3/5, A, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.27 REVIEW – In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault

In Search of the Rose Notes
by Emily Arsenault

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 369
Rating: 3/5
Read: Aug. 18-22, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 27
Format: Print
Source: Won from booktrib.com in 2011
Series: N/A

In Search of the Rose NotesBlurb:
 Eleven-year-olds Nora and Charlotte were best friends. When their teenage babysitter, Rose, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the girls decided to “investigate.” But their search – aided by paranormal theories and techniques gleaned from old Time-Life books – went nowhere.

Years later, Nora, now in her late twenties, is drawn back to her old neighborhood – and to her estranged friend – when Rose’s remains are finally discovered. Upset over their earlier failure to solve the possible murder, Charlotte is adamant that they join forces and try again. But Nora was the last known person to see Rose alive, and she’s not ready to revisit her troubled adolescence and the events surrounding the disappearance – or face the disturbing secrets that are already beginning to reemerge.


Review:I won a copy of this book back in 2011 from booktrib.com. And I proceeded to do as I always seem to do … let it sit and linger. I finally picked this one up because of a Goodreads challenge.

Let me just start by telling you that me giving this book a 3 star rating is probably being a little bit on the generous side. You see, as the reader, I spent a good 300 pages with Nora and Charlotte on their quest to figure out the mystery of Rose’s disappearance. Through the “flashbacks”, I also suffered through their high school years. I spent those 300 pages practically dying to know what on earth had happened to Rose.

And then when it was finally revealed, 45 pages after the first 300 pages, it was such a disappointment that I honestly wanted to throw the book across the room in disgust. It was just a complete and utter let down. To be completely honest with you, it wrecked the book in my opinion. There were all these indications throughout the book (to me, at least) that something sinister had gone down and it was up to me to figure out the who-dun-it. Oh no, nothing sinister at all happened in the end. And as a mystery lover, the disappointment was just palpable.

If Ms. Arsenault had simply taken Rose’s ending in a different direction, this book would have been a home run for me. Seeing as how that didn’t happen, I have to leave this one with an “eh.”

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4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, PICT Book Tours, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book, SERIES

2015.26 REVIEW – Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell

Flesh and Blood
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 494
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 3-15, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 26
Format: Print
Source: Partners in Crime Book Tours
Series: Kay Scarpetta #22

Flesh and BloodBlurb:
 Dr. 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.


Review:I received a copy of this for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

So those of you who follow me regularly will remember that my last experience with Ms. Cornwell did not end well. I was more than a little disappointed. And I even said I was “breaking up” with Kay Scarpetta. So what was it that made me want to read this book for the PICT book tour? I have no idea!

I definitely liked this book a million times more than the last one I read, Port Mortuary. I didn’t read the three books between that one and this one. And honestly, I didn’t really find that it mattered that I had skipped those three books.

Overall, I enjoyed this installment. I found it fast paced and exciting at times. However, there were a few moments where it lagged for me. Mainly, this was when there was a lengthy discussion regarding some ballistic testing. I found it a little too technical for my tastes and found myself skimming those few pages. Other than that, the book was highly entertaining to me.

And the ending. Wow. Talk about a cliff hanger that has me dying to know what happens next.

So while I’m still torn on this series as a whole, I have to say that this was a fun book to read and I would definitely recommend it.


About the Author:

patriciacornwellPatricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the Creasey, the Anthony, the Macavity, and the Prix du Roman d’Aventure. Beyond the Scarpetta series, she has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography, and two more fiction series. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

Connect with Patricia Cornwell:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Purchase Links 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

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Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, August 24, 2015

Mailbox Mondays

Only one book this past week … one that I had requested after seeing it mentioned in an email I received.

The Last SeptemberBrett has been in love with Charlie ever since he took her skiing on a lovely Colorado night fourteen years ago. And now, living in a seaside cottage on Cape Cod with their young daughter, it looks as if they have settled into the life they desired. However, Brett and Charlie’s marriage has been tenuous for quite some time. When Charlie’s unstable younger brother plans to move in with them, the tension simmering under the surface of their marriage boils over.

But what happened to Charlie next was unfathomable. Charlie was the golden boy so charismatic that he charmed everyone who crossed his path; who never shied away from a challenge; who saw life as one big adventure; who could always rescue his troubled brother, no matter how unpredictable the situation. So who is to blame for the tragic turn of events? And why does Brett feel responsible?

Set against the desolate autumn beauty of Cape Code, The Last September is a riveting emotional puzzle that takes readers inside the psyche of a woman facing the meaning of love and loyalty.

Recipes

RECIPE: Skillet Chicken Parmigiana

Skillet Chicken Parmigiana (Serves: 4)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 lb)
  • 1/3 cup Progresso™ Italian-style dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups tomato pasta sauce (any variety)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)

Directions

  1. Between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper, flatten each chicken breast half to 1/4-inch thickness. In shallow dish, mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. In another shallow dish, beat egg. Dip chicken into egg, then coat with bread crumb mixture.
  2. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook chicken in oil 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink in center. Pour pasta sauce around chicken in skillet; heat until hot. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over chicken.

Recipe Source: Betty Crocker

20150811_174919

Personal Review: I need fast, easy, and toddler friendly recipes these days. This particular recipe meets all three requirements!

I was able to throw this one together on a weeknight, from start to finish, in about 35 minutes. And it was SO GOOD! It was even a big hit with our 3-year-old, who is slightly picky. I served it with a small side of spaghetti with meatless sauce, garlic bread and a salad.

Highly, highly recommended. It seriously tastes just as good (if not better because I could control the amount of cheese & sauce to use) as any chicken parm I’ve ever gotten in a restaurant.

 

 

Book Blitz

Blog Party: Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter

Today I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog party for Karin Slaughter’s new novella, Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes. Unfortunately, I haven’t read this one *yet*. I’m working on it … I just got really behind when I spent entirely too much time on one book. So look for the upcoming review of this one. Oh, and don’t miss the giveaway opportunity!

9780062442819-2A beautiful young girl was walking down the street―when suddenly…

Julia Carroll knows that too many stories start that way. Beautiful, intelligent, a nineteen-year-old college freshman, she should be carefree. But instead she is frightened. Because girls are disappearing.

A fellow student, Beatrice Oliver, is missing. A homeless woman called Mona-No-Name is missing. Both taken off the street. Both gone without a trace.

Julia is determined to find out the reasons behind their disappearances. And she doesn’t want to be next…

Michael Connelly calls Karin Slaughter “unrivaled among thriller writers.” This gripping, unforgettable short story proves why. And be sure to order Karin’s new novel, Pretty Girls, on sale September 29, 2015.

Connect with Karin Slaughter:

Website | Facebook

–> Giveaway!! <–

Please click HERE to enter for the chance to win a copy of Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes and a finished copy of her upcoming novel, Pretty Girls

 

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, August 17, 2015

Mailbox MondaysThis encompasses the last two weeks. First, three new ones that I purchased (hey … two were ones that I’ve had my eye on for a while and I lucked out and found them in the bargain section!)

Remember MiaThe President's ClubThe Bone Season

 


 

And then two review books:

Everything She ForgotThey’re calling it the worst pileup in London history. Driving home, Margaret Holloway has her mind elsewhere – on a troubled student, her daughter’s acting class, the next day’s meeting – when she’s rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage. Just as she begins to panic, a disfigured stranger pulls her from the car just seconds before it’s engulfed in flames. Then he simply disappears.

Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something’s wrong. She’s having trouble concentrating. Her emotions are running wild. More than that, flashbacks to the crash are also dredging up lost associations from her childhood, fragments of events that were wiped from her memory. Whatever happened, she didn’t merely forget – she chose to forget. And somehow, Margaret knows deep down that it’s got something to do with the man who saved her life.

As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth – from yourself?


After We FallCecilia made the hardest decision of her life moments before she stepped onto the plane that would bring her world crashing down around her. Her marriage was failing before even getting off the ground, and her desperate need to start over has driven her to abandon her family. Now, as her plane plummets toward the ground, she wishes she had given her son one last kiss good-bye. As tragedy meets mystery, Cecilia and three others in her community, each struggling with their own secrets, become connected on the fateful night when lives are lost in the sky and on the ground.

