3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2013, Review Book

2013.28 REVIEW – A Man of Indeterminate Value by Ron Felber

A Man of Indeterminate Value
by Ron Felber

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 288
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: June 18-25, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 28
Format: Print
Source: Felicia with Jane Wesman Public Relations, Inc.

Blurb: In a world plagued by corrupt corporations and sinister forces that prowl the global landscape, John “Jack” Madson seeks salvation from deep within the man he is today and the man he aspires to be.

In the tradition of Raymond Chandler, John Grisham, and Michael Connelly, this crime fiction series launches with three noir thrillers bristling with authenticity, insight, and social commentary. From the boardrooms of Wall Street, to the steamy backstreets of Bangkok, to the secret Triads of Shanghai, award-winning author Ron Felber, originator of the FOX television series The Mob Doctor, takes his reader into the violent, surreal, and sex-crazed underbelly of 21st century America, the “empire in decline.”

Witty, riveting, and diabolically clever, the heart-pounding pace, exotic locales, and unforgettable characters make the “Jack Madson” series a welcomed innovation within the genre of crime fiction.

A Man of Indeterminate Value (Book 1), introduces ex-cop Jack Madson as a disgraced Wall Street take-over artist and target of a failed suicide scam that leaves him the “most wanted” man in the Garden State of NJ. Madson is on a personal mission to take on corporate forces hell-bent on his destruction as they seek to IPO game-changing bio-medical technology to the Street worth hundreds of billions of dollars.


Review: I received this book to review from Felicia with Jane Wesman Public Relations, Inc.

Let me just tell you right now that this book has an introduction that hooks you in immediately! I shared it with my readers as part of the First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros meme last week. But let me share it with you guys again (yes, it’s that good!)

The Yellow cab slipped into a parking spot opposite St. Damian’s monastery on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Newark’s Central Ward. I felt remarkably well for a man who’d just been shot. “Hey, mister, you gonna be all right? You don’t look too good,” the Puerto Rican driver said. “Here,” I answered slipping him two $100s for the $60 fare, “you stick to driving. You never saw me.” “Si, senor, no veo nada,” he swore as I crossed the street holding my right hand over the crimson circle of blood expanding on my Tailored Image white shirt, from my left bicep, just above the heart. In my left hand, I clung to a leather briefcase filled with drugs, booze, even some papers.

I mean, hello!? Doesn’t that just suck you in immediately and make you want to find out what on earth is going on here? I know it sure did me!

However, that introduction might have wowed me … well, let me just say that I was not impressed with Jack’s character. Well. I guess I really should say that I was not impressed with what Jack got himself involved with. First, the way his wife is described in the beginning makes her seem psycho. Yeah, you can imagine where all this goes. And let’s not forget about the fact that Jack had to leave college before graduating. The guy gets into financial trouble, you can’t really blame him for trying to stash some money back. But the whole plan he devises, well … yeah, I just can’t imagine it.

The story starts out at the end. Yes, you read that right. You pretty well know what happens in the end before you know how it got there. Personally, I don’t like books set up that way. But I understand why it was written in that format and I have to admit I was quite curious to find out what exactly had happened along the way. So I guess maybe it worked for me in this book more than it has in the past.

Bottom line, this is a really well written book. It held my attention relatively well and I was interested in knowing the whole story. And while I enjoyed it, I don’t think it would be a good book for everyone. I would recommend it, but only if business thrillers are your cup of tea.

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First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #10

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Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts this meme.

A Man of Indeterminate Means

Today I’m featuring a review book that I am currently reading – A Man of Indeterminate Value by Ron Felber

The Yellow cab slipped into a parking spot opposite St. Damian’s monastery on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Newark’s Central Ward. I felt remarkably well for a man who’d just been shot. “Hey, mister, you gonna be all right? You don’t look too good,” the Puerto Rican driver said. “Here,” I answered slipping him two $100s for the $60 fare, “you stick to driving. You never saw me.” “Si, senor, no veo nada,” he swore as I crossed the street holding my right hand over the crimson circle of blood expanding on my Tailored Image white shirt, from my left bicep, just above the heart. In my left hand, I clung to a leather briefcase filled with drugs, booze, even some papers.

I just started reading this last night and only got about 20 pages into it, but it’s definitely caught my interest so far!

