Tag: suspense

Book Review: Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

Save Me
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Narrator: Cynthia Nixon

Published: April 12, 2011

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  September 9-15, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars     

Book Description:

Save Me will have readers wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking and honest.

Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in her daughter Melly’s school in order to keep an eye on Amanda, a mean girl who’s been bullying her daughter. Her fears come true when the bullying begins, sending Melly to the bathroom in tears. Just as Rose is about to follow after her daughter, a massive explosion goes off in the kitchen, sending the room into chaos.

Rose finds herself faced with the horrifying decision of whether or not to run to the bathroom to rescue her daughter or usher Amanda to safety. She believes she has accomplished both, only to discover that Amanda, for an unknown reason, ran back into the school once out of Rose’s sight. In an instance, Rose goes from hero to villain as the small community blames Amanda’s injuries on her. In the days that follow, Rose’s life starts to fall to pieces, Amanda’s mother decides to sue, her marriage is put to the test, and worse, when her daughter returns to school, the bullying only intensifies. Rose must take matters into her own hands and get down to the truth of what really happened that fateful day in order to save herself, her marriage and her family.

In the way that Look Again had readers questioning everything they thought they knew about family, Save Me will have readers wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking and honest.

Jessica’s Review:

I am a Lisa Scottoline fan, and will read anything written by her. I have read books I love and others that were just ok for me.  Save Me was just an ok read for me, though this will be a book for all the parents out there to read. 

Rose McKenna has volunteered as a lunch mom at her daughter Melly’s school.  Melly was born with a large birthmark on her face and has dealt with bullying; so much so that Melly just switched schools. But the bullying continues, especially from one specific girl: Amanda. One day during lunch Rose is trying to talk to Amanda about the bullying when there is an explosion in the kitchen, which causes chaos.  Rose escorts Amanda and a couple other girls to the door to go outside then goes back to find Melly, who has locked herself in the bathroom.

Rose ends up on the news as a “mother hero” saving her daughter, until it is found out that Amanda went back inside and was severely injured. Then Rose becomes a pariah to the small community.  As information unfolds Rose realizes she faces several legal battles in addition to being determined to find out what actually happened to Amanda and what caused the explosion.

Anyone can say that they would do this or they would do that in an emergency, but you don’t truly know until you are in said emergency.  We see what Rose does and you can make your own conclusion as to what she did.  Some things that Rose did came off as naïve to me: I mean if your husband is a lawyer, wouldn’t you take his advice to do or not do certain things??? Ummm yes, but did Rose listen to her husband?  No, and thus made things worse for herself.

I am giving Save Me a solid 3 stars, which is a decent read, but I had issues with many things that Rose did. I was into the story and was fully invested on if Amanda was going to survive or not.  I adored Melly, she is a sweet child who loves reading and Harry Potter. The actual cause of the explosion was a bit of left field for me and it seemed like Scottoline was running out of ideas and wanted a happy ending.  For the most part the ending did work for me with everything being tied together.

I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Cynthia Nixon who did a great job!  Though this is not my favorite written by Scottoline, I do say to look into her library of many novels! For me her legal dramas/thrillers series of Rosato & Associates  and Rosato & DuNunzio are my favorites and I look for more of those novels to come. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: The Hiding Girl by Dorian Box

The Hiding Girl
Series: Emily Calby Book 1
Author:  Dorian Box

Published: June 15, 2020
334 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 6-18, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Twelve-year-old Emily Calby was a good girl from a religious family in rural Georgia. She loved softball, her little sister and looking up words to get her allowance. Then two men came and murdered her family. Only the killers know she survived.

On the run, surviving by wits and animal instinct, she makes an unlikely ally in an ex-gang member who lost his own family to violence. He takes her in and trains her in “self-defense” before more tragedy launches her on a terrifying journey for justice. Nothing will stop her—not cops or creeps, not even her own splintering mind. Through it all, Emily fights to hold onto hope and the girl she once knew, kept buried deep inside.

Dark and gritty, but filled with heart and hope, The Hiding Girl is a twisty, fast-paced thriller and a testament to the boundless limits of human love, sacrifice and the will to survive.

