Review: Give It Back by Danielle Esplin

Give It Back

Give It Back
Author: Danielle Esplin
Publisher: Danielle Esplin
Published: April 7, 2016
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary
My Rating:

3 Stars


Synopsis new

This novel follows three characters: Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella.


Not long ago, Lorraine lost her husband to another woman. She thought that was the worst thing that could happen to her, but soon she realizes it’s just the beginning of an everlasting nightmare.


Lexy, an au pair from London, moves to Seattle to help Lorraine with her infant son. But she didn’t come for the child…she came for something else.


When Ella receives a call from her sister, Lorraine, who begs her to leave San Diego to spend time with her, she decides to take a few days off from work to visit her. Frightened to see how much Lorraine has weakened since her diagnosis eight months ago, she packs a bag and heads to Seattle with a foreboding feeling that this might be the last time she sees Lorraine.

But on her way to the airport, she learns that something shocking has happened since she last spoke with Lorraine and now. To make matters worse, once Ella arrives in Seattle, Lorraine’s story keeps changing, making Ella question how reliable her sister really is.

Soon Ella is entangled in a mysterious investigation, and more so, in the lives of everyone involved. She realizes not only that she won’t go home anytime soon but also that she’ll never look at others the same way she did before.

Pitch Perfect Pick Winner April 2016.
May 2016 Go Indie Now! Literary Award Winner.

my thoughts new


Give It Back was a good psychological thriller book for me. It was ingeniously written and was constructed with a clever and mysterious plotline. However, there were some issues that made this book a less enjoyable read for me.

Give It Back‘s story centered on three women namely Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella. When Lexy and Lorraine’s son went missing, Ella got to Seattle to help Lorraine solve the mystery behind. That time, Lorraine was also dying of brain cancer and everything was just so complicated and messed up. There were other characters that were involved in the case as Ella tried to dig deeper and uncover secrets alongside two detectives in the city.

In this book you can expect to find multiple POVS and numerous timelines that jump from past to present and then back again. I was okay with the multiple POVS. However, reading the back and forth timelines felt like a chore to me. At times it also made me feel confused and somewhat… lost.

The characters were interesting enough… especially Lexy. For me, she’s the most intriguing heroine here. I found her so inscrutable– like she’s totally hiding all the secrets in every scheme. The plot was also unpredictable, though I admit when I got into the near-end parts I was already forming a clue. Still, it didn’t fail to surprise me when the bomb dropped.

There were unnecessary scenes unfortunately, and they pushed everything into a slower pace which bored me. Nevertheless, the mystery factor was fairly good. It did strike me as particularly daring, so I liked it.

Despite my issues with the unnecessary scenes and slow pacing, the second half of the book was able to build up a decent finale. It was a hanging conclusion, but hey, this is psychological thriller. It’s what we usually anticipate, right?

As a whole, Give It Back was a promising debut novel. Danielle Esplin is a storyteller that has so much potential. I hope she writes more books because this book was sure to be a good start!

(Thank you to the author Danielle Esplin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!)


3 Stars

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GR signature 2

Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

Mud Vein

Mud Vein
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Tarryn Fisher
Published: April 5, 2014
Genre: Dark, Romance, New Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller
My Rating:

5 stars new


Synopsis new

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat… and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

my thoughts new

“It’s the darkness that pulls me in. Your mud vein.”

Tarryn Fisher, you just left me speechless there!

This may be one of the best unsettling books I’ve read in my entire life. It’s dark and twisted, chilling and psychotic, and totally riveting. Mind-blown!


“Someone could take your body, use it, beat it, treat it like it’s a piece of trash, but what hurts far worse than the actual physical attack is the darkness it injects in you.”

Mud Vein begins when Senna Richards woke up one day in a strange home. She didn’t exactly remember what or who brought her there. She later on found out that she’s not the only one who was abducted but also Isaac Asterholder, the surgeon who saved her from a traumatic incident months ago and the one who operated her breast cancer away. Together they did everything to survive in that inescapable place and tried to bring themselves out. But when days and weeks passed without getting any clue, their intricately deep and dark feelings were slowly unraveled which made their situation a lot more twisted.

