One Night by Georgina Cross

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of Publication: August 1st, 2023

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Family, Fiction, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

One night. That’s all the time a family has to decide what to do with the man they believe murdered their daughter: Do they forgive him, or take justice into their own hands? An electrifying novel by the author of Nanny Needed. . .

The anonymous letters arrive in the mail, one by one: To find out what really happened to Meghan, meet at this location. Don’t tell anyone you’re coming. In one night, you’ll find out everything you need to know.

Ten years after her murder, the letters tell Meghan’s family exactly when and where to meet: a cliffside home on the Oregon coast. But on the night they’re promised answers, the convicted killer–her high school boyfriend, Cal, who spent only ten years in prison for murder–is found unconscious in his car, slammed into a light pole near the house where the family is sitting and waiting. Is he the one who invited them to gather?

As a storm rampages along the Pacific Northwest, the power cuts off and leaves the family with no chance of returning to the main road and finding help. So they drag Cal back to the house for the remainder of the night. How easy it would be to let him die and claim it was an accident. Or do they help him instead? As the hours tick by, it becomes an excruciating choice. Half of the family wants to kill him. The other half wants him to regain consciousness so he can tell them what he knows.

But if Cal wakes up, he might reveal that someone in the family knows more than they’re letting on. And if that’s the case, who is the real killer? And are they already in the house?

First Line:

It was stupid to walk away. You can’t trust anyone in the dark.

One Night by Georgina Cross

The night Meghan was killed was the night that her family shattered. It fractured even more when her alleged killer, Cal, was released from jail after only serving ten years. Her entire family is invited to a beach house on the Oregon shore two years later. As tensions rise inside, a massive storm rampages outside. When Cal is found injured and unconscious in his car, the family moves him inside. Half of the people there want to kill him, and the other half want to keep him alive so he can tell them what he knows. But someone in that group is hiding a secret. A secret so big that it could destroy them and the other family members. Did Cal kill Meghan? If he didn’t, who did? Will Cal survive the night? Will he tell people what he knows?

I have read a lot of mysteries lately. That is a good thing; I enjoy a good mystery, and the mystery angle initially attracted me to this book. I figured that I would like this book. I hate to say it, but I was “meh” about One Night.

One Night is a fast-paced book in the tourist town of Bandon, Oregon. The storyline did suit the pacing, but there was a lag in the middle and end of the book.

There were two main storylines in One Night. The first was Meghan’s murder, who did it, why, and how Cal fit into it. The second storyline centers around Meghan’s family, the house, the storm, and Cal. While both storylines were well written, I was more interested in the first storyline. The second storyline should have held my attention.

The storyline with Meghan, her murder, who did it, why, and how Cal fit into it was very twisty. I didn’t like Meghan. She was dishonest and abusive and had her mother wrapped around her little finger (I will get more into her mother later). The details of her murder, though, weren’t revealed until the very end. While I did have the correct people involved, I didn’t have the timeline right. So, I was surprised when the murderer was revealed.

The storyline with Meghan’s family, the aftermath, the invite to the house, the storm, and how Cal fit into everything was strange and often didn’t make sense. In this storyline, I did figure out who invited everyone to the house (it was very apparent, and the person did make some telling statements with the magazines). The storm was just the backdrop to a surreal and strange situation that started unfolding in the house. When Cal showed up, I wasn’t surprised who wanted to kill him. By the end of the book, I was sick of everyone in this storyline, and I couldn’t wait for it to be done.

I wouldn’t say I liked any of the characters. Except for Sam and Cal, they all got on my one last nerve.

I liked the book’s mystery angle, and it was well-written. As I stated above, I did think I had figured out who killed Meghan, but I was surprised at how it ended. I also did figure out who sent the invites out. But, the reason why surprised me.

The end of One Night was confusing. The author ended the present-day storyline in a way that I did not like. I agreed with Cal’s statement.

I would recommend One Night to anyone over 21. There are no sexual situations, but there is violence and language.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam, NetGalley, and Georgina Cross for allowing me to read and review One Night. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoy reading books similar to One Night, then you will enjoy these:

Other books by Georgina Cross:

North of Nowhere by Allison Brennan

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: August 8th, 2023

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Contemporary, Family, Crime, Action

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

New York Times bestseller Allison Brennan’s latest standalone is an unputdownable race to the dramatic finish.

After five years in hiding from their murderous father, the day Kristen and Ryan McIntyre have been dreading has arrived: Boyd McIntyre, head of a Los Angeles crime family, has at last tracked his kids to a small Montana town and is minutes away from kidnapping them. They barely escape in a small plane, but gunfire hits the fuel line. The pilot, a man who has been raising them as his own, manages to crash land in the middle of the Montana wilderness. The siblings hike deep into the woods, searching desperately for safety—unaware of the severity of the approaching storm.

Boyd’s sister Ruby left Los Angeles for the Army years ago, cutting off contact in order to help keep her niece and nephew safe and free from the horrors of the McIntyre clan. So when she gets an emergency call that the plane has gone down with the kids inside, she drops everything to try save them.

As the storm builds, Ruby isn’t the only person looking for them. Boyd has hired an expert tracker to find and bring them home. And rancher Nick Lorenzo, who knows these mountains better than anyone and doesn’t understand why the kids are running, is on their trail too.

But there is a greater threat to Kristen and Ryan out there. More volatile than the incoming blizzard, more dangerous than the family they ran from or the natural predators they could encounter. Who finds them first could determine if they live or die. . .

