Reading

Stolen Things – R.H. Herron | A Book Review

Stolen Things - R.H. Herron

Title: Stolen Things

Author: R.H. Herron

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone about Laurie Ahmadi, a 911 police dispatcher, who gets a call from her teenage daughter. Jojo is drugged and disoriented, having been sexually assaulted in the home of Kevin Leeds, a pro football player. As Laurie and Jojo look for Jojo’s best friend who is missing, they realize they can’t trust anyone, not even the police.

First impressions: The title and cover intrigued me. After reading the premise, I was curious to see how the story would play out. The beginning starts off at a good pace.

Characters: I enjoyed the main characters and their development throughout the novel. They make mistakes, but they’re easy to root for. I could relate to Laurie and Jojo, seeing parts of myself in both of them. I also appreciate the representation of different communities.

Quote:

“Do you know how it feels to grieve the person you love the most in the whole world?”

Writing: It’s almost 350 pages long with short, suspenseful chapters. The story is told in alternating third person perspectives between Laurie and Jojo. Some events are easier to predict, but several twists and turns surprised me. The book explores many sensitive topics like sexual assault, police brutality, and much more.

Final thoughts: Everything is revealed at the end. I’m glad that loose ends are tied up. I would recommend Stolen Things if you’re looking for a book that touches upon contemporary political and racial issues. In my opinion, it’s a heavy but worthwhile read.


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Reading

The Half Sister – Sandie Jones | A Book Review

The Half Sister - Sandie Jones

Title: The Half Sister

Author: Sandie Jones

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone that follows Kate and Lauren, two sisters who recently lost their father. One day, a young woman named Jess knocks on the door, claiming to be their half sister. The family is far as perfect as all of their secrets come to light.

First impressions: I was looking forward to reading this novel. The premise had potential for a suspenseful story.

Characters: The main characters and some of the secondary characters aren’t that likeable. I wish Kate and Lauren were more relatable. I didn’t feel as invested in them as I wanted to, especially at the start. It helped to learn more about them and their backstory. There book revolves around a lot of family drama it focuses on the relationships between the sisters, their mom, and their late father.

Quote:

“You might discover something you don’t want to find.”

Writing: The book is about 325 pages long with short chapters. It’s told in alternating viewpoints between Kate and Lauren. The plot is a little predictable, so I saw some things coming. I think it would’ve been interesting if the author included flashbacks to the past instead of just having the characters talk about what happened before in the present moment.

Final thoughts: The pacing slows down in the middle, but it picks up near the end. Many of the secrets are finally revealed. As with many mystery thrillers, readers will have to suspend disbelief at times to enjoy the plot. If you’re looking to read about family secrets, you might enjoy The Half Sister.


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Reading

The Birthday Girl – Melissa de la Cruz | A Book Review

The Birthday Girl - Melissa de la Cruz

Title: The Birthday Girl

Author: Melissa de la Cruz

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone following Ellie de Florent-Stinson who appears to have everything she’s ever wanted. She’s turning 40 years old with a great family and a glamorous career. But she has tried hard to forget her 16th birthday where everything went wrong. Everyone who matters in Ellie’s life show up at her birthday party, and the secrets from her past finally come to light.

First impressions: I like the title and cover. After reading the premise, I wanted to see how the story would play out. Not much happens at the beginning, so it starts off slow.

Characters: I didn’t find Ellie and her family all that likeable. The book is also about what happened to Ellie and her friends when they were teenagers. I wish I was more invested in the characters and their backstory, but their development fell a little flat for me.

Quote:

“And even if you earned everything you had, life was still hard.”

Writing: It’s about 275 pages with short chapters. The story alternates between Ellie’s 40th birthday party in the present and her 16th birthday in the past. Some events are easy to predict, but other elements were a little more surprising. The end of the book contains more mature and sensitive scenes.

Final thoughts: Near the end, the pacing picks up. The ending answers lingering questions about what happened to Ellie. I thought the premise had a lot of potential, but the plot wasn’t what I expected. The book is more of a dramatic mystery than a fast-paced thriller. Some parts felt like watching a reality TV show. I didn’t love The Birthday Girl, but if you’re looking to read about rich people and their problems, you might like it.


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Reading

Bring Me Back – B. A. Paris | A Book Review

Bring Me Back - B. A. Paris

Title: Bring Me Back

Author: B. A. Paris

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone about Finn and Layla, a couple on vacation. Finn stops at a service station but returns to find Layla has disappeared. Twelve years later, he is about to get married to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Everything changes when someone from his past calls to tell him that Layla might still be alive.

First impressions: I thought the premise had a lot of potential for an interesting read. The pacing at the beginning is good, but it slows down afterwards before picking up again.

Characters: The story doesn’t have too many characters, so it mainly revolves around Finn, Layla, and Ellen. They lack depth and didn’t develop much. As such, I didn’t find them likeable or relatable.

Quote:

“That’s the thing about losing someone; you tend to remember every careless remark, even those made in jest.”

Writing: The book felt a little repetitive at times. I was hoping the plot would be more unpredictable with different twists and turns. The ending didn’t take me by surprise as I saw some things coming before they happened. The author explores dark themes that are quite mature in nature.

Final thoughts: Everything is revealed at the end and loose ends are tied up. The events aren’t very realistic, so I had to suspend disbelief while reading this novel. Even though I’m a big fan of psychological thrillers, Bring Me Back wasn’t really for me. It’s still an easy read with short chapters that might entertain some readers.


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Vortex – Catherine Coulter | A Book Review

Vortex - Catherine Coulter

Title: Vortex

Author: Catherine Coulter

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the 25th book in the FBI Thriller series that follows FBI agents Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich. Mia Briscoe, a political journalist, attended a college party seven years ago where her best friend was never seen or heard from again. Olivia Hildebrandt, a CIA operative, is nearly killed on a mission in Iran and attacked at her home later. Mia and Sherlock unravel secrets that some powerful figures will do anything to keep hidden. Olivia and Savich work together to find out who compromised her mission.

First impressions: Although I haven’t read the previous books in the series, I was able to follow along easily enough. The premise piqued my interest, and the beginning sets the stage for the rest of the story. There are different mysteries and many characters involved.

Characters: I liked learning more about Mia, Sherlock, Olivia, and Savich. I was more invested in the storyline revolving around Mia and Sherlock than the others.

Quote:

“I’ve always believed each of us has infinite value, no one individual more than any other.”

Writing: It’s about 400 pages with short chapters. The plot isn’t too hard to predict, but I still enjoyed seeing the story unfold. I think the pacing isn’t too slow. Also, the novel explores some dark and serious issues.

Final thoughts: The ending ties up loose ends, and the epilogue provides even more closure. If you’re a fan of thrillers with many moving parts about politics and power, you can pick up Vortex.


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When No One is Watching – Alyssa Cole | A Book Review

When No One is Watching - Alyssa Cole

Title: When No One is Watching

Author: Alyssa Cole

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone that follows Sydney Green who lives in Brooklyn, but her neighbourhood is changing and people are disappearing. As she works on a walking tour with her new neighbour Theo, they learn that the gentrification of their community might be more sinister than anyone realizes.

First impressions: The title, cover, and premise made me curious, so I was looking forward to seeing what would happen. I feel like the pacing is slower at the start, but it picks up as the story unfolds.

Characters: The main protagonists are Sydney and Theo. I wasn’t invested in them right away, but they grew on me. Both characters have their own problems from the past that they work through individually and together. I enjoyed the conversations they had with each other.

Quote:

“Not thinking too deeply before I act has led me down some pretty bizarre paths in life.”

Writing: It’s almost 350 pages with longer chapters that alternate between the perspectives of Sydney and Theo. The language and themes are mature, so the book is more suitable for an adult audience instead of young readers. Cole explores issues such as racism, class, and inequality in an eye-opening and thought-provoking way.

Final thoughts: A lot of events happen at the end. I liked the ending more than the beginning of this novel because it was more interesting. If you’re looking for an eerie thriller about gentrification and revitalization, check out When No One is Watching.


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Reading

The 6:20 Man – David Baldacci | A Book Review

The 620 Man - David Baldacci

Title: The 6:20 Man

Author: David Baldacci

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone that follows Travis Devine, a former soldier turned financial analyst. One morning, he gets an anonymous email that one of his coworkers named Sara Ewes was found dead. To avoid a secret from his time in the army being exposed, Devine has to participate in the investigation into her death.

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

First impressions: I’m a big fan of David Baldacci, so I was excited to read his latest novel. The beginning does a good job of introducing the Devine and sharing his past.

Characters: I enjoyed learning more about the protagonist as well as other people who play a key role in the story. There are a lot of different characters, but they are distinct from one another, which makes it easy to keep track of everyone.

Quote:

“What would you do today if you knew tomorrow wasn’t coming for you?”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages with short chapters. The plot and red herrings kept me guessing all the way through. Some scenes contain graphic, gruesome moments.

Final thoughts: I didn’t see the ending coming, so it took me by surprise. There’s closure and everything makes sense. I know this is a standalone, but I would love to see Devine as the main character in a series. If you’re looking for a murder mystery set in the world of finance, I highly recommend The 6:20 Man.


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The 20th Victim – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro | A Book Review

The 20th Victim - James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Title: The 20th Victim

Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the twentieth book in the Women’s Murder Club series that follows Lindsay Boxer, an SFPD sergeant, as she investigates a string of murders. She finds out that the victims were dealing drugs, and the shooters are preparing to kill again.

First impressions: A few years ago, I read another book in the series. The premise of this one sounded promising, so I was curious to see how the story would unfold. It would be easier to pick up the books in order, but they can be read on their own.

Characters: There are a lot of different characters, so I found it tougher to keep track of everyone. The story follows a group of four women in Lindsay, Yuki, Cindy, and Claire. They work in different professions, helping to solve various crimes together. I appreciate that the main cast is diverse.

Quote:

“Now he is left to take the weight of justice alone.”

Writing: The writing is simple, and the sentences are short. It’s a little under 400 pages, but the pacing felt slower in the middle. Patterson and Paetro weave multiple storylines, and I was more invested in some than others. I think that’s partly because I haven’t read most of the other novels in the series.

Final thoughts: The ending ties up loose ends, and everything is explained. At times, I could predict what would happen next, so the twists and turns weren’t that surprising. The 20th Victim is a crime thriller with many moving parts.


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