt bad for her father too.The ending was good and appropriate keeping with the personalities of the characters. Though I do wish that Abby should have been locked up in the jail because she truly deserved it. But things are never black and white and this book showcases this very fact beautifully.

The ending was good and appropriate keeping with the personalities of the characters. Though I do wish that Abby should have been locked up in the jail because she truly deserved it. But things are never black and white and this book showcases this very fact beautifully.

I liked the writing style of the author as it had a great flow to it and made reading this book enjoyable and quick. It was simple and free of complex words, which really appealed to me.

I’d recommend this book to all the genre lovers and to everyone who wants to read a light, yet gripping mystery/suspense read.


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Book Review: The Little Yarmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton

31355126Author: Tim Van Minton 
Release Date: 1st August 2016
Series: –
Genre: YA, Mystery, Suspense
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 204
Publisher: CreateSpace

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Falsely accused of murder, twelve-year-old Evan Peregrine battles through a raging storm to get home to the island of Little Yarnmouth, only to find it deserted. Searching for explanations he is soon plunged into the savage world of the Conkwoyoto, an Arctic tribe that turned to piracy after the polar ice cap broke apart. But there is something strangely familiar about these fearsome men and their tattooed faces, and memories of the day he lost his leg and his mother in a collision with an iceberg come flooding back. Now Evan must avoid being captured by the police and the Conkwoyoto while trying to track down the missing islanders, prove his innocence in a murder, and uncover the mystery of the Arctic tribe that’s traveled thousands of miles to Little Yarnmouth Island.

Review

The Little Yarnmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton is a delightful Young Adult read that will capture your heart and leave you smiling in its wake.

I’ve been reviewing books for almost 3 whole years now and sometimes I come across a book that makes me realize again just why I keep on reading self-published books and reviewing them month after month. Ever so often I come across books that completely steal my heart and leave a long lasting impression on me, sometimes so strong that I have to read those books again, and again, to relive their brilliance. The Little Yarnmouth Abduction is exactly that kind of a book (and so much more, if I am being truly honest.)

Recently, there has been a steady stream of hit YA books that are making big bucks all around the world. Some are good and some are, well, not so good, but when I read this book they all paled in comparison. I honestly don’t know where to begin praising this book, and even how to do it. This book is a delightful, delightful read. I savored reading each and every single page of it and, in fact, looked forward to reading the entire book again as soon as I finished it.giphy-4

The storyline was well thought out and, for me, simply astonishing. I have never heard of mass island kidnapping or anything close, so I thoroughly enjoyed the story all the way through. It was a marvelously brilliant and an extremely clever plot and I loved the pacing and tension that the author cleverly practiced.

The characterization was so brilliant that I’m pretty sure I fell in love with Evan the moment he got up groggily from his sleep on the first-second page and innocently attached his leg to his knee. He is sure to stay with me forever as one of my favorite (and awfully adorable) characters. The cast of secondary characters was equally brilliant and I loved each and every single one of them.

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The ending was absolutely smashing as it gave me hopes that there’s a second part on the way (or at least I hope that it is.) The writing was clever and smooth and the light and witty tone of narration was a perfect fit for this story.

I would recommend this book to each and every person who loves reading a good book with impressive characters. I am very sure that this book will definitely win your heart in the first chapter itself.


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Book Review: Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

33411823Author: Sue Fortin
Release Date: 6th January 2017
Series: –
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 364
Publisher: Harper Impulse

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

 

From the bestselling author of The Girl Who Lied

Alice: Beautiful, kind, manipulative, liar.

Clare: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous.

Clare thinks Alice is a manipulative liar who is trying to steal her life.
Alice thinks Clare is jealous of her long-lost return and place in their family.

One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac.
Two sisters. One truth

Review

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin is a gripping page-turner of a novel that’ll leave you craving for more.

I picked up this book impulsively and having nothing better to read in the first week of the year, I decided to go for it. I was hoping to fill up my entire lazy week with this book as I was on a vacation on a beautiful hill-station, but when I started reading this book, all hell broke lose and I was up in the night at 4 o clock trying to read the book and finish it as soon as I could.

The best part about this book is the pacing. The book was proceeding with a blinding speed and I started to feel really anxious whenever the lead character was faced with a dicey situation.

The characterization is beautifully real. I could totally relate to the main character, though at some places she behaved rash considering that she was a lawyer by profession, but I still understood as behaving with a calm mind in every situation is almost always next to impossible for impatient people. I loved how beautifully the relationship between the lead couple was shown and how over the period of time it was shown getting weak by the chapter due to the situations and “incidents.”

The beginning was good and I was pulled into the story from the starting page itself. The ending was perfect and even though it was predictable, the pacing and the tension buildup totally made up for it.

The writing style of the author is brilliant and it made this fun a really memorable experience. I still can’t get the story out of my mind. This was my first book by author Sue Fortin, but I’m sure I’ll be buying her other books soon as I absolutely loved her writing style.

I’d recommend this book not only to all the mystery and thriller lovers but also to anyone who wants to read a nice book with strong characters and a powerful story.


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Book Review: The Lost City Of The Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston

30145126Author: Douglas Preston 
Release Date: 3rd January 2017
Series: 
Genre: Non-Fiction, Adventure, Anthropology, Archeology, History, True Events
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 337
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world’s densest jungle.
Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.
Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.
Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn’t until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal-and incurable-disease.
Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, The Lost City of the Monkey God is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century.

Review

The Lost City Of The Monkey God by Douglas Preston is a sensational true adventure book about the very famous legend of ‘Casa Blanca’ a lost city in the unexplored part of the Honduran rainforest.

The book started out so good that I was immediately pulled into the story. It was an exciting and a thoroughly entertaining read and I enjoyed reading every bit of it! This is the first time that I’ve read a true-adventure story and, surprisingly, this book absolutely blew my mind!

