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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 18 star ratings
5 reviews
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Overall rating

4.1 out of 5
18
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    Secrets Hidden

    This reminded me of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie True Lies. Long time spy Matt is married to Vivian and has four children. Vivian works for the CIA so is a perfect source of info for her Russian sleeper husband. Loyalties are tested and trust is destroyed. Who does anyone ever trust when the blindfold is removed?? A copy of this book was provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."
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    Great Debut

    Need To Know is the first book by Karen Cleveland so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I found was a well written suspense/thriller. It is a standalone. There is violence. The book blurb adequately describes the storyline so I'm not going to repeat all of that info here. The storyline is a different take on sleeper cells and the people investigating them. This was well written for a debut novel and the author impressed me with her ability to create the moral dilemma the main characters faced. The characters are multidimensional and I couldn't help but relate to them. As usual, everything and everyone is not as it seems. This book has plenty of twists, turns, and surprises...right up to the very end. It is rare that a book surprises me all the way up to the last line. She left me wanting to know more.
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    Page-turning Thriller

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review. The book’s narrator is Vivian, who alternates her perspective between the past and present. Vivian is a CIA analyst whose algorithm uncovers secrets of Russian sleeper cells in the US. Unfortunately, she soons finds that this means her family (husband and four children) and life as they know it is in jeopardy. How does she choose between family and country? Well, at times she doesn’t do a good job of making decisions. Once this is made into a movie, we’ll be yelling at the on-screen Vivian, “no, don’t do it, ah geez, what were you thinking?” Then again, once you place yourself in her position, you wonder what choice you would have made and it will raise some questions. What choices do our CIA operatives make? How do you separate love of country from love of family? Which is more important? Does it depend on the situation? How will you live with the consequences of the choices you make? This was an entertaining and page-turning thriller, which you had to keep reading to see what happens next. The book starts off with a bang and the remainder deals with the fallout. The characters and their dialog were realistic, the plot was well-thought out and the ending was perfect! This is a great book to curl up with on a cold and snowy weekend spent indoors.
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    Riveting debut novel!!!

    Within the first few pages, I knew this would be a book I couldn’t put down. CIA analysis Vivian searches for spies, cells, etc. connected to Russia. She’s making great progress until she opens a folder with five pictures, one of which is a person very close to her. This information is so unbelievable to her that she’s not sure how to proceed with the information. Protect this person, which will mean that she has committed treason or turn them in as her job dictates? You’ll have to read the book to find out! And just when you think you have figured everything out, the ending will completely blow you away.
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    Roller Coaster Ride

    While I do love thrillers and suspense, I don't read a lot of CIA/Spy type stories, but the blurb for this one intrigued me. I started reading and I have to say that for most of the book, I wasn't sure how I would rate this one. I went back and forth between rolling my eyes at Vivian's decisions and being so aggravated with her that I wanted to shake her until her teeth rattled, especially a memory from the past would feature a big red flag. At the same time, I couldn't stop turning the pages. I had to see how it all came out. Then, I thought about her situation. It's easy to sit back with a bird's eye view and say what we would do in her shoes, but when faced with extreme circumstances, when everything we hold dear is on the line, what would we really do? In the end, I realized that this is not just a story about spies, it's also a tale of a seemingly good life disrupted by betrayal and deceit. The book is wonderfully written and any time that an author can keep me turning pages, stir up that much emotion, and leave me with gasp, she's done her job and done it well.
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