First Line:

Tony Reed was alive today because he always listened to his gut.

North of Nowhere by Allison Brennan

For five years, Kristen and Ryan lived under an assumed name in the small town of Big Sky, Montana. For five years, Tony had kept them safe from those who should have protected them. But it is all over when Tony notices strangers in town. The children’s father, the head of a crime family, has found them and is coming to take them back. When their escape plan is derailed thanks to someone shooting at the airplane and striking the fuel line and Tony injured, the children strike out on their own, not knowing that a blizzard is about to descend on Big Sky. With their father, aunt, and a local rancher on their trail, it is a matter of time before someone catches up with them. But it isn’t their father, the storm, or the wildlife that the children have to worry about. Something more dangerous than the wildlife and the storm await them back on the ranch. Will the children escape?

I had seen Out of Nowhere floating around the blogosphere for a while. While I was interested, this was a book that I would eventually read in my own time. So, you can imagine my surprise when I got an email from St. Martin’s Press with a widget attached. I was even more surprised when I realized I had requested this book from their influencer program and forgot about it.

North of Nowhere is a fast-paced book set in the state of Montana. The pacing of this book fits the storyline. There was little lag, and the author was able to keep the main focus on the three different storylines.

The main storyline of North of Nowhere centered around the kids (Kristen and Ryan), Boyd, Ruby, and Nick. The story is told through the eyes (3rd person) of Kristen, Boyd, Ruby, and Nick. I am not a fan of multiple storylines or storylines that swap back and forth between characters, but in this case, it worked. The more urgent the storyline became, the more the author switched between the characters.

What I also liked about this book is that the characters were human. Take, for instance, Tony and Boyd. They both were ruthless killers, and they had some psychopathic tendencies. But, and I stress but, they were willing to set those tendencies aside for the kids. Tony did this for five years, and Boyd did it while searching for the kids. Each of the characters, main and otherwise, was well-written and fleshed out.

The storyline of why Tony took the kids and ran was heartbreaking. I did think that the author dragged it out longer than it should have been, but it was all good with me. Kristen did annoy me with her screaming at Boyd, but in her defense, he deserved it. I also was a little irritated with Boyd and how blind he was to everything until it was almost too late. Even I knew who was behind everything.

The storyline with Boyd, his search for the kids, and everything else he did was interesting. I liked how the author first portrayed him as a mob boss going in and getting a job done (getting his kids). But, as that storyline progressed, a different side of Boyd was seen. He genuinely loved his kids and would stay in a blizzard to find them. By the end of the book, I was rooting for Boyd to do the right thing. I wasn’t expecting what happened to him. It took me by surprise.

Ruby’s storyline was complicated. I understood why she helped Tony (she discovered what Frankie was doing to Kristen). I also understood why she shut herself off from the kids (in case a situation like this happened). But, when push came to shove, she was able to face her demons (aka her mother) and help those kids out. Her refusal to do what Frankie wanted at the end of the book was a significant turning point in her storyline.

There were points in the book where I wondered why Nick was involved. But, as soon as he tracked the plane and saw what happened, I understood. Nick was the only one around who could survive the blizzard coming through. Plus, he found Boyd’s story a little fishy and wanted to ensure the kids would be safe. The author put Nick through the wringer in his storyline, but I was happy with his outcome.

The kids’ storyline was complicated and twisty. Kristen witnessed two murders by the time she was eleven. She was damaged because of that. She also knew who was behind the murder of her mother and was terrified of this person. In her five years with Tony, she learned to care for herself. More importantly, she took care of her younger brother, who was deaf.

Let’s talk about Frankie for a minute. The author discusses her quite a bit during the book’s first half. Man, she was cold and was willing to sacrifice/do whatever it took to protect the family and her business. So be it if that meant drugging a ten-year-old to become more cooperative. Frankie becomes essential towards the end of the book. She was scary, manipulative, and just plain evil.

The thriller angle of North of Nowhere kept me on the edge of my seat. The author didn’t let up with it. From the escape to the book’s final scenes, I felt I couldn’t breathe.

The mystery angle of North of Nowhere was well written. There were some things that I figured out early in the book, and there were others that surprised me when the author revealed them. The author kept me on my toes.

The end of North of Nowhere almost seemed anti-climatic. I liked how the author wrapped everything up. I hope that the author writes another book in this universe. There were a couple of surviving people that I would love to read about.

I would recommend North of Nowhere to anyone over 21. There are no sexual situations, but there is graphic violence and language.

Many thanks to Saint Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, NetGalley, and Allison Brennan for allowing me to read and review North of Nowhere. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoy reading books similar to North of Nowhere, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Allison Brennan:

Dark Corners (Rachel Krall: Book 2) by Megan Goldin

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: August 8th, 2023

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Crime, Adult, Contemporary, Adult Fiction

Series: Rachel Krall

The Night Swim—Book 1

Dark Corners—Book 2

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Terence Bailey is about to be released from prison for breaking and entering, though investigators have long suspected him in the murders of six women. As his freedom approaches, Bailey gets a surprise visit from Maddison Logan, a hot, young influencer with a huge social media following. Hours later, Maddison disappears, and police suspect she’s been kidnapped—or worse. Is Maddison’s disappearance connected to her visit to Bailey? Why was she visiting him in the first place?

When they hit a wall in the investigation, the FBI reluctantly asks for Rachel’s help in finding the missing influencer. Maddison seems only to exist on social media; she has no family, no friends, and other than in her posts, most people have never seen her. Who is she, really? Using a fake Instagram account, Rachel Krall goes undercover to BuzzCon, a popular influencer conference, where she discovers a world of fierce rivalry that may have turned lethal.

When police find the body of a woman with a tattoo of a snake eating its tail, the FBI must consider a chilling possibility: Bailey has an accomplice on the outside and a dangerous obsession with influencers, including Rachel Krell herself. Suddenly a target of a monster hiding in plain sight, Rachel is forced to confront the very real dangers that lurk in the dark corners of the internet.

Rachel Krall, the true crime podcaster star of Megan Goldin’s acclaimed Night Swim returns to search for a popular social media influencer who disappeared after visiting a suspected serial killer.

First Line:

Have you ever had a day when absolutely everything goes haywire and nothing goes as planned?

Dark Corners by Megan Goldin

Rachel is summoned to Florida by the FBI. Meeting in a correctional facility outside Daytona Beach, she is told that her name came up when a well-known influencer visited an inmate. Shortly after, the influencer disappears, and the police and FBI believe the inmate is somehow responsible. Rachel is soon undercover at Buzzcon, an influencer conference, and learns how cutthroat influencers can be. With their suspect released within 72 hours and the body count increasing, Rachel and the FBI must join forces to track down a killer’s possible accomplice. Will Rachel be able to crack the case? Or will she end up a victim?

I am a big fan of Megan Goldin and try to read any of her books that come out. She is one of the few authors that are on my auto-approve list. No matter what book, I will get it and fan girl over it (no shame here!)

Dark Corners main storyline centered around Rachel, the FBI investigation into Maddison’s disappearance, and Terry’s supposed involvement. It was a well-written, twisty plotline that had me guessing and double-guessing everything. And when I mean everything, I mean everything.

A few secondary storylines help flesh out the book’s storyline. The main secondary storylines are Buzzcon, the bodies being found (past and present), and the rideshare driver. Each secondary story is vital to the main storyline, so if you start wondering why the author chose to include it, stop wondering and keep reading. Trust me, everything is brought together and explained at the end of the book.

I liked Rachel. She was just as sharp and on top of things as in the first book. I didn’t agree with her going undercover, not with everything pointing at her being on the killer’s radar. But, I did like the look into the influencers’ lives. What I liked the most about Rachel was that she was human and didn’t catch on to things. That made the end of the book believable to me.

The mystery angle of Dark Corners was well written, and I did believe what the author initially wanted me to think for a while. There was a twist to the mystery angle that took me by surprise.

There was a brief romance angle in Dark Corners that I was a little meh about. I could have done without it. It added no context to the book besides setting up the scene where Rachel was rescued.

The author did have the killer have a fascinating medical disorder. Until this book, I had never heard about it. I did some research after I finished the book.

The end of Dark Corners was interesting. I liked how the author wrapped up the storylines and explained everything. I did wonder if there is going to be a book 3. I hope there is!!

I would recommend Dark Corners to anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and sexual situations.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and Megan Goldin for allowing me to read and review Dark Corners. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Dark Corners, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Megan Goldin:

Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: August 1st, 2023

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Adult, Contemporary, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Catherine Sterling thinks she knows her mother. Ruth Sterling is quiet, hardworking, and lives for her daughter. All her life, it’s been just the two of them against the world. But now, Catherine is ready to spread her wings, move from home, and begin a new career. And Ruth Sterling will do anything to prevent that from happening.

Ruth Sterling thinks she knows her daughter. Catherine would never rebel, would never question anything about her mother’s past or background. But when Ruth’s desperate quest to keep her daughter by her side begins to reveal cracks in Ruth’s carefully-constructed world, both mother and daughter begin a dance of deception.

First Line:

My mother walks from her bedroom through our tiny living room, her eyes sweeping over our old blue couch and coffee table, before she briefly disappears into the galley kitchen.

Gone Tonight by Sarak Pekkanen

Catherine is ready to leave her mother and start on her own. But, when Ruth develops signs of early Alzheimer’s, Catherine stays home to care for her. She also wants to know more about Ruth’s background. So she starts digging into Ruth’s past. Meanwhile, Ruth is desperate to keep Catherine by her side. To do that, she will do anything to keep her there, including lie. But, as Catherine unearths more of her mother’s past and Ruth tries desperately to keep the truth from her, things start to come apart. What is Ruth hiding from Catherine?

When I read the blurb for Gone Tonight, I knew this was a book that I needed to read. I am a big fan of Sarah Pekkanen and love psychological thrillers. I went into this book with high expectations. I ended the book slightly confused. I don’t know if it was the author’s intention, but I didn’t like it.

Gone Tonight is a fast-paced book. For the most part, the pacing of the book suited the storyline. But there were times during the book when I wished it had slowed down. There was also some lag in the middle of the book.

The main storyline in Gone Tonight focuses on Ruth, her lies, her relationship with Catherine, and Catherine’s investigation into her mother’s past. The main storyline was well-written, and the plotline had a few exciting twists.

The characters in Gone Tonight didn’t impress me. Ruth came across as extremely smothering and a pathological liar. She pushed Catherine into investigating her past. Catherine didn’t impress me, either, but I understood why she did the things she did. All she wanted was answers, and she did get them but at a cost.

