Book Review: After Nightfall (A.J Banner) @AmazonPub

Screen Shot 2018-08-14 at 8.07.19 PM.pngIf I had to describe the writing of A.J Banner in a word, I would choose “hooked” because that is exactly what happens to me when I read the first page of a novel she has written.

I read The Twilight Wife a few years back in a single sitting so I was thrilled when #cjsreads decided to buddy read her newest release, After Nightfall, for one of our August picks.   This novel was no different from The Twilight Wife in regards to the amount of time it took me to read it as I read this one in a single sitting.

Essentially, this novel encompasses the basic plot for a noteworthy thriller.  Lying husband?  Check!  Suspicious wife?  Check!  A dead body? Check!

I find Banner’s prose to be very realistic and easy to absorb; this is probably why I am able to sit down and binge read her books.  However, I do find (and I had similar feelings with The Twilight Wife) that the conclusions are a little predictable.  I am able to predict the ending pretty early on to the plot.  Did this make After Nightfall less enjoyable?  Not for me. However, I could see that being an issue for some readers.

I think this would be an awesome lighter, thriller to bring to the beach.  Fan of Liane Morarity or SJ Watson?  I think After Nightfall would suit your fancy just fine!

4/5 stars.

Thanks to the author (A.J Banner, Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel.  It was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

As mentioned, this was a #cjsreads pick.  Want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one?  Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading “Book Review: After Nightfall (A.J Banner) @AmazonPub”

Advertisements

Book Review: The Broken Girls (Simone St. James)

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 8.39.54 PM.pngI know what you are thinking. “Seriously…Another book with “girl” in the title?!” But fear not! The Broken Girls, the recently released novel by Simone St. James, stood out for me!   From the beautifully blended narratives to the small details, St. James creates a novel that is hard to put down. In fact, I found myself reading this one late into the night.

The novel opens with the introduction of Fiona, a reporter with a haunted past. After the death of her sister, things have never been the same and even though the man responsible has been put in prison, Fiona (and her family) have never really been able to move past it. So, when she finds out there are plans to restore the building (an old school for girls) where her sister’s body was found, Fiona cannot help but dig around. And, in doing so, she quickly finds out that the past never really stays buried.

Told in alternating time periods and alternating perspectives, I loved the way St. James chooses to tell this story.  I loved the moments that flashed back to the girl’s school in the 40s and how each member of their group of friends had an individual chapter to voice.   I found each character likeable and I was interested in each of their stories and was truly concerned about their plights. I also found that Fiona, in the present storyline, was a well-developed character.

I think that St. James did a brilliant job incorporating a bit of historical fiction; it didn’t feel distracting. I felt like it really added another layer to the story.

One thing I didn’t care for with The Broken Girls was the paranormal storyline. The ghost at the school felt like it really didn’t belong and was sort of a side-plot. I felt like it wasn’t needed.

Overall, I was a huge fan of The Broken Girls and I think that fans of Fiona Barton or Fiona Davis will enjoy this one.

Thanks to the author (Simone St. James) and the publisher (Berkley) for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Want to see what Jessica and Chandra thought about this one?  Keep reading to find out what they thought!

Continue reading “Book Review: The Broken Girls (Simone St. James)”

Book Review: Then She Was Gone (Lisa Jewell) @lisajewelluk @AtriaMysteryBus

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 11.04.22 PM.pngI really love a novel that is a nice blend of suspense and women’s fiction. I find them to be such a nice breath of fresh air in a genre saturated with serial killers and psychological thrillers (mind you, I enjoy those as well!).

After reading the synopsis of Then She Was Gone, the newest publication by Lisa Jewell, I knew this would fit that bill for me. Having read several of Jewell’s other novels, I was excited to dive into this one. Just as entertaining as her others, I flew through my reading but, truthfully, I didn’t find it to be as suspenseful as some of the other novels I have read by Jewell. I actually found it to be quite predictable but still incredibly entertaining.

Let me break it down a bit further.

So, the novel follows Laurel Mack, who is still reeling after the disappearance of her daughter, Ellie, 10 years prior. She has never been able to fully move on and this has ultimately affected most of her relationships.   This begins to change when she meets Floyd and she finally starts to feel like herself again. However, Floyd’s nine-year-old daughter unsettles Laurel when she realizes she shows a startling resemblance to Ellie.   All those memories of Ellie come flooding back pushing Laurel to find out once and for all what happened to her daughter.

I loved the writing style of Jewell, as I always do! Something about her writing is so easy to digest. It is sort of like chatting with a good friend. I really like that I can start one of her novels and them just sort of settle in and enjoy the ride.

However, like I said above, I found this novel lacking suspense. To me, it read more like women’s fiction or contemporary family drama. I enjoyed it. I wanted to know what happened. I just feel like it was a bit misleading in this genre.   Also, I felt like it was very predictable. I was able to guess what has happened very early on in the novel but was still interested to see whether or not I was correct.

Overall, I really like this novel as an easy read and will continue to read more Lisa Jewell. If you are looking for an on the edge of your seat style suspense, this will be lacking but I would highly recommend if you are looking for a well-rounded and developed story.

3.5/5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher (Atria), the author (Lisa Jewell) and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel.  It was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Jessica and Chandra read this one with me for #cjsreads.  Want to know what they felt about Then She Was Gone?  Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading “Book Review: Then She Was Gone (Lisa Jewell) @lisajewelluk @AtriaMysteryBus”

Book Review: Follow You Down (Michael Bradley) @amberjackpub

Follow You DownMeet Neil Brewster: a successful lawyer with a reputation, on track to partner and engaged to a gorgeous woman. Known for his ruthless nature in the courtroom, Neil has always been a bully. Just ask the kids he tormented in his youth.

Follow You Down, by Michael Bradley, follows Neil’s journey as he is confronted by his past sins and is forced to look back when he realizes things were not always as they seem.

When I started Follow You Down, I was hooked right away. I loved Bradley’s narrative voice. It was incredibly easy to be sucked in and I breezed through the first chapters. Once I started, I was compelled to find out what was going to happen. Now, that being said, one of the downsides to this novel was that I was able to guess one of the pretty largest twists very early on. From there, I just felt like this novel became incredibly predictable, incredibly quickly.  That doesn’t bother me because I did find Bradley’s style to be so enjoyable but I know that this would be an issue to some readers.

Even with the predictability, I was impressed that Bradley was able to surprise me with the final twist! I appreciated that!

Overall, a quick crime read that I made me feel a bit like summer. It really reminded me of those “teen slasher” movies. Very entertaining and easy to breeze through!

This novel comes out on April 3, 2018; mark your calendars!

Thanks to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel. It was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

 

Blog Tour: A Dangerous Game (Heather Graham)

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 11.02.07 PM.pngGood Morning and welcome to my stop on the TLC blog tour for A Dangerous Game, the newest publication by romantic suspense author Heather Graham! I am thrilled to be able to provide a review.

When I found out that this novel was, in fact, the third book in the New York Confidential series, I wasn’t sure whether or not it was a good idea to read this one as a standalone. However, once I read the synopsis, I couldn’t pass it up! Human trafficking, danger and a romantically linked team, A Dangerous Game seemed to have everything that I would want in a read! From what I understand, the novels are written using the same characters throughout but are independent stories, which makes it easy to read them as a standalone.  This was absolutely true! I had no issue following the story or latching on to the main characters. After the first few pages, I was hooked.

Usually, when I read romantic suspense, I expect to have a novel that is heavy on the romance with a little bit of mystery mixed in. But, for this novel, I was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite to be true! I found that A Dangerous Game had plenty of action and a few twists and turns with the romantic element taking more of a backseat.  And, although I did find the general plot quite predictable, I did really find myself enjoying Graham’s writing style. I liked the banter between the characters and the “to the point” prose.

One thing that I struggled with was that A Dangerous Game had a plethora of characters, some easier to keep track of than others, and I found this to be a little bit distracting as I read. Now, as mentioned, I have not read the other books in the series so I am not sure if this was an issue related to that or if it truly was a large number of new characters introduced. Either way, I felt like I could easily have plucked ten characters out of the story immediately and not have missed them.

Overall, I felt like this was an excellent lighter crime read and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice crime read for the beach; I know I always reach for a romantic suspense when the weather gets warmer!

