Welcome back readers!
Today, I'll be discussing Riley Sager first thriller, Final Girls.
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on a cabin vacation with friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of the infamous club—a group of survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a dropout's knife; Sam, who fought the Sack Man at a motel in the late hours of the night; and now Quincy, who ran through the forest to escape the man she only refers to as Him.
Now, Quincy is doing well—thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring partner, a popular baking blog, a beautiful apartment, and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the officer who saved her life all those years ago.
Despite this, her memory won’t allow her to recall the events of that dreaded night; the past is sealed shut... That is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit; and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep.
Okay readers... Riley Sager is officially one of my favorite thriller authors.
For weeks, my bookstagram peers advised me to pick up one of his novels, and after finally doing so, I am absolutely blown away.
Sager's writing hooks readers from the very first chapter. His word choice is concise yet colorful, and his characters, such as Quincy, Coop, and Samantha, are complex and extremely intriguing.
Despite this, what makes most readers fully engrossed in Final Girls is the plot itself. Sager creates and develops four gruesome scenes, including the sorority massacre and the Pine Cottage murders, which make Final Girls absolutely unputdownable.
Sager's first thriller is also brilliant in that the pace of the novel makes it a true "thriller." From the first chapter, the protagonist recounts narratives that serve to keep readers both on edge and tremendously interested. As the plot progresses, clues and secrets are revealed throughout the chapters that increase the momentum of the story. By the time the climax comes around, there is an intense sense of danger, as if something horrible is about to happen at any moment.
Nonetheless, Final Girls' mind blowing and sincerely heartbreaking ending is what makes the novel a standout, 5-star pick.
Sager's first thriller is superb from the first word to the very last; I can't recommend it enough.
If you enjoy gory, fast-paced thrillers, pick up a copy of Final Girls! Already read it? Let's chat!
Today, I'll be discussing BOTM's August mystery pick, Sweet Littles Lies.
Sweet Littles Lies by Caz Frear
Twenty-six-year-old Detective Cat Kinsella is called to the scene of a crime in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, where she discovers that a young housewife has been brutally murdered.
Cat and her team immediately suspect the woman’s husband, until she receives a mysterious phone call that links the victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier. The call raises uneasy memories for Cat—her family met Maryanne while on holiday, right before she vanished. Though she was only a child, Cat knew that her father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about Maryanne or her disappearance.
Did her father do something to the teenage girl all those years ago? Could he have taken part in a murder now?
Did you pick up a copy of Caz Frear's debut novel?
Get ready for my honest review of this police procedural!
Sweet Littles Lies is an interesting piece. While there's no doubt that the plot of the story is intriguing and enticing, it's not particularly standout.
Caz Frear's writing style is a mix of concise and eloquent word choice. Although her diction and syntax may not be quite direct and brief, it isn't detailed to the point of distraction either. Instead, Frear's writing can be described as a combination of A.J. Finn's and Tana French's writing styles!
Along with her fine word choice, the author also manages to accurately demonstrate the steps taken by detectives to solve a crime. By doing this, Frear develops a realistic and unique narrative.
Sweet Little Lies features a genuine depiction of the police force, a detailed and gruesome murder, shocking crimes, and dozens of secrets. The amazing storyline is what will keep audiences interested until the very end!
Despite this, the pace of the novel is a downfall. Although the second half is captivating and fast-paced, Sweet Little Lies is, unquestionably, a slow burner.
Along with the slow pace, the cast of characters isn't too impressive either. Whilst the strong personalities of Maryanne Doyle, Cat Kinsella, and Gina Hicks are magnificent, there are many characters that prove quite irrelevant to the story.
Nonetheless, Sweet Littles Lies is a good read that features an alluring storyline and strong, female characters. Although the mystery is quite predictable, many will find it enjoyable to uncover all the hidden clues.
I wouldn't recommend this novel to readers looking for a quick, twisted thriller. Instead, I would suggest Sweet Little Lies to readers who enjoy police procedurals and descriptive, detective crime novels.
Have you read Frear's debut novel? Share your thoughts below!
Welcome back to AZE!
Today, I'll be discussing my thoughts on Patrick Canning's latest novel, The Colonel and the Bee.
Thank you Evolved Publishing, LLC and Patrick Canning for the free reader copy in exchange for my honest review!
The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning
Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than what her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world.
One night, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix's show. This fascinating English gentleman is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon, The Ox.
That night, Beatrix flees to join the Colonel, the two of them making a narrow escape. Feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, Beatrix vows to help him catch the murderous criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his balloon.
Will this peculiar match find what they desire?
The Colonel and the Bee is not my kind of read, but it's a good read nonetheless.
Patrick Canning's latest novel features an eloquent writing style, similar to that of traditional, contemporary novels. His word choice perfectly conveys the magical world he's created—a surprising combination that can be described as Wizard of Oz meets Around the World in 80 Days. Canning's latest novel was written for readers who are ready to travel to another world and let their imaginations roam. It combines adventure and mystery, but most importantly, it features magnificent characters.
The best element of The Colonel and the Bee is, unquestionably, the various personalities found throughout the novel. James Bacchus is charming and determined, while Beatrix is bold and strong-willed. Even though Beatrix faces mistreatment, she is unapologetically herself. Canning's decision to create such a strong, female protagonist is admired and refreshing.
Despite the fact that The Colonel and the Bee is a good novel, it's not the kind of book I consider gripping. The storyline is unique and the characters are marvelous, but Canning's traditional writing style drove away my attention and interest at times.
However, as I've mentioned in other pieces, my fondness of concise, modern diction is simply a preference. There is no doubt that Canning is a tremendous author.
The Colonel and the Bee is an exceptional pick for readers who enjoy a traditional writing style, such as that of Arthur Conan Doyle.
If this review has intrigued you, check out Canning's latest novel on Goodreads or on https://www.patrickcanningbooks.com/
Already read The Colonel and the Bee? Share your thoughts below!
Time to chat, thriller readers!
Today, I'll be discussing my thoughts on the latest B.A. Paris.
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car and goes inside. But when he returns, Layla is gone―never to be seen again.
Ten years later, Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them together years ago. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him, but a sixth sense tells him something's wrong...
After what felt like forever, I finally got my hands on the new B.A. Paris (and check out the breathtaking cover).
I was quite hesitant to pick this novel up because of its mixed reviews. Many found the plot repetitive while others disagreed with the ending. However, there were plenty of readers, like me, who loved Bring Me Back and were not at all disappointed.
Those of you who have kept up with AZE since the beginning know that B.A. Paris is one of my go-to authors. There are very few writers who can create graphic, lifelike characters and stories while making you feel as if you're living the narrative from the inside. Paris' past novels took readers on thrilling and suspenseful journeys; Bring Me Back is no different.
This novel features an enticing and captivating story, one that will have you turning pages so quickly that you'll have finished before you know it.
The characters, however, are what make Bring Me Back an unputdownable novel. Throughout the book you will find yourself suspecting each and every single character. You'll try to come up with theories of what exactly happened to Layla, but you'll be wrong. The only thing that is certain is that everyone in this story has something to hide.
Bring Me Back is a great pick for fans of thrillers, mysteries, and whodunnits. Paris' latest novel will have you on the edge of your seat, craving the truth.
If you've read mixed reviews and are unsure of picking up a copy, I hope this discussion has convinced you. Take the chance and check it out for yourself!
Welcome to AZE readers,
Today, I'll be discussing my thoughts on a July 2018 release: Green Zone Jack.
A BIG thanks to East Third Street Press, LLC, I. James Bertolina, and Ryder for sending me a free copy in exchange for my honest review.
Let's get to rating!
Green Zone Jack by I. James Bertolini
Just back from an assignment and looking forward to his vacation, special agent Payton Ladd receives an urgent request to lead a manhunt in Baghdad. Ben Ater, nephew of a powerful senator, has disappeared, and the RSO, Ladd's ex girlfriend, needs Payton to find him.
Once in Baghdad, Payton retraces Ben’s steps and speaks to those who claim to know why the young auditor mysteriously left the Green Zone. But the explanation that Ben was dealing drugs doesn’t explain why he went missing in the Red Zone, a place he had no business being.
As Payton continues to dig, he uncovers pieces of the puzzle that don’t fit, and suddenly, he's convinced that Ben wasn’t kidnapped over anything as simple as a drug deal.
With the help a perfectly organized task force, Payton uncovers a conspiracy that could topple nations.
After reading the synopsis of Green Zone Jack, I found myself intrigued by this military mystery. As most of you know, I usually read thrillers, mysteries, crime, or detective novels. Despite the fact that Bertolina's latest novel is classified as a mystery, GZJ proved to be outside my comfort zone.
Although I found myself overwhelmed by the military jargon, I was able to focus on the overall story... who doesn't enjoy a conspiracy?
The most unique element of this novel is the author's diction and writing style. While Bertolina's word choice isn't concise, it's not immensely detailed either. Green Zone Jack also features a variety of military jargon which makes it very different from other novels in the mystery genre. Because of this, GZJ is an interesting and refreshing read for individuals who are familiar with or interested in the armed forces.
Aside from the unique writing style and engaging storyline, the wide variety of characters featured in the novel were a bit of a distraction. Nonetheless, the development of the primary characters, such as Payton Ladd and Catherine McGabe, was superb.
Green Zone Jack is a great read for readers interested in the armed forces and even individuals who have served! Despite this, I wouldn't recommend this book to readers simply looking for a mystery or crime book. If you are familiar with military argot and want to dive into the world of crime, order a copy of Green Zone Jack!
Hello book lovers!
Today, I'll be discussing my thoughts on beloved thriller pick, The Wife Between Us.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
“When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement—a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Here's the deal readers... I did not enjoy The Wife Between Us as much as I thought I would.
I had been dying to get my hands on a copy of this novel for ages, and when I finally picked it up, my peers assured me I would absolutely love it.
Unfortunately, The Wife Between Us fell flat.
While the writing was concise and vibrant and the characters were exceptionally lifelike, the story itself was uneventful and predictable. I blame this predictability on the book's blurb, not the narrative itself.
If the synopsis would not warn readers about "making assumptions" the twists would be genuinely shocking and enjoyable, resulting in a much better reading experience. Unfortunately, the "warnings" made it easy to figure out the pivotal moments that were meant to make The Wife Between Us an enthralling tale.
Despite the novel missing the element of surprise, I also felt that it lacked suspense and thrill. Although this novel is categorized as a psychological thriller and mystery, I felt that it lacked both of these elements. There was no moment in which I felt shock, tension, or even a sense of eeriness.
There's no doubt that The Wife Between Us is a good novel and a great choice for readers looking for a quick read. However, I would not recommend this novel to anyone looking for a thriller or mystery.
Here's some tips that might help enrich your reading experience with The Wife Between Us:
1. Ignore the synopsis
2. Don't think try to figure out the ending, just read.
3. Don't pick this up thinking it's a mystery or thriller; instead, think of it as contemporary fiction.
Have you read The Wife Between Us? Share what you thought below!
Welcome back book friends!
Today, I'll be discussing my FAVORITE Gillian Flynn novel, Dark Places.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” Despite being in the house during the attack, Libby survived and testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer.
Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby in hopes of uncovering details of the crime that may help to free Ben.
Libby, who hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history, agrees to reconnect with faces from her past and report her findings to the club—for a hefty fee.
Unfortunately, Libby wouldn’t have imagined that she’d find herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
WHOA. This is what I call an unputdownable novel.
Dark Places is packed with shocking twists, dirty secrets, and striking characters.
From the moment the story begins, Flynn takes readers on a twisted tale of murder, betrayal, and deception. Dark Places is violent, gory, and sinister—everything that a thriller fanatic could possibly want in a novel.
Not only is Flynn's piece driven by its captivating plot, Dark Places is surprisingly character-based. The combination of its fascinating storyline along with its featured authentic, lively characters, such as Diondra Wertzner and Krissy Cates, makes this book one to remember.
Although there's no doubt that Dark Places is a brilliant, I was quite disappointed with the outcome of the novel.
The narrative was thrilling and enticing... until the last 40 pages. There's no better way to explain the ending other than that it was simply anticlimactic. While it wasn't as dreadful and upsetting as Gone Girl, the ending of Dark Places can be described as unrealistic and seemingly irrelevant to the plot. Despite this, I absolutely loved the book and would recommend it to all thriller and mystery fanatics.
Which Gillian Flynn is your favorite? Let's chat down below!