Out of the Ashes

Author: Kara Thomas

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: May 1, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Out of the Ashes is the epitome of a slow-burn suspense thriller! So much tension drives this story, giving readers a great book!

When Samantha Newsom was only thirteen years old, her family was murdered, and the only thing left of her home was ashes. The investigation into what happened to he family was not handled well and when she returns over twenty years later she is quickly pulled back into all the tragedy she tried to leave behind. Rumors surface that Samantha’s baby sister may still be alive surface, along with other secrets, leading Travis Mecham to investigate the case. The little town Samantha grew up in is no longer a safe place; with every secret she uncovers, the danger increases and this time she might not make it out alive!

Out of the Ashes was a true slow burn thriller that was a quick read and very enjoyable. The only downfall I would say is it’s not very memorable, after reading it and leaving it for a awhile I don’t have much that I remember about the story other than it being a good quick read. For some though that is a good thing, a quick enjoyable read that doesn’t take a lot of mental energy. The characters were enjoyable to read about, and just when I thought I knew who the killer was, there was another twist and turn. For readers that enjoy a good thriller, this is one not to be missed!

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

Broker of Lies

Author: Steven James

Series: Travis Brock Thriller #1

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: April 11, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Steven James at his best writing a fantastic suspense thriller that does not disappoint!

Travis Brock works at the Pentagon as a redactor and has an eidetic memory. One night, he wakes up to a fire in his house. He searches for his wife who ends up dying in the fire. The fire is ruled arson and for over a year and a half afterwards he searches for answers that no one else has for him. During his search, he finds himself in the middle of a terror attack and helps a homeland security officer that has been framed for an attack. Together they must work to prove her innocence and stop the attack before others are hurt or worse.

It has been far too long since I have had a new Steven James novel in my hands. He is one of my very favorite thriller writers for so many reasons. He has a way of crafting characters that are amazing, relatable, and so fun to read about. The plot of this book had me on the edge of my seat from the very beginning; so much tension on each page making it hard to put down until I knew if these characters were going to come out alright by the final pages. This book is the first in a new series by James and already I’m in love with these characters and what they can do. The ending has a great cliffhanger and twist that brought the biggest smile to my face knowing there is more to come by a master storyteller. I recommend this book to fans of thrillers and a storyteller that will show you what it’s like to read a book that is written by one of the best.

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

Hollow Beasts

Author: Alisa Lynn Valdes

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: April 1, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book surprised me in the best of ways: gritty, action-packed, and just plain good!

Jodi Luna has left her life in academia to return to her home state of New Mexico to become a game warden. Others in her family have followed this career path and after many challenges in the academic world, Jodi leaves with her daughter to start anew. In her first week on the job, she apprehends a poacher who quickly threatens to retaliate. Jodi finds herself and her daughter being stalked and in the middle of a fight with a white supremacy group. The group has been kidnapping women of color and hunting them for sport. Jodi is met with resistance from the local sheriff and turns to his young deputy, Ashley Romero for help. Together the two work to stop the group and keep those in the area safe.

This book started out on the right foot and took off down a path of suspense, tension, and darn good writing from page one. I loved the rugged setting, characters that weren’t afraid to get after the action, and the ones I was supposed to dislike I sure did, all signs of excellent writing. This was the first book I’ve read by Valdes and from the looks of it there will be more to follow with these characters, making me a very happy reader. I loved that there was nothing trivial in the story; all the events as well as the characters involved all felt right and real. As the story came to a close, I was very satisfied with how it was all playing out even though I can tell there is more that could be done with the characters and continue the storyline in different directions. I live in Texas in a town close to New Mexico, so it was fun for me to read about a rugged area so close to where I actually live. I would recommend this book for adults who enjoy suspense thrillers with hard themes that are written well and a story that can be read in a single day.

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

Her Deadly Game

Author: Robert Dugoni

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: March 28, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another fantastic thriller from master storyteller, Robert Dugoni!

Keera Duggan wanted to make a name for herself on her own, so she set out in the Seattle prosecutor’s office and worked her way up until a complicated relationship with a colleague messes it all up. Now, Keera goes to work in the family law firm with her father and sisters. When she is hired by Vince LaRussa, she has the chance to show the rest of her family that she has what it takes to try the big crimes and win. Going against her in court is Miller Ambrose, Keera’s ex who wants nothing more than to take Keera down in court. It will take all Keera and her team have to win the case and keep anyone else from getting hurt.

