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

Review: Until Proven Guilty by J.A. Jance

Until Proven Guilty
by J.A. Jance

Until Proven Guilty.jpg

 

Copyright: 1985

Pages: 310

Read: Sept. 23 – 26, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

 

 

Blurb: The little girl was a treasure who should have been cherished, not murdered. She was only five – too young to die – and Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont of the Seattle Police Department isn’t going to rest until her killer pays dearly. But Beaumont’s own obsessions and demons could prove dangerous companions in a murky world of blind faith and religious fanaticism. And he is about to find that he himself is the target of a twisted passion … and a love that can kill.


Review: This is the 1st book in the J.P. Beaumont series. Many years ago I randomly read the 13th book in the series. I was not impressed and never felt the desire to go back to the beginning or continue on from there with the series. I’m not exactly sure what made me acquire this book, but for whatever reason I did.

And for the most part, I did enjoy this book. There were times that Beaumont’s actions were really reminiscent of Stone Barrington’s …. apparently they both go temporarily insane when in the presence of a beautiful female ::eyeroll::.

I can’t say that I loved it, but I certainly didn’t dislike it. I am looking forward to reading more in this series. Maybe installment #13 wasn’t a great place for me to start all those years ago … but I am willing to give Beau another chance!

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

Review: One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie
by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie

 

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 351

Read: Sept. 19 – 23, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

 

Blurb: Chris Brennan looks perfect, on paper. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as assistant baseball coach, and his resume is impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan in a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a free-spirited pitcher who’s the star of the baseball team. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving Raz vulnerable to any new father figure, who might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who admires her son Jordan’s passion for baseball and feels guilty that she can’t be at his games, like the booster moms. But Jordan is shy, and Heather fears he’s being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man whose fun-loving manner might conceal a darker side.

Mindy Kostis is a surgeon’s wife who fills her days with benefit luncheons and cocktails. She has no idea that her husband and son Evan are keeping deadly secrets that could rip their family apart.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he pretending to be someone else? What does he want? And how far will he go to get it?


Review: My grandmother gave me this book a couple of weeks ago with a glowing recommendation. I was eager to get to it! And I was not disappointed! It starts off with a bang and I was hooked almost immediately, reading the first 100 pages the day I started it.

It’s an intricately woven story with more than a few twists and turns. It had me on edge the entire way through trying to figure out who was who and what was what! I really enjoyed it and couldn’t get through it fast enough!

I can’t say much about this book other than to give this one a try – I doubt you’ll be disappointed … I know I sure wasn’t!!

Highly recommended!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Kinsey Millhone, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton

G is for Gumshoe
by Sue Grafton

G is for Gumshoe

 

Copyright: 1990

Pages: 327

Read: Sept. 14 – 19, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Kinsey Millhone celebrates her thirty-third birthday as only she can – she moves back into her renovated apartment, gets hired to find an elderly lady supposedly living in the Mojave Desert by herself, and makes the top of triggerman Tyrone Patty’s hit list. As much as she hates to admit it, Kinsey realizes even she’s going to need help fending off a hit man and she hires a bodyguard: Robert Dietz, a Porsche-Driving P.I. who takes his job very seriously. With Dietz watching her for the merest sign of her usual recklessness, Kinsey plunges into a case that will lead her to the gruesome truth about a long-buried betrayal. And, in the process, will bring her face-to-face with her own mortality…


Review: This is the 7th book in the Kinsey Millhone series. I had read the 6th book a few months back and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was excited when this fit a Goodreads challenge call-out so I could get to it sooner rather than later!

Again, I enjoyed working the case with Kinsey. It was interesting to see just what kind of trouble she finds herself (usually because she puts herself there…). I also enjoyed the addition of Robert Dietz, I hope we get to meet him again in future installments.

I found this one to be a fast paced and enjoyable book that I really enjoyed reading. It definitely has me looking forward to “H” soon!

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, September 25, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that was in the stack of books my grandma recently gave me. I originally picked it up because it started with “O” and fits a Goodreads challenge I’m terribly behind on.

One Perfect Lie

Chris Brennan was applying for a teaching job at Central Valley High School, but he was a fraud. His resume was fake, and his identity completely phony. So far he’d fooled the personnel director, the assistant principal, and the chairperson of the Social Studies Department. This morning was his final interview, with the principal, Dr. Wendy McElroy. It was make-or-break.

Not going to lie … this one grabbed me immediately! I was sucked in and read the first 100 pages that first day I picked it up!

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

Review: The Firm by John Grisham

The Firm
by John Grisham

The Firm.jpg

 

Copyright: 1991

Pages: 501

Read: September 6 – 13, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased used

 

Blurb: When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage, and hired him a decorator. Mitch McDeere should have remembered what his brother Ray – doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail – already knew. You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch’s firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice – if he wants to live.


Review: So I’m going back and (slowly) reading Mr. Grisham’s backlist. I can’t believe I had never read this book before! It started out really good and hooked me from pretty early on. Don’t be daunted by that 500 page count … it goes by very quickly!

The old saying goes … if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. And that’s basically the premise of this book. I still can’t believe that a man who was as smart as Mitch McDeere could fall for all that and get involved with the Bendini firm – he should have run like crazy when all this stuff was told would be “provided” to him! But then we wouldn’t have a novel and where would the fun in that be? I did enjoy how the story unfolded and I really didn’t know how things would end up. I was pleasantly surprised and quite happy with the way the book ended.

Now I’m eager to see the movie … hadn’t read the book and never saw the movie! I always enjoy doing a book to movie comparison. I hope to be able to get to that soon … I’ve already seen where I can rent it on my Amazon Prime account (hey, I’m still really new to all this streaming stuff, haha!).

Overall, a very good book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Definitely recommended!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: Dark Harbor by Stuart Woods

Dark Harbor
by Stuart Woods

Dark Harbor

 

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 374

Read: Sept. 4 – 6, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

Blurb: Stone Barrington hasn’t heard from his cousin Dick Stone in years. Then an otherwise pleasant meal at Elaine’s is interrupted by the CIA with the news of Dick’s death – apparently by his own hand. It seems that Dick Stone, a quiet family man who doubled as a CIA agent, methodically executed his wife, daughter, and himself – or did he? Appointed executor of Dick’s will, Stone must settle the estate and – with the help of his ex-partner Dino and friend Holly Barker – piece together the elusive facts of his cousin’s life and death as a CIA operative. At every step, Stone knows he is being watched by Dick’s family – and one of them just may be the killer…


Review: This is the 12th book in the Stone Barrington series. They are no literary feats, but they’re usually a good, fun, and quick read. This installment is no exception to that. It had been a few months since I last visited with Stone, so it was nice to jump back in with the gang.

This particular book was enjoyable. I liked the storyline and there was a twist with Holly that really ramped up the suspense in this one! My one and only complaint is Stone’s womanizing – how can he go from practically proposing to Arrington to hopping in bed with Holly within 24 hours irritates me to no end.

Overall, a fun and fast read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has definitely left me wanting to get to #13 sooner rather than later!

Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday

September 18: Books On My Fall TBR

So the last time I participated in this was the week we did the spring TBR list …. of those 10 books, I read 3 and DNF’d 1. Oops?! Actually that’s a little bit better than I had anticipated 😀 So … once again, I’m going to make a list. If I read even one of these I’ll probably consider it a win, ha! I’m keeping 3 from my spring list on my fall list. Here we go:

The Swans of Fifth AvenueWhat HappenedDead LettersLittle Fires EverywhereThe Alice Network

One Perfect LieGhostedThe Book of EssieThe Underground RailroadThe Female Persuasion

 

Presidential Reading Challenge

Presidential Reading Challenge Sept 2018 Update

Ok … so I am now 9 months into my Presidential Reading Challenge and I thought it would be a good time to update you on how I am doing. I am still working on George Washington … yep, 9 months in and I’m still on President #1. Oops?! I knew this would not be a fast venture, but I expected to at least get through Washington & Adams this year.

So I have just started my 5th Washington book. I’m on book 4 of James Thomas Flexner’s 4-book series. The books are quite long and in some spots, quite dry. So it is definitely slow going. But slow and steady wins the race … right?

I technically have 2 more Washington books on my shelf. I have the Ron Chernow book and I also have recently acquired Henry Wiencek’s An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America. I’m a little on the fence about whether or not I really want to tackle the Chernow book to be completely honest. I hate to skip it, but at the same time I’m not really excited to take on nearly 1000 pages in one book. If it reads like these last few books have read, it will take me a year just to get through that one. So the verdict is still out on that one. The Wiencek book was an impulse purchase because I’ve been quite intrigued about Washington’s entire view on slavery and am eager to dig more into that aspect of his life.

I have also recently been thinking about adding on a book about each President’s wife after I finish with the President. I just ordered a Martha Washington biography, so I will probably incorporate that into this challenge as well.

I probably need to make a list of other things I’d like to explore in the future, because there have been numerous people mentioned in these biographies that I’ve read that I would like to learn more about at some point. I’ve also considered hitting the pause button, so to speak, to read a book or two about the early years of our government. There’s been so much not mentioned in these biographies of Washington that I feel like I should buff up on my history a little bit more. But again … that just adds more to my load. I’m making this wayyyyyyy too complicated!

So yeah … I’m still chugging along. And of course I want to make this so much harder than it really needs to be. I probably should have just kept it to one book per President … but nope, I had to go and purchase a 6 book series on Thomas Jefferson….

But I’m still having fun, so I suppose that’s the most important part!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: George Washington and the New Nation (1783-1793) by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington and the New Nation (1783-1793)
by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington and the New Nation

 

Copyright: 1969, 1970

Pages: 425

Read: July 13 – September 11, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Powells.com

 

 

Blurb: George Washington and the New Nation begins with Washington’s return to Mount Vernon, a victorious, but exhausted soldier eagerly seeking the pleasures of a quiet country life. Free of heavy responsibilities, his character expands in genial, often unexpected ways. All too soon, however, the idyll is broken. Washington is called to lead the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Popular confidence in him secures the ratification of the new government by the states. He is unanimously chosen our first President.

In the face of growing faction and division, Washington helps mold our major governmental institutions and gives durable shape to the Presidency. He is accused of many failings. He is guilty of some. His personal life is strained by countless pressures. But at the end of four years, Washington has seemingly proved the viability of the republican form of government to a watching world of kings.

Even as Washington dreams of final retirement, however, the storm raised by the French Revolution threatens to overwhelm the United States. Now Jefferson and Hamilton – the two men who have, throughout our history, epitomized the polarities of American political thought – join in begging Washington to stay on. They warn that, if Washington relinquishes the Presidency, the country may well pull apart.


Review: This is the 3rd book in Mr. Flexner’s 4-book series on George Washington. Having enjoyed the first book and feeling somewhat lukewarm about the second book, I was looking forward to getting to this one. I was excited to learn more about how the country’s government was shaped and Mr. Washington’s first term as President. It also made me realize (AGAIN!) that my memory of the history of our country’s early years is really severely lacking. I keep reading and realizing that there’s so many other things that I need to brush up on … more reading I suppose 🙂

This particular book was again extremely well researched and it read quite easily. Even though these books were written in the 1960s and 1970s, they read as easily as any contemporary biography would. That definitely makes things a lot easier for me. My one and only complaint on this book was how the feud between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton basically took over the last 100 or so pages. I had to remind myself that yes, I was reading a biography on Washington … not Jefferson and/or Hamilton.

Overall, a really good book that I enjoyed. I’m definitely looking forward to the fourth and final book in this series. The final book covers Washington’s second term up to his death. It’s a chunkster for sure … but I’m eager to learn even more about Washington!

2.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, L, Michael Bennett, P, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Burn by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Burn
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Burn

 

Copyright: 2014

Pages: 385

Read: Aug 28 – 31, 2018

Rating: 2.5/5

Source: Grandmother

 

Blurb: At last, Detective Michael Bennett and his family are coming home to New York City. Thanks to Bennett, the ruthless crime lord whose vengeful mission forced the Bennett family into hiding has been brought down for good.

Back in the city that never sleeps, Bennett takes over a chaotic Outreach Squad in Harlem, where he receives an unusual call: a man claims to have seen a group of well-dressed men holding a bizarre party in a condemned building. With no clear crime or evidence, Bennett dismisses the report. But when a charred body is found in that very same building, the detective is forced to take the demented caller seriously – and becomes drawn into an underground criminal world of terrifying depravity.


Review: I can always rely on Mr. Patterson for a fun and easy read. It had been quite some time since I had visited with Michael Bennett and his family, so I was looking forward to jumping back in with the Bennett’s.

Overall, this was a good book. I really enjoyed Bennett’s new squad, they added some good new characters for the series. I seriously hope that he continues with that new squad and we get to see more of them in future books.

This particular installment had some interesting storylines, with the diamond heists as well as cannibalism. Very strange, but for whatever reason, it made for interesting reading.

My one and only complaint was the ending … or lack, thereof. It was frustrating the way it ended. I was looking for a few more answers and a nice little wrap up in the epilogue, but that never happened. It just ended. It almost felt as if something was left out. It was a little disappointing.

But overall, the book was enjoyable and definitely left me wanting more of the Bennett family and looking forward to reading on in this series.