I would have never even imagined of reading this book had it not been for The Obsidian Chamber, a book co-authored by Douglas Preston. I really liked the writing style used in that book and hence, when I was offered to review this book, I immediately accepted knowing that, if not the genre, at least the writing of the author was something I was familiar with. But to my pleasant surprise, the writing in this book turned out to be even better than what I was expecting. Douglas Preston has the skill to tell a complex and technical tale in such beautiful and simple words that even a layman like me understood everything and was able to enjoy the entire book.

The only problem I had (and the reason why I dropped my rating from 5 to 4 stars) is that the last 2-3 chapters were a bit of a slog. They were interesting and informative, but they had a lot of stuff that bounced right off my head and left me skimming over paragraphs.

Other than this, the book is a brilliant read and gives a detailed account of not only the search missions author Douglas Preston participated in, but also about the earlier attempts and hoax discoveries related to the legend of the Lost City Of The Monkey God, which was both insightful as well as fun to read.

I’d recommend this book to all the adventure and true-adventure genre lovers and to those who wouldn’t mind taking an adventurous and a really exciting trip to a really, really beautiful legendary rainforest.

“… legends are frequently based on the truth, and this one, so persistent and long-lasting, is no exception.”

Here’s a list of the articles published on the National Geographic website along with the real photographs (these articles were also mentioned and sometimes quoted in this book):


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Book Review: Climatized by Sally Fernandez

32511383Author: Sally Fernandez
Release Date: 4th October 2016
Series: Max Ford (Book #1)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Detective Fiction, Conspiracy
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 224
Publisher: Dunham Books

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

Maxine Ford, having resigned as deputy director of the States intelligence Agency, soon needed an outlet for her innate sleuthing capabilities. It only made sense that she would be destined to establish her own investigative firm. Naturally, her stellar clients would be among the Washington elite, including senators, members of the various congressional committees, along with other high profilers inside the beltway.

In the first novel in the series, Climatized, Max is hired by the wife of a prominent Senator to determine the cause of his untimely death. It leads her to discover that three world-renowned scientists had been killed days before they were scheduled to testify before the late Senator’s investigative committee. Meanwhile, a fourth scientist has gone missing. Max determines he is the key to unearthing the motives behind the deaths. Following the many twists and turns, Max and her associate, Jackson Monroe uncover a powerful organization responsible for the killings. The challenges to the global warming “cottage industry” heats up putting into question the alleged science behind the widely accepted climate change dogma. Cogent evidence is provided to the president, forcing him to make a crucial decision-to cover up a diabolical plot-or bring down a multi-trillion-dollar world-wide economy.

Review

Climatized by Sally Fernandez is a mystery thriller that is centered around a huge political conspiracy involving the climate change.

I liked the book as I started reading it, but after around 100 pages the book started to get a bit flat for my taste. The main problem was that there was a lot of telling when it came to the main character Maxine Ford. At places, it felt like the author was forcing the reader to like her and to “get” how stud Maxine is. Plus, there was a lot of background info that was packed in the midst of scenes and situations that made the experience a bit overwhelming. I understand that background is necessary, but in this case, it was too much.

And for some unknown reason, I was not able to connect to the main character, Max, at all and hence, I lost interest in reading this book by the 50% mark. I still kept on going, but it was a real slog and I skimmed over pages just to be done with it. The descriptions of the climate stuff were too taxing and were impossible to keep up with, especially for a layman like me who has no idea about the technical stuff related to any of the climatic situations or the measures taken to avoid/stop them.

This book is not for me, but if you like science (or medical) and conspiracy thrillers then this book might impress you because there are a lot of raving reviews and testimonies for this book by a lot of big people (there are a few testimonies by professionals from NASA.) So I’m pretty sure that this book would be a huge hit in the right hands.


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Book Review: The Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

30169765Author: Douglas Preston Lincoln Child
Release Date: 18th October 2016
Series: Pendergast Series (Book #16)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 560
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A TRAGIC DISAPPEARANCE
After a harrowing, otherworldly confrontation on the shores of Exmouth, Massachussetts, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is missing, presumed dead.
A SHOCKING RETURN
Sick with grief, Pendergast’s ward, Constance, retreats to her chambers beneath the family mansion at 891 Riverside Drive–only to be taken captive by a shadowy figure from the past.
AN INTERNATIONAL MANHUNT
Proctor, Pendergast’s longtime bodyguard, springs to action, chasing Constance’s kidnapper through cities, across oceans, and into wastelands unknown.
BUT IN A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE, NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
And by the time Proctor discovers the truth, a terrifying engine has stirred-and it may already be too late.

Review

The Obsidian Chamber by Preston and Child is the 16th book in the Pendergast series.

Before I begin the review, I’d like to mention that this is the first book in this series that I’ve read and although that is almost never a good idea, I wasn’t able to resist accepting this title when it was offered to me.

I absolutely loved reading this book. It was equal parts clever, suspenseful, full of unforeseeable twists and chilling and extremely interesting characters. I enjoyed the premise of the plot and I loved the fact that things were told in such a way that as a new reader to the series, I was able to get an idea about what might have happened in the earlier parts. I even got a decent idea as to how the chemistry between the characters worked up until this part. So I was really happy to get all the important background information that the authors cleverly infused without affecting the present narration.

This book had really strong characters and even though I did not fall in love with the main guy, AXL Pendergast (mainly because he wasn’t the main character in this particular story) I was really drawn towards the other main characters in this book. I’m pretty sure that Diogenes might have been the crazy serial killer in the parts before this one, but in this part, I loved him as he was a completely changed man standing right on the turning point in his life. And it makes me wonder that now that I actually like the villain of the story, how could I possibly read the previous parts. Anyway, back to the character dissection, I did not much like the character of Constance. She was too “ancient” for me to feel connected to her. I did love Proctor, he is this smart, intelligent and stud guy who’d do anything to protect his people. So yeah, this is one of those books that’ll make you fall in love with more than half of the characters.

