Death Knocks by Miranda Hardy and Jay Noel

Death Knocks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death Knocks by Miranda Hardy and Jay Noel takes a lesser known urban legend of Black Eyed Kids and turns it into a suspenseful, fun read. Maverick is about to start his senior year in high school and is spending the evening with his best friend playing video games when a knock at the door changes his whole life.

I thought that Hardy and Noel do a great job at writing characters that were likable, relatable, and yet flawed. Stakes are continuously raised throughout the story and the pacing was done well. The story kept moving forward at a good pace.

Memo from the nit-picking department: While this didn’t bother me enough to diminish my enjoyment of this book, it did nag at me. The book seemed to take place in the modern time of ~2017ish (there were game consoles and cell phones), yet not once was the possibility that the black eyes were caused by special contacts which exist. It just felt this possibility was overlooked.

I listened to this book on audiobook narrated by Jeff Simpson. Simpson did a good job making each voice distinct and bringing the characters to life, using different inflections and accents in an enjoyable way. The quality of the recording was excellent as well.

**I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.**

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Review: Whack A Mole by Chris Grabenstein

Whack A Mole (John Ceepak Mystery, #3)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whack A Mole is the third book in the John Ceepak Mystery series. This is one of the few series that you do not need to worry if you have not read the first two books in the series. The same could probably be said for Mad Mouse (book #2). So far each book is its own stand-alone mystery which is resolved entirely in the novel. This is a nice change of pace from many other series that I have read lately where even after three books into the series nothing major has been resolved.

The story is set in the New Jersey summer spot Sea Haven. It is told from the first person perspective of now rookie police officer Danny Boyle. Danny is partnered with John Ceepak, a man with a strict code: “Don’t lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate those who do.”. After a discovery on a beach, Danny and Ceepak start investigating a cold case of a missing person that is 30 years old. Soon new evidence comes to light that raises the stakes.

This book was a fun, light read much like the previous two books. One thing that bothered me in this book more than previous books, was the complete ineptitude of the other police in this book. The pinnacle of this is Officer Santucci. The degree to which Santucci took the inept police work, was just a bit much for me at times.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and will probably continue with this series!

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Review: The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

The ChemistMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I was interested to see how this book turned out. I had a LOT of issues with the The Twilight Saga, but I really enjoyed The Host (Still waiting on the sequel – The Seeker!). The synopsis of this book definitely seems different enough.

 

The result, however, is just…

Rating: 3.5
I feel that fans of her previous work (especially Twilight) will not love the governmental conspiracy, spy thriller parts. Fans of spy thrillers will not be completely satisfied either. Both will—at best—be in the middle. Fanatics of Meyers will probably love it though and forgive all the obvious flaws of the book, nothing wrong with that though as I myself have authors that I am that way about

(My reaction to anything Patrick Rothfuss)

Not surprisingly the characters are really one dimensional. This is not always a bad thing, sometimes a story calls for it or does not suffer because of it. Usually when there is enough action and suspense to cover for it. This was not the case in The Chemist though. Much of the book is spent with the characters “in hiding”, which would be a great time for them to get to know each other but there is not much to that. The majority of the characters can be summed up in a single sentence:

Alex (for simplicity) – Former government chemist interrogator on the run.
Daniel – White knight.
Kevin – Super macho ex-special ops who is on the run and trains dogs.

Surprisingly, one of the most multidimensional characters is the main antagonist—whom I can’t for the life of me remember the name of—Alex’s former handler.

The thing that was the hardest for me to swallow in this book is the whole romance angle. Daniel just felt completely unbelievable and hard to swallow. From the first moment he enters the story he is obviously smitten with Alex. At first this is fine, but after the torture scene where she tortures him, he just acts as if that never happened and it doesn’t change how he feels about her at all? And the whole “love at first sight” stuff?

I do give Meyer tons of props for completely changing genres and stepping out and writing something completely… ok mostly different.

In conclusion, there were definitely enjoyable parts of this book and it entertained me sufficiently. I do wish there was either more character and relationship development or more fast-paced, nonstop action.

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