Everything Runs Amok in PDX


24 hours.

That’s all it takes.

A new kind of war has begun.


* * *

Pak Han-Yong’s day is here. An elite hacker with Unit 101 of the North Korean military, he’s labored for years to launch Project Sonnimne: a series of deadly viruses set to cripple Imperialist infrastructure.And with one tap of his keyboard, the rewards are immediate.

Brendan Chogan isn’t a hero. He’s an out-of-work parking enforcement officer and one-time collegiate boxer trying to support his wife and children. But now there’s a foreign enemy on the shore, a blackout that extends across America, and an unseen menace targeting him.Brendan must do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. In the wake of the cyber attacks, electrical grids fail, satellites crash to earth, and the destinies of nine strangers collide.Strangers whose survival depends upon each other’s skills and courage. (From Goodreads)

So let’s start with the actual review first. This book was a quick read and an enjoyable one. It was action packed and although it’s a thin book to start with, it makes the reading even quicker.

Those who love plot hooks where the world runs amok and hell breaks loose will love this book. It immediately starts in the first few chapters and sets the ball rolling. The background story as to how the world (or to be exact the USA) goes downhill is explained by having North Korean hackers finding a way to plant viruses into the web which pretty much breaks down society. It’s a good “what if” scenario and further chapters show how fast society just crumbles when things we rely on daily vanish before our eyes.

There’s a variety of characters in the book that are easy to follow. Each have their own share their own spot in the plot and eventually converge and meet together (albeit a bit coincidentally but well, they’d have to meet somewhere right?)

My favourites would have to be Brandon, Vailea , and Carmen. Although the survivors of the crisis have their own strengths, these three stood out for me the most. They’re likeable, and as mentioned before showed their strengths to survive to protect their loved ones (or avenge them in some cases)

Orion and Xandra would be my two least favorite ones. Orion because he was just so whiny, Xandra because although I know she’s supposed to be analytical and a computer whiz, her personality was blah and just downright unlikable. She has her uses but she’s not really someone I would ideally have tea with if I had a choice.

So overall, a really good plot, filled with action and fun to read. The ending does result in a cliffhanger but it was a really good one. I’d love to know what’s going to happen next. It does play out almost like a movie and it’s well done.

Now for the next part of my review. Why did I like this so much? Well considering I just moved to Portland, it got me recognizing street names, bridges (still haven’t memorized all of them yet) and asking my husband (who’s lived in Portland all his life) all sorts of questions (ie: “Where is <enter name of street here>” in which  he replies with a sigh and says: “Oh god you’re reading a book that’s set in Portland aren’t you?!?!?”) so because I’m familiar with the setting, it even made the reading experience twice as special.

I greatly enjoyed this one. I can’t wait for the second.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Thank you FSB Associates for providing me a review copy of the book in exchange for a review!



Quietus unfortunately falls short…


On a stormy winter night, a small plane bound for Boston goes down in the treacherous White Mountains of New Hampshire. Through a haze of morphine, Kylie O’Rourke awakens in the hospital to confused and harrowing memories of the crash. Though trapped within the wreckage with her husband, she recalls wandering the icy mountainside and speaking with the other passengers, including one who had died on impact. As the bizarre aftermath becomes sharper in her mind, it appears more ominous, along with the unshakable feeling that her survival somehow defied fate. Reassured by her doctor that the disturbing memories had been caused by her sedation, Kylie returns to her life in Boston, but the aftermath of the tragedy proves unbearable. As her husband slips away from her into his own world of survivor’s guilt and deceit, Kylie is seized by a growing paranoia that someone is stalking her every move. In her nightmares, the predator is a specter crossing over from the mountaintop to reclaim her. Then a sudden and freakish tragedy sends Kylie’s world toppling. While those around her fear she is losing her mind, she finds herself caught up in a chain of events she cannot escape.  (From Goodreads)

***Possible spoilers you have been warned***

I was absolutely into the first half of the book. I loved the dark setting, the dark descent of madness for poor Kylie and trying to figure out what is happening to her and her world. The mood and the setting is dark and meant to be so, this part is excellent and sets the tone of the book. You get the eerie creepy feelings and the writing style is good enough that it could be played out like a movie in your head.

