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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: Brothers of Baseball by Kristofor Alan Hellmeister

Brothers of Baseball
by Kristofor Alan Hellmeister

It is my pleasure to Spotlight Kristofor's debut novel, Brothers of Baseball!  Take a look below to learn about the book and the author. πŸ˜„


Published: December 14, 2017
Paperback
424 pages
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Buy Here:  AMAZON

Synopsis:

Ryan hated the move. He hated being uprooted from his home in New York to the rural outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee. But, little did he know of what was in store for him as he becomes wrapped up in two worlds, and in two conflicts. After touching a baseball bat found in the attic of his new home, the Belle Meade Plantation, Ryan is transported back in time to the Civil War. It is here he takes part in a baseball game between Union and Confederate soldiers on the eve of the Battle of Nashville. Entangled in two timelines, his own and the life of a soldier, Ryan tries desperately to solve the mysteries in his life. It would a summer unlike any other. A summer of baseball. A summer of brotherhood. A summer of change. A summer of war.

About the Author:


Kristofor Hellmeister is a Canadian born, Georgia bred, New England Patriots loving middle school teacher and author.  He lives near Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Kristie, and son, Maddox.  Kristofor enjoys baseball, football, fishing, writing, reading, watching a good movie, and teaching.  This is his first published work.

Find him here:  Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

REVIEW: The One by John Marrs @johnmarrs1 @harpercollins #allthebookreviews

The One
by John Marrs



Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Published: February 20, 2018
Paperback
416 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

How far would you go to find THE ONE?


One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.


A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others...


A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Review:


It seems ingrained in humans to want someone to be with, grow old with.. a partner in life.  In today's society, online dating is now the norm.  Tinder, Match.com, and eHarmony are just a few of the plentiful sites you can use to find your mate.  Take that a step further and let your DNA do the search for you.  Swab your mouth, send in your sample and patiently wait and hope that your match in the world has done the same.  This ONE person is your other half, the pheromones to your receptors and vice versa.  What if you don't find that one? What if you're NOT matched?  Do you then question the person you're already with or if you're not with anyone, your own self worth? How can you possibly be with anyone else if this option is out there? HOW?!

We follow the lives of these 5 people:
Mandy, whose siblings have all been matched except for her and she needs validation.
Christopher, a psychopath who was just curious.
Jade, who found her match but he lives on the other side of the world - when will they ACTUALLY meet?
Nick, engaged, but whose fiancΓ©e wants them both to take the test to make sure they are destined.
Ellie, a high profile CEO who finds it hard to date "regularly".

Each short chapter goes back and forth between these five lives and how being matched has changed their lives. 

This really is a lighter thriller read and exactly what I needed right now.  I can see why some have compared this to a slight Black Mirror episode.  It's basically technology and science and how susceptible people can be to an idea that will solve the age old problem of finding your soul mate (or DNA match in this case)... and how it can cause more problems than solve them.  About 30% seemed to be actually in the thriller category but who cares?  Each short chapter somehow seemed to throw something new at you.  I figured a few things out here and there but the majority of the time I was turning the page and going 'WHAT!?!' - the hell, John Marrs... haha - what a delightful, entertaining and scary read.  Scary in how humans react to ideas planted in their heads.  It's like when you go to a psychic and they say this and this will happen... does it happen because they saw it or is it just your subconscious making it happen because the idea has been planted there?  Curiouser and curiouser...

★★★★★

Jessica's Review:


After reading THE GOOD SAMARITAN by John Marrs I was so ready to pick up his next release. THE ONE did not disappoint. This book deserves all of the hype it has gained and I would highly recommend picking up anything by John Marrs. 

What if you could find your soulmate with a simple DNA test? Finding your perfect match that you were genetically made for is a simple mouth swab away. We follow five different characters that have been "matched" and they are about to find who they were made for. Mandy is seeking her match because she is the last of her siblings to be, Christopher is a psychopath and only got the test done out of curiosity, Jade found her match but they're geographically undesirable, Nick is engaged and they want to make sure they are meant for each other, and then Ellie is a workaholic CEO who is tired of traditional dating. 

The chapters are quick and alternate between the different characters. I've always loved this approach and it helps you get more invested in each character as the story progresses. Despite there being five main characters, Marrs does a fantastic job keeping everything straight for the readers. I didn't find myself lost at all between the jumping perspectives. 

Those that love the thriller and suspense genre need to pick this one up! However, there are great science fiction elements included that make this more unique. There are great twists and turns - he knows how to throw a curveball at you. 

I give this a solid 5/5 stars!

REVIEW: Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone @ezekiel_boone @atriabooks

Zero Day
by Ezekiel Boone

A spiderpocalypse trilogy that I thoroughly enjoyed!  Thanks so much to Atria Books for a copy of this finale.  I never thought I'd love reading about spiders (they terrify me) taking over the world, but I did! See my reviews for The Hatching (here) and Skitter (here).


Publisher:  Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Published: February 27, 2018
Kindle Edition
336 pages
Genre:  Horror
The Hatching Trilogy (#3)

Goodreads Synopsis:


In the finale of Ezekiel Boone’s Hatching series, the United States goes to war against the queen spiders that threaten to overtake the human race forever.

The world is on the brink of apocalypse. Zero Day has come.

The only thing more terrifying than millions of spiders is the realization that those spiders work as one. But among the government, there is dissent: do we try to kill all of the spiders, or do we gamble on Professor Guyer’s theory that we need to kill only the queens?

For President Stephanie Pilgrim, it’s an easy answer. She’s gone as far as she can—more than two dozen American cities hit with tactical nukes, the country torn asunder—and the only answer is to believe in Professor Guyer. Unfortunately, Ben Broussard and the military men who follow him don’t agree, and Pilgrim, Guyer, and the loyal members of the government have to flee, leaving the question: what’s more dangerous, the spiders or ourselves?

My Review:


If someone had told me I would read a trilogy about killer spiders taking over the world and would be raving about it, I would've told that person they were insane.  I hate bugs. All kinds... and especially spiders.  They're fascinating creatures, but I like to live as apart from them as I can.

One of the things I love about Boone's writing is how he can bring SO many characters to the table and yet it never gets confusing.  I found myself invested in every single one of them.  Quite frankly, I hope if anything like this ever WERE to happen, I would hope we had a Shotgun out there to help fight the good fight!  

The spiders have come in two waves now and we are the finale.  We get taken along through various POVs in all kinds of situations.... the government, a religious fanatic(ish), everyday people, scientists, the military, so on and so forth.  What I wanted a little bit more of? THE SPIDERS!  We got a lot more from them in books one and two and while I don't relish feeling like things are crawling over me as I'm reading... well, I actually did want MORE of that from this book too!  There were definitely a few parts that had me questioning every little thing that moved in my peripheral, but for the most part, the spiders seemed to take a back seat and in a finale, that was a tiny bit disappointing.  

And I'll admit the ending did seem a bit anti-climatic after everything from books one and two.  HOWEVER, I'm still rating this highly because I was glued to the pages.  I needed to know what was going to happen to each and every one of these people.  I'm also extremely grateful to those who dedicate their lives to learning about our co-inhabitants on this planet.  

In a nutshell, I had an absolute blast with this entire trilogy.  Truly, Boone is a fantastic storyteller and I look forward to whatever he has coming our way in the future.  And people, even if you're terrified of spiders, take a chance and read this trilogy anyways. Just do it!

★★★★

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: Air Born by Timothy Trimble @timothytrimble



Air Born
by Timothy Trimble

It is my pleasure to spotlight Air Born by Timothy Trimble on my blog today!


Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback
316 Pages
Purchase:  AMAZON

There are those who hide among us who are different.  They know how to fly!  They guard it with their lives, not even daring to express in writing, or verbally in public, how it feels to embrace the wind and the clouds.  They don't know if they're a part of humanity or if they came fro the stars.  All they know is they are being hunted by the royal lineage of the ancient Eighteenth of Ahmose, who once considered themselves to be gods, and the only rightful ones to have such powers.  A young Avitorian discovers his heritage and the angst of love, only to suddenly be forced into confronting the Eighteenth.  He seeks the help of the Avitorian Overser for a daring rescue of the love of his life - a confrontation which will impact the entire Avitorian Race.  "Air Born - Do You Dream of Flying" will enthrall anyone, young or old, with the peaceful scenes of flight, the angst of young love, and the conflict with The 18th of Ahmose.

