Source: Goodreads Giveaways

#BookReview
The Middleman by Olen Steinhauer
@olensteinhauer @MinotaurBooks

#BookReview The Middleman by Olen Steinhauer @olensteinhauer @MinotaurBooksTitle: The Middleman

Author: Olen Steinhauer

Published by Minotaur Books on August 7, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Minotaur Books, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

With The Middleman, the perfect thriller for our tumultuous, uneasy time, Olen Steinhauer, the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, including The Tourist and The Cairo Affair, delivers a compelling portrait of a nation on the edge of revolution, and the deepest motives of the men and women on the opposite sides of the divide.

One day in the early summer of 2017, about four hundred people disappear from their lives. They leave behind cell phones, credit cards, jobs, houses, families–everything–all on the same day. Where have they gone? Why? The only answer, for weeks, is silence.

Kevin Moore is one of them. Former military, disaffected, restless, Kevin leaves behind his retail job in San Francisco, sends a good-bye text to his mother, dumps his phone and wallet into a trash can, and disappears.

The movement calls itself the Massive Brigade, and they believe change isn’t coming fast enough to America. But are they a protest organization, a political movement, or a terrorist group? What do they want? The FBI isn’t taking any chances. Special Agent Rachel Proulx has been following the growth of left-wing political groups in the U.S. since the fall of 2016, and is very familiar with Martin Bishop, the charismatic leader of the Massive Brigade. But she needs her colleagues to take her seriously in order to find these people before they put their plan–whatever it is–into action.

What Rachel uncovers will shock the entire nation, and the aftermath of her investigation will reverberate through the FBI to the highest levels of government.


Review:

Intricate, fast-paced, and astute!

The Middleman, the latest novel by Steinhauer, is an intriguing political thriller that takes you into the heart of American politics and immerses you in a story of left-wing ideology and the struggle to maintain morality and induce change without force in a world motivated by violence.

The prose is descriptive and well paced. The characters are passionate, resourceful, and determined. And the plot is an engaging tale about greed, power, deception, abuse, violence, manipulation, murder, and corruption.

Overall, The Middleman is a dark, timely, pensive tale that explores the fine line between good and evil, and highlights just how easily that line can become blurry.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                        

 

 

Thank you to Minotaur Books and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Olen Steinhauer

OLEN STEINHAUER, the New York Times bestselling author of ten previous novels, including The Tourist and All the Old Knives, is a two-time Edgar Award finalist. He is also the creator of TV’s Berlin Station. Raised in Virginia, he lives with his family in New York and Budapest, Hungary.

Photograph by Rana Faure.

#BookReview
Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra
@AnnaSnoekstra @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra @AnnaSnoekstra @HarlequinBooksTitle: Little Secrets

Author: Anna Snoekstra

Published by Mira Books on October 17, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 332

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

What happens when ambition trumps the truth?

A town reeling in the wake of tragedy

An arsonist is on the loose in Colmstock, Australia, most recently burning down the town’s courthouse and killing a young boy who was trapped inside..

An aspiring journalist desperate for a story

The clock is ticking for Rose Blakey. With nothing but rejections from newspapers piling up, her job pulling beers for cops at the local tavern isn’t nearly enough to cover rent. Rose needs a story-a big one.

Little dolls full of secrets

In the weeks after the courthouse fire, precise porcelain replicas of Colmstock’s daughters begin turning up on doorsteps, terrifying parents and testing the limits of the town’s already fractured police force.

Rose may have finally found her story. But as her articles gain traction and the boundaries of her investigation blur, Colmstock is seized by a seething paranoia. Soon, no one is safe from suspicion. And when Rose’s attention turns to the mysterious stranger living in the rooms behind the tavern, neighbor turns on neighbor and the darkest side of self-preservation is revealed.


Review:

Creepy, gritty, and exceptionally atmospheric!

In this latest novel by Snoekstra, Little Secrets, she transports us to Colmstock, Australia, a small town not only devastated by economic depression but reeling from the destruction and tragedy caused by an arsonist with no conscience, and a potential predator who seems to be targeting the local children.

The prose is somber and taut. The characters are deceptive, scheming, and self-involved. And the plot, which is ultimately about life, loss, community dissension, familial drama, friendship, abuse, ambition, and survival is mysterious and twisty, but a little slow at times, as it unravels all the numerous subplots and issues within it.

There is no doubt that Snoekstra can weave a suspicious tale that highlights the selfish, dark side of human nature and some readers will love the tragic, moody feel of this story. Unfortunately for me, the lack of characters with any redeeming characteristics made it a little hard to connect with them as much as I would have liked to.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Anna Snoekstra

Anna Snoekstra was born in Canberra, Australia to two civil servants. At the age of seventeen she decided to avoid a full-time job and a steady wage to move to Melbourne and become a writer. She studied Creative Writing and Cinema at The University of Melbourne, followed by Screenwriting at RMIT University.

After finishing university, Anna wrote for independent films and fringe theatre, and directed music videos. During this time, she worked as a christmas elf, cheesemonger, a waitress, a barista, a nanny, a receptionist, a cinema attendant and a film reviewer.

Her debut novel ONLY DAUGHTER has been released in twenty countries and a feature film adaptation is currently in development with Universal Pictures.

#BookReview
White Bodies by Jane Robins
@alfresca @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview White Bodies by Jane Robins @alfresca @SimonSchusterCATitle: White Bodies

Author: Jane Robins

Published by Touchstone on September 19, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

This chilling psychological suspense novel–think Strangers on a Train for the modern age–explores the dark side of love and the unbreakable ties that bind two sisters together.

Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless facade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an Internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies–or was he murdered?

A page-turning work of suspense that announces a stunning new voice in fiction, White Bodies will change the way you think about obsession, love, and the violence we inflict on one another–and ourselves.


Review:

Menacing, dark, and incredibly eerie!

White Bodies is a gritty, gripping, character-driven novel that delves into the dynamic relationship between sister’s, especially twins, and highlights that we only see what people want to show us and even then we only see what we want to see.

The writing is fluid and clear. The characters are multilayered, deceptive, and unstable. And the plot uses a past/present, back-and-forth style to create suspense and tension as it subtly unravels the relationships, histories, personalities, and motivations within it.

White Bodies is ultimately a chilling psychological thriller about family, secrets, obsession, jealousy, mental illness, manipulation, obsession, and murder and is a wonderful debut for Robins in this genre. 

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jane Robins

Jane Robins began her career as a journalist with The Economist, The Independent, and the BBC. She has made a specialty of writing historical true crime and has a particular interest in the history of forensics. She has published three books of nonfiction in the UK, Rebel Queen (Simon & Schuster, 2006), The Magnificent Spilsbury (John Murray, 2010), and The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams (John Murray, 2013). More recently, she has been a Fellow at the Royal Literary Fund.

Photography by Mat Smith

#BookReview
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
@gabriellezevin @PenguinCanada

#BookReview Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin @gabriellezevin @PenguinCanadaTitle: Young Jane Young

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Published by Viking on August 29, 2017

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Random House, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the international bestseller The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry comes another novel that will have everyone talking.

Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her boss–and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the beloved congressman doesn’t take the fall. But Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins: slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics.

She sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. This time, she tries to be smarter about her life and strives to raise her daughter, Ruby, to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, Aviva decides to run for public office herself, that long-ago mistake trails her via the Internet and catches up–an inescapable scarlet A. In the digital age, the past is never, ever, truly past. And it’s only a matter of time until Ruby finds out who her mother was and is forced to reconcile that person with the one she knows.

Young Jane Young is a smart, funny, and moving novel about what it means to be a woman of any age, and captures not just the mood of our recent highly charged political season, but also the double standards alive and well in every aspect of life for women.


Review:

Clever, humorous, and highly entertaining!

Young Jane Young is an engaging, satisfying tale that reminds us that the internet although an invaluable source of information and a blessing is also often a curse where mistakes are never forgotten.

The story is divided into multiple sections and told from various perspectives; Rachel, Aviva’s mother whose attempts at online dating is dismal at best; Jane/Aviva, a young events planner who has successfully carved out a new life and identity after falling in love with the wrong man; Ruby, Jane’s inquisitive and direct teenage daughter; and Embeth, the congressman’s forgiving and supportive wife.

