Posted in 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Uncategorized

The Christmas Party – Mikayla Davids

If you’ve been looking for thrillers that take place during the Christmas season, look no further!

The Bailey family gathers for a reunion after ten years of not speaking. Full of secrets and a tragic past, Erin can only hope this Christmas party will help heal the gaps and bring her family back together. However, a murder throws a kink in her plans. Could one of her family members be a murderer? Or is Erin herself behind it?

I truly enjoyed this! I searched all last year for Christmas thrillers and couldn’t find one, so I’m happy to finally have one to recommend. It is a psychological thriller which is an added plus. I really liked the way the point-of-view changed throughout the novel, as well as the way we got to back up and see each scene from the other person’s point of view. The characters were well-rounded, and the depth of each main character was perfect. No one came across as shallow.

It definitely kept me guessing. The only thing I disliked about it was a few repetitive instances. On one page, the character would be thinking something, and then on the next, they would repeat the thought or scene they envisioned. It kicked me out of the story each time it happened. It’s got a slow buildup, but the foreshadowing makes it more than worth it.

I’m giving my first Christmas thriller four out of five stars. I enjoyed it thoroughly and definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About Mikayla Davids:

Found written by the author on Amazon: “I’ll let you into a little secret… Mikayla Davids isn’t my real name, it’s just the pen name I write under. I could be the person sitting opposite you on the train, furiously tapping away at a laptop, or the woman scribbling in a notebook on the table beside you in Starbucks. Everyone has their secrets. And this is mine.

But I will tell you I’ve lived and breathed fictional worlds all my life. I’ve been the child who spent hours in the library, the teenager who stayed up turning pages way into the night, the editor who poured every working hour into helping authors achieve their dreams of being published. Now I’m the secret writer.

I write psychological thrillers about family dramas, complicated relationships and ordinary moments that can suddenly turn into nightmares.”

Posted in 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Fantasy

Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard

“He holds my gaze, as if his eyes alone could set me on fire. A waste. There is nothing in me left to burn.”

We join Mare and Cal as they make their escape with the Scarlet Gaurd. Running from Maven, Mare has discovered she isn’t the only Red with a Silver’s power. There are many others like her, and she’s got a list. Determined to save them and potentially start a rebellion, Mare begins searching. There’s only one problem. Maven has the list too, and he’s ready to do anything it takes to protect the image of the throne. Who will get to them first? Can Mare save even one person from a horrible fate?

This story was gut-wrenching. The first half had shocking enough reveals to keep my head spinning. The plot development was rather slow in the beginning, though. The action really picks up in the second half. The time lapses were done well, and the suspense building is phenomenal.

Mare’s character development was outstanding. Her mental struggles are age appropriate, and she appears to age quickly in a believable way. Seeing her refer to people only two years younger than her as “kids” is strange, but given her social standing, it’s easy to understand why she’s setting herself apart. You can feel the way the world is weighing on her shoulders.

Cal’s inner turmoil as he struggles to find his alliances tears you apart. When they stand on different moral high grounds, you feel ripped between his world and Mare’s, between what’s right and wrong. Are Silver deaths worth it? How many Red’s do they have to lose? He once stated “I’m not part of your rebellion.” Will that stand?

I enjoyed this one, but it wasn’t as mind blowing as the first. I felt a lot of build-up without a satisfactory conclusion. I’ll give it four out of four stars, and I look forward to reading the next one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About Victoria Aveyard:

Victoria Aveyard is an author and screenwriter, born and raised in a small town in Western Massachusetts. She has a BFA in Writing for Film & Television from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling series, Red Queen, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Realm Breaker. The next installment in the Realm Breaker series, Blade Breaker, publishes June 28th.

She lives in Los Angeles with her partner and her dog, Indy.

Her books have been translated into over 40 languages and counting.

Posted in 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Thriller

The Prisoner – B.A. Paris

Do you ever truly know the person you marry?

Amelie had a rough childhood. After losing her parents, she runs to London to escape her past in Paris. She meets and marries a handsome billionaire, only to discover that he isn’t what he seems. He’s got a dark side to him, one that may end her life.