Robert Dugoni is one of the best thriller writers around and this newest addition is further evidence of that. The characters and storyline flow freely with great tension that kept the pages flying and my attention until the last page. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the storyline and characters after the many books in the Tracy Crosswhite series and loving every one of them.

I have found after readomg many books by Dugoni that his writing style is one that readers will find relatable and easy to read. There is something about the way he writes that makes me know with every story I am going to find characters that will be engaging and make me want to see them come out safe and sound by the end of the story. Keera is a great strong female protagonist that I have come to love from Dugoni books. Even when I thought the story was finished there was another fantastic twist that made me smile and know I was reading a book I could easily pull from the shelves anytime and enjoy. I recommend this book to those that love suspense thrillers.

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

The Greedy Three

Author: Karen Katchur

Publisher: Podlum Publishing

Release Date: February 28, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A dark and twisted tale of greed and how far some are willing to go for what they want.

Noah has worked hard to build his reputation as a respectable person to do business with, even if that business happens to involve buying and selling babies. His newest clients want a three-week-old baby and he has everything lined out when it all goes wrong.

Hester lives in a cabin in the woods and stays to herself after a restraining order placed against her keeps her from seeing her daughter and family. Hester only wants to help but her actions always seem to be seen the wrong way and she ends up in trouble. One night she hears a knock on her door and opens it to find a young girl holding a baby in need of help. She takes the girl in and tries to help, but it isn’t long before Noah shows up looking for them and money taken from him. Between the three of them things turn tense quickly and no one will emerge unharmed.

This book was not what I expected, but in a good way. After finishing a book that was just so-so, I enjoyed this book more than I expected. The tension throughout was well done and the characters kept me engaged. Hester was the most well written in my opinion, she had gone through a lot, but it was obvious she was just trying to do what she could to help, even if she went about it the wrong way. Each character was greedy in their own way, just like the title suggested. There was more to the story than simply implied at the beginning and I really loved the way that played out. There was some language and darker themes throughout that make it not good for anyone younger to read. I do recommend this book to those that enjoy suspense thrillers.

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

Bright and Deadly Things

Author: Lexie Elliott

Publisher: Berkley

Release Date: February 14, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A strange and twisted tale full of unexpected twists and turns from beginning to end!

Set in a remote mountaintop cabin in the French Alps, a group of scholars go to a retreat where things turn deadly. Emily is trying to find a place for herself after the death of her husband and the secrets revealed at the cabin. With each passing hour at the cabin. things start to feel off and Emily notices behavior changing in her and the others. When one member is found dead, every one is a suspect and Emily doesn’t know who she can trust anymore and who might be out to get her.

Bright and Deadly Things starts out with an interesting premise and readers will have to go into it with an open mind as it goes more from suspense thriller to a psychological thriller. The one thing it is for sure is a thriller; there are twists and turns all over the place and the plot plays out well. I had a little trouble connecting with the characters and wanting to make sure they all came out safe by the end. I just didn’t care that much which is never a good thing when reading a story and wanting/needing to connect with the characters and what they are going through. I would recommend this book to those that really enjoy psychological thrillers.

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

The Final Gambit

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: Inheritance Games #3

Publisher: Little Brown

Release Date: August 30, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The final book in The Inheritance Games series is good but not quite as good as the first two. A fantastic addition to one of my new favorite series.

Avery Kylie Grambs only has to survive a few more weeks living at the Hawthorne mansion in order to inherit billions. She has survived several attempts on her life and those she loves being targets as well. After a rough start, Avery has finally connected with the Hawthorne brothers and feels at home at Hawthorne House. As the day of her inheriting more money than any teenager has ever had approaches, more trouble pops up as a stranger arrives at the house in need of help. With each passing day, the danger increases, and Avery comes closer to losing all she is about to gain.

This book was really good; the problem was it followed the second in the series which was fantastic. The Hawthorne Legacy was so amazing that anything that followed it had zero to little chance of being anywhere close to as good. There isn’t much I can pinpoint that I didn’t care for in this book but nothing stood out as making it extraordinary. I thought the relationships were just a little dulled and the tension didn’t pull me in as much as the last. It is a great addition to the series and the ending is left open for more to come which is great fun for me as I loved the intricate nature of this series. The way that little moments from the beginning were brought full circle by the end of this book brought a smile to my face and showed me that Jennifer Lynn Barnes is an author that knows what she is doing. I would recommend this book to anyone that has read the first two in the series and wants to see what comes next.