So Kyle as a character is all right. She has her flaws, her marriage has flaws but I’ll be honest to say I really did like her and Jack together. You knew they had major flaws and issues that should have been resolved but they just never got around to it. But their chemistry was excellent and you could feel their love even though sad to say, it was going on a path that just wasn’t meant to be. Although their relationship wasn’t that great to begin with, love was never a problem and they looked and seemed great together but it just wasn’t meant to be.

So let’s get to the plot. It started off on the right foot. Lots of creep factor. The plane crash incident well done. Kylie’s recovery, and the slow descent to what looks like madness (but isn’t) and the book tries to explain this to you while you read. Okay. I can handle this. I wanted to know what happens next.

Then we come across this incident in Kylie’s past that’s coming back to haunt her (see what I did there? Har har) okay. It’s pretty traumatic, and well you did send the guy to death because of a crime he committed so I get it.

Julius though….This guy was a grown man while Kylie was a little girl when he died and all of sudden he’s going all creepy touchy feely and managed to induce this semi wet dream/alternate reality sequence with present day Kylie while she was on public transportation. Yeah. Ok. And stop calling her Kylie Rose. It’s annoying but also creepy in a Pedo kind of way.

So after being introduced to Julius the incubus ghost wannabe the plot just slides down the hill and it becomes almost a chore to read through. I can’t believe this book has to be 608 pages as we already know what’s going on with Kylie and her crew about 200 pages in. It gets too descriptive, too mushy and it attempts to do some sort of surreal thing about life after death yadda yadda yadda.

I tried to like it. I can’t. If you cut the book in half and redid the ending so it wasn’t one long dreary part then the book would have been much better and more enjoyable to read. But this falls so short and it’s unfortunate the theme had promise and even the characters had potential.

I give it a 2 out of 10.

Thank you FSB Associates for the review copy! Even though I didn’t enjoy the novel as much as I wanted to, nevertheless I appreciate it!


Great Journey of Self Discovery with Lucy

48fc036cb417fe6596d4b637051434f414f4141.jpgOn the eve of Pearl Harbor, impetuous and overindulged, Lucy Stanhope, the granddaughter of an earl, is living a life of pampered luxury in Singapore until one reckless act will change her life forever. Exiled to England to stay with an aunt she barely remembers, Lucy never dreamed that she would be one of the last people to escape Singapore before war engulfs the entire island, and that her parents would disappear in the devastating aftermath. Now grief stricken and all alone, she must cope with the realities of a grim, battle-weary England. Then she meets Bill, a young evacuee sent to the country to escape the Blitz, and in a moment of weakness, Lucy agrees to help him find his mother in London. The unlikely runaways take off on a seemingly simple journey across the country, but her world becomes even more complicated when she is reunited with an invalided soldier she knew in Singapore. Now Lucy will be forced to finally confront the choices she has made if she ever hopes to have the future she yearns for. (From Goodreads)

So what I was expecting from this book is a typical journey of a young woman and a boy she finds along the way. I was expecting a serious journey, perhaps with a few tear jerker scenes along and a bit of romance to lighten the mood. I was happy to be wrong about it when I finally finished the book.

Besides the obvious journey to London, it’s also more of Lucy’s road to developing her true self and coming to terms with it. She comes across characters that have had a hand in impacting her life and assisting Lucy in finding self finding journey.

The plot here was steady and flowing, there were some lulls here and there but it’s pretty much cut and clear. I did like reading Lucy’s character development throughout the novel. She went from spoiled entitled brat to someone who really did have a soft caring heart. It was great to see her develop into a more caring loving person of not others but also of herself. No matter how much she tries to go back to her selfish ways something always gets her back on track to show her true caring nature and that it is more rewarding helping and caring for others.

