The Middleman By Olen Steinhauer | A Book Review

Title: The Middleman

Author: Olen Steinhauer

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s about a radical group and focuses on four different characters. I received an ARC from the Goodreads giveaway program.

First impressions: I’m all for a good suspenseful thriller, but this wasn’t what I expected. I thought the story would be progress at a faster pace, but things started off slow.

I didn’t know what the novel was about at first. Once I had a better understanding of the story, I started to appreciate it a little more.

Characters: The main players include an undercover agent, a writer, an investigator, and a woman who gets involved with the organization.

I didn’t love anyone right away. I wasn’t even sure who were the good guys versus the bad ones until later. Some of them grew on me though.

Quote:

“…the key to success was neither genius nor brute force but persistence.”

Writing: I’m a fan of short chapters because oftentimes, they build suspense. The author doesn’t make anything too explicit until the end. He lets you arrive at your own conclusions. I enjoyed having to piece everything together myself.

Final thoughts: The Middleman isn’t your typical fast-paced read. I’d classify it as a political thriller that comments on the United States. Many of the issues addressed have relevance in contemporary society.

It’s certainly not a book for everyone. I recommend it to those who have some interest in American history and politics.

Overall, I recognized some references but missed others. The novel is more eye-opening than anything.


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Beneath The Surface By Lynn H. Blackburn | A Book Review

Title: Beneath The Surface

Author: Lynn H. Blackburn

Genre: Romantic Suspense

About the book: It’s the first in a series called Dive Team Investigations. A nurse named Leigh Weston has her life threatened on more than one occasion while homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, discovers a dead body in the ocean. When they discover a link between the killer and Leigh, Ryan tries to solve the murder in addition to protecting her at the same time.

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

First impressions: There’s a cool diving scene in the beginning, which grabbed my attention right away because I’ve never read anything like it.

Characters:  Most of the characters, even the secondary ones, are likeable. To be honest, I thought the antagonist would have a more prominent role in the story.

I spotted a lot of common tropes like the protective older brother, which is one of my favourites. Even though he’s in another country for most of the novel, I adored his relationship with Leigh.

Quote:

“Love isn’t something you explain…”

Writing: I’m not the biggest fan of romance, so I found myself wishing the author spent a little more time on the other storylines instead. That being said, the romantic scenes only escalate to kissing, so it isn’t too bad.

The red herrings didn’t really work for me either. But I enjoyed the banter between characters. It made for some funny lines that eased some tension.

Final thoughts: I wanted more explanation regarding the killer’s motivations since the resolution with the villain feels a bit unresolved in my opinion.

If you’re interested in a novel that blends romance and suspense, consider reading Beneath The Surface.


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Get To Know The Reader

Why do you love books?

What’s there not to love?

Why do you read?

To escape from the real world. Fictional ones are better anyway

What’s your favourite genre?

Anything suspenseful. Crime. Mystery. Thriller.

What’s your least favourite genre? 

Romance. At times, it’s a bit repetitive.

When do you read?

I tend to read in the morning or afternoon. Natural light all the way.

Where do you read?

In my room, in my bed.

Do you have a favourite author?

I can’t choose one. But I like David Baldacci, Pierce Brown, Sarah J. Maas, and Jodi Picoult.

Do you have a reading routine?

Kind of. I wash my hands before reading since I’m a bona fide germaphobe. I update my Goodreads status after (if I remember).

10 Reasons Why You Should Buy Books

  1. Support other authors. Artists supporting artists will never get old.
  2. Writing novels is hard. Reading stories is not.
  3. Add to your ever growing to-be-read list. May you get to all of them one day.
  4. Escape the real world. Fictional worlds are the best.
  5. Walking out of a bookstore empty-handed is wrong. I don’t make the rules.
  6. Take cute pictures. Do it for your Instagram feed.
  7. Books are magical. Experience that magic first-hand.
  8. You need a distraction. For all the times you need to forget about how you embarrassed yourself in front of your colleagues or crush.
  9. Make new friends. Get this, you don’t even have to leave your house.
  10. You only love your bed and your books. I’m too old to make references to pop culture.

Falling In Love With Ebooks

I’ll be the first to admit I’m old-school, super traditional. I also describe myself as a stubborn person with specific habits.

Which is why for the longest time, I never even read an ebook, much less reached for one. But last year, I discovered I don’t mind them as much as I thought I did. So now I’m a fan.

I still and will forever love physical books. Nothing can replace the experience of turning real pages. Too bad they aren’t as portable as ebooks.

As someone who takes the bus and train, I love having a collection of books on my phone. I’m never truly alone then.

While in transit, I tend to pore over non-fiction. I love fiction, but I don’t love having to stop in the middle of a chapter when I reach my destination. With non-fiction, regardless of where I left off, I find it easier to pick up at a later point.

Both print and digital books have their pros, their cons. Either way, we can use the format that best suit our preferences or lifestyles.

Admittedly, I haven’t given audiobooks a go. Part of me wonders if I ever will. But it’s great to know that many people out there love listening to them.

I don’t own a dedicated e-reader of any kind. My phone does a decent enough job. But if anyone wants to get me one, I wouldn’t be opposed.

No matter the form it takes, reading is a wonderful thing. I will never be against anyone who loves any and all kinds of books.

As You Wish By Chelsea Sedoti | A Book Review

Title: As You Wish

Author: Chelsea Sedoti

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult

About the book: It’s a standalone novel. In a small desert town, everyone makes one wish at eighteen years old that’s guaranteed to come true. Eldon, however, doesn’t know what to wish for. I received a copy from the Goodreads giveaway program.

First impressions: I liked the premise and enjoyed the beginning of the book. The story had an easy-going feel to it.

Characters: The protagonist is so flawed, but at times, I couldn’t help but feel bad for Eldon. He messes up and makes mistakes. By the end of the novel, I think he developed more than I expected him to.

At first, I wasn’t too sure what to make of the odd, uncommon names. In retrospect, they made the characters more memorable.

Quote:

“I wonder what it must feel like to care about something so strongly that you want it simply for the sake of having it in your life.”

Writing: The prose is simple and easy to read. Sedoti does a decent job emulating the voice of a teen male. There’s quite a bit of swearing as a result.

I was pleased with the lack of romance at the start, but there’s some in the middle and towards the end. That said, I like the larger focus on friendships, especially between Eldon and his best friend, Merrill.

The author brings up a ton of different and mature issues such as grief. Even though the book isn’t perfect, they’re good things to take away from it.

Final thoughts: As You Wish strikes me as a good spring or summer read. Check it out if you like contemporary YA novels with a slight twist.


Do you have an arc or galley I should read? Check out my Book Review Policy.

Feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

How To Read Every Day

Throw your phone away. Toss it into the trash. Take the garbage out. Right now.

Throw your TV out the window. Watching movies isn’t the same as reading books.

Throw your sleep schedule out the door. Let’s be honest, some days you’re going to stay up until the sun rises. It’s okay. Who needs to sleep anyway? Any reader of great literature knows the answer to that rhetorical question.

Throw your computer off the roof. Laptops and tablets have to go too. Any kind of distraction is no bueno.

Throw your car off a cliff. You can’t read while you’re driving. You shouldn’t anyway. Just stay home and enjoy a novel or ten.

Throw your gaming consoles at friends. Then grab some popcorn.

Throw your work at co-workers. Less working, more reading.

Throw yourself into another country. The alternative is to throw everyone you know as far as possible.

Throw me into a cell. I hope reading my bad posts doesn’t take time away from reading good books.

84K By Claire North | A Book Review

Title: 84K

Author: Claire North

Genre: Science Fiction

About the book: It’s a standalone sci-fi novel where rich people can commit crimes and pay them off instead of get punished. I received an advanced reader copy from Hachette.

First impressions: I had no idea what to expect, but I was taken aback by the writing style. Nevertheless, the story slowly but surely started to grow on me.

Characters: By the end of the novel, I liked the characters more than I did at the beginning. Theo, the protagonist, wasn’t the easiest guy to root for at first, but in my opinion, he redeems himself.

Quote:

“Did you think that kindness is born of terror?”

Writing: North writes in a unique but fragmented way. She uses line breaks to format some of her prose like a poem. I found her style a bit challenging, even confusing. Even so, I think the author compels readers to slow down and ask questions. I enjoyed part two more than part one because pieces of the plot start to fall into place.

Final thoughts: The ending provides some closure but also leaves room for individual interpretation. Although some things went over my head, I appreciate the work as a whole.

North’s latest book is a tough but worthwhile read. 84K comes out on May 22, 2018. If the story sounds like your cup of tea, consider pre-ordering it.


Do you have an arc or galley I should read? Check out my Book Review Policy.

Feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading.

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The Husband Hour By Jamie Brenner | A Book Review

Title: The Husband Hour

Author: Jamie Brenner

Genre: Contemporary

About the book: It’s a standalone novel set during the summer in a beach town. I received an advanced reader copy from Hachette.

First impressions: I liked the premise of the novel. To my surprise, it kept me in suspense, so I continued turning the pages.

Characters: Lauren becomes a widow after her husband, Rory, dies in combat. I’m fond of the fact that everyone—dead and alive—has their flaws.

The characters grew on me, especially Lauren’s sister, Stephanie, and her father, Howard. They make mistakes like everyone else.

Quote:

“I think when you want something badly enough, you make it happen.”

Writing: The narrative jumps back and forth between the past and present.

I enjoyed the sports angle with Rory being a professional athlete who suffers a head injury. It’s a relevant issue that Brenner handles well.

Final thoughts: I saw some things coming, but I didn’t see quite possibly the biggest twist of all. That being said, the book ends the way I expected it to.

I recommend the novel to those interested in contemporary fiction with a focus on family relationships.

The Husband Hour comes out on April 24, 2018. It’d make for a great summer read.


Do you have an arc or galley I should read? Check out my Book Review Policy.

Feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

How To Read Every Day: Do’s And Don’ts

Do throw your phone into the ocean.

Or drop it onto the ground until you shatter the screen. When your phone looks like a spider web and you can’t even see what’s on it, you’ll be less inclined to spend hours on your device. Instead, you’ll pick up a book. I speak from experience. It’s too painful on my poor eyes. I’ve dropped my phone more times than I can count. Besides, the more cracks my screen has, the more words I read. Hence, this tip is successful and definitely won’t set you back about fifty dollars.

Don’t make friends.

If someone tries to befriend you, run in the other direction. Never ever look back. Besides, fictional characters make the best friends. You don’t need to know people in real life anyway. If reading about characters isn’t enough, consider creating your own.

Do buy more books than any other human beings.

Buy until your wallet cries. Even and especially when you have a pile of unread novels on your nightstand. Purchase all kinds of books, so when the mood strikes, you’ll have a good story ready to go. That way you have no excuse not to read every day.

Don’t have a normal sleep schedule.

Normal is over-rated. Who needs to sleep when you have books to read? You know that one more chapter means you’ll reach the last one, even though you just started this novel two days ago.

On a more serious note, read what you want, when you want, where you want, and how you want. Doing so will help make the reading experience more enjoyable.