2/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, D, Nonfiction, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.22 REVIEW – Those Wild, Wild Kennedy Boys by Stephen Dunleavy & Peter Brennan

Those Wild, Wild Kennedy Boys
by Stephen Dunleavy & Peter Brennan

Copyright: 1976
Pages: 211
Rating: 2/5
Read: July 10 – 18, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 22
Format: Print
Source: Paperbackswap
Series: N/A

Those Wild, Wild Kennedy BoysBlurb:
 There have been many words used to describe the Kennedy boys … handsome, aggressive, charismatic, charming, volatile, red-blooded, and sexy. This book investigates the latter descriptions, an in-depth probe into the more sensual aspects of the Kennedy mystique.

Here are Jack and Bob and Ted and all the girls you’ve ever heard whispered or gossiped about, a few you never heard of, and, too, those gals who somehow fell onto the front pages … Judy and Marilyn and Lee and Angie and Kim and Rita and Page and Jayne and Janet and Mary and Candy and Mariella and Rhonda and Amanda and Joan and Maria and more girls than anyone would have thought possible…


Review:This was an impulse PBS order. I don’t know what caught my eye about it but something did.

Unfortunately I ended up reading it in order to fulfill a Goodreads challenge that required me to read a book rated the lowest on my TBR. This one was the “winner” of that requirement.

And I have to admit … it’s not the greatest book. It was too gossipy for my taste. It was one of those books that just kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.

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Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, July 27, 2015

Mailbox MondaysA slim mailbox this week (which is a good thing). For a blog tour at the end of August:

Flesh and BloodDr. Kay Scarpetta is about to head to Miami for a vacation when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their home. Is this a kids’ game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Then she learns there’s been a homicide five minutes away. A high school teacher was shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. Yet no one heard or saw a thing.

Soon more victims surface. The shots seem impossible to achieve, yet they are so perfect they cause death in an instant. There is no pattern to indicate where the killer will strike next. First it was New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then the murky depths off the coast. There she comes face to face with shocking news that implicates her niece, Lucy – Scarpetta’s own flesh and blood.


Also, as part of this blog tour, I received a copy of Karin Slaughter’s Blindsighted. However, I read this one back in 2013 and would be happy to send this brand new copy to the first person to request it in the comments (leave your email).

BlindsightedA small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear.

Sara’s ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation – a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he’s got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the country’s sole female detective, Lena Adams – the first victim’s sister – wants to serve her own justice.

Yet it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath … or mean her death.


And for review in September:

CoercionAfter the Iron Curtain’s collapse, Russia appears to be finished as a superpower. But KGB general Vasily Karpov is working behind the scenes to restore Russia’s status by forcing Americans into traitorous acts of espionage and sabotage, with the aid of a new secret weapon. Meanwhile, the biggest target is within Russia, where Karpov is plotting to capture the Kremlin for himself.

Former US soldier and spy Alex Ferris becomes the first to fathom Karpov’s grand plans. Racing from San Francisco to Siberia, Alex must elude ambushes, assassins, and death from exposure as he wages a one-man war against a growing global threat and the resurgence of the Soviets.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.21 REVIEW – Stand Down: A Novella by J.A. Jance

Stand Down: A Novella
by J.A. Jance

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 112
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 17, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 21
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss via Publicist
Series: J.P. Beaumont #21.5

Stand DownBlurb:
 Life has shifted for J. P. Beaumont. After a tragic accident that devastated—and ultimately disbanded—his Special Homicide Investigation Team, he accepts that he has left homicide detection behind at this point, but he has a lot of unanticipated free time on his hands. He’s keeping busy with renovations on the new house that he and his wife Mel Soames, the newly appointed Chief of Police in Bellingham, Washington, have bought. But new fixtures and paint palettes can occupy only so much of Beau’s daily life, and Mel is encouraging him to return to where he is needed: investigating crimes.

In the meantime, she is struggling to gain control of her new situation, cast into a department where some are welcoming—and some are not. It’s been a few months, and the tension in the police department is rising, but Beau realizes Mel has to tackle things in her own way, so he refrains from advising. But when Beau shows up one afternoon to survey the construction at their new house and finds Mel’s car there but no sign of her, his investigative instincts kick in. Suddenly he’s back in the game—except this time, his heart is on the line as well as his professional dignity.


Review: I was contacted about this novella a while ago and had kind of filed it away thinking it sounded interesting, but I wasn’t really sold on it. But when I got a second email reminding me about it because the release date was near, I thought I’d give it a try. What’s to lose when there’s only112 pages?

Part of my reluctance is that I’ve actually only read one book in the J.P. Beaumont series and it was many, many years ago. So I figured I would be completely lost jumping into this series at book 21.5! But fear not … I had no trouble sliding right in with Beau and Mel. There was just enough background that I wasn’t scratching my head trying to figure out who was who and what was going on. Actually it made me want to read some of the previous books to really know more of the backstory (BAD Tara! The last thing you need is another book series……).

I was a little more than bummed when I reached the end of this novella. I was definitely left wanting more. I found this slim installment to be a lot of fun. It was fast paced and entertaining. I’m glad I gave this one a shot; I would definitely recommend it.

Book Blitz

Book Blast: A Killer Past by Maris Soule

1436973632

ABOUT THE BOOK:

1436975822A Killer Past
by Maris Soule
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | Books-A-Million
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Published by: Robert Hale / Hale Books
Release Date: June 1, 2015
Length: 224 Pages

Most people in the town of Rivershore, Michigan view Mary Harrington as a quiet widow whose only oddity is that she spends a lot of time at the gym. Her son thinks it’s time for her to move into a retirement home. Two gang members think she’ll be an easy target. No one in Rivershore knows what Mary did in her younger years—really did—but the two gang members discover they’ve underestimated their victim . . . and Mary fears reverting to old habits may have jeopardized her future.

EXCERPT:

Mary limped into her living room and sagged into Harry’s Lazyboy. Her heart hadn’t stopped pounding since she’d left the two boys. Even though pain radiated up her leg, the adrenalin racing through her body overrode the sensation. Excitement clashed with fear. My God, what had she done?

The boys hadn’t been content to simply take her purse and run. Oh no, they wouldn’t leave it at that. The short one blocked her escape while the tall one looked inside her purse. He said a twenty wasn’t enough, wanted to know where she’d put her credit cards, where she lived. They’d threatened her.

When the tall one grabbed her arm and reached for the lapel of her jacket, she didn’t even think before she reacted. Forty-four years might have passed, but her body automatically responded with ingrained moves. A shift of position, one step back, and she had her assailant off balance. She used her cell phone as a weapon, jamming the edge hard against the bone of his forearm. As she applied pressure, a sweep of her foot, along with a twist to her side, had him falling forward. The moment he hit the ground, she dropped down and slammed her knees into his back and ribs. Before he could react, she used the edge of the cell phone to cuff his ear, then grabbed his arm and gave a violent twist. He started screaming right after she heard his shoulder pop.

A quick roll to the side put her on her back. The short one stared down at her, his mouth open and his eyes glazed with confusion. She knew she didn’t have much time, but springing to her feet was not an option. Her joints might remember the moves, but age had robbed her body of its elasticity. What once had taken a single maneuver now required three stages, but she was on her feet before Shorty truly understood what was happening.

She used the cell phone in her hand to deliver the blow to his face, a side kick took out his knee, and a chop to his neck put him down on the ground. In the past, she would have finished him off then, finished both of them off. She knew the killing points. Two strategically placed jabs, and both of the boys would be eliminated, no more threatening old ladies.

But that was in the past.

“You stay where you are,” she demanded over their whimpering.

She retrieved her purse from where the tall one had dropped it, gave the pair one last glance, and turned away. Breathing hard, she hoped she wouldn’t have a heart attack before she reached her house.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

1437228391Writer, teacher, artist, wife, mother, dog trainer, horse rider, boater. Maris Soule can list an array of occupations and avocations. Even as a writer her 29 published books span a variety of genres and subgenres, ranging from short stories to romances, romantic suspense, and mystery. A two-time RITA finalist, Soule has placed in and won several writing contests. Born and raised in California, Soule and her husband now spend their summers in Michigan and their winters in Florida.

Connect: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page

GIVEAWAY: Please click HERE to go to the Rafflecopter page for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card.