The characters are strong, female, and resilient. The prose is smooth, fresh, and exceptionally witty. And the plot interweaves and unfolds effortlessly using unconventional, unique writing styles, such as emails and “choose your own adventure” to keep you intrigued and absorbed from start to finish.

Young Jane Young is ultimately a lighthearted, warm, enjoyable story about empowerment, survival, feminism, shame, acceptance, adultery, politics, scandals, and the unfair sexist stigma that still surrounds women and their sexual behaviour today.

If you haven’t already checked out my review for The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, one of my favourite books from last year,  be sure to check it out here:

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Gabrielle Zevin

GABRIELLE ZEVIN is an internationally bestselling author whose books have been translated into over thirty languages.

Her eighth novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (2014), spent months on the New York Times Best Seller List, reached #1 on the National Indie Best Seller List, and has been a bestseller all around the world. The Toronto Globe and Mail called the book “a powerful novel about the power of novels.” Her debut, Margarettown, was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program. The Hole We’re In was a New York Times Editor’s Choice title.

She also writes books for young readers. Her best known young adult novel is Elsewhere, an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book. Of Elsewhere, the New York Times Book Review wrote, “Every so often a book comes along with a premise so fresh and arresting it seems to exist in a category all its own… Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin, is such a book.”

She is the screenwriter of Conversations with Other Women (Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Eckhart) for which she received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Best First Screenplay. In 2009, she and director Hans Canosa adapted her novel Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (ALA Best Books for Young Adults) into the Japanese film, Dareka ga Watashi ni Kiss wo Shita. She has also written for the New York Times Book Review and NPR’s All Things Considered. She began her writing career at age fourteen as a music critic for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Zevin is a graduate of Harvard University. She lives in Los Angeles. Her 9th novel is Young Jane Young.

#BookReview
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
@KathyReichs @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Two Nights by Kathy Reichs @KathyReichs @SimonSchusterCATitle: Two Nights

Author: Kathy Reichs

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on July 11, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.


Review:

Fast-paced, mysterious, and entertaining!

This is a suspenseful thriller that reminds us that terrorism can often be homegrown and emphasizes just how dangerous anger, hatred, and religious fanaticism can truly be.

The writing is clear and precise. The main character, Sunday Night, is tough, intelligent, and determined, and the supporting characters are an intriguing mix of ruthless, persistent zealots, and a charming, dependable brother.

I have to say that die-hard fans of the Temperance Brennan series may be a little disappointed in this latest outing by Reichs which doesn’t have the scientific jargon and forensic analysis we typically associate with her novels, but there’s no question that Reichs is a great writer and if you read this new novel with an open mind you will recognize her trademark strong, flawed, female protagonist and straightforward style of writing that could definitely lead to another bestselling series for her.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec. She is one of only fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. A professor of anthropology at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.

#BookReview
No One But You by Brenda Novak
@Brenda_Novak @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview No One But You by Brenda Novak @Brenda_Novak @HarlequinBooksTitle: No One But You

Author: Brenda Novak

Series: Silver Springs #2

Published by Mira Books on May 30, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 448

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes you to Silver Springs, a picturesque small town in Southern California where even the hardest hearts can learn to love again

Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn’t enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed—the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options.

Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he’s innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs.

As Sadie and Dawson’s professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there’s more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else see she has a good heart, one that might even be worth fighting for.


Review:

Menacing, romantic and engaging!

This is a suspenseful story that highlights the harassment and stigma that surrounds those accused of committing a crime and reminds us just how dangerous the abuse of power can truly be.

The writing is clear and precise. The characters are tenacious, resilient and strong. And the plot is a captivating mix of emotion, drama, violence, injustice, obsession, trust, manipulation, jealousy, corruption, and murder.

Overall this is a quick, easy, enjoyable read with a unique storyline, interesting characters, exceptional tension, and a nice wrapped-up ending.

 

This story is due to be published on May 30, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

 

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Brenda Novak

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak's career as a bestselling author--she caught her day-care provider drugging her children with cough syrup to get them to sleep all day. That was when Brenda decided she needed to quit her job as a loan officer and help make a living from home.

"When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book," Brenda says. But she sold that book, and the rest is history. Her novels have made the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and won many awards, including five Rita nominations, the Book Buyer's Best, the Book Seller's Best and the National Reader's Choice Award.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are proud parents of five children--three girls and two boys. When she's not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually raising funds for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). So far, Brenda has raised $2.6 million. Please visit http://www.brendanovakforthecure.org to see how you can help.

#BookReview
The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
@AnnBrashares

#BookReview The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares @AnnBrasharesTitle: The Whole Thing Together

Author: Ann Brashares

Published by Penguin on April 27, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Pages: 295

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Random House, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 6.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

We live in the same place, but never together.

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.


Review:

Poignant, tragic and excessively complex!

In this latest novel by Brashares she delves into the emotional and psychological effects of blended families on all those involved and highlights the challenges faced by those specifically caught in the middle.

The characters are vulnerable, troubled and coming of age. The prose is simple and clear. And the plot, which is ultimately about guilt, love, life, loss, yearning, heartbreak, deception, friendship and family just seems to have a little too many subplots, too much angst, too much drama and too many issues, including class, divorce and race to not get bogged down and overpower the characterization and fluidity of the main storyline.

I am a huge fan of Ann Brashares from The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series and I look forward to reading other novels by her in the future but for me this one wasn’t one of her best.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                          

 

 

Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways, especially Random House Canada, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now, 3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You and Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her family.

#BookReview
No Easy Target by Iris Johansen
@Iris_Johansen @StMartinsPress

#BookReview No Easy Target  by Iris Johansen @Iris_Johansen @StMartinsPressTitle: No Easy Target

Author: Iris Johansen

Published by St. Martin's Press on April 25, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen returns with another thriller, No Easy Target

Margaret Douglas has worked hard to put her painful past behind her. Raised off the grid in an abusive home, her only escape was the nearby forest where she sought refuge whenever she could. There, in the peaceful woods, she discovered a strange gift: the ability to understand animals and to communicate with them. And so those creatures became her only friends, her only joy during a desolate childhood. Now Margaret wants nothing more than to live a quiet life, close to the animals and under the radar. But her abilities have not gone unnoticed and there are those who would use them for their own purposes. Determined not to be a pawn in anyone’s game, every time someone gets too close, Margaret uproots her life and outruns them.

When John Lassiter breaks into Margaret’s apartment, she vanishes again, but Lassiter has good reason to be persistent. As a CIA operative, he owes his life to his men , one of whom is being held captive by an unrelenting enemy—an enemy who has set his sights on Margaret. Which means that Lassiter must control her to use her as bait.

With danger in hot pursuit, Margaret finds herself matching wits with a man who refuses to stop or be stopped. Turning from the hunted to the hunter, Margaret must use everything she has ever learned to not only survive, but to defeat a great evil. And to prove once and for all that she’s no easy target.


Review:

Suspenseful, macabre and entertaining!

This is an intense, often disturbing, romantic thriller that reminds us of the dark, despicable evil that exists in the criminal underworld and takes us on a journey into the jungles of Colombia and a world filled with sadism, violence, murder, revenge, lust and a little supernatural.

The writing is good. The main character, Margaret, is intelligent, determined, and unique, and the other characters are a mix of despicable villains, a handsome hero and an adorable dog.

Fans of Johansen will not be disappointed with this latest outing which utilizes her trademark strong, female protagonist and straightforward storyline and will be excited to finally get a better understanding of the Margaret Douglas character we’ve often seen a glimpse of in the Eve Duncan series.

 

This book is due to be published on April 25, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Iris Johansen

Iris Johansen is a New York Times bestselling author. She began her writing after her children left home for college. She first achieved success in the early 1980s writing category romances. In 1991, Johansen began writing suspense historical romance novels, starting with the publication of The Wind Dancer. In 1996 Johansen switched genres, turning to crime fiction, with which she has had great success.

She lives in Georgia and is married. Her son, Roy Johansen, is an Edgar Award-winning screenwriter and novelist. Her daughter, Tamara, serves as her research assistant.

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