Book Review: The French Girl (Lexie Elliot)

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 10.14.20 PM.pngI have always been a big fan of a “vacation” novel. Makes for a stellar beach read. So, when I read a basic synopsis about six friends who go on a trip and are confronted ten years later when the body of a woman is found and they were the last people to see her. The French Girl, the debut novel by Lexie Elliot, calls to question what happened during the events of the trip, which people were involved and, of course, what happens when the past comes knocking at one’s door.

As much as I am a fan of a vacation style novel, I am always wary when a “girl” novel comes into my TBR pile. That being said, The French Girl had several amazing features that intrigued me!

One thing that I enjoyed most was how the dynamic between all the characters unfolded. Elliot did an excellent job at keeping it real and I think every reader will be able to find a bit of he or she mirrored within these characters, good traits and bad! Each character is intense and rich and they shone off the pages. Elliot’s strong suit is clearly her apt for characterization. For me, it comes down to the tiny details and Elliot left no stone unturned. I felt like this was even more compelling since the entire novel is narrated from Kate’s point of view.

The thing that irked me about The French Girl was the pacing. This book moved, at times, with glacier speed, which was a real struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a novel that starts slowly and picks up steam until I am racing to the finish line but this novel did no such thing. They do say that slow and steady wins the race but, for me, I really struggled.

Overall, I felt like this was a solid debut and I will be absolutely waiting for Elliot’s next novel; I feel like she will only get better with each novel!

3/5 stars.

Thanks to the author and the publisher for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

#cjsreads read this one together; want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought when they read The French Girl?  Keep reading to check out their reviews!

Continue reading “Book Review: The French Girl (Lexie Elliot)”

Blog Tour: The Lucky Ones (Tiffany Reisz)

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.10.54 PMGood Morning and welcome to my stop on the TLC Blog Tour for The Lucky Ones, by Tiffany Reisz!  This novel quickly rose to the top of my TBR pile when I happened to stumble over a few publicity releases for this novel that compared it to Flowers in the Attic by V.C Andrews. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that Flowers in the Attic happens to be one my favourite books; I am a sucker for the gothic vibe.

Now that I have finished reading, I can attest that The Lucky Ones does have a gothic vibe but, other than that, this novel was absolutely not what I was expecting at all.

The Lucky Ones opens when Allison is called back to her foster home when her foster father, Dr. Vincent Capello, is about to lose his battle with terminal cancer. Heading back to the idyllic beach home after thirteen years away (known as The Dragon) gives Allison mixed feelings. Her memories at The Dragon were positive but short-lived after an accident forces her out of the home and off to live with her great aunt. Known as “the lucky ones” after they were saved by Dr. Capello, Allison is reunited with her foster siblings and if forced to confront her past, but, in doing so, she begins to uncover horrific truths about the family she thought she knew.

First thing first, I did really enjoy the writing style of Tiffany Reisz. This was my first experience with this author and I found her prose easy to become lost in. I had no trouble diving into this novel and settling in. The first chapter gave me a sort of Fifty Shades vibe and I was actually really intrigued to how this was going to tie in with the rest of the novel (it didn’t really…). I still appreciated the ominous tone and the mysterious element surrounding Allison’s childhood.

Once she arrived at The Dragon, the novel sort of began to take a strange turn. It was fairly obvious she was going to have a relationship with one of her foster brothers almost immediately. I didn’t mind that at all. They are foster siblings, not related by blood and, let’s get real; I don’t really have any issue with any sort of strange familial relations in my thrillers. However, I just could not get past the brother/sister references throughout. After they have begun their relationship, they still continuously referred to themselves as brother and sister and that started to really give me a WTF vibe.

Initially, with the bits of mystery/suspense blended in with some romance elements, I thought maybe this would become more “thrilling” as the plot developed but this absolutely teetered more into the romance genre as the novel wore on with the mystery moving into the background. I didn’t actually mind this because I do like a romance novel every now and again and, by the end, I ended up enjoying how unique the tale was; I truly have never read anything remotely like this before. However, I think that readers expecting a mystery will be disappointed.

So, if you are a fan of dark romance, then this may be up your alley but if you are looking for a hard-hitting, suspenseful mystery, this may be lacking.

Thanks to the author, the publisher and TLC blog tour for a copy of this novel; it was a pleasure to provide an honest review.