Reading

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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Reading

The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian | A Book Review

The Flight Attendant - Chris Bohjalian

Title: The Flight Attendant

Author: Chris Bohjalian

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone that follows a flight attendant named Cassandra Bowden who wakes up next to a dead man in a Dubai hotel room. Because Cassie was drunk, she doesn’t remember much of the previous night, so she starts lying to everyone from other flight attendants to FBI agents.

First impressions: The premise made me curious as to how the story would unfold. I liked the beginning as it does a good job of introducing some of the characters.

Characters: Cassie is a flawed but interesting character who goes through a lot and develops throughout the story. Her personality is very different from mine, but at times, I felt bad for her. I found that the other characters are dynamic and not stereotypical.

Quote:

“Even the most successful people in this world make mistakes.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages with long and short chapters. There was more description than I anticipated, but the details add multiple layers to the novel. The pacing is slower at the start before picking up at the end.

Final thoughts: Some of the twists and turns surprised me. I wasn’t sure how the author would wrap everything up, but the ending is satisfying and provides closure. If you want to read a mystery thriller about memory and murder, check out The Flight Attendant.


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Reading

Bloodless – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child | A Book Review

Bloodless - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Title: Bloodless

Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the twentieth book in the Pendergast series that follows FBI Agent Pendergast and Coldmoon as they investigate a case in Savannah. Fifty years earlier, D.B. Cooper hijacked a flight with a fake bomb and collected a ransom before parachuting from the plane and disappearing into history. The agents try to determine whether the recent murders with the bodies drained of blood are somehow connected to the unsolved skyjacking mystery.

I received a reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The premise caught my attention because I was curious to see how the two different cases were related. I haven’t read any of the other books, so I didn’t realize this was a series.

Characters: I didn’t fall in love with the characters right away, but both Pendergast and Coldmoon grew on me over time. I thought the authors would tell the story from Pendergast’s perspective, but I like that more chapters are from Coldmoon’s point of view in third person. In my opinion, this choice made Pendergast a more interesting and mysterious character. There are a lot of people and moving parts.

Quote:

“And so I will return to my past—the destiny I was meant to have…”

Writing: It’s 400 pages, and most of the chapters aren’t too long. The writing is descriptive, but the pacing picks up at the end. There are some graphic and violent scenes, especially as the story progresses.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed the ending the most as it answers many questions. This horror mystery blends historical and fantastical elements together. If that sounds like your cup of tea, check out Bloodless.


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Reading

The Last High – Daniel Kalla | A Book Review

The Last High - Daniel Kalla

Title: The Last High

Author: Daniel Kalla

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone novel about a toxicologist named Dr. Julia Rees as well as a detective named Anson Chen. When multiple teenagers at the same party all overdose from fentanyl, Julie and Anson try to track down the supplier of the deadly drugs before more people die.

First impressions: I’ve never really read anything about opioids before, so I was interested to learn more. I like that the story is set in Vancouver. I thought it would be told from Julie’s and Anson’s point of view, but some chapters are about other characters.

Characters: The author explores how opioids and overdoses have far-reaching effects on many individuals. I didn’t find it difficult to keep track of who was who. I like Julie and Ason along with the diversity of the characters.

Quote:

“At times the loneliness gnaws at her, but the fear of losing everything all over again is worse than the thought of being alone.”

Writing: The book is a little under 350 pages long with short chapters. It’s an eye-opening read with some graphic and mature scenes. I enjoyed the author’s writing as he does a good job balancing description and dialogue.

Final thoughts: The ending is satisfying as it ties up loose ends. Now I’m curious to check out Kalla’s other books. If you want to learn more about drug addiction and how it affects different people, I’d recommend The Last High.


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Reading

A Minute to Midnight – David Baldacci | A Book Review

A Minute to Midnight - David Baldacci

Title: A Minute to Midnight

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s the second novel in the Atlee Pine series that follows an FBI agent as she tries to figure out what happened to her twin sister, Mercy, who was kidnapped thirty years ago. Atlee returns to her hometown in Georgia to begin her investigation. When a local woman is killed and a second murder follows, she also has to find a killer before more people die.

First impressions: I always love a good Baldacci thriller. I haven’t read the first book in this series, but I could follow along just fine. I liked the premise, so I was interested to see how the story would play out.

Characters: The story revolves around Atlee, revealing her backstory and development. I think there weren’t too many or too few characters. Overall, I enjoyed the different interactions.

Quote:

“The thing is, sometimes you think you know someone, but you really don’t.”

Writing: The book is almost 500 pages with short chapters that sometimes end in a cliffhanger. Some of the twists took me by surprise. I liked the story more and more as the plot unfolded.

Final thoughts: The ending answers some questions while setting the stage for the next book. Now I want to check out the rest of the series to see where Baldacci goes with it. If you want to read a thriller about a kidnapping and a killer in a small rural town, pick up A Minute to Midnight.


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Reading

Vanishing Acts – Jodi Picoult | A Book Review

Vanishing Acts - Jodi Picoult

Title: Vanishing Acts

Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Contemporary

About the book: It’s a standalone about Delia Hopkins who was raised by her father, Andrew. She now has a young daughter in Sophie and a fiancé in Eric. As her wedding nears, Delia begins having flashbacks of events she doesn’t recall happening to her. Soon after, a police officer knocks on her door and reveals a shocking family secret.

First impressions: I’m a fan of Picoult, so I was looking forward to reading this novel. There’s a short prologue, and the beginning introduces readers to many of the key characters.

Characters: The story follows Delia, Andrew, Eric, and Fitz. They develop a great deal throughout the book. Even the secondary characters are well fleshed out, making the plot easy to follow.

Quote:

“Maybe knowing where you belong is not equal to knowing who you are.”

Writing: Told in alternating points of view, the book is a little less than 500 pages. I enjoyed that it was broken into several sections and chapters with short scenes. I liked how the author explores interesting issues such as motherhood along with alcoholism from different perspectives. There are some graphic and violent parts in Andrew’s chapters.

Final thoughts: The ending was my favourite part with twists and turns I didn’t quite see coming. If you want to read about family as well as memory, I recommend Vanishing Acts.


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Reading

The Great Godden – Meg Rosoff | A Book Review

The Great Godden - Meg Rosoff

Title: The Great Godden

Author: Meg Rosoff

Genre: Contemporary (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s about a family who spends the summer at a holiday house by the sea. When the Godden brothers in Kit and Hugo arrive, everything changes. This coming of age novel explores the loss of innocence.

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

First impressions: The cover is interesting and drew me in. I remember reading the premise and wondering what would happen. It starts off slow, establishing the setting and introducing the different family members.

Characters: Even though the story is told from the narrator’s point of view, they are never identified by name or gender. This was an interesting choice by the author that added another layer to the story in my opinion.

The narrator’s family includes their parents, Mattie, Tamsin, and Alex who each have individual interests. I was intrigued by the two brothers who are two complete opposites: Kit is sexy, Hugo is surly.

Quote:

“After all, most of getting something is really wanting it.”

Writing: The simple writing and short chapters make it an easy read at less than 200 pages. I felt like the story focuses more on the characters than the plot, especially in the beginning. Not a lot happens at first and then everything changes all at once.

Final thoughts: The ending was quick and unexpected. I wouldn’t have minded if the author spent more time exploring the effects of the event on everyone. If you enjoy a coming of age novel about relationships and romance, consider picking up The Great Godden.


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Reading

Unknown Threat – Lynn H. Blackburn | A Book Review

Unknown Threat - Lynn H. Blackburn

Title: Unknown Threat

Author: Lynn H. Blackburn

Genre: Romantic Suspense

About the book: It’s the first in the Defend and Protect series following Faith Malone, an FBI special agent, and Luke Powell, a US Secret Service Special Agent. They have to work together to find out why someone is targeting agents and trying to kill them.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications.

First impressions: I was looking forward to reading this novel because I’ve read Blackburn before. I like the simple title and cover. The beginning piqued my interest and made me want to see how things would unfold.

Characters: I could relate to both Faith and Luke. They have an interesting relationship that develops throughout the novel. Some of the secondary characters stood out to me as well.

Quote:

“But sometimes love happens, and the joy of it is discovering how to love someone who isn’t like you at all.”

Writing: The book is under 350 pages, so it’s not too long or too short. There are some cliffhangers and surprises at the end of a few chapters. I found the plot a little disjointed and unrealistic. At times, the novel focuses more on the characters and their conversations than the case and the investigation.

Final thoughts: The ending ties up loose ends and wraps everything up quite quickly. If you want to read a romantic suspense about federal agents from different agencies teaming up to solve a quirky case, check out Unknown Threat.


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