3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier

Trick or Treat Murder
by Leslie Meier

Trick or Treat Murder

 

Copyright: 1996

Pages: 245

Read: July 2 – 6, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: It’s October in Maine, and everyone in Tinker’s Cove is preparing for the annual Halloween festival. While Lucy Stone is whipping up orange-frosted cupcakes, recycling tutus for her daughters’ Halloween costumes, helping her son with his pre-teen rebellion, and breastfeeding her brand-new baby, an arsonist is loose in Tinker’s Cove. When the latest fire claims the life of the owner of the town’s oldest house, arson turns into murder… 

While the townsfolk work to transform a dilapidated mansion into a haunted house for the All-Ghouls festival, the hunt for the culprit heats up. Trick-or-treat turns deadly as a little digging in all the wrong places puts Lucy too close to a shocking discovery that could send all her best-laid plans up in smoke.


Review: This is the third book in the Lucy Stone series. I read and enjoyed the first two books and I was really looking forward to getting back with Lucy and seeing what trouble she found herself into this time.

Overall, I found this one to be a cute little read. However … if I had to hear one more time about Lucy breastfeeding the baby, I was going to lose it. I know that nursing is a special part of motherhood in those early days, weeks and months. But it got to be a little too much for a short 245 page book. I swear it felt as if it was mentioned on every other page. I got sick of it, to be completely honest.

Other than that one little complaint, I found this to be a fun read. I didn’t know who the arsonist was until it was revealed at the end. I enjoyed the storyline and am definitely looking forward to continuing on with this series!

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First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, July 17, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I picked up for a Goodreads challenge, but one that I was really looking forward to digging into!

A Vision of Murder.jpg

I consider myself a professional; a psychic intuitive who is proud of how she makes a living; confident that the skills and abilities I innately possess give me a unique advantage to deal with just about any quirky, strange, bizarre or unusual situation that may crop up in my line of work.

I read and enjoyed the first two books in this series last year. Actually I enjoyed them so much that I quickly acquired the next three in the series. And then I let them sit on my shelves. So I was excited to pick this one up and get back into the series! I hope you’ll come back in a few weeks for my review!!

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

Review: Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

Our Kind of Cruelty
by Araminta Hall

Our Kind of Cruelty

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 273

Read: June 29 – July 1, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Book of the Month

 

Blurb: This is a love story.

Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely, life before he met Verity. V was the first person to understand him. To love him. In return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s secured the right job; he’s found the perfect home; he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He’s ready to start their blissful life together.

It doesn’t matter that V hasn’t been returning his e-mails or phone calls.

It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.

It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. As long as Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move, he’ll know just when to come to her rescue …

Spellbinding and seductive, Our Kind of Cruelty is a darkly twisted love story – one that draws razor-sharp lines between love and obsession, between truth a perception, and dares you to pick a side.


Review: This was my April selection from Book of the Month. I won’t lie – I felt a little dirty selecting it because this was the quick take description from the site: “The creepy, chilling Gillian Flynn-approved tale of a twisted sex game and what happens when obsession goes too far.” A book about a “twisted sex game” is way outside my comfort zone. But then the blurb just immediately drew me in and I knew I had to have this one. 😀 Then it arrived and I set it aside with all my other BOTM club selections (which heavier on the unread side than the read side…) I was still a little unsure about my selection of this one.

Then after I had read some pretty heavy books I knew I needed something snappy for my next read. Something that would be a quick and enjoying thriller. I picked this one up mainly because it started with “O” and it fulfilled a Goodreads challenge that I’m woefully behind on.

I was not prepared to be completely sucked in from the beginning. I read it in about 48 hours and was just dying to get to the end and figure out what really happened. It was an interesting look into the mind of a stalker. It definitely highlighted the problems with domestic issues between men and women at times. But really it was just an interesting view into how a stalker thinks and skews everything to fit their perspective. I enjoyed this twist on the domestic psychological thriller.

I highly recommend it! (And don’t be put off by the “twisted sex game” mentioned. Sure it’s kind of graphic in a few places, but it wasn’t over-the-top in my opinion.)

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, July 10, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I impulsively picked up off my shelves. After many weeks of having a pretty strict reading schedule, I’m enjoying having some time to select books based on my mood. This one is the 3rd book in the Lucy Stone series (I thoroughly enjoyed the first two) so I’m looking forward to digging in to it!!

Trick or Treat Murder

“I could just kill him.”

Monica Mayes pressed the gas pedal of her little BMW to the floor and zoomed around a pokey Dodge Caravan, cutting it a bit too close as she pulled back into her lane. The driver of the Caravan braked, and the van swerved, but Monica didn’t notice.