I was able to read this one in exchange for an honest review on NetGalley. I truly enjoyed it! Paris does a beautiful job of telling the story. I especially loved the way the two timelines came together. The transitions from past to present were flawless and kept you wanting more. The pace was decent, throwing you straight into the action and then backing up to explain.

You could feel the emotions coming off the page. Her fear was palpable, her anger substantial. The depth of the characters was outstanding, and they had the perfect amount of backstory. The descriptions were so well done I could picture each scene vividly. I liked how the story wrapped up and didn’t notice any plot holes. The end of every chapter was suspenseful enough to keep me going. I kept questioning the truth until the end, and all of my questions were answered. The ending was fantastic.

I did take away a star as I found about five errors that took me out of the story. Other than that, I loved this novel.

I give it four out of five stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About B.A. Paris :

B.A. PARIS is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed DoorsThe Breakdown, Bring Me Back, The Dilemma, and The Therapist. Having lived in France for many years, she and her husband now live in the UK. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher, and she has five daughters.

Posted in 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Psychological Thriller, Thriller

His & Hers – Alice Feeney

This book blew my mind. I never could’ve seen the ending coming. I’m gonna tell you now, a straight five out of five.

In an exciting psychological thriller, Alice Feeney takes us on the ride of a lifetime. I’ve never seen so many twists, guessed so many endings and been completely wrong. Anna Andrews is a newsreader, and she’s excellent at it. Her dream came true, and nothing much was missing from her life. When Detective Jack Harper begins to investigate a murder that rocked the town, their paths collide in unexpected ways. Who was killed? What are the connections? Most importantly… did one of them do it?

In this narrative, we get three points of view: his, hers, and the killers’. As you should know by now, I’m always a sucker for a good story written from a villain,s point of view. The voice changes were distinct, and could keep track of which character I was reading. Jack and Anna’s characters are written so well you feel like they’ve become family. They’ll worm their way into your heart before you know it. I specifically enjoyed Anna’s character development throughout the story.

The way Feeney keeps the twists coming in this book left me breathless. It feels like there is a hook at the end of every chapter! Each mind-blowing revelation keeps you engaged all the way through. I was knocked back to reality whenever I thought I knew the answer.

I absolutely love this book. As I said above, a straight 5 out of 5 stars for me.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About Alice Feeney:

Alice Feeney is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was an international bestseller, has been translated into over twenty languages. His & Hers is being adapted for screen by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films. Rock Paper Scissors is her fourth novel and is also being made into a TV series for Netflix by the producer of The Crown.

Posted in 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Psychological Thriller, Thriller Romance

You – Caroline Kepnes

What would you do for love?

Joe Goldberg is obsessed. Who isn’t when they’re falling in love? It takes up every second of your thoughts, every hour of your day. Joe, though, Joe takes it a little too far. When he meets Beck, a customer in the bookstore he manages, it’s love at first sight. He’ll do anything for her. Even commit murder.

This book was thoroughly entertaining for me. Its dark undertones fed into my need for a good thriller. Written in an absorbing first person, we truly get into the mind of a stalker. How he gets his information on her, how he sets up these “chance” meetings. He twists himself into being the good guy and it’s mind-blowing. Who could seriously talk themselves into that kind of behavior? As for the characters, Joe and Beck come across as extremely real, with Beck having a little more depth than Joe. We don’t really get a lot of background on Joe, but it works out.

A superb psychological thriller, I didn’t find much wrong with this novel. In my opinion, it’s well-written, thorough, and satisfying.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About Caroline Kepnes :

Caroline Kepnes is the New York Times bestselling author of You, Hidden Bodies, Providence and You Love Me. Her work has been translated into a multitude of languages and inspired a television series adaptation of You, currently on Netflix. Kepnes graduated from Brown University and then worked as a pop culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly and a TV writer for 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She grew up in Cape Cod, and now lives in Los Angeles.

Posted in 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Fantasy

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Do you have what it takes to overthrow a nation?

Mare Barrow lives in a two-class system: the Reds and the Silvers. Named for their blood color, Reds are workers, while Silvers are elite. Reds are normal humans, while Silvers have special powers such as telepathy, the ability to control water or fire, ,metal or teleportation.

In an exciting twist of fate, Mare ends up in the palace, where she discovers an incredible power of her own. The King and Queen quickly cover this up, forcing her into a role as a Silver. With painted skin and a unique ability, Mare learns more about the Silver class and the inner workings of the royals. When she’s asked to aid a rebellion set to overthrow the kingdom, her agreement begins a long and dangerous path toward a new future. Raised a simple Red girl, does Mare have what it takes to become a spy for the cause?

This book was so exciting to me! In a war-driven fantasy, we see behind the scenes of how a war can affect the towns and villages it’s set to defend. We get to see where the lower classes and upper classes mix and how one feeds the other. The book’s tone is so determined I found myself anxious over the next turn of events, where this would lead if there was enough time to wrap up this certain storyline.

Mare’s life as a thief is looked down upon by her family. Still, it’s the only way she feels she can contribute. Her family dynamic is written in a way that you can’t help but sympathize with Mare’s character. She lives in the shadow of her older sister, her mother and father are disappointed in her, yet her brothers adore her. When her life changes as she transfers to the palace, her wonder and amazement are felt through the words on the page. Witnessing the difference between the world she knew and the world of the Silvers is a stark contrast.

I love the way the contrast between worlds is written, as well as the way the characters come together. The world she knows and the world she comes into connect in so many discreet ways. It’s impressive to watch them unfold. I love the contrast between Maven and Cal as well. Two brothers weighed down by the pressure of a crown.

I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like about the writing style or the storyline of this one. It’s a super well-rounded book. I can’t wait to see what the next one has for us!

I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About Victoria Aveyard :

Victoria Aveyard is an author and screenwriter, born and raised in a small town in Western Massachusetts. She has a BFA in Writing for Film & Television from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling series, Red Queen, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Realm Breaker. The next installment in the Realm Breaker series, Blade Breaker, publishes June 28th.

She lives in Los Angeles with her partner and her dog, Indy.

Her books have been translated into over 40 languages and counting.

Posted in 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Murder Mystery

The Maid – Nita Prose

“That’s the trouble with pain. It’s as contagious as a disease. It spreads from the person who first endured it to those who love them most.”

Molly the Maid uniquely sees the world. She is very literal, having to be taught to read body language and facial expressions. Molly still doesn’t always get things right. When she suddenly discovers a deceased guest, her peculiar behavior leads police to believe that Molly is the murderer. As the investigation unfolds, the dark secrets of the hotel’s underbelly begin to surface. Has Molly been framed? If so, by whom? Will the actual murderer be brought to justice?

I loved the very different narrative style. Molly’s peculiarities and weird mannerisms lead the reader to see the world differently. This reads as a slow-paced murder mystery, with the action happening at the beginning. It’s broken down into days, and lets just say that Monday takes five chapters. The suspense was built in a rather unusual way. As Molly remains oblivious to what is happening around her, she notices enough detail for the reader to know precisely what is happening. So as Molly runs through her days, the reader becomes increasingly aware of the danger she’s in and the trouble brewing, while she remains clueless. You can’t help but feel sorry for her. That final twist blew me out of my seat. I was not expecting it in any way, shape, or form.

An authentic five out of five, I have nothing negative to say here. It was a great introduction into a different genre.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About Nita Prose :

Nita works in the publishing industry. She began years ago as an intern, photocopying edited manuscripts and secretly snooping the fascinating margin conversations between editors and writers. Currently, she is the vice president and editorial director at Simon & Schuster in Toronto, Canada, where she has the privilege of working with an incredible array of authors and publishing colleagues whom she credits with teaching me, manuscript by manuscript, book by book, the wondrous craft of writing.

Posted in 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Thriller, Uncategorized

Influencer Island – Kyle Rutkin

How far would you go for fame and fortune?

Several minor influencers have been invited to a private island to party with the big guys. The hot shots, the verified checkmarks, the internet celebrities. Following that will be a competition for fame: who can become the most famous of the group? After arriving, they find out that this competition has a deadly twist. Can they make it out alive?

This fantastic novel makes you look at your life as an influencer, aspiring or otherwise.

It’s a rather strange format, being laid out as if you’re reading a podcast transcript. It’s easy to get used to, though. It has a quick pace, with just enough in each chapter to keep you turning the pages for more. The first plot twist really shocked me, but not as big as that finale. You will never guess who’s behind the mask, I promise. It ends up reading as two or three stories at one point as you read from three different perspectives. Rutkin has a way of keeping your interest through each part of the story. I don’t remember a moment of boredom or waiting to get to the point. The way everything comes together is wild.

If you enjoy a quick paced mystery thriller, this is for you. I give it four out of five stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About Kyle Rutkin :

An author and storyteller for common good brands. Freelance marketing and content strategy.

Posted in 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, Science Fiction

Centers of Gravity – Marko Kloos

An epic sci-fi novel that took my breath away.

Andrew Grayson is on a mission to save the human race. Fighting against Lankies, an alien race, he and the crew have travelled millions of lightyears away from home, into a space no human has gone to before. Searching for food and water, they find a lucky break with an ice moon. Then the worst thing that could happen happens. The ice moon is infested with Lankies. Can they make it out alive? More importantly, will they ever see Earth again?

This is only my second science fiction novel to read as an adult, the first being Project Hail Mary. I thought it was wonderful. The descriptions of the alien worlds created vivid images in my mind. The peak and pace increase was painless and without fault. The comedic relief came in just the right moments, even when the grim outcomes were present. The hopelessness felt had me on the edge of my seat. Kloos has written this novel in such a way that you can feel the despair, the desire to return home, the fear of not making it out. The final plot twist was spectacular.

The pace did start out rather slowly, up until about halfway through. You need to understand the military rank structure and quite a bit of military jargon to follow along, but it isn’t a necessity.

I definitely think this was a great sci-fi novel, though it may not be for people new to the genre. I give this one four out of five stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About Marko Kloos :

Marko Kloos is the author of the Frontlines and Palladium Wars series of military Science Fiction. He is also a contributing member of George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards consortium.

Born and raised in Germany, Marko lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children. Their compound, Castle Frostbite, is patrolled by a roving pack of dachshunds.

He is represented by Evan Gregory at Ethan Ellenberg.

Posted in 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️, Psychological Thriller, Thriller Romance

The Ex – S. E. Lynes

Do second chances really happen?

Sam and Naomi were together for five years in a toxic relationship. He was absent, and she was angry. During the COVID pandemic of 2020, they spent time separated. After running into Naomi at the park one day, he meets a stunning baby boy named Tommy. Tommy has a striking resemblance to Sam. The dates line up. Is this his child?

The twist in this novel was excellent. I honestly did not see it coming until the moment before the reveal, when you’re intended to start questioning it. Something was weird with the times they were able to see each other; I knew something was up there. I really enjoyed Joyce’s character. She was an excellent character to follow.

My main concern with this book was when the tenses seemed to change. We’re reading as if Miranda is telling us the story, where she repeatedly refers to herself as ”I,” ”me,” etc. In some instances ,though, she says ”Sam tells Miranda” instead of ”Sam tells me”. The pace was extremely slow up until about 50%. After that it doesn’t get quicker, just more exciting.

I give this novel three out of five stars. It could’ve been better, but it’s still an enjoyable read.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

About S. E. Lynes :

Formerly a BBC producer, S.E. Lynes turned to writing following the birth of her third child. After completing an MA in Creative Writing, she became a tutor at Richmond Adult Community College, where she taught creative writing for over ten years. She now combines writing, mentoring and lecturing. Her debut, Valentina, was published by Blackbird Digital Books in 2016. Her next book, the dark and twisting best seller, Mother, was published by Bookouture in November 2017 and Susie has gone on to publish gripping psychological thrillers with them ever since.