Tag: suspense

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

Book Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

The Plot
Jean Hanff Korelitz

Published: May 11, 2021
336 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 3-15, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars

Book Description:

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written–let alone published–anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that–a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?

Jessica’s Review:

Disclaimer: The two star review does not reflect on the novel or the author, in fact The Plot is good and well written, this is a total preference as the ending of this novel did not work for me and I am conflicted with this novel.  This is also not a typical review as most readers have seemed to really enjoy The Plot.

The Plot is character driven and our focus is on Jacob Finch Bonner.  He had written a well-received first novel, but then has become for the most part forgotten and he is teaching a  MFA program and is also struggling. While teaching he comes across cocky student Evan Parker who tells Bonner that he has THE idea for a book and said book will bring him everything he will ever need and want.  Parker does tell Bonner the plot and it is quite the unexpected plot.  Bonner knows that in fact that Evan is correct in his assumption that this will become THE NOVEL.

Several years later Parker’s novel still has not been written and Bonner finds out that his former student has passed away.  Bonner decides to write the novel that Parker planned to and yes, it is beyond successful with a forth coming movie.  But during all this Bonner begins to receive messages and being trolled that he is a thief. Bonner goes on an quest of sorts to find out what is actually going on and learns about Parker’s family and that fiction may actually come from fact.   

I did like that we actually got snippets of this novel Bonner wrote titled Crib throughout the story, in essence getting a novel within a novel. I liked Bonner in spite of his many secrets and enjoyed going on this journey with him despite figuring out who the said troll was about halfway through my reading. 

What I did not like was the ending and the epilogue: (BEGIN SPOILER) It was very frustrating for me in that the troll gets away with what they did.  I wanted said bad guy to get caught.  (END SPOILER).

I wanted to throw the book when I was finished with it.  That being said, yes, Jean Hanff Korelitz did write a very good novel where the ending was not for me.  Do I regret reading The Plot?  No. In fact despite not enjoying the ending I would recommend it for others to read. Would I read The Plot again?  No. 

Many thanks to the publisher Celadon Books for sending me an arc to read and review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK The Plot will be release in the UK on July  2021.


Book Review: Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

Rosemary’s Baby
Series: Book One of Rosemary’s Baby

Author: Ira Levin
Published: March 12, 1967
218 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse were delighted at the chance to move into Bramford, one of Manhattan’s oldest and most celebrated apartment houses. Their friend Hutch urged them not to; he knew of too many shadows in the Bramford’s past – unsavory tenants like Adrian Marcato, who had practiced witchcraft, and the monstrous Trench sisters. But Rosemary and Guy were clear-thinking and not at all superstitious. They dismissed Hutch’s warnings and moved in. At first, they were completely happy. Rosemary hung curtains and planned a nursery for the baby she hoped to have some day. Guy pursued his career as a stage and television actor. They met their neighbors who were friendly and unintrusive. But then, one day when Rosemary was down in the basement laundry room, a girl her own ago came in … Quietly and with a compelling matter-of-factness. Ira Levin tells a story of mounting terror and icy climactic shock in a book that manages to be wildly entertaining as well.

Kim’s Review:

What a great book! Of course, we’ve all seen the movie, but I once I found out it was based on a book . . . so I read it and I love it so much! I’m not sure I’d even call this horror. I’d classify it more as suspense with a slight horror twist. The Bramford is a great setting and Levin did a superb job of building up the tension slowly and subtly, until the twist just pounces and you’re left speechless. The only other author who is this successful at a slow burn is Shirley Jackson, and even she wasn’t this subtle.

Rosemary is an excellent character who both conforms to and breaks the 60’s housewife stereotypes. You also get a great look into the decade and feel like you’re actually living it. Even if you don’t like horror, I would still recommend this book because it’s such a awesome story! It’s easy to read and quick to get through!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK