2015.16 REVIEW – Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Mr. Mercedes
by Stephen King

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 436
Rating: 2/5
Read: April 29 – May 21, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 16
Format: Print
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Series: Bill Hodges #1

Mr. MercedesBlurb: The stolen Mercedes emerges from the pre-dawn fog and plows through a crowd of men and women in line for a job fair in a distressed American city. Then the lone driver backs up, charges again, and speeds off, leaving eight dead and more wounded. The case goes unsolved and ex-cop Bill Hodges is out of hope when he gets a letter from the man who loved the feel of death under the Mercedes’s wheels…Brady Hartsfield wants that rush again, but this time he’s going big, with an attack that would take down thousands – unless Hodges and two new, unusual allies he picks up along the way can throw a wrench in Hartsfield’s diabolical plans.


Review: I borrowed this book from a co-worker. I remember when it came out it sounded interesting, but I’ll be completely honest here … it’s been a really long time since I have enjoyed a Stephen King book.

Unfortunately, this book really didn’t prove to be an exception in my recent dislike for Mr. King’s latest works. For me, it was just an “okay” and “eh” read.

It probably didn’t help that I started this book in the very last of my pregnancy (when pregnancy brain was in full force) and then finally finished it with a newborn in the house (and sleep deprivation in full force).

I think my issue is that this felt like such a departure from the Stephen King works I have liked in the past. I mean, how can you beat Carrie or It? The short answer is … you can’t. But this book really felt like he was dipping his feet into a completely different genre. And it simply didn’t work for me.

You want my complete honest opinion … had he cut about 100 pages out of this book, it probably would have been a lot better. There just seemed a lot of unnecessary things going on. Obviously Mr. King has routinely produced very long works, but this storyline didn’t need 436 pages to tell the full story. It could have been done in 336 pages. Very easily.

Overall, just an okay book. I can’t say that I would necessarily recommend it. But I finished it, so it obviously wasn’t horrible either.

Baby Book Addict #2!

On May 9, 2015 and 1:31pm, we welcomed our second child into the world. She was 7lb 15oz and 20″ long. Her birth story is just as quick as Garrett’s … but a lot more painful.

It was a Saturday morning. Thankfully it was Nathan’s Saturday off (he works every other). Him and Garrett had just gotten back from picking up McDonald’s for breakfast. I had already eaten before they both woke up, but Nathan brought me a hot chocolate. As we’re standing in our little entryway, he hands me my hot chocolate and all of a sudden I feel like I’m peeing myself. I calmly put my drink down on the table, told Nathan to go ahead and eat with Garrett because I needed to go to the bathroom.

When I got to the bathroom I had a feeling my water was breaking, but when it broke with Garrett it was all in a gush. This was just a trickle. But it kept trickling. So I did what any normal woman in labor would do, I  shaved my arm pits, considered washing my hair (decided against it because it takes too long to dry because it’s so long) and got dressed. By that time Nathan was in the bedroom asking if I was okay. I calmly looked at him and told him yes, but that we needed to get started on our way to the hospital.

At the beginning of my pregnancy, I knew that we would be moving mid-pregnancy. I also knew that I had two options … stay with the doctor that I love to pieces, who is now an hour from my house, or find a doctor who delivers at the hospital 20 minutes from my house. I chose to stick with my doctor. I knew we were facing an hour drive to the hospital. So I didn’t really want to waste too much time. We made it to the hospital parking garage in 45 minutes flat … I won’t tell you how fast my husband drove :)

After getting settled into my birthing room, and being checked out, I was already dilated to 4. Then the IV hell began. I have horrible, horrible veins. With Garrett it took 3 people to get an IV in me. With this pregnancy, it took 5 people and a total of 2 hours. It finally took the anesthesia guy being able to numb my vein to get it in place. Yeah,  fun. At that point my doctor came in and informed me that I could have the epidural at any point, but that my contractions were so irregular that she was afraid that taking it so early would possibly slow down the process. This terrified me. I only had 5 hours from my water breaking with Garrett until I was holding him in my arms. The last thing I wanted was a looooong labor. So I held off. Besides, the contractions weren’t painful at the point, just mild cramping every so often.

Big mistake.

Both of our parents were in the waiting room by this point, and they took turns coming back and visiting with me. My in-laws were in the room and my contractions were starting to come a little harder and more often. But still only uncomfortable. Luckily, they could pretty much tell that they were not the people who needed to be in the room at that point. They left and my mom came in. At this point the nurse came around and I told her I wanted the morphine and to get the fluids going to get the epidural process starting.