 

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Harry Bosch, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES

2013.26 REVIEW – The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly

The Concrete Blonde
by Michael Connelly

Copyright: 1994
Pages: 397
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 11-16, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 26
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: They called him the Dollmaker – the serial killer who stalked Los Angeles and left a grisly calling card on the faces of his female victims. With a single faultless shot, Detective Harry Bosch thought he had ended the city’s nightmare…

But then the dead man’s widow sues Harry and the LAPD for killing the wrong man – an accusation that rings terrifyingly true when a new victim is discovered with the Dollmaker’s macabre signature…

Now, for the second time, Harry must hunt down a death-dealer who is very much alive, before he strikes again. It’s a blood-tracked quest that will take Harry from the hard edges of the L.A. night to the last place he ever wanted to go – the darkness of his own heart. 


Review: This is the third book in the Harry Bosch series, and I think these books just keep getting better. After not being overly impressed by the first, The Black Echo, I gave the second, The Black Ice a go earlier this year and really enjoyed it. So I figured picking up the third book would be a great place to sneak in a TBR book 🙂  

This particular installment is mainly set in the courtroom, where Harry and the city of Los Angeles are having to fight a civil case brought against him by the Dollmaker’s widow. I think we really got to see more of Harry’s character in this book. I know I personally saw a softer side to him. From his interactions with his girlfriend, Sylvia, to the internal conversations he has with himself during the course of the trial, I think that he is really starting to open up some. I definitely liked that. I want to like Harry as a character, but I have to admit that he wasn’t too likable for me in the first book. So I felt as if it was some much needed character-development. I also really appreciated that we finally got to see why Harry had been demoted, but I think he will work his way back up the ladder eventually. He definitely seems to have the backing of the chief after this case. 

I had a lot of fun trying to figure out what was going on … was it the Dollmaker or was there a copycat? Was it a cop? Or someone just close to the investigation. I definitely went round and round trying to figure it out. Mr. Connelly sure did a great job of making me fall into trap after trap with Harry. And although who the killer ended up being was not very original in my opinion, it definitely took me the entire book to figure it out. 

Overall another great installment in this series that I would highly recommend. 

AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Fiction, Read in 2013, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

2013.25 REVIEW – If You Were Here by Alafair Burke

If You Were Here
by Alafair Burke

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 358
Read: June 4-9, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 25
Format: Print
Source: TLC Book Tours

Blurb: Chasing a hot story, magazine journalist McKenna Wright uncovers information that sends her back to the past, to the disappearance of a close friend – a classmate of her husband’s at West Point – who vanished without a trace a decade ago.

McKenna always believed the truth went deeper than the police investigation ever reached. To find answers, the former prosecutor turned reporter embarks on a twisting search that leads across New York City – and into dark secrets buried dangerously close to home…


Review: I was excited to be able to be part of TLC’s tour for this book. I’ve never read a book by Alafair Burke, but I have seen her books everywhere and have always wanted to try one. So I’m definitely glad that I got this opportunity. And the best part was … I loved it!!

Let me just tell you that if you think you have the end of the book figured out, you most definitely do not! I thought everything was wrapped up nicely and then … BAM! … there was a twist that I never expected! It just made the book that much better.

I really liked McKenna’s character. So much so, that I think it would be interesting to see if Ms. Burke could bring her back in another book. It would be very interesting to fast forward a few years and see what else she can find herself wrapped up in! I have to admit, though, there were times that I didn’t really care for Patrick’s character. It was probably the way that he was portrayed by McKenna in some instances, but there was still something off about him in my opinion. I can’t imagine keeping the secret that he did for as many years as he did. It just boggles my mind that he kept something like that from his wife for so many years. Honestly, it made me not really trust his character all that much. But what’s sad is that it wasn’t necessarily a bad secret he was hiding, so I really never understood why he never told. I guess you could argue that the timing was never right, which is understandable, but it still made me leery of his character overall.

I felt like the writing was very good. The storyline was interesting, and as I said above, had a lot of fun twists and turns.

Overall this was a great read and I definitely look forward to reading more of Alafair Burke’s books!