Lucy’s chemistry with Bill and Michael make the book more enjoyable to read. Bill because he brought out the caring aspect in Lucy, Michael because he challenged her and made her see things in a different light (plus, well he managed to wriggle under Lucy’s skin which was nice and fun to read as he had caught her speechless in some moments)

What I didn’t expect from the book was the funny light hearted moments. I found myself laughing here and there with Bill’s behavior and his uncanny ability to involve himself and Lucy into potentially hairy situations, or the times where Lucy fights with Michael, and it seems Michael is the only one that can render Lucy speechless and flabbergasted. Those were great moments in the book and it kept the reading at a light hearted mood despite what was happening around them.

I enjoyed this book a lot and I do recommend it if you’re in the mood for something light despite the dark setting of WWII London.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Thank you William Morrow for providing me with the review copy!

Mister Tender ain’t so sweet


How far are you willing to go for Mister Tender? At fourteen, Alice Hill was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn’t exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, created by Alice’s own father in a series of popular graphic novels. Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but Mister Tender is never far behind. He will come with a smile that seduces, and a dark whisper in her ear… (From Goodreads)

This was a really good thrilling read. I enjoyed the twists and the overall feeling of the book really gave you the feeling you were being observed just like Alice felt throughout the novel.

Depictions of anxiety, of Alice breaking down and feeling defeated, her constant fear of being watched and followed, there’s a lot of emotions in the book and you can’t blame her as she went through a real rough patch in her past. It’s amazing she’s able to do the things she does (like owning a coffee shop for example). Alice is a very strong and determined character with considerable vulnerabilities.

I wasn’t really much into the guessing game as to who’s the one doing the following here. I was much too engrossed on how Alice was faring throughout the story as it seemed she was going to snap at any moment.

However, let’s get to the last third of the book.

Holy jeez. I don’t even know what to think.

You ever get that horrible creepy feeling when you come across something so terrible and bizarre and the only thing you can do is keep reading about it until your curiosity either gets the best out of you and you can’t sleep for the rest of the night or you turn away (but your curiosity hasn’t been satiated and you go back to step one)

That’s how I felt while reading the last third of the novel. To even think something like *that* actually exists out there (and worse) is frightening.

Now there were some unanswered and strings that weren’t really tied together or finished. Some characters just vanished without a trace and you’re left wondering what’s going to happen to them or if Alice is going to keep in touch with these particular people. Or maybe, Alice is just going to start fresh again ? who knows. I just didn’t like that some of them were just left there forgotten.

Other than that little bit, I enjoyed reading this book. You’d be surprised what awful twisted things lurk out there in the world and they’re probably just watching without us even knowing it. Great suspense and thrills. Worth a read!

I give it a 7 out of 10.

The horror and thrill…oh but Stella smella….


Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Only Stella came back. Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush – until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets. Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t. She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore. (From Goodreads)

***Spoilers ahead you have been warned***

What really got me turning the pages in this book was the horror and mystery aspect. It set the mood and the setting perfectly. It certainly gave you the necessary thrills and chills to keep you interested in the book. There’s some supernatural element to the story but as you progress into the finale well, answers will be revealed in time. 🙂

I loved the plot, the setting and the mood. There was no stalling. No dry bits. It was perfect flow throughout the book. This was so excellently written that I completely bypassed my extreme dislike for the characters. (Yes the plot was that good.)

So onto the characters. I just don’t like Stella. Not only is she particularly nasty to Sam, but her attitude and personality just stinks all around. She’s your typical mean girl (or should I say, the Queen Bee’s lackey?). I hated her treatment towards Sam, and Sam being your typical nice guy takes it like a doormat. Oh and he gets walked on not one, not twice but more than enough times to count. You know what this smells like? This smells like a dysfunctional relationship heading towards some horrible form of co-dependency. It’s horrible to read and if this is some sort of messed up way of redeeming Stella for all the things she’s done, I hardly think this qualifies.

True, Stella had a pretty traumatizing event happened to her. But I can’t sympathize with her behaviour. Zoey is just as bad and just as spiteful but one thing she had going for her was her extreme loyalty. I had to admit that was something you need in a best friend. Minus the Queen Bee behaviour of course.

This is one of the few books where I disliked the characters, but the plot just kept me reading. The elements of mystery was so well done that I enjoyed reading this one. I would recommend this one for the plot, but don’t expect to like the characters much. But thankfully they don’t make a negative impact on the plot at all.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

The Widow was a good Drama/Mystery


When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore. There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.  Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage. The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything… (From Goodreads)

***Possible spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned***

For just one split second I almost thought Bella was alive somewhere because a part of me was hoping she was. Nope. What it was, instead was Jeanie’s poor tormented mind and the result of being emotionally manipulated by Glen all this time.

You couldn’t help but feel for Jeanie throughout this book. You could already tell from the beginning that she was being mentally and emotionally abused by Glen. That takes its’ toll and added with the fact that she wanted children and Glen’s got some pretty sick and twisted tastes, well that’s not going to work out now is it. So I do sympathize with Jeanie. It wasn’t until the last third of the book where she finally starts becoming her own person away from Glen, but by that point the damage is already done to her mentally. It’s sad to see. I can see why people were hating on her since she’s could have spoken out and told the police everything. Thing is, since Glen had this emotional power over her, it’s hard to overcome. You can’t help but feel frustrated but helpless at the same time when it comes to Jeanie.

I enjoyed reading the different points of view throughout the book although Jeanie takes up the bulk of the novel. The other point of view from the Police was also well done and you can see how much it takes it’s toll on everyone emotionally and mentally.

The only character I don’t have much of a like for is Kate. I understand she’s doing her job but it just seems heartless at the same time since it feels like she’s doing it at the expense of Jeanie. So I’m glad Jeanie finally grew a backbone – albeit a bit too late.

The plot was good and well done. I can’t imagine how it would feel for those that have gone through this similar ordeal. It’s tiring on all sides and by the end of the book you’re also feeling the emotional and mental drain. It was an enjoyable read though. It definitely had me turning the pages and I do recommend this to those who like a good mystery/drama.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Dark mood and intricate plot makes Jar City a good read


When a lonely old man is found dead in his Reykjavík flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Inspector Erlendur discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, but not convicted, of an unsolved crime, a rape. Did the old man’s past come back to haunt him? As Erlendur reopens this very cold case, he follows a trail of unusual forensic evidence, uncovering secrets that are much larger than the murder of one old man. (From Goodreads)

What made this book enjoyable was how such an intricate web was spun throughout the novel giving the reader enough interest to keep reading. I was not sure what to expect from this book. Although I’ve heard good things about it I didn’t think I would be so engrossed and be flying through the pages to find out what will happen next.

I’m still not sure what to think of Erlandur as a character. Like most protagonists in series like these they usually have an underlying personal issue (whether it be health, or family for example) which he does have, but his personality I can’t really quite make out. He doesn’t seem to have much of one except he cares for his daughter and her well being even though they are estranged. He does have some sense of humor and wit but overall he appears to be driven by his work and hard working to solve the crime (we all need police like these don’t we?.)

I’m liking how his relationship with his daughter is turning out. It’s nice to see them slowly step away from their estrangement and it shows they do truly care for each other even though it’s done through yelling (most families are like that though, aren’t they?) It shows a lot of tough love, and I’m hoping the best for Eva Lind in the next books (I hope she appears as I’m slowly starting to like her more.)

What I enjoyed the most of this book was the plot like I mentioned earlier. It went from point A to point B but in such a dramatic motion it certainly kept you reading to find out what was going to happen next. The mood of the story also, was excellent. It was dark, dreary, melancholy, and although not suspenseful like the majority of the crime novels, it didn’t have to be. It made the setting suitable for the plot and made it more enjoyable.

One little thing I do have to add though, is the side story with the bride. I’m not sure why that was mentioned as it had little to do with the main story and it seemed like a filler. It wasn’t necessary as the plot itself was fine without it. I also enjoyed the ending of the book. It was sad, but you came to the realization it had to come to an ending like this.

As this is book #3 in its native language, it’s considered book #1 in its’ English translation. It seems all right and nothing seems to be lacking. Perhaps a bit of backstory might have helped but it was comprehensible to read. Greatly recommended! It’s a great break from the usual detective novels we have out there.

I give it a 9 out of 10.