The Hawthorne Legacy

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: Inheritance Games #2

Publisher: Little Brown

Release Date: August 2, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s not often a second book in a series is better than the first, especially when the first was amazing! The Hawthorne Legacy is a fantastic addition to The Inheritance Games.

After the bombshell ending of The Inheritance Games, Avery Grambs is ready to pick up the pieces and find the man everyone thinks is dead, Tobias Hawthorne the second. DNA tests have been run that show she is not related to the Hawthorne family but now she and two of the Hawthorne grandsons are on the hunt to figure out the clues left by their grandfather. Avery continues to be threatened and those that want what has been left to Avery are ready to do whatever it takes to get her out of the picture.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book that the second in the series was better than the first, and I loved the first in the series. The tension in this book was more intense and pulled me in tighter making me unable to put the book down and I read this in a single day. The story was intriguing and made me want to keep turning the pages. Avery is a special kind of protagonist: relatable, witty, and not afraid to play the games with the boys. There wasn’t much at all that I didn’t like about this book including the dangerous situations she found herself in, the mystery, and settings all had me pulled deep into the story. I love a book like this that is hard to put down and keeps me from wanting to do anything else. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy mystery and action, but make sure to read the first in the series before starting this one.

The Inheritance Games

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: Inheritance Games #1

Publisher: Little Brown

Release Date: July 27, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am kicking myself for not reading this sooner!  Such a fun and engaging book; I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

Avery Grambs wants nothing more than to survive high school, get a scholarship to collage and leave. She lives with her sister after her mother died and her father wants nothing to do with them. All that changes when Avery finds out she is suddenly a billionaire when Tobias Hawthorne died and left his entire fortune to her. The problem is Avery has no idea who Tobias Hawthorne is. To claim the money, she must move into the Hawthorne mansion and live for a year with the rest of the Hawthorne family. Tobias had four grandsons who are as equally smart and have a love for puzzles just like their grandfather did. All the Hawthorne men believe Avery is up to something to get their money and Avery is going to have to play along with the game that Tobias set up to survive the craziness that is her life now.

I had heard about The Inheritance Games a good bit over the last year and knew it was one I wanted to read. This book was so much fun to read; I read it in less than two days. The way the writing was done with short chapters and lots of cliff hangers made it hard to put down. I loved all the action, mystery drama and fantastic storyline. Avery is a wonderful protagonist with a storyline that makes her relatable and fun to read about; all her actions seemed exactly like the character would act and never once made me question her actions, or any of the other characters for that matter. This series makes me think of The Hunger Games and Divergent, those types of books are some of my favorites and make me enjoy reading. I ended last year in a bit of a slump not enjoying any of the books I had been reading. Being able to start the year of with a series like this is reminding me of the joy I get from reading and escaping into a great story. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy a fun mystery that is action packed and full of great characters and a fun start to what is shaping up to be a great series.

Treasure State

Author: C.J. Box

Series: Cassie Dewell Novel #6

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Release Date: September 27, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Took a little bit to get going, but once the story picked up steam, it never slowed down!

Cassie Dewell has been working as a private investigator and loves what she does. Her newest case has her on the hunt for a missing private investigator and a con man who could be behind his disappearance as well as stealing fortunes from several women. As she is looking into this case. she is contacted by a man claiming to be the mastermind behind a treasure hunt that has already cost five people their lives. Cassie finds herself in Anaconda, Montana with clues to who could be behind all she is investigating. Each clue brings about another strange twist in the case and Cassie finds herself in danger before all is solved hoping she can make it home and help find a treasure.

I didn’t realize this was the sixth book in the Cassie Dewell series when I started it. Even though I hadn’t read the others, I was still able to really enjoy this story. The start of the book was a little slow but once it got going, I couldn’t put it down. The story was fun and intriguing with the double mystery Cassie was investigating. I loved how all the pieces came together by the end, it all played out just perfectly and left me feeling great about the story and the way Box set it all up. Now that I’ve read this one, I am eager to go back and read the others in the series. Cassie is a great protagonist with a set of skills that helps her in solving her cases, she has enough flaws to make her a believable character though. This was a fun mystery without the fluff or other aspects that can make a book boring and hard to get through. I recommend this one to readers that enjoy suspense, mysteries, and a great fun setting.

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