Happy Release Day – Six Books Out Today!

Happy release day! To not just one, but to SIX books. June is the month of releases for anticipated reads. Not only debut novels, but also from some well-known authors (Dean Koontz, Fiona Davis, Mary Kubica – just to name a few)

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Lets get this list started!

THE PARTY by Robyn Harding – 4/5 stars!

The Party by Robyn Harding was a very different kind of thriller/mystery. I’d definitely classify it as a domestic thriller. We get a look into the lives of a wealthy family and the consequences that follow, what should have been an innocent, sweet sixteen party for their daughter. “One invitation. A lifetime of regrets”

Kim and Jeff have the seemingly perfect marriage and the perfect life. Kim is a stay at home mom that has started to get back into the job pool doing part time advertising for a company. Jeff is a hard worker that provides for his wife and two kids, Aiden (13) and Hannah (16). The story begins on Hannah’s birthday, she’s 16 and planning a party. Her mother has strict rules: no alcohol, no drugs, and no boys. After a tragic accident happens at the party – resulting in one of the girls to be brought to the hospital, the Sanders’ lives are turned upside down.

The events that follow turn into a living hell, not only for Hannah, Kim and Jeff, but also for Ronni (the girl who was injured) and her mother Lisa. When a lawsuit comes about, claiming that it was Kim and Jeff’s fault, the secrets of their lives are beginning to be brought to light. With her friends and family telling her she needs to stay away from her friend, Hannah begins to struggle with what actually happened. Will she tell and risk losing her popularity to do whats right?

I loved this book. It was well-written and I really enjoyed jumping from perspectives, and the chapter titles (name of who’s perspective and number of days after the party) so that the reader could see how everything was progressing! Seeing everything unfold for all of the characters was very interesting. Drug use, adultery, lying to police, and trying to hold onto the facade of a perfect life and keeping their reputations clean. The characters felt real, Harding did a great job making them come to life and giving them all a voice of their own. If you want a good domestic thriller/suspense, then I’d highly recommend this to you.

 

 

BLACKOUT by Marc Elsberg -4/5 stars!

Like I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for anything remotely political in a thriller. A terrorist cyber attack that has gone global? Now that’s something I’m going to enjoy! Blackout by Marc Elsberg was an interesting look at how a hacker was able to completely collapse the electrical grids throughout all of Europe, and how it was starting to spread across the globe.

One night, Europe is engulfed in darkness. An entire collapse of the electrical grids unleashes a chaos in the complete blackout. What the general population doesn’t know, the nuclear reactors are beginning to overheat, which could mean the end of the world if they detonate.

A former hacker/activist, Piero Manzano, begins investigating the possible causes of this disaster, but in doing so, he becomes the prime suspect. With threats mounting against the United States, time is running out for him to try and stop whoever caused the blackout. If the lights stay off for too long, there might not be a tomorrow.

I think what I enjoyed most about this book is that this could definitely happen. Maybe not globally and so quickly, but one day we could just lose power. I can only imagine what would happen if the United States was in a total blackout with no resolution in sight. Food, water, the ability to heat or cool our shelter (should it happen in winter – I’d hate for this to happen in Minnesota in December!), and so much more would be jeopardized. We live in a world consumed by computers, phones, and electronics, if there was a blackout at this scale, I’m not sure what society would do.

 

FOLLOW ME BACK by A.V. Geiger: 5/5 stars!

I really enjoyed this book! I finished it in an evening and couldn’t stop reading. With our world being so connected and having social media be so present in all of our lives, this book was incredibly relevant and easy to relate to. Talking anonymously to whoever we want, whenever we want is a very dangerous luxury.

Tessa is a fangirl suffering from agoraphobia that made her Twitter account into one that obsesses over pop singer Eric Thorn. Haunted by a fellow artist that was stalked and then murdered, Eric Thorn is not a fan of all the social media. His manager is requiring him to promote himself on his accounts – but he decides to create a fake account so that he can anonymously bash himself and make fun of all the fangirls. He decides that he should take down one of his top followers, but his trolling turns into something more. Catfishing and hiding behind profiles can have deadly consequences.

