Tag Archives: thriller

Stacking the Shelves #21

24 Oct

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome back to Stacking the Shelves, a regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books!

I’ve been a bit AWOL from this meme for a few weeks, but the book gathering has continued. I signed up to the blog tour for the Rising Storm serial and unexpectedly started receiving e-ARCs via InkSlingerPR. I didn’t receive the first book, so bought that myself from Amazon after the ARCs started turning up. I now have the first six in the series, and have read and reviewed three.

risingstormI also joined the mailing list for the series and received the free prequel novella, Storm Season, by Dee Davis, which tells the story of Ginny and Jacob.

27164578While I was there, I also joined the mailing list for 1001 Dark Nights, and received the free first novella, The First Night, by Lexi Blake and M.J. Rose.

24249819Netgalley continued feeding my addiction by granting me access to the e-ARC of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever Made, by Jeff Strand. Love that cover!

26534110Also from Netgalley was All That is Lost Between Us, by Sara Foster, a new-to-me author that Netgalley recommended. Looks interesting and has a pretty purple cover.

26804824An author contacted me to read her ARC, The Marshall Plan, by Olivia Folmar Ard. It’s a sequel and I haven’t read the first book, but it looks good and features a journalist, so I’m there.

26803616 And, finally, since they were both free on Amazon, I grabbed Hide Your Heart, by local New Zealand author Tracey Alvarez, and When the Perfect Comes, by my friend and colleague, Susan Ward. Looking forward to both of these.

2517331423400297Whew! So that’s it for the last few weeks. When will I find time to read them all??? Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks. So what new books did you pick up this week? Let me know in the comments.

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Are You Still There, by Sarah Lynn Scheerger

18 Sep

25361860Format: e-ARC, 288 pages

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Published: September 1, 2015

ISBN: 9780807545577

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Every year it takes the teachers until winter break
To learn my name. That’s why I call myself
Stranger.
I am a stranger. To everyone.

Because
no one knows me.
Or notices me. Just wait.

They will notice me soon.


The day the bomb threat put the school on lockdown, Gabi was trapped in the girls’ room. It seems everything she’d been working for–the AP classes, the college applications–was about to go up in smoke.

The police found the bomb in time, but they didn’t find the bomber. Out of two thousand students at Central, the one who’s ready to explode is still at large.

The bomber could be anyone–one of Gabi’s friends or the guy she rejected or the person leaving ominous notes all over the school. It could even be one of the anonymous callers who calls the school helpline where Gabi volunteers.

And the more messages Gabi gets, the more she suspects she’s part of Stranger’s plan. Could she be the only one who can stop another attack? Or will she be the first victim of Stranger’s revenge?

My review: The subject matter of this book is important, dealing as it does with bullying and school violence. I was expecting more of a thriller, and while there were red herrings which pointed to other students at times, I had a pretty good idea from early on who “Stranger” was. The crime did take a backseat, though, to Gabi’s social life and budding romance, but I didn’t have a problem with that. I liked Gabi and could easily relate to the other characters. However, I had some qualms about some of the police procedure at times – I would have expected a metal detector would be installed after the first threat, and worried that the lead detective wasn’t easily contactable by phone – and I thought some word choices were odd towards the end of the book. I also was dying to add a question mark at the end of the title!

This was my first book by Scheerger, and I found her writing style smooth and easy to read. YA readers should have no difficulty, and there is nothing particularly graphic here. It was nice to see Gabi and her fellow students rallying together to participate in the crisis hotline and trying to include loners and students from other cliques into their circles. These are good messages for readers to take away.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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Stacking the Shelves #14

27 Jun

 

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome back to Stacking the Shelves, a regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books! Here is my haul from this week.

22611728

Purchased from iBooks

I recently read my first Gail Carriger book, which I absolutely loved, so this week I grabbed one of her short stories from iBooks, The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar. Great title!