Air Born Reviews:

5 Stars - CNC Doctor (Amazon) It didn't take me long to read it but what I read was interesting and entertaining and kept my interest so that I didn't want to put it down. There are small reflections of modern society in this fantasy that ring true. It gives the story line a basis in reality that makes the characters come to life in your mind as friends, or family struggling against an unjust oppression.Man has always wanted to be able to fly. The author takes the ball and runs with it, showing what it would be like if some could fly, and how they and others felt about it. The better your imagination, the more the story comes to life, but if not, there are some scenes spoon fed to you to give you the feeling of flight. The story is not heavy or depressing, but not silly or over dramatic. It does, however leave you wanting.......(I bet you thought I was going to say "to fly!" and maybe it does but I was mainly referring to the desire for) the next installment which is likely named "Air Storm." I'm already in line...no cutting! 

5 Stars - Lisa L (Amazon) Have you ever felt the cool yet biting tingle of being in the midst of a cloud? I rarely have experienced this when a cloud heavily lays on the ground. But I felt all of those sensations reading this book. I wanted to quickly read through the story to know what happens next, but I felt like I needed to slow down to enjoy every nuance of flying high above the Earth. 5 Stars - Chad Morrison (Amazon) Fantastic book! Just finished it and it is amazing! Can NOT wait for the next entry in the series! I was grabbed from the very beginning of the book! The way the characters are introduced and developed not only gives you a good story but makes you feel like you are in the story, and that these are people that you actually know! You become entangled with the action and drama of the story! If you are looking for a fantastic YA novel, this is it!!!! 

5 Stars - Sharon (Amazon) This is an excellent read! It keeps your attention to the very end. I do not read much fiction anymore but would recommended this to anyone. It has a little of just about everything from suspense and drama to romance. My only regret in reading this is that I did not do it sooner. My only question now is when is the next book by Timothy Trimble going to be released. I can't wait!!!!

About the Author:


Timothy has been writing stories since his teenage years, with many years of distraction as a performing musician. His true love of writing fiction continues with his science fiction and urban fantasy stories. He lives in the Pacific Northwest, where the prevalence of coffee shops and hiking trails contribute to his inspiration. As a prolific writer, Timothy is often quoted as saying, “Too many stories. Not enough Tim!” 

Other Fiction Works By Timothy 

Zegin’s Infection : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BM87Q38 
Zegin’s Abduction : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OFG2ZLW 
UNDISCOVERED : https://bit.ly/TTBookFree 




SPOTLIGHT: The Boulevard Monster by Jeremy Hepler @jeremyhepler


The Boulevard Monster
by Jeremy Hepler

I'm super excited to spotlight Jeremy Hepler and his book, THE BOULEVARD MONSTER!


Publisher: Bloodshot Books
Published:  April 7, 2017
Paperback
302 pages
Genre:  Horror

I KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD ABOUT ME...

You say that I am a madman. You say that I am dangerous. You say that I am the one who has been abducting women, slaughtering them, and burying their corpses all around this city for years. You are wrong, because only part of that statement is true...

I AM NOT A KILLER...

I know that you probably won't believe me. Not now. Not after all that has happened, but I need to tell my side of the story. You need to know how this all began. You need to hear about the birds, but most of all, you need to understand...

I AM NOT THE BOULEVARD MONSTER.



Native to the Texas Panhandle, Jeremy Hepler now lives in the heart of Texas with his wife Tricia and son Noah. Over the last six years, he has had twenty-four short stories published in various professional markets, and in 2014, he placed second in the Panhandle Professional Writers Short Story Competition. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and his debut novel, THE BOULEVARD MONSTER, is a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a  First Novel.Other than writing suspense and horror novels, he loves reading, gardening, cooking, painting, and repurposing old furniture. For more information, hit him up on Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, or Twitter (@JeremyHepler). 

