#BookReview The Last Straw by Ed Duncan

The Last Straw by Ed Duncan is absolutely ridiculous! In a good way, of course.

Fear not fellow reader, you don’t need to read the first book in this series to understand what’s going on in this novel. But if you want to, I totally understand why!

I started this book with low expectations (I started it around exam time and life had been already a ball of stress) and man, did I have no idea what I was in for. This book was far better than I could have expected and was worth every second. I’m almost annoyed with myself for not expecting it to be good, because it was far better than just “good”.

This thriller novel is fast paced, easy to read and never has a dull moment. It’s not too long, it has a good selection of quality characters to follow and it ends on a good note. The ending makes you feel satisfied if you don’t want to continue the series, but it also lets you know another book could be on the way (and my goodness, there better be another book and it better get in my hands ASAP, you feel me?).

Rico, a sweet guy with a “Dexter” like complex, doesn’t want to murder a teenager. When another man tries to make the hit and misses (hitting another person instead), the plot gets moving into many twists and turns. Paul and Rico’s intertwining story keeps the reader engaged and anxiously waiting to see if the killer will get justice. Along the way, a few side plots keep it interesting too!

Rico and Jean were my favourite duo in the story, but Paul, Beverly, Evelyn and the rest of the crew also have really good material to work with. I really want to read more about the mischievous pair of Rico and Jean in whatever way Ed Duncan can give us, because they are just way more interesting than the regular thriller characters I read about.

If I had to give some negatives about this book, it would be that there is some R rated content. Murders, violence and potential rape are all apart of the pages of this book but they aren’t graphic. This might limit the audience though, if the reader has triggers or isn’t into the adult book scene.

This book gets two thumbs up from me. I honestly loved this book and I didn’t want to put it down. The book helped me get out of a reading slump and actually had me annoyed that it was over so soon! Ed Duncan has a real talent and I hope he continues this series. If anything, I hope more readers find this book because it’s excellent quality. I would absolutely read more books like this in the future if I could get my hands on it.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Find this book on: Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

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More information about The Last Straw from Book Publicity Services:

The Last Straw is a thrilling crime novel by Ed Duncan. It is the second book in his Pigeon Blood Red series.

 

Synopsis:

 

It started with a run-of-the-mill carjacking.  An inner-city kid with no priors and no experience with a gun fumbled the ball, and the driver ended up dead.

 

A teenage girl witnessed the whole thing, and now a target has been placed on her back. The carjacker’s father, a notorious crime boss, is willing to move heaven and earth to prevent her from testifying, even if that means hiring a hitman to kill her.

 

Richard “Rico” Sanders, the best in the business, was his first choice for the job.  But there was a problem. He was a “killer with a conscience” and a killer with a conscience doesn’t murder teenagers.  The crime boss reluctantly turns to someone who has no such qualms, John D’Angelo. There was bad blood between him and Rico, so knowing that Rico had passed on the job, he eagerly accepted it.

 

Rico and the girls lawyer, Paul Elliott, form an uneasy alliance to try and protect her from the hitman. As the long-simmering feud between Rico and John D’Angelo reaches boiling point, bodies start to pile up in rapid succession… and old scores will be settled.

 

Praise:

“This Chicago set thriller is a pacy read, written with an edge and style… For me, this is even better than the first in the Pigeon-Blood Red series and it does work well as a stand-alone… Ed Duncan’s series will sweep up fans as it goes along.” – Crime Thriller Hound

“The Last Straw is a Hugely Satisfying Crime Novel by Ed Duncan.” – Best Thrillers

“With danger looming in every chapter, The Last Straw is an action-packed and nerve-racking read. Duncan skillfully draws the reader into a complex web of characters… A few key twists within the storyline keep the reader intrigued in this fast-paced thriller…The Last Straw is an outstanding crime thriller…” – 5 Stars, Red City Review

ED DUNCAN The Last Straw

About the Author:

Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the third installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red series. To learn more, go to http://eduncan.net/

 

Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Photos from Kelsey at Book Publicity Services.

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#BookReview Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib

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Gun Kiss is a riveting read full of action, crime and suspense!

I’m not gonna lie, this book impressed me! I hadn’t picked up a really good crime novel in a while, so reading this book was a nice change in flow. Following Blake and Goldie was a unique thrill that was well worth the time.

Goldie is an actress and Blake is a writer/crime fighter/Ethan Hunt-esque man. When a drug lord tries to steal Goldie, Blake comes to the rescue! Of course, along the way there is some romance and suspense (because you can’t get two good looking people in a room and NOT expect them to hook up).

Along the way this ex-military hunk deals with lots of high energy level action. There are hit men after him, his girl is almost always getting abducted and he just can’t seem to catch a break. Even with their bodyguards around, there are constantly bullets flying their way. Throw in trafficking, insane Russians and a famous gun and you’ve got one wild ride!

This book walked a fine line between thriller and suspenseful crime novel. I think it mixed in just a perfect amount of romance and mystery to fulfill all of my wishes for the book. There is even some history thrown into the mix just to spice it up. If anything, I feel like this book would do better in a series than as a stand alone. There were moments that I wished the book would have been split up into numerous novels because there was so many great plot lines and opportunities to take. For me, that would be my only downfall of the novel – there was so much good content it could have been a couple of books.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast-paced and fun thrill ride. It’s not a book for younger readers due to the blood shed, death, and R rated sequences sprinkled throughout the novel. I think an older teen would easily be able to pick this up (because, let’s be honest, most television now can be pretty gore-y).

Overall, this book is a smash hit in my opinion! It was fast enough to keep me hooked, it had just enough romance to make me sigh and the action felt like Mission Impossible styled fun!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author Khaled Talib.

 

You can locate this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Kobo

Barnes and Nobles

Gun Kiss

Gun Kiss 3

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#BookReview Cursed Vines by Suzanne Ferreira

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Cursed Vines by Suzanne Ferreira is a unique mix of suspense, thrills and fantasy!

This book surprised me with how fantastic it was – not often do I pick up a book with no reviews on Goodreads and it be absolutely magical in all the best ways! I feel like a really lucky reader who gets to yell “First!” in the comment section since I’ve found such a truly unique and addicting read!

Now, to the review:

This story is full of incredible descriptions that paint this story onto your eyes. The descriptions of the characters, their wardrobe, the food and the history of Portugal and it’s culture were just breathtaking! As someone with little experience or knowledge of the Portuguese culture, I felt like I connected and understood so much more from just this book! The portrayal of the culture and locations were respectful and made me feel like I truly dove into this world. Suzanne just has a way with words that makes you connect so well with the story and it’s characters. If anything, I’d suggest this book alone for the way Suzanne paints the narrative for the reader.

Some of the little quirks of this novel was the different aspects of the culture – burning ears means someone is gossiping about you, and black cats being good luck because they will absorb all of the evil. I really liked the little tidbits of information that were sprinkled around the plot development. I felt like those really enhanced this book up a notch on the review spectrum.

Now onto the plot! This book, at first glance, seems like a typical thriller set in an exotic land to the average fiction reader. But alas, good reader, this book mixes in so many genres in a truly unbelievable way that it should be in it’s own subgenre. First of all, our lead Talia is a journalist who is seeking out murderers of twin girls – check off that crime and thriller box on your checklist. Next, there’s a healthy helping of the black arts, a cult, some voodoo and omens to check off the fantasy or supernatural check box. There’s a teaspoon of romance (just barely a teaspoon), some murder and drama to mix all of the plot line together into an epic journey.

Talia goes off to Portugal with her boyfriend Jared and her friend Caryn after a family member dies. There’s a little romance and a little conflict that sends all three characters on their separate ways – Caryn chasing a man & Jared and Talia breaking up. Talia meets the super sexy Nuno and sets off on her journalistic adventure. The family drama left behind after the funeral ignites this journey for Talia, since she also wants to discover some of her family’s secrets. Once she goes off with Nuno though, her world unravels and the plot travels like a B&M roller coaster (lots of flips, turns and crazy speeds).

The plot itself sounds like a mess, but it’s just because this book is so hard to summarize! There is so much going on, but it all works so well together! Suzanne has crafted this excellent epic that I really loved! There’s so much drama and suspense throughout the book, I couldn’t even put it down!

If I’m tearing apart the speed of the novel, I felt like it was pretty even paced until 3/4ths through the book. Suddenly, it picks up speed and the action goes nuts! I really liked that aspect of it, because I do tend to get bored near the end if nothing exciting happens. Alongside that point, I feel that Suzanne made the story slowly unfold at a good pace. Each little important plot tidbit is thrown in to make the reader catch up to what is really happening, and I thought it was perfection! As I slowly began to piece together what was happening, a little tidbit was thrown in that made me go “Yes! I was right” and then the plot continued to bounce along.

But, dear reader, you may be asking if there were negatives – and of course there were! No book is ever perfect. Here’s my list.

1.For a journalist, Talia is really trusting of people! That does set of the plot, but to me she was a little too trusting…
2. Jared/Talia’s relationship was SO GOOD. I wanted more! This isn’t a bad part of the book because there wasn’t really room in the narrative to expand about their relationship and relationship issues, but I would have loved to see more of them! Their dynamic was so intriguing! Ugh!
3. The ending just seems to stop suddenly! Just like a snap of the fingers and it’s over! I really wanted to know what happened – who survives, who doesn’t, what was the point of the dreams/omens and what was a dream/omen, the fallout of all the action, etc. I liked this book to the point I wanted more (which is a rarity).
4. Evil villain explaining all the evil plans – it worked really well within this book, but I feel like it’s a cliche some readers might not like. Was it a negative for me? No, not at all! I actually liked it, but I know a lot of readers cringe at that thought so I threw it down here.

Overall, this book was really good! It really surprised me that more people aren’t picking it up because it is so good! It’s the perfect mix of action and suspense! I’d highly recommend it, especially if you love thrillers, mysteries and action!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from Suzanne Ferreira in exchange for an honest review.

 

Find out more about Suzanne Ferreira on:

Goodreads – Author Page

http://www.suzanneferreira.com/

Twitter – @sferreiradixon

Facebook – @sferreiradixon

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads – Cursed Vines

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Chapters/Indigo/Coles – Canadian Book Seller

 

If you enjoyed this review, leave me a comment below or give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another book you might enjoy! #BookReview Twisted Reasons by Geza Tatrallyay

#BookReview The Cuckoo House by Andre Harden

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The Cuckoo House is a thrilling horror novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

This book has everything you’d expect out of a creepy novel – an old house, a murder in that house, creepy old man, spiders, animals going missing, old wive’s tales, sex, objects moving, silence, a frustrated wife, bones, hot summer days, more murder, and a lot of suspense.

Andre’s writing made me feel Jane’s frustration. As a reader, I couldn’t help but develop strong feelings for this woman and want her to succeed in her goal. While it seems like a simple thing to do, connect reader’s with your characters, often time it isn’t. Good job on Andre’s part for being able to draw the reader in to his characters! That’s a feat all on it’s own!

Additionally, I could feel the suspense in certain chapters. As an avid reader of thrillers and horror, I knew something bad was coming. Andre was able to keep me hooked and anxiously waiting, then would surprise me with the lack of scares or abundance of them. That’s another bonus of this novel – Andre was able to play with my emotions in a way other horror novels haven’t been able too.

The reference to The Shining (“REDRUM”) is a nice touch, especially since I just finished the book and can actually understand the reference. I won’t lie, when I read the shining I was confused at first as to why RED RUM was a problem, but when you realize that’s MURDER spelled backwards, it makes a lot more sense!

The title relating to a comment in the book was another nice touch – it’s a fantastic reference that some readers wouldn’t understand. Having the title has a metaphor for the novel is a really nice touch, in my opinion. It always impresses me when the title has something to do with the novel instead of just be randomly generated.

Now for the ending….. it’s insanity! I want another book chronicling what happens after, but at the same time it was perfectly horrifying.

Side note: The old creepy man’s name is Jasper, which personally makes me giggle. There’s a poodle that lives down the street from me named Jasper, so all I could imagine was the poodle.

This book has one con for me, but it doesn’t take much away from the story. I would have liked more description – I’m a sucker for description, and when I do my own creative writing I tend to explain a LOT. I think if there would have been just a little bit more description instead of talking (or have the communication between characters have a bit more depth in word choice), this book would hit it out of the park and be up their with the best! That being said, Andre Harden’s writing style is excellent for this genre. Just because my reading style and his writing style aren’t perfectly matched, doesn’t mean that he isn’t fantastic. I think he’s extremely talented and the more he writes, the better he’ll get (just like with every other author). And this book is off to an incredibly strong start!

The book is definitely rated R for the horror. The sex isn’t erotic, there isn’t any scenes full of excessive gore, but the horror mixed with the sex might be a little too much for some readers. So, I’ll settle on the R rating, but just barely an R rating.

Overall, this book is an intense read! It’s packed full of horror and insanity, and it’s worth every page! Short but sweet!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Andre Harden in exchange for an honest review.

 

About The Cuckoo House:

After the violent death of its owners, a small house sits empty and forlorn until it is bought by a young couple looking for a new start.

Jane has had a series of miscarriages and wants only to concieve and start a family. Steve, a budding author, hopes to research the deaths of the previous inhabitants and write a thriller inspired by the events.

As the hot summer stretches out, their goals collide and Steve begins to suspect that an evil presence lurks in the house, turning their dreams toward its own dark purpose.

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36429551-the-cuckoo-house

Purchase this book on:

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – The Cuckoo House

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – The Cuckoo House

Find out more about Andre Harden on:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17242642.Andre_Harden

His Website: andreharden.com

 

If you read this review, use the hashtag #briarsreviews and give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

And comment below! What are you reading this week?

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview One Step Ahead by Denver Murphy

Cover FINAL One Step Ahead

This book  is a fascinating thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat!

I really liked this novel, especially since it was refreshing and exciting to read. At every twist and turn I was hooked and wanted more!

One of the best parts of this novels if the changing point of views. Switching back and forth between Brandt and Johnson with her fellow officers was an excellent way to show both sides of this crime story. I really love a good crime novel that lets you see into the bad guy’s point of view and understand his motives, rather than just showing the good guys’ point of view the entire novel.

Denver’s writing style really matched my reading style with this novel. I highly recommend everyone pick this novel up as soon as possible if you love a great crime drama with a large gallon of suspense and thriller mixed in.

If anything, the character development of Brandt was the most interesting part of this book. Seeing his background, his motives and his actions. The arc of his character was so addicting, even without all of the crime drama going on around him. He is a bit of a dark character, so if you’re light-hearted this story may not be for you! But, it’s so worth the read! This wild character is one of the best characters I’ve seen in quite a while in works of fiction!

I don’t have any cons for this novel, because it truly was an epic read. It kept me interested the entire time, the plot was intriguing, the characters had depth, and you will not see the ending coming!

Overall, I highly recommend this book! It’s a must read for all crime enthusiasts!

Five out of five stars!

I received a copy of this novel from the author Denver Murphy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out Gamekeeper Turned Poacher:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

 

Find out more about Denver Murphy:

http://www.denvermurphy.com/

Give us both a shout out on Twitter! @DenverAuthor & @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Twisted Reasons by Geza Tatrallyay

One Word: Wow!

Twisted Reasons by Geza Tatrallyay was an epic, suspenseful thriller that kept me hooked at every turn!

This thriller novel follows an international story revolving around stolen uranium – trailing across Russia, Vienna, Georgia, and other beautiful landscapes. While I don’t know much about those areas or the atomic bombs, I found Geza’s retellings to be enough to get me really hooked to the story. Mix in Geza’s skill of weaving a beautiful story, epic character arcs and the suspenseful twists and turns and you’ve got one awesome novel!

DISCLAIMER: There were some R rated scenes in this novel (both sexual and horrific in nature), so if you are not comfortable with brutal topics, this book might not be for you.

My pros: The chapters are short (which makes it great for little caffeine breaks for this reviewer!), relatable characters who grow over the novel, epic twists and turns (some I saw coming, but I’ve watched too many soap operas), incredible descriptions (landscapes, history, etc), and the story comes to a “close”. There is a sequel, but I like when a book can be it’s own entity and have an ending.

My cons: The cover is boring. I am the type of person who will pick up a book because the cover looks cool (yeah, I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover but some covers are just SO awesome), so I might have skipped over this book. Luckily, I didn’t, because this book is a real gem and a must read for those who love suspense and thrills!

Overall, this book was intense and awesome. I really enjoyed it and I want to read more! I liked it more than most famous/popular thriller novels are out there. It felt more real and not “typical”. While it does have a “typical” story line – thriller, suspense, mystery, politics, war – it felt unique by the way Geza wrote it. He knows his material, he is clearly a very talented writer, and he makes characters we get invested in. Most stories follow the same old, same old path with the same story arc – Geza made this feel different, and I really enjoyed it. That being said, I will definitely be picking up the sequel!

Five out of five stars!!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Geza Tatrallyay in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out more books by Geza on his website: www.gezatatrallyay.com

Check out this book (Twisted Reasons) the first in the series on Amazon:

Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.com

Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.ca

Check out the sequel (Twisted Traffick) on Amazon:

Twisted Traffick (#2) on Amazon.com

Twisted Traffick (#2) on Amazon.ca

Stay tuned for the third book in the series, coming June 2018!!!

Give Geza and myself a shout-out on Twitter if you read this review! @GezaTatrallyay & Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Intricate Deceptions by Jennifer Rayes

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Intricate Deceptions was an exceptional start to an exciting series.

This novel was far better than I expected it to be. At the beginning, I was a little put off by the start (loss of memory/amnesia as an intro hasn’t boded well for me in my readings) but it turned out to blow my mind! I’m really impressed with Jennifer Rayes’s story telling and I am desperate to get the next novel in this book now!

Anywho, my opinions:

1. The start felt like an adult novel 100%, but as the story went on it felt closer to a New Adult novel. It is definitely R rated for some of the content (human trafficking), but some of the conversations felt more YA like (the romance).

2. Without spoiling, some of the plot points seem to happen “just in time” or to fit the narrative, rather than the story unfolding in a timely manner to get to those sections. I would have loved this book to be a little bit longer and come to the conclusions on their own, but the plot still worked.

3. CLIFFHANGER. Jennifer, why did you do this to me? Now I NEED the second book!

4. Difficult content – Human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping… Some of this content may be difficult to read for some people. Keep that in mind when you want to read this book! I did think Jennifer did a great job in this book with how she addressed the tough/harsh issues of the world. It’d be very difficult to have a book be light-hearted at some moments, but harsh at others yet Jennifer managed to keep the tones perfect and at the right timing.

5. Time period – I’m kind of confused on what the time period is. At the beginning, it felt like early times monarchy but as I moved forward it felt like a modern story without cellular devices. That confused me the most with this book, but once I got past that and just let myself enjoy the book it was no problem at all. I probably missed the cues somewhere (gotta love exam time). In the next book, I’d love to see this expanded on more. Maybe I could learn more about the history of this magical world we’ve dove into in this novel?

6. Characters seem to disappear for a while at the beginning of the book, but they do come back! I was worried that characters were being introduced for no reason, but Jennifer did tie them back into the story. I hope more of them make appearances in further novels!

Overall, I really liked this book! When you look past the small continuity errors, this book is an exciting ride that I want to continue! Hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on a copy of the second book!

Four out of five stars!

Jennifer Rayes requested a review for this book and sent me a free copy. This had no impact on my review, this is my honest opinion.

 

Find Intricate Deceptions on Amazon:

Intricate Deceptions on Amazon.ca

Intricate Deceptions on Amazon.com

 

Find Jennifer Rayes on her website or Goodreads:

http://jenniferrayes.wix.com/intricateseries

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7410834.Jennifer_Rayes

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Charming Predator by Lee MacKenzie

If you read this review, comment below your opinions on this book! Or give me a shoutout on twitter @ReviewAlholic with the hashtags #BriarsReviews & #IntricateDeceptions