2015.28 REVIEW – Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes
by Karin Slaughter

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 67
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 22-24, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 28
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss via Publisher
Series: N/A

Blonde Hair, Blue EyesBlurb:
 A beautiful young girl was walking down the street?when suddenly…

Julia Carroll knows that too many stories start that way. Beautiful, intelligent, a nineteen-year-old college freshman, she should be carefree. But instead she is frightened. Because girls are disappearing.

A fellow student, Beatrice Oliver, is missing. A homeless woman called Mona-No-Name is missing. Both taken off the street. Both gone without a trace.

Julia is determined to find out the reasons behind their disappearances. And she doesn’t want to be next…


Review: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

It’s funny, I used to avoid short stories at all costs. This is partly because I sometimes feel like you don’t get the character development that draws me into a book as much when the story is so short. But these last couple of months I have been drawn to them more and more because I simply don’t always have the time to commit to a full length novel. But that’s all besides the point of this review…

I was originally offered the chance to sign up for the book blast of this book a couple of weeks ago. I had stated in that post that I had yet to get to reading this one. I finally got to it … and I was hooked!

I guess I should have read the blurb to this one AND the blurb to her upcoming full-length novel, Pretty Girls, to know that this short story was actually a prelude for the later release. Which would explain the twisty ending to this short story. And it definitely left me wanting to pick up Pretty Girls ASAP!!

I really enjoyed Julia’s short story. I found her intriguing and believable. I enjoyed seeing her interact with her college friends as well as her sisters. On the one hand, I suppose I knew where this story was going to end up, but I was unprepared for the feeling of shock I had as I flipped that last page on my Kindle.  I would definitely highly recommend getting your hands on this short story.

Ms. Slaughter is a writer that I have only begun to just recently discover. I wish I knew why, but either way, she’s definitely caught my interest now! Highly recommended and I can’t wait to read Pretty Girls soon!!

2015.27 REVIEW – In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault

In Search of the Rose Notes
by Emily Arsenault

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 369
Rating: 3/5
Read: Aug. 18-22, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 27
Format: Print
Source: Won from booktrib.com in 2011
Series: N/A

In Search of the Rose NotesBlurb:
 Eleven-year-olds Nora and Charlotte were best friends. When their teenage babysitter, Rose, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the girls decided to “investigate.” But their search – aided by paranormal theories and techniques gleaned from old Time-Life books – went nowhere.

Years later, Nora, now in her late twenties, is drawn back to her old neighborhood – and to her estranged friend – when Rose’s remains are finally discovered. Upset over their earlier failure to solve the possible murder, Charlotte is adamant that they join forces and try again. But Nora was the last known person to see Rose alive, and she’s not ready to revisit her troubled adolescence and the events surrounding the disappearance – or face the disturbing secrets that are already beginning to reemerge.


Review:I won a copy of this book back in 2011 from booktrib.com. And I proceeded to do as I always seem to do … let it sit and linger. I finally picked this one up because of a Goodreads challenge.

Let me just start by telling you that me giving this book a 3 star rating is probably being a little bit on the generous side. You see, as the reader, I spent a good 300 pages with Nora and Charlotte on their quest to figure out the mystery of Rose’s disappearance. Through the “flashbacks”, I also suffered through their high school years. I spent those 300 pages practically dying to know what on earth had happened to Rose.

And then when it was finally revealed, 45 pages after the first 300 pages, it was such a disappointment that I honestly wanted to throw the book across the room in disgust. It was just a complete and utter let down. To be completely honest with you, it wrecked the book in my opinion. There were all these indications throughout the book (to me, at least) that something sinister had gone down and it was up to me to figure out the who-dun-it. Oh no, nothing sinister at all happened in the end. And as a mystery lover, the disappointment was just palpable.

If Ms. Arsenault had simply taken Rose’s ending in a different direction, this book would have been a home run for me. Seeing as how that didn’t happen, I have to leave this one with an “eh.”

2015.26 REVIEW – Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell

Flesh and Blood
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 494
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 3-15, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 26
Format: Print
Source: Partners in Crime Book Tours
Series: Kay Scarpetta #22

Flesh and BloodBlurb:
 Dr. Kay Scarpetta is about to head to Miami for a vacation when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their home. Is this a kids’ game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Then she learns there’s been a homicide five minutes away. A high school teacher was shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. Yet no one heard or saw a thing.

Soon more victims surface. The shots seem impossible to achieve, yet they are so perfect they cause death in an instant. There is no pattern to indicate where the killer will strike next. First it was New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then the murky depths off the coast. There she comes face to face with shocking news that implicates her niece, Lucy – Scarpetta’s own flesh and blood.


Review:I received a copy of this for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

So those of you who follow me regularly will remember that my last experience with Ms. Cornwell did not end well. I was more than a little disappointed. And I even said I was “breaking up” with Kay Scarpetta. So what was it that made me want to read this book for the PICT book tour? I have no idea!

I definitely liked this book a million times more than the last one I read, Port Mortuary. I didn’t read the three books between that one and this one. And honestly, I didn’t really find that it mattered that I had skipped those three books.

Overall, I enjoyed this installment. I found it fast paced and exciting at times. However, there were a few moments where it lagged for me. Mainly, this was when there was a lengthy discussion regarding some ballistic testing. I found it a little too technical for my tastes and found myself skimming those few pages. Other than that, the book was highly entertaining to me.

And the ending. Wow. Talk about a cliff hanger that has me dying to know what happens next.

So while I’m still torn on this series as a whole, I have to say that this was a fun book to read and I would definitely recommend it.


About the Author:

patriciacornwellPatricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the Creasey, the Anthony, the Macavity, and the Prix du Roman d’Aventure. Beyond the Scarpetta series, she has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography, and two more fiction series. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

Connect with Patricia Cornwell:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Purchase Links 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

As always, I hope you will take the time to visit the other stops on the blog tour:

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Mailbox Monday, August 24, 2015

Mailbox Mondays

Only one book this past week … one that I had requested after seeing it mentioned in an email I received.

The Last SeptemberBrett has been in love with Charlie ever since he took her skiing on a lovely Colorado night fourteen years ago. And now, living in a seaside cottage on Cape Cod with their young daughter, it looks as if they have settled into the life they desired. However, Brett and Charlie’s marriage has been tenuous for quite some time. When Charlie’s unstable younger brother plans to move in with them, the tension simmering under the surface of their marriage boils over.

But what happened to Charlie next was unfathomable. Charlie was the golden boy so charismatic that he charmed everyone who crossed his path; who never shied away from a challenge; who saw life as one big adventure; who could always rescue his troubled brother, no matter how unpredictable the situation. So who is to blame for the tragic turn of events? And why does Brett feel responsible?

Set against the desolate autumn beauty of Cape Code, The Last September is a riveting emotional puzzle that takes readers inside the psyche of a woman facing the meaning of love and loyalty.

RECIPE: Skillet Chicken Parmigiana

Skillet Chicken Parmigiana (Serves: 4)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 lb)
  • 1/3 cup Progresso™ Italian-style dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups tomato pasta sauce (any variety)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)

Directions

  1. Between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper, flatten each chicken breast half to 1/4-inch thickness. In shallow dish, mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. In another shallow dish, beat egg. Dip chicken into egg, then coat with bread crumb mixture.
  2. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook chicken in oil 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink in center. Pour pasta sauce around chicken in skillet; heat until hot. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over chicken.

Recipe Source: Betty Crocker

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Personal Review: I need fast, easy, and toddler friendly recipes these days. This particular recipe meets all three requirements!

I was able to throw this one together on a weeknight, from start to finish, in about 35 minutes. And it was SO GOOD! It was even a big hit with our 3-year-old, who is slightly picky. I served it with a small side of spaghetti with meatless sauce, garlic bread and a salad.

Highly, highly recommended. It seriously tastes just as good (if not better because I could control the amount of cheese & sauce to use) as any chicken parm I’ve ever gotten in a restaurant.

 

 

Blog Party: Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter

Today I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog party for Karin Slaughter’s new novella, Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes. Unfortunately, I haven’t read this one *yet*. I’m working on it … I just got really behind when I spent entirely too much time on one book. So look for the upcoming review of this one. Oh, and don’t miss the giveaway opportunity!

9780062442819-2A beautiful young girl was walking down the street―when suddenly…

Julia Carroll knows that too many stories start that way. Beautiful, intelligent, a nineteen-year-old college freshman, she should be carefree. But instead she is frightened. Because girls are disappearing.

A fellow student, Beatrice Oliver, is missing. A homeless woman called Mona-No-Name is missing. Both taken off the street. Both gone without a trace.

Julia is determined to find out the reasons behind their disappearances. And she doesn’t want to be next…

Michael Connelly calls Karin Slaughter “unrivaled among thriller writers.” This gripping, unforgettable short story proves why. And be sure to order Karin’s new novel, Pretty Girls, on sale September 29, 2015.

Connect with Karin Slaughter:

Website | Facebook

–> Giveaway!! <–

Please click HERE to enter for the chance to win a copy of Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes and a finished copy of her upcoming novel, Pretty Girls

 

Mailbox Monday, August 17, 2015

Mailbox MondaysThis encompasses the last two weeks. First, three new ones that I purchased (hey … two were ones that I’ve had my eye on for a while and I lucked out and found them in the bargain section!)

Remember MiaThe President's ClubThe Bone Season

 


 

And then two review books:

Everything She ForgotThey’re calling it the worst pileup in London history. Driving home, Margaret Holloway has her mind elsewhere – on a troubled student, her daughter’s acting class, the next day’s meeting – when she’s rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage. Just as she begins to panic, a disfigured stranger pulls her from the car just seconds before it’s engulfed in flames. Then he simply disappears.

Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something’s wrong. She’s having trouble concentrating. Her emotions are running wild. More than that, flashbacks to the crash are also dredging up lost associations from her childhood, fragments of events that were wiped from her memory. Whatever happened, she didn’t merely forget – she chose to forget. And somehow, Margaret knows deep down that it’s got something to do with the man who saved her life.

As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth – from yourself?


After We FallCecilia made the hardest decision of her life moments before she stepped onto the plane that would bring her world crashing down around her. Her marriage was failing before even getting off the ground, and her desperate need to start over has driven her to abandon her family. Now, as her plane plummets toward the ground, she wishes she had given her son one last kiss good-bye. As tragedy meets mystery, Cecilia and three others in her community, each struggling with their own secrets, become connected on the fateful night when lives are lost in the sky and on the ground.