Midnight Rescue – A mission gone wrong in this romantic suspense thriller

Midnight Rescue (Killer Instincts, #1)Midnight Rescue by Elle Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Midnight Rescue
Publisher: Signet (May 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0451236580
ISBN-13: 978-0451236586
Pages: 368
Rated: Loved It

A mission that seems to have gone wrong has Abby Sinclair in a precarious spot; Abby never makes a mistake and never gets caught, so when her boss, Noelle, is unable to contact her while undercover she gets worried and sends a mercenary team to rescue her. Abby is not pleased with the rescue effort because she was not able to complete the assignment and is determined to go back and finish what she started.

Abby was recruited by Noelle after surviving a horrific childhood; she was bouncing around several government jobs when Noelle found her, knowing about her because she knew Jeremy Thomas, the man who adopted Abby when she was a teenager and knew she was trained well. Now Abby is working with a group of women undercover all over the world as an assassin. Noelle gives her the assignment to assassinate Blanco, an arms dealer and trafficker in Columbia. While undercover Abby finds he is also dealing in other items for sale that she can’t ignore, it seems he has found a lucrative business dealing with human cargo and most of them are young girls. Abby feels the only way to stop the auction is to be a part of it so blows her cover to be taken prisoner in order to save the girls. Abby had it all planned and had a hidden key to use in case she needed it. While being tortured and threatened by Blanco’s main man, Devlin, she gouges out his eye just as the mercenaries are storming in to grab her.

Kane Woodland is a former SEAL and has been working with the mercenary team for several years and is Jim Morgan’s second in command. Abby and Kane find they have an immediate connection and although he would like to pursue it, Abby has closed herself off from all feelings and does not trust Kane enough to support his pursuit. The only thing that is on Abby’s radar at the moment is to heal from her wounds and rescue those girls from Blanco and she will do anything to achieve it. Abby talks both Noelle and Morgan into helping with her plan of rescue the girls, they even bring in a few mercenaries from other places. While planning Kane receives phone calls from Devlin asking about Abby, trying to find out where she is and as soon as he finds Abby is with Kane and the team, he will only talk to her. Devlin obtains past information about Abby, tormenting her with the pain from her past in order to bring her out of hiding so he can get his revenge.

As the team plans the rescue and Abby deals with what to do about Devlin, she and Kane grow closer together and start forming a bond. Since Abby is unable to trust, the bond is stretched thin at times as Abby takes things into her own hands, jeopardizing the rescue of the girls as well as the tenuous relationship with Kane.

A wonderful exciting story that keeps you guessing and engaged until the end as you feel a part of the team. The characters are believable and the back stories keeps your interest as you want to find out what happens in the end. I enjoyed the relationship with Kane and Abby as well as the secondary characters that also seem to have a connection that could be developed in future books, both Noelle and Morgan and Isobel and Trevor all had connections that hopefully will be in the next in the series.

View all my reviews

Gone Girl’s twisted characters and plot will have you gasping for breath

 

Gone GirlGone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Adult Suspense
Rating: Strong PG-13 for language and some mentions of sex
Coffee Beans: 4.5/5

Publisher’s Summary


Marriage can be a real killer.


One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.


On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?


As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?


With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.


My Review


As you know, I prefer YA, and when I do read outside my genre it’s usually not suspense. But….I’ve heard so many good things about this book and my friend has been on me for months to read this book. So, I found myself with an extra week on my hands and no particular book that just had to be read and reviewed, so I decided to give this one a shot.


And oh Mylanta, I’m so glad I did.

The book is told from two points of view. Nick, the husband, and Amy’s journal entries, the missing wife. The journal entries are from the past and Nick’s narrative is being told in the present, and as the story progresses, the two meet up.


The thing I found most interesting how completely different Amy and their marriage was painted between what Nick had to say and what Amy had written. It was almost as if they were talking about two entirely different people.


