Tag Archives: thriller

Book Review: Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

Minotaur Books
Published Feb. 2, 2017
416 Pages

“Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell and a symbol–a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.”- Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book and I say that surprisingly because crime novels are not really my thing. I picked up this book because of the title but I decided to read this book because of the summary. As mentioned I did enjoy this book. Iwata is a broken man trying to handle a devastating lost while also trying to solve a murder no one seems to really care about. I like Iwata because he was human. He wasn’t one of those characters that was too manly or felt that he couldn’t let go of his emotions. Granted he made sure no one seen it but he didn’t exactly let it build up either. However despite this there wasn’t a whole heap of personality that made me cling to him and I believe a lot of that had something to do with what he went through in his past and what he is currently going through with his career. So I don’t have a real issue with this but it is something to point out.

But those other characters? Sakai is a butt and for a majority of the book I didn’t like her nor did I really like her relationship with Iwata. It was confusing and at times it felt like the author was forcing it but then thinking about it Iwata was trying to find some form of normalcy sooooo….. hmmmm yeah. But any way, I didn’t Sakai but the author was able to explain why the way she was, although I think Sakai could have made some better decisions.

What threw me off with this book was how detailed it was. When I say that it threw me off, I mean it in a good way and in a not so good way. Firstly, I’ve been to Japan and specifically to the areas mentioned in this book and through this book I saw Japan. I saw the narrow streets with the parking lots. I saw the hole in the wall restaurants, shoot I smelt the smoke within this book. I really really loved that about this read. However, at the same time, this made for a very long book that took a few let me put down for a little bit and then get back to it.

There was also this lack of urgency that the book was missing. It really didn’t show until the end but it still didn’t feel as if this needed to be solved yesterday. The case is the focus of the book but the author was able to stretch it out by adding a “side” story that explains things about Iwata. If you are not paying attention, you can get confused and then that it is part of the main story but it isn’t in a way.

Despite this Blue Light Yokohama is a recommended tbr book. There were surprises and twists that the author was able to hide literally until the very end and a lot of that has something to do with the massive details and the side story. I loved what the author was able to get out of Japan for this book. I loved the conclusion because it makes me want more and it makes me wonder if Iwata can actually have a happy ending or even a life.

Overall, the biggest issue for me was how long it was drawn out but I am super glad I finished this book and I highly recommend it.

3. 5 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Zodiac by Sam Wilson

Pegasus Books To Be Published Feb. 17, 2017 452 Pages
Pegasus Books
To Be Published Feb. 17, 2017
452 Pages

San Celeste, a society divided by Zodiac signs, are dealing with a series of brutal murders with victims from completely different walks of life. Detective Jerome Burton and astrological profiler Lindi Childs are on the case and despite their differences in beliefs, they know that this serial killer has bigger plans that can destroy the world as they know it. 

Let’s just say that this read was creative and the author deserves so much credit for creativity. Think of the caste system but with your zodiac sign. Depending on your zodiac sign you are placed into a pre-determined way of life. It is actually really cool, how the author breaks down the zodiac and how it applies to a group of people and then how he breaks down the planets at a certain time and date. I was impressed and my awe keep the book going for me.

It wasn’t the only thing. I loved the different stories, the different point of views all leading to one big picture. Everything flowed; it didn’t feel forced in any way. There was one particular story I was more interested in and that is what push the book further for me. The plot was great and although at some times there was an obvious wall but you’re so interested and curious about what happens next, the wall doesn’t bother you too much.

Lindi was a surprising character for me. I liked how she balanced Jerome and I liked how free she was. Big up to the author for diversity as well. I wish Jerome had more of a personality; I didn’t mind him being so closed-minded at times but a spark in him would have been nice.

I did feel the book was a bit long but I am more than happy with the outcome.

3.5 Pickles

Book Review: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Doubleday Canada To be Published May 31, 2016 336 Pages
Doubleday Canada
To be Published May 31, 2016
336 Pages

Kate O’Brien doesn’t have the easiest life. Her entire life is a setback and she is determined to get out of the whole she is in. Kate has a plan to move up the latter and land a position as a college student at Yale. When she befriends, Olivia, the wealthy and damaged it girl, Kate doesn’t believe her luck.

 But then enters, Mark Redkin; a man with a similar plan to advance his life. He poses a threat to everything Kate has been working for and threats to reveal the dark past Kate and Olivia are trying to hide.

I loved the premise of the book and I loved Kate. The idea that this girl, who isn’t necessarily the meanest thing in the world. is doing what she can to get ahead, I thought was pretty cool.

I also liked Olivia. The author did a really good job with character development; for all characters within this book. Toten also did an amazing job with twist and turns and things not being what they really seem. But there was a huge downfall to this book, which cased me to give it a low rating.

For most of the book, it was boring. It was hard to keep going because of this. I mean really hard. When things did pick up, I was happy but it was the about time happy. I understand the build up (I completely get it) but nothing was really happening and it was as if Toten was trying to feel things out as opposed to her characters.

When things got going, Toten did a great job turning events and moving a way better pace. She provided surprise and adrenaline that I was hoping for early on.  Although I thought this was a good read once I finished, it took too long for me to actually appreciate it.

Overall, I would recommend this book to people despite my own personal qualms because the story and character development was great.

2.5 Pickles

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: 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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