11156712

Paperback given as a gift

It was my husband’s birthday recently and he was given Good As Dead by Mark Billingham, which he read in a couple of sittings last weekend. I have now inherited it in the pile beside my bed, so it’s the first by that author on my TBR.

21405845

Purchased from Amazon

Finally, I bought a couple of books with similar titles from Amazon so I can use them in my Goodreads reading challenges. Finding a book title that starts with the letter Z is tricky, so I snapped up Zack by M. Malone and Zack by Sawyer Bennett. I know nothing about either of these authors and purely chose the books by their titles, so I hope they’re good.

23834720

Purchased from Amazon

So that’s it for this week. Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks. So what new books did you pick up this week? Let me know in the comments.

Stacking the Shelves #12

16 Jun

 

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome back to Stacking the Shelves, a regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books! Here is my haul from this week. Late post this week as I’ve had a house full of sick people 😦

Granted Netgalley requests

Granted Netgalley requests

I got a bit carried away on Netgalley this week  – Absolute Lovers by S.J. Hooks, Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford, and Are You Still There by Sarah Lynn Scheerger. Quite an eclectic group.

25386631

Purchased from iBooks

Because I hadn’t read the first book from S.J. Hooks, I purchased Absolute Beginners from iBooks using pretty much the last of my birthday gift voucher. I’m a big fan of her free works online, so am looking forward to this series.

25567199

Purchased from Amazon

Finally, I received my Amazon pre-order of Wingmen by Daisy Prescott, which I bought because it was only 99c on Kindle and I wanted to read one story in it which – sold separately – was $3.99.

So that’s it for this week. Whew! Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks. So what new books did you pick up this week? Let me know in the comments.

A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray

5 Jun

thousand piecesFormat: audiobook, 9 hours 18 minutes, narrated by Tavia Gilbert

Publisher: HarperTeen

Published: November 4, 2014

ISBN: 9780062376541

Genre: YA fiction, science fiction

Back cover blurb: Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

My review: OMG, this is so good! All my favourite things are here: Swoony boys, time travel, czarist Russia, geekiness and pop culture references, and so much UST! There are a few red herrings which had me questioning my assumptions about who the baddies were, but even though I was correct in my suspicions, the thrills are still fast-paced and there’s a scene right at the end that had me on the edge of my seat. And that cover is just gorgeous. I can’t wait for the next book out later this year.

My rating: 5/5

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The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson

13 Mar

name of the star

Format: Kindle edition, 374 pages

Published: September 29, 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Back cover blurb: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

My review: My first Maureen Johnson book, and it was amazing. The first half was fun, milking the fish-out-of-water American girl at English boarding school angle to amusing effect, and I loved Rory’s relationships with Jazza and Jerome. That all changed in the second half, though, after she encounters the killer and realises she can sees ghosts. The Shades squad reminded me of the police in Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series, only younger, and when they take over Rory’s life her old school mates are forgotten a bit. That’s not a criticism, because the squad is hilarious and I’m really looking forward to reading more about them in the next books. That ending makes it all very intriguing.

My rating: 5/5

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Headhunters, by Jo Nesbo

4 May

Format: Paperback, 376 pages
Published: March 29, 2012 (first published 2008)
Publisher: Vintage
Back cover blurb:
Roger Brown has it all: Norway’s most successful headhunter, he is married to a beautiful gallery owner and owns a magnificent house. But he’s also a highly accomplished art thief. At a gallery opening, his wife introduces him to Clas Greve. Not only is Greve the perfect candidate for a position that Brown is recruiting for; he is also in possession of ‘The Calydonian Boar Hunt’ by Rubens, one of the most sought-after paintings in modern art history. Roger starts planning his biggest theft ever. But soon, he runs into trouble – and it’s not financial problems that are threatening to knock him over this time…
My review:
My sister has been recommending Nesbo to me for a while, so when he came to New Zealand recently I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. Now I know, and have to agree with my sister: he is well worth recommending.

