4 Star Review for The Row by J.R. Johansson, YA Romantic Suspense + Giveaway

I’ve read one of J.R. Johansson’s work before: Insomnia. While I ending up enjoying it, I wasn’t a fan of the main character, which caused a lot of problems. I haven’t ruled out continuing that series but I’m not excited for it.

When I saw this cover and blurb though, I was. And it paid off.

You know that wonderful feeling when you just start a book and are instantly in?

That’s what happened. I get giddy just thinking of it.

The Row by J.R. Johansson

Genre: YA Mystery
Release Date: October 11th 2016 FSG/Macmillan
Summary from Goodreads:

Genre: Suspense, Romance, Mystery, Contemporary
Age: YA
Format: Ebook, 352 pgs.
Source: Book Tour
Rating: 4 Stars
Recommendable? Definitely.
CW: Kidnapping, Murder, Drinking, Violence,
A death sentence. A family torn apart. One girl’s hunt for the truth.

Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent.

Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, inan attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves.
Buy It Here:

Also available October 11th by the author, the paperback of CUT ME FREE!

ARCREVIEW IconYoung Adult IconRomance Icon Suspense/Thriller Icon Twisted IconWell-Written Icon

The Good The Bad & The Other
+Thrilling mystery -Jordan’s instant, persistent quest to help Riley felt fishy – even after the explanation.
+Loved Riley’s POV. Her voice comes through strong and clear. =Liked the ending, but it feels like easy way out. I’d like to know how they’d be if it turned out slightly different…that’d be bolder.
+Liked how Riley and Jordan worked and played off each other
+Romance is cute.
=Liked how it brought up *a few* issues with prisons. (but it’s not about that, it’s passing remarks)

Note: Jordan and fam are Mexican. The only POC that I recall.

First sentence:
I step into the registration building and marvel at how it smells the same every time.

The Row is really good. It sucked me right in and kept me guessing. When I had to put it down, I kept wondering about it. Then I came back and *whoosh*, it felt like I never left.

The pacing is perfect with the right timing and shifting. The clues all make sense as they come and even better when the final picture is shown. There’s red herrings that aren’t obvious and fit in for the perfect blending.

Riley’s internal conflicts and emotional journey is…oh, boy.

However, generalities about the beginning is as far as I can go without spoiling anything. Which leaves this teeny review feeling pathetic and generic. But I’m not an asshole so….

Let’s talk once you read it.

While the top shelves are Mystery, Thriller and Contemporary, I’d peg it as a YA romantic suspense. Their relationship doesn’t overshadow the mystery; it’s about them working together with the right atmosphere, getting closer, and a showdown ending.

If that's you're kind of thing, or are curious about the genre, The Row is highly recommended.

About the Author

J.R. Johansson's books have been published in a dozen languages and more than twenty countries worldwide. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. She lives inUtah with two sons, a wonderful husband, three cats, and a hot tub named Valentino. She is represented by the stellar Kathleen Rushall of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.


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  1. These book tours have made me aware of so many authors and their books that I would never before have read. The excerpt looks like something I would definitely read.

    1. I love that about blog tours too! Let me know what you think if you read it.

      (It's out on the 11th!)


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