About a quarter of the way through came the first twist. Then, half way into the book, an even bigger twist came. I mean, both of these were completely out of the blue and had me stunned. I had about five working theories as to what happened and how the book was going to end—all very plausible, and I’m happy to say that one of my theories was right.


But I had only scratched the surface. The twist and depth that Flynn put on the story I never could have imagined by myself. The dysfunction in the relationships and the complete twistedness of the characters is fantastic. If you want a read that will drag you along and have you coming up for air, this is the one for you.


Happy reading!

Long Lankin is a fantastically chilling tale just in time for Halloween

Long LankinLong Lankin

Lindsey Barraclough

Candlewick Press (June 2012)

YA Thirller

Rating: PG-13 (for potentially scary content for some readers)

Coffee Beans: 5/5

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

Publisher’s Summary

A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss …When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida’s life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces’ arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room …A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard …A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church …Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries – before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

My Review

I’m never waiting this long to write a review for a book I love again. It was so good I thought I’d always remember about its detailed awesomeness, but I was wrong. Life intervened and I forgot most of what made this book great except for the blinding fact that it is great.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I hardly ever get scared reading books. I’m more of a visual person when it comes to being scared. But Long Lankin broke that curse. I can’t even tell you how many times that book gave me goose bumps and just that all over creepy feeling. This is one of those books that I will recommend to everyone I come in contact with and it’s one that will be added to The Shelf.

The story is told from the point of view of three different people: Cora, Roger, and Aunt Ida. Each adding different pieces of the puzzle to the eerie tale of Long Lankin and the old church in the Marshes. The point of view is mostly from Cora, with Roger coming up as a close second. Aunt Ida’s voice only makes an appearance when some especially creepy revelation needs to be made. But with all of these characters, even the ones whose voices we don’t hear, the reader is given a good, round sense of who they are and what they’re like as people.

The setting is also what makes this story. 1940’s English countryside in a small town filled with small-minded people. A haunted church that’s half sunk into the marshes, ghostly children, a scary painting, doors and windows sealed shut (let me tell you, while I was reading this, all the doors and windows in our house were shut tight), a crazy aunt, witches…the list goes on.

Be prepared for this, though: It’s a long book, and a heavy book. At 450 pages, don’t expect to just breeze through it. There’s a lot of history, names, events, etc that need to be kept track of. Half the time I felt like I needed to be taking notes to keep everything straight and to make sure I got the full impact of the storytelling.

But it was worth it. I will for sure be reading this again.

Happy Reading!

A scary ghost story for a late night

Long Lankin

Long Lankin
Lindsey Barraclough
YA Thirller
Rating: PG-13 (for potentially scary content for some readers)
Coffee Beans: 5/5
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

Publisher’s Summary
A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss …When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida’s life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces’ arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room …A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard …A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church …Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries – before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.
My Review
I’m never waiting this long to write a review for a book I love again. It was so good I thought I’d always remember about its detailed awesomeness, but I was wrong. Life intervened and I forgot most of what made this book great except for the blinding fact that it is great.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I hardly ever get scared reading books. I’m more of a visual person when it comes to being scared. But Long Lankin broke that curse. I can’t even tell you how many times that book gave me goose bumps and just that all over creepy feeling. This is one of those books that I will recommend to everyone I come in contact with and it’s one that will be added to The Shelf.
The story is told from the point of view of three different people: Cora, Roger, and Aunt Ida. Each adding different pieces of the puzzle to the eerie tale of Long Lankin and the old church in the Marshes. The point of view is mostly from Cora, with Roger coming up as a close second. Aunt Ida’s voice only makes an appearance when some especially creepy revelation needs to be made. But with all of these characters, even the ones whose voices we don’t hear, the reader is given a good, round sense of who they are and what they’re like as people.
The setting is also what makes this story. 1940’s English countryside in a small town filled with small-minded people. A haunted church that’s half sunk into the marshes, ghostly children, a scary painting, doors and windows sealed shut (let me tell you, while I was reading this, all the doors and windows in our house were shut tight), a crazy aunt, witches…the list goes on.
Be prepared for this, though: It’s a long book, and a heavy book. At 450 pages, don’t expect to just breeze through it. There’s a lot of history, names, events, etc that need to be kept track of. Half the time I felt like I needed to be taking notes to keep everything straight and to make sure I got the full impact of the storytelling.
But it was worth it. I will for sure be reading this again.
Happy Reading!