The mystery angle of the book was interesting. I liked how the author gave out Ruth’s back story. But, at the same time, I didn’t quite believe it (she’s a known liar). There were a few twists in this angle that did surprise me. There is also the mystery of Catherine and how her mother views her. It is at odds with the Catherine shown, and I did think that maybe Ruth was overthinking things until the end of the book and when Catherine did something that surprised me.

The thriller angle of the book was well written. I was kept on edge by everything that Catherine uncovered, even though Ruth had admitted to it earlier in her journal.

The end of Gone Tonight left me confused. I couldn’t quite figure out what Ruth meant by what she said and what that meant for Catherine. The main storyline was wrapped up, but there was that last comment. Did it mean what I think it means? Or does it mean something else?

I recommend Gone Tonight to anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and fade to black sexual situations.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and Sarah Pekkanen for allowing me to read and review Gone Tonight. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Gone Tonight, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Sarah Pekkanen:

Blind Fear (Finn Thrillers: Book 3) by Brandon Webb and John David Mann

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: July 11th, 2023

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Crime

Series: Finn Thrillers

Steel Fear—Book 1 (review here)

Cold Fear—Book 2

Blind Fear—Book 3

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Haunted by the death of his best friend and hunted by the FBI for war crimes he didn’t commit, Finn lands on an island paradise that turns into his own personal hell in this gripping follow-up to Steel Fear and Cold Fear —from the New York Times bestselling writing team Webb & Mann . . .

“Webb & Mann have done it again. Blind Fear has it great characters, an amazing plot, and an incredible setting. This novel moves like a hurricane!”—Connor Sullivan, author of Wolf Trap

By day, AWOL Navy SEAL Finn is hiding out on Vieques, a tiny island paradise off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, living in a spare room behind a seafood restaurant owned by a blind local. By night he scours the dark web, hunting for the rogue officer responsible for the crimes he is accused of committing.

But Finn’s world is about to be turned upside down by a new nightmare, when his employer’s two grandchildren go missing. To find them, he’ll have to infiltrate the island’s dangerous criminal underbelly and expose a shadowy crime network known as La Empresa—even if it means exposing himself in the process.

As the children go on their own harrowing odyssey to stay one step ahead of a cop-turned-killer, a hurricane batters the coastline, cutting Puerto Rico off from the rest of the world. Taking his pursuit to the sea, Finn’s skills and endurance will be tested to their limits to rescue the lost children and escape his own pursuers before the clock runs out. No one is to be trusted. And those who are seemingly his friends might be the most dangerous foes he’s faced yet.

First Line:

They have been out there for hours, climbing the great rock cliffs overlooking Black Sand Beach, then down by the water, poking through the shells and driftwood left by the ebbing tide, cooling off in the sky-blue sea as they drift toward the western tip of their island home.

Blind Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann

After fleeing Iceland, Finn settled on a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. Living in a spare room behind a seafood restaurant, Finn spends his days helping the blind owner and his nights on the dark web, looking for clues to the identity of the man responsible for the crimes Finn is accused of committing. But that changes when two things happen. The restaurant owner’s grandchildren go missing, and a hurricane is barreling toward the island. Desperate to find the children, Finn must take down a criminal empire called La Empresa and risk exposing himself. But can Finn trust his friends? Or will they be the people who will turn him in?

Blind Fear is a fast-paced book that doesn’t let up on its pace during the book. There was almost no lag (a tiny bit in the middle of the book). That did not distract me from the storyline.

There were three separate storylines in Blind Fear. The first storyline follows the children (Pedro and Miranda), their kidnapping, and their journey across the jungles of Puerto Rico. The second storyline is centered around Finn, his search for the children, and his search for the killer of his friends. The third storyline centers around Monica Halsey and her search for Finn. When I realized that there were three different storylines, I got worried. Usually, one overshadows the other storylines. But this wasn’t the case. Each storyline was well-written, with well-fleshed-out characters. By the time the three storylines came together, they merged seamlessly.

The storyline with the children was well-written and kept me glued to the book. Pedro was a likable kid who kept Miranda, who was younger, safe. He had to make adult choices, some of which weren’t right. But everything Pedro did was to save his and Miranda’s life. He was also very confident that Mimo (Finn) would rescue them.

The storyline with Finn is ongoing, carried over from Steel Fear. I did not read book 2, so I didn’t understand the references to Iceland or what happened there. The author explained what happened later in the book but didn’t detract from this storyline. I liked how Finn juggled four things:

  • Finding Pedro and Miranda.
  • Finding out who Papa Bear was.
  • Staying ahead of the agents.
  • Exposing La Empresa.

In my experience, something gets dropped or forgotten when a main character has a lot going on. But, in this case, it didn’t happen. The author slowly merged each thing until they were a singular entity.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to classify the storyline with Monica as one of the main storylines. But, as I read the book, the more she came into play, I decided that the storyline was the main one. Monica was different than how she was featured in the first book. She had it out for Finn. She wanted him to serve time for what she thought he did.

The end of Blind Fear was terrific. The authors wrapped up the Puerto Rican storylines in a fantastic way. I loved how every single bad guy got what they deserved. Both Finn and Monica’s storylines were not wrapped up. What the author did instead was a perfect lead into book 4.

I would recommend Blind Fear to anyone over 21. There are no sexual situations but extreme violence and language.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam, NetGalley, Brandon Webb, and John David Mann for allowing me to read and review Blind Fear. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Blind Fear, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Brandon Webb

Other books by John David Mann

Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder by Steve S. Saroff

Publisher: Flooding Island

Date of publication: February 2nd, 2022

Genre: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Suspense, Mystery Thriller

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

While breaking into a financial network, a hacker falls for a dangerous artist.

