Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts

Monday 26 June 2017

Review Time! - Such a Good Girl by Amanda K Morgan

(Warning: This review contains discussions of child abuse, domestic abuse, and sexual abuse, amongst other such heavy topics.)

Such a Good Girl title image

flower divider

Title: Such a Good Girl

Author: Amanda K Morgan

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Crime*, Thriller* (*ish)

Release Date: 20th June 2017

Amazon: UK - USA

Saturday 3 December 2016

Charity Reading Challenge Update - November 2016

It's been a long time since I've been able to do an update for this challenge. Luckily, this month, I can!

Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Duration: January 2016-December 2016

The Challenge:

'Read for a good cause!

Buy books at a charity shop, or, even a friends of the library book sale, or, donate a certain percentage of money for each book you read for the challenge.

You can choose your own goal of how many books to read, what charity you'll be donating money towards, how much money, etc.'

The full rules can be found on Becky's Book Reviews here.

My sign-up post can be read here.

November 2016

Number of books read so far: 3/10* (*total revised down to 10 from 20 - because I just wasn't going to make 20!)

This Month: 1

Title: Airport: Code Red by Michael White & James Patterson

Price: £0.25

Charity Helped:

The Red Cross -

The Red Cross does so much excellent work that it's hard to pin it down to one sentence -

they're there for crises big or small, providing emergency relief, aid, medical care, and tackling loneliness, protecting refugees, and training people in first aid.

Check out their website @

They are active both within the UK and internationally

You can shop with The Red Cross on the high street, or on their online gift-shop here.

You can also donate directly (inc. to specific appeals) here.

My Thoughts on the Book:

I don't say this often. But I'd advise pretty much anyone to not read this book.

It's hugely Islamophobic from start to finish. I was hoping for something - anything - to provide some sort of counterbalance. But no.

What we have here is flimsy stereotypes and racist tropes, combined with a totally offensive scene where the Qur'an is thrown across the floor for no purpose other than antagonising a terrorist. Islam and terrorism is treated as one and the same throughout.

And we also have a good slab of sexism - just because.

The only reason I finished this book is because it's short and I'm woefully behind on this challenge. Save yourselves the pain.

I honestly can't believe a book published in 2016... strike that. It's 2016. *sigh*

I won't be buying any more James Patterson books 1st hand - charity shops only, even if I do read any of his others.

And this is going straight back to the donate pile. Maybe it can do some good there.

Total money raised for various causes: £4.49

Charities Helped: Fund for a local child, Oxfam, and The Red Cross.

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Tuesday 1 November 2016

Month In Review(s) - October 2016

October is over!!! And I'm sure most of you are currently stuffed with sweets and/or chocolate from Halloween.

So, without further ado my dearest nerdlets - let's get this wrap-up started!

October was a pretty cr*ppy month for me, depression-wise, but I'm lucky enough to have a) family, b) The Bestie, and c) all of you guys.

Seriously, I appreciate you guys a butt-tonne! You make me smile :)

And even though someone who I once considered cool - a fellow bookworm in fact - unfollowed me when I tweeted about LGBTQ+ things, the number of people actually doing that has reduced from what was happening last month.

This is possibly because I've put Sexually Fluid/Queer on my Twitter bio - so the a*shole bigots probably aren't following me to begin with.

And the very lastest day of this month saw my two-year blog anniversary! And with over 40k pageviews over all, and over 7k pageviews this month, DORA is still going strong (and I'm so surprised and happy, you honestly wouldn't believe it!)

So, to the books I reviewed this month:

Young Adult

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley - historical fiction, LGBTQ+ (F/F)


Star-Shot by Mary-Ann Constantine - magic realism*, sci-fi* (*ish)

Comics/Graphic Novels

Bread and Butter #1 - contemporary

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Mini-Review! - Finders Keepers by Stephen King

Title: Finders Keepers

Author: Stephen King

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Series: Bill Hodges #2

Amazon: UK - USA


After reading the first book in this series, Mr Mercedes, a little while back, I wanted to read the sequel.

So, yes, this book is a sequel.

It's actually very different in terms of tone to Mr Mercedes - the central crime-fighting team takes a bit of a back-seat to the plot here - but I actually would recommend reading Mr Mercedes first, rather than reading this as standalone.

(This advice is coming to you from someone who reads most series in a random order according to mood and what book was in the library.

So people who like things organised - and you know who you are - you will definitely want to read Mr Mercedes first.)

This though, is not a book that's that much about our main characters.

I know, that sounds crazy. But this is a book where the central characters of this series are very much in the background.

Instead, our focus is on a decades-old crime, (which, a la Mr Mercedes, we already know the perpetrator of,) and it's unforeseen affect on a teenager from the present day.

This is a tale of literary obsession which bookish folks will recognise as the potential frightening extremity of fandom. This is about the power of words, and people who will literally kill to possess them.

Because this is what happens when the teenage Peter Saubers finds the missing notebooks of a murdered literary genius. This is what happens when the person who hid them wants those notebooks back...

This isn't for the faint of heart - but then, it's Stephen King; even though it's not horror as such, you probably guessed that it was going to be dark.

I found the final showdown pretty disturbing, in honesty. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing ;) But yeah, I actually flinched; it was pretty damn vivid.

There's loads of violence, a shed-load of swearing, and slurs of various sorts from some pretty horrible people.

There's also a lot of reference to rape - there's a lot of rape-as-incidental-plot-point in this book. It's not gratuitous, but it's also very uncomfortable.

I'm glad that black character Jerome is phasing out his jive-talking alter-ego (who consciously came out whenever Jerome decided to act like a jack-a*s,) because that was one of the things that bugged me most about the previous book.

A white dude writing a black character who liked to mock negative stereotypes by inhabiting those stereotypes was a very fine line to tread, and I'm glad that aspect of Jerome's character seems to be falling by the wayside.

I still love our female crime-fighter Holly - the sidekick to main character, ex-cop Bill. She's fab.

She's strong, smart, and has OCD and anxiety problems. And she still kicks a*s.

Allow me to indulge myself in an awesome heroine with mental health problems, ok? ;)

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Wednesday 1 June 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Codename Baboushka, Vol 1: The Conclave of Death

Title: Codename Baboushka, Volume 1: The Conclave of Death

Author: Antony Johnston

Contributors: Shari Chankhamma, Simon Bowland

Genre: Graphic Novel, Spy, Gangster, Thriller, Crime

Series: Codename Baboushka

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

I decided to give this a shot because of the cover: it has this kind of cool Russian-vibe going on, and it looked intriguing.

Sometimes, particularly with graphic novels, I really don't need any more than that.


Femme fatale Baboushka is retired from the Russian crime-boss game. Until US intelligence want her to do them a favour, that is.

They don't give her much of a choice.

So it's time for the kick-as* Russian countess to get back in the game - it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Best bits:

A weird thing to start on, but I'm just gonna go with it: I really loved the chapter title pages.

They had that whole 007 title-sequence deal going on, with a colour-scheme of red, black, and white, and it just worked.

The style of the artwork in general had its own uniqueness - which is always good in a world where it's hard to be original in anything. I would've preferred a little more depth and shadow to the art, but that's a personal thing.

Baboushka herself is awesome - and I was impressed by how much she managed to move out of the shadow of that other leather-clad Russian comics heroine, The Black Widow.

The page layouts (and this sounds like such a geeky thing to talk about, but when something's done well, it's done well,) were really thought-out and affective.

The flow of the panels worked and there had clearly been some thought put into the backgrounds and the whole look and feel of the page. I appreciate it when some effort has been put in!

Also, the matryoshka (Russian nesting-doll) weapons rocked!

Not so great bits:

To the Russian elephant in the room: the similarities between Baboushka and The Black Widow.

They are there, no question about it - the leather outfit, the fact that they're Russian, the unbeatable skills, the mysterious back-story, the stand-out hair colour (Baboushka's is white where Widow's is red, but the affect is much the same,) etc. etc.

Criticisms of Baboushka as a Black Widow mirror-image are valid.

But somehow it doesn't feel like it when you're reading.

Yes, they are very similar - but Baboushka is not Widow, she has a different feel to her character, and a different story, and there's the potential for them to move further apart in the future.

Black Widow casts a big shadow - and while I think the extent to which Baboushka manages to move out from that is admirable, I can't help but think that Marvel's Natasha Romanoff will always be in the back of the reader's mind.

There's a some (very, very, mild) swearing ('bl**dy',) and a lot of gore and violence here - so if that's not your thing, then this is probably not for you.


I enjoyed this - it brought a spark of originality to a character who could just have been a cheap imitation.

Baboushka, though, may never shake of Natasha Romanoff's spectre.

I hope she does. Because she has the potential to be truly great.

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Saturday 5 March 2016

Review Time! - Mr Mercedes by Stephen King

Mr Mercedes book coverTitle: Mr Mercedes

Author: Stephen King

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Series: Bill Hodges (#1)

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I'm a fan of (good) crime novels, and a fan of Stephen King - put the two together, and we're ready to roll!


Bill Hodges is a retired cop. But there's one case which he just can't let go - the Mercedes Massacre.

Now 'Mr Mercedes,' the psychopath who perpetrated the crime, has made contact. Bill should pass on what he knows. But...

Best bits:

I actually really liked the way we know from early on who the Mercedes Killer is, while Bill Hodges doesn't. This could have gone terribly wrong - but it didn't, because Stephen King has the talent and skill to pull this off.

So what we have here, instead of a 'whodunnit' is a cat-and-mouse chase - will Bill manage to figure out who Mr Mercedes is in time? That's the hook here. And it's done supremely well.

What I also really loved was the inclusion of main characters with mental health problems.

Bill clearly has depression issues post-retirement, and Holly - well, Holly rocks. I would have loved to have her come in earlier in the book, but meh, c'est la vie - what we have with Holly in particular though is a realistic and individual character with mental health problems. Who I love. She's my new hero.

Also worth mentioning is Jerome - another main character - who just so happens to be black. Diversity rocks.

There's also - alongside references to King's own books - a reference to Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box, which did my fangirling heart good to see.

Not so great bits:

This is a Stephen King book: if you want rainbows, bunnies, and unicorns, find another author. There's everything here from incest and bombs to child murder and suicidal thoughts. Bunnies and unicorns it ain't.

There's also a fair amount of violence and gore. And swearing.

There's instances of the 'n' word, even though we're not supposed to be on the side of the guy who uses it, it's still not OK. 

And Jerome himself plays-up to racial stereotypes, but in a fooling-around teenage-idiot kind of way. Still, written by a white author... it's awkward.


A great book that uses all of King's talent and experience to add something that seems genuinely fresh and new to the genre.

I really enjoyed it - and loved that the depth King always gives to his characters was present here.

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Wednesday 16 December 2015

Hitler's Germany Through My Letterbox

Received another fab-looking book today in the post from UK publishers Headline (in exchange for a fair and honest review, ofc.)

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman is a YA novel about a girl who was once a member of Hitler's inner-circle, and now must return to Germany in order to save the boy she loves, journalist Daniel Cohen.

Looks like there's some conspiracy, some stuff that's all action-y, and some historical stuff. Good stuff all round then. You know I'm a sucker for an intriguing premise.

This is a sequel to Blankman's previous book, Prisoner of Night and Fog. I haven't read that book, so am hoping this can be read stand-alone (and I don't see why it shouldn't be! Goddammit!)

So, expect a review in the (hopefully) near-future.

Buy Now UK - Buy Now USA - Goodreads - Author's Site

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Reviewing the Evidence Time - Exposure by Kathy and Brendan Reichs

Title: Exposure (US Link)
Author: Kathy and Brendan Reichs
Genre: crime, sci-fi, thriller, YA
Series: Virals (#4)

Kathy Reichs YA - ExposureA few starting notes:

Exposure is the fourth book of the Virals series - as such, my golden rule for reviewing sequels applies. The level of spoilerage will not go beyond what's revealed in the blurb of this book.

I'm a big fan of Kathy Reichs, and I picked this up in the library because I love the Virals series.


Tory Brennan and her friends, known collectively (to themselves at least,) as 'the Virals,' are searching for classmates. Peter and Lucy, the twins, have been missing for days - and the police seem at a loss. But, it's not going to be easy to find them, particularly not with their Viral powers becoming increasingly unreliable...

Best bits:

This is kind of like The Famous Five or Mystery Inc meets CSI. Translation: awesome. This is teens solving crime with forensic knowledge and sci-fi hijinks going on. It rocks.

Tory Brennan is a fantastic heroine - smart, with a fabulous sense of humour, and a hell of a lot of determination. She's also likeable - which is refreshing, as often YA heroines are more than slightly irritating.

The plot twists and turns with pin-point precision, with few weak links to go around. The entire thing is handled with control, and the sparse prose is done incredibly well (people who have read this blog before may or may not be aware of my love affair with well-executed, sparse, prose.) The level of detail, as always with Reichs' books, is interesting and accurate - Reichs knows her stuff, to the extent that she can compress that knowledge into relatable facts with seeming ease.

Not so great bits:

Some fans of Reichs' adult books won't approve of the sci-fi elements of the Virals series - but many, (like me,) will be totally happy to just accept it and move on.

It's not so much as a love triangle but a love rectangle here - don't get me wrong, Tory rocks, but why are there so many dudes following her round in a state of puppy love? Argh! At least it largely stays out the way of the plot.

Whitney - Tory's father's girlfriend - is intensely irritating. Granted, she's supposed to be, but unless someone slaps her... and soon... I think I may have to scream. Loudly. :)

While theoretically you could read this as a stand-alone, I do recommend giving the Virals series the full treatment - you'll just understand everything so much better that way.


A fantastic and hugely enjoyable continuation of the series, this has peril, crime, forensics, teen kick-asses, and a whole lot of readable-ness! Enjoy.

Friday 22 May 2015

Reviewing the evidence time - Cross

Title: Cross (US Link)
Author: James Patterson
Genre: Crime, Blow-y Up-y, Thriller
Series: Alex Cross

A few starting notes:

This is #12 in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. I'm not going to lie, I hadn't read any of this series before and just sort of dove in at the deep-end.

James Patterson, as most people will be aware, is a pretty damned prolific writer. It's near impossible to even comprehend the ridiculously large amount of books this feller writes. Most of them are in a genre which I have decided to re-name blow-y up-y. I guarantee that it's an excellent descriptor.


Alex Cross - the crime-hunting psychologist loved by many - is tracking a rapist. This particular series of serial rapes may have something to do with the murder of his wife about a decade previously. Giving up on this one is not likely to be an option.

Of course, there's also connections to the mob, an attempt by Alex to re-open his therapy practice, and some psychological issues of his own to deal with.

Best bits:

The short, sharp chapters and cliff-hanger chapter endings are what Patterson excels at. This means you can jam a chapter into a TV ad break without losing the thread of the story. And the pace keeps you interested.

The characters are fairly well-developed, with 'the Butcher' being an excellent psychopath to deal with. It also has explanations of why the hell the Butcher has these...issues, which is refreshing as it rounds the character out beyond a 2D plot point.

Not so great bits:

The plot of this is based around serial rape - there are some pretty damned uncomfortable descriptions of sexual assault. There's also child abuse and domestic abuse mixed in at various points. And plenty upon plenty of descriptions of violence. If this isn't your thing, don't read it.

And let's be honest, this is blow-y up-y. It's not too intellectually challenging.


A well-rounded yet run-of-the-mill thriller. Certainly enjoyable, and I can see why so many rate the Alex Cross books, but I couldn't help but feel I was waiting for something that wasn't there.