A good mystery but has an uncomfortable message from a parent to the YA audience

The Girl in the ParkThe Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This post was republished to RaeLynn Writes! at 1:01:49 PM 4/8/2012
The Girl in the Park Book Report

The Girl in the Park
Author: Mariah Fredericks
Genre: YA Mystery
Pub Date: April 24, 2012
Rating: PG-13 (partying, underage drinking, strong undercurrent of sex)
Coffee Beans: 3.5/5
Favorite Line: “The sound of her crying is like vomit; you can tell it hurts to let it out.” (pg 56, Nook);”Now the whole rotten memory comes back in a rush like vomit.” (pg 75, Nook);
Spoilers: Yes, a little about a subplot
Disclaimer: I received this ARC free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review

Publisher’s Summary:

When Wendy Geller’s body is found in Central Park after the night of a rager, newspaper headlines scream, “Death in the Park: Party Girl Found Strangled.” But shy Rain, once Wendy’s best friend, knows there was more to Wendy than just “party girl.” As she struggles to separate the friend she knew from the tangle of gossip and headlines, Rain becomes determined to discover the truth about the murder. Written in a voice at once immediate, riveting, and utterly convincing, Mariah Frederick’s mystery brilliantly exposes the cracks in this exclusive New York City world and the teenagers that move within it.

I immediately connected with this book for a number of reasons. Two of them being the voice it was written in and the fact that it reminded me of The Sky is Everywhere, and I absolutely love that book. So well written and interesting, this novel pulled me along at a speed that had me finishing the book in only a day and a half. Now, let’s get down to the specifics, shall we?

What I liked:

• The cover’s pretty stinkin’ sweet. Come on, admit it. Uber mysterious and creepy. Perfect for a book about a murder
• It reminded me of Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere, but not as deep and aching—and with a murder—but still about dealing with the loss of someone you loved and finding out they weren’t who you thought they were
• I loved how the plot kept me guessing who the killer was. By page 100, I was certain I knew who the killer was. Then, at least two other times I thought I knew who the killer was
• At first, the writing was a little scattered and abstract with all the breaks and scene shifts and flashbacks. I had to go back a few times and re-read a line or paragraph to understand what was going on, but once I got the flow of it, it was well executed and perfect.
• Lots of good lines in the writing. Good subtleties picked up on to give that extra bit of detail to the writing
• Overall the characters were pretty well-rounded. I didn’t get that deep of an understanding for any one character, except for Rain, but I knew them well enough to feel connected with them in the story

What I didn’t like:

• When Fredericks reveals the murderer, it was sort of anticlimactic for me. I was expecting them to be a little dangerous or violent when Rain figured it out. Instead, they sort of just cried about it. Not entirely believable for someone who’s life is officially over
• Rain’s mom. We don’t see much of her, which is typical of a YA novel, but when she was on stage, I wasn’t impressed. We don’t get the impression that she’s a “phone in” mom or a deadbeat. She’s a famous opera singer and they’re pretty well off. Anyway, the first time I got to be unimpressed by her is the very first page when Rain tells us she’d been at a party the night before and her mom was waking her up early and she was irritated by it because her mom knew she’d been out partying the night before and had gotten home late. The second time (SPOILER ALERT!! IT’S FOR A SUBPLOT, BUT STILL, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME, DON’T READ THIS NEXT PART!), was when her mom asked if Rain liked the teacher that walked her home and says the teacher likes her back. Instead of protecting her daughter from a potentially harmful situation, she comments that Rain should stay away BECAUSE HE’S MARRIED. Not because it’s wildly inappropriate (like any parent should say) but because she doesn’t want her SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER TO GET IN THE MIDDLE OF A MARRIAGE. I’m sorry for those of you who don’t agree (and that’s fine), but that’s the ENTIRELY wrong message to be sending to teens. On so many levels.

Okay, overall, I liked this book. It was well-written, had a compelling storyline that kept me turning the page and a main character with a great voice. Pick it up and see how you feel about it.

Happy reading, my friends!

Another active installment of the Young Sherlock Holmes, but at times it felt like I was sitting in a classroom

Rebel Fire (Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins #2)Rebel Fire by Andy Lane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating: PG
Coffee Beans: 3.5/5
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review

As true to the series, it starts with a death being witnessed. All the old characters are back, Sherlock, Matty, Virginia, Crowe, the evil head house keeper Mrs. Engaltine, and even his brother makes an appearance. And, as also is true to the series (and to the character), Sherlock almost dies quite a few times. Lane is remarkable at setting the stage for action and drama, adding details and tension. But when those times weren’t around, I felt the story was dragging along far too slowly. The dialogue was far too “maid and butler” to me (As you know, Mr. Smith is actually a jewel thief…) and I felt like my hand was being held through everything possible, like I wasn’t capable of figuring anything out for myself. I’m not gonna lie, I skimmed those parts.

Reading it was like a rollercoaster, and I’m glad there were several free-falls of excitement in the fight scenes to pull me through the lulls. As always, pick it up and read it for yourself. You may feel differently than I did.
Happy reading, my friends!

 

The Stuttering Tattoo by Greg Logsted is a good, fast-paced book from the elusive male perspective

The Stuttering TattooThe Stuttering Tattoo by Greg Logsted

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sutttering Tattoo
By Greg Logsted
YA Thriller
PG-13
4/5 coffee beans
Spoilers? Nah
Available now on ebook
Favorite line in the book: “You have to launch yourself into your passion. You have to lose yourself in your dreams. You can’t allow yourself to fall short to be less than who you are.”

This was an ARC I received through Net Galley (that really is a rockin’ site). This book is outside my normal realm of reading (I’m not really a thriller/mystery kind of gal) but the cover was awesome so I decided to give it a go; and I’m glad I did. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

Steven Bishop is extraordinarily ordinary. He goes to school. He rides his motorcycle. He stutters. His best friend is a former Colombian cartel hit man turned cook/construction worker. You know, ordinary. All that changes the day Becky Moore walks into his classroom. Becky is dazzling, enigmatic.

One day Steven gives Becky a ride home on his motorcycle. There, they discover a severed arm, one of the fingers of which still has an unusual ring attached: a circle, in the middle of which is a heart, at the center of which is a bold number 37. While comforting Becky, Steven discovers a tattoo at the base of her neck: it is the same symbol. And so begins a thrilling descent into a world of crime and murder, a ride wilder than any Steven has taken before.

So, the book opens with what I’m sure is a typical high-school daydream. As the day goes on, a new classmate, Becky, comes to school. He’s hypnotized by her beauty and strong personality, and mystery. Who is this Becky?? He ends up giving her a ride home, he loves the way she clings to him on his motorcycle (gag), they almost kiss, a tragedy occurs, and now they’re linked together in a way that propels the story forward and lets us know that Steven will do anything to keep/save Becky. While the action and hook in the first couple of chapters to get us to this point were A-MA-ZING, I truly felt this instant connection and blind devotion to Becky that follows is a little forced.

With this, we’re introduced to our main character, Steven. He’s not especially popular, actually, he’s made fun of a lot because of his stutter (although we never see that in the book). He’s 17, good looking (we’re told he resembles Johnny Depp), buff (works out in the school’s weight room every day, is amazing at martial arts (he takes lessons from Carlos, his Colombian cartel hit man friend who just happens to also be teaching the sensei of the dojo), he loves him some coffee, and he has a sweet old motorcycle. I think I like this main character. Oh, and he’s brave, and loyal, and…..anyone else think he should have flaws other than a stutter that seemingly goes unnoticed to everyone else?

Logsted is an great writer. I sped through the book at a good speed, always wanting to turn just one more page. His descriptions were really creative and really helped me open my eyes as a writer that the sky’s the limit. Examples:

• “The minute hand seems frozen, scared, as if it’s standing on the edge of a building contemplating suicide.”
• “I just look at her: she talks so fast. Joining a conversation with her would be like jumping on a moving train.”
• “She’s wearing large sunglasses, designer-type clothes, and jewelry draped around her neck and wrists like Christmas lights.”
• “I know they say all is fair in love and war but that doesn’t make sense to me. That doesn’t make something wrong right. It’s just a long dark coat of words worn by liars, thieves and cowards.”

He does a good job of getting us key points of backstory through dialogue in a realistic way. I don’t feel as if the author is cheating and using dialogue to fill me in. Instead, I feel as if I’ve walked into a discussion that Steven and his dad have had numerous times before, and this is all very natural.

There were a few parts that were hard to swallow for me in this book. The first I already told you about. The second is when Steven goes into a bar to see Becky and her band play a gig. Pretty much every high-school kid has a fake ID, so I’m okay with that part. The part I’m not really okay with is when he orders a beer, his coach from school sees him, and condones what he’s doing. When just one chapter before, he was busting Steven’s chops for not showing up to gym on time. It would’ve been more believable had the coach given him lip service and then not followed through with action. But that’s just one little thing. The third is Steven’s dad. He’s a cop—which is fine, but it always seems that every action he does, every look he gives, is a clear sign that “something was bothering him” or “a clear sign that he was angry”. As humans, we all have several characteristics that come into play when we’re upset, but in a book, it’s best to stick to one of those things as being “a clear sign” of a certain mood. I found myself rolling my eyes when they came up and thinking, “Man, Steven’s dad is a drag.”

Some events were a little jarring or predictable. There’s one part where a man turns out to be a woman, impersonating another woman, and another part where Steven gets a phone call from someone who says he “has uber important things to discuss with him” but refuses to discuss anything over the phone, telling him he’ll talk about it tomorrow. I have a note in my Nook at that point: Cue dead phone caller…..now. Yup. Next chapter, dies in a house fire.

There were a lot of analogies and metaphors and comparisons to water and swimming. When I started to take notice of this, I got pulled from the story every time one was brought up. I wonder if Logsted is a swimmer? But, I liked that each chapter had a title. So many books now just have numbers. I guess it’s easier than trying to find a clever chapter title that captures the essence of what the reader’s going to be reading next. I’m so glad The Stuttering Tattoo had them. Logsted took the titles straight out of the text of the chapter so it was fun to try and hunt them down (I’m easily amused at times).

When reading a book, you always discover things about the author. I know that Greg probably likes coffee, perhaps a bit about martial arts/working out/fighting, and knows a bit about old motorcycles. That last one is my favorite. I want one so bad. There’s a scene where he’s in a chase scene with a “rice rocket” (as his dad calls them). It was a great chase scene and broken down and described in a way that was easy to understand and follow for the layman but exciting and engaging enough to shout, “Yes!” when things crashed.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was engaging and interesting and overall believable (as much as getting mixed up with a deadly organized crime gang can be). Steven isn’t some superhero kid, he’s just has the right tools and a smart head on his shoulders and isn’t afraid when it comes to fighting for what’s right or what’s his. Great writing and likable characters, I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes this genre. It’s a great gate for YA that will lead them to Thor, Meltzer, Grisham, and Coben.

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman is big, but oh so good

The Book of Blood and ShadowThe Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Book of Blood and Shadow
Robin Wasserman
YA Suspense/Thriller
April 10th, 2012
Rating: PG-13 (strictly for the violence)
Coffee Beans: 4.5/5
Spoilers: Nope
Favorite Line: “But things don’t just fall apart. People break them.” (pg 16, ebook), “Gone is gone.” (pg 89), “The sound that ripped open the night was the sound of my heart, screaming his name.” (pg 440, ebook)
Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review
1.Awesome Book
2.REALLY long book
3.Awesome Book
4.Worth the time to read the 450 pages

It’s amazing how quickly a 450 page book can read. I remember first seeing the synopsis for this book on NetGalley and thinking, “If only I would be so lucky to get this book!” Low and behold, here we are. The synopsis that grabbed my attention:

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

The book starts off with a brief page of the MC – Nora – Looking back on how everything started, giving us hints about what’s to come. Now, I don’t like it when books do that. It lays the groundwork for me to potentially over think things and continually flip back to that page as I’m reading along, going, “What did that say again?” Anyway, it’s a small annoyance. One that can be easily overlooked.

Things I liked:

-Wasserman is a superb storyteller, and I could tell right off the bat, she’d done her research for this book. Man, was their detail and history and facts under everything she gave me! I was impressed, and intrigued. The writing was well done, with a fun, somewhat snarky air to the protag. The characters were stong and believable, the only one I wish I’d had more of was Chris, and he was the one who murdered.

I immediately connected with the voice of the narrator, Nora. She was real and entirely human. Her reactions, thinking, actions. All were things a real person in that situation might do.

-The delivery of backstory was delivered very smoothly and in a layered way.

-A character’s line about college. It made me laugh. Here it is: “Young man, no one else is going to tell you the truth, so allow me. Your education is a joke. Your classes lack quality and depth, and even if you were learning from the Athenian masters themselves, do you really think the world needs yet another term paper on the themes of proto-feminist rage in Macbeth or the structural causes of World War One? IT’s busywork, son. It’s a scam to trade your tuition money for a piece of paper that will let you go work at a bank or some company for the rest of your life, pretending that because you once read Plato, you can call yourself an educated man.” (pg 70, ebook)

-Coining the phrase “like at first sight”

-There’s a scene where Nora’s sneaking around someplace and she’s on the verge of getting caught. But she has her cell! Oh, no!!!!! Nora takes it out, covers the speaker and carefully turns the volume down. One point for team Thank-You-For-Addressing-The-Obvious!

-Wasserman’s great descriptions and imagery

-There were parts (pg 323, ebook) that made me laugh outloud

What I didn’t Like:

-The cover. Besides the fact that it really has nothing to do with the story, t looks amateurish. Based on the cover alone, if I’d seen this in the bookstore, I would’ve thought: A) middle-grade novel B) Not a thriller. It makes me sad because looking at her website, at her books’ other covers, it could be so much more.

-There were some reactions that Nora had (though not many) I felt she compartmentalized too easily. I would have liked to have seen some emotion before she locked it away in an attempt to survive.

-It was really long for a YA book. Yeah, I know, there are plenty of books out there that are around this length (Twilight, City of series, etc), but for the most part, those are drivel, mindless reads that you can just breeze by because there’s not very much substance there (don’t get mad, you know it’s true. I still like those books, but it’s true). –At times, Book of Blood almost felt too long. But I couldn’t imagine it being any shorter. Everything that was said, needed to be said(okay, maybe she could’ve done without some of those philosophical monologues towards the end there. I skimmed those). Anyway, I breezed through 121 pages in just a couple of hours.

-There were a couple of events (one in particular, page 169 ebook for those of you who’ve read the book, BUT DON’T SKIP AHEAD TO FIND OUT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT IF YOU HAVEN’T GOTTEN THERE YET! You’ll ruin a huge plot point and I don’t want you crying to me because you ruined that part f the story. :)) that seemed to come out of the blue, and I was convinced there were pages missing from my ebook preparing me for what I’d just read.

-The really long sentences

-Now, as always, heed my advice and go forth and read this book yourself. As for me, it was a good investment of time and I’ll be recommending it to friends for sure.

Happy reading, my friends!

A good Psychological Thriller with a wonderfully INSANE Villain

Lovesick

Author: J.A. Campion

Thriller/Suspense

Rating: R – Violence and Gore

Coffee Beans: 3.5/5

Favorite Line: “Blanche’s made-up mouth puckered like a pug’s bottom.” (Pg 15, ebook)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for this honest review.

The introduction and takeoff of ebooks (in case you haven’t been convinced yet) is a wonderful thing. Yes, there are some minor, negative points, but we aren’t discussing those here. Here, we’re talking about the doors ebooks have opened. They’ve made reading cheaper for the consumer, more cost effective for the distributor, and easier—distribution wise—for the producer. They’ve also made it possible for an author wanting to get their work out there into the hands of us readers. And for some, they’ve been picked up by publishers because of their success. The success that they maybe never would have seen if they’d continued to try the traditional route. Dreams are coming true, people. For example: Amanda Hocking (The Trylle Series), Susan Ee (Angel Fall), E.L. James (Fifty Shades Series), E. Lynn Harris (Invisible Life), etc.

The bottom line is, good books can be found anywhere. People who assume that a book is “crap” or “unworthy” because it isn’t traditionally published, or alternately think that just because it’s been picked up by one of the Big 6 it’s automatically worth reading or of quality, are ignorant. I’ve read some pretty hyped up Big 6 books that made me want to chuck it across the room.

Okay, rant over. *Takes deep breath*

The fact that good books (heck, GREAT books) can and are being self-published, is one of the main reasons I started reading and reviewing indie and self-published books. If it’s good, it’s good. And I’ll scream it to the world from the highest mountain top my broken little foot can climb!

Lovesick by J.A. Campion is one such book.

Official Summary:

FINDING A ROOM CAN BE MURDER

Handsome cab driver Steven Finn is looking for a room. Blanche Hunt offers him one in her run-down mansion. Seduced by its faded grandeur Steven moves in believing his luck has finally taken a turn for the better. But that’s before he meets Ellen, Blanche’s lonely, delusional daughter. Before long Steven’s casual kindness ignites a dangerous obsession in Ellen and everyone in his life becomes a target for her deadly campaign of terror.

My Review:

First off, look at that cover. I mean, seriously. That’s the way to do a self-published cover, folks. It looks professional. Which probably means the author put some money into it. Which will ALWAYS be worth the investment (especially with visual people like myself).

I’ll admit, psychological thrillers aren’t usually my cup of tea for reading. Movies yes, reading no. And if I weren’t so gosh darn excited to get review requests when I first started, I probably would have said no to this book. But I’m so glad I said yes.

Campion did a brilliant job of showing us a revolting and psychotic Ellen. This woman made my skin crawl. So much so, that I would have liked to spend a little more time in her head to fully realize how crazy she actually was. Steven’s POV was well told and strong. Although you might think that the story would be told from only their POV’s YOU’D BE WRONG. There were several (I’d say close to 10) POV’s throughout the book. I could picture this book as a Lifetime movie. Although Ellen is deranged from the beginning but I like how the author developed her actions and thinking into full psychosis. And poor, poor Steven, oblivious until the end.

It’s a long 381 pages, but that’s because there’s so much going on. At times, almost a little too much. There were some POV’s that were brought in that never really went anywhere, and although they did give me a glimpse of a little something extra going on in the story, the story would have moved along just fine without them. And I think it would have left just the right amount of blindness on our part, put us more in Steven’s shoes to experience his terror better.

So, why the 3.5? Part of the rating is fueled by the amount of POVs and the confusion of all the characters. The other part of it is head hopping within the scene. Sometimes we’d go to three different people’s heads in one scene. Overall, good book and worth the read. Pick it up on Amazon. It’s only $2.30 right now. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Happy reading, my friends!