Zero Day – Ezekiel Boone

Zero Day (The Hatching, #3)Zero Day
Author: Ezekiel Boone
Publisher: Random House Canada
Genre/Themes: Horror
Release Date: February 27th, 2017
Format: e-ARC




After a long-dormant species of carnivorous spiders hatches and overruns the globe, tens of millions of people have been killed and eaten, or worse…and US president Stephanie Pilgrim has had to order nuclear strikes on major American cities, roads and infrastructure to try to give the survivors a fighting chance. She and her close advisers, along with spider expert Melanie Guyer and her team of scientists, have retreated to a US Navy aircraft carrier off the East Coast to plot their next move when a mutiny breaks out that pits military men looking for a final solution against the president and her allies, who don’t think that blowing everything up is the right way to go. Pilgrim and her people escape to the one spider-free zone they’re certain of, setting up a White House in Manhattan. But how can they survive with the odds so stacked against them?
Still, they have no choice but to try… rallying the unlikeliest set of spider fighters on whom the fate of humanity rests.


Zero Day is the third and final book to The Hatching series, which I began to read in 2016. I was immediately hooked to the series and I’ve really enjoyed it. I was extremely excited to read this novel, and was looking forward to the conclusion of this series.

While the first book had some really graphic and terrifying scenes, I found that this book had very little action. There were very few thrilling scenes, which was unfortunate seeing as there were two books leading up to the climax in this novel. While I was happy to be reading about the characters I had been following in the first two novels, I just didn’t feel they were as important to the overall conclusion. Like I mentioned in my review for the second book, Skitter, I don’t think this story needed to be stretched out over three novels. There was nothing new or important that we learned about the spiders in this book. A lot of it was information we already knew from the previous books.

I still really enjoyed the writing, and I love the cinematic quality of it, but there was a lot of jumping around between different people. Sometimes, the scene was so brief that it felt like it had just been added so people would know where the character was and what was happening. It was extremely disjointed.

Also, the climax was over so fast! There was a random nuclear coup that took up the majority of the book, but the fight against the spiders occurred so quickly that it felt like the story wasn’t about the spiders at all. I didn’t even realize the climax had happened until I reached the end of the book. The whole ending was extremely rushed.

Overall, I was really disappointed by this concluding novel. I’d be interested in reading Ezekiel Boone’s future books, but I’d be hesitant to commit to another series written by him.


Yesterday – Felicia Yap

Author: Felicia Yap
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Genre/Themes: Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Format: Book



Imagine a world in which classes are divided not by wealth or religion but by how much each group can remember. Monos, the majority, have only one day’s worth of memory; elite Duos have two. In this stratified society, where Monos are excluded from holding high office and demanding jobs, Claire and Mark are a rare mixed marriage. Clare is a conscientious Mono housewife, Mark a novelist-turned-politician Duo on the rise. They are a shining example of a new vision of tolerance and equality—until…

…a beautiful woman is found dead, her body dumped in England’s River Cam. The woman is Mark’s mistress, and he is the prime suspect in her murder. The detective investigating the case has secrets of his own. So did the victim. And when both the investigator’s and the suspect’s memories are constantly erased—how can anyone learn the truth?


I’ve read a LOT of mysteries and thrillers, but this one grabbed my attention immediately. It sounded a bit like Memento mixed with a domestic thriller and a murder mystery. That is firmly in my wheelhouse and I was really eager to read this. The ratings for this book on Goodreads aren’t very good, but I really enjoyed this novel.

This book alternates between the four main characters in this book, who are the couple, Claire and Mark, the detective in charge of solving the crime, and the murder victim (through her diary). I loved how strong the characterization was. We got to spend so much time with each character that we understood them completely and I liked them all, even at their worst moments. They felt like real people with real problems. They didn’t feel like caricatures or cliches.

Additionally, there were some surprises in this novel that I didn’t see coming. I’ve read so many mysteries that it’s hard to surprise or shock me, but while I did guess part of the ending, I didn’t guess all of it. It was far more unexpected than I thought it would be. However, I did wish there was more world building and I wish I’d understood the science between Monos and Duos a little more. While there were snippets of newspaper clippings/scientific articles strewn throughout the novel, it wasn’t enough to really understand why or how this had happened.

Overall, this is a solid mystery/thriller with a lot of great characters that aren’t what you think they will be. I really enjoyed this book, and will be reading Felicia Yap’s future novels.

The Dinner – Herman Koch

The DinnerThe Dinner
Author: Herman Koch
Publisher: Hogarth
Genre/Themes: Literary Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Release Date: January 2009
Format: Book




It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse – the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.


I’ve heard so much about this novel, especially after it was turned into a movie. Almost everyone I know that has read this book raves about it. I’ve read a Herman Koch novel, Dear Mr. M, previously, so I know what Koch’s writing style is about, but I wasn’t always sure what was happening while I read that book. I felt the same way during this novel.

First off, I love book premises like The Dinner. I love novels that have an underlying sense of tension and dread and Herman Koch is a master of creating books with these kinds of atmospheres. The problem is that he does it too well. A lot of the time, I just wasn’t sure what I was reading. Koch’s books don’t fit neatly into a genre, and there are always things that aren’t fully explained. Most of the time, this doesn’t bother me, but once in a while, I wish his writing was clearer. I also feel a lot of Koch’s expressions and writing is lost in translation.

He is also is masterful at creating unlikable characters. These aren’t the unlikable characters that I found in Gone Girl, they’re even worse. In fact, this book is full of total sociopaths and the things they do are astonishing. There are so many shockers in this novel even though it takes place over the course of a night, and is quite slow paced. It’s unreal how many terrible things occur out of the blue.

I thought the characterization was very strong. I understood all of the characters and their motivations, but I hated them all. I’ve never hated all the characters in a novel before, but there was nobody redeeming in this book. I was still willing to learn about the characters, but I just didn’t care what happened to them.

Overall, this is a really unsettling book. I’ve still got one more of Herman Koch’s books to read and I think I’m going to find that just as creepy as I did The Dinner and Dear Mr. M.

A Stranger in the House – Shari Lapena

A Stranger in the HouseA Stranger in the House
Author: Shari Lapena
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Genre/Themes: Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Release Date: July 27th, 2017
Format: Book


Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.


I devoured Shari Lapena’s first novel, The Couple Next DoorWhile I had issues with the book, I still raced to read it and there were a lot of twists that I found shocking, which is why I was extremely intrigued to read her second novel.

Just like The Couple Next Door, this book had a premise that I was very interested in. I don’t know why, but for me, reading domestic thrillers is like eating popcorn. Once I start, I just can’t stop. Since this is a genre that has become very popular recently, it’s hard to find a book that can completely surprise me or do something that hasn’t been done before. Unfortunately, this book didn’t have any twists or unexpected events that I didn’t see coming. Every reveal was so run of the mill and expected.

The characters weren’t especially well developed either. Once again, since we switch between different characters, it’s hard to get a sense for a person and know what they’re really all about. The characterization was a little bit lazy, and a lot cliche’d. I hated every single one of the characters, but especially Tom. He was just such a weak, selfish child. I couldn’t stand how everything he thought revolved around him and how sorry he was for himself.

Once again, I wasn’t fond of the writing or the dialogue of the book. Shari Lapena is not a bad writer at all, but there’s nothing very gripping about her writing style. It’s just very mediocre and bland. Sometimes the dialogue is a little stilted. I think a lot of people enjoy it because it’s direct and succinct, but after reading psychological thrillers by Gillian Flynn and Tana French, I’m expecting more in both characterization and writing.

Shari Lapena novels are fast-paced and enjoyable to read, but they’re pretty typical in terms of plot and writing for psychological thrillers. I don’t think I’m ever going to find another Gillian Flynn or Tana French in the genre again, but I’ll still be reading Shari Lapena’s future works.

Bonfire – Krysten Ritter

Author: Krysten Ritter
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Genre/Themes: Mystery
Release Date: November 7th, 2017
Format: Book


It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.


I’m a huge fan of Krysten Ritter. I think she’s an incredible actress and watching her play Jessica Jones gives me great joy. I was really excited when I heard she was writing a book because I was hoping it would be full of Jessica Jones snark, which it unfortunately wasn’t.

However, the premise is extremely intriguing, even though it’s by no means a unique idea. I really liked the characterization of Abby Williams, but due to the fact that Krysten Ritter wrote the character as a TV pilot with herself in mind to play Abby, I could never differentiate the character from the author. That really bothers me while reading.

Overall, the story is fast paced and entertaining, but the writing was a little lacking. It had some common debut author issues (releasing breath she didn’t know she was holding, describing her clothes etc.). I still really enjoyed the book, and I think Ritter will only get better as she writes more novels.

Review: Retrograde

Author: Peter Cawdron
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre/Themes: Science Fiction
Release Date: September 12th, 2017
Format: ARC




Mankind has long dreamed of reaching out to live on other planets, and with the establishment of the Mars Endeavour colony, that dream has become reality. The fledgling colony consists of 120 scientists, astronauts, medical staff, and engineers. Buried deep underground, they’re protected from the harsh radiation that sterilizes the surface of the planet. The colony is prepared for every eventuality except one—what happens when disaster strikes Earth?


After reading Andy Weir’s The Martian, I’ve found myself really interested in science fiction novels that take place on other planets. When I heard there was another book about colonizers on Mars, I was intrigued and eager to read this book. While this book is nothing like The Martian, it does have similar themes since both books are about survival. The most interesting aspect about this novel is that there are are different groups of colonizers on Mars, all from different regions around the world. I felt like it would be really interesting to read about how different cultures would react to working together and colonizing Mars.

I went into this book expecting to read about the conflict between different groups of people. The first half of the book was such an exciting mystery because nobody knew exactly what was going on back on Earth or what would happen to them on Mars, and the narrator, Liz, was attempting to put the pieces into place while dealing with the hostilities of the other countries. Even though every person in the colony was supposed to be furthering the advances of science and space travel, the conflict between different countries was playing a huge part in the book’s events. However, there was a twist that occurred halfway through the novel that completely changed the story and I didn’t like it very much. The problem was that it seemed like a cop out. The story stopped being about the characters and their disputes and became about something else. Just because I didn’t like this turn doesn’t mean that others won’t or that it was a bad development. It just wasn’t what I was expecting to read.

The characterization was well-done, and I understood the personalities and the motivations of all the different characters. I also appreciated how diverse the crew were. I didn’t always think that Liz’s was the strongest point of view and I would have loved it if the book were longer and switched between the perspectives of different characters. It would have been a bonus to understand the others a little more, as well as how they were reacting to the situation both on Mars and on Earth.

This book is extremely well-researched and really fast-paced. While the narration is hit or miss, and it’s shorter than I would have liked, it’s a thrilling read, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in science fiction or Mars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has affected my review in no way.



Review: Heart of the City

Heart of the City (Detective Greene, #5)Heart of the City
Author: Robert Rotenberg
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre/Themes: Mystery
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Format: Ebook




When Detective Ari Greene was charged with the murder of the woman he loved, he stopped at nothing to clear his name and uncover the real killer. After his acquittal, Greene fled to London to get away from it all, but now he’s back. And he’s not alone—with Greene is his twenty-year-old daughter, Alison. The child he never knew he had.
Determined to leave his life as a cop behind him, Greene gets a job on a construction site for one of Toronto’s many new condos. But when Greene stumbles upon the corpse of hated developer Livingston Fox, he is plunged back into the life he tried so hard to leave behind. As the body count rises, Greene is forced into a reluctant reconciliation with his former protégé, Daniel Kennicott. The pair must delve into the tight-knit world of downtown development, navigating tangled loyalties, unexpected corruption, and family secrets, some of which are closer to home than Greene could have ever imagined.


I absolutely love this mystery series. I was introduced to them a few years ago, and I quickly read them all because I was fascinated with how Canadian centered they were. Not only did we get to see how Canadian homicide detectives handled cases, we also got a healthy dose of courtroom drama centered around the Canadian legal system. The author, Robert Rotenberg, is a criminal lawyer based in Toronto, so I assume that he knows of what he speaks.

I liked this story, but not as much as previous novels. I just didn’t think the plot was as strong, and a lot of my favourite characters weren’t present in this novel. The new character introduced, Ari’s daughter, Alison, was a good character, but I didn’t see the point of introducing a random daughter into his life. It just seemed so out of the blue and highly…unnecessary? Daniel Kennicott was also not as interesting to read about this time around.

The mystery was really well done, and once again, I had no idea who the murderer was until the very end. It was a satisfying plot and a meaty mystery, but it felt a little rushed at times and there were a lot of threads that were left open. I assume they will be further fleshed out in future novels, but it was a little dissatisfying at the end of this book. There were also no courtroom scenes, which are my favourite scenes in the book.

Of course, I will continue to follow this series until the very end, but I hope the next book has the same magic the first four books in the series had.

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has affected my review in no way.


Review: Final Girls

Final GirlsFinal Girls
Author: Riley Sager
Publisher: Dutton
Genre/Themes: Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Release Date: July 11th, 2017
Format: Ebook




Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.


The final girl trope in horror movies is one of my favourite tropes. I like the idea of one strong, kickass woman taking down the killer and surviving. In fact, this trope was turned into a movie called The Final GirlsThe thing is, you never see what happens to the final girl after the murderer is dead and she begins her new life.

Enter Riley Sager. Riley Sager is a pseudonym for a (famous?) published author, which I found interesting. This book is an imagining of what happens when the final girls, the lone survivors of serial killers and mass murderers, are forced to come to terms with what happened to them. Obviously, there is a lot of psychological trauma that comes after such experiences and this book is about how different women react to horrific events.

I absolutely loved this novel. Everything about it works so well. The characterization in this novel was absolutely fantastic. The main character, Quincy, is trying so hard to be normal and live her life, but she has this hidden trauma that comes to the surface once one of the Final Girls is killed. She’s forced to examine the life she’s built and see just how much she’s lying to herself and everyone around her. I also really liked the character of Sam because she was so different from Quincy. You got to really delve into the lives of the Final Girls and see what kind of people they had become. You saw how differently tragedy can shape a person.

The plot was so fast-paced and exciting. There are so many twists in this book and it feels like a race to the conclusion. Quincy has blocked out the events of Pine Cottage, and the reader realizes things just as Quincy does. There are snippets of the past juxtaposed with the present, which I thought worked really well. I thought I knew where this book was going and I thought I knew exactly what had happened, but I wasn’t even close to guessing the truth. It was a really dark and complex story, but still quite exciting. I think this book could be turned into a really interesting movie if done correctly.

I was focused on the writing of this novel too because I was trying to guess who the author was. While the writing is good, there’s nothing very distinctive about it. It’s perfectly written for a thriller, but this isn’t a literary novel at all.

I think this book is going to be really huge this summer. It has all the markings of a big summer thriller that everyone has rave reviews for. I’m so eager to read anything else this author decides to write. I highly recommend this novel to people who like slasher movies, psychological thrillers, or fast paced thrillers in general.

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has affected my review in no way.

Review: The Child

The ChildThe Child
Author: Fiona Barton
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre/Themes: Mystery
Release Date: June 27th, 2017
Format: Ebook





As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…


I was introduced to Fiona Barton through her debut novel, The Widow, which came out last year. While I enjoyed the story, I didn’t love it. I’m happy to say that her second novel is far more engrossing and interesting than her previous one.

In The Child, the reporter, Kate Waters, from The Widow is back, but the stories aren’t connected at all. There’s no need to read the books in order. I was really intrigued by this premise and I really enjoyed how this book takes place through the different viewpoints of four women. It’s really easy to keep track of the four characters since they have such different mannerisms.

This is a really fast-paced mystery, but I figured out what was going on long before Kate did. That usually never happens for me, but it didn’t decrease my enjoyment of this book at all. I was still really curious to know why and how it happened.

While the characters were all well-written, I didn’t like them all of the time. Just like in the previous book, I was bothered by Kate’s single mindedness about getting the story without considering who she was hurting. I hated Jude from the beginning and I never changed my mind. I pitied Angela, and was bothered by Emma’s weakness. I liked how the characters transformed by the end, but they never felt extremely well-developed. This may be that due to the narrative shifting between them all, we never got to know them very well.

Overall, this was still a highly enjoyable mystery and I know that if people liked The Widow, they will continue to support Fiona Barton by reading her second novel since it brings the same kind of story. It may not be as unique or nuanced as her first book, but overall, I found the reading experience to be better due to it being more fast-paced. I will continue reading all of Fiona Barton’s novels.

I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has affected my review in no way.

Review: Here and Gone

Here and GoneHere and Gone
Author: Haylen Beck
Publisher: Crown
Genre/Themes: Thriller
Release Date: June 20th, 2017
Format: Ebook




Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities. It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them… Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.


Here and Gone has the kind of plot that immediately grabs me. I love thrillers because I like how fast-paced and adventurous they are. I never go into a thriller expecting amazing writing, but I do expect a good plot and decent characterization. Fortunately, I did get that from this book.

The plot was extremely fast-paced and kept me turning the pages, and the story was interesting and unique enough to keep me reading. A lot of the times, the book felt very cinematic, and I could see this book as a movie without any problems. The plot is very suspenseful and as the story unfolds, it gets a lot darker.

I also thought the characters were all really impressive. The story switches between the perspectives of quite a few characters, and they were all well-written. Their voices felt different and I was impressed with how dynamic they all were. My only qualm was that Audra’s backstory was really cliched. I think women with her backstory have been seen in thriller novels over and over again. My favourite character was Danny, and I wish there had been more chapters from his perspective.

I enjoyed the book’s writing style, but there was nothing literary or very impressive with the writing since this was a plot focused novel. However, this was a very enjoyable read and I recommend it to fans of thrillers.

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. This has affected my review in no way.