I loved the ending and the couple little twists thrown in throughout made for a great read! It was uniquely written as well  – the story was told entirely through Tweets, direct messages, and then police transcripts. So if you aren’t a fan of text speak or hashtags in normal conversation, then this might not be the book for you.

 

MR RIGHT SWIPE by Ricki Schultz: 4/5 stars!

Mr Right Swipe by Ricki Schultz was a genre cleanser for me – gotta have something lighthearted mixed in with all the thrillers and mysteries! This is definitely a book I can see people either loving or hating – I don’t see much of a middle ground. If you don’t want to read in hashtags then I’d say move on (I know that can throw a lot of people off or when texting abbreviations are used.) But if you want to read about a snarky and funny heroine, then this is for you!

Rae Wallace is a witty and sarcastic woman. She’s too focused on molding the young minds of 1st graders and potentially finishing her novel – she doesn’t have the time or energy to waste on a man. However, when her friends decide that enough is enough, they make her create a profile on an online dating app. While skeptical, she’s out to prove her friends wrong in that she isn’t too picky when it comes to men. She runs into a problem though, when Nick’s profile pops up (the hot substitute teacher at her school) and she swipes right.

With some of the slang, abbreviations, and hashtags used I can see this turning some people off. Typically I try not to read any reviews before starting a book, but I’m glad that I glanced at some before reading. I knew what to expect – otherwise I probably would have been more in the 3/3.5 star range. While Rae can come off as selfish at times, she ends up being a character you can relate to and like. Her use of the app is great and how she interacts with some of the profiles – if you’ve used it then you’ll appreciate it! Some great secondary characters and friendships thrown in made for a good light, quick, and genre cleansing romance.

If you want something more contemporary and can handle the text speak, then I’d recommend this!

 

CAST THE FIRST STONE by James W. Ziskin: 4.5/5 stars!

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book! CAST THE FIRST STONE by James W. Ziskin is the fifth installment in the Ellie Stone series. I was nervous starting a series so late down the line, but I continued. I’m glad I did! I’ll definitely be looking for the other four books.

Ellie Stone is a small town reporter that travels to LA to interview a hometown actor. She arrives at the studio to meet him, but Tony Eberle has vanished, his director is in shock, and the producer is dead. Ellie dives in headfirst to the story and into the world of Hollywood wannabes, ambitious ingenues, panderers, and even porn hobbyists. There are big name celebrities trying to protect their reputations and in order to find the killer, Ellie needs to weed through the lies to find the truth. Deep buried secrets are unearthed and revealed – but before she can solve the murder of the producer, Bertram Wallis, she needs to find Tony Eberle.

This takes place in the early 60’s in Hollywood. I love how true to the decade Ziskin was – the dialogue especially. This turned into a police procedural and the mystery was good. This was incredibly character driven and you could really relate to Ellie. It was good as a standalone but I feel like I should go back and read the first four books. There were a couple twists thrown in but nothing shocking. It was a great read and I’ll definitely be looking for more about Ellie Stone!

 

DIS MEM BER by Joyce Carol Oates: 4/5 stars!

When I saw DIS MEM BER by Joy Carol Oates I knew I needed to have it – short horror stories? Obviously that’s going to be something I’m going to read! Being a huge Stephen King fan, I really appreciate the really scary short stories, sometimes the short stories are the creepiest because they can pack a quick punch. This was also my introduction to Oates and I love her writing style.

This collection of dark, suspenseful , and unsettling stories, with the last one being more of a dark kind of satire story:

  • DIS MEM BER
  • The Crawl Space
  • Heartbreak
  • The Drowned Girl
  • The Situations
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Welcome to Friendly Skies!

The underlying theme to all of these stories is about girls or women having to confront the danger that surrounds them, and then the danger that is hidden deep within themselves. I lover her writing style – the only thing that threw me off right away in the first story was that there weren’t any quotation marks used in conversations. That took a little bit to get used to.

I’d highly recommend this to anyone that wants some creepy psychological thrillers all in one book!

 

 

If you pick any of these up, I’d love to discuss!!

–Jess

 

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