Tag Archives: suspense

Book Review: Tokyo Firewall by Elizabeth Wilkerson

Contrafish Media, LLC
Published Nov. 13, 2018
343 Pages

Tokyo, the ‘90s. When Alison Crane quit her environmental law practice and followed her hotshot investment banker boyfriend to Japan, she thought they’d only grow closer. But jobless and broke, Alison sits home alone all day-—and most nights—isolated by culture shock, wobbly language skills, and her boyfriend’s ambitions. Desperate for company, she ventures onto the only avenue she has left—the brand-new digital frontier.

Inside the confusing web of cyber chat rooms, Alison is approached by a charming Japanese man, and the two regularly meet online. However, her digital safe haven soon becomes a virtual nightmare when a troll who despises foreigners taunts her with escalating threats of violence. As her predator’s attacks intensify, Alison must parlay her legal smarts and budding computer skills to stand her ground, or she’ll lose her only source of freedom. And maybe her life...- Goodreads

This book was okay. There was and still is a lot of potential for this to be great but overall it was okay.

What made the book okay was Alison really. I understand that this is the ’90s but how this girl was able to do anything on her own as an adult blew my mind. She was extremely naive, no real common sense and didn’t have any ambition to learn the culture or do her own thing. Yeah, she got a computer and joining a chat opened her world, HOWEVER, she had no back bone and it was a bit tough to read.

What I did like about this book was a deep dive into Japan’s dislike for foreign people as well as the racism Black people can’t seem to escape. It was a huge focal point in the novel and Wilkerson did a great job of using it to push the novel. Another thing I liked was the romance and the twist that I have no idea how I missed. Wilkerson sets you up for the obvious and then is like “YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT” It was actually done really well and I was surprised.

The overall novel is slow. Not a whole lot goes on and Alison does a whole lot of whining. However, I like where the author was going with this. The ’90s for Black people was something and I sure it was something more being in a different country.

The ending wasn’t the best. It could have been way stronger but I don’t regret taking the time to read this book. As mentioned earlier, its okay. It could have been better.

2 Pickles

Book Review: The Woman Trapped in the Dark by J.D. Mason

St. Martin’s Griffin
TBP: Sept. 18, 2018
336 Pages

Abby Rhodes and Jordan Gatewood have fought a long battle to be together. People disparaged their relationship. Enemies tried to tear them apart. Now, Abby is looking to settle in to a life of married bliss. But sometimes the greatest threat stems from the person you trust the most…

Now Abby is being hunted. Taken prisoner. Held captive. And Jordan’s dark and murky past holds the key to her escape…- Amazon

If you haven’t read the first two books in this series, you might not want to read this review. There aren’t really any spoilers per say but this is the third book, that ties a bit into the first two, so you might want to do two things, read the books now and check out my review for the first on here :)

Anyway to the book. I was surprised that the author decided to give us another Abby and Jordan book. Yes, there are new characters that are focused on but to make the main center Abby and Jordan, wasn’t a route I saw coming. But the book is completely different from the first two reads and very dark. Its not even the kidnapping aspect of it that makes it dark, it’s the hatred some of these people have towards Jordan and the life he was able to build. What makes that hatred even deeper, is because it is based of race and how White people feel that Black people don’t belong in certain places.

As a Black woman or generally a Black person, you know that there are certain fields that although Black and minorities work in, they don’t own. The oil business, which Jordan owns a slice in, is one of them. So the hate, the revenge the grudge was real to me. This gives the book a way darker feel than the first two, which dealt more with romance and some paranormal activity.

I wouldn’t say revenge drives this book but it’s the hatred. This old white dude refuses to let go of the fact that Jordan won despite all the mess they threw at him and instills that hatred into his kids, who then, maybe, slightly, reluctantly go through this plan for their father to finally go at peace. But his kids and the new characters, Mason introduces are on some other level of mess. You actually, for some, do not wish the worst for them but wish to help them.

The development of characters and the lack of predictability (to a certain extent) within this book is strong. You not only have an understand of the characters but you walk away knowing that the next book is going or has to bring everyone and everything in Blink together. Yes, this is listed as a trilogy but there is no way in the world, Mason is going to stop at three books.

The ending was a good send off. But my issues with the book was the fact that it was slow. Because the introducing of different characters and their roles within the takedown of Jordan, things moved slow despite the motives behind everyone. That was my biggest thing about the book.

Overall, I thought it was good but not as strong as the first or even second read.

3 Pickles

Book Review: All the Pretty Faces (Graveyard Falls #2) by Rita Herron

Montlake Romance To Be Published March 29, 2016 353 Pages
Montlake Romance
To Be Published March 29, 2016
353 Pages

After narrowing escaping the Bride Killer, Josie DuKane is back at Graveyard Falls to speak about a movie being made from her tell all memoir. But shortly after she arrives, she receives photographs from a killer depicting their victims to make Josie believe she may be next. 

Dealing with the guilt and death of his sister, Special Agent Dane Hamrick, will do anything to find his sister’s murderer but his growing attraction to Josie is distracting him. 

The two must put their feelings aside and find the killer among the growing number of bodies before Josie is among the dead.

Diving right in; The first book was a really good read (Click here for the review). I was sucked into it immediately and although it lost steam, I was able to hold on an enjoy myself.

However, book two is part of the shrug pile. I couldn’t get into it. From beginning to end, the book seemed like an entire stretch. Josie knows pretty well that town hates her for writing that book and bringing those memories back. She was once part of that. So her trying to convince a town and herself that she didn’t write the book or agree to a movie for profit is crap. Josie was an unconvincing character.  But she wasn’t the only one; so was Dane. They both needed some work and care.

Although this is a Graveyard Falls series, I couldn’t get over the fact that another killer was in this town. This is where it becomes unrealistic in the sense that this killer picked Graveyard Falls; granted the book explains this and among other things but I couldn’t stop myself from scratching my head thinking why.

The book was slow; even when things picked up there was still a underlining slow motion to everything that was going on. It was very frustrating to read. Compared to the first book, All The Pretty Faces seemed mediocre.


1 Pickle


Quick Five © with Laura McNeill

Courtesy of Laura McNeill
Courtesy of Laura McNeill

Name: Laura McNeill

Twitter: @LauraMcNeillBks

Website; http://www.lauramcneill.com/

Books: Center of Gravity and Sister Dear (TBP: April 19, 2016)

Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Shoutout to Netgalley for introducing me to Ms. Laura McNeill. I have had the most amazing pleasure to read her to be released book (April 19 2016), Sister Dear and I am officially a fan. So to say I was not excited when Ms. McNeill agreed to an interview with Motif by Tanya, is an understatement.

Enjoy my fellow readers because I had a blast talking with Ms. Laura McNeill.

Thomas Nelson To Be Published April 19, 2016 336 Pages
Thomas Nelson
To Be Published April 19, 2016
336 Pages

Your career originally started off as an anchor for CBS Affiliates. During this time were you writing or did the idea/drive to become a writer come after you left to raise your family?

When I began working as an anchor and reporter, my older son had just been born, so I was juggling new motherhood with the demands of a fast-paced job in a newsroom. To top it off, the latter part of my career was spent working overnights (2 am – 10 am) in order to prepare and anchor the morning news, so that schedule left little time for anything extra!

After six years, I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my children, and it was then that I gave up TV news and began writing.

How did you career as an anchor help you write books? 

My experience as a journalist certainly came in handy when I started writing novels! In the television business, you can’t miss deadlines, so I learned to work fast and smart. I became quite adept at completing assignments in the news van (going over bumps in the road), dreaming up story ideas on slow news days, and generating creative and compelling stories, most of which were no longer than a minute and thirty seconds.
On the flip side, adjusting to life as novelist took a shift in mindset. I wasn’t used to working on a single project for longer than a day or two, so sitting down at a computer keyboard and working on the same story day after day was a challenge. For me, outlining helped tremendously and gave me a “roadmap” to follow!
Thomas Nelson Published July 4, 2015 320 Pages
Thomas Nelson
Published July 4, 2015
320 Pages

What inspired “Sister Dear”? Why did you decide to write within the genre of suspense and thriller?

A close friend of mine, years ago, was caught with some illegal drugs in her car. When she, as a teenager, went in front of the judge in her small hometown, she refused to give up the name of the dealer. The judge decided to make an example of her, and sent her to jail for six months. To this day, my lovely, wonderful friend, who is one of the kindest people in the world, is still a convicted felon. It affects everything in her life — her jobs, her relationships, her future plans.
Her situation got me thinking “What If” something terrible happened to a single mother of a five year old girl. “What if” the woman stumbled on a dying man, tried to revive him, and was held responsible for the man’s death? Then, what if after going to prison for a crime she didn’t commit and being paroled after ten years, the woman attempts to reconnect with a daughter who doesn’t know or trust her? Worse yet, the woman discovers that the person she trusts most in the world held the key to her freedom all along.
In terms of genre, I started out writing fun, frothy women’s fiction under the pen name Lauren Clark. I published 4 books before changing genres and tackling the deeper, darker side of domestic suspense. The decision to switch gears was two-fold: I love reading suspense and thrillers, and I had gone through some personal adversity and writing seemed a logical way to put some of my thoughts, ideas, and experiences down on “paper” to share with the world–in the hopes that other people might connect with my stories.

Where do you see yourself as a writer, let’s say a year from now? 

Camellia Press Published Aug. 10, 2014 295 Pages
Camellia Press
Published Aug. 10, 2014
295 Pages
In a year from now, I would feel very fortunate to continue to have a successful career as a writer and continue to connect with readers. I would love to have enough success to quit my “day job” as an instructional designer and stay home and write full time!
Of course, everyone wants the NY Times bestseller list, or an appearance on Oprah, but I truly write for the love of writing.
Finally, how do you want the reader to feel once they have completed one of your books?
It is my hope that readers feel like they’ve been given a rich experience, a story that has compelled them to keep reading and turning pages, and one in which they’ve found characters they care about and root for. I also strive hard to deliver a satisfying, but not perfect ending. I want the reader to feel he or she has come full circle when he or she finishes the last page. In addition, I would like the reader to feel that the main character has grown and changed, has learned, has overcome significant adversity, and changed his or her world for the better.
I love hearing from readers, by the way, and have made some amazing friends over the years just connecting over books! Readers mean the world to me, and I value each and every thought, comment, and opinion that is shared with me!

NetGalley Review: Hanover House (Hanover House Chronicles 0.5) by Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak's Online Auction for Diabetes Research Published Sept. 1, 2015 198 Pages Kindle
Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research
Published Sept. 1, 2015
198 Pages Kindle


Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot self proclaimed mission in life is to understand why murders and rapists do what they do. Evelyn hopes that by discovering this then she would be able to stop them from committing another crime.  After being kidnapped and left for dead by her boyfriend as a teenager, Evelyn feels that this is the best way to live her life. 

But when she begins building a new health center in a small town called Hilltop in Alaska, the townspeople openly oppose having murders live so close to their town.

Even Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok has been vocal about the center despite his attraction to Evelyn. But due to her horrible past, Amarok has to tread lightly or everything can go wrong.

*Short Review*

Because this is a prequel, the book was only 16 chapters long; which was fine with me because I don’t believe I liked Evelyn. I don’t have a issue with the author choosing to make Evelyn be solely defined by the unfortunate events in her life. I guess my issue is she has no personality or a true sense of who she is.  And for a person that swore off men, she was pretty fast to attach herself to Amarok, whom I loved.  I thought Amarok was sweet and a no BS type of guy but even then his personality doesn’t completely shine through either once he attaches himself to Evelyn.

I understand that this is supposed to be a introduction but things happened pretty fast and not as climatic as the book appeared to be. The whole drama of the book (minus the romance) came and went as if it really didn’t exist. Prequel or not that bother me.

This book did its duty by making me curious and intrigued enough to read the first official book. I.e. I like this prequel enough to give it a good rating and read the first book when it comes out. I am hoping for more dramatics, a more secured woman who knows who she is, a deeper relationship between Evelyn and Amarok and most importantly character development.

I liked the premise of the book, although it wasn’t extremely original.

3 Pickles


Book Review: All the Beautiful Brides (Graveyard Falls #1) by Rita Herron

Montlake Romance Published Sept. 15, 2015 341 Pages
Montlake Romance
Published Sept. 15, 2015
341 Pages

FBI Special Agent Cal Coulter has been sent to Graveyard Falls after a woman is found with a rose stuffed down her throat in a wedding dress at the bottom of a waterfall. This murder resembles the series of murders 30 years ago but a high school jock was convicted and sent to jail. 

Did they get the wrong guy? Or is there a copycat? When the killer sets his eyes on Mona Monroe, the love of Cal’s life and his best friend’s wife, Cal will have to act fast before its too late.

I really enjoyed this book but the author was doing too much.

From the moment I started the book I was sucked in. The details, the suspension was perfect until a little half way through the book.

I liked Cal. I felt that he did his job for the immediate issue. But he lacked in depth. I wanted to know more about his past and not just why he didn’t make a move on Mona. Although I liked him as a FBI agent I cannot say I liked him as a person because there was really nothing there that really highlighted his personality or who he really was beyond the case. Yes, you saw pieces of his past but they weren’t his own and they were PIECES!

I didn’t like Mona. She was very one dimensional, she had no personality and she was boring. *Kayne Shrug*

Herron took more care in developing the killer than her other characters. It was exactly what I wanted but I wish it done for all characters and not just one.

My biggest issue with this book started halfway through. Herron was doing too much by making sure everyone was connected to this one person. I understand small towns and how they work, especially within a novel, however it was too much. Way too much. It made the book less authentic.

But none the less I enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to book two.

3 Pickles


Book Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Ecco Published May 13, 2014 262 Pages
Published May 13, 2014
262 Pages

The news is constantly showing outrageous reports but when the news begins to constantly repeat the same reports, life gets to real when the unthinkable happens right outside the house door. 

People are no longer opening their eyes to look outside. The only thing anyone can do is stay inside. Malorie raises two children the best that she can in this condition but enough is enough.

In order to live, in order to survive Malorie must leave the house and follow blindly to something that may not even no longer exist.

This was a really hard read. But that is not to say it didn’t have some good points.

Josh Malerman is like the master of suspense because that is all this book is. I kept reading because I was hoping we would find out what was going on. I kept reading to find a huge climax that changes the world. The author wrote the story as if all these things was going to happen but nothing did.

It was  a huge tease but the author wrote it so well I had no choice but to finish the book to try to get the satisfaction that I was looking for. This never came. I am still sitting here wondering what the heck was going on this book because you just don’t know. The vagueness of this book kills the beautiful writing in this book.

The author did an amazing job creating a story that centralizes a crisis that involves everyone becoming blind. It was really creative but it lacked so much more. This is end of the world and nothing was exciting, moving or scary for the most part. This book reminded me of a M. Night Shyamalan movie.

2 Pickles

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

    Doubleday Children’s Books  Published Aug. 29, 2013           440 Pages
Doubleday Children’s Books
Published Aug. 29, 2013
440 Pages

For the past 50 years the country has been dealing with a problem. That problem is ghost/spirits are haunting almost every home and everybody. Various paranormal facilities have been built to try to take care of these problems. Issue with that is only children can see these ghost and only children and take care of them.

Enter Lucy Carlyle, coming to London after a horrible experience, trying to build her career with a well know company. However, Lucy finds Lockwood & Co. ran by children without adult supervision. When a basic job goes wrong, the Lockwood team desperately takes a job that is extremely dangerous and will test their wits and their skills.

This book was a wonderful read. It was quick to get into which is always a good things. Stroud was able to draw the readers in without loud bangs. The layout of the book is in five parts and you start at the present move to the past and then go back to the present. I appreciated that as a reader because I didn’t have to question why Lucy was in London or  how she ended up at Lockwood & Co. I also appreciated the fact there is no romance. I love the fact that there is no romance.

