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Thursday, August 31, 2017

#allthebookreviews: Path Into Darkness by Lisa Alber @midnightinkbook @lisaalber

Path Into Darkness
by Lisa Alber
Midnight Ink Books

Big thank you to Midnight Ink Books for our copies in return for our honest reviews.

By the author of Whispers in the Mist, heralded by Library Journalas "a first-rate crime novel," comes this haunting tale of family secrets, madness, and healing in small-town Ireland

Lisfenora is known across the British Isles for its yearly matchmaking festival. But a local man's murder and the grim discovery in his home have cast a somber mood over the town. Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern tries to make sense of the chaotic scene while struggling to set aside moral conflicts and grief for his comatose wife. Within days, he's plunged into even darker terrain when the investigation leads him on a collision course with the Tate family: troubled Nathan, who conceals secrets within ghastly secrets, and beautiful Zoe, the daughter Nathan abandoned years ago.

In this "dark, compelling mystery" (Booklist), one man is propelled toward a tragic downfall while the other struggles to walk the narrow path between life and death.

My Thoughts: 

So here's the conundrum with reading series books out of order. You tend to miss out on certain backgrounds of characters and if these aren't addressed in the book you're reading (out of order), you feel a bit at a loss. However, if you are reading a series in order and the author spends too much time revisiting past circumstances then I get irritated. I don't think I knew this was series book until I received it. Being number 3 in the County Clare Mystery series, there were definitely things I was missing from books 1 and 2 that would've been helpful going into this one. It CAN be read as a standalone, but I think it would resonate better had I had the other books knocked out.

Putting all that aside, this was a fantastic, atmospheric read. It starts out with the death of Elder Joe and Detective Danny Ahern is on the case. Of course, Danny has his own set of issues and with the upcoming matchmaking festival (can you imagine?!?!), he feel pressured to get this solved quickly. Nathan Tate and his daughter Zoe come into the scene and boy oh boy does Nathan have some interesting secrets of his own.

Adler does a great job in pulling all the nuances together. She builds Ireland's atmosphere in such a way that you feel like you are there - extremely well written descriptions help you picture it all. I didn't find many of the characters likable but in this case, I liked not liking them (get me?) Adding twists and turns at every corner, you're in for a corkscrew of a ride.


Jessica's Thoughts:

This atmospheric murder mystery thriller was an absorbing read. While Lisa Alber's PATH INTO DARKNESS is book three in the County Clare series, you can read it as a standalone. I do want to go back and read books 1 and 2 simply because the development of some of the relationships is missing. So I did feel like I was missing some background information. 

Taking place in Lisfenora, Ireland we start with the discovery of Elder Joe's body in his cottage. Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern is assigned to the murder case, but he is dealing with his own demons that he's trying to keep at bay. With the town's annual matchmaking festival quickly approaching, the pressure is on to catch the killer. His investigation leads him to the Tate family. Nathan has his dark secrets within his secrets, so needless to say he's troubled, and then there's Zoe, the daughter he had abandoned years ago.  

It amazed me how descriptive Alber was, without it feeling too wordy. Sometimes overly descriptive novels feel like they drag on and on. It felt like I was actually there in Lisfenora with the characters and experiencing everything with them. I will say that I'd recommend reading the first two novels. I'm definitely missing some background information and the development of the returning characters. So the transition into their current situations was a little lost on me (hence why I took off half a star). 

There were twists and turns, and very disturbing secrets revealed about the residents in this quiet town. If you want an atmospheric murder mystery thriller with flawed characters, then I'd highly recommend this one to you!

I give this 4.5/5 stars!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

RECIPE: Honey Lemongrass Chicken Legs

You all ready for some delicious chicken?!  I'm admittedly more of a white meat chicken kinda girl, but I do love me some legs every once in a while... add lemongrass and honey and I'm SOLD!  Give this recipe a try - it's quick and delicious!  

What you need:

2 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemongrass
2 limes
16 oz chicken legs/thighs
1/4 cup jasmine rice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 oz honey
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sriracha
8 oz snow peas
1/4 oz cilantro
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp olive oil

1.  Wash and dry all produce!! Prehead over to 450 degrees.  Bring 1 1/4 cups water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small pot.  Mince garlic.  Remove outer layers from lemongrass until you get to the core and then finely mince (the core only - throw the rest away).  Halve one lime and cut the other lime into wedges.

2.  Heat a tsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium head.  Add chicken, skin side down.  Cook until skin is browned and crisp, about 4-5 minutes.  Flip and cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes.  Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet (I coated my foil lightly with olive oil).  Roast in over until center is no longer pink, about 15-20 minutes.

3.  Once water is boiling from step 1, add rice to the pot.  Stir, cover, lower heat and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until tender, 15-20 minutes.  (I tilt the lid to the pot to allow steam out so as to not boil over... or I just put the temperature down a little bit and stir occasionally - this also works too... place a wooden spoon over the boiling pot to keep it from boiling over this way).

4.  Glaze making!!  Using the same pan you seared the chicken in, add garlic and lemongrass and cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.  Stir in soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, sugar, juice from the two lime halves and sriracha.  Let simmer until thick and syrupy and transfer to a small bowl - it will thicken as it stands.

5.  Heat a tsp of oil in the same pan over medium high heat and add snow peas.  Toss occasionally until tender, around 3 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime from one of the wedges.  Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from the oven and brush with glaze.  Return to oven for about 2-3 minutes. 

6.  Remove chicken from oven.  Fluff rice with fork.  Divide rice, snow peas and chicken between plates.  Tear cilantro and garnish.  Serve with lime wedges.

The glaze really brings a wonderful flavor to the chicken.  If you don't like spice, then leave out the sriracha - I put the entire portion in and didn't think it was spicy at all.... but I can take a lot of spice so next time I'll probably add some crushed red pepper or cayenne to up the heat factor.

**Recipe and photo taken from Hello Fresh.

#allthebookreviews: Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller @sourcebooksfire

Mask of Shadows
by Linsey Miller
Sourcebooks Fire

Big thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for our copies in return for our honest reviews.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins named for the rings she wears -- Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal -- their world changes. They know it's a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.

My Thoughts: 

Let's see.. where do I start? I typically don't read other people's reviews before writing mine but was really curious when at a quick glance I saw so many 2 stars. So I went to reading a few and here's my thoughts. It's been a while since I've read anything fantasy and really looked forward to this read. Is it on par with Maas and Bardugo? No, but I'm also tired of marketing telling people a book is like THIS or like THAT or people saying it's not as good so therefore must suck. 

I also saw a lot of comparisons to Hunger Games and I don't get it. Yes, it's a group of people thrown into a competition to the (possible) death... but in this book, they volunteer for it, knowingly going in with the possibility of dying and even though there's one clear "winner" not everyone else has to die to make it happen. Also, they're in this competition while they're training.. so yeah, I am just not seeing what most other people are for some reason.

The world building could definitely have been better. It did get confusing at times but over all, I was entertained and I liked the basic concept. The gender fluidity of the main character, Sal, was a refreshing take... and especially so as no one around him/her seemed to care. I did find it interesting though, that even in this case, the only time Sal was offended or irritated was when they called him/her a "she" or a "girl" when he/she was clearly in a dress. **scratches head**

All the "auditioners" for the Left Hand of the Queen (Opal) have their names stripped and instead went by numbers. At the beginning, there were a few paragraphs with these numbers thrown around and immediately my mind went to that episode of Friends where Monica is showing Chandler how to please a woman.. "a one and a two, four, one, three, two, two, five, six, three, two... seven, seven, seven, SEVEN!" (not an exact quote but you get the gist).. but I did find it got less confusing as the book went along.
Was this the best fantasy book I've ever read? No. Did it have some unique aspects to it? Sure. Was it cliched in certain areas? Absolutely. But was I entertained? Yes, I definitely was.   

Jessica's Thoughts:

MASK OF SHADOWS by Linsey Miller is book one of a new YA fantasy series. A story about revenge, survival, and auditioning to be the Left Hand of a powerful Queen. 

Sallot Leon is our main character. Sal is a thief, and a very good one. Sal will stop at nothing to get off the streets and leave the life of a highway robber and dreams of making it up to the upper class. After stealing a poster that was announcing auditions for the Left Hand. These are the powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins that are named for the rings that she wears - Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal. The audition is a fight to the death with circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and ex-soldiers. A life of crime is barely enough preparation for Sal, but they must conceal the real reason for entering - revenge. 

So, I really thought this was going to have a unique premise. If you've read THE HUNGER GAMES then this book will sound familiar. A fight to the death and dystopian themed YA is a commonly used plot line and it's been overdone (in my opinion). The one thing that was really unique and new about this book was that Sal is gender-fluid. I know that's something the YA genre hasn't seen much of yet and it definitely added a new element. 

Overall, I was bored and found it hard to get through. I haven't DNF'd a book yet this year, so I made myself push through it. It was a commonly used plot line, some continuity issues, and I didn't connect to any of the characters. The gender fluidity of Sal was the only thing that made this one stand out. 

I give this one 2.5/5 stars!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: Sunshine is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan @inkshares @kyletcowan

Sunshine is Forever
by Kyle T. Cowan

Happy Publishing Day!! 8/29/17

An emotional roller coaster of a ride.  See what #CJSReads had to say about this book addressing teen depression and suicide.  

Synopsis from Goodreads:

After a life-changing decision, Hunter decides that he can’t go on…

…which lands him in Camp Sunshine, a rehab center for depressed teens. Hunter is determined to keep everyone there out of his head, especially his therapist. But when he meets Corin, a beautiful, mysterious, and confident fellow camper, all Hunter wants to do is open up to her, despite the fact that he’s been warned Corin is bad news.

When Corin devises a plan for them to break out of the camp, Hunter is faced with the ultimate choice — will he run from the traumatic incident he’s tried so hard to escape, or will he learn that his mistakes have landed him right where he’s meant to be?

Sunshine is Forever captures the heartbreaking spirit of The Fault in Our Stars, the humor of Orange is the New Black, and the angst of Catcher in the Rye.

My Review:

Hunter S. Thompson (not the famous one) has tried to kill himself a few times since "the Incident" and his only friend turning her back on him. He is then sent to Camp Sunshine, a rehab center for depressed teens. He soon meets Corin, the only girl to show any interest in him, and she wants him to help her escape. He's been warned repeatedly not to get involved with her but how can he not when she's the only one who makes him feel better about himself? Will he continue to run from his inner demons, or will another miscalculation send him straight into facing all the consequences?

This book reminded me so much of Girl, Interrupted as I was reading it. I realize it's different in certain aspects, but put a group of teens in a setting where they are confined to an area and must confront their issues and boom, that's where my mind goes. Hunter struggles to accept responsibility for "the Incident" and blames everyone else around him instead. As he feels isolated and unwanted by his parents and his only friend, he just wants to get rid of this feeling of being hated. Depression and suicide are hard subjects to write about and I feel the author did a fantastic job of putting you in the mind of Hunter. Completely raw in certain moments and utterly realistic, I think anyone who may struggle with these issues may have a hard time reading this. 

I think all of us at some point has felt alienated or struggled to deal with our own demons. This book resonates in this universal feel. I did get a little annoyed with all the descriptive names that were repeated over and over again throughout the book: Optimistic Quint, Flinching Finley, Controlling Corin, Surgeon Dick, etc. etc. but I needed to know what "the Incident" was and even Corin's past - this is what kept me turning the pages. What really got to me was the last few pages when everything comes to a head and I felt my heart break and then mend back slowly towards the final pages. I'll certainly be thinking about this book for some time.

As the author says in his acknowledgements, "Continue to be yourself.  Allow the world to be inspired by you."

Jessica's Thoughts:

Normally the #CJSReads trio focuses on thrillers, horror, and crime books, so when the publisher sent this along with a few other books I was going into it blindly. SUNSHINE IS FOREVER by Kyle T. Cowan is definitely different from what I normally read, but I'm so happy that I gave it a chance. Teen suicide and depression are topics not too widely covered, and Cowan did a great job making this raw with a twist of dark humor.Hunter Thompson has attempted to take his life multiple times. After "the Incident" and then losing his only friend, his depression began to get the better of him. He is then sent to Camp Sunshine - a rehab camp for depressed teenagers. He is determined to keep everyone at a distance, including his new therapist. However, there is one person that he feels he can open up to, Corin. Despite being warned that she is someone to avoid, Hunter finds himself drawn to her. When she tries to enlist his help in an escape will Hunter continue to run from his traumatic history or will a mistake force him to face the consequences?I'd have to say that this book was a pleasant surprise for me! I didn't know what to expect going into it and I had only read the description on the back of the book. I probably wouldn't have picked this one up off the shelf (mainly because I'm awful at straying from the thriller section - I'm working on it though!) and I would have missed out. This is a great look into the mind of a teenager coping with his depression. This story is incredibly raw and realistic throughout. I kept flipping the pages so I could find out what "the Incident" was! I needed to know what happened to bring Hunter to where he currently was. Cowan created characters that the reader can instantly connect with and they were all unique. With it being a more serious topic, there was a dash of dark humor added in to lighten the mood.Overall, if you want an incredibly realistic look into the mind of a teenager struggling with his depression and finding a way to cope, then this is one you need to pick up. Definitely one that I'm happy I took a chance on. As a warning, this could be a harder one to read for anyone that is or has struggled with similar issues.I give this 4/5 stars!

Sam's Thoughts:

After an “incident” and a suicide attempt, Hunter finds himself heading to Camp Sunshine, the happiest place on earth and haven for depressed teens. Once he arrives, he meets fellow camper, Corin, who hatches a plan to break out of camp.    In helping with the plan, Hunter ends up going deep within himself to figure out if he plans to run from the incident that got him to the camp in the first place or if he wants to say and face it head on. 

When I first read the synopsis, I was hesitant.  I had some serious issues with Thirteen Reasons Why and that whole craze earlier this year, so I wasn’t sure what to expect as I delved into a book about teen suicide.    However, the tagline for this book stated it was The Bell Jar meets Chuck Palahniuk.  I was intrigued but a little bit confused.  “What a combination that would be”, I thought to myself.   So, my curiosity got the best of me and I dived in.  Now that I have finished Sunshine is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan, I totally get it. 

Given the subject matter, it is no surprise that this narrative is raw and honest but it is also, ironically, pretty funny.  Using dark humour, Cowan’s narrative prose completely stood out using Hunter’s narrative voice.  As he discussed his insecurities, his feelings and his everyday life, I found myself accepting the information as if he was an old friend.  I don’t usually read YA, simply because I don’t usually enjoy it nor can I relate.  However, I found something different about this one.  Perhaps the subject matter made it seem more mature?  I’m not sure but I had no issues flying through the pages.

In my line of work, I often come across teens with suicidal ideations and I found the perspective of this book incredibly eye opening.  You can read textbooks for days on the subject but this account felt so honest and real, it actually felt like it gave me a better understanding. 

4/5 stars from me!

Big thank you to Inkshares for these copies in return for our honest opinions.

SPOTLIGHT: Quakeland by Kathryn Miles @duttonbooks @kathryn_miles

by Kathryn Miles
Dutton Books

🎂 Happy Publishing Day 🎂

We all know Dutton Books puts out some fantastic reads.  Their nonfiction is no different. In the wake of natural disasters happening all around us, this read is sure to get you thinking and shaking about what's to come.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A journey around the United States in search of the truth about the threat of earthquakes leads to spine-tingling discoveries, unnerving experts, and ultimately the kind of preparations that will actually help guide us through disasters. It's a road trip full of surprises.

Earthquakes. You need to worry about them only if you're in San Francisco, right? Wrong. We have been making enormous changes to subterranean America, and Mother Earth, as always, has been making some of her own. . . . The consequences for our real estate, our civil engineering, and our communities will be huge because they will include earthquakes most of us do not expect and cannot imagine--at least not without reading Quakeland. Kathryn Miles descends into mines in the Northwest, dissects Mississippi levee engineering studies, uncovers the horrific risks of an earthquake in the Northeast, and interviews the seismologists, structual engineers, and emergency managers around the country who are addressing this ground shaking threat.

As Miles relates, the era of human-induced earthquakes began in 1962 in Colorado after millions of gallons of chemical-weapon waste was pumped underground in the Rockies. More than 1,500 quakes over the following seven years resulted. The Department of Energy plans to dump spent nuclear rods in the same way. Evidence of fracking's seismological impact continues to mount. . . . Humans as well as fault lines built our "quakeland."

What will happen when Memphis, home of FedEx's 1.5-million-packages-a-day hub, goes offline as a result of an earthquake along the unstable Reelfoot Fault? FEMA has estimated that a modest 7.0 magnitude quake (twenty of these happen per year around the world) along the Wasatch Fault under Salt Lake City would put a $33 billion dent in our economy. When the Fukushima reactor melted down, tens of thousands were displaced. If New York's Indian Point nuclear power plant blows, ten million people will be displaced. How would that evacuation even begin?

Kathryn Miles' tour of our land is as fascinating and frightening as it is irresistibly compelling.

Kathryn Miles:

An acclaimed science journalist, Kathryn Miles has also written the following books.  Click on the titles to see their synopsis.

All Standing

Adventures with Ari


Monday, August 28, 2017

#allthebookreviews: The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett @ittymay @hqstories

The People at Number 9
by Felicity Everett
Harper Collins / HQ

Big thank you to Harper Collins / HQ for our copies in return for our honest reviews.

Have you met them yet, the new couple?

When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara's street seem dull by comparison.

When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another's houses.

And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they've no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them...

Have you met The People at Number 9? A dark and delicious novel about envy, longing and betrayal in the suburbs...

My Thoughts: 

A novel about neighbors that turn into closest friends, that turn into more than they bargained for.  

Unfortunately this book just didn't work for me.  I'm not sure if it's how I interpreted the synopsis or what it was exactly that just made my eyes glaze over a bit.  "But those changes will come at a price..." and "shattering consequences" made me feel there was going to be some big revelation or something "dark and delicious"... and that just never happened.  

Did not find this dark at all.  Definitely not a domestic thriller or, in my opinion, suspenseful in the slightest.  A domestic fiction depicting neighborhood couples and their place in their social circles.  The note on the back of the book says it best, "...novel about envy, longing, and betrayal in the suburbs."  Both couples are seemingly well off and I wish just one of their kids would have had some type of normal name (or is this satire based on *rich* people naming their kids something weird and "interesting" these days?).  Unlikable characters at every turn.  It was like watching a reality show but never needing to grab the popcorn. 

I prefer to have a little more punch to my reads.. and the pace of this one was a tad bit too slow for me and felt very repetitive.  I kept expecting something to happen and even at the end, I felt deflated.  For those who like a bit of the manipulative middle-class family type, light on the drama, and don't need a lot of dramatic action or huge climax at the end, this would be more your type of read.   

Jessica's Thoughts:

Have you ever been curious about the new neighbors that moved in? I know we all have had those nosy moments of looking out the windows to get a glimpse before finally meeting them. Well, THE PEOPLE AT NUMBER 9 is about just that. When Lou and Gavin move in next door, Sara is intrigued by how different they are an how they live that she reaches the point of obsession. Marketed as a thriller, I'd say it's more of a domestic drama. 

Sara, her husband Neil, and their two sons live in a nice neighborhood. Well-kept homes and friendly neighbors. One day, she notices that Number 9 is newly occupied. After a few days she gets up the courage to go and introduce herself. She is instantly intrigued with this new couple - Lou and Gavin. They're eccentric, creative, and cultured - they live in a way that is much different than what Sara has become accustomed. Once they become close friends, they spend more and more time together, but after some time it begins to feel like a one-sided friendship.This is when the resentment and obsession begin to creep in. 

This is incredibly different than what I was expecting from this book. I think that it was marketed wrong - this definitely isn't a thriller. There's a lot of character development within the events and there's this darkness that begins to consume the story. Felicity Everett perfectly captured these characters and made them human - I can honestly say that I found myself thinking of people I knew reflected in some of these characters. By no means is this a gripping thrill ride, but it's a very well-written story about the interactions between neighbors and the hostility that can build up. 

So if you're looking for an edge-of-your-seat thriller, then move along. But, if you want a domestic drama that has incredibly life like (and not always likeable) characters, then this is the book for you! Once I got over my anticipations for this novel, I was drawn in and couldn't stop reading. I needed to know how this would play out between Sara, Neil, Lou, and Gavin. I can see this one being divided when it comes to readers that like and dislike it!

I give this compelling read 4/5 stars!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

REVIEW: Sins of the Father by Michael Reid Jr. @michaelreidjr1

Sins of the Father
by Michael Reid Jr
HQT Publications
Releases September 22, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:

Logan’s hunt has begun, in this immersive, fast-paced thriller.

President Pierce faces a difficult reelection following the terrorist attacks which highlighted his first term. His platform is focused on how they’ve successfully eliminated terrorism with the intercession of an advanced cyber watch network. However, Logan knows the truth.

After suffering a devastating loss at the hands of a terrorist cell, Logan begins to push those closest to him away. He welcomes death in an all-out war to avenge the loss of a friend and brother in arms. His intel leads to a failed aerial assault on a terrorist compound in the mountains of Yemen, but a CIA agent deep in country provides a cryptic tale of one pilot’s survival. Logan’s guilt places him in an isolated and deadly situation, forfeiting his life.

Logan’s unexplained absence becomes the catalyst, as a catastrophic chain of events begins to unfold in the U.S., crippling the country. In a sick twist of fate, Logan’s placed face to face with the devil he’s hunted for a year, Amir Qasmi, who may provide the only solution to save our country. But is it simply another deceitful lie?

My Review:

The president is up for reelection and basically is telling the world that terrorism has been eradicated. Logan and his team know differently and one of his team members gets killed on a mission, Logan starts to fall apart. Why does he continue to live while those he love keeps getting ripped away from him?

Holy crap you guys! What a great continuation of Logan Falcone's journey. Debt of Fear sets up everything that comes up in Sins of the Father. And while Debt of Fear was a fantastic read, I am blown away by this one. It's rare that you'll find a second in a series book that just EXPLODES and this one definitely does (pun intended!). It's clear that this book has been deeply researched and I feel for each of the characters that he has taken the time to build intricately. He also gives good scene - there's a flying scene near the beginning of the book that had me picturing Top Gun! (And now I have Danger Zone stuck in my head again!).

One thing I want to point out that I like about this book, especially in the relevance to today's world, is that while the terrorists are Muslim, the author also shows a side of the non-radical Muslims who are in the US for better opportunities and living a peaceful life. I think it's important to point this out because people have a tendency to pigeon hole a race and it's unfair and unacceptable. Every race, every group of people, every crowd of people, same race are not, have spatterings of shit holes - that doesn't mean everyone else associated are the same. /rant.

Action packed from the very first chapter, it's an absolute page turner with a revelation towards the end that I did NOT see coming!! People, get involved with this military action thriller. You won't regret it. Thank you so much to the author for this copy in return for my honest opinion. Not only is the author someone I consider a friend, but he is extremely talented and this book shows how he is growing in his talent with each book he writes and I expect it will continue in this trajectory.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

#allthebookreviews: From the Shadows by Neil White @bonnierzaffre @neilwhite1965

From the Shadows
by Neil White
Bonnier Zaffre

Big thank you to Bonnier Zaffre for our copies in return for our honest reviews.

Goodreads Synopsis:

He hides in the shadows, watching, waiting, until the time is right . . .

Mary Kendricks, a smart, pretty, twenty-four-year-old teacher, has been brutally murdered and Robert Carter is accused of killing her.

When defence lawyer, Dan Grant inherits Carter's case only weeks before the trial starts, everyone expects him just to babysit it, but Dan's not that kind of lawyer. He'll follow the evidence - wherever it takes him.

But as Dan and his investigator Jayne Brett look into the case, they discover that there is more to it than meets the eye. In order to do their jobs they need to push the limits of the system, even if it means putting themselves in danger.

Together they will get to the truth - whatever the cost . . .  

My Thoughts: 

This legal thriller is about the murder of Mary Kendricks and the man accused of murdering her.  Dan Grant, the lawyer who inherits this case from another lawyer friend, recruits his investigator, Jayne, to help look into this crime since it's only 2 weeks until trial.  What they uncover puts all their lives in jeopardy.

Welcome to book one in the Dan Grant legal thriller series!  What a great start to the series.  We get a good feel for the two main characters, Dan and Jayne.  While I do wish that sometimes having a man and woman work together wouldn't automatically put them in a maybe romantic or sexual relationships, I did like both of these characters.  The opening scene with Jayne made me snicker and we realize that she is a damaged soul trying to find some peace with herself .. and the only person she really trusts is Dan, who took her on after helping her in her own case in the past.  

This is a well thought out book and you can see how the author brings his own experience as a criminal lawyer and prosecutor to his writing.  As a legal assistant in my day job, I always find legal thrillers quite interesting and especially when they're well written and/or researched.  This book is moderately paced and I did find a little lull as I felt some things were a tad bit repetitive, but you know what, that's law for you!  The last 10-15% ramps up a bit and pulls the entire book together.  Highly recommend for those who like legal thrillers in the vein of Law & Order.  I look forward to continuing this series.

Jessica's Thoughts:

Here is book one in a new series from Neil White. This is my first book by him and it was a great crime fiction read! Murder, police investigation, and a lawyer that won't idly sit by like everyone wants him to, because they all believe his client is guilty of murder.

He is hiding in the shadows - watching you, waiting for his moment. He sneaks into your home when you're gone, hiding under the bed to watch you sleep at night until he decides to strike. Mary Kendricks is a smart, young teacher of just 24, and she has been brutally murdered. Robert Carter has been accused of killing her. Defense attorney, Dan Grant, has been given Carter's case only weeks before the trial date. Since everyone "knows" Carter is guilty, they simply expect Grant to just babysit him until the trial date. Grant is not one to sit by like this, he is determined to defend his client and will follow the evidence. 

His investigator, Jayne Brett, helps him look into the case. They begin to uncover the truth and learn there is a lot more to this case than meets the eye. Will they have to go outside the system in order to find more evidence and defend his client?

This was a great thriller - some courtroom drama, murder, and police investigations thrown in together made for a fast paced read. You can tell that White has extensive knowledge on the topic, between research and being a prosecutor himself. The characters were great and the development was just enough for the reader to be drawn in for the first book in a series. I'm excited to learn more about Dan and Jayne in future novels! 

Overall, if you want an action packed courtroom thriller, then this is the next book for you! A solid start to a new series.

I give this one a solid 4/5 stars!