Based on the buried events of one of the largest criminal frauds in history, Paper Targets digs into the motivations of criminals on the fringe. Critics and reviewers are calling it “Wonderfully written,” “A novel to read now,” and “A literary thriller with a soul.”

Set in Montana, Paper Targets simmers with greed and love before boiling over along the red-flagged path between lost and found.

First Line:

My first secret was that I could not read. And yet my earliest joy was listening to the murmuring of my mother as she read to me.

Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder by Steve S. Saroff

Enzi has struggled his entire life with dyslexia. Going through school without getting the help he needed, Enzi couldn’t read or understand numbers until he taught himself as an older teenager. By his mid 20’s, Enzi had gotten his life together and was running a successful company with a fellow coder. He also has gotten caught up in a scheme to fleece an international financial company. But that all changed when he met Kaori, the night she got arrested for assault after attacking her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. That starts a tumultuous relationship, ending with one in jail for murder and the other on the run. What happened?

When I agreed to read and review Paper Targets, I did it because of the need for more information in the blurb. A lack of information would have me skipping over the book. But in this case, it caught my attention and made me want to read it. I am glad I read this book because it was good.

Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder started slow. The author did that to show Enzi’s upbringing, his struggles with dyslexia, and his life before Kaori came into it. After Kaori was introduced, the storyline sped up to medium-fast pacing.

The main storyline of Paper Targets is centered around Enzi, Kaori, their relationship, and Enzi’s illegal hacking job for Tsai. This storyline was well-written, with well-fleshed-out characters. The author explained Enzi’s legal coding (and illegal hacking) job in a way I understood (I am not code-savvy).

Surprisingly, Enzi was a likable character. I thought he was sweet and he had a conscience. The whole hacking secondary storyline showed that-well, towards the end, it showed that. Also, this man had horrible taste in women. At the beginning of the book, he stays in a relationship where she mocks him for his stutter and job (a janitor), and then there is the relationship with Kaori. I do like that his character did grow during this book, and not only did he do the right thing, but he didn’t take credit for it.

I don’t know how to describe how I felt about Kaori. At a point in the book, I wondered if everything she did was in her head. She was also crazy talented. I liked how the author showcased her art as a confession once she and Enzi returned to Montana.

The storyline about the hacking and Tsai was interesting. I liked seeing how Enzi evolved from being involved with the whole thing to not wanting anything to do with it and, ultimately, helping the police. The author created a storyline that kept me guessing and kept my blood pressure up.

The end of Paper Targets was interesting. I liked how the author ended all of the storylines. Except for Enzi’s, they all ended in a way that satisfied me. But Enzi’s storyline, I wish that it could have ended a little better. I wish that he could have had a happier ending. But, in a way, I guess he was happy.

I recommend Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder to anyone over 21. There is language, sexual situations, and violence.

Many thanks to Flooding Island Press and Steve S. Saroff for allowing me to read and review Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Steve S. Saroff

One * Life: Ameno by Blaze Dendukuri


Date of Publication: March 27th, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:

A power to be able control space itself .
That is what Artorius possessed . He possessed a power akin to that of a God. But he didn’t feel like one….

Waking up, seeing himself drowning in the ocean of emptiness, Artorius saw the world that he had to confront. The governments that he had to face. Unable to die, unable to live, seeing himself devolve into obscurity, aeons went by.
Seeking the world, becoming the villain in the face of it, he is going to topple it. In the face of such an existence, how are the world leaders going to react? How is the universe going to react….

One•Life is a story that goes through the life of a lone existence that was chosen by the universe. A gripping tale of geopolitical intrigue and cosmic wonder, Artorius takes his initial stride, ready to confront the notorious terror organization, ISII, and a world teetering on the edge. Containing psychological thriller elements as well as escalating action, One•Life displays the tumultuous life that one man can lead.

First Line:


One * Life: Ameno by Blaze Dendukuri

Artorius lives in the jungles of India, a solitary and lonely existence. One day, Artorius is called to leave the jungle. Once he does, it sets off a chain of events that will kill millions. Who is Artorius, and what does he want?

When I initially decided to read and review One * Life, I was intrigued by the storyline. A geopolitical, psychological thriller was right up my alley. But then I read it, and the storyline left me confused and unfulfilled.

I will do a quick review, different from the average in-depth review I usually do. As I said above, I was confused during Artorius’s parts of the book. The author gave no background about him other than that he was part of the void and had a daughter named Thalia, who died. As for his motives, they were just as murky. I couldn’t tell if he wanted to help people or if he wanted people to die.

As for feeling unfulfilled, that is mainly aimed at the end of the book. I wanted more from this storyline. There were sparks of something good when the author wrote about the world leaders and the blogger, but it was lost under everything else.

I would recommend One * Life to anyone over 21. There is extreme and graphic violence and language, but no sexual situations.

Many thanks to Blaze Dendukurri for allowing me to read and review One*Life. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

Other books by Blaze Dendukurri:

Trust No One (Blackhawk Security: Book 8) by Margaret Watson

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: April 18th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Series: Blackhawk Security

With One Breath—Book 1 (review here)

Once Removed—Book 2 (review here)

Once Burned—Book 3 (review here)

Fool Me Once—Book 4 (review here)

Just This Once—Book 5 (review here)

Once and Always—Book 6 (review here)

Once a Killer—Book 7 (review here)

Trust No One—Book 8

Purchase Links: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mel and Dev are no longer a couple, but they run Blackhawk Security together. When being around Dev becomes too painful, she buys him out.