As always, I hope you will visit the other stops on the blog tour:

Monday, July 20, 2015
A Blue Million Books – Author Interview
Christine’s Words – Author Interview
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Spotlight
Fundinmental – Book Review

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
The Book Diva’s Reads – Guest Post
Sexy Between the Covers-Melissa Keir – Spotlight
Tales of a Book Addict – Spotlight

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Cathie Dunn writes… – Guest Post
Authors’ Cafe – Book Review
Lora Lee – Spotlight

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Christa Reads and Writes – Spotlight
Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – Book Review

Friday, July 24, 2015
What Readers Want – Spotlight
Finding Fantastical Books – Spotlight
Margo Hoornstra – Writing Inside & Out – Spotlight

Saturday, July 25, 2015
Diane Burton – Adventure and Romance…in this world and beyond – Guest Post & Book Review

Novel Book Tours
Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, July 20, 2015

Mailbox MondaysSo I was having a really bad day and while browsing Target, I came across this one:

Eeny MeenyTwo people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Inspector Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case – with its seemingly random victims – has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense…

 

 

 

Miscellaneous Ramblings

My latest addiction….

Back when I started book blogging in 2008, reading challenges were all. the. rage. Now, they’re obviously still around, but most people I know have really fallen off the challenge wagon. Even I had seriously backed off the last few years, only committing to a few a year. And this year I signed up for not a single, solitary book-blog hosted challenge.

But sometime late last year I stumbled across a Goodreads group dedicated to reading challenges. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

Now for the most part, I started out small. I participated in the ones that required you to read 3 books a month or ones that tracked the number of pages you read in a month. That sort of thing. Then I branched out into the quarterly ones. I especially like the ones that are meant to clear your TBR.

But here’s where the problem is….

Now I want to sign up for the no-time limit, ridiculous challenges. You know, the ones that require you to read something like 400 books if you finish every single task of the challenge. Think about that when you only average 50 books or less a year…..

Say what?! Why yes, I have lost my entire mind. But I can’t help it. They’re addicting. It’s so much fun to pick out books that I already have on my shelves that will work for certain challenge. But the problem is that I’m spending more time finding books and picking what will fit into what category for a certain challenge than I am actually reading…

I can’t help myself. I need a Goodreads reading challenges intervention.

What about you …. have you found these challenges? How do you say NO!????

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Myron Bolitar, RATING, Read in 2015, SERIES

2015.20 REVIEW – Back Spin by Harlan Coben

Back Spin
by Harlan Coben

Copyright: 1997
Pages: 342
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 28 – July 6, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 20
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Series: Myron Bolitar #4

Back SpinBlurb:
In this fourth thrilling novel featuring sports agent Myron Bolitar, a boy vanishes on Philadelphia’s mean streets. Golf superstar Linda Coldren is desperate to find her son – and taps Myron to unravel the mystery.

But when Myron goes after the missing boy, he crashes through a crowed of lowlifes, blue bloods, and liars on both sides of the social divide. With Linda’s golf-pro husband suddenly making a run at the U.S. Open championship, a family’s skeletons are coming out of the closet. And Myron is about to find out how deadly this game can get.


Review: I’m guessing that when you think of golf you probably don’t think of it as a very cut-throat sport … right?! Me either. I am a casual golfer (I did play on my high school team one year) but I really wouldn’t have ever thought that there could be a mystery novel having golf as a subject which would hold my interest. But this one sure did.

Maybe it’s because I can’t seem to resist Myron Bolitar. I mean, the dude is hilarious. And if you can make golf funny … yeah, you can make anything funny.

There’s not much to say about this book. I like the Myron Bolitar series. I find them entertaining and intriguing. They are so different from Mr. Coben’s stand-alone novels, which I also enjoy, but there’s just something about Myron’s character that I love. I would definitely recommend this book and the series as a whole. But if you’re not into series books, these read well as stand-alones.

Book Blitz

Book Blast: Kissing Persuasive Lips by Dale Wiley

Kissing Persuasive Lips

by Dale Wiley

July 14 Book Blast

 

Synopsis:

cover

Mick Lord had the world by the tail until his beautiful wife died. He was young, rich and handsome, a star in Hollywood and in the banking world. But when his wife was killed by a five-time loser driving drunk, everything changed. Mick is trying everything to tempt death, but nothing’s working. He’s even on an uncanny gambling streak that is just making him richer.

When Mick is attacked by a man claiming that Mick “stole” his home, Mick discovers that the company he sold his banks to has been forging his name in order to kick people out of their houses. Beautiful Kinley Baron wants him to keep quiet, but that’s against everything Mick stands for. And when a rich old man maims a young woman right in front of him, Mick decides to use his fortune and his desire for death to settle some scores.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller

Published by: Smashwords

Publication Date: July 2015

Number of Pages: 90

ISBN: 9781310490507

Purchase Links: SMASHWORDS Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

The Wynn Casino in Las Vegas is not flashy; at least not in comparison to the spastic neon and LED displays you find everywhere else along the strip. Its elegance and earthy style seem almost out of place. It may have vibrant red carpet running throughout the casino floor, but the shock of that regal red is covered by the acres of indoor trees (real, of course), baffling the noise and calming the senses.

At times, compared to the rest of the city, it feels like an oasis of calm and gentility.

A Tuesday afternoon in Vegas is like a Friday midnight anywhere else, but it was not usually the time for a high-stakes game like this one. But Michael Andrews Lord, known to the rest of the world as Mick, had prevailed upon the powers that be to open a blackjack table just for him, and had gotten them to agree to set the table minimum at $50,000 and the limit at one million dollars per hand. He had never played that much in one hand, but the opportunity was there.

Mick didn’t look like your typical high-roller. His wardrobe was strictly well-heeled beach bum. That day he wore a blue linen shirt, which brought out his eyes, a nice pair of Silver jeans and loafers without socks. That would come close to describing him on most days since he sold his banks and converted to his new life.

Most people would call Mick handsome, although he knew having money didn’t hurt. He was six-two and a little on the skinny side, with light brown hair a little bit wavy and cut fairly short. He had a short beard he had grown six months earlier and become kind of fond of. Tabloids gushed and wondered who his next woman was. Mick was revolted by this, considering how recently his life had so dreadfully changed, but he knew that playing an absolute fortune in a blackjack game in this open fashion wasn’t going to calm any rumor mill. Sometimes his wants and his actions didn’t match up.

Although they couldn’t say as much out loud, The Wynn was not in the habit of losing as much money as they had lost to Mick over the past six months. His streak was almost uncanny; he might lose the smaller hands, but when he bet big, hundreds of thousands of dollars, his winning percentage was way above normal, and at the amounts he was playing, the casino was in no means ready to shut down, but the winning was taking its toll on all those in charge of keeping losses in line with industry guidelines. Frankly, the winning was raising eyebrows up and down the strip; it was unusual if not unheard of for someone to have his sustained winning streak at such large amounts.

And that Tuesday, with every blackjack player within ear shot standing a respectful distance back, but watching intently, Mick was winning again. He had to be up close to half a million.

He rubbed his eyes and yawned. “I’m about done,” he said to the dealer and to the floor boss who had joined him. Mick knew they were probably worried about their jobs, although he would go to whomever he needed to and make sure they knew it was not their fault.

Mick looked around. There were the Vegas old-timers, clutching oxygen tanks and players cards, working girls scanning the crowd for possible play, two French men who looked like they had walked off the set of Miami Vice and numerous tourists, wearing knee-length shorts and fluorescent t-shirts. A shoeshine man named Frank, whom Mick knew and often took care of, was off to the side, clearly rooting Mick on. Some of these he knew and liked, most of them just liked the action. Mick was giving it to them.

“Here we go,” he said in the middle of a yawn. “Let’s play for some real fun and then let’s be done with it.” His mouth smiled and his eyes didn’t.

He pushed all the chips in front of him to the middle of the table.

The dealer looked at the pit boss. He had dealt some big hands, but this was by far the highest stakes he had ever dealt. The floor boss said something into the microphone in his cuff, then nodded. The dealer indicated that there was $512,000 in play.

“Hand me twelve of that. Let’s make it simple math.”

The dealer pulled off chips totaling $12,000. As the cocktail waitress who had brought him his gin and tonics all afternoon approached again, Mick took that money and handed it to her.

“Something for you and Charlie,” he said, referring to her three-year-old son. Mick asked about and remembered almost everybody. The smile reached his eyes this time.

Her eyes doubled in size. He had already tipped her very well, a hundred dollar bill every time she brought him a drink. “I can’t …” she started, but his look stopped her.

“Mike, tell her it’s okay,” Mick said to the floor boss. Mike nodded and she took a deep breath and looked at the money that was now hers. She wanted to say something, to cry, to leap in the air, but she felt the tension of the moment too. She didn’t want to leave, but she still had a job to do, and Mick had turned back to the table.

“Five hundred thousand it is.”

The dealer gave Mick a nine and placed his own card face down. He next dealt Mick a seven, giving him the worst possible blackjack hand, a sixteen. He turned over a ten. Mick exhaled loudly.

