Book Review: The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon

 

91VGCna5NwLThe Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon
Reading Level: Thriller
Publisher: Mira Books/Harlequin
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Pages: 384

Book Summary: After a night of fun back in 1992, Abby is responsible for a car crash that kills her beloved brother. It’s a mistake she can never forgive, so she pushes away Liam, the man she loves most, knowing that he would eventually hate her for what she’s done, the same way she hates herself.

Twenty years later, Abby’s husband, Nate, is also living with a deep sense of guilt. He was the driver who first came upon the scene of Abby’s accident, the man who pulled her to safety before the car erupted in flames—the man who could not save her brother in time. It’s this guilt, this regret, that binds them together. They understand each other. Or so Nate believes.

In a strange twist of fate, Liam moves into the neighborhood with his own family, releasing a flood of memories that Abby has been trying to keep buried all these years. Abby and Liam, in a complicit agreement, pretend never to have met, yet cannot resist the pull of the past—nor the repercussions of the terrible secrets they’ve both been carrying…

My Review: Dear Hannah Mary McKinnon, where have you been all of my life? My thriller lovin’ readers, The Neighbors is a must buy! Words cannot express, the emotional rollercoaster I just experienced. I literally read 250 pages straight. Yes, 250 pages! I just couldn’t put the book down, it was attached to my hand everywhere I went.

Long story short, Abby lost her brother in a tragic accident, that changed her world forever. Because she blamed herself for his death, she pushed everyone away, except for Nate. He was the only guy who seemed to understand her the most, especially since he saved her from the accident. Fast forward many years later, guess who Nate and Abby’s new neighbors are? Liam, her ex soulmate and his wife, Nancy. Mmhmm, once they moved in, the whirlwind of drama engulfed me and didn’t let go. My eyes couldn’t keep up fast enough. I was so obsessed with finding out the truth behind all the secrets and betrayals unraveling throughout the chapters.

I loved how each individual had its own narrative in the story. Hannah did a superb job in grasping the persona behind each character. The development was so well written, that I resonated with every one of them. By the conclusion, I lost my mind. I literally had to put the book down so I could grasp the outcome. And as I continued, I couldn’t help but gasp in shock. At one point, I actually teared, which is rare for me as I read. I cannot stress enough how stimulating this book was! I highly recommend The Neighbors, if you’re looking for a book with an unforgettable story. It’s not a typical thriller, it’s more of a twisted story full of family secrets and an everlasting love that could turn everyone’s world upside down. 2019 has to hurry up so, I could read more of Hannah’s new releases coming out!

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

About The Author

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I was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a long and successful career in recruitment, I quit the corporate world in favor of writing. My first novel, Time After Time (a lighthearted rom-com) was published in June 2016. My second, the domestic suspense story The Neighbors, arrived March 2018. My third, Her Secret Son, will follow in May 2019, my fourth in 2020. 🙂 I live in Oakville, Ontario, with my husband and three sons, and I’m delighted by my twenty second commute.

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Book Review: The Last Night Out by Catherine O’Connell

Untitled.jpgThe Last Night Out by Catherine O’Connell
Reading Level: Thriller
Photo Credit: Taken by me
Publisher: Severn House

Book Summary: After drinking too much at her bachelorette party, Maggie Trueheart wakes to find a stranger in her bed. To make matters worse, a phone call brings the devastating news that her friend Angie was murdered some time after they parted ways the night before.

Kelly Delaney, who left the party early, is the first of Maggie’s friends to face questions from Chicago homicide detective Ron O’Reilly. After taking a closer look at the other women who attended the party, O’Reilly concludes that at least some of them are lying.

As the clock ticks down to the wedding day and more shocking secrets are revealed, the murderer zeros in on another one of the girls. Can the killer be stopped before there is another victim?

My Review: A group of girl friends are out celebrating Maggie’s bachelorette party. It’s all fun and games until one of them ends up dead in the woods the next morning. My immediate thought was, who did it!? I had to know what happened to Angie so, I started reading like a mad woman.

Catherine’s fluidity of words created a smooth ride until the last chapter. The beautifully detailed narrative, helped me play out every scene in my mind. Each word felt like I was biting into a fresh donut. Sounds tasty right? Now think of it in a literary sense, it was so satisfying that I never lost sight of the storyline or characterization of each individual.

Even though this novel had a decent amount of different personalities, I had the chance to understand each and every one. Even the characters with small roles had a voice. I appreciated the fact that her development didn’t falter. It kept a steady pace until the climax. And boy what a climax! I would have never guessed the outcome. Angie’s killer will keep you guessing no matter how hard you’ll try to piece it all together.

Overall, a thrilling read that’ll suck you into a world filled with betrayals, secrets and an unforgivable murder. The Last Night Out will not be the last book I read by Catherine. She’s a fantastic author and I can only imagine what’s in store for us next!