Headhunters is the story of thoroughly loathsome Roger Brown, who is both a top Norwegian recruitment agency big-wig and an art thief, and what happens when he falls foul of a former Dutch counterterrorism agent who wants to find a new job. The plot twists and turns with rapid pace, shocking us with horrific violence and acts of betrayal. We dislike Roger from beginning to end, but he is more sympathetic than sociopathic Clas Greve, who seems to turn up like The Terminator no matter what is thrown at him.

I can see how this book was turned into a movie – it almost reads like a screenplay and the images are vividly written – and I would quite like to see it now I have read the source material. The scene in the outhouse may be one I will never forget.

I enjoyed this far more than Stieg Larssen, and will definitely be reading Nesbo’s Harry Hole mysteries. My sister has even given me one to get me started 🙂

My rating: 4/5

The Affair, by Lee Child

3 May

Format: Trade paperback, 432 pages
Published: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Bantam
Back cover blurb:
Everything starts somewhere. . . .For elite military cop Jack Reacher, that somewhere was Carter Crossing, Mississippi, way back in 1997. A lonely railroad track. A crime scene. A cover up. A young woman is dead, and solid evidence points to a soldier at a nearby military base. But that soldier has powerful friends in Washington. Reacher is ordered undercover—to find out everything he can, to control the local police, and then to vanish. Reacher is a good soldier. But when he gets to Carter Crossing, he finds layers no one saw coming, and the investigation spins out of control. Local sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux has a thirst for justice—and an appetite for secrets. Uncertain they can trust one another, Reacher and Deveraux reluctantly join forces. Reacher works to uncover the truth, while others try to bury it forever. The conspiracy threatens to shatter his faith in his mission, and turn him into a man to be feared.A novel of unrelenting suspense that could only come from the pen of #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, The Affair is the start of the Reacher saga, a thriller that takes Reacher—and his readers—right to the edge . . . and beyond .With Reacher, #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child has created “a series that stands in the front rank of modern thrillers” (The Washington Post).

My review:
Ah, Reacher. So that’s how you and the army parted ways. I loved this book, and couldn’t put it down – primarily because one minute I thought one person had done it, and the next I thought it was someone else, and it wasn’t until the last half a dozen pages that it was really resolved. Rather permanently resolved, in fact. Brilliant.

This one was written in the first person – Lee Child likes to alternate, having some books in first and some in third – so we got to see inside Reacher’s head, which is always a fascinating place. I love his humour, his talent with the ladies, and of course his own particular way of dealing with the bad guys. Bonuses here also include Reacher’s pals Frances Neagley (who I love from at least two previous books), Karla Dixon and Stan Lowrey (from Bad Luck and Trouble), crusty old Leon Garber, and passing mention of his brother Joe to tie the storyline in with events in the very first book, Killing Floor.

This is a great addition to Reacher’s backstory. I can’t help feeling, though, that I can see the end of the road coming for him. Then I’ll be very sad.

My rating: 5/5

Update: Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2011

2 Jan

Happy New Year, everyone! Well, I’m done with my 2011 reading challenges, and have surpassed my expectations – and those of the challenge rules – by quite a bit over the last year!

I read a lot of the mystery/thriller genre, so this challenge was ideal for me. Book Chick City‘s rules were:

  • Timeline: 01 Jan 2011 – 31 Dec 2011
  • Rules: To read TWELVE (12) mystery & suspense novels in 2011 (12 is the minimum but you can read more if you wish!)
  • You don’t have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.
  • You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.
  • At the beginning of Jan 2011, you will find a link to specific month to add your reviews. There will be a monthly prize too courtesy of the lovely Simon & Schuster – you must be signed up to the challenge and add the link to your review to be entered into the monthly prize draw.
Now, there are many different sub-genres of mystery and suspense – you can choose from the numerous sub-genres, from cosy mysteries such as Agatha Christie to the more hard-boiled kind like V I Warshawski by Sara Paretsky, or romantic suspense written by the likes of Linda Howard, forensic crime such as those written by Kathy Reichs and even paranormal/supernatural suspense such as Kelley Armstrong. I’m sure this challenge will have something for everyone!

