In Your Sights by Elizabeth Krall

Published: 14th December 2014Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Self published
Pages: 280
Format: ebook
Genre: Romantic suspense
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

Caroline Bready is being watched. Someone has posted a photograph of her on a mysterious website.
Still struggling to rebuild her life after the unsolved death of her husband, Caroline tells herself that the photo is unimportant. She drifts into an affair with a colleague; the relationship begins casually, but quickly becomes intense and disturbing.
After Caroline discovers the first victim of a serial rapist who has begun to attack women in Sydney, another photograph appears. Are the online images a threat, or simply coincidence?
Against a backdrop of deception and lies, Caroline finds herself drawn to an enigmatic stranger. Is he protecting her, or does he mean her harm?
If Caroline cannot distinguish friend from foe, it could cost her life.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for review.

Krall’s story is one that is filled with suspense and the unexpected which makes it a wonderful read. She is great at misdirection and red herrings and creating multiple mysteries to solve. The plot is fascinating and a wonderful approach for a mystery. There is a range of things happening in this story; romance, crime, suspense and intrigue, and Krall links them together aptly and intersects them with ease.

The characters are curious, certainly odd and peculiar, and unfortunately for some I didn’t have much of a connection with. They are not flat per se, but they were bland and despite a few being given a chunk of back story, it didn’t help bring them to life.

There is the good detective who stays awake worrying about the case he cannot solve, main character Caroline who is naive and a little foolish, she isn’t the brightest person for someone working in IT, and there is the emotionally abusive fling who Caroline has no misunderstanding about his relationship with her but she still manages to be blind to some of his faults despite it being clear to others.

The characters seem to be connected to the roles they play in the story which means they have little to them when examined on their own. They are at times simple and one dimensional but I appreciated them in the story and the support they provided in continuing the narrative. The mystery and the compelling plot pull you along so in that sense the characters play their roles well which adds to the suspense.

The events of the story appear to be unconnected but with overlapping events and characters coming together, soon the unconnected becomes connected and everyone becomes a suspect. Not knowing what to expect makes this an exciting read and Krall is skilled at leading the reader in one direction only to have it stop at a dead end or veer off entirely.

Krall’s strengths are in her ability to create a captivating story that offers suspense and intrigue and an ongoing whodunit story that never is what it seems. After a reasonable beginning the events of the early chapters come together in an exciting and fast-paced conclusion that even when secrets are revealed remains a suspenseful and thrilling read.

There is sexual content in this story, some of it rougher than most, and the threat of the Redback Rapist is an ongoing topic but Krall limits her descriptions and does not describe outright the sex scenes or makes it too graphic to read. Reece’s behaviour is clearly emotionally abusive and Caroline cannot see that which is frustrating as a reader but it makes the story believable in a way. As annoying as it is, it does show how manipulative people can be in abusive relationships and makes the victim feel like they are in the wrong. Krall uses dialogue quite cleverly to show how Reece twists Caroline’s words and makes himself out to be a nicer guy than he is. From very early on it is clear that Reece is a horrible person, but the way Krall works with this is on another level entirely and makes gripping reading as a result.

The problem I have is with the ending. On one hand it was a great resolution to the story, it was unexpected and intense, but on the other hand, around a different matter, it seemed wrong. I know Krall tries to justify it, but I still think that there could have been a better direction than the one taken. Other than that this is a great story, there is enough intrigue from the beginning to get you interested and it is maintained until the last pages.

You can purchase In Your Sights via the following

Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon Aust

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Animal by Nikki Rae

Published: 28th February 2015Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Self-published
Pages: 281
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Suspense
★   ★   ★  ★  ★  – 5 Stars

Ava has spent her life running from the monsters that lurk in the shadows, always the prey. She finally thinks she can settle down, have a normal life, and work on not being so scared of the world around her. That is until she runs into her worst fear.

He has finally found the potential family he has always wanted. All he has to do is make his little bird sing. Will Ava escape with her humanity intact?

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review.

From the very beginning I adored this book and when I was still up at 3am that night finishing it I continued to adore it. I loved being able to get back into the world I knew so well from The Sunshine Series, but this time be able to see it from a whole new side and a completely new perspective.

Even though Animal features characters from The Sunshine Series, this story is not really a prequel and it is not presented as being one. While it does deal with events before those in the series, it is more a completely new story about one of the minor characters.

Animal tells the story of Ava, a girl who has been running almost her whole life until what has been chasing her finally catches up with her. What I knew about Ava was only partially explained previously, so it was fascinating and exciting to explore her past and discover where she came from and how she came to be the person you see in The Sunshine Series.

Rae tells Ava’s story with style and skill as well as multiple character perspectives which add a beautiful element to the storytelling. There is also a wonderful balance with the characters, each action and thought seems measured and calculated but there is no absence of worry or fear either. Emotions and reactions are not over exaggerated one way or the other and Rae is clever at demonstrating how each character is trying to remain in control in their own way and in their own circumstances.