Jessica’s Review:

What else can I say about The Hiding Girl by Dorian Box other than wow!  It is a fast-paced novel that packs all the punches: Literally and figuratively!  The Hiding Girl is dark and gritty with very graphic violence that also gives us characters to root for and become very attached to.

Twelve-year-old Emily Calby survives the graphic attack on her family and is on the run. Emily is definitely not the typical twelve-year-old.  Experiencing what she did already ages her and over the course of the novel you have to keep reminding yourself of her young age!  She meets Lucas who is a former gang member who helps her and these two definitely make quite the unique pair that form a special relationship. We also have Kiona, who is Lucas’ significant other who isn’t quite sure what to make of Emily.  They teach her self defense and more as Emily is determined to find the men who killed her mother and sister.

Emily is one you cannot help but be on her side and get attached to. She is in for a long ‘adventure’ with many obstacles that keep coming up.   At one point I found myself thinking “What else is Box going to have Emily go through!?!?” It is one thing after another, but our brave little fireball of a main character Emily can pull through!

And let me say this: I love Lucas! He is not what you expected and you really grow to care for him.  As I was reading, I pictured Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP) as Lucas, but then I saw the premiere of The Walking Dead’s final season where we meet Mercer played by Michael James Shaw and despite the age difference, he would be a perfect Lucas! 

This novel will not be for everyone with the graphic violence, but it also has a lot of heart and emotion to it.  What made me read The Hiding Girl was that I was granted an arc copy of the second in the series The Girl in Cell 49B.  I realized when I read the description for book two that I should read The Hiding Girl first. Though not needed as the second book touches on Emily’s back story, if you don’t read The Hiding Girl you will be missing so much!  I am currently reading the second and still rooting for Emily! 

The Hiding Girl actually fits for the prompt for #Diverseathon for this month, which is a main character in an interracial relationship.  The relationship between Emily and Lucas starts as a mentor/mentee relationship that grows into so much more. August’s host is Mary @booksbymary1 and she will host at Instagram.

For full details on this year long read-a-thon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

I really enjoyed The Hiding Girl  and recommend it and cannot wait to see where Box goes next with the series.  He is working on book three and I will be highly anticipating it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: The 14th Colony by Steve Berry

The 14th Colony
Series: Cotton Malone #11

Author: Steve Berry
Published:  April 5, 2016
450 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

What happens if both the president and vice-president-elect die before taking the oath of office? The answer is far from certain—in fact, what follows would be nothing short of total political chaos.

Shot down over Siberia, ex-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is forced into a fight for survival against Aleksandr Zorin, a man whose loyalty to the former Soviet Union has festered for decades into an intense hatred of the United States.

Before escaping, Malone learns that Zorin and another ex-KGB officer, this one a sleeper still embedded in the West, are headed overseas to Washington D.C. Noon on January 20th—Inauguration Day—is only hours away. A flaw in the Constitution, and an even more flawed presidential succession act, have opened the door to disaster and Zorin intends to exploit both weaknesses to their fullest.

Armed with a weapon leftover from the Cold War, one long thought to be just a myth, Zorin plans to attack. He’s aided by a shocking secret hidden in the archives of America’s oldest fraternal organization—the Society of Cincinnati—a group that once lent out its military savvy to presidents, including helping to formulate three invasion plans of what was intended to be America’s 14th colony—Canada.

In a race against the clock that starts in the frozen extremes of Russia and ultimately ends at the White House itself, Malone must not only battle Zorin, he must also confront a crippling fear that he’s long denied, but which now jeopardizes everything. Steve Berry’s trademark mix of history and speculation is all here in this provocative new thriller.

Kim’s Review:

My brain hurt after reading this book, in a really good way! I’ll start with my main problem that brought it down a star: That question is in the description. It pretty much gave away the main twist. It was kind of annoying that so much anticipation was built up throughout the story, just for it to be written on the back of the book all along. But I love a good old society. And I love Russians. And I love spies who are so badass that they can do anything. I don’t mind Canada, but I’m ok that we never conquered it.

This book kept me going from page 1. Something is always happening, someone is always being shot at, someone is always in danger. The whole book is what I’d call an experience. While the twist felt a little anticlimactic, the action never ceased. This is perfect for those who like a thriller with a good conspiracy. I really enjoyed it while sitting on the beach!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK