City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Review:

Fast-paced and an action-packed read. I love a good revenge story any day. This young adult, mystery thriller is a really good read, filled with action and plot twists. The main character Tina is courageous and tenacious in her pursuit to avenge her mother’s death, which included joining the local gang and becoming a master thief. It’s a really great exploration of choices, identity, and doing the right thing. I think what I liked most about this book is that the story incorporated real and current issues regarding human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The storytelling does not feel preachy. After learning more about the context of this book, it makes me feel sad that human slavery and rape still happens across the world today. I highly recommend this read for fans of mystery or those who like a plot-driven story that is inspired by real-life issues.

– NJ

Book Blurb:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

 

Special thanks to Penguin Random House Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

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The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

The first book from a groundbreaking new YA voice: An Utterly Compelling Thriller.

When Gwendolyn Bloom realizes that her father has been kidnapped, she has to take matters into her own hands. She traces him from New York City across the dark underbelly of Europe, taking on a new identity to survive in a world of brutal criminal masterminds. As she slowly leaves behind her schoolgirl self, she realizes that she must learn the terrifying truth about herself. To overcome the cruelty she encounters, she must also embrace it.
(Synopsis from Goodreads)

The Cruelty hooked me from the first chapter. This spy based crime/thriller novel will have you needing to know what happens next. I am not a big fan of crime and/or thriller stories, but The Cruelty proved that a good book can transcend reader preferences. The character development in this novel is what makes it stand apart from other stories in its genre. Watching Gwen learn about the harsh realities of her world was turbulent and sad The Cruelty has moments that are horrifying because they hold a mirror to our world despite its spy action-packed premise.

The question is, do you standby and let the horrors unfold…or fight for what you think is right?

Special thanks to Walker Books Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.

-Amanda

Wreck by Fleur Ferris

“Truth without fear”
“Truth is far more potent than lies. It’s as forceful, constant and as indomitable as gravity.. Truthful news may not always be good news, but it’s vital…”

Release Date: July 2017
Published By: Penguin Random House, Australia

Fast paced, action packed and suspenseful, this would have to be the YA thriller of 2017!!Once again, my friend Fleur Ferris is back with her third novel, “Wreck” and once again…
She does not disappoint!!!

This book was simply “unputdownable” and if I didn’t have to work full time I would have finished this book much sooner!! From page one this book really was a page turner, such a suspenseful story!!! “Wreck” is a fantastic story where 2 worlds collide over a 5 year old mystery and a battle for the truth to finally set one free begins. Written in 2 perspectives, Tamara and William, what I loved about this book (besides how well it’s written) was how both voices are very distinguished and each character’s story was set in a different time. One is told in the present and the other’s was set 5 years prior.

In the present day, Tamara is interning at the local paper and is supposed to be celebrating O-Week to start her first year in uni, yet she finds herself roped into a situation where her home was ransacked, her world has just been turned upside and her life is in danger. All this because Tamara randomly found a note – a note that somebody is desperately trying to hide and will kill for. Now on the run and not knowing who to trust (not even the police) Tamara is trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle that seems to be getting bigger and bigger at every turn.

Even with both perspectives and backstory, the big mystery kept unravelling which raised more questions than answers and made me formulate theories as I went along, what a wild ride that was!! At some parts I was frustrated with the characters but then again, put yourself in their shoes – would we have reacted the same way or would we have known better?

Special thanks to Fleur Ferris for sending me an Advanced Review Copy, can’t believe this is the third novel I have read by Fleur and each time I am left stunned..
GREAT JOB!!

-Annie

Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich

This book is perfect for those who love crime/action books.

In the heart of Trenton, N.J., a killer is out to make sure someone gets his just desserts. Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans. –Goodreads Synopsis.

It’s a good teen book if you’re not someone who finds the love triangles uncomfortable. I was one such person and didn’t like the main character purely because she kept kissing this other guy while she still had a boyfriend! Shocking! but, in her defence, the guy she kept getting tempted by was pretty drool worthy.

Despite my dislike of the main characters’ love triangle behaviour, this book was a funny – action packed read and went in so many different directions that I was left clueless about who the murderer was!!! I absolutely loved the best-friend, she’s described as a retired “ho” turned bonds enforcement officer who loves to bedazzle things and shoot movie auditions with a midget she hates while naked!!

Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Crystal

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

“The only person you can ever really change is yourself” 

A gripping, psychological read — 4.5 stars

This book is like The Girl On The Train meets Big Brother with a great premise and lots of plot twists. It had me reading through the night because it’s just so fascinating and made me wanted to know more about the characters and their secrets. It’s fast-paced, plot-driven, easy read. I loved how the story is set in a minimalist house designed by a mysterious man, the house itself designed to make the tenant improve their life by following a set of unrelenting rules, and allowing highly advanced technology to monitor the tenant’s mood and well-being. The story oscillates between the present day tenant Jane and Emma from the past, of how they lived in this magnificent but mysterious house… discovering its sinister past and what connects them to each other. This is definitely a great psychological thriller for readers who loved Gone Girl or The Girl On The Train and those who loves an unpredictable twist in the end.

– NJ

Exclusive Blog Interview with Australian Author Greg Barron, author of Marika Hartmann Series

Australian Author, Greg Barron is a friend of Read3r’z Re-Vu. I had the pleasure of meeting Greg at his author signing in Dymocks, Parramatta in 2012 when he released his debut novel “Rotten Gods“: a  thrilling book where a new wave of terror threatens a world torn by inequality, conflict, economic disaster and environmental chaos. A time when heads of state gather in Dubai in an attempt to bring society back from the brink of global catastrophe however extremists hijack the conference centre and the clock starts ticking: seven days until certain death for presidents and prime ministers alike, unless the terrorists’ radical demands are met… A page turner that grips you to the end… let’s get to know Greg…

When did you first get inspiration to start writing?
When I was just six years old I wrote, typed up and “self published” a short book about dinosaurs. I was in my twenties when I started writing my first serious novel, but I lost my way after a few chapters. It was a lot harder than I’d expected. Finally, in my early thirties I managed to finish a novel, but it took me another ten years of writing to get a publishing contract. Rotten Gods was the novel that got me there. I’m addicted to stories, and have been ever since I could read.

What inspired you to write your debut novel “Rotten Gods”?
The World Trade Center attacks in New York sparked a series of events that included the invasions of two nations, millions of casualties, and an escalation of “tit for tat” terrorist attacks. I became interested in the motivations of all parties involved. I wanted to write a novel that helped me (and ultimately readers) to understand why various groups and individuals act the way they do. I had also grown up in the “golden age” of international thrillers. I devoured books by authors such as Alistair Maclean, Jack Higgins, Frederick Forsyth and Robert Ludlum. I wanted to write an exciting page turner that would thrill and entertain readers, and take them on a journey through exotic destinations.

Is there any particular reason you chose this genre?
Despite my grounding in classic thrillers, I never set out to write in any particular genre. In fact, I was surprised when HarperCollins picked me up as a thriller author and asked me to write two more books in the same vein. Having said that, I have a natural desire to keep a story moving forward, pages and pages of conversations bore me as a reader so I tend to keep the sequence of events unfolding as a writer. I’m currently working on a historical novel (another genre I’ve always loved), and it’s a page turner.

What was the secret to getting your work done in writing your book – did you constantly snack on chocolate or treat this like a movie with index notes all over your wall? Or have a photo of an inspirational person as your desktop?
There was no secret except for getting in the routine of writing every day. Even if it’s just half an hour before heading out for a day job, daily writing is a very powerful thing. I used to obsess about my daily word count, but now I do my best to ignore it. I know instinctively when I’ve done enough for the day, close the computer and walk away. Sometimes I pin inspirational quotes to my wall, usually by writers and other creators, but they eventually get covered up by maps or other items that I might happen to need as background.

Tell us about your main characters in the books – how did you come up with their names and personality profile for the story?
The interesting thing about Marika, the main character in Rotten Gods is that I originally called her Raelene. My agent laughed, and told me that it was a bogan Aussie name, so I had to change it. I’m not sure exactly where the name Marika Hartmann came from, but after the novel was published I came across a real life person with the same name online. We met up when I went to Perth and now we’re great mates! In my current work in progress, which I’m hoping will be published late next year, many of the characters lived in real life. When my research was finished, and I’d found out everything I could about their lives, my fiction brain kicked in and started filling in the blanks. I’ve found it to be a really exciting process. I rarely write formal character profiles, just scrawl notes here and there when I think of them, either with paper and pen or on my phone. I use One Note for quick observations and even used it to structure my last novel.

Did you ever experience writer’s block? How did you overcome it?
Writer’s block is a crisis of confidence, when nothing you write seems to have any worth. There’s only one solution, and that’s to keep on writing through it. I’ve been in this situation more than once, but I usually know why it’s happening. Bad rejections can bring it on. I force myself to sit and write. Sooner or later, as Hemingway once said, “the juices will flow.”

Are there any particular issues or themes you have addressed in your books that you are hoping readers will really get out of the story?
I’m careful not to talk down to my readers or assume they know less than I do. People usually have had a much more interesting and informative life than strangers give them credit for. Many readers have said to me that they loved Rotten Gods not just for the story, but because they learned a lot. My answer to that is “So did I.” My research took me across the world and immersed me in dozens of non-fiction books, hundreds of video clips and articles.

I’m a blogger – if I was to read your book then blog it, what do you look for in a blog? What makes a good blog (besides a stunning review of course)
The most exciting thing about a book blog is when the blogger truly connected with a book, then explains how and why. Dry, boring reviews are for the newspaper critics, bloggers have the opportunity to present a personal point of view.

Let’s get to know you:
What’s the first book you ever read?
I clearly remember the first time I ever finished a book with real chapters. I was about seven years old and the novel was called “Double Trouble for Rupert.” It was the dawning of a new age for me. Within weeks I was devouring Hardy Boys detective stories and Enid Blyton’s adventure stories. I was privileged to find an open door to this amazing world of fiction and I’ve been living there ever since.

If you’re not reading or writing, what would you be doing?
Well I do love fishing, and try to get out to sea in my small boat every weekend. I go with my father and I feel very privileged to have this special time with him. Of course the weather and family commitments get in the way so I don’t get out as regularly as I’d like. I enjoy walking, and fit in a half hour stroll in the local bush every day. The rest of the time you’ll find me washing dishes, mowing the lawn, going to barbecues at friends’ houses. I also work part time as a librarian, and teach computers and music.

What was the last book you read? (title/genre/author/rating out of 5 stars)
I’m ten pages from the end of Devour by LA Larkin. It’s a thriller and I’ll give it 4 out of 5 as it’s brilliantly researched, well written, with complete characters and is a lot of fun to read. The plot is a bit improbable right from the start but I’m prepared to accept that in return for a good read.

As an author, what was the best piece of advice you were ever given?
Never, ever, ever give up.

Please feel free to connect with me so I can share upcoming news:
Twitter: @gjbarronbooks
Facebook: facebook/gregbarronauthor
Instagram: gjbarronbooks
Web: gregbarron.com

Marika Hartmann Series
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Many thanks to Greg Barron for your time and for supporting Read3r’z Re-Vu.
Blog Interview completed by Annie

Black by Fleur Ferris

“shut the windows.. lock the doors.. you don’t know who’s coming!!”

INTENSE – GRIPPING – HAUNTING
READ IT DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS
YOU WONT WANT TO PUT THIS DOWN
5 STARS – 2016 FAVOURITE!!!

Australian Author Fleur Ferris dazzles the YA reading community with her 2nd novel “Black” a haunting thriller that will make you check your doors are locked and blinds are drawn at night before you go to sleep!!! Fast paced, action packed with an intriguing storyline – although you will be freaked out, you will be gripped until the last page!!!

This story follows protagonist Ebony Marshall – also known as Black.. Cleverly nicknamed as ebony can also mean black, however her nickname takes on a whole new meaning in quiet small town Dainsfield where priest Father Ratchet has creepy control over a following called the Pure Apostles who are convinced Ebony is cursed and have convinced others of the same thing.

Ebony – “Black” is trying to see her senior year through and live a normal life following her grief over the loss of three of her dear friends who died in tragic accidents. Rather than receiving support for her loss, rumours are spread about her saying she is cursed and had something to do with the deaths of her friends. Due to these rumours, Black isolates herself and finds it normal to be on her own until she meets a new friend Aiden who, on the night of their Year 12 formal ends up in intensive care. This unfortunate incident ignites the rumours and these rumours then become life threatening to Black. To deal with this, Black starts to piece together the events and the root of these rumours to unravel a mystery that started once upon a time.

This book had me engrossed in the story from page 1, I found this to have an incredible plot and it was extremely well written. Parts of the story gave me goosebumps – to think there are people out there who have such far fetched ideologies that impact on people’s lives. I purposely read this only during daylight hours and even though a lot it freaked me out, I was yearning for more of the story as I simply had to know what happens next!!! I formulated a few theories about the next scene or who the real enemy was and yes – I was slapped in the face when I got the answer. I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend this to all YA fans who are looking for a book with mystery and intrigue.

Special thanks to author and friend Fleur Ferris for sending me a personally autographed copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and congratulations on launching your second novel!!!

-Annie