Book Review: The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I have always been a history lover. Give me a factual, scholarly, historical tome or a historical fictional story of a time, place or person and I can sit and disappear into that time or place for hours.

Due to the Broadway musical “Hamilton” many people are being introduced or reintroduced to one of the brilliant founding architects of our republic and THE HAMILTON AFFAIR by Elizabeth Cobbs is an enjoyable historical fiction overview of Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton’s lives and their love.

The beginning of the book alternates between Alexander’s harsh life on St. Croix as a boy. He and his brother were declared bastards as they were born into a second marriage by his mother. He refused to let anything stop his ambitions and arrived in the colonies to educate and better himself after his mother’s death. In the alternate chapters we get to meet Elizabeth “Eliza” Schuyler and her privileged family of wealth. From her life on the family farm and love of animals to her very open and honest opinions.

When the two come together in marriage, the book follows the couple through the remainder of the Revolutionary War and the author does an informative, yet entertaining, job of describing the establishment of our federal government with all of Hamilton’s achievements and also all of the political intrigue and mud-slinging. This is balanced well by the author’s descriptions of the Hamilton home life, children, extended family and friends. Hamilton’s affair that almost destroyed his marriage and most definitely put a stop to his further political ambitions is also covered.

I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and covered Alexander and Elisabeth’s lives in an easy to read historical fiction format.

Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing, Arcade Publishing and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Paul Cleave is now on my MUST READ list and I feel he should be on every fan of thrillers book shelves, too!

I read “Trust No One” and loved it, so I was very happy to get this ARC of his new book. Now I can add A KILLER HARVEST to this year’s list of my favorite books. I am in love with this author’s writing, plotting and pacing. When you think you are at the climax or you have everything figured out Mr. Cleave continually throws another plot twist, big or small, into the mix which makes you even more anxious and desperate to continue reading.

Joshua Logan believes he is cursed. He was born blind and lost his biological parents at a young age. He was taken in by his uncle and aunt, who he now calls mom and dad, but he can never take his happiness for granted.

While investigating a suspect believed to be a serial killer, Joshua’s detective father is killed. His partner kills the killer, but the curse has struck again. Joshua’s dad left a specific request in his will. If he was ever killed, his eyes would go to Joshua for a transplant and a chance at sight. As the donated eyes are transported to Joshua’s operating room, there is a mishap and Joshua receives one of his father’s eyes and one of the serial killer’s eyes which were also taken for donation.

After the surgery, Joshua begins to have strange and disturbing dreams. Sometimes he feels like he is seeing his father’s death from his father’s perspective and sometimes from the killer’s. He is also able to identify people that he has never seen before. As Joshua tries to deal with all the changes in his life, the serial killer’s accomplice is out to avenge his friend’s death. Joshua and all those close to him are in danger.

You may believe that you know how this will end from the brief summary above and past thriller plots, but in the hands of this author, you are so wrong! I could not stop thinking about this book when I had to put it down and could not wait to get back to it. Mr. Cleave knows how to masterfully take the reader on a journey that makes the unbelievable possible. I definitely need to start working my way through this author’s past catalogue. I highly recommend this book to all and especially those who love older Dean Koontz and Stephen King works that take a normal situation and twist it.

Thank you so much to Atria Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. It was my pleasure!

Book Review: When Darkness Whispers by Lisa Carlisle

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

WHEN DARKNESS WHISPERS by Lisa Carlisle is a mix of military romantic suspense, paranormal/urban fantasy and serial killer thriller all woven together to make an AMAZING book!

Eva Montreaux is a biologically enhanced Marine. She leads the NEO (Night Eagle Operations) team 17 sent to Okinawa to investigate who or what is brutally murdering American servicemen. With the increased tensions between the American military and the Japanese it is essential to solve and stop these killings as soon as possible. As she works with her special team, she runs into military colleagues from her time in Afghanistan, but her enhancements have made that portion of her memory incomplete until she sees Gunny Delacruz.

Gunnery Sergeant Marcos Delacruz has had three years since Eva left Afghanistan to come to terms with promises not kept. When he runs into Eva on Okinawa, he cannot believe she shows no emotion at seeing him again. The past will have to be dealt with, but right now he is on a mission. With his special ability to communicate with spirits, his superiors hope he can solve the serial murders. What he does not expect is to continually cross paths with Eva during the investigation.

Eva and Marcos both have secrets that cannot be revealed to others in regards to their missions. They also have misunderstandings that are tied to their pasts in Afghanistan. As Eva struggles to remember Marcos and their shared past, they both have to find a serial killer that does not appear to be human.

I loved this whole book. Eva and Marcos are great main characters that are fully fleshed with flashbacks that in no way confuse or interfere with the main plot. Trust is a huge issue for them in the past and present that has to be resolved for them to work together. Their romance is written past and present and grows throughout the story. There is great sexual tension as well as tender yet hot sex scenes.  I also really enjoyed the last chapter of this book which is unique.

Ms. Carlisle has delivered a well written military romantic suspense with paranormal characters. She has then intertwined the whole story with Japanese folk lore that adds to the uniqueness of the story. This is a book that I highly recommend!

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

I was a huge fan of B.A. Paris’ “Behind Closed Doors” and was anxious to read her next release.

THE BREAKDOWN was a letdown for me. I did finish reading it and was pleasantly surprised by a tiny plot twist in the ending, but the main character’s overall responses and reactions to what was happening to her were repetitive and wore very thin by halfway through the book. I believe I would have enjoyed it more if it had been a tighter plot and novella length.

The story is told by Cass, who returns home on stormy night via a road through the woods. She almost wrecks avoiding a car pulled to the side. She stops, but when the driver doesn’t come to her car, she continues home and forgets about it. She is later horrified to realize the woman in the car was a new friend that was murdered sometime later that night in her car. She is wracked with guilt and tells no one, not her husband or best friend, who worked with the murdered woman.

The reader also learns that Cass has been forgetting small things and is worried that she may be experiencing early onset dementia like her mother. This makes Cass a possible unreliable narrator. As she becomes more afraid and paranoid some of her reactions are just not believable. This is when I would have liked less Cass and fewer pages.

I finished to see if my assumptions were correct and they were. There are not that many characters in the story, so it is not hard to figure out, especially if you read a lot of this type of book. As stated earlier, there is a small plot twist at the end that did surprise me, but there is a lot of emotional drama to get through for the surprise. This was just an average thriller for me.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Smokescreen by Khaled Talib

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

SMOKESCREEN by Khaled Talib is a fast-paced political espionage thriller set on the beautiful island of Singapore that has you second guessing every characters’ motives and actions as you race to the climax and conclusion. Smokescreen is also an apt title for this debut novel.

Jethro Westrope, also known as Jet West, is a feature writer for Singapore’s leading lifestyle magazine, Society. He leads a very public and pampered life which makes him an easy scapegoat in a high stakes political assassination plot. The Israelis and Palestinians are brokering for a permanent peace in Singapore and Jet is to be used as a pawn and framed as the assassin of the Israeli Prime Minister. The plot has major worldwide political ramifications that not only effect the two major players, but also the U.S. and Singapore.

Jet is pulled into the twisted plot when he is framed for the murder of a beautiful woman who tried to warn him of what was planned. As he tries to clear his name and find out who is responsible, Jet seeks the help of Nicole Wong, a senior prosecutor on the island and also a friend of the murdered girl. Neither knows who they can believe or completely trust as they weave through a twisted web of spies, double agents, and patriots to get to the truth and clear Jet’s name.

This thriller was tightly plotted with action, several dead bodies, revelations of deceit and twists that I can’t reveal due to spoilers throughout. You have to keep close tabs on all the players and their motives. The politics are thought provoking and the author handles the information sparingly with no preaching or information dump. Jet is an interesting and sympathetic lead character. The other characters are all well fleshed out and intriguing as you try to figure out if they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

This is a debut thriller that delivers and will have you coming back for more from this author!

Book Review: Don’t Say A Word by A.L. Bird

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

A psychological suspense with not one, but two big plot twists which had me unable to put this book down until the very last page. DON’T SAY A WORD by A.L. Bird was an intense read.

(To avoid spoilers, this is a limited review.)

Jen Sutton is a lawyer who lives and breathes for her son, Josh. Over-protective to the extreme, but what is a mother to do when their lives are built on a lie? Jen’s past life is slowly revealed through internal dialogues and rants. Her reasons for her secretive life become increasingly clear as the psychological tension ramps up to a plot twist that took me completely by surprise.

Clear time for this one!

The true character of each character was revealed at the same pace as the plot, slowly working up to a break-neck pace. Every character had secrets and/or ulterior motives. The character development kept me reading even while some plotline developments in the story were a little unbelievable at times. For me, at times the writing feels somewhat choppy, but it also mirrors Jen’s internal panic and disintegration to a degree. The ending was a well written tie up of all the plot points and characters.

Thanks so much to Harper Collins UK HQ Digital and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.