Tag

suspense

Imperfect Strangers – David M Staniforth

imperfect strangers

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this one. I always love a good thriller!

Imperfect Strangers focuses on two characters, Keith and Sally. Keith, is in no uncertain terms, a stalker. And Sally, his victim. However this isn’t your usual stalker-victim story, as the author delves deep into Keith’s life and thoughts and gives us glimpses of WHY he behaves the way he does. And Sally, just trying to be nice, finds herself in deep trouble.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the different perspectives of the same situations. I loved how Keith and Sally would have an encounter together, in the street for example, and take TOTALLY different things away from it. It really made me think that we all do this. We all make assumptions based on a persons perceived behaviour. I may have a totally wonderful encounter with a person, yet their perception could be completely different. Human relationships man… They are so freaking complicated!!

It also made me reflect on people’s behaviour when they are attracted to someone. Behaviour is in the eye of the beholder. And all in the delivery. Say a man came up to me and sleazily brushed something off my shoulder. I would probably think it was a bit weird, a bit of an invasion of personal space, and I probably wouldn’t be too happy about it. But if it was someone I was physically attracted to, I would be much more less likely to have a problem with it. Might even be happy about it. This is Keith’s main problem. He doesn’t get appropriateness. He has an extremely child-like innocence about him. In his mind all the things he is doing are sweet and lovely. But his delivery is all wrong. And very creepy.

I pretty much hated every character in this book. But it wasn’t a bad thing. I absolutely hated Sally, I thought she was a HUGE bitch. A self absorbed STUPID woman. And Steve, what a tool! Although Keith was incredibly creepy, I really enjoyed that you have empathy for him. It was certainly a different take on the stalker story. The voices he heard in his head, his mother and himself as a child were well done and gave an indication of just how messed up he was.

There wasn’t too much action in the book until the final scenes, and they were done really well and were really enjoyable. Otherwise it was mainly about Keith and the way his mind worked.

Would I recommend it?

Yes it was a very different take on the mind of a stalker, and overall a very enjoyable novel. Even though all the characters annoyed me, I think they were supposed to!

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What Lies Within – James Morris

image

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Here I go again, another Young Adult book. I don’t know exactly why they appeal to me so much. Perhaps because I want to stay young at heart!

Shelley Marano is your typical 17 year old high school student. The most important decision she is facing in life is where to go to college and how to tell her father that she doesn’t want to work in his auto shop for the rest of her life. However when Shelley suddenly gets a text message warning her that she is in danger, her life unexpectedly gets totally turned upside down. Suddenly she doesn’t even know who she is anymore, and has to fight to stay alive!

I think the thing that appeals to me about YA books is the prospect for huge, life changing character development. I enjoy watching the young naïve characters grow. Shelley made some absolutely stupid decisions towards the beginning of the novel that made me cringe, but I soon began to like her and I became invested in finding out what happened to her. I liked her best friend Winston. I enjoyed their relationship and the interactions between them. I also liked the secondary characters and felt they all enhanced the story. Her father was a pivotal character even though he only appeared a few times. Remy was important in his own way, as were Michael and the scary man on the motorbike.

Like the majority of Young Adult novels, it has a love triangle… My ultimate pet hate… But this one isn’t too annoying, especially when one of them is far from worthy. Typically Young Adult, it had a lot of teenage angst. But all the characters were portrayed well. Often in young adult books I struggle to empathise with the young female character for some reason. I thought I might have this problem at the start, but things quickly turned around and I enjoyed Shelley’s adventure.

The nurse in me found a few small medical inaccuracies, but they were only minor and didn’t impact my enjoyment of the story.

It was an extremely quick read. The second half of the novel moved so quickly I finished it in one sitting. The first half was only slightly slower. Overall it kept me turning the pages! The ending was exciting. It left quite a few questions, however certainly paved the way for another one.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I really enjoyed it! What Lies Within is a fast read, full of action, suspense and mystery, I won’t hesitate to read the next one!

With thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Lethal In Love 2 – Michelle Somers

Lethal in love 2

2.75 Stars (2.75 / 5)

I read the first installment of Lethal in Love a couple of months ago and gave it an average rating. I was so hoping the second installment would be an improvement, but unfortunately it didn’t blow me away either.

Jayda and Seth are working together now, trying to put pieces of the puzzle together so that they can work out who the killer is. That’s if they can manage to keep their pants on around each other that is. Jayda and Seth realise that the killer might know Jayda and that they are all in danger. Cue suspenseful scenes, end on climax for number 3…

Ok the biggest problem I have with this installment is the total unbelievably of one aspect of their predicament… HER SISTER WAS JUST MURDERED!!! Now I don’t have a sister, but I imagine that if I did, and they were murdered, the absolute last thing I would be thinking about the next morning is how unbelievably hot the guy in my kitchen making me bacon and eggs looks in his shirt with the top buttons undone… It just didn’t capture her grief at all, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I was rolling my eyes and I didn’t know if I could go on…

However, if I ignored this extremely bothersome detail, I began to enjoy the story. The characters pasts were delved into more, Seth’s relationship with his parents, Jayda’s relationship with her father and her father’s past in the previous investigation. And it definitely left you wondering who the killer was, could it be someone in Jayda’s life already? Her next door neighbour? Something to do with her father or her birth parents?

This attraction between the characters is still not particularly believable. Their silly conversations and supposedly sexy remarks towards each other that leaves them hot around the collar made me extremely cold. I just don’t believe the chemistry.

Thankfully it was slightly more suspenseful than the first. Slightly…

Again, I’m not sold on this installment thing. I think I would have probably read the whole thing if it was in a novel, now I’m not sure if I am interested enough to go for the third, even though I am now curious to see who the killer is… I think I will hang my hat here.

Would I recommend it?

Probably not.

Thanks to Random House via Netgalley for a copy of this installment in exchange for an honest review.

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Deadly Messengers – Susan May

Deadly Messengers - Susan May

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ive been having such good luck with thrillers lately! Deadly Messengers is another great one to add to the shelf!

Kendell Jennings is a freelance writer, mostly for magazines doing fluff pieces so she can pay her rent! When she takes a job interviewing a survivor of a mass murder, she thinks its just going to be a quick, easy buck. Two more mass murders occur and Kendell suspects they may be connected. Fate intervenes to put her right in the middle of the investigation, and into the path of the serial killer.

I really enjoyed this book. It pretty much had everything I enjoy in a novel, action, blood and gore, a little splash of romantic tension and some awesome likable characters with an intense crazy bad guy!

I found the premise extremely original and refreshing. Without giving anything away, the story is not all it seems, and there are some awesome twists and turns throughout. The ending was slightly predictable, however there was still enough action and twists to keep me hooked right to the very end. I barely put this book down, even to sleep!

The characters were great! Kendell had a very troubled past and I enjoyed how she had conflicted feelings about the story she was writing and her own experiences. I loved investigators O’Grady and Trip and their partnership. And I loved that they both had a thing for Kendell even though O’Grady wouldn’t recognise it. I only wish that O’Grady and Kendells relationship had a bit more “oomph”. I felt that more could have been done with their feelings towards each other earlier in the book. But that’s just the romantic in me!

The murder scenes were exceptionally detailed, perhaps more so than your average thriller. Lots of details about the death, blood and gore. I don’t mind blood and gore. However I understand that not everyone does. I personally thought the detail worked really well and added an extra intensity to the story. I really enjoyed that aspect.

This was a lot more than a simple “who done it” thriller. It delved a lot into trauma and mental health, and had some extremely interesting pharmacology aspects. Do certain drugs make you more susceptible to kill? Or is it the mental illness itself? Are there drugs that can make you a puppet? Fascinating stuff!

Overall, thoroughly enjoyed it!

Would I recommend it?

Yes, absolutely! A great thriller from a very talented AUSSIE author 🙂 I am looking forward to reading and reviewing her other work!

Many thanks to author Susan May for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Night Tremors – Matt Coyle

Night Tremors - Matt Coyle4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 Night Tremors!! What a roller-coaster! Fantastic book!!

You could say that Rick Cahill has had it tough. Eight years ago he was accused of murdering his beloved wife. Just two years ago he found trouble again and was forced to kill. So now he stays out of the way – making a quiet living working as a PI, taking photographs of cheating exes. Happy that the job pays the bills – yet yearning for something more, he grabs an opportunity offered to him by an old rival to join him in freeing an innocent man from life in prison. Little did he know the can of worms he would open by taking the case. As it jeopardises not only his job and security, but his life.

I’m just going to start off by admitting that this is the second book in a series, and I didn’t realise it! Bad Mel not doing her research!! However I still managed to navigate the story and the characters perfectly well, as the author is an extremely talented storyteller. But I probably would have liked to read the first one before this, if only to know Rick a little better, and know the events that happened two years prior, as it doesn’t really delve into it too much. But you don’t need to have read it. If I can pick it up, anyone can!

Rick Cahill is an AWESOME character. Totally flawed and damaged, yet so lovely and so darn likeable! I was rooting for him the whole time! I thought he was just fantastic! I loved how his head worked, and how he managed to get himself in and out of difficult situations!

All of the secondary characters were awesome! I don’t have a bad thing to say about any of the characters, male or female, they were all written so cleverly. I absolutely adored every character! I loved the torturous romantically tense relationship between him and his ex Kim.

The ride that Coyle takes you on is SO MUCH FUN!! I don’t know anything about La Jolla or San Diego, but I was taken into a wonderfully atmospheric city which I loved. It was FULL of action!! Not just beat-em-up action, but clever action that helped the story come together all the way to its dramatic conclusion.

So you must be reading this and wondering why I am raving about this book so much but only gave it 4.5 stars instead of 5!!? I shall explain… Two reasons.

  1. The title. Night Tremors?? Makes it sound like some creepy scary horror story. I felt the title really didn’t have too much to do with the story. I don’t think many people who haven’t read the blurb or know the author would think that this is a crime action novel. Perhaps aliens or ghosts?? 🙂

2. The twist at the end was massive… MASSIVE!!! And I can understand why I have read other reviews of this book saying how awesome the ending was. It was a monster of a twist!!!  And it was SO CLEVER!! But for me personally I didn’t like it. I cant go into it without spoiling anything, but I just found it such a downer! However that’s just me, and everyone else seems to have loved it! I think I had just developed too much of a liking for all the characters involved and then the ending just hit me. Ok no more! Don’t want to spoil it!

So much thanks to Oceanview Publishing via Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Black-Eyed Susans – Julia Heaberlin

black eyed susans

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I love a good thriller and was so excited to get an advanced copy of Black-Eyed Susans as I have heard wonderful things about this upcoming book!

Thankfully I was not at all disappointed!

Tessa is only 16 when she is left for dead, the only survivor of a serial killer. The victims are known as “Black-Eyed Susans” – as their bodies were found in a field of Black-Eyed Susan flowers. The story is predominantly told from two perspectives. Tessa at 16 years of age (Tessie), having just survived the terrible ordeal, and also strong, resilient present day Tessa. Tessa in the present day is helping a team of investigators who suspect the man convicted of murdering the Black-Eyed Susans to be innocent. As the countdown to his execution looms closer and closer, Tessa is also fearful they convicted the wrong man, as she has no memory of the incident, but feels he was sent to jail because of her testimony as a teenager. The book flips back and forth in time as details are gradually revealed that lead to the truth.

The characters were great! Young Tessie was so damaged and raw. Having been through such a terrible ordeal, Heaberlin succeeds in making her tortured, believable and likeable. Older Tessa is the star character in the novel for me. I loved how she held herself and how she morphed from the scared teenager into a powerful, strong woman and mother. Her relationship with her daughter Charlie was fascinating and entertaining. They knew each other so well, even though Tessa had not really relayed the details of her past to her daughter in detail.

Bill and Jo were a great team. Bill on his altruistic crusade to free innocent people from death row, and Jo with her incredible knowledge of DNA. I learned quite a few things about forensics while reading this book! Heaberlin certainly put in a lot of research putting it all together.

The characters from young Tessie’s life were just as pivotal. Her best friend Lydia, almost as damaged as Tessie, is extremely influential in her life, as is the psychiatrist whom she spends the majority of the younger scenes divulging bit by bit of information to. The trial transcripts were another one of the highlights for me, reading about her experience and to see how a seemingly innocent man was sent to death row.

Although present day Tessa was the strongest character, my favourite character was senile old Effie from next door! She made me laugh in every appearance.

I love my thrillers with a dash of romance and loved the relationship between Tessa and Bill in this book. A lot of romantic tension mixed with a hefty dose of sexy was just what the doctor ordered! It worked really well – I loved them!

I really enjoyed the writers style in this book. Admittedly it took me a little while to get used to the intricate detail, however it soon began to easily flow and completely enriched the story. A lot of the time in novels I get a bit annoyed when it jumps back and forth in time – But not in this book. The perspective and time change with each chapter really worked and made it easily readable – kept me hooked till 4 in the morning!!!

The twist in this novel was slightly predictable, however did not deter from the gripping conclusion. I will absolutely be checking out Heaberlin’s other novels, hopefully they are as riveting as this one!

Thoroughly enjoyed it! You will too if you enjoy a good thriller!  5 Stars!

Thanks to Penguin via NetGalley for the advanced copy for my honest review.

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Pretty Baby – Mary Kubica

Pretty Baby

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

I liked this book. It has received wonderful reviews so far and I can understand why. It is extremely well written and has an engaging story and kept me turning the pages!

Heidi lives with her husband and pre-teenage daughter in Chicago. She starts witnessing what she believes to be a teenage girl on the train with a baby, braving the elements day after day with the same clothes on and comes to the conclusion that they are homeless. Being extremely charitable, she decides to help the woman who she now knows is named “Willow” and her infant daughter by letting them stay with her – Much to the disapproval of her husband and daughter. However all is not what it seems. Who is this “Willow” and where did she come from? And will she tear Heidi’s family apart?

I really enjoyed the layout of the book. Each chapter is told from one of three perspectives. Heidi, her husband Chris, or Willow. Willow’s story is by far the most interesting, as we gradually discover who she is and how she came to be staying with Heidi. Sometimes I find that the constant perspective changes annoys me in novels, but this was done seamlessly. If you came back to the book mid chapter there was no doubt about who you were reading about. The characterisation was so different between them all. There was no mistaking the energy and feel of the particular character who was narrating the chapter.

The characters themselves were all interesting and well imagined. I liked how the book didn’t have too many characters. The three chapter narrators were the major players. The secondary characters weaved into the story well. I especially liked Heidi’s daughter Zoe. I remember being a little like her at that age. Her neighbour Graham was also entertaining. The secondary characters in Willow’s story are terrifying, and her story is shocking!

I don’t know what it was about Heidi that I didn’t like right from the start. I loved how her character developed – especially in the last few chapters, but I found she bored me a bit. I know you are not necessarily supposed to like any character in a novel, but I assumed I would resonate with her a little more than I did, and I think it limited my enjoyment of the story.

Honestly at the end I found this book to be quite depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the twist and “character developments” at the conclusion. But I didn’t LOVE it. I can understand in a way that it is being compared to Gone Girl. I can see the similar dark undertone. However these are extremely different books. Funny enough I didn’t LOVE that one either.

Would I recommend it? Yes, it was definitely worth reading!! It was a page turner and a relatively quick, entertaining read!

Many thanks to Harlequin MIRA via NetGalley for the opportunity to read the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

To purchase Pretty Baby and browse other titles from Harlequin please click here

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Mirror Image – Sandra Brown (Review)

mirror image

Mirror Image – Sandra Brown

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ok you are going to have to stay with me here. Hear me out…

This story is about Avery Daniels. Avery is a reporter who is in a plane crash and mistakenly identified as Carole Rutledge, the wife of aspiring senatorial candidate, Tate Rutledge. The real Carole Rutledge was also mistaken for Avery, and died in the plane crash. Hence the confusion. Avery and Carole looked so alike that they were often mistaken for each other normally. But Avery’s face was totally smashed up in the crash, so nobody could tell. Unfortunately and terrifyingly she is unable to communicate with the doctors and Tate, and her face is completely transformed by plastic surgery to resemble Carole.

Just as Avery is about to reveal the truth to Carole’s husband Tate in the hospital after she is well enough to speak, she discovers that there is a plan in action to assassinate him. She quite likes Tate at this point, even though she discovers his marriage to Carole was extremely turbulent . Anyway she doesn’t want him to die, and being the reporter that she is, she smells a story in all of this, so she says as Carole to try and figure out who the mastermind behind the assassination plot is.

Meanwhile she isn’t Carole. And how long can she pretend to be a woman she would have hated, before people start figuring it out??

Well..

I know I know! You read this synopsis and think “How the hell am I going to enjoy something that is SO UNBELIEVABLE?!”. But this is Sandra Brown we are talking about… This is the Queen of romantic suspense! I admit its not exactly “believable” obviously. But if anyone is going to come close, its Sandra Brown! She makes the believability of the story totally irrelevant because its so darn entertaining!! Its like a cool soap opera tale mixed with a good action book!

The characters in Mirror Image were totally loveable, except for the real Carole, what a piece of work! But Avery was so sweet and Tate was so much more awesome than he could have been. Tate and Carole’s daughter Mandy was such a sweetie. His family were fascinating and his tramp-of-a-niece Fancy was a great character too! There really wasn’t a character I didn’t enjoy reading about.

The romance is really sweet. Yes, yes its corny because he doesn’t know that she isn’t his wife – and how could you NOT KNOW… But damn it – It just works! The sexy scenes are sizzling, the tension is palpable, and the suspense is great! And in typical Sandra Brown style there is an awesome twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. It will absolutely be something I will read again, and that is saying something because I don’t often waste my reading time re-reading something I have already read!

The only criticism I have of this book were of some of the medical scenes. Overall she did a good job, but if you have a breathing tube down your throat connected to the ventilator, you cannot SMELL anything… The tube is bypassing your nose completely. But the medical stuff didn’t annoy me enough to change my rating. Which is a lot more than I can say compared to some other books and authors that shall remain nameless.

Thank you Sandra Brown, your books are a constant source of enjoyment for me, thankfully there are so many more for me to get through!!

4 Stars because I enjoyed it so damn much!!

If you enjoy Mirror Image. you may enjoy:

 white hot    Kakadu Sunset    Spotless    after the night

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