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

About The Author:

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Chicago native Catherine O’Connell is the author of two novels, Well Bred and Dead, and Well Read and Dead. After graduating from the University of Colorado School of Journalism, she worked at a variety of jobs including hotel maid, bar manager, floor runner at the Chicago Board of Trade, sommelier, and as a sales executive for fine wine company Kobrand Corp – providing her with insight into many different walks of life that she is able to incorporate into her writing.

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Author Chit Chat: Amina Akhtar (#Fashionvictim)

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Did you ever want to get to know the author behind these amazing books we read? Well, look no further! On today’s Author Chit Chat, it’s an honor to have Amina Akhtar, author of Fashion Victim. For those of you not familiar with her debut, two words, it’s hysterically killer. No pun intended!

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1) Congrats on your thrilling debut! What inspired you to write #Fashionvictim?

Thank you! I wanted to combine my fashion background with my intense love of all things scary and horrifying. Seriously, I love horror so much. And Anya is that perfect mix of chic and creepy. I also really love the idea of a woman character just being unapologetically insane and homicidal.

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2) When you first saw the cover for #Fashionvictim what were your initial thoughts?

I laughed! I’m a few hours behind my publishers out here in AZ so I was in bed when I saw it. I thought it was hilarious.

3) If you could re-name your book title, what would you choose?

I can’t! When I came up with the idea and sat down to write the book, the title was already in my head. I feel it’s too much a part of the book to rename it.

4) In your past careers in the fashion industry, can you relate to your main character Anya in some ways?

Yes! I think we can all relate to wanting to get ahead, wanting to be liked. Or even just wanting something so badly you can taste it. And I always felt awkward and not really part of the fashion world which I wanted Anya to feel as well.

5) If you could hang out with one of your fictional characters in #Fashionvictim, who would it be and why?

Jack, hands down. He may be shady, but he’s so much fun. I’d hang with Anya if she promises to not kill me.

6) Do you have any quirks or rituals during the writing phase of a novel?

I take notes on my phone constantly. There are probably 50 current notes of random thoughts I have about a book that I don’t want to lose. So if you see me typing on my phone, I could be plotting how to kill you.

7) Last but not least, do you have anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

I hope they enjoy the book! I’m a big fan of reading whatever you want whenever you want. I don’t care if it’s a vampire romance novel or literary fiction: Read what makes you happy. And I hope #FashionVictim does just that.

Thank you Amina for taking the time out to do this amazing interview! I cannot wait to read all your future books.
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Amina Akhtar is a former fashion writer and editor. She’s worked at Vogue, Elle.com, Style.com, NYTimes.com, and NYMag.com where she was the founding editor of The Cut blog.  She’s written for numerous publications, including Yahoo Style, Fashionista, xoJane, Refinery29, Billboard, and for brands like Bergdorf Goodman and H&M’s 10 Years of Style tome. After toiling in the fashion ranks for over fifteen years, she now writes full time in the desert mountains, where she’s detoxing from her once glam life. #FashionVictim is Amina’s first novel.

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Book Review: #Fashionvictim by Amina Akhta

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#Fashionvictim by Amina Akhtar

Reading Level: Thriller
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Pages: 314

Book Summary: A thrilling take on the fashion world, #FashionVictim is Dexter meets The Devil Wears Prada. Fashion editor Anya St. Clair is on the verge of greatness. Her wardrobe is to die for. Her social media is killer. And her career path is littered with the bodies of anyone who got in her way. She’s worked hard to get where she is, but she doesn’t have everything. Not like Sarah Taft. Anya’s obsession sits one desk away. Beautiful, stylish, and rich, she was born to be a fashion world icon. From her beach-wave blonde hair to her on-trend nail art, she’s a walking editorial spread. And Anya wants to be her friend. Her best friend. Her only friend. But when Sarah becomes her top competition for a promotion, Anya’s plan to win her friendship goes into overdrive. In order to beat Sarah…she’ll have to become her. Friendly competition may turn fatal, but as they say in fashion: One day you’re in, and the next day you’re dead.

My Review: The fashion industry is usually known for it being cut throat. #Fashionvictim takes that assumption and literally brings it to life. The tag line on the cover, “bitches get stitches” is definitely an understatement in this novel. The distorted behavior from Anya, was highly entertaining. In other words, she was bat shit crazy, and I loved every moment of her psychotic glory.

I remember reading the book at work and literally looking around and thinking I could probably ax some people here. Hehe. Cleary I wouldn’t, but I was so enthralled in the story that Anya felt like a real person, instead of a fictional one. Plus, if you have a sense of humor, you’ll definitely breeze through it and Anya will pique your interest. As mentally unstable as she was, I still liked her in a weird way. Now, I either have something wrong with me or Amina is just that good of a writer!

Overall, #Fashionvictim is a laugh out loud, satirical read that’ll grab your attention until the very end. If Ugly Betty, The Devil Wears Prada and Single White Female (minus the White) had a child, it would be #Fashionvictim! I would love to see this book become a movie one day. After finishing Amina’s debut, I am excited to see where she takes us next. Her story telling skills, hit all the key components of an enticing thriller. Blood shed, revenge, obsession, with a dash of humor…need I say more?

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

About The Author:

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Amina Akhtar is a former fashion writer and editor. She’s worked at Vogue, Elle.com, Style.com, NYTimes.com, and NYMag.com where she was the founding editor of The Cut blog.  She’s written for numerous publications, including Yahoo Style, Fashionista, xoJane, Refinery29, Billboard, and for brands like Bergdorf Goodman and H&M’s 10 Years of Style tome. After toiling in the fashion ranks for over fifteen years, she now writes full time in the desert mountains, where she’s detoxing from her once glam life. #FashionVictim is Amina’s first novel.

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Book Review: Speak of the Devil by Britney King

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Speak of the Devil by Britney King

Reading Level: Thriller
Release Date: October 3, 2018
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 262

Book Summary: In the tradition of Gone Girl and Behind Closed Doors comes a gripping, twisted, furiously clever read that demands your attention, and keeps you guessing until the very end. For fans of the anti-heroine and stories told in unorthodox ways, Speak of the Devil delivers us the perfect dark and provocative villain. The only question–who is it? In the upscale suburb where Vanessa Bolton lives, she’s your average suburban housewife. She does her grocery shopping on Tuesday, Thursday mornings are reserved for Pilates, Sundays for church. At home, she’s an impeccable housekeeper and a mother with a mediocre track record. But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the city, she can be whatever you want her to be— provided you can afford the hourly fee. In the rapidly expanding cult to which she belongs, Vanessa has been assigned the role of a “Siren”—a recruiter trained to use seduction to elicit compliance from her marks. Vanessa’s latest assignment—an unsuspecting chemist merely looking for something without strings—proves to be her toughest yet. Unwilling to neatly slide into the roles society has prescribed for them, the two collide in a sensual and savage affair that threatens not only their own lives but also those they seek to protect most. Featuring “tantalizing suspense, pulse-pounding danger, sex, and double-dealing,” Speak of the Devil is a timely and riveting psychological thriller that is impossible to put down.

My Review: Britney King, is one of those authors who independently takes charge of her writing and advertises herself in such a prominent way that her professionalism shines through in all her works. Speak of the Devil, is my first introduction into King’s writing style. I enjoyed her duo narrative between Vanessa and Elliot and the flow of the story’s suspenseful undertone.

But, I regret not starting with The Social Affair and The Replacement Wife first. Don’t be fooled into thinking this novel is a standalone. Because in my opinion, it’s not. I was a bit confused at times, and I found myself re-reading parts to try and piece together the vague explanation of the New Hope church. This cult like organization came off as twisted and brainwashed. As usual, they hide behind religion, when in all honesty, it’s a sad excuse to take advantage of people who seek a place of acceptance. It had similar vibes to the horror stories I’ve heard about in Scientology.

All in all, Vanessa was an interesting character to unlayer, and I was pleasantly surprised at her bravery in certain aspects of the story. I just wish the delivery was stronger. Besides the confusion throughout the chapters, the ending felt a bit rushed as well. It lacked the overall climatic closure we all hope for as readers. And it didn’t help that the plot felt jumbled. I plan on reading the first two books, in hope of better making sense of it all.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

About The Author:

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Britney King lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, children, two dogs, one ridiculous cat, and a partridge in a pear tree. When she’s not wrangling the things mentioned above, she writes psychological, domestic and romantic thrillers set in suburbia. Currently, she’s writing three series and several standalone novels. The Bedrock Series features an unlikely heroine who should have known better. Turns out, she didn’t. Thus she finds herself tangled in a messy, dangerous, forbidden love story and face-to-face with a madman hell-bent on revenge. The series has been compared to Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, and Basic Instinct.

The Water Series follows the shady love story of an unconventional married couple—he’s an assassin—she kills for fun. It has been compared to a crazier book version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Also, Dexter. Around The Bend is a heart-pounding standalone, which traces the journey of a well-to-do suburban housewife, and her life as it unravels, thanks to the secrets she keeps. If she were the only one with things she wanted to keep hidden, then maybe it wouldn’t have turned out so bad. But she wasn’t.

The With You Series at its core is a deep love story about unlikely friends who travel the world; trying to find themselves, together and apart. Packed with drama and adventure along with a heavy dose of suspense, it has been compared to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Love, Rosie. The Social Affair is an intense standalone about a timeless couple who find themselves with a secret admirer they hadn’t bargained for. For fans of the anti-heroine and stories told in unorthodox ways, the novel explores what can happen when privacy is traded for convenience. It is reminiscent of films such as One Hour Photo and Play Misty For Me.

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