“How could he do this to me?” she asked herself, pulling out the cigarette lighter.

This intro definitely sucked me in! I couldn’t wait to find out what “he” did 🙂

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, July 9, 2018

Mailbox Mondays

This week I got my BOTM box in. I treated myself to a couple of extras for my birthday 🙂

The Last Time I LiedTwo truths and a lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she – or anyone – saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings – massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends all those years ago, Emma agrees.

Familiar faces, unchanged cabins, and the same dark lake haunt Nightingale, even though the camp is opening its doors for the first time since the disappearances. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager but soon discovers a security camera – the only one on the property – pointed directly at its door. Then cryptic clues that Vivian left behind the camp’s twisted origins begin surfacing. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself soothing through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and what really happened to her friends, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price.


GhostedWhen Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall deeply in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun, and it’s mutual: it’s as though Eddie has been waiting forever for her, too. Sarah is certain she and Eddie know everything about each other. So when he leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him.

But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened. There must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes more and more worried. Then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason Eddie disappeared. It’s because they both failed to share one essential thing with each other: the truth.


The Summer WivesIn the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose estate on Winthrop overlooks its famous lighthouse, Miranda is catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister – all long legs and world-weary bravado – is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

Yet beneath the Island’s patrician facade, there are really two castes: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic laborers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the grand houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife. But as the summer winds to its end, Joseph and Miranda are caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the Island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same – determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the once-powerful Fisher family is a shadow of its former self, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for murder eighteen years earlier. What’s more, Miranda herself is no longer a naive teenager, and she begins an impassioned quest for justice for the man she once loved … even if that means laying bare every last one of the secrets that bind the families of Winthrop Island.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, MMD Book Club, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

The Widows of Malabar Hill
by Sujata Massey

The Widows of Malabar Hill

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 375

Read: June 22-28, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes women’s legal rights especially important to her.

Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious, especially since one of the widows has signed her form with an X – meaning she probably couldn’t even read the document. The Farid widows live in full purdah – in strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further dance.


Review: This is the July selection in the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. I was initially a little hesitant to pick it up because of the setting. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything set in India and my knowledge of India and their customs are very limited, so I was unsure how I would take to this book. I can fully say that I am thrilled that I gave this one a shot! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I absolutely adored Perveen’s character. She was so strong and I just loved her. I obviously do not want to say too much about the book here and spoil it, but there was one defining moment in this book that was really the turning point for me. Perveen stood up and did something for herself that had me literally wanting to dance across the room in jubilation. It was at that point that I realized just what kind of character Perveen was – and she’s definitely one that I hope we continue to see in future series installments! As a woman, I loved everything that Perveen stood for. Sure she made some boneheaded moves at times (who doesn’t?), but for the most part she was level-headed and intelligent. Just a well-written, well-developed character!

I actually enjoyed learning a little bit more about the culture of India, especially what women have to endure at times. As a woman in America, I am used to certain liberties that women in other countries are not allowed. I find it hard to fathom this, but I also understand cultural customs. I found it to be quite educational.

Overall this is a book that I never would have picked up by myself. I took a chance on it and am so glad that I did. I highly recommend this book to mystery lovers and historical fiction lovers alike. It’s a well-written and entertaining book. It was easy to read and enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Definitely recommended!

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, July 3, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I’m reading right now. It was my April BOTM selection. And I’m really loving it!! Such a creepy thriller!

Our Kind of Cruelty

The rules of the Crave were simple. V and I went to a nightclub in a predetermined place a good way from where we lived. We raveled there together but entered separately. We made our way to the bar and stood far enough apart for it to seem like we weren’t together but close enough that I could always keep her in my vision. Then we waited. It never took long, but why would it when V shone as brightly as she did? Some hapless man would approach and offer to buy her a drink or ask her to dance. She would begin a mild flirt. And I would wait, my eyes never leaving her, my body ready to pounce at all times. We have a signal: As soon as she raises her hand and pulls on the silver eagle she always wears around her neck, I must act.

I cut that off in the middle of the first paragraph, which lasts a page and a half. It drew me right in, I wanted to immediately know more about the Crave! This is one messed up psychological thriller for sure! I hope you come back for my review in a couple of weeks!

Monthly Wrap Up

June 2018 Wrap Up

June was a much better month … a lot more relaxed for sure! And after the craziness that May brought I was definitely glad for a break 🙂 Plus we’re getting super close to my birthday 😀

My reading was decent, I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to, but I read two chunkier than normal books. But the quality of my reading was spot on this month!!

What I finished in June [clicking on the covers will take you to my review; except for Widows… that will post in the coming days]:

The Great AloneJar of HeartsAssassinThe Widows of Malabar Hill

See? A great reading month quality wise! I read The Great Alone for MMD’s June book club selection – I really loved it! Such a wonderful book with some pretty serious stuff – it made for great discussion in the book club’s forums. Jar of Hearts was an impulse NetGalley request that ended up being a home run! Assassin was a good book just a tad bit too long for my tastes. The Widows of Malabar Hill is the July selection on MMD’s book club. I had to use the interloan library request at my local library to receive it from an area library and it ended up coming in a lot faster than I had anticipated (I’d never used that feature before and didn’t know how long processing would take – it’s a lot faster than I anticipated!) so I read it early for book club since I didn’t want to keep it out too terribly long.  It was a good book, a historical mystery set in 1920s Bombay and I definitely enjoyed it more than I anticipated!!

Here’s a round up of what was posted on the blog in June:

I didn’t really post as much as I had wanted to, just enough to keep ahead of myself in reviews and some fillers. I feel like I’m in such a rut, but at the same time I’m glad that I’ve established a somewhat steady schedule. I know I sometimes feel as if it’s the same stuff every single week (and it is … just with different books featured), but it’s hard to keep up with the blog at times. 😦

I don’t think I’ve shared anything here about the fitness journey I’ve embarked on. I’ve began running. I’m doing Couch 2 5K. … slowly! Ha! In reality I can probably walk faster than I run. But for the most part I’m enjoying it. It’s hard though… I’ve never been a runner, ever, so those early weeks were hard. I’m on week 8 of the program and while I can’t say it’s any easier, I haven’t given it up yet. Not even after I fell down on the sidewalk and banged up my knee pretty badly. So that must be saying something. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m really enjoying the changes in my body. I haven’t lost much weight, but I’ve definitely lost inches and my legs are not as jiggly 😀 I’ve signed up to do a 5K in my town in September. I may be ready by then, ha! We’ll see. My longterm goal is to eventually run the Iron Mom Half Marathon in Paducah …. but I’ve been running for 8 weeks and I haven’t ever gone 3 miles in 30-35 minutes … so it may take me years to build up to 13 miles!

We got one date night this month …. Nathan cooked us some steaks at home and then we went to see Solo …. while the movie was overall good it sure did have a slow-as-molasses beginning.

We’ve survived the first month of Garrett’s summer break. He’s done Vacation Bible School and a Lego Camp. In July I think we’ll sign him up for a basketball camp. Other than that I’m not sure what we’ll do. I didn’t really want to put him in full-time care anywhere, so we’ve been figuring it out as we go. Luckily we have family close by so they’ve been helping out a lot. And I have the ability to work from home as well. That definitely makes a big difference.

I think that’s about all I’ve got for now … until next month, happy reading 🙂

3.5/5, Alexander Hawke, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Assassin by Ted Bell

Assassin
by Ted Bell

Assassin

 

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 590

Read: June 14-20, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Bookmooch

 

Blurb: Alexander Hawke, a direct descendant of the legendary pirate Blackhawke, is an expert on espionage and terror. A shadowy terrorist kingpin has orchestrated the systematic slayings of American diplomats, and as the death toll mounts, Hawke is called upon to avert a cataclysmic attack – while avenging a senseless crime that has left him devastated.

 


Review: This is the second book in the Alexander Hawke series. I had read the first book, Hawke, way back in 2013, so my memory of that was not very good. Luckily it didn’t really matter because there was enough background included for me to be able to follow along easily.

At 590 pages this book is way longer than what I normally read. The beginning was a little slower than I would have liked. But once the book picked up it was quite enjoyable to read and the 590 pages didn’t feel too terribly long.

Overall a good book that I enjoyed. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what adventures lay ahead for Alex Hawke!

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, June 26, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring the July selection in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club! I had never even heard of this book before she announced it in her Summer Reading Program. But since all the other books I’ve read so far for this club have been really good, I figured it was worth my try! A little outside my comfort zone, just because of where it’s set (Bombay in the 1920s), but I’m definitely looking forward to it!!

The Widows of Malabar Hill

On the morning Perveen saw the stranger, they’d almost collided.

Perveen had come upon him half-hidden in the portico entrance to Mistry House. The unshaven, middle-aged man appeared as if he’d slept for several days and nights in his broadcloth shirt and the grimy cotton dhoti that hung in a thousand creases from his waist to his ankles. His small, squinting eyes were tired, and he exuded a rank odor of sweat mixed with betel nut.

Hm… I’m not sure about this beginning. I wanted to share more than just that first sentence about the stranger, but then it got really wordy in that second paragraph. We shall see how it goes!