Kill For Me by Karen Rose

No. of pages: 581
Rating: 9/10
Series: Vartanian Trilogy (Book 3)

Synopsis: Brutalised
Susannah Vartanian's life changed overnight when, as a teenager, she was viciously raped by a sadistic gang of youths. Now she won't allow anyone to get close to her.

Luke Papadopoulos is approaching burn-out. As a detective working on sex crimes against children, he will do anything to find those responsible for such evil atrocities.

Monica Cassidy's life is under threat. Held in a bunker with ten other teenage girls, she barely escaped with her life when her kidnappers fled, killing five of the girls as they left. Now Monica is the only one free who can identify her abductors, and they know where she is.

Review: Susannah Vartanian has overcome a lot in her life, and has always sought answers as to why it all happened. Finally, the time has come for her to find out, but there are plenty of shocks along the way. Agent Luke Papadopoulos, is determined to find answers too, and together he and Susannah finally find the way to the truth.

Following along the same lines as the previous two books in the trilogy, I really enjoyed this one also. It was great to find out the ending of the whole thing, and finally piece together the puzzles of the various storylines. This book was a bit darker than the other two, due to the storyline involving kids forced into the sex business, but Rose handled it well. Although sad to read about, it was written really well, with great characters, and an interesting conclusion to the whole storyline, it certainly wasn't what I was expecting that was for sure! A really great series, definitely recommend to thriller fans who like a bit of romance thrown in.

Scream For Me by Karen Rose

No. of pages: 661
Rating: 9/10
Series: Vartanian Trilogy (Book 2)

Synopsis: A terrifying ordeal
Special Agent Daniel Vartanian has made a horrific discovery - photographs, taken years ago by his brother Simon, showing a gang of teenagers raping young girls. Disgusted, Vartanian is determined to bring the rapists to justice.

A sinister abduction
Alex Fallon's family fell apart when her sister was murdered thirteen years ago. And history now seems to be repeating itself with her stepsister Bailey's disappearance. When Vartanian meets Alex, and realises that her dead sister was in the photos, he starts to believe that the rapists may be behind Bailey's disappearance.

An evil unleashed
Bailey Crighton is being held captive by a monster. Alone and unable to escape, all she can do is scream for help. Vartanian and Alex must confront their pasts head-on if they are to find Bailey - before it's too late.

Review: When Agent Daniel Vartanian finds depraved pictures of teenagers boys raping girls that his brother had taken, he vows to find the young men in the pictures and bring them to justice. Along the way he meets Alex, a woman looking for her stepsister who has disappeared into thin air. Then women start getting murdered and together they plan to get to the bottom of what's happening to the women of Dutton.

Another great installment from Karen Rose, I'm really enjoying the series about the Vartanian's. The storyline was completely different from the first book in the series, but equally as enjoyable to read. Again, the characters were great, I enjoyed how real they seemed, in particular Alex, I think she was my favourite overall, but I really liked Daniel as a character too. I'm really looking forward to the final book in the series and seeing how it all wraps up. I definitely recommend these to fans of this genre, they're great books, and I for one will be reading all I can by this author in the future.

Die For Me by Karen Rose

No. of pages: 695
Rating: 9/10
Series: Vartanian Trilogy (Book 1)

Synopsis: A secret cellar
A multimedia designer is hard at work. His latest computer game, Inquisitor, heralds a new era in state-of-the-art graphics. But there's only one way to ensure that the death scenes are realistic enough...

An isolated field
Detective Ciccotelli's day begins with one grave, one body and no murder weapon. It ends with sixteen graves, but only nine bodies and the realisation that the killer will strike again...

A living hell
When it's discovered that the murder weapons are similar to those used in medieval torture, Ciccotelli knows that he's up against the most dangerous opponent of his career - let the games begin...

Review: A game designer is killing people using medieval torture as inspiration for his new game, so when the field of previous bodies are found, it's a race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.

