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”

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Book Review: The Liar’s Girl (Catherine Ryan Howard) @cathryanhoward @BlackstoneAudio

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 10.15.49 PMI was so excited for The Liar’s Girl, the sophomore novel by Catherine Ryan Howard, especially after reading (and LOVING) Distress Signals last year. I lent this novel out to several people and had everyone in my life jumping on to the Catherine Ryan Howard train. I was expecting on the edge of my seat action, tension and red herrings aplenty. Glad to say that The Liar’s Girl did not disappoint!!

We meet Allison, a college student who has met the man of her dreams, Will, and they fall madly in love. Seems like they will live happily ever after until a murder unfolds, her boyfriend is implicated and she realizes she is dating a serial killer. Ten years later, after struggling to rebuild her life, her past comes rushing back into her life as the police ask for her help in a string of new murders that appear like Will’s.

Like Distress Signals, I loved how Howard rolled out the plot in The Liar’s Girl. It all flowed seamlessly and, by the end of the first chapter, I was completely hooked. It sort of read to me like the Stillhouse Lake series by Rachel Caine. Not too many twists or turns but just a strong, steady, creepy plot. I loved it.

Now, the ending, I have a bone to pick with. I won’t say anything other than that since I don’t want to give away any spoilers but it just didn’t feel like it “fit” with the tone of the story.

Overall, another awesome novel by Howard and I’ll be waiting anxiously for her third book. Is there any way you could write a little faster??!!

4/5 stars.

Thanks to Blackstone Publishing and the author (Catherine Ryan Howard) for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

#cjsreads read this book as one of our picks!  Want to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this one?  Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading “Book Review: The Liar’s Girl (Catherine Ryan Howard) @cathryanhoward @BlackstoneAudio”

Book Review: Look for Me (Lisa Gardner) @LisaGardnerBks @DuttonBooks

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 8.07.57 PM.pngDetective D.D Warren is back and, this time, she has brought Find Me’s Flora Dane with her for the ride in the ninth instalment of the Detective D.D Warren series by Lisa Gardner, Look For Me. I loved Find Me so I was thrilled to find out that Flora Dane would be back in this D.D Warren novel. I found her character completely fascinating and loved her “kill or be kill, seek revenge” attitude. Fast paced and intricate, Gardner has done it again with her newest publication!

The novel opens with a family of four savagely murdered, a teenage girl, Roxy, is missing and police desperate for leads. Is Roxy in need of help or is she the perpetrator? Detective Warren is on the scene with the help of her new sidekick, Flora Dane. I loved the banter between Warren and Dane. They really cracked me up and I feel like they will be a brilliant new partnership moving forward in the series. Warren’s serious need for rule following and Dane’s offbeat justice are the perfect juxtaposition.

I found this novel to be incredibly entertaining and I was completely addicted to the storyline but found it a lot less “thrilling” than Find Me. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the story and I was glued to the pages but I feel that fans of Find Me, who are looking for that same type of FEEL that Find Me had, may find themselves a bit disappointed. Dane is fairly well behaved throughout this novel and seems to be more of a law-abiding citizen. The plot is fairly straightforward, well developed, but straightforward. I didn’t mind this at all.

This is the ninth novel in the series but I had no problems following along (in fact, the only other D.D Warren novel I had read previously was Find Me) so this can absolutely be read as standalone.

A great, entertaining crime read that I think crime fiction fans will absolutely enjoy.

4/5 stars.

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

Chandra and Jessica gave this one a read too!  Want to see what they thought of Lisa Gardner’s Look for Me?  Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading “Book Review: Look for Me (Lisa Gardner) @LisaGardnerBks @DuttonBooks”

Book Review: Into the Black Nowhere (Meg Gardiner) @DuttonBooks @MegGardiner1

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 6.39.04 PM.pngLast year, I was completely obsessed with Unsub, the start of a new series by Meg Gardiner that featured FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix. Heart pounding, dark and visceral, Unsub had me holding on to the edge of my seat and screaming for more. So, of course, I was extremely excited when I found out that the second book in the series, Into the Black Nowhere, would be publishing in January 2018!

Now, without giving away any plot points or information (because I absolutely consider Unsub to be a MUST READ), Unsub left off with quite a few open-ended questions and with a bit of a cliffhanger ending so I was desperate to read the next book. WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN??! I NEEDED ANSWERS! I dove into the book and, I am going to say, Into the Black Nowhere left me feeling a little bit disappointed.

It was absolutely not the writing style; Gardiner’s prose is just as smart and fast paced as I have come to know and love. The book was brilliantly written and filled with witty, smart banter between police, excellent character development and a game of cat and mouse between protagonist and antagonist that kept me turning the pages.

This novel doesn’t really touch on any of the questions I had from the first novel; skimming over the issue, the characters jump right into a new case and move quickly away from the events from the first novel. While I understand that this is an excellent tactic for a sophomore novel in a series (it keeps the readership going and pushes the issues into further novels), I really was looking forward to having some answers!!

Also, notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, inspires this novel’s antagonist. I am not sure whether or not it was because I knew much more about Ted Bundy than I knew about the Zodiac killer (which is the antagonist that inspired Unsub), but I felt like I wasn’t surprised by anything he did. I knew his MO and I knew the general direction the story would take (I knew he would likely escape police custody, I knew he would likely attack a sorority).

Regardless of this, I really did love the novel for its entertainment value and I will be anxiously awaiting the third novel!

4/5 stars.

Thanks to the author, the publisher for a copy of Into the Black Nowhere; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Jessica and Chandra obviously loved this one too!  Keep reading to read their reviews of Meg Gardiner’s Into the Black Nowhere.

Continue reading “Book Review: Into the Black Nowhere (Meg Gardiner) @DuttonBooks @MegGardiner1”

Blog Blitz: Past Echoes (Graham Smith) @BLOODHOUNDBOOK @GRAHAMSMITH1972

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 9.09.12 AM.pngAfter reading the previous novels in the Jake Boulder series by Graham Smith (Watching the Bodies and Kindred Killers), I was thrilled to be able to read the third book, Past Echoes, as part of the blog tour for Bloodhound Books! Both of the previous novels were fast-paced, suspenseful, action-packed and led by brooding protagonist, Jake Boulder.   Used to his drunken shenanigans and sarcastic banter, I was pleased that this novel showed us the softer, more personal side of Jake Boulder as he collides with a dead woman’s secret, his estranged father and a professional assassin.

So, first thing is first, I highly recommend reading the other two novels in the series before diving into this one. Not only are they fantastic bits of literature, but the storyline in this one directly ties into plot points from the first novels. I think it would be a little hard to follow without having that background knowledge.

I won’t go too much into the plot but there is one thing that I have said before, and I’ll say it again. I find Graham Smith’s writing to be unique like the work of Karin Slaughter. His prose is completely purposeful and done with taste; all of his graphic scenes add so much to the tone and nature of the text without being overdone or offensive.  I found this to be true in Past Echoes, from shootouts to car chases, Smith lays down the action without it feeling distracting.

Overall, I found this instalment in the Jake Boulder series to be a little less action packed the prior two but I did appreciate the softer side of Boulder (mind you, he is no spring chick but more like a shark with half of it’s teeth removed- still a little bit scary but not as vicious!)

If you have not picked up this series yet, I would highly recommend adding it to your TBR pile. It does not disappoint!

Thanks to Bloodhound Books and the author, Graham Smith, for a copy of this novel.  It was my pleasure to provide an honest review!

Be sure to visit the other stops on the Past Echoes Blog Blitz!

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Book Review: Keep Her Safe (K.A Tucker) @kathleenatucker @SimonSchusterCA

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Ever since I read my first KA Tucker novel (which happened to be the psychological suspense He Will Be My Ruin), I have been obsessed with her writing style.  Her addictive prose, realistic characters and storylines always have me on the edge of my seat and completely entertained.   So, I was thrilled when Keep Her Safe, her newest publication came out last week!

The perfect blend of romantic suspense and fast paced thriller, Keep Her Safe follows Noah Marshall, son of a police chief whose life is rocked when his mother passes away leaving him with the skeletons in her closet and a job to do.  Meanwhile, Gracie is busy trying to survive and care for her drug-addicted mother and the ghost of her father.  As their paths cross, they realize they are trying to solve a common puzzle and soon, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department.

Now, don’t be deterred by the romantic suspense aspect of this novel.  It is not overbearing or cringe worthy cheesy, instead, Tucker is able to combine gritty, police procedural components with a few “feel good” elements of a romance to create more of JD Robb or Karen Rose type vibe.  And, if I am being completely truthful, I was more drawn into the budding romance of our protagonists than that of the actual case.  Tucker did a brilliant job at developing such complex and damaged characters; I was desperate for them to succeed.

As the novel develops, Tucker delivers a plethora of twists and turns and I found myself glued to my seat.  There were several moments that were unexpected for me, including the resolution. The final twist at the end came completely out of left field!

Described as Making a Murderer meets ScandalKeep Her Safe packs just the right amount of punch!  I feel like crime fiction fans and fans of the new adult genre (think Colleen Hoover) will really enjoy this novel, I know I did!

Thanks to the author, the publisher and Netgalley; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review

Chandra and Jessica gave this one a read as well; want to check out what they thought about Keep Her Safe? Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading “Book Review: Keep Her Safe (K.A Tucker) @kathleenatucker @SimonSchusterCA”

Throwback Thursday: Still Missing (Chevy Stevens) #tbt

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Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by book blogger extraordinaire, Renee at It’s Book Talk. She started this weekly feature as a way to highlight old favourites and read books that have already been published.   I have been using this as an excuse to be able to dive into my TBR pile and try and get caught up on all my poor, lost books on my shelves!

Today, I’ll be bringing you Still Missing by Chevy Stevens.

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When I first discovered the work of Chevy Stevens, I was constantly being told by basically everyone that I HAD to read Still Missing (an abduction thriller which happened to be her debut!). The general consensus was that it was her BEST work; needless to say, I was incredibly excited!

The novel opens with Annie O’Sullivan, a real estate agent, as she is abducted during one of her open houses. She spends the next year of her life as the captive of a psychopath in a remote cabin in rural British Columbia. Following the events of her escape, Annie, through sessions with her psychiatrist, reveals her experiences, her struggles and her will to survive.

Initially, I really loved the narrative style. Told through sessions with her therapist, the narrative style is relaxed and raw as Annie struggles with her feelings, her relationships and the memories of what happened to her during her captivity. I felt like this was a really original voice; in fact, I have never read a novel narrated in this manner and that was a welcome change.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Still Missing (Chevy Stevens) #tbt”