Micro-Review: Hollie Overton’s BABY DOLL isn’t for the faint of heart

Hollie Overton Baby Doll Redhook US coverFrom the publisher:

Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next…

…to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter…and to her captor.

While I truly enjoyed this book – it’s fast-paced, filled with action, and very engaging – the subject matter is definitely sensitive: a young woman who’s been held hostage and assaulted both physically and sexually escapes her abuser with her daughter and begins the legal process to get him put away.

There were times while reading this book that I felt physically nauseous, especially during descriptions of the abuse. Some sections are told from the perspective of Lily’s captor, and the sections feel so real and bone-shakingly horrific.

Because of that, while I thought this book was really wonderful as a thriller, I’m not sure if I would recommend to all readers because its subject matter is incredibly difficult to stomach. Readers who can, though, will find this an engaging, heart-poundingly suspenseful read.

4 out of 5 stars

The Job by Jove Belle

From Goodreads:

FBI agent Sera Warren has been working undercover to track a domestic terrorist group to its origins. When her cover is blown, her priority shifts from closing her case to just making it through the day alive. She ends up in the middle of a bank heist, pointing a gun at her ex-girlfriend, Torrence “Tor” Jewel. She sees a flicker of recognition in Tor’s eyes as she pulls her gun and yells, “On the floor!”

Before Tor can fully register that “the one who got away” is standing in front of her, she’s pushed facedown onto the floor. Sera might as well shoot her now because as soon as she gets up, Tor’s going to kill her. Or kiss her. She’s still undecided.

First, they have to survive their reunion, then they can worry about happily ever after.

When I found this title on NetGalley, I was a little hesitant despite how intrigued I was by the summary.  Romance isn’t typically up my alley, and neither are thrillers.  Intrigue won out, though, and here we are now.

I definitely didn’t regret it.  The style is straightforward and fun, and the pacing feels great for a thriller.  The book starts in the middle of action, no setup, and Sera’s immediately thrust into a dangerous adventure largely involving her cover being totally, completely blown.

Sera’s voice was one of my favorite things about the book, though it’s told from both Sera and Tor’s perspectives.  Sera is very, very funny.  I love how she thinks of things, I love how she talks — especially to Marcus, the leader of the group robbing the bank — and I love the way she thinks and talks about Tor, who is obviously incredibly important to her even 10 years after their relationship dissolved.

The romance aspect of the book was pretty satisfying, as well.  I’m a huge sucker for childhood friend-style love stories, and while Sera and Tor aren’t quite childhood friend-level, their college sweetheart story really gets me where it counts.  The book has flashbacks to their time together during college, and seeing the two of them during their younger days and comparing it to the women they’ve become is fun and very sweet, since their early relationship has a good balance of awkward and innocent and fun.

That being said, there wasn’t much that really stuck out about this book for me.  It was a fun adventure and an exciting ride, but not particularly innovative — just pure entertainment.  Recommended more for the thriller aspect than the romance aspect – there’s lots of shooting and a bit of bank robbery-related gore.

3.5 out of 5 stars

ARC received via NetGalley.

Flash Review, Issue #004

Here are a few short reviews of the books I’ve been reading recently.

 The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

This book was practically impossible to tear myself away from to do otherwise unimportant things like eating, sleeping, or going to my job.  Blending elements of thriller, historical fiction, and the supernatural, THE STRING DIARIES is first and foremost the story of a line of women with the desire to survive in the face of unimaginable danger and, secondarily, about the lovers and family members willing to do anything to ensure they can do just that.

There’s little I can say without giving away key elements of the story, but this is one novel that doesn’t hesitate to make its characters pay heavy prices, and even its relatively “happy” ending has enough foundation built so much earlier in the story that it doesn’t feel oddly deus ex machina.  Definitely a recommended read.

Black and White (Noughts & Crosses) by Malorie Blackman

My official Goodreads review for this book is very simple:

The only thing I can really say about this book without giving up a lot of spoilers is that it makes me want to lay on the floor in a ball and cry in the best way possible.

The only thing I’d want to add is that I feel this book is very important for people with racial privilege to understand the base level of racism in the US.  I feel Blackman’s attention to detail really digs in to make the reader understand, on both a conscious and unconscious level, what discrimination feels like.