This believability brings the characters to life on the page and makes you invest in them, no matter who they are. Multiple points of view allow multiple justifications to be made which also means that many times sympathies can be misplaced, though often only temporarily. With her words Rae captures you and draws you into the story and you feel like you are there alongside each character, feeling what they feel and understanding who they are. The thrill and exhilaration that I love in Rae’s writing is there as well, not to mention the unexpected and unknown, even with these familiar characters.

While Ava does not initially seem to be, she is strong and determined and brave, though she never tries to be more than who she is. She follows the rules her parents taught her and she makes sure she knows the risks of her surroundings, choosing her moves carefully, always thinking of ways out and how to survive, even manipulating her situation to her advantage and discovering where cracks can be tested.

The benefit of this story is that Ava is shown in a different light than how she is known in the series. Her story is able to be told and her character is given a greater exploration and representation than the role she has played before. As a result it makes me want to revisit the series and pay closer attention to her, now with a greater understanding of who she is and of the life she led before.

Animal is a story that is fascinating, eerie, and extremely captivating. I never once put the book down after I had begun and I was glued to each page that I read; always wondering what would happen, intrigued by what I had just read, and intense curiosity motivating me to keep going no matter what. Rae’s writing grabs you and holds your attention from the start, even with the simplest of scenes, and while you do not know where the story will go, you still try and guess what will happen. Something I should know better than to do with one of Rae’s stories.

 

Nikki is running a giveaway to win signed paperbacks and ecopies of Animal!

You can get all the details on how to enter here.

Giveaway

 

 You can purchase Animal via the following:

Amazon

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Cover Reveal: Animal by Nikki Rae

Reveal

Today I am very pleased to reveal the cover of Nikki Rae’s latest novel, Animal. Animal is a New Adult Paranormal Suspense (with dark romance elements) and is located in the same world and involves many of the same characters from her other books in The Sunshine Series.

There are links galore below ranging from the book trailer and a giveaway to numerous links to check out Nikki and her other works in all the places possible. There is also a sneaky teaser to give you a taste.

I am  participating in the blog tour for this release and my review is going up next week so be sure to check that out as well, but in the meantime check out some of Nikki’s other works, and enjoy and explore all the goodies below!

Animal is released 28th February 2015

animal ecover

 

Synopsis:
Ava has spent her life running from the monsters that lurk in the shadows, always the prey. She finally thinks she can settle down, have a normal life, and work on not being so scared of the world around her. That is until she runs into her worst fear. 
He has finally found the potential family he has always wanted. All he has to do is make his little bird sing. Will Ava escape with her humanity intact?

 

Animal teaser

 

All Your Bits and Pieces Needs
Giveaway
Book Trailer

 

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The Liar Charms by Lorain O’Neil

Published: 12th December 2013 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Self-published
Pages: 226
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult Suspense
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

Remy’s been kidnapped. Sent to auction! And she doesn’t have the vaguest idea why.

But intractable businessman Isaiah Grommet knows, knows what he’s purchased, knows what Remy was bred for, knows what she is: a Liar Charm. Some training from Pakken, Inc., and Remy will be invaluable to his billionaire’s empire. Voluntary or not.

But hipster Remy has her own snarkily colorful ideas about enslaved servitude and she’s NOT seeking corporate approval. So as long as Pakken doesn’t find out what Remy REALLY is, what Isaiah accidentally did that regrettably requires her immediate execution, Remy might just land it all smack in the Hudson! Either way, get ready for Charmocalypse, Isaiah!

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading but by the end I was fascinated and wanted more.  The story is humorous and there is a wonderful level of sarcasm and defiance that makes it an entertaining read.

 The concept is intriguing and well thought out, and the characters are unique. O’Neil uses the dialogue and narrative well to establish who characters are and what kinds of people they are, and while not every character is explored as much as others it doesn’t really matter because an understanding of who they are is evident without needing more detail.

The narrative is written with three points of view and while it can be briefly confusing working out who is narrating when it switches, it doesn’t take long to work out. This is a great approach as various perspectives of the same issue can be expressed and there is not just a “victim” or a “villain” point of view.

The writing is clever and O’Neil is very good at making sure the reader’s sympathies are in the right place. The goal is always to root for the underdog but the writing is so well constructed that there are a lot of times when you almost have sympathy for Isaiah and find yourself coming around to his way of thinking. But what I loved is that every time I found myself almost understanding Isaiah, Remy would say or do something that sling shotted my support back to her.

Remy is a wonderful character, she is smart and resourceful, but she is also clever, calculating, and extremely patient. She is determined to do what she has to do in order to improve her current situation no matter what the cost. Remy’s intellect is evident throughout as well and she is aware of how Isaiah and others try to manipulate her and her emotions in order to gain sympathy or lull her into compliance. This is where Isaiah’s words become quite convincing and you realise how easy it would be for Remy to accept her fate.

