First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, July 31, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring Modern Mrs. Darcy’s August book club selection. As usual, it’s outside my comfort zone… but so far I haven’t been let down by the selections, so I’m eager to dig in!

I'll Be Your Blue Sky.jpg

It was what she would remember always: how the second she stepped inside, before she’d so much as taken her first full breath of new air, she was struck by the feeling – the understanding, the certainty – however improbable, that the house was Joseph. Not merely that it felt like something he would choose or that she saw his handiwork everywhere – fresh paint, thick as cream; re-finished pine floors; green apples in a glass bowl – but that it was him, sturdy and open, light swooping in through every window, forthright and decent and kind. She would not have supposed that a house could be kind, but this one was.

Hm.. I’m not entirely sure about this one. It seems rather “flowery” with the descriptions … that’s not necessarily my cup of tea. I’ll read on, but I can’t say that this intro grabbed me immediately. What about you?!

Advertisements
4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Harry Bosch, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Lost Light by Michael Connelly

Lost Light
by Michael Connelly

Lost Light

 

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 385

Read: July 13 – 18, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

Blurb: The vision has haunted him for four years – a young woman lying crumpled in death, her hand outstretched in silent supplication. Harry Bosch was taken off the Angella Benton murder case when the production assistant’s death was linked with the violent theft of two million dollars from a movie set. Both files were never closed. Now retired from the L.A.P.D., Bosch is determined to find justice for Angella. Without a badge to open doors and strike fear into the guilty, he’s on his own. And even in the face of an opponent more powerful and ruthless than any he’s ever encountered, Bosch is not backing down.  


Review: This is the 9th book in the Harry Bosch series. I really need to read these quicker than one a year. I distinctly remember how the 8th book ended, with Harry’s retirement from the LAPD. And I was eager to see where he went from there. So I was anxious to finally get around to this book to see how he was faring in retirement. I was not disappointed!

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It had an interesting storyline and I found it to move pretty quickly. Bosch is so not tech savvy and it left me chuckling more than once – and it definitely reminded me of my father-in-law!! There was also a very interesting revelation at the end of the book that has me looking forward to the 10th installment!

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what case Harry finds himself involved in next … as well as where his personal life goes from here. I hope I get to book #10 sooner rather than later!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, L, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: A Vision of Murder by Victoria Laurie

A Vision of Murder
by Victoria Laurie

A Vision of Murder

 

Copyright: 2005

Pages: 296

Read: July 8 – 12, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: When Abby gets roped into investing in a fixer-upper, she has no idea she’ll go from real estate mogul to real-life ghostbuster. After the deal is closed, phantom inhabitants of the house replay a violent night from long ago that ended in the murder of a beautiful blonde. The only way to evict the house’s spectral tenants – and save Abby’s handyman from flying drills – is to uncover the dead woman’s identity and solve her murder.

Aided by her boyfriend, sexy FBI agent Dutch Rivers, Abby discovers the key to the puzzle is a hidden treasure lost since World War II. Unfortunately, Abby’s not the only one intent on finding it. As she gets closer to the truth, a madman shadows her every move. Now a race is on to find the treasure and solve the mystery – and only the winner will survive…


Review: This is the 3rd book in the Abby Cooper Psychic Eye series. I had read and enjoyed the first two so much that I immediately ordered the next three from Paperbackswap … but then I let them just sit. So I was glad when this one came up for a call-out on a Goodreads challenge! I was ready to get back in with Abby and see what kind of trouble she found herself in this time.

Overall I’m a little conflicted on this one. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I didn’t really care for the overall storyline – with the World War II hidden treasure and ghosts. That just didn’t work for me, but paranormal can be very hit or miss with me. So it’s not surprising that the storyline wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea.

I also noticed how angry Abby seemed to be in this one. At times I felt like she was purposefully ticking off Dutch, her boyfriend. It just got to be repetitive and annoying. I can understand that things didn’t go as planned with their planned vacation and then there was a lot of togetherness. But if they intend to have a future together, they’re going to have to figure out how to live with each other a little bit better.

So while this one wasn’t necessarily my favorite so far, I’m still looking forward to getting to the 4th book in the future!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: George Washington in the American Revolution (1775-1783) by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington in the American Revolution (1775-1783)
by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington in the American Revolution

 

Copyright: 1967,1968

Pages: 552

Read: March 20 – July 10, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Powells.com

 

Blurb: History has blinded us to the all-too-human character of George Washington; in doing so, it has blinded us to the true nature of his greatness. We have urgent need to know this man we call the Father of Our Country. And now, at last, James Thomas Flexner has given us the biography that fully meets our need.

In George Washington in the American Revolution (1775-1783), we are witness to eight fateful years, as Washington lived them day by day and month by month. We see a Virginia officer catapulted – despite his obvious military limitations and his own protestations of inadequacy – into the command of an amateur army opposing an experienced European force under elite leadership. The fact that Washington was at first out-generated is not suppressed. His failures and reverses are not diminished or excused.

Yet even as we share the anguish of his unsuccessful battles – and the political unrest and uncertainty that marked the Revolution – we understand the slow but sure process by which Washington taught himself, through trial and error, to become the clear master of his English foes.

As James Thomas Flexner so brilliantly demonstrates, Washington’s command of the Continental Army was deeply marked by the extremes of his own complex personality: his compassion and his towering rages; his short-term pessimism and his abiding belief in the virtue of the American cause. By turns indiscreet, impulsive, and artfully dissembling, the General’s ruling mood was – as his wife Martha wrote – unhappiness: the troubled mind of a civilian in uniform, yearning for Mount Vernon, for his hearth and home.

When the war ended, it was as a civilian, too, not as a man of war or bloodshed, that Washington risked his personal leadership to turn back a movement that might well have (as has so often happened in history) resulted in a kind of fascism as cruel as the tyranny which it would have replaced.

To read George Washington in the American Revolution is to be in the vital presence of human aspiration and to enter into a drama of transcended interest and excitement. This is the story of America’s great hero revealed as all the greater because his human faults and foibles have not been denied their rightful place in the record of his leadership.


Review: This is the second book in Mr. Flexner’s four-book series on George Washington. I knew going into this one that I would struggle with it. I do not like to read about battles and wars, so I knew that the mere fact that this entire volume revolved around the American Revolution was going to slow me down. However, I didn’t anticipate it to take me 4 months to finish it either. And to be honest, near the end, I was definitely  skimming. I just couldn’t make myself sit down and read much at a time.

That’s not to say that the book wasn’t well written, because it most certainly was. The writing was easy to read. It’s just that my interest was not there for the subject matter. I didn’t really want or need such a detailed account of the American Revolution. I know that this time period is crucial to understanding who George Washington was, as a person and an American. However, it just ended up not being my cup of tea.

I am definitely looking forward to moving on from here in this series. Mr. Flexner definitely has a writing style that I find enjoyable. Hist attention to detail and research is superb. And while I’m sure that in the end this particular installment will be the “weakest” of the four books for me personally, it certainly is a good book.

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, July 24, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a backlist read that I was looking forward to getting around to! I always love a Harry Bosch novel (and now that I’ve joined Amazon Prime, I’m really looking forward to checking out the Bosch TV show!!!)

Lost Light

The last thing I expected was for Alexander Taylor to answer his own door. It belied everything I knew about Hollywood. A man with a billion-dollar box-office record answered the door for nobody. Instead, he would have a uniformed man posted full-time at his front door. And this doorman would only allow me entrance after carefully checking my identification and appointment. He would then hand me off to a butler or the first-floor maid, who would walk me the rest of the way in, footsteps falling as silent as snow as we went.

Good old Harry Bosch!! I don’t know why I don’t read these more often than once a year … I always enjoy working the case with Harry. I’m also really loving the direction the series is heading for Harry 🙂

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!

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.