“Great hand,” Mick rolled his eyes. He wanted to stay on the hand, but even with his agenda, he knew that he would stick to his system. Anything else, any random play, would be highly suspicious. He tapped the table. “Hit me, Carlos.”

Carlos gave him another card, almost wincing as he did. It was a deuce. The crowd sighed. He had an eighteen. Not a great hand, but still in it. Mick waved off any other cards. It was Carlos’ turn.

Carlos took his ten and used it to turn over his next card. Everyone watching strained to see what was underneath. They gasped as they saw a five. The game was still alive. This was good for Mick.

The crowd wanted Mick to win. To a man. He may have had the life that almost all of them envied greatly, and for some that envy could at times be malignant, but you never root for the house in Vegas. Even if you work for them. And the people who actually knew Mick found him to be even-tempered and kind to them, even in the midst of what had to be a hellish year in which his wife had been killed and his life had been turned into a spectacle with all that had entailed. They all knew he had turned to gambling, and they all knew he was winning there and was parading a bevy of starlets through his bedroom, coping with his grief in a public, uneven manner, doing things that even he admitted he didn’t like.

Several men called out, “face!” More than half the deck was his friend now. Carlos nodded and pulled out another card. An ace.

Everyone groaned. Carlos looked like he had killed an old woman. Was this going to be one of those hands where the little cards mounted up and won the day for the house yet again?

He turned over the next card. There it was: Jack of hearts. The room erupted. Mick had just won half a million dollars!

Mick didn’t crack a smile. He looked unsteady. He turned to the floor boss. “One more hand? Winner take all?”

The guests couldn’t believe their ears. A true million dollar hand?

Mike spoke into his collar. Even though it was marked as a million dollar table, he wanted to check with his superiors. This was obviously a big deal to everyone involved. He nodded. They would play for the million.

Carlos took another deep breath and fetched a card from the shoe. He gave Mick an ace and then dealt his hole card. He dealt Mick another ace. Everyone gasped. His second card lay face up, a six. Advantage: Mick.

Mick looked at Mike. More cuff talking. There was no need to ask what Mick wanted. He wanted to split, which was the only thing to do in his situation. Problem was, he obviously didn’t have an extra million dollars on him. Both people knew this was just a formality, that Wynn would gladly spot him the money in hopes of finally winning some back. Mike nodded. He was good for it.

Carlos pulled the next card from the shoe. An ace of clubs. The crowd erupted. He would get to split again. Holy cow! Mike spoke into his sleeve. The answer was clear, but everyone had to wait. Finally, he nodded. The casino would lend him two million dollars.

Carlos arranged the aces a similar distance from each other, and the crowd moved in a few inches more. Some of the tourists had video cameras on. They could sell this video if they could get a good shot. Mick Lord was always newsworthy.

Carlos lay down a ten of clubs on Mick’s first hand. Twenty-one. The crowd screamed. A king of spades was next. Twenty-one. Finally, the dealer gave Mick a six on his third hand. Soft seventeen. Mick pondered his next move. He always played the cards the same way, although he didn’t want to. He hit it anyway, Ten of hearts. Hard seventeen. Mick waved the dealer off.

Carlos had one hand. He could tie Mick on two hands, beat him on one. Carlos flipped up his hole card. He showed a five.

This drew a gasp from the crowd. Now a ten, the highest probability in the deck, would set Mick back a million bucks. Mick had never heard such a quiet crowd in Vegas. Couldn’t remember a single time.

Carlos thumbed the next card, slid it across in front of him and turned it over. It was a four. He now had fifteen. Once again, the odds had shifted in Mick’s favor. Carlos drew his next card. It was a seven.

Twenty-two.

The Wynn erupted like you’d expect in a World Cup match. They jumped and cheered and hugged in a show of solidarity rare anywhere, especially rare in Las Vegas.

All except Mick.

He had desperately wanted to lose.

 

Author Bio:

Dale Wiley is a Missouri attorney who has had a character named after him on CSI, owned a record label, been interviewed by Bob Edwards on NPR’s Morning Edition and made motorcycles for Merle Haggard and John Paul DeJoria. He has three awesome kids and spends his days working as a lawyer fighting the big banks.

Catch Up:

 

There’s also a GIVEAWAY opportunity with this tour, I hope you stop by and enter for a chance to win! 

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