Connect with Alafair Burke:

Alafair Burke

Website

Facebook

Twitter


**This review is posted in conjunction with the TLC Book Tours blog tour. I received a copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation and the opinions expressed here are my own.

tlc logoPlease be sure to check out the other stops on the tour:

Wednesday, June 5th: nomadreader
Thursday, June 6th: A Dream Within a Dream
Monday, June 10th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, June 11th: Tales of a Book Addict
Thursday, June 13th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Monday, June 17th: 5 Minutes For Books
Tuesday, June 18th: Under My Apple Tree
Wednesday, June 19th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, June 20th: A Bookworm’s World
Friday, June 21st: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, June 24th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, June 25th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Wednesday, June 26th: Man of La Book
Thursday, June 27th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, July 1st: Book Reviews by Elizabeth White
Tuesday, July 2nd: Veronica MD
TBD: Reflections of a Bookaholic

AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Read in 2013, Review Book, S

2013.23 REVIEW – Domestic Affairs by Bridget Siegel

Domestic Affairs
by Bridget Siegel

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 310
Read: May 21-June 1, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 23
Format: Print
Source: FSB Associates for review

Domestic AffairsBlurb: When twenty-something political fund-raiser Olivia Greenley gets tapped to work on the presidential campaign of Georgia governor Landon Taylor, it’s her dream job. Her best friend in the world is the campaign manager, and Taylor is a decent, charismatic idealist, with a real chance to be a great leader. Sacrificing her sleep, comfort, friends, family, and income for a year to make the world a better place is the right call, but what happens when both Campaign Lesson #1, No Kissing the Boss, and Lesson #2, Loyalty Above All, go down in flames before the first primary?

Bridget Siegel, veteran of the John Edwards and Obama campaigns, vividly captures the idealism and chaos, as well as the emotional heat and corruption, of the candidate’s bubble. What becomes of Olivia’s best friends when she must keep from them the biggest secret of her life? Is the candidate a true romantic or a political hypocrite? How far can she go to justify her happiness? Told with savvy, humor, and delicious inside-the-Beltway detail, Domestic Affairs is a page-turning tale of love on the campaign trail – and its consequences – from a consummate Beltway insider.


Review: I received a copy of this book for review from Anna at FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review.

When I was first pitched this book I was definitely intrigued. I like political type books. I was a little unsure about the romance portion of it, though. However, I can say that it really added to the intrigue of the overall book. I suppose if I was to classify this book it would definitely be chick-lit, which is not normally my genre of choice, but it worked for me with this book.

I was a little surprised at how naive a character Olivia seemed at times. I guess I would have expected someone working a presidential campaign would have a little more common sense at times. But I suppose it would be like me trying to work a campaign – I would be in over my head! Overall though, and especially with the ending, I was definitely a big fan of Olivia’s character.

I had to seriously wonder if this book was modeled after the Edwards campaign a little bit. Siegel apparently worked on that campaign, and with everything that came out after the campaign ended … well, I can’t help but wonder a little bit 🙂

Overall, I felt like this was a solidly written, engrossing story. The characters were well-developed. It’s definitely a fun read that I would highly recommend … and not just to political fans … I think everyone could find something to like with this book.

AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Fiction, Mitch Rapp, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES

2013.24 REVIEW – The Third Option by Vince Flynn

The Third Option
by Vince Flynn

Copyright: 2000
Pages: 402
Read: June 1-June 6, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013; 2013 Sequel Challenge
Yearly count: 24
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

The Third OptionBlurb: Mitch Rapp, the CIA’s most lethal and efficient counterterrorism operative, is putting into play a meticulous plan to take out a notorious sponsor of terrorism – when he falls prey to government forces with an agenda of their own.

Dr. Irene Kennedy is named the successor to dying CIA Director Thomas Stansfield – a choice that enrages many inside the world’s most powerful intelligence agency. And her detractors will resort to extreme measures to prevent her from taking the reins.

But what the Washington conspirators and backstabbing insiders do not know is that Mitch Rapp won’t tolerate being their pawn. And he will stop at nothing to find out who has set him up.


Review: This is the second in the Mitch Rapp series and I felt like it was another strong installment.

I honestly think that my only complaint about this book is that it could have been a smidge shorter, but it wasn’t enough that it made me dislike the book itself.

This book really showed some characters’ true colors. And let me just tell you that when the mole was revealed, I was surprised – when I really should not have been. However, this just makes it an interesting set up for the next book in the series. Mitch, Irene and the President might be fooled for right now, but they are eventually going to figure everything out … and oh, boy!, watch out when that happens!!

I think what I really liked to see was Mitch being brought into the office. He was ready to walk away from the Agency. So I was very glad to see that they were willing to bring him inside in order to keep him, because he’s really a great character. Plus it will only help his relationship with Anna – I’m not sure they could survive what happened in this book if he wasn’t brought into the inside of the Agency.

Overall, another great Vince Flynn book that leaves me anxious for the next one! Highly recommended (although I definitely suggest reading in order).

Recipes

RECIPE: Chicken Fajita Nachos

So, for today’s recipe I’m sharing a super easy nacho recipe that is one of my favorites.

I love anything Mexican, it’s probably pretty close to being my favorite type of food. And almost every time we go to have Mexican food, I will order the fajita nachos – sometimes chicken, sometimes steak, depending on my mood. When I was pregnant I didn’t have any of my nacho fajitas while dining out because I had to watch what kind of cheese I had (pasteurized, etc.). So I decided I would make them at home!

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So … here’s how I make this. It’s super easy!

All you need is a pound of chicken breast (or steak) a green pepper, red pepper and onion, 1 packet of fajita seasoning, tortilla chips and cheddar cheese.

Chop up the chicken (or steak) chop up a green pepper, red pepper and onion. Heat up some oil in a large skillet and add the chicken and veggies. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies have softened. Add the fajita seasoning and the water that it calls for on the packaging. Stir it all up and let the flavors blend for a few minutes. Meanwhile, place the nacho chips on two plates and add some cheddar cheese. Heat for about 30 seconds in the microwave to melt the cheese. Divide the meat mixture between the plates and add some more cheddar cheese and microwave another 30 seconds to melt.

Voila. You have a delicious and quick weeknight meal. And it’s definitely one of my absolute favorites!!!

Armchair BEA, Giveaways

Giveaway Winners

No – I didn’t forget all you guys. Life just got in the way and I hadn’t turned on the computer in a few days.

So, random.org picked out the winners. ANNNNND stupid me forgot to include a place on the form for you email address. SO, I have no way of contacting any of the winners 😦 I *hope hope hope* they’re followers and will see this post come through and will contact me ASAP – tara (at) talesofabookaddict (dot) com.

So, the winners are:

Lauren Guilbeau

Tina Kohrman

Shelly Hammond

Carrie Rundhaug

Lauren was the first winner chosen, so she will get first choice of the books and I will go down the list from there. If I don’t here back from any of these winners within 24 hours, I will move everyone up a spot (meaning Tina would be first winner and so on) and choose another.

Thanks everyone for participating and sorry for the inconvenience to the winners.

Armchair BEA

Armchair BEA 2013: Keeping It Real

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Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots

Well, I’m a day late on this post. I apologize, but yesterday was crazy insane – it was our son’s first birthday party (I will write a post about that later!). We got home relatively early, but I just didn’t have the energy to even turn the computer on.

So .. keeping it real, fresh and fun? Talk about something that I struggle with all the time.

I’m not exactly creative. I always struggled in college when I would have to write a paper that I had to come up with the topic for. It was always a challenge for me to try to think of something “new” – I actually found that it’s almost impossible.

So how do I keep my content on the blog fresh? I’m not going to lie … it’s hard!

I strive to have at least 1 book review to post a week. Sometimes this happens, most of the time it doesn’t 🙂 I also like to have one new recipe to share with my readers each week. Once again, sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t!

I try to participate in numerous memes throughout the week. I love Mailbox Mondays (and very rarely don’t have anything to share for this one! HAHA!). I also enjoy First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesdays.  Top Ten Tuesdays are fun too. There are all kinds of different memes out there if you look for them … they help you create a schedule of sorts. This can be very helpful when it comes to making sure you have fresh content every week. For example, if you know you have a Mailbox Monday post and a First Chapter, First Paragraph post you’ve already got two post ideas for the week. That leaves Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for other stuff – reviews, recipes, etc.

It’s easy to post five days a week, it’s just a matter of taking the time to sit down and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN it all out 🙂

Now if only I would take my own advice …..