Tag: 5 stars

Book Review: Baby X by Kira Peikoff

Baby X
Author: Kira Peikoff

Published: March 5, 2024
Kindle: 336 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  March 24- April 17, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

When any biological matter can be used to create life, stolen celebrity DNA sells to the highest bidder–or the craziest stalker–in this propulsive thriller.

With a vivid imagining of the future, Gattaca meets The Ones in Kira Peikoff’s Baby X.

In the near-future United States, where advanced technology can create egg or sperm from any person’s cells, celebrities face the alarming potential of meeting biological children they never conceived. Famous singer Trace Thorne is tired of being targeted by the Vault, a black-market site devoted to stealing DNA. Sick of paying ransom money for his own cell matter, he hires bio-security guard Ember Ryan to ensure his biological safety.

Ember will do anything she can to protect her clients. She knows all the Vault’s tricks–discarded tissues, used straws, lipstick tubes–and has prevented countless DNA thefts. Working for Thorne, her focus becomes split when she begins to fall for him, but she knows she hasn’t let anything slip–love or not, his DNA is safe. But then she and Thorne are confronted by a pregnant woman, Quinn, who claims that Thorne is the father of her baby, and all bets are off. 

Jessica’s Review:

The book description got this novel 1000% correct: A mix of Gattaca and The Ones! This is the kind of Science Fiction I love: A mix of Sci-Fi with Speculative Fiction that is realistic! It is also a unique novel that is fast paced, and an enjoyable read.  It was a bit of a popcorn thriller, I didn’t want to stop once I started it.

Baby X is set in the not-too-distant future and we have three povs and stories that intersect: Ember who works to protect her clients from their DNA being stolen and then we have Quinn who states that a well-known singer is her baby’s father. We also have Lily who is a newer journalist finishing school who is determined to make a name for herself.

Just imagine a world where DNA can be stolen and manipulated!  Any cell DNA can be transformed into sperm or eggs and then a baby is coming. I was just pulled into this strange and scary future that might just be possible one day. There are so many implications to this world. Babies being born and the parents don’t even know they exist!

There are several twists throughout but the big one I had figured out.  But it didn’t ruin the novel for me: usually it does, but this case was different. It was a twist I saw coming but it was I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading what else Kira Peikoff has written and will write. Many thanks to the publisher for granting me a copy to read and review. I really enjoyed it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: The Teacher by Freida McFadden

The Teacher
Author: Freida McFadden

Leslie Howard

Danny Montooth
Published: February 6, 2024
Audiobook: 9 hours 35 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  February 19-23, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Lesson #1: Trust no one.

Eve has a good life. She wakes up each day, kisses her husband Nate, and heads off to teach math at the local high school. All is as it should be. Except…

Last year, Caseham High was rocked by a scandal involving a student-teacher affair, with one student, Addie, at its center. But Eve knows there is far more to these ugly rumors than meets the eye.

Addie can’t be trusted. She lies. She hurts people. She destroys lives. At least, that’s what everyone says.

But nobody knows the real Addie. Nobody knows the secrets that could destroy her. And Addie will do anything to keep it quiet…

Jessica’s Review:

There are a couple of trigger warnings with The Teacher that should be addressed: Inappropriate teacher/student relationship, grooming/pedophilia, and bullying. People seem to not realize this from the book description, but it is there!  Go in knowing this, and you won’t be surprised if you can be triggered by these circumstances.

I had no idea going into listening The Teacher how mind blown I was going to be by the end! I also gave it 5 stars! I’ve read several of McFadden’s books and enjoyed them, but I wasn’t prepared for the sheer direction the twists were going to go this time! In fact, I need to listen to the book again knowing how it ends! My mouth just dropped in shock with her final two twists! McFadden knows what she is doing! It helps that her chapters are shorter, which makes it harder to stop reading the further you get into the novel!

These characters were just unlikeable and I felt so much emotion for them. McFadden captured Addie beautifully: It helps she has a teenage daughter (and at one time was one herself), so she was able to capture the angst and emotions of a teenage girl.  At the end of the book there is a note from McFadden with the help she got from her daughter.   Leslie Howard was one of the narrators and she also captured that teen angst! Danny Montooth was the other narrator, and while his was a much smaller narration, he did a great job with capturing Nate!

This is the sixth book I’ve read from McFadden (also her Christmas short story) and I think I can say I’m a ‘Freida Readah’ now! She is another author I think I will read or listen to no matter what, and she has two more books coming out this year: Bring them on!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


ALC Review: The Guest by B.A. Paris

The Guest
B.A. Paris

Narrator: Emily Joyce
To Be Published: February 20, 2024
Audiobook: 8 hours 14 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: January 4-9, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Audiobook Description:

Some secrets never leave.

Iris and Gabriel seem to have it all: a beautiful home in the British countryside, a daughter happily working in Greece, and good friends Laure and Pierre from Paris, who they often vacation with. But when a young man has a tragic accident in a nearby quarry, Gabriel is the one to find him and hear his final words, leaving Gabriel with a guilty burden.

As Iris tries to help ease her husband’s trauma, they acquire an unexpected house guest. Laure has seemingly moved in after her husband’s revelation that he has had a child with another woman. Iris and Gabriel insist Laure stay as long as she needs. But Laure keeps wearing Iris’s clothes, following her every move, and asking her about the recent death of the young man.

Their only respite from the increasingly tense atmosphere in their own home comes from a couple new to town and expecting their first child. But with them comes their gardener, who has a checkered past.

With fractured relationships and secrets piling up around them, can Iris and Gabriel’s marriage survive?

Jessica’s Review:

I have enjoyed B.A. Paris’ novels and hers will be ones I will pick up, but her last few have been less than enjoyable for me.  I have also listened to those in audiobook format, so at this point I think her books I need to actually read versus listen to get everything I need to from the book and full enjoyment. This is no fault of the narrator, It just seems that Paris’ books I need to read. 

The Guest is her newest novel coming out on February 20th, 2024. It is an extremely slow burn that shows how secrets and lies can affect everything and everyone.  I did have trouble keeping the characters straight, even though it is not a huge cast of characters.  I was totally engrossed in the story with the death and final words of one character given to another who decides to keep them secret from the mother. The rest I was not interested in.  Once the body count started around 55% in is when the story got moving for me. There was so much buildup, but it was needed!  

The chapters are short, but then when the novel is over we have the epilogue and that was almost an hour long!  And there is where the ending of the novel comes together in an unexpected way, so I gave an extra half star to my rating for it. 

I will have to try and read a physical copy of The Guest at some point because I know I missed so much with the audiobook in this case.  I might even enjoy it better that second time around. Any future B.A. Paris books will be read!

Many thanks to the publisher Macmillan Audio for granting me an alc!

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK