4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: All Around the Town by Mary Higgins Clark

All Around the Town
by Mary Higgins Clark

All Around the Town

 

Copyright: 1992

Pages: 238

Read: Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Goodwill

 

Blurb: Laurie Kenyon, a twenty-one-year-old college senior, is accused of murdering her English professor, Allan Grant. When he is founds tabbed to death, her fingerprints are everywhere – on the door, on the curtain, on the knife.

Arraigned on a murder charge, a shocked and bewildered Laurie has no memory of the crime. Traumatized by abuse she suffered after she was kidnapped at the age of four and held for two years, she has developed multiple personalities. Laurie, the host personality, does not know that others coexist with her, nor is she aware that one of her alternates, Leona, has been writing Allan Grant crazed love letters and secretly entering his home.

Bic Hawkins, Laurie’s abductor, an unsavory drifter, has been scratching out a living singing in taverns and acting as a fundamentalist preacher. Now he has become a celebrated television evangelist, who has achieved fame for his talent to mesmerize people. Before releasing her, Bic had threatened six-year-old Laurie with death if she ever talked about what he had done to her and, terrified, she has erased the experience from her mind.

Attorney Sarah Kenyon has quit her job as an assistant prosecutor to defend her younger sister. Sarah brings in psychiatrist Dr. Justin Donnelly, a specialist in the treatment of multiple personalities, to save her sister by unlocking the unbearable memories of her lost years that she has been suppressing.

Bic’s obsession with Laurie has never diminished. Now it is rivaled by his fear of exposure. He is compelled both to be close to her and to eliminate her forever.


Review: I can always count on Mary Higgins Clark for a really great read and this one definitely did not disappoint!

I didn’t read the description very closely because when the multiple personalities came out it was like a total shock! Ha! But I really think that that aspect made this book just so much better. Multiple personality disorder is not something that I am very familiar with, but I do feel like Ms. Clark aced it.

Even though this book was originally published in 1992 it felt like something that could have been written in 2018. It felt like a it fit right in with all the psychological thrillers that are all the rage right now. The characters were all well developed and each had their own individual story, even the minor characters. And then there was that ending … it was one that I kind of saw coming, but it was still enjoyable to see how it all ended up being wrapped up. This was just a good solid read.

This book just absolutely flew by! I thoroughly loved it and couldn’t get through it fast enough. Highly, highly recommended!!

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First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, November 6, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I picked up last week on a whim.

All Around the Town

Ten minutes before it happened, four-year-old Laurie Kenyon was sitting cross-legged on the floor of the den rearranging the furniture in her dollhouse. She was tired of playing alone and wanted to go in the pool. From the dining room she could hear the voices of Mommy and the ladies who used to go to school with her in New York. They were talking and laughing while they ate lunch.

That’s the first paragraph and it caught me immediately. The entire book had me totally engrossed! I loved it and sure hope you’ll stop back by later this week for my review!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Judas Goat by Robert B. Parker

The Judas Goat
by Robert B. Parker

The Judas Goat

 

Copyright: 1978

Pages: 203

Read: Oct. 28-30, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Spenser has gone to London — and not to see the Queen. He’s gone to track down a bunch of bombers who’ve blown away his client’s wife and kids. His job is to catch them. Or kill them. His client isn’t choosy.

But there are nine killers to one Spenser — long odds. Hawk helps balance the equation. The rest depends on a wild plan. Spenser will get one of the terrorists to play Judas Goat — to lead him to others. Trouble is, he hasn’t counted on her being very blond, very beautiful and very dangerous.


Review: This is the 5th book in the Spenser series. This was a quick and fun read. It was a little violent (nothing over the top), but more than I remember in previous installments. You can also tell that it’s a little dated … based on the clothing descriptions 😀 However the actual storyline itself was not dated at all, it was quite enjoyable.

I like Spenser’s character … he’s a hard-hitting dude with some heart to him. I also like the addition of Hawk’s character, I think he adds a really great dimension to the book and I hope he continues to make appearances in subsequent installments.

Overall I enjoyed this one. It was a good and solid installment and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book.

Monthly Wrap Up

October 2018 Wrap Up

Holy moly, another month gone! I swear 2018 has flown by, it’s unreal! To think that it’s November is insane! And now the holidays are upon us…. ugh! I’m so not ready, ha! Anyway, I had a good reading month for October, but I wasn’t nearly as active here on the blog as I had liked to be. I just didn’t find myself on the computer as much as I would have preferred, but I was still reading so it’s ok 🙂

AlertGeorge Washington and the New NationThe Amazing Mrs. PollifaxAn Imperfect GodThe YardThe Judas Goat

The Yard would probably be my favorite, with An Imperfect God being a really close second (for a non-fiction read that was a really good book!)

Other than book reviews, I only posted one thing on the blog this month:

  • First Chapter/First Paragraph: Oct. 23

Told you I was pretty quiet around here 😦 Hopefully November can get back on track for me. I Just found myself reading more than turning on the computer, which is a good thing… but I still prefer to be a little more present around here.

Off the blog I had a busy month. Between me and my children we spent an entire week at home sick. That was no fun … plus it put me really behind at work. And of course October is generally a pretty busy time at my work. I’m still running, in fact I’m doing a little bit better than I have been. I’m pretty close to figuring out the whole breathing thing, lol! It definitely makes it a lot easier 😀 We joined a local gym so I could access the treadmills. Ugh. That’s got to be the worst running ever… I definitely prefer to run outside! But our winters can be pretty unpredictable, so I’ll probably need to utilize the treadmills during the winter months to keep in shape until spring.

I’m looking forward to November. I hope to have another great reading month; I’m already off to a good start, having finished my first book yesterday! Hopefully I can be a little more active here than I was in October…. but as long as I keep reading it’ll be fine 🙂

Until next month … happy reading!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING

Review: The Yard by Alex Grecian

The Yard
by Alex Grecian

The Yard

 

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 422

Read: Oct. 21-26, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

 

Blurb: Victorian London: a violent cesspool of squalid depravity. Only twelve detectives – the Murder Squad – are expected to solve the thousands of crimes committed here each month. Formed after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure in capturing Jack the Ripper, the Murder Squad suffers the brunt of public contempt. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own…

A Scotland Yard inspector has been found stuffed in a black steamer trunk at Euston Square Station, his eyes and mouth sewn shut. When Walter Day, the squad’s new hire, is assigned to the case, he finds a strange ally in Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the Yard’s first forensic pathologist. Their grim conclusion: This was not just a random, bizarre murder. It appears that the police – possibly the squad itself – are being targeted, and the devious killer shows no sign of stopping before completing his grim duty. But Inspector Day has one more surprise, something even more shocking than the crimes: the killer’s motive.


Review: I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I usually enjoy historical fiction when it is wrapped up with a mystery. I’m so glad that I did finally get around to this book because I really did enjoy it.

My one main criticism would be that we really knew who the killer was entirely too early. It was still interesting to watch the case unfold, but I’m just not a fan of knowing who the killer is so early in the book.

I can’t tell you how atmospheric this book felt to me. I really felt like I was walking the streets in London in the 1800s, I felt like Mr. Grecian really captured the feel of the city during that time period.

So overall I’m thrilled that I read this book and it gives me a new series to follow (like I needed that!!) But yes, I would definitely recommend this book to both historical fiction lovers and mystery lovers. I felt like it was a perfect blend of the two genres and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018, U-V-W

Review: An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America by Henry Wiencek

An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America
by Henry Wiencek

An Imperfect God

 

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 362

Read: Oct. 13-22, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: In this groundbreaking work, Henry Wiencek explores the first president’s life, his work, and his engagement with slavery. Born and raised among blacks and mixed-race people, Washington and his wife had blood ties to the slave community. Yet as a young man, he bought and sold slaves without scruple, even raffled off children to collect debts. Then, on the Revolutionary battlefields where he commanded both black and white troops, Washington’s attitudes began to change. This revelatory narrative documents for the first time the moral transformation that led to his decision – unique among the Founding Fathers – to emancipate his own slaves. Washington’s heroic stature as Father of Our Country is upheld in this superb portrait: now we see him in full as a man of his time and ahead of his time.


Review: Wow, can I just say that this was a really enjoyable read! It may be non-fiction and dealing with a pretty heavy subject matter, but it read so fast and was so good that I hardly even noticed… I was so drawn into it!

Now with that being said, I have to say that I’m not entirely sure that Mr. Wiencek completely hit the mark on what he was trying to accomplish in this book. Reading the blurb I went into this book thinking that he was really going to unravel George Washington and show a little bit more than what I had read in previous books. To some extent he certainly did accomplish that. However, there were multiple places that I felt like I could have been reading about slavery in general, not necessarily slavery as it related to George Washington.

I have never made any type of serious study into slavery and so a lot of things that I read in this book were just gut wrenching to me. I mean, I’m aware of the overall aspect of slavery as a whole, but there were a lot of things that I really didn’t know. It proved to be quite a difficult read at times. To think that people could actually treat other human beings in the manner that they did was just unfathomable to me. I still shudder at some of the stories and descriptions in this book.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s eye-opening and quite informative. If you’re looking for a basic overview of slavery during George Washington’s time, I feel like this is as good a place as any to start. I think that it’s a good place for people interested in learning more than just the basics of George Washington to learn some new information as well. It has definitely piqued my interest in studying more about slavery as a whole in the future.

Definitely recommended.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax
by Dorothy Gilman

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax

 

Copyright: 1970

Pages: 176

Read: Oct. 14-19, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Used book store

 

Blurb: When Emily Pollifax answered the phone that Sunday morning she quickly forgot about her Garden Club tea in the afternoon. The last time she had heard the voice on the other end of the line it had sent her off on a journey that plunged her into a wild tangle of secret agents and high adventure – an exciting change from her quiet life in the New Jersey suburbs. Now the man from the CIA was asking if she could leave immediately on a mission that would take her half-way across the world. What else could Mrs. Pollifax say but yes??


Review: Ok, so I had read the first Mrs. Pollifax book, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax back in 2016 and wasn’t really all that thrilled with it. But when I saw this one on the shelf at my favorite used bookstore I figured for $1 it wouldn’t kill me to give it another shot.

I’m glad I picked this one up that day. I thought this installment was much better than the first. I felt like I got to understand Mrs. Pollifax better. I felt like there was more meat to the story itself and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I really enjoyed the supporting characters in this installment, they really added to the story in a positive way.

I’ll definitely be on the hunt for book #3 in this series. I’m definitely glad I gave Mrs. Pollifax another shot!

First chapter

First Chapter, First Paragraph, October 23, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I picked up because it fit multiple Goodreads challenges, but it’s also one that I’ve been looking forward to!

The Yard

Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found.

I’m going to keep this one short because it gets a little wordy after that and I feel like that first sentence really tells you all you need to know about the beginning of this book. I’m a little bit into it now and am enjoying it, so look for my review in a week or two!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799) by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799)
by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington Anguish and Farewell.jpg

 

Copyright: 1969, 1972

Pages: 503

Read: Sept. 14 – Oct. 11, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Powells.com

 

 

 

Blurb: George Washington: Anguish and Farewell is the fourth and final volume of one of the most distinguished American biographies of our generation. Covering the tumultuous years of Washington’s second term as President, his retirement, and his death, the book reveals the almost shattering pressures under which Washington struggled to maintain America’s unity during its first great peacetime testing as an independent nation.

The testing was regional: North versus South, East versus West. It’s a philosophical and political: Federalists versus Republicans, Hamilton versus Jefferson. And it was international: the upheaval accompanying the French Revolution, which threatened to draw the United States into a world war that would have stifled the growth of the infant republic and perhaps ignited civil conflicts on the streets and farms at home.

Disproving the contention that Washington allowed himself to be used by Hamilton, James Thomas Flexner has discovered unexpected dimensions in the stormy relationship between Washington and Jefferson. And Mr. Flexner’s exploration of Washington’s attitude towards slavery breaks significant new ground. He demonstrates that Washington’s growing unhappiness with slavery – he eventually freed his own bondsmen – was an important reason why Washington would not support Jefferson’s Virginia agrarianism to the exclusion of the alternative economic system espoused by Hamilton.

The book is intensely dramatic. It is also tinged with sadness, portraying Washington at a time when his struggle to keep the nation together was weakened by his own infirmities. With Washington’s retirement, his former brilliance became increasingly clouded by periods of confusion. When the time came, he was glad to die.

George Washington: Anguish and Farewell provides a brilliant counterpoint between Washington’s public and private lives. It is a narrative in which Washington not only thinks and acts, but lives. It takes the final measure of the great president as a hero – and as a man.


Review: This is the fourth and final book in James Thomas Flexner’s George Washington series. And honestly, I found it to be the best book of the series.

This particular book covers the time from the beginning of Washington’s second term up until his death. Perhaps it is because this time period was a little more interesting to me than that of Washington’s earlier years, but I definitely had a lot more interest in reading this book than I had the previous three.

As with the previous books in the series, this one was well-written and extremely well-researched. I also felt like this book was put together a little bit better than the last book (where I distinctly remember that there were things that felt a little out-of-place in certain areas).

I can’t say that reading this 4 book series was an easy road (it totaled up to 1,825 pages!), but I’m overall glad that I stuck it out and finished it because it definitely is a work of art in itself. It’s probably not the series for everyone, and definitely not for just the average reader. But if you are interested in taking a serious stab at learning more about our first President, this series is an amazing resource.

For quick reference, my reviews of Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3

 

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan

I Know You Know coverAbout I Know You Know

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 18, 2018)

From New York Times bestselling author Gilly Macmillan comes this original, chilling and twisty mystery about two shocking murder cases twenty years apart, and the threads that bind them.

Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger.

For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don’t want the case—along with old wounds—reopened so many years after the tragedy, especially Charlie’s mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands.

When a long-dead body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career at risk, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy…


Review:

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

So I immediately snatched up this opportunity when it was pitched to me! I had read and really enjoyed one of Ms. Macmillan’s previous novels, The Perfect Girl last year and so I was eager to read more of her work!

I was immediately pulled into this story. I really enjoyed the podcast part of this story, it was like little breadcrumbs here and there. As I was reading I wasn’t really sure where the storylines were going to intersect, but Ms. Macmillan managed to weave them together nearly seamlessly.

My one criticism is that I felt like the ending could have been a little stronger in its execution. It wasn’t a bad ending, but I did feel slightly let down that there wasn’t just a little bit more oomph to it.

Overall though a really great book that I definitely recommend!!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Gilly Macmillan APAbout Gilly Macmillan

Gilly Macmillan is the Edgar Nominated and New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew. She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she’s worked as a part-time lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.

Find out more about Gilly at her website, and connect with her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.