“I am an animal, bent on surviving. I let nothing in. I let nothing out.”

It’s my second time to read a novel by Tarryn Fisher. The first one was her F*ck Love which unfortunately didn’t amaze me. I vowed to give her another chance after that and now I don’t regret it. This one is going straight to my favorites!

“I am a self-fulfilling prophecy; destroying before I could be destroyed.”

There were so many things that I loved about this book. First was of course, the impeccable writing of Tarryn that is all her own. I found myself so engaged because of the gripping quality of her writing. Secondly, the gasp-inducing thrilling scenes that the book brought. Also, the book had that certain effect, one that invited me to dig more and more to discover the mystery behind. It basically left my mind reeling in ten different directions all at once. Hands-down!

“That’s what it’s like to be a prisoner of anything. You want your freedom until you get it, then you feel bare without your chains.”

One of the things that also surprised me was the romance. I didn’t thought the romantic aspect here had a bigger role in the entire story. Which was good, in my opinion because in the end, everything just made a perfect sense.

“Being stuck on love was a real bitch to cure. Like cancer, I think. Just when you think you’re over it, it comes back.”

The plot also impressed me. I loved when the book took me from present to past and back to the present. It just made the mystery more and more interesting.

“I never thought of love as a choice. Rather, it seemed like the un-choice. But if you stayed with someone who was self-destructing and chose to keep loving, I suppose it could be a choice.”

My favorite parts of course, were those scenes when Senna and Isaac interacted before they were kidnapped. Isaac was such a perfect hero. Just one of a kind. The gentleness he exuded and the way he did everything to stay by Senna’s side after what happened to her was so admirable. I mean, damn, I can’t help but fall for this man.

“If someone was going to be digging around in my chest with a scalpel, I wanted it to be the guy who showed up and fixed things.”

And then when this conversation happened…

“Why are you here?”

He hesitated briefly then said, “Because you are.”


Senna, I admit, was difficult to understand. Her dark thoughts and her self-destructing personality made me cringe every time. But she was uniquely portrayed in this book and scrutinizing her way of thinking was the best thing of all.

There were lots of cry-worthy moments here. I felt so connected to the characters and their emotions and everything they went through together. There was just something about their insane experience that made me feel so emotional.

“You are a stillness. And I tried to move you. It didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t move me. I heard everything you didn’t say. I heard it so loudly that I couldn’t shut it off. Your silence, Senna. I hear it so loudly.”

Another scene that broke my heart into pieces…

“Tell me a lie, Isaac.” His fingertips trace a curlicue on my shoulder.
“I don’t love you.”

This book was also unpredictable. I developed a lot of conspiracy theories but none of them was correct. Lol. I guess I’m just not a good detective.

“You loved me so much that I started to love myself.”

Overall, this book was a real surprise. It’s a great psychological, romantic thriller. The ending of course, made me cry. (view spoiler) I think that conclusion was just the right way to end it. It was strongly delivered and it sure gave me goosebumps. I would highly recommend this amazing book for fans of dark and mystery/psychological suspense and thriller books.

“You can’t fix me,” I said, looking at his knees.
“I don’t want to.”
“I’m mangled,” I said. “On the inside and the outside.”
“And yet I love you.”


5 stars new

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xo pearl


Review: Stockholm Syndrome by Melissa Yi

Stockholm Syndrome by Melissa Yi

Stockholm Syndrome
(Hope Sze Medical Mystery #4)
Author: Melissa Yi
Publisher: Olo Books / Windtree Press
Published: December 1, 2015
Genre: Medical, Thriller
My Rating:

4 stars new


Synopsis new

Two doctors. One killer. One woman in labour.

A killer infiltrates the obstetrics ward of a Montreal hospital just before Christmas, taking one pregnant woman and one resident doctor hostage at gunpoint.

Dr. Hope Sze struggles to deliver her patient’s baby with blood on the floor and death in the air.

And when Dr. Tucker tries to rescue their tiny crew, only to end up hostage material alongside them, Hope’s heart just might break, even before the kidnapper drills a bullet through her skull.

my thoughts new


Whoa, what a roller coaster of a story!

I wasn’t able to read the previous books of this series but because it can be read as a standalone, it was still worth it. The story starts when Dr. Hope Sze, together with Dr. John Tucker, encounter a mad kidnapper who is looking for the mother of his child at the hospital. When the two of them ended up being hostages, that’s the time when action take place.

I loved the fast pacing of this book and the overall thrill that came along with it. It was such a page-turner. In fact, every page offered something that let me feel the adrenaline rush and the anticipation on how the characters are going to solve the dilemma and make it through the day without getting themselves harmed.

I rarely read psychological-action books like this, specifically books that have something to do with violence, but I rather find this book completely immersing and entertaining. Perhaps it’s mainly because of the witty heroine. Hope’s POV is hilarious and her character is admirable because she’s strong-willed and calm despite the chaos that was happening around her. Also, there’s a bit of romance in here. I seriously ship Dr. Tucker and Hope! They’re a great team together.

The medical stuffs mentioned in this book were also spectacular. The author is sure to be very knowledgeable in this field. As a whole, the entirety of this book is good. If you want some psychological thriller reads with some action going on, then you should pick this book up!

(A free copy was sent by the author in exchange for an honest review.)


4 stars new

Buy this book at:


xo pearl

Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look Back

Don’t Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Published: April 10, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Romance, Thriller
My Rating:


What if you had the chance to start again…but only if you promised never to look back? Samantha is popular, rich, and seemed to have it all…until the night she and her best ‘frenemy’ Cassie disappeared and only Sammy resurfaced, with no recollection of who she is or what happened. Sammy’s a stranger in her own life – a life she no longer wants any part of. Losing her memory is a chance to start again. Then Sammy begins receiving mysterious notes warning her about that night, urging her to not look back. But she can’t let it go. As she starts poking around in her past she begins to remember…and something sinister begins to surface.


We were joined by the secret of that night, a memory I couldn’t reach.

When a book has a major twist and you need to put it down to gather yourself because your mind is absolutely blown. Ugh. What an incredible book! Fast-paced, brilliantly well-written, and with an ending that surprises. This book kind of reminded me of Mara Dyer trilogy and CoHo’s Never Never but sure thing, they are very different stories but all at the same time, equally astounding.

What I love about this book is that it’s totally unpredictable. While reading it I found myself guessing who the culprit behind the crime is but then in the end it turned out that my guesses were wrong. This is such an impressive mystery thriller and I very much admire Jennnifer Armentrout for delivering a masterpiece. Whoa!

If you are a fan of thriller and mystery books with a touch of romance, this book is for you. Highly recommended!

Rating: 5 freaking stars!

REVIEW: The Sun Killer by Diana Dwayne


The Sun Killer
Author: Diana Dwayne
Published: August 12, 2014
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
My Rating:


Nora Mitchell is a small-time cop on a small-time beat. The quiet, peaceful town of Marion hasn’t seen real crime since Nora was a child, and she’s beginning to grow tired of writing tickets to her neighbors and bringing in the occasional petty-thief… but that’s all about to change.

When a woman is found murdered in her home, Nora gets much more than she bargained for as the ritualistic killing confounds the police and terrifies the town. The people are quiet… too quiet. Somebody knows something, but nobody will talk. With deceptively simple clues that seem to lead nowhere, the only evidence to be found does nothing but taunt the new detective. The worst part is, this is just the beginning.

The Sun Killer is a look into a world of violence and death where nothing is as it seems. The second series of author Diana Dwayne begins with a bang. The Sun Killer will keep you guessing, and you won’t believe what comes next.


As a reader who enjoys mystery and action other than paranormal and contemporary books, I find this book thrilling and stimulating. From the moment I first read its blurb, it already intrigued me. And guess what, it didn’t disappoint. I love the author’s writing style so as how she draws the witty and snarky lady Detective Nora Mitchell. The action is superb and smooth and just cleverly thought out. It had my mind seriously blown from the first up to the last chapters. This is absolutely a well-consuming book! For those readers who love mystery and detective stories, this one should not be missed!

My Rating for the Book: 4 Stars