The storyline was strong and so were the characters and the writing, so there was actually nothing that  I, as a reader, couldn’t have liked. The book started with one hell of a fast paced beginning with Proctor running around the world changing plane after plane chasing the kidnapper and I was hooked right from the start. But then a really mind-bending twist followed and I was like, “What the hell?” and then things started to get really interesting, to say the least.

The ending was a bit slow, but that could be overlooked considering that it is an ongoing series, so a mild closure for all the characters is needed. Though I would have loved to read more about proctor towards the end, considering that the book started with him. Also, a few scenes between Constance and Diogenes felt like a slog, especially when they both started talking about the ancient aristocratic stuff, but maybe that’s just me.

Other than these minor issues, I loved the book, so much that I’m planning to read this entire series from beginning in the coming days. If you like reading nice suspenseful stories rich with strong characters and storylines then this book (or rather series) is for you.


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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: Sherlock Holmes And The Nine-Dragon Sigil by Tim Symonds

32666837Author: Tim Symonds
Release Date: 21st November 2016
Series: Sherlock Holmes
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Suspense.
Edition: Ebook (PDF)
Pages: 
Publisher: MX Publishing

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

It’s the year 1906. Rumours abound that a deadly plot is hatching – not in the fog-ridden back-alleys of London’s Limehouse district or the sinister Devon moors of the Hound of the Baskervilles but in faraway Peking. Holmes’s task – discover whether such a plot exists and if so, foil it. But are the assassins targeting the young and progressive Ch’ing Emperor or his imperious aunt, the fearsome Empress Dowager Cixi? The murder of either could spark a civil war. The fate of China and the interests of Britain’s vast Empire in the Orient could be at stake. Holmes and Watson take up the mission with their customary confidence – until they find they are no longer in the familiar landscapes of Edwardian England. Instead, they tumble into the Alice In Wonderland world of the Forbidden City.

Review

Sherlock Holmes & The Nine-Dragon Sigil is an exceptionally well-written book.
Writing about the two MOST loved characters of all time – Sherlock Holmes and Watson – is in itself a humongous task, and pulling it off successfully is not only nearly impossible but also unreal.
But Author Tim Symonds successfully took these two legendary characters and completely owned them in his epic new release Sherlock Holmes And The Nine-Dragon Sigil.

I haven’t read the previous parts in this series, but I am certainly looking forward to reading them as soon as I can get my hands on them because I really enjoyed and loved reading this book.

Author Tim Symonds’ writing is exceptional. It flows in tune with the settings and the era the story is set in and reminds the reader of the beautifully poetic and enchanting rhythm that the classic authors had.
I was completely spellbound by the captivating storytelling and the flow of the sentences in old English.
The plot is ingenious and the pacing is moderate, but it picks up wherever the need arises, keeping it thoroughly engaging for the reader.

I absolutely enjoyed the narration, no doubt, but I enjoyed the plot even more. Staying true to the most famous traits of the most amazing and observant detectives on the planet, the author created a fabulous plot, which kept me guessing at each and every turn.
And needless to say, the end completely baffled me and left me sitting there, holding the Kindle in my hands, smiling at the author’s cleverness. It was a true jaw-dropping ending! And it was mostly because the author handled foreshadowing really well.

The characters were done complete justice and I really enjoyed how the author’s classy sense of humor came out through the characters.
And a bonus for me was that being an Asian myself, I enjoyed the author’s fascinating details and descriptions of China to no end.

I loved this book and would recommend it to all the Sherlock Holmes fans, mystery lovers and anyone with a craving for a well-written piece of English literature.


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Book Review: The Trap by Melanie Raabe

30189617Author: Melanie Raabe
Release Date: 5th July, 2016
Series:  
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, German Literature
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 288
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

In this twisted debut thriller, a reclusive author sets the perfect trap for her sister’s murderer–but is he really the killer?
For 11 years, the bestselling author Linda Conrads has mystified fans by never setting foot outside her home. Haunted by the unsolved murder of her younger sister–who she discovered in a pool of blood–and the face of the man she saw fleeing the scene, Linda’s hermit existence helps her cope with debilitating anxiety. But the sanctity of her oasis is shattered when she sees her sister’s murderer on television. Hobbled by years of isolation, Linda resolves to use the plot of her next novel to lay an irresistible trap for the man. As the plan is set in motion and the past comes rushing back, Linda’s memories–and her very sanity–are called into question. Is this man a heartless killer or merely a helpless victim?

REVIEW

I really tried hard to like this book, but it’s not for me.

My main problem with the book was that there was so much description. The exposition literally killed the plot. And the story itself felt very unbelievable and the characters were flat to say the least.

I liked the starting of the book and the build up, but around 20% I started to feel distracted and bored, and by that time I finished the quarter mark, I was already not interested in knowing what happened next. And that was why I read the rest skimming over most of the chapters.

There are so many rave reviews for this book, but I seriously don’t understand what all the hype is really about?


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Book Review: The Irish Jewel by Julie Ann James

22299789Author: Julie Ann James
Release Date: May 6, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Suspense | Mystery
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 186
Publisher: Peppertree Press

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

James takes her engaging characters to the gritty streets of Dublin, Ireland, where they become unsuspecting pawns in a twisted, tainted psychotic game of pure adulterated revenge from an unexpected and wicked mastermind. It is said to be true, that all families, have long-hidden secrets buried deep within their souls and locked away from all who might just go digging. Irish Jewel uncovers such a dark secret, so horrific that it could forever change lives when divulged. As the shocking truth surfaces, revealed for all to see, move across this chilling game board to determine where the grimy bread crumbs will end up…The suspense could kill you…

REVIEW

I liked reading The Irish Jewel by Julie Ann James. It began with a great opening scene and I was drawn into the book from the start. The pacing  was good and the story had a great flow to it and as a result, it was an exceptionally fast read.

I enjoyed the author’s writing and the flow was good too, but I felt like something was missing from the story. At more than one place I began questioning the main plot itself. And that is really off-putting, to say the least.

The characterization lacked a touch of perfection. All the characters felt one-dimensional and I was not able to feel a connection with either of the leads. Though they were interesting enough to make me want to know what happened to each one of them, but that was it.

The ending was not bad, but I would have preferred a clearer ending (about how the sane brother got out of the police custody or the mental institution or wherever it was he was taken after his arrest.) It was neither surprising nor unsatisfactory. It just felt flat, more or less like the plot itself.

Having said what I had to, this book might be preferred by readers who likes reading light mysteries, but as someone who reads thrillers and suspense novels round the clock (and as someone who also writes them,) it simply wasn’t for me.


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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.


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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: Justice For Jessica by Alretha Thomas

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Author: Alretha Thomas
Release Date: March 31 2016
Series: Detective Rachel Storme
Genre:  Mystery | Thriller
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 328
Publisher: Diverse Arts Collective
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Mousey, overweight Stacey Sullivan would love to trade places with her glamorous socialite BFF, Jessica James—that’s until she discovers Jessica murdered in her own home. Whip-smart detective Rachel Storme is ready to exchange her gun and badge for a gardener’s hat and hoe. But she reluctantly puts her plans on hold when she’s asked to help solve Jessica’s murder. These two strangers from different generations—Stacey a millennial and Rachel a baby boomer—become unlikely friends in their pursuit of JUSTICE FOR JESSICA. But their friendship is put to the test when Stacey insists that her husband, Matt, is innocent in spite of evidence that speaks to the contrary. Rachel, baffled by Stacey’s blind loyalty to Matt, doggedly fights to take Matt down, but with Stacey’s help, he eludes her at every turn. Is Matt the killer or could Grant, Jessica’s husband, be the culprit? Perhaps it was her jealous sister, Georgette or the maid, Rosa? No matter who the killer is, Rachel, by any means necessary, is determined to find her man or woman.

Review

I read Missing Melissa by Alretha Thomas last year and I totally loved it! So when I was contacted by the author for the review of Justice For Jessica, I immediately accepted. And as it turned out, this book lived up to all my expectations.

It is a brilliant and entertaining book and it serves as a delightful start to a new mystery series. The storyline was not only good but also remarkably engaging as the author cleverly used the plot twists that kept me guessing the entire time.

The pacing was good and the flow of the story was really smooth. The alternating first person POVs of Rachel and Stacey, the main characters, not only helped in building the suspense beautifully but also managed to keep me glued to the book the entire time.

The characterization is also brilliant and I’m happy that I was able to feel a strong connection with Detective Rachel Storme, as this is the beginning of a new detective series in which she’s the said detective. The character of Rachel is really strong and in spite of her age, I felt a really strong connection with her.
I really loved her and I’d definitely read the next book in the series. In fact, I’d love to read ALL the books in this series!

The other characters were also very well-developed and relatable, especially that of Stacey. I’m not sure if we’ll see her in the next books in this particular series, but I hope that we do because I’d love to know how her life turns out in the future.

The plot of this book hooked me right from the first chapter, where the murder happens, and after that it book took me on a really exciting and thrilling journey. At times, I was so engrossed in the lives of Rachel and Stacey that I completely lost track of time.

Like any good mystery novel, this book ended with one hell of an unpredictable ending that left me completely surprised.

The cover art of the book is really good and the color theme is also good. The blurb is self-explanatory and I’m sure that these things are more than enough to make a reader pick up this book from the stands.

I’d recommend this book to all the mystery and thriller readers and also to those  who are searching for a new detective series to begin with.

Bookstagram

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Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Thank goodness it’s finally Friday. Halle-freakin’-lujah!”

Highlights: Plotline and mystery.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

It just seems impossible that someone that beautiful could be a murderer. That’s probably the same thing people said about the serial killer, Ted Bundy.

Final Thoughts: A thoroughly engrossing and exciting read!


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Death Unmasked by Rick Sulik

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Author: Rick Sulik
Release Date: November 6, 2015
Series: 
Genre:  Mystery | Thriller | Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 287
Publisher: Christopher Matthews Publishing
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★ – DNF

Blurb:

A reincarnated evil is stalking the women of Houston. With each murder, the madman quotes an excerpt from the Oscar Wilde poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.” A huge smokestack belching smoke, a ragged flea market double-breasted wool coat, and an old antique picture frame, bring the distant past back to haunt Houston Homicide Detective, Sean Jamison. With those catalysts, Jamison knows who he was in a past life and that he lost the only woman he could ever love. Searching for his reincarnated mate becomes Jamison’s raison d’être as he and fellow detectives scour Houston for a brutal serial killer. The memory of timeless love drives Jamison’s dogged search for a serial killer, determined to finish what he started decades earlier.
Each clue brings Jamison closer to unmasking his old nemesis. Tenacious police work, lessons learned in the past, and intuition may be the only weapons he has in preventing history from repeating itself.

Review

I left this book at page no. 158 (which is more than 50% of the book) because that was exactly where my patience gave way. The story began nicely and I liked the concept and settings, but the narration and editing didn’t work me.

At times, the dialogues didn’t make sense and most of the time if felt like the male lead was giving lectures instead of having conversations. I really think that this book needs heavy and thorough editing.

I hate DNF’ing books and I always try my best to push myself and to give the book another chance (again and again,) and with this book too I tried the same (especially because the author sent me the book from the US) but even after forcing myself to read further I simply couldn’t.

I really feel that a few revisions and strong editing can help this book reach its full potential, but right now it’s simply not ready.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Journey To Death

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Author: Leigh Russell 
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Series: Lucy Hall Mystery
Genre: Mystery | Thriller
Edition: E-Book (mobi)
Pages: 324
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★ – DNF

Blurb:

Lucy Hall arrives in the Seychelles determined to leave her worries behind. The tropical paradise looks sun-soaked and picture-perfect—but as Lucy soon discovers, appearances can be very deceptive. A deadly secret lurks in the island’s history, buried deep but not forgotten. And it is about to come to light.

As black clouds begin to gather over what promised to be a relaxing family break, Lucy realises that her father stands in the eye of the coming storm. A shadow from his past is threatening to destroy all that he holds dear—including the lives of his loved ones.

A dark truth is about to explode into their lives, and that truth is going to hit them right between the eyes.

Review

 

DNF’ed at 28%

The initial plot build up of this book felt promising but after 15% of the story, it started to feel a little scattered. I enjoyed the part of the vacation and the descriptions of the island, but I felt that after a few pages, the author went a bit onboard with the descriptions. I mean considering the book is a thriller and not a travel guide, the descriptions were too much for my taste. It was distracting me from the basic storyline and kept me thinking, “when the hell will the story start.” – Which is, of course, not a good thing.

Secondly, I thought that the concept of the “angel of death” was quite a bit exaggerated, considering she abducted a female at the 25% mark. I really lost the patience after slogging through the 28% of the book and hence, gave up.

The female lead, Lucy, failed to impress me in any way and the book fell short of characterization in a really bad way.

If you’re a patient reader and don’t mind tons of descriptions, then maybe you’ll like this book. Or maybe if you like light mysteries then this book will be an ideal match for you. But not for psychological thriller fans.


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

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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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.

ARC Review: Eighth Day by Joseph John

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Author: Joseph John
Release Date: March 31, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Speculative Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 250
Publisher: Obsidian Dawn
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

A warning from a stranger.
“Nothing you know is real. Your name isn’t Shawn Jaffe, you’re not an investment broker, and you’re not from Ohio.”
But the stranger is murdered before he can explain.
Now Shawn isn’t sure who he can trust.
Even his own memories are suspect.
Someone is watching him, controlling him, using him.
To survive, he’ll need to find out who and why.
But the stakes are much higher than one man.
Our humanity is on the line, and on the eighth day, it could be the beginning of the end.

Review

The Eighth Day is an outstanding book and I truly enjoyed reading it. The book is written in multiple POVs and captures each and everyone’s viewpoint beautifully. The author has skillfully woven a tale that feels nothing short of magical, but in a speculative way. One thing that I’d like to mention here is that the timing of the POVs (the order in which the information or story line was revealed) was perfect and it was due to this that the book hit the bull’s eye for me.

The concept itself is out-of-the-world-brilliant and the blurb made it all the more exciting by conspicuously revealing only a few details at a time, only enough to make the reader go “hmm… that sounds interesting.”

The writing is sharp and the sentence formation is really clean and crisp. I enjoyed reading the way the author has this unique style of describing stuff using parallels without, but being blatant. And that’s one thing I’m looking forward to learning from this book. I admire the author’s ability to keep me engaged and speculating throughout the book.

 

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Right from the imaginative plot to the characterization, the author came out as a winner on all fronts. I felt a strong connection with the lead as well as the supporting characters, and even the bad guys. They were so well crafter and thought out that I even sympathized when one of the bad guys lands in trouble. This book had the give-enough-details-and-you-start-understanding-the-bad-guy’s-purpose sort of thing.

The fast pace of the book keeps things interesting right until the end where the book ends with an explosive climax. The ending is perfect and I really hope that the author writes a sequel to this book(?) and that too soon!

I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a good speculative or even a sic-fi read. Mystery lovers will also enjoy this book equally.

My Bookstagram

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “They’re watching you.”

Highlights: Writing.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

He was darkness in a world of darkness, and soon he’d dance again.

He was a shadow. He was the night. And nothing would stop him now.

Memorable Paragraphs:

Each morning, he woke and took a shower. He suited up and ate breakfast. He drove to work, and each day he faced countless acts of immorality and ungodliness that deepened his contempt for humanity. Evil came in the form of colorful pills, white powder, and a syringe. It dressed in blue jeans and a T-shirt, a business suite, and sometimes it wore a uniform and carried a badge. It wielded a pistol, a rifle, a knife, a baseball bat, and anything else it could get its hands on to shoot, stab, and bludgeon. It stole cars, money and lives. It raped, and it murdered, and it was everywhere.

Final Thoughts: An exceptionally brilliant book!


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Baggage by S.G. Redling

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Author: S.G. Redling
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Edition: E-Book (mobi)
Pages: 229
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Source: 
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Over the years, terrible things keep happening to Anna Ray on February 17. First, there was the childhood trauma she’s never been able to speak about. Then, to her horror, her husband killed himself on that date.
A year later and a thousand miles away, Anna tries to find solace in the fresh start of a new job in a new place. She takes comfort in her outspoken cousin Jeannie, the confidant and best friend who’s there whenever she needs help. On the day of the dreaded anniversary, Anna and Jeannie hit the town, planning to ease the pain with an alcohol-induced stupor and then sleep.…
When Anna awakes the next morning, she thinks she can put one more February 17 behind her, but fate is about to intervene in the form of two gruesome murders with eerie similarities to her violent past. This time, however, she won’t be an abandoned daughter or a grieving widow. This time, she’ll be a suspect.

Review

The book started off really great. The dysfunctional life of Anna is portrayed beautifully and her willingness to drown out her sorrows in wine makes her come across as a completely vulnerable lead, which serves just right for the foundation of the story. The initial plot built-up sets a really interesting premise for the mystery that lingers over the alternate chapters like a heavy cloud. These chapters are often mixed with Jeannie’s 17-year-old self and Anna’s 12-year-old self. The author keeps the book really interesting with these mixed POV chapters and lays a brilliant foundation for a great psychological thriller.

The story build-up was great, and the alternating POVs and the time frames really kept it interesting. I loved reading this book and really enjoyed reading it. The pace of the book was good and I found some or the other interesting bits happening in every chapter which kept me glued to the book.

Like a good suspense novel, there were a lot of suspects that the reader could zero in on, but the ending was truly surprising. I only wish that the author would have made the motive of the murderer a little more solid as it felt a little week and it really didn’t add up with the blurb’s mysterious tone. And the fact that the date mentioned so clearly in the blurb really had no significance was a little disappointing. Nonetheless, I was totally baffled when the killer was revealed as I really liked that character. a lot!

The characterisation is excellent and all the characters have really good depth and layers and layers of traits which make them come across as real people. They are extremely relatable and likable.

The writing is also really good. The easy flow made the book a quick as well as an enjoyable read. The pace of the story was great and made it difficult for me to put down the book after every chapter. The author did a fantastic job in keeping the reader busy in the possible-suspect-guessing-game and, at the end, she really nailed it with a surprising ending.

This book is a quick read and the blood and gore were minimal, so it was a good change to read a relatively clean psychological thriller.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “I would already be home if I would stop turning around to stare.”

Highlights: Plot build-up.

Lowlights: None

Memorable Quotes:

“Sometimes all it takes for us to see things the proper way is for someone else to see them wrong.”

Nothing takes the glory out of a victory like passive surrender.

“Welcome to the Fucked Up World of Anna Shuler Ray. There’s a small, pissed-off, hand hacking butcher running around the edges of my world, and it’s the cop I’m afraid of.”

Final Thoughts: A really good and relatively clean psychological thriller.


You can also read this review at Goodreads, NetGalley 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: The Girl Without A Name

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Author: Sandra Block 
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Series: None specified
Genre: Mystery|Psychological Thriller|Suspence
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 368
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: NetGalley invitation by Tiffany Sanchez
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Another gripping pageturner featuring psychiatrist Zoe Goldman, the protagonist from Little Black Lies.

In what passes for an ordinary day in a psych ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is stumped when a highly unusual case arrives. A young African American girl, found wandering the streets of Buffalo in a catatonic state, is brought in by police. No one has come forward to claim her, and all leads have been exhausted, so Zoe’s treatment is the last hope to discover the girl’s identity.

When drugs prove ineffective and medical science seems to be failing, Zoe takes matters into her own hands to track down Jane Doe’s family and piece together their checkered history. As she unearths their secrets, she finds that monsters hide where they are least expected. And now she must solve the mystery before it is too late. Because someone wants to make sure this young girl never remembers.

The Girl Without a Name is a powerful novel of memory and forgetting, of unexpected friendship and understanding…and of the secrets we protect no matter the consequences.

Rating

TRB 4 stars

Review

Plot/Story:

In one sentence- I enjoyed reading Girl Without A Name. Though it wasn’t a complete thriller, still it had its moments where it really stood out. It’s a slow paced story taking the reader through the ups and downs in the life and times of Dr. Zoe Goldman, which I must agree, was quite interesting.

What I really enjoyed about this book is the mystery and how all the small-small elements that snaked around the main plot, came together at the end beautifully making complete sense. Even though I’m a little bit disappointed with the fact that it was a subtle read and not a mind-boggling thriller, I still enjoyed this book, mainly because the ending took me by surprise. And that’s really rare! So, I really like this book.

Characters:

Dr. Zoe Goldman is a memorable character. I really enjoyed her witty nature and stark comments. She felt like a real character and the idea of showing her so vulnerable really managed to make a place in my heart for her (as a character.)

I’ll be reading the prequel to this one soon as I’d like to know what really happened with Dr. Zoe in the previous part.

Romance:

There was no romance worth mentioning but there was quite a lot of emotional stuff involving Zoe, her brother, and her deceased mother. The emotional angle added up to the advantage of the book in terms of character development, as it really added a new layer to Zoe’s character.

Writing:

The writing is simple and subtle and it made reading this book a pleasant experience. It’s good enough that I won’t mind trying out other books by Sandra Block.

Begining:

I was drawn into this book right from the very start. I really enjoyed the quirky banterings of Dr. Zoe. Her wit kept me entertained for the better part of the book. The starting of this book gave me an impression that there is going to be one hell-raiser of a mystery in the later part of the book but, to my annoyance, there wasn’t.

Ending:

The book ended with a real bang but, as I just said, I was expecting a lot more. I initially thought of this book as a thriller mystery but as it turned out it was just a mystery (with nothing really thrilling about it.) And that too a cozy mystery at that. Still the book managed to surprise me at the end, so there’s that to look forward to.

Blurb:

The blurb is good enough, though, I feel that it does give a slight impression that this book is a fast-paced thriller (or maybe it’s just me.)

Cover Art:

The cover art could have been a lot better but considering it’s a mystery read, the fog on the cover really does give an apt impression of the genre (at least.)

Other Stuff

Opening Line: We call her Jane, because she can’t tell us her name.

Highlights: The ending.

Lowlights: Slow pace of the story.

Final Thoughts: A slow paced, enjoyable mystery read.

Book Review: Quiet Neighbours

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Author: Catriona McPherson
Release Date: April 6, 2016
Series: None
Genre: Mystery
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 336
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

It’s the oldest bookshop in a town full of bookshops; rambling and disordered, full of treasures if you look hard. Jude found one of the treasures when she visited last summer, the high point of a miserable vacation. Now, in the depths of winter, when she has to run away, Lowell’s chaotic bookshop in that backwater of a town is the safe place she runs to.

Jude needs a bolt-hole; Lowell needs an assistant and, when an affordable rental is thrown in too, life begins to look up. The gravedigger’s cottage isn’t perfect for a woman alone but at least she has quiet neighbors.

Quiet, but not silent. The long dead and the books they left behind both have tales to tell and the dusty rooms of the bookshop are not the haven they seem to be. Lowell’s past and Jude’s present are a dangerous cocktail of secrets and lies and someone is coming to light the taper that could destroy everything.

Rating

TRB 1 star

Review

DNF’ed at 20%

I just can’t get into this book. I guess a few sentences are plain weird to say the least. Things seem to happen out of nowhere and I have no clue where the hell this book is headed.

I’ve previously read The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson and absolutely loved it. So, I was expecting a lot from this one as well, but sadly, after a few pages, only everything went south.

I like the author’s writing style but for this book what didn’t work for me was the characterization and the desperate need to bring out the characters’ love for books. It felt quite forced to me.

Hopefully, the other books will be better than this one, cause I really liked TCG, and want to read more books like it.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It was the last thing on her mind when she fled across London.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and NetGalley.


 

Book Review: Nirvana (Nirvana #1)

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Author: J.R. Stewart
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Series: Nirvana
Genre: Young Adult|Sci-Fi|Dystopian|Fantasy|Mystery|Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 186
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized – even visits with Andrew.

Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.

Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking oan entire government to do so.

Rating

TRb 3 half star

 

Review

Plot/Story:

Nirvana is an amazing YA read with a really fresh plot line and a great new dystopian world setting. I loved the characterisations and the fast pace of the story.

I was really impressed with the storyline and the world-building concept of Nirvana, though, it lacked a little behind when it came to the execution of these two concepts. I enjoyed the book (no doubt about it) but somewhere I felt that if the second half of the book can be tweaked a little bit then it can be at par with the best-selling YA reads of today.

Characters:

I loved the lead character, Kenders, and was able to feel a connection with her. Though, in the second half of the book I felt that connection slipping (as soon as Serge comes into picture.) I loved Andrew, the male lead, as well but sadly the same thing  happened with him.

Romance/Kills:

This book falls in the romance genre as the plot depends on the romantic relationship between Kenders and Andrew. And like any other dystopian book there is a love triangle (Kenders, Andrew and Serge) but thankfully it’s not a farfetched one. It starts and ends within an acceptable time frame and now I’m really looking forward to the next instalment of this series.

Writing:

I enjoyed the easy flow of author’s style of writing. It’s simple yet relatable and makes reading this book a pleasant experience. Having said that, I’d like to point out that I felt that the first half of the book was excellent whereas the second half lagged a little behind not only in terms of the plot line but also in terms of the characterisation and flow of the story.

Beginning:

I started enjoying Nirvana right from the first sentence and continued to do so halfway through the book. Everything was just amazing and I had no issues with anything (but only till the first half.)

Ending:

The second half of the book along with the ending felt quite weak to me. The plot went on to some other uninteresting tangent and ruined an otherwise excellent story. I really hope that the sequel will be better than this one.

Blurb:

The blurb is good, but I felt that it actually revealed a major spoiler about Andrew’s fake death. I would have liked it better to have come across  it while reading the book instead of the blurb.

Cover Art:

The cover art is marvellous. I really like the eerie feeling it radiates. It’s just perfect.

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

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Eight-year-old Larissa Kenders pulls a doll tighter toward her and opens one eye.

Highlights: Plot line.

Lowlights: Second half of the book.

Final Thoughts: A decent dystopian read with a rather weak ending.

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.

Novella Review: Home Is Where The Start Is (Roseland #1)

24881399

Author: Eric Ugland
Release Date: January 29, 2015 
Series: Roseland Series
Book: Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Detective Fiction | Cozy Mystery | Cozy Paranormal 
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 113
Publisher: Air Quites Publishing 
Source: Author 
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

When Ginger Mitchell finds out her mother committed suicide, she packs up her life as a Vegas “dancer” (hey, somebody’s gotta do it) and drives her cherry-red SUV straight home to Portland. Without a disapproving mom to rebel against, what was the point?
But things aren’t what they seem once Ginger gets to the City of Roses. For one, nothing about her mother’s suicide adds up, but no one else even wants to entertain the idea that it could’ve been murder. No one that is, except the ghost of Ginger’s mother, who keeps scaring the crap out of her. It’s probably just a psychotic break because of the grief, right? Sure.
In any case, it’s during one of these visits from Ghost Mom that Ginger decides to solve the murder on her own. She really only ever wanted to be a cop, so maybe she should start a private detective business and see where it takes her. And look, that hippie kid running down the street after a muscle car right now probably needs help. Another case!

Rating

4-stars

Review

Home Is Where The Start Is started off pretty well. I really liked the don’t-give-a-damn attitude of Ginger and most of all the first line that really kick started the book. As I went along it kept on getting more and more interesting. As it’s the first book in Roseland series, it dedicated a good amount of time in setting up the basics (characters, locations, situations, etc.) and honestly, I  enjoyed reading every bit of it.

The writing is exceptional and packs a big dose of humor. I loved the imagery and at more than a dozen occasions it made me laugh out loud.

The book ended on a high note and left me craving for more. I had low expectations from the book considering that it borders on the paranormal realm, but I really enjoyed the ghost angle. Though what I really found strange was Ginger’s mother’s personality. She seemed a little opposite of what was expecting her to be especially  considering her profession. Maybe in the next book it’ll be clearer.

For a novella, this book really packs a punch and is totally worth the time spent on reading it. I’d recommend it to anyone really as it’s a nice cozy mystery to read and enjoy.

You can also read this review at: 
Goodreads and Amazon

Other Stuff

Opening Line: I wish I hadn’t been sucking cock when my mother died, but I was.

Highlights: Storytelling

Lowlights: 

Final Thoughts: A nice and cozy mystery.

Book Review: The Child Garden

24586135

Author: Catriona McPherson
Release Date: September 8, 2015 
Series: None
Genre: Mystery|Thriller|Suspense|Scottish-Fiction
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 336
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Eden was its name. “An alternative school for happy children.” But it closed in disgrace after a student’s suicide. Now it’s a care home, its grounds neglected and overgrown. Gloria Harkness is its only neighbor, staying close to her son who lives there in the home, lighting up her life and breaking her heart each day.

When a childhood friend turns up at her door, Gloria doesn’t hesitate before asking him in. He claims a girl from Eden is stalking him and has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Only then, the dead begin to speak—it was murder, they say.

Gloria is in over her head before she can help it. Her loneliness, her loyalty, and her all-consuming love for her son lead her into the heart of a dark secret that threatens everything she lives for.

Rating

4-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

The Child Garden has an amazing plot story full of well-timed twists and turns. I enjoyed reading it t and tremendously and felt compelled to read it in one go. I was sucked right into the book from starting to end. The main suspense of the book is also mindblowing and there is no way in hell one could have guessed that the things will turn out the way they did.

The pace of the story is great and the writing proceed smoothly without interfering the flow of the story. I really liked the deliberate slow progress of the investigation as it kept me intrigued throughout the book. One more thing that I’d like to add is that the small part of the book where the author used a little demon reference was the stroke of a genius. Why? Because it really made me put down the book at the night. it was a really small part (maybe a few pages,) but it really gave me a good scare.

Characters:

In spite of liking the story, I wasn’t able to feel entirely connected to the main character, Gloria. The story is written in first-person but still I felt a little detached from her. In fact, at one point I felt that she herself was the murderer. I’m not sure what went wrong, but it just felt that the narration was responsible for the detachment I felt.

The other main character is that of Stig and I really liked him, though I felt a little irritated at times to find out that in spite of whatever Gloria did for him, he  continuously held back the truth from her. Still, I liked him a lot and enjoyed the amazing foods he dished out.

Romance/Killings:

There was no romance, but there were a number of killings. Though at times the murders were a little confusing (maybe because of Scottish names and surnames or the fact that a few names were similar,) I still enjoyed the book thoroughly. All the killings really intensified the pace of the story and left me wanting for more.

Writing:

As I mentioned earlier, the writing is good and flowed beautifully without interfering the reader’s imagination. Though I felt the characterization was a little (just teeny-weeny) weak. I would have enjoyed more if the MC would have been a tad more relatable but nonetheless I still enjoyed the story.

The attention to detail is remarkable!

Beginning:

This book hooked me right from the beginning. It started with a beautiful prologue and carried on with the same effect.

Ending:

The ending is mind blowing and I was completely spell-bound by suspense that was revealed at the end. Though I felt that the story was a little rushed right before the suspense was revealed.

Book Cover:

I love this book cover because it really gives me the willies! I picked up this book because of the cover and the blurb.

Blurb:

Okay now, this is where it gets a little ugly. The blurb is quite misleading. I thought that the book is a supernatural one (as the blurb says) but it is NOT. It’s a suspense-thriller book.

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

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It was far from silent in the dark wood.

Highlights: Amazing storyline and suspense.

Lowlights: Characterization and misleading blurb.

Final Thoughts: A really good suspense 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: McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication

22466395

Author: Rich Leder
Release Date: 7th September 2014
Series: McCall & Company
Genre: Mystery | Humor
Edition: mobi (Kindle)
Pages: 5448
Publisher: Laugh Riot Press
Source: Publicist
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

WAY-OFF BROADWAY ACTRESS. MURDERED PI FATHER. NEW DAY JOB.

Off-off-off-off Broadway actress Kate McCall inherits her father’s New York private investigations business after he’s a whole lot of murdered in a life insurance company elevator.

A concrete-carrying, ballroom-dancing construction mule says he fell off the scaffolding, can never work—or dance—again, and sues the contractor for a whole lot of money.

Kate assembles the eccentric tenants of her brownstone and her histrionic acting troupe to help her crack the cases, and they stir up a whole lot of trouble.

But not as much as Kate, who sticks her nose in the middle of the multi-million-dollar life-insurance scam her father was investigating and gets a whole lot of arrested for murdering a medical examiner.

Will Kate bust the insurance scam, prove who really killed the examiner—and her father—and get out of jail in time to pull off the ballroom sting of the decade? She might, but it’s going to be a whole lot of hilarious.

Rating

3half-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

After I read the blurb and all the reviews of this story, I was really looking forward to reading this book. However no matter how much I tried, it didn’t click for me. I really like the overall story and Kate McCall, the main character, as a single mom, actress and fighting to pay her bills. Somehow after a few chapters, it was getting hard for me to really care about what will happen next. I think the only reason I did finish the book was due to the author writing style, but everything else fell flat for me.

Characters:

Kate the main character was written truly well and you could feel her struggles and emotions as she takes her father’s job as a Private Investigator. I thought that the other characters in this story fell a bit short. But, Kate brought me till the end and I am happy that I was able to finish the story and enjoy Kate’s laughter and hurt.

Romance/Kills:

I love that this book has it all. It has love, family, true emotions and tons of good humor.

Writing:

The reason I did finish the book was due to the author writing style. I loved dialogs and the humor that Rich added all through the story. The author was able to keep the suspense throughout the entire book, but still kept it light for us to enjoy the story more.

Beginning:

The first third of the story was very slow and I did fought with it to continue reading, but as I got to know Kate more, I just really wanted to know even more about her and how she will deal with things. There were some bits of information that did not needed to be there that soon for Kate, but this confusion did not stopped me from reading.

Ending:

I loved how the story ends, just as it started and for me the story ended with good closure of the whole story.

Cover Art:

The cover art is nice and fits the story, and it has the book feel in mind very well though.

Blurb:

The blurb is nicely written and hints of the mysteries to come, very well.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “It was harder to sing with the vampire teeth than I thought it would be.”

Highlights: For me the highlight of the story was the humor and Kate, both kept me reading and enjoying the overall story.

Lowlights: For me the other characters in the book, even Kate’s son all fell flat and I just didn’t care about them much. There were a few bits in the story that didn’t add up with the cases Kate worked on, but Kate’s true nature kept me hooked to the story.

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed reading the story and I might come back to it in some other time. It was a weird mixture of things, but by the end of the book I realized I did enjoy reading it.


Review contributor:

pics copy 2Galit Balli

I am an avid reader, coffee addict, a writer and a blogger. I am a bit of agoraphobic (people scare me, lol). Me and my hubby love to spend every moment together, we even game together.

I live mostly in my own imaginary world full of dragons, magic and vampires and from time to time I pull myself away to deal with the real world.

Read more about Galit here.