In terms of the Charms and their abilities, their purpose and capabilities are explored seamlessly through the narrative. Any explanation that is required is worked into the dialogue and narrative eliminating any awkward paragraphs in order to explain things to the reader. From the start it is hinted at that Remy is more special than most, and when this reason is finally revealed we are given insight into what this means but I would have loved to have seen this explored further. There is enough to make it interesting and it is quite clearly explained but the story is so intriguing that there is always a desire to have more information and see more of Remy’s abilities demonstrated and see her wreak some havoc.

This was the case towards the end as well; while the conclusion was done well, I would have loved to have had the story drawn out further and expanded on. Having said that, the way O’Neil concludes the story is wonderful and I finished it wanting to never finish it which is never a bad thing.

You can purchase Liar Charms via the following

Amazon

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Unrelenting Nightmare by Stan Yocum

Published: 31st December 2013
Goodreads badgePublisher: iUniverse.com
Pages: 330
Format: Paperback
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

Stuart Garrison, a brilliant virtual reality software developer, has his company poised on the threshold of industry dominance with the release of his newest virtual reality system–Next World. Among his competitors is Preston McBraid, the cutthroat CEO of a rival company. McBraid realizes that if he does not own Next World, his company is bound to lose its premier position atop the computer industry.

Driven by desperation and greed, McBraid hires the notorious Nomed, a highly sought-after assassin who commands millions to kill a target. The FBI learns of the assassination plot and intervenes to protect Stuart. He in turn quickly augments the FBI team, hiring two security specialists as additional defense: a monster of a man, nicknamed Superman–and Alex Nichols, an expert in the field of security. Stuart clings desperately to the hope that he can make it though the onslaught of Nomed’s assassination attempts. If he does, his next ingenious virtual reality product–Mind Games–will blow the world away with its originality and staggering mass appeal, and catapult Stuart to the top of the computer industry as its reigning czar, and make him a billionaire many times over.

In this gripping suspense thriller, the wannabe czar of the computer industry is unwittingly catapulted into a deadly cat-and-mouse game against the infamous Nomed, and only time will tell who is clever enough to survive

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review

Unrelenting Nightmare is a story that grabs your attention from the very first page but then surprises you and shatters your expectations before you have even finished the first chapter. This level of unexpectedness continues through the story but not in so much that it is the main focus and takes away from the story itself. The thrilling nature is there as well as the suspense, but Yocum balances both these elements well, placing the right amount in all the right places and always with a purpose.

The story focuses on numerous perspectives around the same unfolding event but essentially follows Nomed, an assassin for hire who has been hired to kill a prominent software developer. What I found really interesting was that I often found myself unsure of who to root for. Typically when there is a story about an assassin hunting down and trying to kill an innocent person you’re supposed to hope he fails and the would-be victim gets spared, but I was surprised this was not always the case.

Nomed is a character who you can’t help but admire in terms of his creativity and his methods in his jobs. He works hard to make sure he is not caught but he also has a tendency to add some drama or flair to his work. This need for flair can be his downfall sometimes, his desire to be creative often distract from the task at hand and prolong his jobs when things do not go according to plan. Nomed is ruthless and smart, and what I loved about him was how Yocum sets up his character so that anything really could happen, and does, and even when everything seems clear there is another level of surprise in store.

Intended target Stuart, on the other hand, wavered in my eyes in terms of my sympathy. While I initially felt bad that he was being hunted by Nomed, you soon realise how annoying he can be and I found myself wishing Nomed would just take him out. This is where my conflictions came about, sometimes Stuart was so difficult and frustrating that I wanted him gone; it almost felt justified in a way, then of course something else happens and you wish Nomed would get caught before he can complete his job.

The clash of character personalities adds a great realism to the story though; people are all different, situations can be difficult, and when no one knows how or when Nomed is going to strike there is tension and a lot of waiting. All of Yocum’s characters are wonderfully real and they all bring something to the story to give it a bit more depth, reality, or intrigue. What was good about having a character like Stuart was that it highlights the difficulties Alex and the FBI have in trying to keep him safe and it makes the story quite captivating. He is determined to do what he wants and they must work around him and deal with him being stubborn meaning there are more risks involved than him happily complying to stay locked indoors all day.

The determination and unpredictability of Nomed also makes for an intriguing story because danger is never where you expect it and Yocum’s writing is filled with the unexpected and numerous surprises to keep you on your toes. There really is no way you can ignore how creative and ingenious Yocum has been in developing this story, not just with his depiction of Nomed, but also how everything that happens has a purpose whether you realise it at the time or not. Every element and action fits together wonderfully, making a seemingly simple story more intricate and the skill in which Yocum executes these makes the narrative a lot more compelling and a highly enjoyable read.

You can purchase Unrelenting Nightmare via the following

iUniverse

Amazon

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