When I first started the book I thought it was a rip off of Sherlock Holmes even if there are three members to this company (Lucy, Lockwood, George). I still felt that way through the book but it wasn’t as strong. I thought the way the characters were written was great; especially Lucy. She wasn’t an insecure, damage, shy, self-centered, brat; she was down to earth, strong and knew her job.

However, what I didn’t like about the book was the fact that the main job (The Screaming Staircase) didn’t even begin until the middle of the book. I understand why the author did it and I also understand why there was an overlapping of jobs, but it made it a difficult read towards the middle of the book. It stalled and because of that I began to lose interest and I had to take a moment to regroup.

Other that I really enjoyed this book and give it a 9 out of 10. Can’t wait for the second one!

Love, Tanya

Book Review: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Lo (Penelope) Marin likes all things that shine and are beautiful; so

          EgmontUSA   Published Feb.14,  2012            325 Pages
Published Feb.14, 2012
325 Pages

she has a tendency to just take them especially since her family is constantly moving, she likes to have reminders of the balance where she has been.

However, it’s been a year since her brother Oren’s death and Lo has become a full blown hoarder. But when she finds a butterfly necklace at a flea market and realizes that it belonged to a girl who was murdered only the day before, Lo become obsessed with finding the girl’s killer and indirectly finding the truth about her brother’s death.

This book was a great read. It began a little weird because I honestly though the main character in the first chapter was a boy but then you quickly find out that is not the case.  What I truly loved about the book was the mystery of it. Lo has OCD and not only does she have to do things three times or even nine, she has to follow through with what she started. So when one clue led to another it was perfect. The author made you feel the need to discover the truth and there was nothing predictable about it.

I loved Lo. Although she had OCD, she wasn’t panicky and she wasn’t needy. There was a scene in which she flipped out for not doing her tap tap but there was a huge point to that and I thought it was great. Throughout the book you see Lo grow up and not try to fit in but trying to be herself with no issues. Also by the end of the book she was taking no nonsense from anyone. Lo was essentially a plain girl who was only complicated by her OCD

I also liked the romance that was in the novel. Yes, Lo does meet someone she becomes attracted too but she doesn’t let her romance stop her from what she is trying to do; solve the girl’s murder. His name is Flynt and I liked him mainly because he was so different than most male love interest. He was technically homeless but he didn’t look nor acted as such. He had blond dreads, he smiled a lot and he genuinely liked Lo. He was real down to earth and smart about Lo and just life in general.

Ellison did a great job writing the story. She created characters that balanced each other out and she made them believable. Overall this book gets 9 out of 10; true definition of a mystery.


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Book Review: Help for the Haunted by John Searles

       William Morrow   Published Sept, 17 2013           368 Pages
William Morrow
Published Sept, 17 2013
368 Pages

In the middle of the night Sylvie Mason is pulled out of bed by her mother and father to go to an old church outside of their small town. Use to the random things happening at night, Sylvie has no worries as she sleeps in the back of the car waiting for her parents to return, only to be awakened by the sound of gun shots.

A year later Sylvie is living with her sister; who is suffering the lost of her parents by not telling everything that happened and pretty much treating her sister like crap.

This story was great in the beginning but fell short to keep the thrill. Sylvie is 15 years old but she acts more like she is 13. Too shy, too quiet, too passive to be strong enough to deal with what happens in the book. How the author made her do it, I have no idea.  But she really doesn’t have a bad bone.

But what I liked about the book was the different point of views and the back and forth between past and present. You were able to understand her parents and even her sister who is completely messed up in every which way possible.

I also liked the build up. It took a while and there really wasn’t a lot of action considering that you’re trying to find out who truly killed your parents but it wasn’t bad. However, none of the characters were really remember-able and they did nothing to enhance the book.

A huge downfall; adding another character to the story the last two chapters.  I have no idea why that was done. The ending just seemed to have no thought and too easy for me. Also didn’t like the fact that the daughter had no connection to what her parents did for a living. She had no interest at all and could care less if it wasn’t for her parents’ death.

Overall the book gets 7 out of 10. I expected more action or at least more thrill since technically her parents were ghost hunters so to speak.




Tania loves long walks in the park, ice cream and horror movies. When not studying communications, she is cyber stalking GCH follow her twitter here 



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