I was lucky enough to win one of the monthly prizes – Deadly Intent by Lynda La Plante, so thank you very much Book Chick City and Simon & Schuster for the prize.

So here are my books and the links to my reviews. I managed 22 for the year – 10 more than the challenge required – yay! I’m sure I probably read others that could have fallen into the category too if I had thought a bit harder about it.

2011 Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge books:

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke – Completed January 2, 2011

2. Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child – Completed January 14, 2011

3. 61 Hours by Lee Child – Completed January 16, 2011

4. Worth Dying For by Lee Child – Completed January 20, 2011

5. Hotter After Midnight by Cynthia Eden – Completed January 26, 2011

6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – Completed February 6, 2011

7. Killing Floor by Lee Child – Completed February 17, 2011

8. Feed by Mira Grant – Completed April 14, 2011

9. Necrophenia by Robert Rankin – Completed April 17, 2011

10. Cut & Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux – Completed April 23, 2011

11. Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child – Completed April 26, 2011

12. The List by J.A. Konrath – Completed August 6, 2011

13. Echo Burning by Lee Child – Completed August 26, 2011

14. Naked in Death by J.D. Robb – Completed September 7, 2011

15. Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price – Completed October 13, 2011

16. Without Fail by Lee Child – Completed October 30, 2011

17. Criss Cross by Jordan Castillo Price – Completed November 2, 2011

18. Persuader by Lee Child – Completed November 8, 2011

19. Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke – Completed November 15, 2011

20. Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis – Completed November 18, 2011

21. Deadly Intent by Lynda La Plante – Completed December 2, 2011

22. Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke – Completed December 24, 2011

Looks like I’ll be signing up to this one again in 2012 🙂

The List, by J.A. Konrath

15 Sep

Format: Kindle Edition, 301 pages
Published: April 13, 2009
Publisher: Self-published
Back cover blurb:
JA Konrath is the author of six novels in the Lt. Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels thriller series, the latest of which is Cherry Bomb.

THE LIST is a bit of a departure for Konrath. It’s a technothriller about a group of ten people who all have tattoos of numbers on the bottoms their feet, and don’t know why.

One of them, a Chicago Homicide cop named Tom Mankowski, has had one of these strange tattoos since birth. When he investigates a violent murder and discovers the victim also has a tattooed number, it sets the ball rolling for an adventure of historic proportions.

To say more would give away too much.

Like the Jack Daniels series, The List combines laugh out loud humor with serious suspense and thrills.

If the Kindle had back jacket copy, it would read:

A billionaire Senator with money to burn…
A thirty year old science experiment, about to be revealed…
Seven people, marked for death, not for what they know, but for what they are…

History is about to repeat itself.

My review:
Fantastic premise: a group of people with numbers tattooed on their feet discover they are clones of famous historical figures, and one by one they are being murdered. Tom, a Chicago cop, is called in to investigate the death of a Thomas Edison clone and finds out he is a clone of Thomas Jefferson. Along with his partner Roy and the Albert Einstein clone, they uncover the plot and track down the other clones, some of whom are evil to the core.

Although it was full of horrendous violence, the best thing about this book was the humour. I loved Roy and Bert’s playful exchanges, especially their punch-buggy games, and Abe, the Lincoln clone, was a hoot. Anyone who suggests he and Einstein form a band and go on tour – “I’ll sing The Politics of Dancing. You can sing He Blinded Me with Science…” – is a winner in my book 🙂 And when they go to the restaurant: “Can’t we sit in a booth?” “I hate booths,” Abe winked. “Especially John Wilkes.”

The ending is exciting and surprising, and when I read the last page my first thought was “it can’t end there!” Given this was never picked up by a publisher, I doubt there will be a sequel but I certainly wish there was.

My rating: 4/5

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

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