 

 

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

2015.25 REVIEW – The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

The Night Sister
by Jennifer McMahon

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 322
Rating: 5/5
Read: July 25-31, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 25
Format: E-Book
Source: Requested from Edelweiss
Series: N/A

The Night SisterBlurb:
 Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past, something that ruined their friendship forever.

Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock’s next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.


Review:I received a copy of this for free via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

I have kept Jennifer McMahon’s books on my radar since devouring The One I Left Behind and The Winter PeopleSo I was thrilled to catch this one on Edelweiss while browsing … even more excited to get approval!!

The way this book unfolds is so impressive. It’s like Ms. McMahon just lightly peels away layer after layer until you’re finally at the heart and soul of the story. The pacing is just superb. The suspense keeps you on your toes. I really, really loved this book.

I enjoyed the flashbacks. It was interesting to see the different perspectives from Rose/Sylvia to Amy/Piper/Margot and then on to Piper/Margot. The way it spanned some 50 years to reveal the intricate details of a family’s secrets … just, wow! And then when it all came to fruition at the end, there were a couple of revelations that made the book come together perfectly.

I mean, really, I don’t know what I could possibly say negative about this book. I throughly enjoyed reading it. This one will definitely make my “best of” books read at the end of the year.

Bottom line … read this book! And read some of Ms. McMahon’s backlist too – you won’t be sorry!

 

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, Lucy Black, M, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book, SERIES

2015.23 REVIEW – The Forgotten Ones by Brian McGilloway

The Forgotten Ones
by Brian McGilloway

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 256
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 19 – 25, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 23
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss
Series: Lucy Black #3

The Forgotten OnesBlurb:
 The body of an elderly man is hauled out of the rushing water of the River Foyle, cold dead. Detective Lucy Black is called in to investigate when it becomes evident that this was not a suicide: the man’s body was embalmed before it ever entered the water.

Confounded and exhausted, Lucy heads home to review the case in quiet; but there will be no rest for her tonight. She’s barely in the front door when a neighbor knocks because his wife’s sister has been attacked and they need her help.

As a string of strange crimes is unspooled throughout the city, Lucy is pulled in countless different directions… until she realizes there may be something dark and dangerous connecting everything.


Review:I received a copy of this for free via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

Lucy Black. Oh how I love you! I mean seriously, I absolutely adore this book series!! There’s just something about Lucy. And Tom Fleming. And Lucy’s mom. I just have some weird love fest with these characters. I can’t help it. I almost missed out on this one, I was just randomly searching Edelweiss one day and came across it. I was so excited to see that there was more Lucy Black!

In this installment there’s a lot going on. Lucy definitely has her hands full. Her father’s Alzheimer’s is rapidly progressing (such a sad, sad thing to watch happen to family members). She has to figure out why an embalmed body is found floating in a river. Then she has to deal with a neighbor’s family member having an abusive partner. Oh, her boyfriend wants her to move in with her. Then there’s another string of murders. A string of murders that she has to figure out why they all seem to be connected. There’s a lot going on.

If I had to tell you the one weak part of this whole book it’s that there was so much going on. It was almost like there were too many dead bodies for me to keep track of. I eventually couldn’t remember which name went with which murder. I understood how they all connected in the end, but it was a lot of confusion for a little bit on my end. Now, that might just be because I read this book in bits and spurts, never really committing a whole lot of time at once. But it didn’t really slow down my enjoyment of this book whatsoever.

After about the 60% mark of this book (darned Kindle – I want page numbers, not percentages!), this book just absolutely flew by. There was a lot of action going on and I could hardly wait to get to the end to see how on earth everything ended up. The writing was excellent, the storyline was fast paced and exciting. The character development is exceptional. Overall it’s a book that I just want to gush about.

Truly, I can’t say enough about this series. I fell in love with Lucy after reading Little Girl Lost and Someone You Know. I seriously hope you would give Mr. McGilloway’s Lucy Black series a chance. While I personally am always a stickler for reading books in order, I can tell you that this book would read relatively well as a standalone.

Bottom line …. read this book! (Read this series!)

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, D, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.24 REVIEW – Spy Trade: A Novella by Matthew Dunn

Spy Trade: A Novella
by Matthew Dunn

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 100
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 27-28, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 24
Format: E-Book
Source: Publicist via Edelweiss
Series: Spycatcher Novella

Spy TradeBlurb:
 When a mission goes awry in Syria, senior CIA officer Bob Oakland is captured by aspiring members of ISIS, who demand the release of one of their own, Arzam Saud, in U.S. captivity. When their hands are tied by Washington’s refusal to negotiate, the CIA turns to MI6 officer Will Cochrane to find out what’s really going on. The threats are escalating quickly, and in order to save the CIA officer, Cochrane must uncover why Saud is truly so important . . .


Review:I received a copy of this for free via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

I have never read anything by Matthew Dunn before, but when the opportunity to review this one showed up in my email a couple of weeks ago I jumped on it. I figured it would give me a great intro to the series and the author to see if I would want to start the Spycatcher series.

I didn’t hate this novella, but I didn’t love it either. It was just in the “okay” category for me. I think part of my issue with it was the ISIS aspect of it. I didn’t enjoy reading about it. I really enjoyed the parts where Patrick was dealing with Washington “politics” and Will was trying to track down Bob Oakland. The other parts, I could have done without. So like I said, I didn’t hate this one, there was some really good parts in it. I can say that my interest has been piqued enough to place the first Spycatcher novel on my TBR list for sometime in the future.

Overall, I think this one is short enough that readers can easily squeeze it into their reading schedules and I’m glad that I made time for it … I may have found another new series to enjoy 🙂

 

Book Blitz

Book Blast: Cold Revenge by Jo A. Hiestand

Cold Revenge

by Jo A Hiestand

August 4 Book Blast

Synopsis:

cover

One year ago, Marta Hughes won a purse-choking sum of money at a local casino. She never returned home. Her body was discovered in a ditch twelve miles from her home; her car was back in her driveway. Linnet Isherwood cannot let her friend’s unsolved murder rest. She convinces ex-cop Michael McLaren to return to the work he loves. He sifts through a confusing web of lies, misconceptions and veiled motives. Are anonymous late-night phone calls, a vanished hitchhiker, and a stalker wielding empty beer bottles somehow related to the case? Or maybe the woman he broke off with is seeking revenge.

Book Details:

Genre: British Mystery

Published by: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Publication Date: March 20th 2015

Number of Pages: 360

ISBN: 978-1628308907

Purchase Links:AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

 

 

Read an excerpt:

He brought the photo closer so he could stare at the woman. She appeared to be in her mid-forties, a brunette with hazel eyes that looked amusingly at the photographer. She came up to her husband’s chin. The husband was a graying brunet and while her son had inherited her eye color, he was blond. McLaren had no time to comment on this.

Linnet said, “The others…” She leaned forward, her left arm bent and supporting her, and tapped each photo as she mentioned their names. “The group shot is Marta, her boss, and the vet for the shelter. This…” She skipped over the others in the photograph and pointed to the woman to the extreme left. “That’s Verity Dwyer.”

“The wrongly suspected coworker.” The woman in the photo had auburn hair that shone in the sunlight; her blue eyes smiled at him.
Linnet nodded. “Yes. Suspected of killing Marta, though that wasn’t proved. But she was convicted of stealing money from the shelter. She’s three months into her sentence. She was… Oh, it’s extremely involved.”

“I’ve got more time than money. Tell me.”

 

Author Bio:

authorA true Anglophile, Jo Hiestand wanted to capture the traditional flavor of a detective crime novel and the intimate atmosphere of a British cozy. The result is the McLaren Case mystery series featuring ex-police detective Michael McLaren who now investigates cold cases on his own.
Jo has combined her love of writing, board games and music by co-inventing P.I.R.A.T.E.S., the mystery-solving game that uses maps, graphics, song lyrics, and other clues to lead the players to the lost treasure.
In 2001 she graduated from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors.
Peter Lovesey, author of the Sergeant Cribb and Peter Diamond series, praises Jo’s writing: “Immaculate research, attention to detail and an elegant style are the hallmarks of Jo Hiestand’s writing. (Horns of a Dilemma is) an atmospheric novel.”
Jo founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America.

Catch Up:
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