Dev knows she’s going after her old CIA boss Kingsley, so Dev makes her a deal – if she accepts his help on this last job, he’ll walk away.

But Kingsley is slippery. After he murders one man and almost kills a young woman, they realize he has a well-planned escape.

Can Mel and Dev stop him? Or will Kingsly eliminate them first?

First Line:

Mel walked down the hall to her office, still smiling. She’d just dropped Bree off at the Helena airport, and her security agent would be in Chicago in five hours.

Trust No One by Margaret Watson

While Mel and Dev are no longer a couple and haven’t been for years, it doesn’t mean that Mel still has feelings for him. When Mel’s feelings become too much, she tells Dev she is buying him out. Dev is stunned. But knowing that Mel is going after a corrupt CIA agent, he counteroffers with a deal: He’ll leave Blackhawk Security after they take Kingsley. But Kingsley is slippery and can take down any witnesses that tie him to nefarious activities. With Kingsley’s reach extended to the top of the CIA, Mel and Dev must take Kingsley down quickly. But can they do without bloodshed or anyone getting hurt? And, when the dust settles, will Mel and Dev be able to put their past aside and embrace their future together?

When the author contacted me to ask me to read/review Trust No One, I immediately said yes. Margaret is an auto-accept for any books for me. I have been reviewing and loving her books since 2017/2018 (not sure about the year and am too lazy to look it up). I was also super excited when I saw this was Mel and Dev’s story. I have read this series from the beginning and longed for their book. Now that I’ve got it, I am happy.

Trust No One is the 8th book in the Blackhawk Security series. This book is the series’s last book, but I could be wrong. I would classify this book as a semi-standalone book. You don’t need to read the entire series to understand Dev and Mel’s story or the series’ background. But I suggest reading book seven first (Bree and Jameson’s story). The author comprehensively explains the Kingsely storyline in that book.

Trust No One is a fast-paced book. It occurs within a few weeks of Mel telling Dev she wants to buy him out. The author doesn’t let up on the pace. The pacing suited the book, considering what Mel and Dev were up against. It didn’t slow until after the airport scene at the end of the book.

Trust No One takes almost entirely in Washington, D.C., with the beginning chapter in Montana and the ending in Seattle. The author perfectly captured Washington’s hustle and bustle while highlighting the city’s seedier parts.

The main storyline in Trust No One center around Mel, Dev, and Kingsley. It was a wonderfully written storyline that kept me glued to the book. While I knew how this storyline would end up, I still loved the ride it took me on. There was a twist in the plotline that did take me by surprise. And the author kept me guessing who dirty CIA agents were until almost the end of the book.

I liked Mel. She was feisty, headstrong, and determined to bring down Kingsley. Did I think she was silly for wanting to go after him alone? Yes. But it showed her dedication to keeping her agents safe and bringing down a bad guy. She was paranoid, but in her work, being paranoid was a given. That paranoia helped her and Dev out during several instances when Kingsley’s agents followed them. The only thing that I didn’t like about her was how she dealt with her feelings for Dev. It didn’t follow the strong woman the author had built up throughout the series.

Dev drove me up the wall during the book. I was in awe of his surveillance skills and contacts. I also wanted to know more about what he did during his SEAL/SpecOps days. But at the same time, I also wanted to smack him upside the head. He didn’t want to listen to Mel (though he had more experience in the field). It took him a while to admit that she had skills. As for his feelings for her, I was getting very frustrated with him about that. I knew his feelings for Mel from the beginning of the book. But it took him until almost the end of the book to discuss his tumultuous upbringing and to admit his feelings.

What do I say about Kingsley? He is a personification of any high-ranking official in Washington, D.C. He was overconfident, had connections that made my head spin and was willing to do whatever it took to cover up his mistakes. But, unlike real life, he was getting his comeuppance. I was left with a bad taste in my mouth every time he appeared in the book.

The romance angle in Trust No One was a slow-burn one. It was always in the background, with Mel’s feelings being more upfront than Dev’s. It did take a back seat to Mel and Dev’s investigation for a while, but you knew it was there.

The end of Trust No One was terrific. The author did a great job of having Kingsley get what he deserved. But how he got it and the events that led to it were fantastic and action-packed. I did get a giggle at the kid with the frog in the airport. It reminded me of my youngest daughter. That would have been something she did at that age. Of course, Mel and Dev got their HEA, and the lead-up to that was emotional. The epilogue was great, and I loved seeing them so happy!!

I recommend Trust No One to anyone over 21. There are language, violence, and sexual situations.

Many thanks to Margaret Watson for allowing me to read and review Trust No One. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Trust No One, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Margaret Watson

Shadowed Deliverance (The Guardians: Book 7) by Reily Garrett


Date of publication: May 19th, 2023

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

Series: The Guardians

Shadowed Horizons—Book 1 (review here)

Shadowed Origins—Book 2 (review here)

Shadowed Passages—Book 3

Shadowed Spirits—Book 4 (review here)

Shadowed Intent—Book 5 (review here)

Shadowed Visions—Book 6 (review here)

Shadowed Deliverance—Book 7

Purchase Links: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Channon legacy entails keeping a well-guarded secret safe until the time arrives to face the psychopath bent on imprisoning psychics, studying genetic mutations for the purpose of creating an army, and dominating the world.