Follow him here:  Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

"Reads as if Dean Koontz had written an episode of Breaking Bad." Unnerving Magazine
"This novel is a tense reading experience..." The Grim Reader
"Jeremy Hepler has arrived! The Boulevard Monster is his debut book, but it didn't feel like a debut at all!" Cedar Hollow Horror

REVIEW plus Q&A: The Liar's Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard @cathryanhoward @blackstoneaudio #CJSReads

The Liar's Girl
by Catherine Ryan Howard

πŸŽ‚ HAPPY PUBLISHING DAY πŸŽ‚

Big thank you to Blackstone Publishing for these copies in return for our honest reviews.

After reading Distress Signals last year (see review HERE), I was ECSTATIC to get a copy of Howard's new release, The Liar's Girl.  You guys, it's SO GOOD!  See what we thought below along with a Q&A with the author!


Publisher:  Blackstone Publishing
Published:  February 27, 2018
Hardcover
356 Pages
Genres:  Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Goodreads Synopsis:

Will Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin's elite St. John's College-and Ireland's most prolific serial killer. Having stalked his four young victims, he drowned them in the muddy waters of the Grand Canal. Sentenced to life imprisonment when he was just nineteen, Will is locked away in the city's Central Psychiatric Hospital.


Freshman Alison Smith moved to the Big Smoke to enrol in St. John's and soon fell hard for Will Hurley. Her world bloomed ... and then imploded when Liz, her best friend, became the latest victim of the Canal Killer-and the Canal Killer turned out to be the boy who'd been sleeping in her bed. Alison fled to the Netherlands and, in ten years, has never once looked back.

When a young woman's body is found in the Grand Canal, Garda detectives visit Will to see if he can assist them in solving what looks like a copycat killing. Instead, Will tells them he has something new to confess-but there's only one person he's prepared to confess it to. The last thing Alison wants is to be pulled back into the past she's worked so hard to leave behind. Reluctantly, she returns to the city she hasn't set foot in for more than a decade to face the man who murdered the woman she was supposed to become.

Only to discover that, until now, Will has left out the worst part of all ... 


My Review:

There's just something about Howard's writing style that I just really LOVE.  Neither of her books are those throat punch, make you gasp and go OH MY F*$(*%#$) GOD, WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!  And I know we ALL love those, but hear me out because I do too, but The Liar's Girl is GOOD. 

I started this Sunday night and did NOT want to put it down.  I was hooked in just 20 pages and the only reason I put it down was because I knew I had an early and long day at work on Monday.  I snuck reads in all day Monday just to finish this and finish it, I did!

This book is extremely easy to fly through.  It doesn't throw twists at you left and right but rather engages you in Alison's life.  A decade after her boyfriend is convicted of being a serial killer, he reaches out to her to help prove his innocence. But he CONFESSED... he can't possibly innocent... can he?? In her return to Dublin, she realizes she just needs to know.  Whether he is or not, she finally needs some solid answers since there seems to be doubt in his conviction now.  Howard takes us back a decade ago and then to the present.  Mainly this is done via Alison's POV... mainly πŸ˜‰.

If I was going to be picky, then I would say that the very ending may not have been entirely necessary.  I liked exactly how it was up to this point... however, it didn't take anything away from my love of the story either. 

Quite frankly, this was exactly the type of read I needed right now.  I feel like I've been struggling through the last few books I've read so it was nice to be able to fly and get truly invested in one again and for that, I give my full five stars.

Thriller lovers who are into characterizations without the big twists (but with the ahhhh, so THAT'S what happened) will truly enjoy this book.  Win, win with both of Howard's books for me to date. I absolutely look forward to more from her.

★★★★★

Jessica's Review:

Last year the #CJSReads trio read DISTRESS SIGNALS by Howard and we all loved it. So when we saw she had another thriller coming out we knew we needed to grab it :) With really popular books it's hard for follow ups to measure up, but THE LIAR'S GIRL did not disappoint! If you liked DISTRESS SIGNALS then you need to pick this one up. 

Will Hurley is charming, handsome, and has a place in the elite St. John's College in Dublin. Sounds perfect, right? Well, he's also Ireland's most prolific serial killer known as the Canal Killer. He was sentenced to life in the Central Psychiatric Hospital at the age of nineteen. As a freshman at St. John's College, Alison Smith quickly fell in love with Will Hurley, until the night her best friend became the newest Canal Killer victim. After learning that the man she loved was the killer, she fled Ireland. 

A decade later, a body is found in the Grand Canal and it becomes apparent that this is a copycat killer. Will is willing to help the police but he said he has one last confession and he will only give it to Alison. She is forced to come back to the past she desperately tried to hide from and she must now face the man that murdered her friend and changed her life forever. 

I love Howard's writing style. She makes it effortless for you to fly through the first half of the book without realizing it. If it weren't for the two feet of snow we got, I would have definitely finished this in one sitting. She has great characterization, a slow build mystery that isn't too slow, and then the perfect amount of suspense to keep you tense as you flip through the pages. This is one of those thrillers that doesn't have a huge and shocking twist, but it ties everything together nicely for you so that it all makes sense. 

I can't wait to see what Catherine Ryan Howard has in store for us next!

I give this 5/5 stars!

Sam's Review:

I was so excited for The Liar’s Girl, the sophomore novel by Catherine Ryan Howard, especially after reading (and LOVING) Distress Signals last year.   I lent this novel out to several people and had everyone in my life jumping on to the Catherine Ryan Howard train.  I was expecting on the edge of my seat action, tension and red herrings aplenty.   Glad to say that The Liar’s Girl did not disappoint!! 

We meet Allison, a college student who has met the man of her dreams, Will, and they fall madly in love.  Seems like they will live happily ever after until a murder unfolds, her boyfriend is implicated and she realizes she is dating a serial killer.  Ten years later, after struggling to rebuild her life, her past comes rushing back into her life as the police ask for her help in a string of new murders that appear like Will’s. 

Like Distress Signals, I loved how Howard rolled out the plot in The Liar’s Girl.  It all flowed seamlessly and, by the end of the first chapter, I was completely hooked.  It sort of read to me like the Stillhouse Lake series by Rachel Caine.  Not too many twists or turns but just a strong, steady, creepy plot.   I loved it. 

Now, the ending, I have a bone to pick with.  I won’t say anything other than that since I don’t want to give away any spoilers but it just didn’t feel like it “fit” with the tone of the story. 

Overall, another awesome novel by Howard and I’ll be waiting anxiously for her third book.  Is there any way you could write a little faster??!!


4/5 stars. 


Meet Catherine Ryan Howard! 
The woman behind Distress Signals and The Liar's Girl!

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? Your writing Kryptonite?

Oh, that’s easy: Netflix. And on a particularly bad day, basically anything that isn’t writing. I am a master procrastinator.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I suppose it’s a bit strange that I don’t necessarily write every day, or even most days.  I’m a binger. I mightn’t write for weeks but then I’ll chain myself to my desk and write for five days straight, until my hands are like claws and I’ve turned feral.

Is there one particular subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Thus far I have pretty much avoided writing about marriage, and I don’t write about children at all. I’m in my mid-thirties, am not married and don’t plan on ever having kids, and I very rarely see myself in the (crime) books I read. I don’t necessarily think that’s a big problem, but as I think ‘write the book you want to read but can’t find on the shelf’ is great advice, I’m happy to take it.

How many unpublished/half-finished books do you have?

Just one unpublished – a novel I describe as The Devil Wears Prada meets Weightwatchers – and countless half-finished ones. For years, all I wanted was to write a novel but I just couldn’t finish one.

Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I try not to read them. Reviews are primarily for readers, not for writers. I only ever respond in the sense that if someone posts a link to a review online and tags me in it, I thank them because I want them to know that I’m grateful that they took the time to read my book. I’d never respond to the review directly – no good can come of it! Not reading them at all really helps in dealing with the bad, because you don’t know they are any bad ones. Denial is underrated.

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?

For my entire adolescence I was obsessed with the idea of being a biosafety level 4 virologist specializing in the Ebola virus and working at the United State Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, so maybe that. I have my doubts though – I think that was an even more improbable dream than being a writer!

What's one piece of advice you have received that has always resonated with you?

We say the phrase ‘life’s too short’ all the time but it literally is. I don’t believe you should put off anything you really want to do, or not use your good stuff, or not at least try to make your biggest dreams come true. I have almost no regrets and that’s because I don’t ever wait to do things, or stay doing things I don’t want to for very long. The clock is always ticking and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The more you’re aware of it, the more you’re pushed to do the things you really want to do and not waste time.

What literary character is most like you?

I am obsessed with the lives of writers in 1920s Paris and am a bit of a daydreamer, so probably Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris. I’d like to think I have better hair though. 

If you could cast the characters of any of your books for a movie, who would play your characters?

When I was writing Distress Signals, I used to picture Aaron Eckhart for Peter and Jamie Dornan for Adam. (A terribly arduous task, as you can imagine.) Distress Signals has been optioned for TV, so hopefully someone will have to cast that one day. A girl can dream. The only person in The Liar’s Girl I have a real-world equivalent for is Detective Malone. When I started writing him I had just watched Richard Rankin in a mini-series called Thirteen, so if I was tasked with casting that book, I’d cast him in that role. He’d have to do an Irish accent though, but he’s Scottish so that shouldn’t be too hard! 

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I was 11 when I first read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, and for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, the beginning part talks about the science of cloning and DNA, and reads like non-fiction. I didn’t know it wasn’t that. I fully believed every word. I think that’s the first time I really thought about the power of being able to build entire worlds out of words – and wholly believable ones, too. That’s when I started wanting to build my own.

What's the best money you ever spent as a writer?

For pure cost-per- use, it has to be my iMac. I bought it in 2012 and it still works like it did the day I took it out of the box. It’s a workhorse. I’ve written both my thrillers on it and am using it to start on a third. I love the big screen on it because I can write a new draft with the old one up there too.

Have you ever gotten reader's block?  How did you get out of it?

I get it all the time! I find it very hard to read fiction especially when I’m trying to complete a work of it myself. I find the best way to get out of it is to find a couple of books, usually proof copies in my case, that (a) I really, really want to read and have ideally been looking forward to for ages and (b) are quick reads, as in short chapters, frictionless prose and real page-turners. The kind of book you might save in anticipation of a really long flight. Recently I broke a particularly long streak of reader’s block with a couple of books like that, and then I was off to the races and back on my reading track!


Catherine Ryan Howard was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982. Prior to writing full-time, Catherine worked as a campsite courier in France and a front desk agent in Walt Disney World, Florida, and most recently was a social media marketer for a major publisher. She is currently studying for a BA in English at Trinity College Dublin.

Website: www.catherineryanhoward.com
@cathryanhoward on Twitter and Instagram


Monday, February 26, 2018

REVIEW: 19 Souls by J.D. Allen @midnightinkbook @djallenbooks #allthebookreviews

19 Souls
by J.D. Allen

Thank you to Midnight Ink and Netgalley for these copies in return for our honest opinion.


Publisher:  Midnight Ink
Published:  Feruary 8, 2018
360 pages
Paperback
Genre:  Crime Fiction, Thriller
Series:  Sin City Investigation #1

Goodreads Synopsis:

Private Investigator Jim Bean is a straightforward, to-the-point man. When his latest client, Sophie Evers, asks him to find her brother Daniel, Jim has no idea how complicated his life is about to become.


Daniel is not Sophie's brother. He is her most coveted prey. Clinging to the belief that they belong together, Sophie kills Daniel's real sister to manipulate Jim into flushing Daniel out of hiding. She will create the "perfect life" for the only man she's ever loved, no matter how many people she must kill along the way.

When Jim discovers the truth about Sophie, he's driven to set things right before her delusional plan claims even more souls.

My Review:


Poor Sophie picked the wrong investigator to help her with her plan of getting Daniel back into her life.  Once Jim Bean realizes she has duped him, he now feels it's his duty to help the poor sap he led her straight to.

As a reviewer, advanced copies received are apt to have misspellings, grammar issues or little things wrong and I am always aware of this and usually it doesn't bother me.  I realize these are unfinished copies and will go through more editing before published. Unfortunately this one was peppered consistently throughout with misspellings that took away from my enjoyment of the read.  That being said, I did like the story line for the most part.  Crazy girl who just wants to be loved.  Clearly has some mental issues after a rough childhood and is progressively losing her shit.   Then we have Jim... my favorite character for sure.  He definitely has some issues but he's lovable in that wants-to-do-the-right-thing kind of way, while still flawed with his own crap. 

Psychopathic serial killer, flawed private investigator with a heart of gold... bring in a guy who has been stalked all his life, an female FBI agent along for the ride.. and well, we have pretty much all the elements of this kind of read.  Unfortunately it just didn't resonate for me as much as I would have liked it to.  I found it getting a bit repetitive and once the characters were established, there wasn't much more development.  My attention began to wane towards the middle and didn't quite catch hold again.

I'll probably be an unpopular opinion on this one. I think the majority of people who like crime fiction/thrillers will probably enjoy this read.  

★★

Jessica's Review:


Going into 19 SOULS by J.D. Allen I had seen some mixed reviews, which I always find fun about going into a book. Something where you can go in and kind of have no expectations for it. This perfectly falls into the thriller/mystery genre, so I can see a lot of people that are fans of the genre enjoying this one!

Jim Bean is a Private Investigator and he takes on a case that is more complicated than he anticipated. When Sophie Evers asks him to help her find her brother, Daniel, Jim's life becomes complicated and very quickly. He quickly discovers that Daniel is not actually Sophie's brother, but someone she obsessed with and is convinced they are meant for each other. There are more twists and turns that Sophie has in store for Jim and he is determined to stop her before she can ruin anymore lives.

Going into early copies reviewers are aware that there is the potential for some errors because it's not the final draft. Sometimes it's completely unnoticeable and doesn't affect the reading experience. However, in this case there were some that really broke up the flow of the book. I'm assuming those got fixed in the final printing!

There were a couple parts where it felt is was dragging, but again, I'm really thinking this is because of some of the issues in the early printing, so I definitely think that thriller fans will like this one! There are plenty of twists and great thriller elements to this novel, and one that I recommend visiting in it's final form!

I give this one 3/5 stars!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

REVIEW: The Clarity by Keith Thomas @atriabooks #keiththomas #CJSReads

The Clarity
by Keith Thomas


Thank you so much to Atria Books and NetGalley for this copy in return for my honest opinion.


Publisher:  Atria Books
Published:  February 20, 2018
Kindle Edition
304 pages
Genre:  Sci-Fi, Thriller

Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of Black Mirror and True Detective, a visceral high‑concept thriller about a psychologist who must protect the life of an eleven-year-old girl whose ability to remember past lives makes them both targets of a merciless killer.

Dr. Matilda Deacon is a psychologist researching how memories are made and stored when she meets a strange eleven-year-old girl named Ashanique. Ashanique claims to harbor the memories of the last soldier killed in World War I and Matilda is at first very interested but skeptical. However, when Ashanique starts talking about being chased by the Night Doctors—a term also used by an unstable patient who was later found dead—Matilda can’t deny that the girl might be telling the truth.

Matilda learns that Ashanique and her mother have been on the run their whole lives from a monstrous assassin named Rade. Rade is after a secret contained solely in memories and has left a bloody trail throughout the world in search of it. Matilda soon realizes Ashanique is in unimaginable danger and that her unique ability comes with a deadly price.

Fast-paced, suspenseful, and a chilling blend of science and danger, The Clarity is a compelling take on the possibilities of reincarnation and life after death.

My Review:

I'm not even sure where to begin with this one.  I absolutely love the concept of this.  Medical experimentation allowing some to be able to remember past lives.  A young girl "gifted" with this ability who is being chased by a murderer named Rade who wants a secret hidden in these memories that only Ash (the young girl) can seem to provide.  The author takes us on an action packed excursion.

