Mini Reviews … again!

I just keep getting more behind than ever in my reviews. One thing I’ve noticed is that when I had a really strong reaction to a book, I wrote out a full review…. these books, while (mostly) all pretty good, didn’t leave me with very much to say. So maybe I’ll just make this more of a habit – when a book really leaves me with something to say about it, I’ll do a full review. Otherwise, you’ll probably be seeing more of these mini-reviews 🙂 Anyhoo, on to the books!

Men in Blue
Title: Men in Blue
Author: W.E.B Griffin
Read: Aug. 4-9, 2017
Pages: 352
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 2/5

Thoughts: This one was …. weird. I went into it thinking it was going to be a detective type story, but it’s not even close. The reader is presented with a murder within the first chapter but then it never followed the detective work to solving the crime. It was more a background history of the police department itself. This one just wasn’t what I was looking for.

Cross My Heart
Title: Cross My Heart
Author: James Patterson
Read: Aug. 7-10, 2017
Pages: 432
Source: Purchased new
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I’m a sucker for a James Patterson novel. He’s usually something I pick up when I need a good, mindless read that I can knock out in a couple of days. This one fit the bill, but it also ended with somewhat of a cliffhanger. I hate those – bleed more money out of us, why don’t you? Just a pet peeve – finish the book in the book, don’t stretch it to a second book. Especially when it’s a part of a series anyway! Ugh.

Mistletoe Murder
Title: Mistletoe Murder
Author: Leslie Meier
Read: Aug. 13-17, 2017
Pages: 240
Source: Purchased used
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This one was an impulse purchase at my favorite used book store. I read it in August because I needed it to fulfill a challenge callout in one of my Goodreads groups. And it was a cute book! It is billed as a cozy, but it’s not as “clean” of a cozy as I was expecting – which was a nice sigh of relief for me. I enjoyed it enough to go ahead and order the next two in the series from Paperbackswap!

Dirty Work

Title: Dirty Work
Author: Stuart Woods
Read: Aug. 19-22, 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Library book sale
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: These are no literary feats, but I enjoy a good Stone Barrington novel anyway! This one is the 9th in the series and a good fun read. I’m definitely looking forward to many more Stone Barrington adventures (and I’ve still got a lot ahead of me 🙂 )

Officer Down
Title: Officer Down
Author: Theresa Schwegel
Read: Aug. 23-27 , 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Purchased used
Rating: 2/5

Thoughts: I’m still flabbergasted that this won an Edgar Award. I mean overall the book is not bad. But I just didn’t find it believable. My brother-in-law is a police officer and I didn’t find the main character, Sam, to be a very good representation of a police officer. Perhaps my expectations were a little too high, but it fell below the mark for me.

Mortal Stakes
Title: Mortal Stakes
Author: Robert B. Parker
Read: Aug. 28-31, 2017
Pages: 328
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: Spenser is growing on me. I didn’t like him in the first book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the second book. This is the third installment and I once again enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading more of Spenser (and again, I have lots more of this series ahead of me!)

 

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Review: The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

The Perfect Girl
by Gilly Macmillan

The Perfect Girl

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 464

Read: Aug. 1 –26, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads

 


Blurb
: Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead. In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all.


Review: I was excited to see this as August’s selection on Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads (especially after not being at all interested in July’s selection…). I had never read anything by Ms. Macmillan, but I do have What She Knew on my shelf. So I was eager to jump right into this one!!

Overall, I enjoyed the book. But I did have some issues with it. First, there was all this build-up to the climax and then I was ultimately let down. I mean, you have all these people telling the story how they saw it and then you just end it with a brief mention of an arrest and sentence … and that’s it? It was a little disappointing to me and I felt like there could have been just a little more to the story.

There was also the entire side story with Sam’s character – what was the point of him being mentioned at all? Ok, I take that back…. as Zoe’s attorney for her “incident” he definitely did deserve a mention. But beyond that it felt totally unnecessary.

I keep going back and forth wondering if the fact that I read this book in spurts every day with it being part of Serial Reads hampered my opinion of this one. Maybe then the flow of it would have felt a little more natural? I’m not sure. I’m still pretty sure that when you spend 95% of the book with the entire lead-up to the who-dun-it then you’re going to have a little bit of a let down no matter what because 5% is not enough time to wrap it all up without feeling rushed.

I never really felt entirely vested in any of the characters. Zoe was very off-putting to me. Chris was a slime-ball from the beginning. Tessa was irresponsible. Lucas was just kind of there. Richard was ridiculous. Sam was pointless. It was all one big cluster…. ha! I don’t know. I’m still scratching my head as to how I did enjoy this one so much. I did find it to be very readable. And I was very interested in knowing what happened to Zoe’s mom, Maria.

Either way, I did ultimately like this book and am definitely looking forward to reading more from Ms. Macmillan.

Mini Reviews

So somewhere along the line I’ve managed to get really behind on my reviews. I’m just going to do a quick round-up of these instead of full reviews.

The Night SeasonTitle: The Night Season
Author: Chelsea Cain
Read: July 7-11, 2017
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased new
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I had tried to read this one years ago, after I read the first 3 in the series. I remember putting it aside, not being able to get into it. I thought it was because I knew Gretchen wasn’t going to have any part in this book. But when I picked this one back up this time around, I flew through it. It was really good!

One False MoveTitle: One False Move
Author: Harlan Coben
Read: July 17-20, 2017
Pages: 400
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I don’t know why I don’t read more Myron Bolitar. I always enjoy these books. And this one was no exception. I enjoyed navigating all the family secrets in this one with Myron. And that ending – it was not at all what I had expected! It definitely made me look forward to reading more Myron sooner rather than later!

Vengeance in DeathTitle: Vengeance in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Read: July 21-26, 2017
Pages: 357
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: The last book in this series, Ceremony in Death, left me feeling a little bit flat. So I was a bit hesitant to pick up this one, but I’m sure glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this one! I loved seeing more about Roarke and Summerset. It definitely gave a new perspective on them individually, as well as on their friendship. This book left me excited for more of these books (and there’s only a gazillion more, ha!)

Breaking CreedTitle: Breaking Creed
Author: Alex Kava
Read: July 28-31, 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Purchased new
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I am a huge fan of Alex Kava’s Maggie O’Dell series. So when she introduced Ryder Creed and his dogs in the last installment of the Maggie O’Dell series, I was really excited to see a spin-off. And I thoroughly enjoyed this one. But it felt more like an extension of Maggie (not complaining – I love her character) than it did a new series with a new character. Maybe that changes in the next book. I don’t care either way, I enjoyed it and look forward to more from Alex Kava!!

Review: Presidents’ Day by Seth Margolis

Presidents’ Day
by Seth Margolis

Presidents Day

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 356

Read: July 13 – 16, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: TLC Book Tours
Blurb: Julian Mellow has spent his life amassing a fortune out of low-risk / high-reward investments. Now, Mellow has an even greater ambition – and to make that man do his bidding, in business and beyond.

His motivations are mysterious to everyone – from the puppet candidate he’s running to his own wife – everyone except for one man who lost everything when he took the fall for Julian Mellow’s dirty financial dealings, and has been looking for a way to strike back ever since. He’s the only person standing between the American people and a rigged election, between democracy and a new American tyrant.

Marigolds spans the globe to weave together a brilliant story of politics at its most venal, where blackmail and murder are part of the political process, where anyone’s life is up for sale, and where one man could bring the whole kingdom toppling.


Review: I enjoy a good political thriller every now and then, so I was excited to see this one come through my email. I was immediately intrigued by the concept – a rich man wanting to essentially “buy” the presidency …. hmmm… 😉 Moving on….

I found this book to be extremely fast paced from the beginning, that’s a must with any political thriller in my opinion. I felt like the storyline was incredibly relevant. Let’s be honest, American politics have been the butt of all jokes since Trump announced his candidacy. So the whole idea that a very rich man could buy the presidency doesn’t seem so impossible after all….

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a really good, solid political thriller. It’s timely and enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one and will be anxiously looking forward to future books by Mr. Margolis.

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

Review: Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway

Lacy Eye
by Jessica Treadway

Lacy Eye.jpg

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 339

Read: July 4 – 6, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Book of the Month Club

 
Blurb: Hanna and Joe send their awkward daughter Dawn off to college hoping that she will finally “coming into her own.” When she brings her new boyfriend, Rud, to her sister’s wedding, her parents try to suppress their troubling impressions of him for Dawn’s sake. Not long after, Hanna and Joe suffer a savage attack at home, resulting in Joe’s death and Hanna’s severe injury and memory loss.

Rud is convicted of the crime, and the community speculates that Dawn may also have been involved. When Rud wins an appeal and Dawn returns to live in the family home, Hanna resolves to recall that traumatic night so she can testify in the retrial, exonerate her daughter, and keep her husband’s murderer in jail.