The psychopath is Brianna’s brother, a psychic with a following of murderous spirits and trained mercenaries.

Through the years, Nicholai Semenov has overseen a group of psychics intent on ensuring safety and peace among their kind. After discovering one of his team is a shifter, the group expands to include the entire pack.

Join the warriors in this final chapter as they take on the Order of Assassins and warrior ghosts determined to control the fate of humanity.

First Line:

In a singular twist of luck, fate assisted Roth’s effort in preparing for the most romantic evening of his life.

Shadowed Deliverance by Reily Garrett

Brianna Channon has finally been reunited with her children after twenty years of forced separation due to her deranged brother, Roth. Brianna is ready to confront Roth for everything he has done to her family. But first, Brianna must recover an amulet that will help with their battle against Roth and his allies. This amulet can only be used by a chosen one, but who that chosen one could be is unknown to Brianna. And unfortunately, Roth has gotten his hands on the amulet and is using it to rally spirits to his cause. At her side, also, is Nicholai Semenov, a powerful psychic and group leader. He has gathered and protected her children from Roth and his allies. But, even with Nicholai’s help, the battle against Roth will be hard. He thinks he is guaranteed a win with the Order of Assassins, the amulet, and the spirits on his side. But is he? Can Brianna and her family (biological and found) defeat Roth? Or will they all fall to his mad and psychotic delusions? And who will wield the amulet?

I was happy and sad when I got the email from the author asking me to read/review Shadowed Deliverance. I was delighted because I had reviewed this series from the beginning and enjoyed reading it. I was sad because this is the last book in the series. The author explained that while the Channon family’s story ends, it doesn’t mean the other characters’ stories would. But still. I had grown attached to the characters and struggled with change.

Shadowed Deliverance is The Guardians series’ 7th (and last) book. This book cannot be read as a stand-alone book. You need to read books 1-6 to read this book. If you don’t, you will be lost. I didn’t read Logan’s story (book 3) and felt I missed a lot (I will be reading it as soon as possible, though).

Shadowed Deliverance is a fast-paced book that I couldn’t put down. The book started fast (it started right after the events of book 6) and slowed down at the end of the book.

The main storyline of Shadowed Deliverance focuses on Brianna, her children and their spouses, Casper, Nicholai, and Roth. This storyline was a well-written storyline that kept me glued to the book. While I was interested in Brianna and company, I was more interested in Roth and the amulet. He had been gone from the series for a while. The author did not disappoint (I will discuss him further in the review).

The storyline with the amulet was interesting. When Roth had it, he gave a good look into how it worked. But, I was more curious about who could wield it and what it could do once it was with the chosen person. When the author revealed who the chosen person was, I was surprised. It was someone I didn’t see coming. But, at the same time, it made sense.

I had figured that Brianna would have the last book in the series. Why? Her six children had found each other again (in Silver’s book), and there was no indication that the author ended the series. Plue, only Nicholai was left without a mate, so I took a guess and figured that Brianna would be the next book. I liked seeing the group from her POV and how the different dynamics worked out. I also liked seeing Roth from her POV. She went between hating him (he did kill their parents, forced Logan to kill Devon, and kidnapped/abused Ashlyn) and pitying him. The pitying part made me feel awful because she kept flashing back to when Roth was normal (not psychotic and murderous).

I was thrilled that Nicholai would be featured as a main character in this book. He was very mysterious during the series and used his psychic powers as they came to him (he could see into the future but also saw different paths). He was a guiding force with the Channon children and was like a second father to all of them. His relationship with Caspar was pretty funny, and I loved seeing him parent her (his reactions to her are what I have with my seventeen-year-old). I thought he and Brianna were perfect for each other (and I will discuss that more in the romance section).

The third main character in Shadowed Deliverance is Caspar. That girl had me rolling with her one-liners and made me tear up with her fierce devotion to her family. Her verbal sparring sessions with Roth were on point and truthful. She was the most powerful of any psychics there, which the author repeatedly showed. I also loved how she needled Dacien (it was a running theme throughout the series) and tried to get anyone to tell her about sex (those scenes had me in stitches). I do wish that the author had given more information about her background. Other than the nickname, Moon Pie, there was nothing. Not even her real name. The author said she will be featured in a new series, so I hope more information is given in those books. Out of all the characters, I will miss her the most.

The last main character in Shadowed Deliverance is Roth. It was interesting to see another side to Roth other than his usual psychotic/murderous one. What was also interesting was the catalyst for everything. It showed a different side of Roth that I wasn’t expecting and explained why he turned evil. But, ultimately, his pride and manipulating ways ended him. I wasn’t sad to see him go, but at the same time, I wondered what if (if you read the book, you know what I am talking about).

The paranormal angle was wonderfully written. I loved that the author incorporated psychics, shifters, and spirits into the storyline. The concept of evil spirits at Roth’s bidding was scary and wasn’t an enemy the group could easily fight. I’m not going to go into much detail, but I loved how the author handled the spirit storyline and the ending of it. It was scary and sad at the same time.

As with all of Reily’s books, romance is very much present. But in this book, it did take a backseat to everything else that was going on. I liked it that way. I liked that the author had Brianna need a moment to think about everything happening between her and Nicholai. She was worried about what her kids (and Caspar) would think. It was normal, and I loved it (spoiler, they could care less).