This is the first Karen Rose I've read, and using this as an example, her books are exactly the kind of thrillers I love to read. At 700 pages, it's a hefty book, but I never once felt like the plot was dragging, or the story was boring. The characters were great, and easily distinguishable even though there was a lot of people to remember. Vito and Sophie were my favourites, although as they're the main characters it's not all that surprising, but I thought they had a realistic depth about them, they weren't perfect and were down to earth, so that made them enjoyable to read about. The plot, whilst nothing massively original, was interesting and gripping, I particularly liked the medieval aspect of it which seemed extensively researched. I also enjoyed the fact that she mixed some pretty gruesome murder scenes, with some nice family scenes, and a blossoming romance, so it all flowed through really well. I can't wait to get started on the second book, and would definitely recommend them to thriller fans, but don't let the size of them put you off, once you're reading them, you don't even notice the length.

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben

No. of pages: 432
Rating: 8/10

Synopsis: Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they'd become the type of overprotective parents who spy on their kids. But their sixteen-year-old son Adam has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his classmate Spencer Hill - the latest in a string of issues at school - they can't help but worry. They install a sophisticated spy program on Adam's computer, and within days they are jolted by a message from an unknown correspondent addressed to their son: "Just stay quiet and all safe." Meanwhile, browsing through an online memorial for Spencer, Betsy Hill is struck by a photo that appears to have been taken on the night of her son's death and he wasn't alone. She thinks it is Adam Baye standing just outside the camera's range, but when Adam goes missing, it soon becomes clear that something deep and sinister has infected their community...

Review: Tia and Mike Baye are worried about their son, so they install spyware onto his computer to find out exactly what is happening in his life. Expecting to come across normal teenage behaviour online, they're surprised when Adam receives a message that says 'Just stay quiet and all safe', which immediately rings alarm bells, but nothing they imagined is anywhere near as bad as what is about to happen to the family...

This book had the two seemingly random storylines that merged at the end and become clear, which I actually enjoyed, it suited the plot line and it was fun to try and guess how they connected. I enjoyed the plot, although it was nothing particularly special and it didn't grip me particularly, but it was written well and was really easy to read. The characters were quite well developed, they all had their own 'voice' which suited them well, I think I probably liked Mike Baye the most, but didn't feel particularly connected to any of the characters. I'm not sure what else to really say about it to be honest, it's one of those books that are enjoyable to read, but just don't grab you, not something you'd remember a few months down the line. Enjoyable to pass the time, but not something I'd go out of my way to read if I was looking for something to get my teeth into.

Too Close To Home by Linwood Barclay

No. of pages: 466
Rating: 7/10

Synopsis: When the Cutter family's next-door-neighbours, the Langleys, are gunned down in their house one hot August night, the Cutters' world is turned upside down. That violent death should have come so close to them is shocking enough in suburban Promise Falls, but at least the Cutters can console themselves with the thought that lightning is unlikely to strike twice in the same place. Unless, of course, the killers went to the wrong house... At first the idea seems crazy - but each of the Cutter family has a secret they'd rather keep buried. What was on that old computer teenage Derek and his friend Adam Langley had salvaged? And where is it now? What hold does a local professor and bestselling author have on Ellen Cutter? And what does Jim Cutter know about Mrs Langley that even her husband didn't? To find out who killed the Langleys and why, everybody's secrets are going to have to come out. But the final secret - the secret that could save them or destroy them - is in the one place nobody would ever think of looking...

Review: When the next door neighbours are murdered, the Cutter family are horrified, but then they start to wonder, did the killer go into the wrong house by mistake? Each of the Cutter family are hiding their own secrets, and it's about time they all came to light...

This was better than I was expecting it to be, I thought the ending was going to be a let down like it was with No Time For Goodbye, but it wasn't as bad as that luckily. The plot line was interesting enough, there were a few surprises in there, and a few correct guesses by me as well, although I didn't guess who the killer was. I thought some of the secrets were a bit unbelievable, and the story got a little unrealistic at times. My main annoyance with this book is that the author tried to be too 'hip' with his writing I felt, considering it was meant to be from the point of view of a man in his 40s, it sounded more like it was coming from a teenager. The amount of swearing bothered me a little too, generally swearing doesn't bother me at all, but it just seemed so pointless in most instances in the book and I felt that ruined it a little for me. Despite that though, it was a quick and easy read, and on the most part an enjoyable enough way to pass a few hours.

Bloodstream by Tess Gerritsen

No. of pages: 324
Rating: 10/10

Synopsis: In April came the rains. In August came the heat. In November came the horror. It's paying a return visit.

