Reading

The Third to Die – Allison Brennan | A Book Review

The Third to Die - Allison Brennan

Title: The Third to Die

Author: Allison Brennan

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the first in a new series that follows a police detective in Kara Quinn and an FBI agent in Matt Costa. They investigate a case involving a serial killer who kills every three years, murdering three victims, each three days apart. As Kara and Matt learn more about the murderer, they realize one member of their own team may be the next target.

First impressions: I love a good thriller, so I was curious to see how the story would play out. The book is longer than I expected at over 550 pages, but I enjoyed the beginning.

Characters: Both Kara and Matt are complex individuals with different personalities. I liked learning more about their backstory. There are a lot of different characters, so it took me some time to keep track of everyone. That being said, the unique relationships add an interesting layer to the novel.

Quote:

“She hoped that he kept that spark of optimism and joy because so few people had it.”

Writing: Brennan does a good job weaving multiple storylines together. The book explores many issues with some mature and graphic scenes. It is written in third person, and the short chapters help to build suspense.

Final thoughts: The ending ties up loose ends while setting the stage for the next novel in the series. I would recommend The Third to Die if you’re looking to read a crime thriller that feels like watching an episode of Criminal Minds.


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Reading

The Turn of the Key – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

The Turn of the Key - Ruth Ware

Title: The Turn of the Key

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone following Rowan who stumbles across a live-in nanny job, which seems like a great opportunity at first. When a child in her care ends up dead, Rowan finds herself in prison and awaiting trial for murder. But if she didn’t kill anyone, that means someone else did.

First impressions: I was curious to see how the plot would unfold. The author chose to have Rowan writing letters to a lawyer, which added an interesting layer to the story.

Characters: Rowan is a complex individual with flaws and secrets of her own. The use of first person point of view allows readers to follow Rowan and learn more about her. There aren’t too many characters, which makes it easier to keep track of everyone.

Quote:

“I never knew there were so many ways to deal with pain so unbearable that it cannot be endured, but in here I have seen them all.”

Writing: It’s a little over 350 pages with short chapters. I found some parts in the middle of the story to be a bit repetitive. Even though I couldn’t predict all the twists and turns, Ware does a good job hinting at the truth without revealing too much.

Final thoughts: The ending wraps up some questions but leaves others unanswered. While it isn’t the most realistic read in my opinion, the story is still fun and different. If you enjoy contemporary thrillers with horror elements, consider checking out The Turn of the Key.


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Reading

The Postmistress of Paris – Meg Waite Clayton | A Book Review

The Postmistress of Paris - Meg Waite Clayton

Title: The Postmistress of Paris

Author: Meg Waite Clayton

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It’s a standalone following a young American woman named Nanée. She helps artists hunted by Nazis escape Europe by delivering information to those in hiding. Edouard Moss has left Germany with his daughter only to be sent to an internment camp in France. When their lives collide, Nanée puts herself in danger to help Edouard.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I like the title and cover. The premise piqued my curiosity, so I was looking forward to seeing what would happen. The pacing is slower at first, but it picks up as the story goes on.

Characters: Nanée and Edouard are likeable and easy to root for. I enjoyed learning about their past as well as watching them grow in the present. I also found the secondary characters to be interesting.

Quote:

“To have expectations was to open your heart to breaking.”

Writing: The book is inspired by Mary Jayne Gold, a Chicago heiress who worked with American journalist Varian Fry, helping to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France. It’s about 400 pages with short chapters written in the third person. The description and detail make the events seem even more vivid and real.

Final thoughts: The early references to art and photography confused me at first, but everything comes full circle. I didn’t know what to expect, but the ending is so emotional and fitting. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and romantic relationships set during World War II, check out The Postmistress of Paris.


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Reading

Last Girl Ghosted – Lisa Unger | A Book Review

Last Girl Ghosted - Lisa Unger

Title: Last Girl Ghosted

Author: Lisa Unger

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone that follows Wren Greenwood who meets Adam Harper on a dating app. She starts falling in love only for him to ghost her. When Wren discovers that there were other girls who fell for him and later went missing, she starts looking into his dark past.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The premise piqued my curiosity, so I was excited to read this novel to see how the plot would play out. I also like the title and cover. The beginning sets the stage for what’s to come by introducing some of the main characters.

Characters: Wren grew on me as I learned more about her backstory. Since the book is a mystery thriller, some events aren’t as realistic, but I could relate to the characters and their experiences.

Quote:

“Home is the place you choose.”

Writing: It’s about 400 pages long with short chapters. The pacing is slower in the middle but picks up at the end. It’s mainly told from Wren’s point of view while alternating between the past and the present. I didn’t find it too confusing to follow along. The novel explores issues such as PTSD, trauma, abuse, and more.

Final thoughts: I found certain parts of the plot easier to predict than others. The ending provides closure on different storylines, so I enjoyed how it wraps up. If you’re looking for a cat and mouse thriller about online dating and psychological trauma, look into the Last Girl Ghosted.


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Reading

The Neighbor – Lisa Gardner | A Book Review

The Neighbor - Lisa Gardner

Title: The Neighbor

Author: Lisa Gardner

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the third book in the Detective D.D. Warren series. A young mother named Sandra Jones disappears one night, leaving behind her four year old daughter as the only witness and a secretive husband who becomes the primary suspect. When Sergeant D.D. Warren investigates the case, she learns that this family isn’t perfect and has its share of secrets.

First impressions: I love a good thriller, so I was excited to see where the author would take this story. Although I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, I could follow along without a problem. I enjoyed getting to know more about the family at the start.

Characters: There aren’t too many or too few characters, so I found it easy enough to keep track of everyone. Some of them grew on me quite a bit. I appreciate the complexity of the main characters and their difficult pasts.

Quote:

“You can have everything you ever wanted, only to realize that you wanted all the wrong things.”

Writing: The chapters are short, alternating points of view. It’s over 450 pages, and I didn’t find the pacing to be too slow. The author explores some deep issues and mature themes like abuse.

Final thoughts: I had no idea how Gardner would wrap up all the loose ends, but the ending provides enough closure. I liked the various twists and turns, as I couldn’t predict some of them. If you’re a fan of thrillers about family relationships, check out The Neighbor.


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The Eternal Audience of One – Rémy Ngamije | A Book Review

The Eternal Audience of One - Rémy Ngamije

Title: The Eternal Audience of One

Author: Rémy Ngamije

Genre: Literary Fiction

About the book: It’s a standalone novel following a young man named Séraphin who flees Rwanda during the Civil War and starts a new life in South Africa. It’s a coming of age story that explores relationships, identity, and race.

I received a copy from Simon & Schuster via a giveaway hosted by Book Riot.

First impressions: The title is interesting. For some reason, it took me a while to make out the cover. I was looking forward to seeing where the story would go. There’s a short prologue, and I found myself enjoying the beginning of the book.

Characters: Séraphin is a complex individual who makes mistakes but matures along the way. He’s not perfect and isn’t always the most likeable. That said, I liked Séraphin’s interactions with his family and friends. The novel follows a lot of different characters. For me, it was tough to keep track of everyone at first.

Quote:

“It’s easy to live and work with someone when you don’t owe them an apology.”

Writing: It’s a bit under 400 pages long, and the chapters aren’t too long. Ngamije examines many different issues in detail. There were some sexual and explicit scenes as well.

Final thoughts: I didn’t know how the author would wrap everything up, but I was satisfied by the ending. If you want to read a funny yet serious story about a young man growing up in a new city, check out The Eternal Audience of One.


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The Escape Room – Megan Goldin | A Book Review

The Escape Room - Megan Goldin

Title: The Escape Room

Author: Megan Goldin

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone novel about four investment bankers who find themselves stuck in an elevator and have to get out alive. Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are asked to participate in an escape room as a team-building exercise, but the four quickly realize this isn’t an ordinary escape room, and their survival is at stake.

First impressions: I was first drawn to the title and cover. Then I read the premise, which piqued my curiosity. The prologue hints at what will happen in the end without spoiling everything. The pace at the beginning is slower and more descriptive, but it picks up.

Characters: Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam aren’t that likeable. They each have their own flaws and secrets, which come out throughout the story. The novel also follows another character in Sara Hall who is an investment banker, working at the same firm. She’s more likeable, so I preferred reading her storyline.

Quote:

“When had making money taken precedence over the people I loved?”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages with alternating viewpoints. I was interested to find out what would happen in the end. The book covers some darker, more mature issues as well.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed the ending the most as it answers many of the main questions while leaving some unanswered. There aren’t that many characters, so the plot isn’t too unpredictable. If you like psychological thrillers that explore corporate culture, check out The Escape Room.


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Children of the Fox – Kevin Sands | A Book Review

Children of the Fox - Kevin Sands

Title: Children of the Fox

Author: Kevin Sands

Genre: Fantasy (Middle Grade)

About the book: It’s the first novel in a series that follows five teenagers with special talents who try to steal a valuable treasure from the most powerful sorcerer in town. They’re used to working alone, but the five need to trust each other during the heist.

I received an advanced reader copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I haven’t read middle grade in a long time, but The premise intrigued me, so I was excited to see how the story would play out. I also love the title and cover.

Characters: Callan is a con artist and Meriel is an acrobat who’s good with knives. Gareth loves to read and research, Lachlan can obtain any resource, and Foxtail wears an eyeless mask but climbs walls with ease. They all grew on me throughout the book. I really enjoyed their interactions and conversations.

Quote:

“No job’s done till it’s paid.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages long with short chapters. The beginning sets up the upcoming heist, and the ending sets the stage for the next novel in the series. I think this story can appeal to both young and old readers. It has a fun plot that’s easy to follow, blending both fantastical and realistic elements.

Final thoughts: I didn’t anticipate some of the twists, especially at the end. I think Sands did a great job, and I’m curious to see what happens in the series. I would highly recommend Children of the Fox if you’re a fan of heist stories like Ocean’s Eleven or Six of Crows.


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