Review: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Doroth Gilman

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax
by Dorothy Gilman

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

Copyright: 1966

Pages: 192

Read: Aug. 9-Aug. 15, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

Blurb: Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. So, naturally, she became a CIA agent. This time, the assignment sounds as tasty as a taco. A quick trip to Mexico City is on her agenda. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and our dear Mrs. Pollifax finds herself embroiled in quite a hot Cold War–and her country’s enemies find themselves entangled with one unbelievably feisty lady.


Review: I requested this one from Paperbackswap after seeing Stacy mention the second in the series on Goodreads. It was definitely an impulse “purchase” but it sounded like such a fun, cute book.

And for the most part, it was. It should have been a quick, easy read. 192 pages – I could knock that out relatively quickly. But for some reason, it didn’t really click with me. I enjoyed the first bit of the book quite a bit, where Mrs. Pollifax introduces herself to the CIA and when she first went to Mexico City. It was all the stuff that came after that I didn’t care for. It just seemed to drag on forever with very little movement toward anything.

So while I wouldn’t say this book is bad, I doubt I continue on with this series. I need more meat to my stories. I need to connect more to the characters (and I really couldn’t find myself connecting to Mrs. Pollifax very well). So yeah, not terrible but not something I’ll remember in a month.

Review: The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark

The Melody Lingers On
by Mary Higgins Clark

The Melody Lingers On

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 354

Read: Aug. 3-Aug. 8, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 
Blurb: As an assistant to a famous upscale interior designer, Lane Harmon, mother to four-year-old Katie, is accustomed to visiting opulent homes around the tristate area. So when she is called to a modest town house in Bergen County, Lane knows the job is unusual. Then she learns the home belongs to the wife of a notorious and disgraced financier named Parker Bennett.

Parker Bennett was last seen two years ago on his sailboat in the Caribbean before he vanished, along with the five billion dollar hedge fund he managed. The scandal over whether Bennett was suicidal or staged his disappearance still continues. His clients and the federal government all want to trace the money and find Bennett, if he is still alive.

Lane is surprised to find herself moved by Mrs. Bennett’s calm dignity and faith in her husband’s innocence and drawn to Eric, the Bennetts’ son, who is similarly determined to prove his father is not guilty. Lane doesn’t realize that the closer she gets to the Bennetts, the more she puts her life – and her daughter’s life – in jeopardy.


Review: I love Mary Higgins Clark. I haven’t read all of her books, but I have yet to read a book by her that I didn’t enjoy. She just writes a really good story.

This book felt very believable just because you hear about these sorts of things happening all too often (Bernie Madoff?). And it’s my experience that when a book can be relatable to someone because you know it could happen, well that just makes the book all the more enjoyable.

I liked Lane’s character. She was sweet, but extremely naive. Almost to the point where I felt sorry for her. Luckily for her it turned out all right, but you have to wonder why women authors don’t write stronger women characters. But I’m not an author, so what do I know?

Anyway, I enjoyed this one and definitely recommend it to mystery lovers!

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant
by Veronica Roth

Allegiant

Copyright: 2013

Pages: 526

Read: July 29-Aug. 3, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchased New

 
Blurb: The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.


Review: This review is tough because I went into this one with absolutely no recollection of the first two books. Overall, that really affected my understanding and opinion because a lot of things made absolutely no sense. I also didn’t really care for the alternating stories of Tris & Tobias. The other two books weren’t in that format and I just didn’t care for it. Also – I was not impressed by the ending. It made me a little more than irritated.

So I guess while it wasn’t necessarily bad, it definitely could have been made better had I read this one with more memory of the previous two books. But I am glad that I finally finished the trilogy out. Just kind of an “eh” book from me.

July 2016 Books

Vicious A Front Page Affair Seven Up Game of Crowns Breaking Silence

July was a really good month – five books. And I was really excited that I finally got a nonfiction book in – it’s been way too long since I read nonfiction. Here’s to hoping August is just as good as July!!

Review: Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

Breaking Silence
by Linda Castillo

Breaking Silence

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 302

Read: July 23-27, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane-gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers evidence of foul play. Who would want to make orphans of the Slabaugh children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?

Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. The state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship, and together they search for the link between the crimes – and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.


Review: This is the third book in the Kate Burkholder series. I absolutely loved the first book in the series and the second one was good, but just a little flatter. But Ms. Castillo came out guns blazing with this one! I absolutely loved every minute of it! Just when I thought I had it all figured out, she threw a curve ball .. and then another!

I really like Kate’s character. She’s a good cop with some baggage, but she’s very relatable. And John, he’s just a male version of her. Their relationship works really well and makes for some enjoyable moments throughout the book.

I can’t believe I have waited this long to start this series… and I’m looking forward to reading the fourth book soon!

Review: Game of Crowns by Christopher Andersen

Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne
by Christopher Andersen

Game of Crowns

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 299

Read: July 11-22, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: One has been famous longer than anyone on the planet – a wily stateswoman and an enduring symbol of grace, power, and a bygone age. One is the great-granddaughter of a king’s mistress and a celebrated home wrecker who survived a firestorm of scorn to marry her lover and replace her archival, a beloved twentieth-century figure. One is a beautiful commoner, the university-educated daughter of a self-made entrepreneur, a fashion idol, wife of one future king and mother of another.

Master biographer Christopher Andersen takes readers behind palace walls to examine the surprising similarities and stark differences among three remarkable women – Queen Elizabeth; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and Princess Kate. Andersen reveals what transpires within the royal family away from the public’s prying eyes; how the women actually feel about each other; how they differ as lovers, wives, and mothers; and how they are reshaping the landscape of the monarchy in this addictive read that will shock even those who are spellbound by the royal palace.


Review: When I first saw this book I was so excited and quickly placed it on my Paperbackswap wishlist. I was amazed at how quickly I snagged a copy! So when it arrived I jumped at the opportunity to start it immediately. And I will say it was an easy read. But there were some things that I didn’t really like about it.

I hated the way that Mr. Andersen portrayed Kate Middleton and her family. He made her look like she was planning from an early age to marry into the royal family. And I’m sure growing up over in England it was a common dream of all the young that they would grow up to marry Prince William (or Harry) – I remember being a teenage girl and having a rather large crush on Prince Harry. But when Mr. Andersen finally brought Kate Middleton into the book, he portrayed her and her mother in what I would consider a very negative light. He made her mother look like she just pushed her daughter toward William while scheming in the background in order to snag the future king. Now it may have indeed happened that way, but I prefer to look at Kate in a more positive light and can’t imagine her really scheming that hard just to become a royal. But what do I know? I also didn’t like how it seemed he sneered at Carole Middleton being a flight attendant turned business owner – what’s so wrong with a woman being a flight attendant or a business owner? I just really didn’t like how he portrayed the whole Middleton family.

I got the distinct feeling that Mr. Andersen really doesn’t like the royal family. And I thought that was weird, because I have read numerous other books he has written on the royal family, and I don’t ever remember getting that feeling before. But I will say it was a little gossipy in places. Some parts of it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

So while it wasn’t necessarily a terrible book, you could probably find all this information in the gossip magazines. Just an “eh” book for me – and that leaves me a little disappointed since I’ve always enjoyed Mr. Andersen’s books before.

Review: Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

Seven Up
by Janet Evanovich

Seven Up
Copyright: 2001

Pages: 337

Read: July 15-21, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Used book store

 

 

Blurb: All New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has to do is bring in semi-retired bail jumper Eddie DeChooch. For an old man he’s still got a knack for slipping out of sight – and raising hell. How else can Stephanie explain the bullet-riddled corpse in Eddie’s garden? Who else would have a clue as to why two of Stephanie’s friends suddenly vanished? For answers Stephanie has the devil to pay: her mentor, Ranger. The deal? He’ll give Stephanie all the help she needs – if she gives him everything he wants…

As if things weren’t complicated enough, Stephanie’s just discovered her Grandma Mazur’s own unmentionable alliance with Eddie. Add a series of unnerving break-ins, not to mention the bombshell revelation leveled by Stephanie’s estranged sister, and Stephanie’s ready for some good news. Unfortunately, a marriage proposal from Joe Morelli, the love of her life, isn’t quite cutting it. And now – murder, a randy paramour, a wily mobster, death threats, extortion, and a triple kidnapping aside – Stephanie’s really got the urge to run for her life…


Review: I picked this one up to fulfill a Goodreads challenge. I have read books 4-7 so far this year and for the most part have really enjoyed them. They are fun, easy reads. I’m constantly surprised by the messes Stephanie finds herself in. I love the humor in these books, it definitely lightens things up.

Overall, I throughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the eighth installment.