Lapped by the gentle waters of Locust Lake, the small resort town of Tranquility, Maine, seems like the perfect spot for Dr Claire Elliot to shelter her adolescent son, Noah, from the temptations of the big city and the lingering memory of his father's death. And she's hopeful that she can earn the trust of the town as she builds a new practice. But all her plans unravel with the onset of winter when a rash of teenage violence, far more deadly than anything she'd encountered in the city, erupts in the local school. As she tries to find a medical explanation for this murderous epidemic, Claire stumbles upon an insidious evil which has blighted the town's past and threatens its future. Fearful that Noah, too, is at risk, she must race to prove her theory before everything she loves is destroyed.

Review: Moving to Tranquility, Maine is supposed to be a fresh start for Claire Elliot and her son Noah, but when the local teenagers start acting violently she suspects something is amiss. Determined to find out what is happening in the town, she begins to dig deeper, and what she finds is definitely not what she expected...

Another fantastic medical thriller from Tess Gerritsen, which kept me gripped from beginning to end. This was written after her transition from romance to thriller, so was it was great to read something more along the lines of what I've come to love from this author as she writes some truly great books in the thriller genre. I really like the way her books are full of medical terminology, but she always makes sure to explain everything so we know what exactly she's talking about. Claire and Noah were okay characters, nothing particularly special, I much prefered the sheriff Lincoln, who was a lovely guy. The plot of the violent kids was an interesting one, and I really enjoyed how it all panned out, I didn't guess the ending either, which is always nice! If you enjoyed her other stand alone novels such as The Bone Garden or Life Support, then it's pretty likely you'll enjoy this one, or even if you're just looking for a good thriller to enjoy!

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

No. of pages: 418
Rating: 10/10

Synopsis: When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer.

Beautifully written, Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.

Review: Set in the Great Depression of the 30's, a disaster out of the blue sends Jacob Jankowski out of his normal everyday life, and jumping onto a random passing train. The train happens to belong to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show On Earth circus, and his life changes forever in an instant. Joining the circus as a vet, Jacob experiences what it truly is to live...

I think the word for this book is enchanting. Although very gritty and brutal, it holds you in a thrall with it's fantastic storyline from beginning to end. I absolutely loved Jacob as a character, he seemed very real in that he was incredibly naive and innocent at the beginning, and then hardened as the book went on. My other favourites were Marlena and Walter, and I enjoyed seeing how Jacob's relationships with them both evolved throughout the book. The storyline itself I found quite fascinating, I know absolutely nothing about how a circus runs, and the author did a lot of research before writing the novel, so it all seems incredibly realistic. This is the perfect story - a great background, fantastic characters, a bit of friendship and some romance to top it off. It's just a lovely and enjoyable tale and I would heartily recommend it to everyone.

Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 306
Rating: 10/10
Series: Harper Connelly (Book 4)

Synopsis: Lightning-struck sleuth Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver take a break from looking for the dead to visit the two little girls they both think of as sisters. But, as always happens when they travel to Texas, memories of their horrible childhood resurface. To make matters worse, Tolliver learns from his older brother that their father is out of jail and trying to reestablish contact with other family members. Tolliver wants no part of the man - but he may not have a choice in the matter.

Soon, family secrets ensnare them both, and what Harper finds out will change her world forever.

Review: Harper and Tolliver decide to go to Texas and spend some time with their little sisters, but stop to do a quick grave reading on the way. What in theory was just a quick job, turns into something much more sinister, and reveals things Harper and Tolliver would never have expected...

As I was expecting, this book was great! I love the characters of Harper and Tolliver and I like the supernatural aspect of the series, which is really interesting to read about. The story was gripping throughout, as are the other books in this series, but this had a shocker of an ending that I didn't see coming at all! I was really glad to see Manfred, what a fantastic character he is, and I'm so glad he played a pivotal role in the final story. I'm so sad this is the last book to be written about them though, I felt there was still plenty of stories left to be told about their adventures but I'm glad it was wrapped up in a good way. To anyone who hasn't read this series, I'd definitely recommend it, infact I'd just recommend anything by Charlaine Harris, that lady sure can write!
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