Archive for September 2018

Alert by James Patterson


Besides his Alex Cross series, James Patterson's Michael Bennett series is one of the more consistent of the author's prolific output. I've really enjoyed reading about Bennett and his extended family of 10 kids, a priestly grandfather, and an Irish nanny/love interest. This unique family dynamic couples with Patterson's penchant for a fast pace and short chapters to make consistently satisfying novels.

Alert, the eighth novel in the Bennett series, sees Michael and his nanny Mary Catherine back in her homeland. The couple has finally decided to pursue their relationship, ending a series-long "will they/won't they" that was beginning to overstay its welcome. Plans for the sale of Mary Catherine's property fall through, leaving her in the motherland while Michael heads back to his responsibilities in New York.

New York brings challenges to both Michael's personal and professional lives. His grandfather recently had a bout of amnesia that doctors fear may have been the result of a stroke. Just as he is beginning to deal with the realities of his grandfather's health, Michael is faced with an even worse event. A large explosion has gone off in the NYC subway system, a terrorist attack the likes of which the city hasn't experienced in years.

All told, Alert delivers on just about everything you'd come to expect from a James Patterson novel. Patterson strikes a perfect balance between the family and thriller aspects of his story. The thrills may be mostly surface level, but I still enjoyed them. More importantly, Paterson places his characters in life situations that are both vital to their evolution and relatable to readers. Alert may not be remembered as one of the great literary works of all time, but it certainly works as a diversional thriller. In the end, that's all it really needs to be.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2018, 35)

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough


It is safe to say that Lisa's life revolves around being a mother. Not that she's upset about that. As a single mom, Lisa devotes most of her time and energy to raising her daughter Ava. Lisa's past has some darkness in it that she constantly tries to overcome, but Ava is that shining light that keeps her going. Ava is a teenager now, and Lisa knows she can't hang on to babying her forever. Things get interesting when Lisa meets an attractive client at work. Could this be the start of the next phase of her life?

Ava loves her mom, but she's starting to feel a little suffocated by all of the attention. She's not a little girl anymore. Her friends from the swim team have all had sex already, and Ava feels like nows is as good a time as any for her to lose her virginity too. There's the boy at school who she's been dating that Ava knows is ready for sex. But Ava has another person in mind. She's been messaging an older man who really makes her feel like a woman. She's never experienced these feelings before. With her mom, Ava is still a little girl. With him, she is a fully grown woman.

Lisa and Ava's life is given a jolt when Ava rescues a drowning child from a river. Instinct kicks in and she rushes into the water to save him. Just like that, Ava is a local hero. It only takes a few pictures of Ava and her proud mother to run in the press for everything to come crashing down. After years of running from her past, Lisa is forced to face it. Can she come to terms with the darkness she's been running from? More importantly, can she shield her daughter from all of the horrors that are about to ensue?

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough is a mystery that left me with decidedly mixed feelings. When I was contacted to review the novel by TLC Book Tours, I was really eager to read it. Pinbourough's Behind Her Eyes had lots of reviewers buzzing with excitement, so I knew I was in for a treat with her latest. Chapters alternate POV between Lisa and Ava. Both women are dealing with secrets of their own, some of which even the reader doesn't know. I was instantly drawn to both characters and their enticing personalities. Pinborough takes advantage of the thrill of the unknown by stringing the reader along for as long as possible without revealing the true nature of the mystery. In fact, I'd argue the first part of the book was more successful than the latter simply because of this secrecy. The revelations ended up being more typical to the genre than I would have liked, but I can't argue the fun of discovering them.

For more information, visit the author's website, publisher's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.
This review is part of a TLC Book Tour. Check out the full tour schedule here!

(2018, 34)

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