The end of Shadowed Deliverance seemed almost anti-climatic compared to the other books. I can’t get into much detail, but I was not expecting what happened to Roth. It was a twist that I should have seen coming. I will not go into much after this because there will be spoilers but be prepared to have tissues!! I was openly crying.

I recommend Shadowed Deliverance to anyone over 21. There are language, violence, and nongraphic sexual situations (the author faded to black after kissing).

Many thanks to Reily Garrett for allowing me to read and review Shadowed Deliverance. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed this review of Shadowed Deliverance, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Reily Garrett:

What the Neighbors Saw by Melissa Adelman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: June 20th, 2023

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Contemporary, Adult, Crime

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Desperate Housewives meets The Couple Next Door in a chilling story of murder and intrigue set in a well-to-do DC suburb.

Sometimes the darkest acts occur in the most beautiful houses…

When Alexis and her husband Sam buy a neglected Cape Cod house in an exclusive DC suburb, they are ecstatic. Sam is on the cusp of making partner at his law firm, Alexis is pregnant with their second child, and their glamorous neighbors welcome the couple with open arms. Things are looking up, and Alexis believes she can finally leave her troubled past behind.

But the neighborhood’s picture-perfect image is shattered when their neighbor Teddy – a handsome, successful father of three – is found dead on the steep banks of the Potomac River. The community is shaken, and as the police struggle to identify and apprehend the killer, tension in the neighborhood mounts and long-buried secrets start to emerge.

In the midst of the turmoil, Alexis takes comfort in her budding friendship with Teddy’s beautiful and charismatic widow, Blair. But as the women grow closer, the neighborhood only becomes more divided. And when the unthinkable truth behind Teddy’s murder is finally uncovered, both Blair and Alexis must reexamine their friendship and decide how far they are willing to go to preserve the lives they have so carefully constructed.

First Line:

The listing popped up on my phone last night. I scrolled through the pictures as least a dozen times, then tried to conjure the house’s full layout in my mind’s eye as I fell asleep.

What the Neighbors Saw by Melissa Adelman

Alexis and her husband Sam are thrilled to buy a fixer-upper in an affluent suburb of Washington, D.C. But things start to go south almost immediately after they move in:

  1. The house they loved is turning into a money pit with endless repairs.
  2. Alexis’s relationship with Sam turned from goodish to rocky.
  3. The husband of her next-door neighbor (Teddy) is killed while running on a popular path that borders the Potomac River.

Alexis, a stay-at-home mother of two children, slowly makes friends with the other women in the neighborhood. But, the one she grows closest to is Blair, who happens to be the widow of the man killed. But the longer it takes for Teddy’s killer to be identified, the more tense the neighborhood gets, and long-held secrets come to light. What secrets are being unearthed in this neighborhood? And how are those secrets directly linked to Teddy’s death?

When I read the blurb for What the Neighbors Saw, I thought I was getting into a psychological thriller. But what I thought and what I read were two different things. In a way, it was a psychological thriller but not how I thought it would be. This book was an almost soap opera-type look into an affluent neighborhood. It reminded me a little bit of a Jackie Collins book. I did enjoy reading What the Neighbors Saw but wished there was less drama and more thriller.

What the Neighbors Saw is a medium to fast-paced book. It took me over a day to read it. The pacing of What the Neighbors Saw did suit the book. I wish the author had slowed the book’s pacing during key points (mainly the ending).

What the Neighbors Saw takes place entirely in an affluent neighborhood in Washington, D.C. There are some flashbacks to Alexis’s life growing up in Baltimore, but the entirety of the book is set in this one neighborhood.

I liked Alexis, and the more she revealed about her past, the more I felt terrible for her. But, she was an unreliable narrator. She was exhausted from caring for a newborn and toddler (even with a nanny), and I felt that exhaustion colored her views of people and events in the neighborhood.
This sentiment extends to her waste of space husband, Sam. He gaslit and verbally abused her for 90% of the book. Their scenes together alternately made me sad and ticked me off.

I liked Alexis, and the more she revealed about her past, the more I felt terrible for her. But, she was an unreliable narrator. She was exhausted from caring for a newborn and toddler (even with a nanny), and I felt that exhaustion colored her views of people and events in the neighborhood.
This sentiment extends to her waste of space husband, Sam. He gaslit and verbally abused her for 90% of the book. Their scenes together alternately made me sad and ticked me off.

I wanted to like Blair but couldn’t quite cross that line. There was something about her that rubbed me the wrong way. Her grief over her husband dying was too predictable. Her friendship with Alexis was too convenient. And there is the question of her secret. I figured it out quickly but was still surprised (and disgusted) when it was revealed.

The thriller angle was lacking in What the Neighbors Saw. It didn’t reach thriller level in my eyes. It did come close to that towards the end of the book but has yet to get it. I was sad about that because I could see the potential.

On the other hand, the mystery angle of the book was chef’s kiss. The author kept the mystery of who killed Teddy and why under wraps until the end of the book. It also went hand in hand with two twists that surprised me—these twists I did not see coming.

As I said above, the end of the book was full of twists. I was in disbelief over what was revealed, and I needed to retake everything. But the ending didn’t mesh with the rest of the book. I felt the author rushed it.

I recommend What the Neighbors Saw to anyone over 21. There is language, violence, and mild graphic sex scenes.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, NetGalley, and Melissa Adelman for allowing me to read and review What the Neighbors Saw. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of What the Neighbors Saw, then you will enjoy reading these books: