Pub Writes

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Posts Tagged ‘thriller’

Mini-Reviews

Posted by Caitie F on February 6, 2015

It is that time again – mini reviews because I have less time!

Title: I Heart NYHeart NY
Author: Lindsey Kelk
eBook: 322 pages
Pub Date: Sept 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

.When you’re running away from a broken heart, there’s only one place to go…Adjusting tiaras at the foot of the aisle, Angela and her best friend prepare for the wedding of the year. But events don’t go as planned. And when a girl is in possession of a crumpled bridesmaid dress – and can’t go home – New York (for the very first time) seems like an excellent idea.

Angela’s new friend Jenny Lopez gives Angela a whirlwind tour of the city that never sleeps, and a makeover. Who hasn’t dreamed of starting afresh with a sassy New York wardrobe, a new haircut and a trip to the make-up counter? Before she knows it, the new Angela is getting over her broken heart by having dinner with two different boys. And, best of all, she gets to write about it in her fabulous new blog. But it’s one thing telling readers all about your romantic dilemmas. It’s another trying to figure them out for yourself!

Review:

This book was….fine. It is a fun romance, but it didn’t feel like anything that special. It was such a love letter to New York, which was fun, but it wasn’t a unique love letter. The obsession with bags and shoes just irritated me, mostly because I don’t know anyone who is that obsessed with their accessories.

Things came a little to easy to Angela. She arrives makes a new BFF (who happens to have her roommate moving out) instantly, she meets guys right away, and lands a job without much work. The stakes were never that high and the choice felt obvious.

It wasn’t bad – if you are looking for a fun, quick romance you should read it, I just expected more from it.

Title: Redshirtsredshirts
Author: John Scalzi
Hardcover: 320 pages
Pub Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Tor Books
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that:
(1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces
(2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations
(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives

Review:

This is one of the most fun books i have ever read! if you like science fiction at all, you should read it. If you have ever enjoyed an episode of Star Trek, why haven’t you read it yet? It took me a while and I regret not reading it sooner.

I am not going to spoil anything, but pick this book up. It is so much fun to read. I laughed out loud so many times and the writing is brilliant.

Title: I Am Not a Serial Killerserial
Author: Dan Wells
Hardcover: 272 pages
Pub Date: March 2010
Publisher: Tor Books
Rating: ++

Summary from goodreads:

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential. He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat—and to appreciate what that difference means. Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Review:

So this book was not what I was expecting. It starts off as one thing and then turned into something completely different, which I found disappointing. The second it changed over, i lost almost all interest in the book. The writing is fine, and I found the main character fascinating, but it just wasn’t for me.

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Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

Posted by Caitie F on September 22, 2014

Title: Tabula Rasa
Author: Kristen Lippert-Martin
Hardcover: Sept 23. 2014
Pub Date: 352 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this heart-pounding debut.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.

But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.

Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.

Review:

I have mentioned that I am always looking for young adult thrillers, so when I saw “Bourne Identity meets Divergent” I was excited. I was hoping for a crazy fast-paced book with killer action scenes.

And that is exactly what I got. The book was so exciting. There were bad guys with guns. There were good guys with guns. There were crazy fight scenes and gun battles that had me on the edge of my seat and it was absolutely impossible to put the book down. I skipped lunch to finish that book.

Is the book perfect? No. There are a lot of plot devices, but it was so exciting that I did not even care. It was just like action movies – things have to be done or taken in x amount of time to add suspense and risk. And that is okay, it just took me out of the story for a second.

The hospital and what they are doing there is kind of mind blowing. The more I found out, the scarier it was. I could totally see some people trying to do it…and being manipulative with it to hurt people they didn’t like.

My only issue with the book was that the end felt like an info dump. Someone explains everything they did and how they did it, like it was a Scooby Doo cartoon. I think it could have been done a little better, but it didn’t ruin the book.

If you are looking for a fast-paced action thriller that will keep you guessing, pick this up!

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Furious Jones and the Assassin’s Secret by Tim Kehoe

Posted by Caitie F on April 3, 2014

Title: Furious Jones and the Assassin’s Secret18051141
Author: Tim Kehoe
Hardcover: 336 pages
Pub Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

When his dad’s book turns out to contain deadly secrets, twelve-year-old Furious Jones is thrust into a web of mystery and danger in this gripping page-turner.

Furious Jones, the twelve-year-old son of a famous thriller writer, lives with his grandfather after his mother was mysteriously gunned down right in front of him a year ago. Curious to know more about his estranged dad, he goes to see him speak about his upcoming novel to a packed audience—and to his shock and horror, he witnesses his father get shot as well.

When Furious discovers that his dad’s upcoming novel contains dangerous and fiercely protected secrets, he sets out to discover who killed his father, and what exactly they were trying to cover up

Review:

One genre that has been missing from middle grade books with a young adult crossover is the classic thriller. There are great mysteries, but not many that are more towards the thriller side. Furious Jones fills this gap really well and is a great book for the future fans of Baldacci, Flynn, and the like. Readers who like this will go on to read all the backlist of the most popular thriller writers, or it will remind those of us that are older that popular thrillers can be fun.

That said, there is murder and danger in this book, so know that going into it. It isn’t particularly graphic, but people get murdered by some pretty bad guys and it isn’t pretty. There are also several murders that are made to look like accidents. If a kid has a gory imagination, it could be quite gross. There were a couple images that haven’t left my mind – think Sweeney Todd, but into cat food or hay balers. *shudder*

This is a very fast-paced book. There isn’t much time to hunt down the bad guys and save the  people who spoke out against the organized crime. You will probably read it in one or two sittings.

The side characters aren’t all that well-developed, but it is what you expect in a book like this. If you like thrillers and middle grade books, this is a great choice and a great way to introduce readers to the thriller genre.

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The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by Caitie F on February 18, 2014

Title: The Naturals 13597723
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: Nov 5. 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive

Review:

This book is about teenagers who can use and grow their natural abilities to help solve cold cases. It is a thriller about a serial killer who has gotten on the inside and is going after one of them.

Do you really need to know anything else?  Because that is pretty awesome.

Okay, here is a little more: the characters are complex and well-rounded, even that start out as a little comic relief. They are smart, but they are no where near perfect. Their mistakes cause real problems and they were all thrust into tough lives early. Learning their backstories add so much to the characters and the way it is done feels so natural.

There is a little from the serial killer each chapter and it is chilling. It is one of those books that is hard to put down because of those sections.

This is exactly what a young adult mystery/thriller should be. If you are a fan of the genre at any age, pick this one up!

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Codename Zero by Chris Rylander

Posted by Caitie F on February 2, 2014

Title: Codename Zerocodename
Author: Chris Rylander
Hardcover: 368 pages
Pub Date: Feb 4, 2014
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

There are places in the world where heroes are born. There are places where brave men and women fight a never-ending battle against evil in order to keep our country and all other countries safe. There are places where the fate of our planet is being decided, even now as we speak, the consequences of which will echo through history.

None of these places are in North Dakota.

Carson Fender, seventh grader and notorious prankster, knows this. He’s lived in North Dakota for his entire life, going to the same boring school every day, the same boring movie theater every week, and the same boring state fair every year. Nothing ever changes, and nothing ever happens. That is, until today. Because today a desperate man is going to hand him a package with a dire set of instructions. And that package is going to lead Carson to discover that there’s a secret government agency operating in his small, quiet North Dakota hometown.

Review:

Thrillers are coming to middle grade and it is not a moment too soon! I am so excited to see this genre moving into this age group. I really think middle school kids are going to love it.

This is a very exciting and funny book. Carson is a great kid. He is the prankster of the school, the pranker who is smart enough to not get caught. Reading about what he has pulled will make readers crack up. I know I wasn’t that clever when I was his age, but there are kids who are. This humor stays with the book, even when things get a more serious, which is perfect for middle grade.

The pace of this book is very fast, as most thrillers are. The story really moves along and there isn’t too much waiting to find out what is really happening. It doesn’t get dragged on, which will help new readers to the genre get hooked. The action is also great. Sure, it isn’t realistic, but neither is the idea that a kid is going to help out a government agency. The action scenes are easy to follow, and very exciting.

Every with this being a fun thriller, it still has a great message without being a message book. Carson has to help out another kid and bring him into his group of friends. This kid is very different from Carson, but he learns that he is still a great person to be friends with.

Codename Zero is a great middle grade thriller that will get the age group hooked on the genre.

 

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Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Posted by Caitie F on December 29, 2013

Title: Reconstructing Amelia18090062
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Paperback: 380 pages
Pub Date:April 2, 2013
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Rating: +++++

Summary from Publisher:

Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter—now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.

Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.

Review:

When this came out earlier this year, it got rave reviews from a lot of bloggers I really like, so when I was making my Christmas list this year I knew this had to be on it! I read the entire book in one day and even stayed up late to finish it even though I was exhausted.

I could not put it down. I actually gasped towards the end, which doesn’t happen very often. There were so many twists and turns that it was impossible to suspect just one person of lying. It was so creatively written too. It was written in both the past with Amelia’s perspective and the present with Kate. Amelia’s story used Facebook posts, text messages, and emails to tell part of her story, which just added to the authenticity of the characters. This author gets teenagers.

The characters are fantastic. The reader can feel empathy for all of them while remaining critical of their choices. Kate is one of my favorite characters in a mystery ever. She balances her tough job and being a mother pretty well, but Amelia is a teenager and never feels like it is the right time. Amelia feels like a real teenager dealing with real problems. She is smart and kind, but also confused and lonely. She is so complex and any reader will want to befriend or protect her as you read what happened before she died.

Some of the villains are pretty villainous and some are just trying to get by or connect with other. I just wanted to yell at some of the characters for not talking to anyone about what was going on – both adults and teens. It was irritating, but it felt so realistic for people with their money and egos. There were a few characters that were worse than the others because they should have known better. The book made me happy for my public school upbringing.

This is the best thriller I read all year and one of the best books. I liked Gone Girl but this was way better. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. I wish we could do this for my book club because it would be perfect.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Posted by Caitie F on April 21, 2013

TItle: Gone GirlGone Girl
Author: GIllian Flynn
Hardcover: 416 pages
Pub Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Crown
Rating: ++++

Summary from publisher:

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?

Review:

It took me a while to read this book and it feels like everyone had recommended  it  – from friends and family to fellow bloggers to all of my favorite authors. It may be the most recommended book in the past year!  I will be passing it on to someone else because it really is that good.

But it is not for those who are easily disturbed because the book is quite disturbing. The main characters are terrible, horrible people. I mean they are probably sociopaths. At times, you feel sympathy for one of the other, but they are just both so terrible that you hope bad things happen to them.

Yet somehow, even with hating them, I loved the book because Flynn makes it so suspenseful and intriguing. Her writing is phenomenal and blew me away. I don’t know how she got into these characters heads, but it is really a great journey.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending is disappointing. It would have been a five star book, but the ending changed that.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you really should. it is a fantastic thriller and I look forward to reading Flynn’s other two books.

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The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis

Posted by Caitie F on September 8, 2012

Title: The Malice of Fortune
Author: Michael Ennis
Hardcover: 400 pages
Pub Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

A sweeping, intense historical thriller starring two of the great minds of Renaissance Italy: Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Based on a real historical mystery, and involving serial murder and a gruesome cat and mouse game at the highest levels of the Church — it was the era of the infamous Borgia.

This is an epic tale exploring the backdrop of the most controversial work of the Italian Renaissance, The Prince. Here, Niccolò Machiavelli, the great “scientist” of human behaviour becomes, in effect, the first criminal profiler, while his contemporary and sometime colleague, the erratic genius Leonardo da Vinci, brings his observational powers to the increasingly desperate hunt for a brilliant, terrifying serial murderer. Their foil and partner is the exquisite Damiata, scholar and courtesan. All three know their quarry is someone who holds enormous power, both to tear Italy apart, and destroy each of their most beloved dreams. And every thrilling step is based on historical fact.

Review:

Usually, when I finish a book, I immediately know what I want to rate it. This one, not so much. This isn’t quite “go out and get it” but is more than “if the premise sounds good, go get it”. I think that if you like historical, suspenseful mystery/thrillers, you will like this book, yet it more literary than most books in that genre.

I didn’t like that it moved slowly at points. It took me about 60 pages to get into the story since there was so much that had to be set up and revealed before you could really get into the mystery and the characters that I found most interesting: Machiavelli and da Vinci. I thought the courtesan, Damiata, added a twist to the story and I loved how the reader never really completely knows what she knows, but she also distracted from the characters I loved most.

I love reading about Italy, it is one of my must-visit place in the world. But I am glad I wasn’t living in this Italy. There is war, rape, and lots and lots of murder. It is not a bright and happy Italy, it is a vicious and scary Italy which, while not a place you want to go, is exciting to read about.

The mystery had me turning the pages well past when I should have stopped. It was great because you never had all of the information. There was so much secrecy and dishonesty that it helped carry the intrigue until the end. It was also very graphic. The serial killer did not leave his victims in one piece.

Overall, it was a very good piece of historical fiction. I like that the author used primary sources when investigating all of this for himself. Who knows if his assumed perpetrator is the right one, but it sure made for an exciting read, other than some very very slow chapters.

My other problem? I have never read The Prince and now I want to.

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