But as those memories resurface, Hanna faces the question of whether she knows her own daughter – and whether she ever did.


Review: If you have never read this book, stop reading this.  There will be a few spoilers in this review. 

Still with me? Good. So here’s the thing…. Hanna is an idiot! Plain and simple. Anyone with half a brain would realize within the first chapter that something was seriously wrong with Dawn. First of all, no 20-something woman will call her mother “Mommy” that’s just not normal in my opinion. Also, it was painfully obvious that something was “off” with Dawn from a very early age, teachers mentioned this multiple times … and yet, they never sought any help for her. I know it’s difficult to see your children in any light other than perfection, but at some point in time you have to get your head out of the sand and face reality that perfection does not exist and that there may be something needing attention. I was just flabbergasted at how Hanna’s character was portrayed throughout the entire book. As a mother it was really discouraging for me to read and I can only hope that I would not ignore any of those warning signs in my own children.

Moving on … overall I enjoyed the book. It gripped me from the very beginning and I found it hard to put down. I was pretty well convinced that I already knew the truth behind the attack rather early on, so there wasn’t any great big surprise. But it was still interesting to see the psychology behind all the characters and the decisions they made. It was well written, and I enjoyed reading it. I just had the little problem with the naiveté of Hanna’s character. If it hadn’t been for that, this would most definitely had been a 5 star book for me.

So yeah, I’d definitely recommend this book. You probably won’t have any huge surprises along the way while reading this book, but it was still a good solid read. I’m only upset that I waited so long to read this one!

Review: Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway

Bad Blood
by Brian McGilloway

Bad Blood

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: June 13th 2017
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062684558 (ISBN13: 9780062684554)
Series: DS Lucy Black #4
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Blurb: A young man is found in a riverside park, his head bashed in with a rock. One clue is left behind to uncover his identity—an admission stamp for the local gay club.

DS Lucy Black is called in to investigate. As Lucy delves into the community, tensions begin to rise as the man’s death draws the attention of the local Gay Rights group to a hate-speech Pastor who, days earlier, had advocated the stoning of gay people and who refuses to retract his statement.

Things become further complicated with the emergence of a far-right group targeting immigrants in a local working-class estate. As their attacks escalate, Lucy and her boss, Tom Fleming, must also deal with the building power struggle between an old paramilitary commander and his deputy that threatens to further enflame an already volatile situation.

Hatred and complicity abound in McGilloway’s new Lucy Black thriller. Compelling and current, Bad Blood is an expertly crafted and acutely observed page-turner, delivering the punch that readers of Little Lost Girl have grown to expect.


Review: This is the fourth book in the Lucy Black series and I have read the previous three (Little Girl Lost, Someone You Know, The Forgotten Ones ) and thoroughly enjoyed all of them! So when I was pitched this book I eagerly accepted it to review. I was looking forward to falling back in with Lucy and Tom.

Gay rights, immigration, and the legal issues of drugs were all integral parts of this book. The way they were portrayed definitely leaves the reader with some tough questions to ask themselves – how would you react in certain situations that these characters were placed in? I will say that going this route with the storyline gave this book an extremely current feel. While this book is set in Ireland right before the Brexit, these are some of the same issues that plague the United States as well right now.

I still really enjoy Lucy’s character. Theres’s just something about her that I enjoy. She’s a smart cop, but she’s also got a lot of heart. It’s a nice combination to see. There seemed to be a lot more interaction with other police officers in this book than I remember in the previous books. It was nice to see some other secondary characters get quite a bit of attention in this installment.

So while the political issues brought up in this book definitely have a current vibe, I hope it won’t be too off-putting to certain readers. Luckily, I am still looking forward to seeing more of Lucy Black in the future and will be eagerly awaiting the next installment from this series!


Author Bio:

Brian McGilloway

Brian McGilloway was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling Lucy Black series, all to be published by Witness. Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife and their four children.

Catch Up With Our Author On:Website 🔗Goodreads 🔗Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!


GIVEAWAY

There is a Rafflecopter giveaway! There will be 3 winners of one (1) non-Kindle eBook coupon for a copy of THE FORGOTTEN ONES by Brian McGilloway. The giveaway begins on June 24 and runs through August 1, 2017. You can find the Rafflecopter link HERE.


Excerpt

The hall was already packed by the time Detective Inspector Tom Fleming arrived. The air was sweet with perfume and talc and, beneath that, from the farmers still wearing their work clothes, the scent of sweat and the smell of the earth.
The congregation were on their feet, being led in the opening hymn by Pastor James Nixon. Fleming smiled apologetically at those he squeezed past to get to a free seat in the third row from the back. The hymn finished, the assembly took their seats just as Fleming reached his, and settled to listen to the words of Pastor Nixon.
‘My brothers and sisters, it is a great honour to be here with you this evening and to see so many of you have taken the time to come and pray with me.’ His voice was strong despite his age, a rich baritone still carrying the inflections of his native Ballymena accent.
‘But it is a time of great challenge for us all. Daily, all good people face an assault on their morality with the rampant homosexual agenda that assails us and belittles everything we hold to be true and dear. Men of conscience are tried for refusing to make a cake celebrating homosexuality or print leaflets and posters furthering that agenda. And on the other side of the border, the Irish Republic has voted to allow homosexuals to marry, as if two women playing house is no different to the consummated union of a man and a woman. As if it is not a perversion which shames us all.
A few voices appended his comment with ‘Amen’.
Nixon raised his hands, acknowledging their support. ‘There are those who would silence me, silence us. They tell us we must accept homosexuals in our town, our shops, allow homosexual bars and public houses to operate on our streets. We must allow sodomites to teach our children and to corrupt our young. We must stay silent while a new Gomorrah is built next to our homes and farms, our shops and schools. They say I am dangerous. They say I preach hatred. They say I should be silent. But I say this: I say that there is no danger in truth. I say that there is no hatred in goodness. And I say that I will not be silent.’
Another chorus of ‘Amens’ greeted his proclamation, accompanied by a smattering of applause which began at the front and rippled its way through the hall.
‘I will not stand idly by as our families are exposed to sin and depravity. I will not countenance the laws of the land being used to protect profane persons, allowing them to indulge their lustful practices, forcing those of us with consciences to humour this lifestyle. It is an abomination. The people who practise it are abominations and, like those before them, they will end in fire and brimstone.’
Fleming glanced around at the others in the congregation. While one or two shifted uncomfortably in their seats, for the most part the listeners sat intently waiting for Nixon to continue.
‘Friends, only last week, I read of an African nation – a heathen nation, a Godless nation – who arrested two men for homosexual acts. One of these men was sixteen. Sixteen! And do you know what they did to the pair of them? They stoned them. They took them out of the town and they threw rocks at them until the pair of them were dead. And do you know what I thought? Shall I tell you?’
An elderly lady in the front row called out ‘Yes’, to the amusement of those around her. Nixon smiled mildly at her, as if indulging her.
‘Stoning was too good for those men. Every rock that struck them was a just reward for their sinfulness, their immorality, their ungodly behaviour. Every drop of their blood that stained the ground was a reminder that they deserved to die. It was the wages of their sin!’
***
Excerpt from Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway. Copyright © 2017 by Brian McGilloway. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Review: Gone by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Gone
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Gone

Copyright: 2013

Pages: 386

Read: June 23 – 29, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Mexican strongman Manuel Perrine slaughters rivals as effortlessly as he wears his trademark white linen suits. Detective Michael Bennett is the only U.S. official ever to succeed in putting him behind bars. But now Perrine is out and vows to kill Bennett and everyone dear to him.

Bennett and his ten adopted children are on a secluded California farm, guarded by the FBI’s witness protection program. When Perrine begins a campaign of assassinations across the country, the FBI asks Bennett to risk it all – his careers, his family, his own life – to fight Perrine’s war on America.


Review: This is the sixth book in the Michael Bennett series. I read the fifth installment, I Michael Bennett, back in April and was left with this huge cliffhanger – the Bennett’s being placed into the witness protection program. So I was anxious to get to this book sooner rather than later. I immediately ordered it off of Paperbackswap. So I was glad that it fit a recent callout for a Goodreads challenge I’m doing. It gave me a reason to pick it up.

And while this book wasn’t necessarily a bad book, it just could have been better. I think it’s mainly because Michael Bennett was out of his element. I wanted him on a case, working a homicide. And the parts where the farm and whatnot was described, just didn’t feel right for this series. It definitely picked up once Bennett was called into the thick of things with the investigation to find Perrine.

So I’m glad I finally got the resolution I was looking for after the fifth book. I’m not entirely convinced that it needed an entire book in and of itself, but hey, I’ll continue to read the Michael Bennett series, I still like his character a lot. And I’m anxious to see if him and Mary Catherine will finally stop denying the inevitable and just get together already!!