Elysium Tide

Author: James R. Hannibal

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 7, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A bit of a slow start, but when the story picks up speed, readers better be buckled up because it goes into overdrive! 

Dr. Peter Chesterfield needs a break. He doesn’t want to take a break, but he is ordered by his boss to attend a medical symposium in Hawaii at the Elysium Grand hotel. Even while he is supposed to be on vacation, he ends up working when he pulls a woman from the water with a head injury. She ends up dying in his arms but whispers the word “hono” before dying. After her death, Peter teams up with local detective, Lisa Kealoha, to uncover the missing pieces to the case. Things take a turn for the unexpected the further into the case they go, and it isn’t long before they wind up in the crosshairs of some very dangerous men. Together they must try and solve the case before anyone else gets hurt, or worse.

Let me start with a confession, it took me over two weeks to read this book. Not because it wasn’t good, I just started it at a very busy time with lots going on and didn’t have much time to read. When I did read, I didn’t want to stop to do the other things I had to do. The story started a little slow but once it got going in really picked up the pace and held my interest the rest of the time. Peter and Lisa were great main characters, a little rough around the edges at times but had some great character growth and their dynamic when with each other was very well done. This was the second book in a row set in Hawaii I read by coincidence and this was by far the better of the two. I loved the beautiful setting, fast paced storyline, and fun characters. Even though it could have gone deeper into the Elysium aspect, I feel Hannibal did a great job with not going too far and losing the reader. My advice would be to pick this book up when you have plenty of time to devote to the story without interruptions. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy suspense, action and an overall great read.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

No Small Target

Author: James Tyler Brooks

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: May 17, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fast paced thriller that blew me away by a debut author. No Small Target is one to add to the To Be Read pile for thriller fans!

Jack Case thought he had left Hawaii behind until he gets a call from Kamakoa, his closest friend asking for his help on a case. When he arrives, Kamakoa is missing and Jack is now in charge of finding him and stopping a traitor from selling defense secrets to North Korea. Being back in Hawaii is hard, but nothing could keep him from being there for the only family he has left. As the search continues for Kamakoe, Jack must figure out who he can trust and with every turn the stakes are higher as the threats to those around him continue to grow.

For No Small Target being a debut novel, I am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Just knowing what the story was going to be about intrigued me and made me want to read it; suspense novels are my go-to and this one did not disappoint! Jack Case was a great protagonist that had me hooked from page one.  He had a rough past that was unveiled little by little making it more interesting for me as the reader. Not only were the characters well written, but the story itself and the setting really transported me and kept me engaged the whole time. I was a little worried at first with it being set in Hawaii because a few books I have read recently have had characters from there and they have been over the top annoying, so I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case here and it wasn’t. This is the first in a new series and I can’t wait to see what else comes from James Tyler Brooks.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Strangers We Know

Author: Elle Marr

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: May 1, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An incredibly intense plot that had me guessing how it would all work out until the very end.

After Ivy Hon is stricken with a mysterious illness, she does online genetic testing to see if she can find her family since she was adopted days after she was born. Ivy is contacted by the FBI after her DNA links her with a serial killer located in the Pacific Northwest. She connects with her cousin in Washington state and the more family she meets the more questions she has about her past, the notorious serial killer, and how it all ties back to her. With each new question, she puts herself closer to the killer and further in danger of being the next victim.

Starting off, Strangers We Know was a very interesting and intense plotline. I was pulled in and wanted to find out what was going to happen. As the story continued, Ivy kept me intrigued and into the story. There were a few moments throughout the story that dragged a little and lost my interest but not for long. The nice thing was this was a quick read that left many possibilities of how it might all end up for the characters. There are many secondary characters throughout and it can be hard to follow at times if you aren’t paying attention. Once readers get a little over halfway, the pace picks up and you will fly through the last half. Overall, this was an average read for the year but I found that I enjoyed it.  A good solid effort by Elle Marr. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy thrillers that are fast, and full of surprises.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Girl In Ice

Author: Erica Ferencik

Publisher: Scout Press

Release Date: March 1, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A chilling, thrilling and original story that wasn’t what I expected it to be but also a satisfying read!

Valerie Chesterfield has been studying as a linguist for years and is skilled in many languages, including several “dead” ones. She doesn’t get out much, especially after her twin brother died while stationed on a remote island off Greenland. When she gets a call from Wyatt, a researcher who worked with her brother asking for her help, she packs up and goes to try and help with a scientific impossibility. Wyatt has found a young girl frozen in the ice who thaws out alive, but he can’t understand her language and calls Val to try and help him understand this girl and what he has discovered. The girl doesn’t speak any language Val knows but is also sick and getting worse by the day. Their time to figure out what is wrong is running out and on top of that Val is looking for more answers about her brother’s death. With the artic temps and freezing wind, their time to save the girl and possibly themselves is running out.

To say this book was unlike any book I have ever read would be an understatement. This book was full of all kinds of twists and turns with cunning characters and an imaginative and innovative plot. At times I did find myself scratching my head wondering if what was happening could really occur, it was out in left field from what I normally read but kept my attention. With the setting being what it was and the story matter being so deep, it did get dark at times. One of the things the author did particularly well was description, not only of the desolate setting but also the sights, smells and other senses to make the readers feel as if they were in in the freezing cold with Val and the other characters. While the story flowed well and was interesting, I would have liked more information on the girl found in the ice, readers learn a little bit, but I would have enjoyed more. Several of the scenes were more for mature audiences along with language throughout the book. With that said, I believe this is a good book that readers looking for a unique mystery that is a quick read.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Silent Sisters

Author: Robert Dugoni

Series: Charles Jenkins #3

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: February 22, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another fantastic addition to the Charles Jenkins series full of all the fun, espionage action we have come to love from Dugoni!

After his last mission where he barely escaped Russia alive, Charles Jenkins thinks he can finally settle down with his family and put the spy game behind him. When the final two of the seven sisters, assets who have been deep undercover, have cut off communication and Charles is tasked with finding out if they have been turned, or in hiding. A job that becomes harder as he has been placed on the Russian kill list. Immediately after he arrives, his plans fall apart when he gets involved in the death of the son of one of Russia’s most powerful crime leaders. Now, he must watch every move he makes even more carefully and try to accomplish his assignment without getting caught and killed. All he wants is to make it back home to his family in one piece before his luck runs out.

Every time I pick up a new Robert Dugoni book, I know I am going to be in for a fantastic read. The Charles Jenkins books would normally not be ones I pick up being set in Russia, not what pulls me in usually, but when Robert Dugoni writes it all bets are off and I’m in for the duration of the story. Charles is a character that is full of strength, determination, and will to live and return to his family. He is written in a way that readers will be able to relate to him and want to cheer him on to achieve his mission and return to his family. Each character in this book has a place and purpose; even with several different storylines and many characters it was easy to follow with Dugoni’s smooth writing.

The world of espionage is fun to read about with different settings and people the characters encounter, but it can also be confusing depending on how well it is written. If you pick up a Robert Dugoni novel, doesn’t matter if it is one of the Charles Jenkins novels or one of his Tracy Crosswhite novels, you know you are going to be in for a story that is well written with characters that will pull you in and keep you intrigued by what they are going through and sucked into a really great story. There are some mature themes throughout this book, but it is written so well it never bothered me or took away from the story. I recommend this to those that enjoy thrillers and mysteries, but you will need to have read the first two in the series to get the most out of this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

2021 Top Suspense Thriller

Merry Christmas Eve! And as one of most suspenseful days of the year, why not celebrate by releasing our top picks for Suspense Thrillers!

Dark Intercept by Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson

An absolute hit and fantastic start to a new series by a powerhouse author team. This is a great, fast-paced military thriller with a spiritual aspect that gets dark but keeps the light. Once you read it, you’ll see why it was our top pick for the year!

Read the full review!

In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni

It’s hard to beat a Tracy Crosswhite novel! This newest addition in this fantastic series comes close to the first installment in terms of being our favorite! Fans of the series, and thrillers in general, will not want to miss this one!

Read the full review!

Play Dead by Ted Dekker

It has been a long time since we have had a true Dekker suspense novel and this one is classic Dekker. What that means is you are getting a top-notch thriller with a deep message about Virtual Reality, what awaits us in this life and the afterlife, and maybe even a little more.

Read the full review!

The Paris Betrayal by James Hannibal

A fast action, spy thriller that had us hooked and our hearts racing until the final chapter! Hannibal stepped up his game in 2021 and let us thirsty for more!

Read the full review!

Network of Deceit by Tom Threadgill

The second installment in the Amara Alvarez series starts with a bang and doesn’t let up. This is our kind of suspense novel, a top-notch strong female protagonist that will stop at nothing to do her job and prove others wrong.

Read the full review!

Her Name is Knight

Author: Yasmin Angoe

Series: Nena Knight #1

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: November 1, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fun and energetic story told in dual timelines laid out perfectly!

Nena Knight, as she is called today, was stolen as a child from her Ghanaian village and sold to the highest bidder. Her life was a nightmare until she was able to escape. Once she did, she managed to become part of a family that loved and cared for her and took her

into the family business where she became an elite assassin for a powerful group called the Tribe. On her latest assignment, she ends up saving a life instead of ending one which changes everything for her. The life she saved is a man she starts to fall for causing her family and the Tribe problems. The newest member of the Tribe turns out to be the man that destroyed her village and sold her into captivity. She wants vengeance more than anything, but she is also afraid to lose the family she has worked so hard to gain over the last decade.

Her Name is Knight is a really great novel for a debut author. The story is entertaining, fun, and contains characters that I wanted to follow. Nena especially, but her sister got on my nerves at times. The back and forth between past and present can sometimes get confusing but the way Angoe went about writing it really worked for me.   The story was great and flowed well, but there was a lot of over-the-top foul language that I just didn’t feel had to be included throughout the whole story.  This is recommended for mature audiences.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Wolf Point

Author: Ian K. Smith

Series: Ashe Cayne #2

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: October 5, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fantastic thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat and reading far past my bedtime!

When the body of Walter Griffin, a prominent Black Chicagoan, is found at a watery grave in Wolf Point and ruled a suicide, the case ends up in the hands of Ashe Cayne, who knows there is more to the story. Griffin’s children come to the detective and ask him to look deeper into the case than the rest of law enforcement to find what might have been missed. They know their dad never would have done such a thing, even if it means uncovering dark secrets, they want to know the truth. Everyone is a suspect and Ashe must watch his own back in order to not end up like Griffin.

When I read this, I didn’t realize it was the second in a series and am now itching to get my hands on the first Ashe Cayne novel. The writing was smooth and the story entertaining. Even though this was the second in a series, I didn’t feel that I was missing out on a lot; readers can easily pick this up as a stand-alone and enjoy without feeling lost. Smith did a great job of crafting a mystery while keeping readers turning the pages. A few points in the story went a little slow for me but not enough to slow the entire story. It was a fun and in-depth look into Chicago that really made me feel like I was in the city and following right along with Cayne as he went about solving the crime. Lots of great secondary characters that filled the pages with little bits of humor and enough tension that kept a great pace throughout the entire story. There is a bit of language, so it is not appropriate for a younger audience but great for the intended audience. I recommend this book for readers that love a great thriller with a protagonist they will want to read more and more about.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Blood from a Stone

Author: David James Warren

Series: True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #5

Publisher: TriStone Media

Release Date: October 5, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The next installment in the Rembrandt Stone series will leave readers on the edge of their seats and pulling their hair out waiting for the next in the series!

Detective Rembrandt Stone finds himself in trouble once again when everything he loves is in danger of being taken away. He has been across four different timelines trying to stop a killer. Rembrandt still has thirty-eight lives hanging in the balance and if he doesn’t play the hand he is dealt just right, he will lose the little he has left. All he wants is to get back to his time to find his wife and daughter safe and alive to grow old with him.

The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone is the kind of series you want to read one book right after another. The cliffhanger endings kill me!! I am so glad this is written and released in a way we don’t have to wait long for the next installment. Each time I think the tag team of David James Warren can’t get any better, I am proven wrong. The story is fast paced and tight, no fluff, just a good story. It is complex enough that requires readers to pay close attention to follow Stone as he goes back and forth between the timelines.

Rembrandt, Evie, and all the rest of the characters from this series make it one of the best I have read in a long time. With each time jump, Rem finds himself in a more complicated situation to unravel the threads that hold together his life making it easy to root for him to succeed. My heart breaks for him each time he gets bad news that shows his attempt to fix his future hasn’t worked out as well as he was hoping it would. With only one more book in the series, there is a lot to wrap up and I am dying to see how David James Warren will do it. I have no doubt it will all come together; this powerhouse team of writers is up to the challenge.

I recommend this book to readers that love a great time travel mystery with an intricate plot and characters you are going to fall in love with.  It is a series that needs to be read in order and not just pick one to pick up at random.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Stalker Stalked

Author: Lee Mathew Goldberg

Publisher: All Due Respect Publishing

Release Date: September 16, 2021

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Dark and twisted with a definite creepy vibe throughout.

Reality TV has become all that Lexi Mazur wants to do along with drinking and popping pills. Her boyfriend dumped her and now she spends her time fantasizing about becoming part of that inner circle of Reality TV stars. Her newest obsession is a show called Socialites and the star, Magnolia Artois, who she starts following on social media and showing up at the same places as the star. This isn’t the first time Lexi has ventured into stalking; both of her ex’s didn’t know she stalked them and manipulated them before dating. She works as a pharmaceutical rep and sneaking pills for her own use has become a daily habit. Lately though, Lexi fells as if she is being watched and wonders if the tables have turned and she is now the one being stalked. She must use what she has learned over the years stalking others to beat her own stalker.

I wanted to like Stalker Stalked, I really did, unfortunately I didn’t like any of the characters and the use of foul language was absolutely ridiculous. I know this is a mainstream book and as such isn’t expected to be clean but the over-the-top use of such crass language really bothered me. It doesn’t matter if you are writing for a Christian market or mainstream, you can write a fabulous book without that kind of language. To me it feels as if the author just didn’t want to put forth the effort to write without including that. I have also read many books with language that doesn’t bother me because it is written so well, I am engrossed in the story and the characters have connected with me. The only character I even remotely connected with was Pria, she was abused by her friend and kept trying to help anyway. All the other characters were over the top annoying and irritating. I did read this book in a single day but mainly to be done with it, so I don’t have to be annoyed or wasting time just by reading the words on the page. This is a very harsh review for me, but I was expecting something better and different and was disappointed the whole way through. If you are into Reality TV and following those on social media this might be a great one for you, if not skip it.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.