I did enjoy the past memories as Ash pummels into them.  While Ash and Matilda (her guardian) were interesting characters, I think I was most fascinated with Rade.  Not really filled with any type of emotion, he simply acts on orders and takes them to the extreme.  I swear, I will never look at a cheese grater the same EVER again. **shiver**

I was fully intrigued with the first half of the book but then found my interest waning the further I got in.  I'm not sure what exactly it was that wasn't quite working for me the way that I wanted it to but while I was still finding the storyline entertaining, I couldn't quite feel fully invested.  "Where is Fifty-One"  Who are these Night Doctors? ..... It had that sci-fi/thriller feel that I usually love in books of this nature, with a fairly unique take on mind control... and yet, even with some explanation, I don't understand exactly where we were going most of the time... or I stopped caring.  

Don't get me wrong - I did enjoy this book.  I just didn't find myself loving it.  I'm fairly certain this is a standalone even though the ending hints at more to come.  I'm going to assume that it was left this way as we know that even though they may have gotten to their own "ending" of sorts, any medical/government experimentation, etc. just doesn't disappear because your story "ends".  If that makes any sense.  

I may need to stew on this one for a bit.  Am I glad I read this? Yes.  Do I need more answers?  I think so.  Would I read on if this story continued?  I'm not certain if I would.  Definitely torn down the middle with this one.  If sci-fi/action thrillers suit you, I would give this one a go as it is a unique take on memory manipulation.

★★★

Jessica's Review:


I wasn't entirely sure what to expect going into this one, but damn, that cover had me instantly intrigued. THE CLARITY by Keith Thomas is one that is still hard to wrap my head around. It really keeps you thinking and engaged throughout the novel. Medical thrillers are always interesting to me, with how fast technology is improving in the medical field a lot of these don't seem too farfetched. 



Dr. Matilda Deacon has been researching how memories are created and stored in the human brain. She meets a young girl named Ash and discovers that she is gifted with the memories of a past life. Her memories are from that of the last soldier killed in WWI - despite all of her doubts and skepticism Matilda slowly begins to realize she might be telling the truth. 

They quickly realize that Ash is in serious danger when they learn of a deadly assassin that's been following her. Rade is on a mission to keep secrets hidden but Ash is putting that all in jeopardy. Are her memories of a past life the key to what Rade is trying to prevent from being leaked?


Overall, this was an incredibly unique read. Medical experimentation, cat and mouse with an assassin, memories from your past life? All of this combined made for an enjoyable read. There were a few places where the momentum slowed down for me. Just like my buddy reader, Chandra, said, I will never see cheese graters the same after reading this! 

If medical thrillers pique your interest and you're looking for something completely unique, then I would highly recommend picking this one up. 


I give this 3.5/5 stars!

Sam's Review:

I don’t often read science fiction but I am a sucker for a medical thriller so when #cjsreads decided to read Clarity, by Keith Thomas, I was on board.  Experimentation, conspiracies, past lives and  “night doctors” collide to create a fast paced, action packed novel.  Truly, I loved the concept but, in the end, I struggled with the execution.

Let me explain.

The novel opens with the introduction of several different characters including Matilda, a psychologist who specializes in memories and Ashanique, an eleven-year-old girl who has violent and traumatic memories of being in WWI.   Right away, I was hooked.  The “past lives phenomenon” thread moving throughout the plot was extremely interesting.  I don’t know how I feel about this issue, or if I believe in it, but reading about it was fascinating! Especially the little bits of medical jargon and lectures that Matilda’s character brings to the plot. 

However, what started to irk me with this novel was the delivery.  For starters, several things had me a little bit confused.  It took me a long time to figure out who each character was (once I understood the role of everyone it was fine) but it took about 30% of the plot for me to be able to identify the main character and the sub characters and acknowledge their roles.  And, for me, after about 30% of the book completed, I wanted to be able to settle in and enjoy the story instead of trying to navigate characters.

Overall, an interesting and compelling read for conspiracy and sci-fi fans; perhaps I wasn’t the right reader!

2.5/5 stars.