I got my morphine shot.

16 minutes later I was pushing my baby girl out.

Folks, 3.5 hours from the moment I walked into the hospital until I was holding my baby. One hour from the time my doctor told me my contractions weren’t consistent enough to be considered in labor until I had our daughter. Talk about a whirlwind.

No epidural. Only a morphine shot that really hadn’t kicked in. Talk about things not going according to plan. But you know what, she’s healthy. That’s all that matters. It’s true what people say … you really do forget about the pain the moment they are out of you.

So now, I am proud to introduce you to our daughter, Katelyn.

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Cover Reveal: After She’s Gone by Lisa Jackson

After She's Gone Book Banner

After She's Gone hi res comp

Title: After She’s Gone
Author: Lisa Jackson
Publisher: Kensington Books

Cassie Kramer and her younger sister, Allie, learned the hazards of fame long ago. Together, they’d survived the horror of a crazed fan who nearly killed their mother, former Hollywood actress Jenna Hughes. Still, Cassie moved to L.A., urging Allie to follow. As a team, they’d take the town by storm.  But Allie, finally free of small-town Oregon, and just that little bit more beautiful, also proved to be more talented—and driven. Where Cassie got bit parts, Allie rose to stardom. But now her body double has been shot on the set of her latest movie—and Allie is missing.

Police discover that the last call to Allie’s phone came from Cassie, though she has no recollection of making it. Instead of looking like a concerned relative, Cassie is starting to look like a suspect—the jealous sister who finally grew sick of playing a supporting role. As the tabloids go into a frenzy, Cassie ends up on a Portland psych ward. Is she just imagining the sinister figure who comes to her bedside, whispering about Allie—a visitor of whom there is no record? Is someone trying to help—or drive her mad?

Convinced she’s the only one who can find Allie, Cassie checks herself out of the hospital. But a sudden slew of macabre murders— each victim masked with a likeness of a member of Cassie’s family—makes Cassie fear for her safety and her sanity. The only way to end the nightmare is to find out what really happened to Allie. And with each discovery, Cassie realizes that no one can be trusted to keep her safe—least of all herself…

PRE-ORDER INFORMATION
After She’s Gone is available for pre-order at  AmazonKobo and Google Play


 

About the Author:

Lisa JacksonLisa Jackson is the number-one New York Times bestselling author of more than 85 novels, includingAfraid to Die, Tell Me, You Don’t Want to Know, Running Scared, Without Mercy, Malice, and Shiver. She is also the co-author of the Colony Series, co-written with her sister, Nancy Bush. There are over 20 million copies of Lisa Jackson’s books in print in twenty languages.

Before she became a nationally bestselling author, Lisa Jackson was a mother struggling to keep food on the table by writing novels, hoping against hope that someone would pay her for them. Today, neck deep in murder, her books appear on The New York Times, the USA Today, and thePublishers Weekly national bestseller lists.

With over thirty bestsellers to her name, Lisa Jackson is a master of taking readers to the edge of sanity – and back – in novels that buzz with dangerous secrets and deadly passions.  She continues to be fascinated by the minds and motives of both her killers and their pursuers—the personal, the professional and downright twisted.  As she builds the puzzle of relationships, actions, clues, lies and personal histories that haunt her protagonists, she must also confront the fear and terror faced by her victims, and the harsh and enduring truth that, in the real world, terror and madness touch far too many lives and families.

For More Information
Visit Lisa’s website.
Connect with Lisa on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Goodreads

2015.15 REVIEW – Losing Faith by Adam Mitzner

Losing Faith
by Adam Mitzner

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 354
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 21 – April 27, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 15
Format: Print
Source: Publicist for Review
Series: N/A

Losing FaithBlurb: Aaron Littman is the premier lawyer of his generation and the chairman of Cromwell Altman, the most powerful law firm in New York City, when a high-profile new client threatens all that he’s achieved – and more. Nicolai Garkov is currently the most reviled figure in America, accused of laundering funds for the Russian Mafia and financing a terrorist bombing in Red Square that killed twenty-six people, including three American students.

Garkov is completely unrepentant, admitting his guilt to Aaron, but with a plan for exoneration that includes blackmailing the presiding judge, the Honorable Faith Nichols. If the judge won’t do his bidding, Garkov promises to go public with irrefutable evidence of an affair between Aaron and Faith – the consequences of which would not only destroy their reputation but quite possibly end their careers.

Garkov has made his move. Now it’s Aaron and Faith’s turn. And in an ever-shocking psychological game of power, ethics, lies, and justice, they could never have predicted where those moves will take them – or what they are prepared to do to protect the truth.


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

A couple of years ago, I read and reviewed A Case of Interest by Mr. Mitzner here on my blog. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I was given the opportunity to read and review Mr. Mitzner’s newest release I jumped on it!!

And I am so excited to say that I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea going into the trial who or what to believe. Was Aaron guilty? Was he innocent? Who did kill Faith? I have to admit that I had someone else pegged as the murderer, so when it was revealed at the end I was in shock.

I will also say that I enjoyed learning a little bit more about the legal system. I had a dream of law school immediately after my undergraduate years. A move out of state with my husband and real life intervened and I have to live vicariously through legal thrillers at times. So I was really intrigued by some of the twists and turns that occurred in the courtroom action of this book.

The storyline in this one was interesting. The characters were well-developed. It’s just a really fun, easy-to-read book that kept me on my toes the entire time.

Definitely one that I am glad I got the opportunity to read and one I would have highly recommend!!

2015.14 REVIEW – Innocent Damage by Robert K. Lewis

Innocent Damage
by Robert K. Lewis

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 293
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 14 – April 20, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 14
Format: Print
Source: Author for Review
Series: Mark Mallen #3

Innocent DamageBlurb: The three-year-old daughter of Mark Mallen’s old friend has been kidnapped. And when a child goes missing from San Francisco’s notorious Tenderloin District, there’s not much of a chance that she’s going to be found.

But that won’t stop Mallen.

When his first lead takes him to a murder scene with a stash of child porn, Mallen knows he’s on the right track. Now the only people who can shake him off the trail are two SFPD detectives who seem to be more involved in the case than their job requires. Knowing all too well that skid row has its own set of rules, Mallen must act alone to serve justice to those who would put innocent children at risk.


Review: I have read and reviewed the two previous Mark Mallen books, Untold Damage and Critical Damage here on my blog. Having enjoyed both of those books, I was really thrilled when Mr. Lewis contacted me again about reading the latest (and greatest) Mark Mallen book.

Mark Mallen is just one of those characters that really appeals to me. He’s so flawed, yet he’s trying his hardest. And he seems to find trouble no matter where he goes. His sense of loyalty is amazing, if I had troubles I would want a friend like Mallen on my side for sure.

This particular installment dealt with tracking down a kidnapped girl. But things kind of snowballed from there. Things are not as cut and dried as one would have thought. People are not who you think they are either. It definitely makes for some exciting reading! Gato is also back in this book still trying to find his sister. There’s an interesting storyline in a future book with that whole situation. I can only hope that Mr. Lewis gets to tell that story in another Mallen book.

Overall, another book that I really enjoyed reading and would highly recommend. And I hope to goodness there’s at least one more Mark Mallen book!! I’m not ready to say goodbye to him just yet…

 

 

2015.13 REVIEW – A Dream Called Marilyn by Mercedes King

A Dream Called Marilyn
by Mercedes King

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 167
Rating: 4/5
Read: March 28 – April 3, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 13
Format: Print
Source: Pump Up Your Book Blog Tour
Series: N/A

A Dream Called Marilyn banner 2

A Dream Called MarilynBlurb: In the summer of 1962, nothing could prepare Dr. Charles Campbell for his first meeting with new client, Marilyn Monroe. A reputable L.A. psychiatrist, he’s been hired by a studio executive to treat and subdue the star, no matter what it takes. Although he’s been warned about Ms. Monroe’s unpredictability, she’s not what he expected. Gaining Marilyn’s trust means crossing doctor-patient boundaries, and trying to separate fact from Hollywood-fed-rumors proves destructive to both Charles’ career and his personal life. As Marilyn shares her secrets and threatens to go public with information that could destroy President Kennedy’s administration, Charles’ world turns upside-down. He sinks deeper into her troubles than he should, but Charles becomes determined to help her, even though it means endangering Marilyn’s life and risking his own.


Review: If you have followed my blog for any time, you know that I am obsessed with JFK. Well, along with that obsession comes a side obsession with Marilyn Monroe, too. I’m just fascinated by what happened all those years ago and all the conspiracies that are out there. So when I was pitched this short novella, I immediately picked up on it.

Novellas are not something that I am used to reading, so I didn’t quite know what to expect going into it. I figured some 170 odd pages would be easy to take on (pregnancy brain is at its finest in my life right now) and it was Marilyn, so….. But at the same time, I didn’t know how something could be packed into 170 short pages.

But Ms. King makes it work. She takes a few characters and a few pages and just creates this really fun short novel. It really worked for me. I enjoyed it. I was totally entranced by Charles’ life. There’s so much going on with his personal life, and Marilyn definitely throws a wrench in the picture. And Marilyn is, well, Marilyn.

Honestly, I enjoyed my first foray into the novella world. This was a really fun read and I would highly recommend it to anyone!!


 

Mercedes KingAbout the Author: A founding member of Sisters in Crime Columbus, Ohio (affectionately dubbed SiCCO), Mercedes King can be found elbow-deep in research, reading, or enjoying the local bike path. Combining her love of pop culture with history, she created A Dream Called Marilyn, a fictional take on the last weeks of Marilyn’s life. With an unquenchable thirst for a bygone era, she’s also written O! Jackie, a fictional take on Jackie Kennedy’s private life–and how she dealt with JFK’s affairs. Short story fans would enjoy The Kennedy Chronicles, a series featuring Jackie and Jack before the White House and before they were married. Visit Mercedes’ website at http://www.mercedesking.com to find out more.

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

Monday, April 6 First Chapter Reveal at Pump Up Your Book

Tuesday, April 7 Book Review at Books Reviews ETC.

Wednesday, April 8 Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Thursday, April 9 Interview at Examiner

Friday, April 10 Book Featured at The Literary Nook

Monday April 13 Interview at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, April 14 Book Review at My Book Addiction and More

Wednesday, April 15 Interview at As the Page Turns

Thursday, April 16 First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter

Monday, April 20 Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Tuesday, April 21 Interview at Beyond the Books

Wednesday, April 22 Book Review at Tales of a Book Addict

Thursday, April 23 Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Friday, April 24 Interview at Pimp That Character

Monday April 27 Book Review at Quirky Book Reviews

Tuesday, April 28 Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Wednesday, April 29 Book Review at Must Read Faster

Thursday, April 30 Book Review at My Life Loves and Passion

2015.9 REVIEW – The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins

The Masque of a Murderer
by Susanna Calkins

Copyright:2015
Pages: 295
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 28 – March 3, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 9
Format: E-Book
Source: Author for Review
Series: Lucy Campion #3

The Masque of a MurdererBlurb: In Susanna Calkins’s next richly drawn mystery set in 17th century England, Lucy Campion, formerly a ladies’ maid in the local magistrate’s household, has now found gainful employment as a printer’s apprentice. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate’s daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice of the time. The man, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, only has a few hours left to live. Lucy scribbles down the Quaker man’s last utterances, but she’s unprepared for what he reveals to her—that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a secret he had recently uncovered.

Fearful that Sarah might be traveling in the company of a murderer, Lucy feels compelled to seek the truth, with the help of the magistrate’s son, Adam, and the local constable. But delving into the dead man’s background might prove more dangerous than any of them had imagined.

In The Masque of a Murderer, Susanna Calkins has once again combined finely wrought characters, a richly detailed historical atmosphere, and a tightly-plotted mystery into a compelling read.


Review: I read and reviewed the first Lucy Campion book, A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate back in 2013. It was an impulse find on NetGalley that really ended up being a home run for me. Somehow I missed the release of the second Lucy Campion book, From the Charred Remains. It’s kind of a bummer, really. But I was approached by Ms. Calkins to consider the third Lucy book for review. I jumped on the opportunity. And am so glad that I did!

I really enjoyed this book. The pages just flew by. There’s something about Lucy’s character that really makes her easy to read. Even though this series is set in 17th century London, it definitely doesn’t read like that. It reads so conversationally. I remember liking that about the first novel as well.

Overall this book stands relatively well on its own. I would have preferred to have known what happened between books 1 and 2, and perhaps one day I will read From the Charred Remains. But, in reality, if you haven’t read any of these books before, it shouldn’t affect your enjoyment whatsoever.

I think what draws me to these books is the strong character that Lucy is. For 17th century London it’s truly amazing at what she does and gets away with. It’s not at all what I would ever picture for a woman during that time period, let alone a woman with such humble beginnings as Lucy. But that’s what makes her likable to me.

The storyline in this book was a lot of fun. I got a lot of enjoyment out of trying to figure out who the imposter was before Lucy (and no, I didn’t guess right). The writing is so easy to read. The characters are all so well-developed. And I cannot wait to find out what happens with the Lucy-Adam-Duncan angle!

It’s really just a great book, to be honest. And one that I would highly recommend. You don’t have to be a historical fiction aficionado to thoroughly enjoy this one. Definitely give it a try if possible!

Disclosure: I received an electronic copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed above are my own.