4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING

Review: The Yard by Alex Grecian

The Yard
by Alex Grecian

The Yard

 

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 422

Read: Oct. 21-26, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

 

Blurb: Victorian London: a violent cesspool of squalid depravity. Only twelve detectives – the Murder Squad – are expected to solve the thousands of crimes committed here each month. Formed after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure in capturing Jack the Ripper, the Murder Squad suffers the brunt of public contempt. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own…

A Scotland Yard inspector has been found stuffed in a black steamer trunk at Euston Square Station, his eyes and mouth sewn shut. When Walter Day, the squad’s new hire, is assigned to the case, he finds a strange ally in Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the Yard’s first forensic pathologist. Their grim conclusion: This was not just a random, bizarre murder. It appears that the police – possibly the squad itself – are being targeted, and the devious killer shows no sign of stopping before completing his grim duty. But Inspector Day has one more surprise, something even more shocking than the crimes: the killer’s motive.


Review: I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I usually enjoy historical fiction when it is wrapped up with a mystery. I’m so glad that I did finally get around to this book because I really did enjoy it.

My one main criticism would be that we really knew who the killer was entirely too early. It was still interesting to watch the case unfold, but I’m just not a fan of knowing who the killer is so early in the book.

I can’t tell you how atmospheric this book felt to me. I really felt like I was walking the streets in London in the 1800s, I felt like Mr. Grecian really captured the feel of the city during that time period.

So overall I’m thrilled that I read this book and it gives me a new series to follow (like I needed that!!) But yes, I would definitely recommend this book to both historical fiction lovers and mystery lovers. I felt like it was a perfect blend of the two genres and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018, U-V-W

Review: An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America by Henry Wiencek

An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America
by Henry Wiencek

An Imperfect God

 

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 362

Read: Oct. 13-22, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: In this groundbreaking work, Henry Wiencek explores the first president’s life, his work, and his engagement with slavery. Born and raised among blacks and mixed-race people, Washington and his wife had blood ties to the slave community. Yet as a young man, he bought and sold slaves without scruple, even raffled off children to collect debts. Then, on the Revolutionary battlefields where he commanded both black and white troops, Washington’s attitudes began to change. This revelatory narrative documents for the first time the moral transformation that led to his decision – unique among the Founding Fathers – to emancipate his own slaves. Washington’s heroic stature as Father of Our Country is upheld in this superb portrait: now we see him in full as a man of his time and ahead of his time.


Review: Wow, can I just say that this was a really enjoyable read! It may be non-fiction and dealing with a pretty heavy subject matter, but it read so fast and was so good that I hardly even noticed… I was so drawn into it!

Now with that being said, I have to say that I’m not entirely sure that Mr. Wiencek completely hit the mark on what he was trying to accomplish in this book. Reading the blurb I went into this book thinking that he was really going to unravel George Washington and show a little bit more than what I had read in previous books. To some extent he certainly did accomplish that. However, there were multiple places that I felt like I could have been reading about slavery in general, not necessarily slavery as it related to George Washington.

I have never made any type of serious study into slavery and so a lot of things that I read in this book were just gut wrenching to me. I mean, I’m aware of the overall aspect of slavery as a whole, but there were a lot of things that I really didn’t know. It proved to be quite a difficult read at times. To think that people could actually treat other human beings in the manner that they did was just unfathomable to me. I still shudder at some of the stories and descriptions in this book.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s eye-opening and quite informative. If you’re looking for a basic overview of slavery during George Washington’s time, I feel like this is as good a place as any to start. I think that it’s a good place for people interested in learning more than just the basics of George Washington to learn some new information as well. It has definitely piqued my interest in studying more about slavery as a whole in the future.

Definitely recommended.

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

Review: The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax
by Dorothy Gilman

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax

 

Copyright: 1970

Pages: 176

Read: Oct. 14-19, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Used book store

 

Blurb: When Emily Pollifax answered the phone that Sunday morning she quickly forgot about her Garden Club tea in the afternoon. The last time she had heard the voice on the other end of the line it had sent her off on a journey that plunged her into a wild tangle of secret agents and high adventure – an exciting change from her quiet life in the New Jersey suburbs. Now the man from the CIA was asking if she could leave immediately on a mission that would take her half-way across the world. What else could Mrs. Pollifax say but yes??


Review: Ok, so I had read the first Mrs. Pollifax book, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax back in 2016 and wasn’t really all that thrilled with it. But when I saw this one on the shelf at my favorite used bookstore I figured for $1 it wouldn’t kill me to give it another shot.

I’m glad I picked this one up that day. I thought this installment was much better than the first. I felt like I got to understand Mrs. Pollifax better. I felt like there was more meat to the story itself and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I really enjoyed the supporting characters in this installment, they really added to the story in a positive way.

I’ll definitely be on the hunt for book #3 in this series. I’m definitely glad I gave Mrs. Pollifax another shot!

First chapter

First Chapter, First Paragraph, October 23, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I picked up because it fit multiple Goodreads challenges, but it’s also one that I’ve been looking forward to!

The Yard

Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found.

I’m going to keep this one short because it gets a little wordy after that and I feel like that first sentence really tells you all you need to know about the beginning of this book. I’m a little bit into it now and am enjoying it, so look for my review in a week or two!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799) by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799)
by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington Anguish and Farewell.jpg

 

Copyright: 1969, 1972

Pages: 503

Read: Sept. 14 – Oct. 11, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Powells.com

 

 

 

Blurb: George Washington: Anguish and Farewell is the fourth and final volume of one of the most distinguished American biographies of our generation. Covering the tumultuous years of Washington’s second term as President, his retirement, and his death, the book reveals the almost shattering pressures under which Washington struggled to maintain America’s unity during its first great peacetime testing as an independent nation.

The testing was regional: North versus South, East versus West. It’s a philosophical and political: Federalists versus Republicans, Hamilton versus Jefferson. And it was international: the upheaval accompanying the French Revolution, which threatened to draw the United States into a world war that would have stifled the growth of the infant republic and perhaps ignited civil conflicts on the streets and farms at home.

Disproving the contention that Washington allowed himself to be used by Hamilton, James Thomas Flexner has discovered unexpected dimensions in the stormy relationship between Washington and Jefferson. And Mr. Flexner’s exploration of Washington’s attitude towards slavery breaks significant new ground. He demonstrates that Washington’s growing unhappiness with slavery – he eventually freed his own bondsmen – was an important reason why Washington would not support Jefferson’s Virginia agrarianism to the exclusion of the alternative economic system espoused by Hamilton.

The book is intensely dramatic. It is also tinged with sadness, portraying Washington at a time when his struggle to keep the nation together was weakened by his own infirmities. With Washington’s retirement, his former brilliance became increasingly clouded by periods of confusion. When the time came, he was glad to die.

George Washington: Anguish and Farewell provides a brilliant counterpoint between Washington’s public and private lives. It is a narrative in which Washington not only thinks and acts, but lives. It takes the final measure of the great president as a hero – and as a man.


Review: This is the fourth and final book in James Thomas Flexner’s George Washington series. And honestly, I found it to be the best book of the series.

This particular book covers the time from the beginning of Washington’s second term up until his death. Perhaps it is because this time period was a little more interesting to me than that of Washington’s earlier years, but I definitely had a lot more interest in reading this book than I had the previous three.

As with the previous books in the series, this one was well-written and extremely well-researched. I also felt like this book was put together a little bit better than the last book (where I distinctly remember that there were things that felt a little out-of-place in certain areas).

I can’t say that reading this 4 book series was an easy road (it totaled up to 1,825 pages!), but I’m overall glad that I stuck it out and finished it because it definitely is a work of art in itself. It’s probably not the series for everyone, and definitely not for just the average reader. But if you are interested in taking a serious stab at learning more about our first President, this series is an amazing resource.

For quick reference, my reviews of Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3

 

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan

I Know You Know coverAbout I Know You Know

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 18, 2018)

From New York Times bestselling author Gilly Macmillan comes this original, chilling and twisty mystery about two shocking murder cases twenty years apart, and the threads that bind them.

Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger.

For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don’t want the case—along with old wounds—reopened so many years after the tragedy, especially Charlie’s mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands.

When a long-dead body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career at risk, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy…


Review:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

So I immediately snatched up this opportunity when it was pitched to me! I had read and really enjoyed one of Ms. Macmillan’s previous novels, The Perfect Girl last year and so I was eager to read more of her work!

I was immediately pulled into this story. I really enjoyed the podcast part of this story, it was like little breadcrumbs here and there. As I was reading I wasn’t really sure where the storylines were going to intersect, but Ms. Macmillan managed to weave them together nearly seamlessly.

My one criticism is that I felt like the ending could have been a little stronger in its execution. It wasn’t a bad ending, but I did feel slightly let down that there wasn’t just a little bit more oomph to it.

Overall though a really great book that I definitely recommend!!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Gilly Macmillan APAbout Gilly Macmillan

Gilly Macmillan is the Edgar Nominated and New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew. She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she’s worked as a part-time lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.

Find out more about Gilly at her website, and connect with her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Michael Bennett, P, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Alert by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Alert
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Alert

 

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 368

Read: Oct. 1-6, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

 

Blurb: New Yorkers aren’t easily intimidated, but someone is doing their best to scare them, badly. Why? After two crippling high-tech attacks, the entire city is on edge. Detective Michael Bennett, along with his old pal, the FBI’s Emily Parker, has to catch the shadowy criminals who claim responsibility – but they’re as good at concealing their identities as they are at wreaking havoc.

When a shocking murder in broad daylight points to killers both skilled and cold-blooded, Bennett begins to suspect that these mysterious events are just the prelude to the biggest threat of all. Soon he’s racing against the clock, and against the most destructive enemy he’s faced yet, to save his beloved New York – before it’s lights-out for the city that never sleeps.


Review: I can always count on James Patterson for a quick and easy read. This particular book is the 8th installment in the Michael Bennett series. Last month I read the seventh book and enjoyed it well enough, but this book was much better!

I found this one to be fast paced and quite frighteningly believable. It was quite scary to think just how something like what happened could actually happen in real life. Good thing this was fiction 🙂

Overall a good story that I enjoyed. It was a quick, easy, enjoyable read that I would definitely recommend to thriller lovers.

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

Review: The Stranger Game by Peter Gadol

The Stranger GameAbout The Stranger Game

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Hanover Square Press; Original edition (October 1, 2018)

A literary suspense novel in which an eerie social game goes viral and spins perilously—and criminally—out of control.

Rebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police, they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the “stranger game,” a viral hit in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media. As the game spreads, however, the rules begin to change, play grows more intense and disappearances are reported across the country.

Curious about this popular new obsession, and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, who is willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. As her relationship with Carey and involvement in the game deepen, she begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may take her further and further from the life she once lived.

A thought-provoking, haunting novel, The Stranger Game unearths the connections, both imagined and real, that we build with the people around us in the physical and digital world, and where the boundaries blur between them.


Review:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

When I was first pitched this book that blurb immediately drew me in. I had to know more about what the Stranger Game was and how things would end up playing out!

And whoa, let me tell you, this book starts out with a super creepy vibe and I was immediately hooked! I was expecting a fast paced thriller, but I was pleasantly surprised by a more slower paced, layer by layer unfolding book that really left me with chills when I was finished! I found this book to be extremely readable and there were lots of twists and turns to make this one a really good read.

I highly recommend it!


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Peter Gadol

Peter Gadol’s seven novels include THE STRANGER GAME, SILVER LAKE, LIGHT AT DUSK, and THE LONG RAIN. His work his been translated for foreign editions and appeared in literary journals, including StoryQuarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and Tin House. Gadol lives in Los Angeles, where he is Chair and Professor of the MFA Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design. Visit petergadol.com for more info on his work.

 

Instagram Tour:

Monday, October 1st: @thecityofdarkclockwork

Tuesday, October 2nd: @katielmae

Tuesday, October 2nd: @createexploreread

Wednesday, October 3rd: @bookishwinterwitch

Thursday, October 4th: @dropandgivemenerdy

Friday, October 5th: @novelmombooks

Saturday, October 6th: @bookclubwithbite

 

Review Tour:

Monday, October 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Tuesday, October 2nd: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, October 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, October 4th: A Chick Who Reads

Monday, October 8th: Jathan & Heather

Tuesday, October 9th: Tales of a Book Addict

Wednesday, October 10th: @somekindofalibrary

Thursday, October 11th: Openly Bookish

Friday, October 12th: @wherethereadergrows

Monday, October 15th: Novel Gossip and @novelgossip

Tuesday, October 16th: Helen’s Book Blog

Wednesday, October 17th: Sweet Southern Home

Wednesday, October 17th: @basicbsguide

Thursday, October 18th: @jennblogsbooks

Monday, October 22nd: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind

Tuesday, October 23rd: @bookishmadeleine

Wednesday, October 24th: Write Read Life

TBD: The Lit Bitch – excerpt

tlc tour host

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, October 8, 2018

Well this past week I had my book subscription boxes come in. I’ve been a long time member of BOTM and always enjoy getting that book. Three months ago I signed up for Page 1 Books’ subscription service and bookcase.club’s subscription service as part of a treat to myself for my birthday. While I have loved getting the Page 1 Books subscription, it’s just a little higher than I’m wanting to spend on this, so I won’t be renewing right now (maybe after Christmas I’ll splurge again!). The verdict is still out on my bookcase.club subscription, it’s more affordable and I’ll probably do another round of 3 months, but if I find that I’m not keeping up with the books they’re sending (and let’s be honest… I’m not), I may pause after the next period ends. I am acquiring entirely too many books to be entirely honest. And I get all these great books and I let them sit on my shelves for months (… uhhh okay, more like years…). Anyway, you’re not here to listen to me ramble on, so on to the books:

From Book of the Month Club I chose:

The Lies We ToldBeth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behavior, the apparent delight in hurting others … Sometimes Beth is scared of her and what she could be capable of.

Luke comes from the perfect family, with he perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without a trace, and his girlfriend, Clara, is desperate to discover what has happened to him.

As Clara digs into the past, she realizes that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke’s long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke’s life is in danger because of the lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can Clara find him before it’s too late?


From Page 1 Books, I received:

A Talent for MurderLondon, 1926. Agatha Christie is boarding a train to visit her literary agent, preoccupied with the recent, devastating knowledge that her husband is having an affair. Suddenly, she feels a tap on her back, causing her to lose her balance, and then the sensation of someone pulling her to safety from the rush of an oncoming train.

So begins a terrifying sequence of events – for her rescuer is no guardian angel, but a blackmailer of the most insidious, manipulative sort, seeking to exploit the world-famous novelist’s expertise in the art of murder. But writing about murder is a far cry from committing one, and Christie must use every ounce of her ingenuity and cunning to thwart her adversary’s evil plan.


And from bookcase.club, I received:

Tell the Truth, Shame the DevilWhen Bish Ortley, a recently suspended cop, receives word that a bus carrying his daughter has been bombed, he rushes to her side. Though she is unhurt, lives have been claimed, and a suspect has already been identified – a seventeen-year-old girl who has since disappeared from the scene.

The press quickly reveals that the fugitive is the youngest member of one of London’s most notorious families. Years earlier, they were implicated in an attack that left dozens dead. Unable to ignore his detective instincts, Bish sets out to answer the question on everyone’s lips: has the girl decided to follow in her family’s footsteps?

To find her, Bish must earn the truth of her friends and family, including her brilliant, infamous mother, now serving a life sentence in prison. But as he delves into the deadly bus attack, the ghosts of older crimes become impossible to ignore. The secrets he uncovers will reveal the destruction of a family and take Bish on a desperate journey to expose the truth and right the wrongs of the past.


The Oslo ConspiracyIn The Oslo Conspiracy a scientist is found dead in a hotel room in Rome. Before she was strangled, she managed to scribble a few words on a piece of paper.

Milo Cavalli is sent to help out with the investigation in Italy, since he is familiar with Italian red tape. Milo finds the note from the scientist, and he also learns that earlier her kid brother had been killed in a schoolyard.

Milo becomes obsessed with finding out if there is a link between the two murders – the sister strangled in Italy and the brother shot in Norway. And he is willing to use his vast fortune and special connections – especially when those connections involve beautiful women – to find the answers.

Monthly Wrap Up

September 2018 Wrap Up

Well, I’m super late getting this wrap up posted … sorry about that! The month of October started out with Garrett coming down with a fever and some congestion and then before you know it … I managed to come down with it too. I’m still fighting the congestion, but at least I feel like powering on my computer today, so I suppose I’m somewhat on the mend. Anywhoo… on to book stuff.

I was able to read 6 books in the month of September. While not my best, still an awesome month with some really great books! Here’s what I read (clicking on the images will take you to my review):

Dark HarborGeorge Washington and the New NationThe FirmG is for GumshoeOne Perfect LieUntil Proven Guilty

My favorite book this month is probably One Perfect Lie. It starts out with a bang and didn’t let up until the very end for me! I thoroughly enjoyed it!! I don’t think I really had a disappointing book this month, they were all pretty good!

To briefly recap what other bookish goodies posted on the blog:

As I stated in my August update, I was signed up for my first 5K the first week of September. I was super nervous about it, but I finished and I’m stoked that I finished it! (And I wasn’t last!!) It was not the greatest conditions, it was a night run … and it poured down rain on us. But I had a really awesome time! I ran it with a co-worker who runs marathons (I told him he didn’t have to stay with me, he could run on… but he insisted on going at my pace … which is a snail’s, lol) and my sister-in-law (who did run on her own ahead of us). My SIL actually won 2nd place in her age group! So she did great! All in all it was a really good time and I definitely enjoyed it. I don’t think I’ll make it a really big habit of doing structured 5Ks, but I’ve incorporated one “long run” aka 3.10 mile run every week in my routine. Good times for sure! I’m never going to be a marathon runner (and I really don’t want to…), but I do enjoy being a recreational runner!

Let’s see, what else. Katelyn started pre-school this month. I’m still in denial that my baby will be in kindergarten in two short years … it’s not possible! But then I remember that I get to sleep a full night’s sleep and I no longer have to buy diapers and that pretty well takes care of any desire of another baby 😀

Some other crappy family stuff happened at the end of the month. More stupid drama. It’s almost to the point of ridiculousness. I’m so over it. I am a grown ass woman, I do not need the drama that a certain family member makes. It’s stupid and I’m tired of it. She’s upset with my husband and yet she took it out on me! Please. Be an adult and go to the person your “issue” is with … oh, wait! That would be too grown up for you to do, so that’s not likely to happen. Ridiculous. Especially if she actually thought I would take her side over my husbands… which I would if the circumstances warranted it, but this most certainly did not. Stupid, childish petty bullshit that I don’t have time for anymore. It’s actually been kind of nice not to have to listen to her complaints in over a week. I’m kind of starting to realize how all-consuming her problems were becoming to ME because I was having to listen to it. ::end rant::.

Anyway … not that you guys cared about any of that, but it sure felt good to get it off my chest. (She doesn’t know about this blog, so I feel free to briefly mention it). So, I think that’s about it. I’ve got a couple of reviews coming in the upcoming week, so I sure hope you’ll stop back by for those. Until next time…

Happy reading!!