Source: Goodreads First Reads

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Posted November 8, 2017 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments


I received this book for free from Ballantine Books, Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Need to Know by Karen ClevelandNeed To Know by Karen Cleveland
Published by Ballantine Books on January 25th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Espionage
Pages: 400
Format: Print ARC
Source: Ballantine Books, Goodreads First Reads
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four-stars
CIA counterintelligence analyst Vivian is close to a big breakthrough at work. Her department is trying to find Russian sleeper agents living in the United States and she’s developed an algorithm to identify likely handlers. Her eagerness to break the case dissipates when she gains access to a suspected handler’s computer and finds a file that makes her question every decision that she’s made for the last decade. When forced to choose between her oath to the U.S. Constitution and keeping her family together, what will she do?
Frequently, people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late.” – John Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A, testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee (May 23 2017)
I was interested in this book because of the recent investigations into foreign intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I also chose it because I thought it might be similar to my favorite TV show The Americans, but the Shonda Rhimes comparisons are much closer. There’s a new development in almost every chapter, so it’s really hard to put down! The author Karen Cleveland was an actual CIA analyst, which made the professional aspects much more intriguing for me.
• ↑ That was basically me the entire time I was reading this book! Vivian feels cornered and acts irrationally. She makes increasingly terrible decisions as the story goes on. Of course, people act in ways that don’t make sense all the time. It can be hard to see the big picture when you’re in the thick of things, especially when your family is at risk! I ended up accepting it and actually started cheering on her bad choices, because I wanted to see what the consequences would be!
• Vivian feels guilty about all the time she’s missed out on with her four young kids. The kids run to their dad for comfort, not her. She has always wanted to leave her job and stay home with them but never had the opportunity. The domestic angle makes Vivian relatable, but it also slowed the story down a little. I felt like skimming when child pick-up and evening routines interrupted the spy stuff!
“Sometimes we think that shielding the truth will protect those we love the most.”
I love when an author presents me with a difficult situation and makes me see how difficult it is to make the “right” choice. This book was exactly what I needed at the time and I had fun with it. It was an easy-breezy reading experience. I’d put it into my The Couple Next Door pile as far as entertainment value: !PLOT!, fast-paced, and it elicited a wicked grin from me at the end. (The characters are better in this one though.) If you’re looking to turn your brain off and get consumed by a wild story, Need to Know is a good choice. It’s total book candy! The movie is already in the planning process and will be staring Charlize Theron.
four-stars

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Posted September 12, 2016 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Young adult novel that addresses misogyny. It’s thought-provoking, but I was unable to connect to the story or the characters. Content warning: Drinking, drugs, sex, cursing, sexual assault, and animal cruelty. We use objects to navigate spaces, making a map in our heads as neurons fire, pathways so well worn we don’t even know we reference them […]

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Posted July 25, 2016 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

A quiet, character-driven, post-apocalyptic novel filled with gorgeous nature descriptions. An astronaut in space and an astronomer in Antarctica search the airwaves in hopes of connecting with another living soul, despite evidence that everyone on Earth is gone. It’s being compared to Station Eleven (the covers are even similar), but it won’t be a slam dunk […]

The Auctioneer by Simon du Pury

Posted May 17, 2016 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
The Auctioneer by Simon du Pury

Auctioneer Simon du Pury shares the story of his life. He explains what lead him into the art world and describes his ascent from a Sotheby’s intern to the “Mick Jagger of auctions.” He also introduces us to the men who had a great impact on his life and career: Swiss art dealer Ernst Beyeler, […]

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Posted May 10, 2016 by Taryn in Reviews / 1 Comment
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

A sweet and heartwarming story about a 63-year-old woman who goes through a major life change and reluctantly stumbles into a journey of self-discovery. Britt-Marie is a character from My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, a book I have not read. The two books are independent stories and don’t need to be read in conjunction […]

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Posted May 6, 2016 by Taryn in Reviews / 2 Comments
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Ballet drama + juvenile detention center + dark, fairytale-like atmosphere. That’s all I needed to know to make me want to read this young adult novel full of secrets and betrayal! Beautifully written mystery with supernatural elements. It went a little off the deep end in the last fifteen pages, but it was worth the […]

Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell

Posted April 4, 2016 by Taryn in Reviews / 2 Comments
Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell

4.5 Stars. 1958, Greenwich Village: Three young people struggle to make it in the publishing industry while also wrestling with identity issues. Suzanne Rindell deftly juggles a wide range of issues: class, sexuality, racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism. I felt completely immersed in the setting. This book gave me so many emotions and I had a […]

Like Family by Paolo Giordano

Posted November 25, 2015 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
Like Family by Paolo Giordano

In the long run, every love needs someone to witness and acknowledge it, to validate it, or it may turn out to be just a mirage. I received this book from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Mrs. A is hired to help a young couple during a difficult pregnancy, but ends up working for them […]

A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

Posted October 30, 2015 by Taryn in Reviews / 0 Comments
A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

Solid suspense novel, about a family dealing with being under suspicion for their neighbor’s mysterious death. The truth was our enemy now; the truth would not set us free. A Line of Blood centers around the Mercer family: Alex, Millicent and their eleven-year-old son Max. When the Mercer’s cat wanders into the neighbor’s house, Alex […]

The Lost Girl by R.L. Stine

Posted October 4, 2015 by Taryn in Giveaways / 0 Comments
The Lost Girl by R.L. Stine

I won The Lost Girl (Fear Street Relaunch #3) by R.L. Stine in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I am not the target demographic for this series, but I do think there are as many wonderful young adult novels as there are wonderful adult novels. I just didn’t think this was one of them. I […]