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

Review: Night Prey by John Sandford

Night Prey
by John Sandford

Copyright: 1994

Pages: 384

Read: Nov. 11-14, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: John Sandford’s acclaimed Prey novels have taken readers into the minds of murderers and manhunters. Now his brilliant detective, Lucas Davenport, faces an equally brilliant – and elusive – opponent. A madman who becomes obsessed with a beautiful woman – and carves her initials into the flesh of his victims. 


Review: It had been over a year since the last time I picked up a Lucas Davenport novel, so I was excited to jump back in with Lucas … especially since I had so enjoyed the previous installment. I was most definitely looking forward to the 6th book. And this one did not disappoint! 

This is one twisted and crazy read. It was gruesome and violent. But I still thoroughly enjoyed it! Mr. Sandford definitely comes up with some creepy and clever killers for Lucas to have to hunt down. I really enjoyed the addition of Meagan’s character, even though I knew she wouldn’t be a long-lasting one (she was dying of cancer). It was interesting to see Lucas work with a female “partner” on this case. 

I am generally a huge supporter of reading series books in order (I’m actually kind of fanatical about it…) but I really think this book would read well as a standalone if needed. Either way, I definitely would recommend picking up this backlist book if you are looking for a fast paced thriller. 

Advertisements
3.5/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Non-Fiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady

Martha Washington: An American Life
by Patricia Brady

Copyright: 2005

Pages:236

Read: Nov. 2 – 13, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Abebooks.com


BlurbMartha Dandridge Custis was a wealthy, good-looking widow and the mother of two young children when, in 1759, she started a new life as Martha Washington. Thus began an ardent love affair and one of our country’s most influential partnerships. George Washington’s career might have been very different without his marriage to his “dearest Patsy.” Her fortune ensured the success of his Mount Vernon, but much more important was the emotional support she brought to their marriage. Under his glacial exterior, George Washington was often insecure, indecisive, and prone to fits of temper. His wife was the person who truly knew and loved the complex man behind the noble mask. 

Martha Washington’s name is one of the most recognizable in American history and yet Martha herself is the invisible woman in American history. She burned her private correspondence after George’s death, but with painstaking research, Patricia Brady has finally recovered the real person. Never the kindly frump of popular mythology, she was an able landowner, an indomitable patriot, and her husband’s confidante in military, political, and personal matters for four decades. 

Martha’s world extended from the Virginia plantation aristocracy into which she was born to the rugged battlefields of the Revolution. For eight long years, her husband stayed in the field – the only way he could hold is army together, though he was homesick and desperately worried about Mount Vernon. And every year, she joined him at Valley Forge and other winter camps, providing the loving comfort that allowed him to keep going. In the new capitals of New York and Philadelphia, she used her charm and humor shrewdly to help George negotiate the churning political waters of the new country. She was at his side and on his side as political enemies like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison unleashed vicious tabloid newspaper attacks against Washington. 

This superb work vividly portrays her remarkable life, her unusual achievements, and her great contribution to America. Because she was the first, Martha Washington had no role model, no precedent, and she set a standard for every presidential couple for the next two and half centuries. 


Review: So as part of my personal Presidential Reading Challenge, I have decided that I would also try and read a single work on each First Lady as well. Having read six books on George Washington (I skipped the Ron Chernow book… I just couldn’t face another 900 pages of Mr. Washington at this time – however I am keeping it on my shelf for future reading), I was ready to move on to his First Lady. To be honest, I didn’t know a lot about Martha Washington, so I was eager to learn a little bit more about her. 

Overall, I found this book to be quite readable. The only struggle I had was the sheer number of people mentioned. Children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, in-laws, random friends .. near the end it was quite difficult to keep them all straight when they all seemed to share the same name. 

Martha Washington is somewhat of an enigma in our nation’s history. She destroyed most of her and her husband’s intimate correspondence after his death and so a lot of her has been lost to the ages. That’s really a shame for historians and history buffs alike. However I can respect and understand the want and need for that privacy after so much of their life was lived in public life. I feel like Ms. Brady did a remarkable job in piecing together Martha Washington, even without the help of the marital correspondence that would have made things infinitely more useful. 

While we all know what George Washington did for our country, we never really think much about the sacrifices that Martha Washington made as well. She basically gave up her private life with her husband so he could fulfill his sense of duty. He did quite a few things without her true blessing, but she was still very supportive and followed him nearly everywhere she could.

I was really intrigued by the descriptions of Martha Washington as a pretty independent woman who got what she wanted. She basically confronted her future father-in-law and demanded him bless the marriage of her and his son, her first husband. After the death of her first husband, instead of immediately bowing down to another man, she took matters in her own hands and took care of all her affairs until she decided on another husband. As a very wealthy widow, she had the cream of the crop coming to her for courtship, and yet she chose George Washington. I have to believe that she knew what (and who) she wanted and was determined to get it and not settle for less. That sort of independence goes against everything I “know” about women in her time period – I just loved that about her! 

I’m glad that I have decided to also learn more about the First Ladies during this journey. It will be interesting going forward to see how the subsequent First Ladies compare to Martha Washington. Being the first First Lady she had no idea what precedent she was setting for the “job.” I personally think she did a wonderful job and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about her. 

First chapter

First Chapter, First Paragraph, November 20, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I’m scheduled for review in early December. 

I hadn’t known it at the time, but it was the last normal weekend of my life.

That’s the first line of the first section (I skipped sharing the prologue since it didn’t really give you as good of an idea of the book as this first line did). I’m really enjoying this book, it’s turning out to be a really interesting thriller! I sure hope you come back on December 3rd to read my final thoughts on it. 

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, November 19, 2018

I’ve got four books this week, but these include everything I’ve received so far in the month of November. 

For review in December, I received: 

When they fell in love back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke joked that they were so brilliant, together they could plan the perfect murder. After fifteen rocky years of marriage, they had better hope they’re right. 

Their young son Jacob’s principal is accused of molesting a troubled student. It’s a horrifying situation – and the poison spreads rapidly. One night before bed, Jacob tells Natalie he is a victim, too. In that moment, her concept of justice changes forever. Natalie decides the predator must die. 

To shelter Jacob from the trauma of a trial, Natalie concocts an elaborate murder plot and Will becomes her unwilling partner. The Clarkes are about to find out what happens when your life partner becomes your accomplice – and your alibi. 


From Book of the Month, I went a little outside my normal selection and chose this one: 

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amid all the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be. 

Frances Welty, the formerly bestselling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person who intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can? 

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question. 


And then I received two books from my bookcase.club subscription: 

Philadelphia, 1965: Two street cops – one black, one white – are gunned down in a corner bar. One of the fallen officers, Stan Walczak, leaves behind a twelve-year-old boy, Jimmy. 

Philadelphia, 1995: Homicide Jim Walczak learns that his father’s alleged killer, Terrill Lee Stanton, has been sprung from prison. Jim stalks the ex-con, hoping to finally learn the truth. 

Philadelphia, 2016: Jim’s daughter, Audrey, a forensic science student, reopens her grandfather’s murder for a research paper. But as Audrey digs deeper, she comes to realize that Stanton probably didn’t pull the trigger – and her father may have made a horrible mistake… 


Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then – but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to. 

Now, a thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…

But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once and again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them – so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: Those who have hurt us deeply – or whom we have hurt – never let us go, not entirely…

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie

Hallowe’en Party
by Agatha Christie

Hallowe'en Party

 

Copyright: 1969

Pages: 336

Read: Nov. 4 – 6, 2018

Rating: 2/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples… At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…


Review: Believe it or not, I had never read a book by Agatha Christie. Crazy, right? Well the opportunity arose to give her a shot with this book. And unfortunately, it fell flat for me.

To be completely honest, I just didn’t care for Hercule Poirot’s voice. There were also a lot of characters in this one that I had trouble keeping straight. I also didn’t really care for the storyline, when it was revealed at the end I was just a little confused. I can’t decide if I just didn’t pay enough attention (I am slightly guilty of skimming a little bit) or if it was just so out of left field that it didn’t make sense.

It just didn’t work for me. I would still like to pick up a different book by Ms. Christie just to see if it was just a weak book, but I think next time I would pick up a more popular choice.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: All Around the Town by Mary Higgins Clark

All Around the Town
by Mary Higgins Clark

All Around the Town

 

Copyright: 1992

Pages: 238

Read: Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Goodwill

 

Blurb: Laurie Kenyon, a twenty-one-year-old college senior, is accused of murdering her English professor, Allan Grant. When he is founds tabbed to death, her fingerprints are everywhere – on the door, on the curtain, on the knife.

Arraigned on a murder charge, a shocked and bewildered Laurie has no memory of the crime. Traumatized by abuse she suffered after she was kidnapped at the age of four and held for two years, she has developed multiple personalities. Laurie, the host personality, does not know that others coexist with her, nor is she aware that one of her alternates, Leona, has been writing Allan Grant crazed love letters and secretly entering his home.

Bic Hawkins, Laurie’s abductor, an unsavory drifter, has been scratching out a living singing in taverns and acting as a fundamentalist preacher. Now he has become a celebrated television evangelist, who has achieved fame for his talent to mesmerize people. Before releasing her, Bic had threatened six-year-old Laurie with death if she ever talked about what he had done to her and, terrified, she has erased the experience from her mind.

Attorney Sarah Kenyon has quit her job as an assistant prosecutor to defend her younger sister. Sarah brings in psychiatrist Dr. Justin Donnelly, a specialist in the treatment of multiple personalities, to save her sister by unlocking the unbearable memories of her lost years that she has been suppressing.

Bic’s obsession with Laurie has never diminished. Now it is rivaled by his fear of exposure. He is compelled both to be close to her and to eliminate her forever.


Review: I can always count on Mary Higgins Clark for a really great read and this one definitely did not disappoint!

I didn’t read the description very closely because when the multiple personalities came out it was like a total shock! Ha! But I really think that that aspect made this book just so much better. Multiple personality disorder is not something that I am very familiar with, but I do feel like Ms. Clark aced it.

Even though this book was originally published in 1992 it felt like something that could have been written in 2018. It felt like a it fit right in with all the psychological thrillers that are all the rage right now. The characters were all well developed and each had their own individual story, even the minor characters. And then there was that ending … it was one that I kind of saw coming, but it was still enjoyable to see how it all ended up being wrapped up. This was just a good solid read.

This book just absolutely flew by! I thoroughly loved it and couldn’t get through it fast enough. Highly, highly recommended!!

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, November 6, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I picked up last week on a whim.

All Around the Town

Ten minutes before it happened, four-year-old Laurie Kenyon was sitting cross-legged on the floor of the den rearranging the furniture in her dollhouse. She was tired of playing alone and wanted to go in the pool. From the dining room she could hear the voices of Mommy and the ladies who used to go to school with her in New York. They were talking and laughing while they ate lunch.

That’s the first paragraph and it caught me immediately. The entire book had me totally engrossed! I loved it and sure hope you’ll stop back by later this week for my review!

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

Review: The Judas Goat by Robert B. Parker

The Judas Goat
by Robert B. Parker

The Judas Goat

 

Copyright: 1978

Pages: 203

Read: Oct. 28-30, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Spenser has gone to London — and not to see the Queen. He’s gone to track down a bunch of bombers who’ve blown away his client’s wife and kids. His job is to catch them. Or kill them. His client isn’t choosy.

But there are nine killers to one Spenser — long odds. Hawk helps balance the equation. The rest depends on a wild plan. Spenser will get one of the terrorists to play Judas Goat — to lead him to others. Trouble is, he hasn’t counted on her being very blond, very beautiful and very dangerous.


Review: This is the 5th book in the Spenser series. This was a quick and fun read. It was a little violent (nothing over the top), but more than I remember in previous installments. You can also tell that it’s a little dated … based on the clothing descriptions 😀 However the actual storyline itself was not dated at all, it was quite enjoyable.

I like Spenser’s character … he’s a hard-hitting dude with some heart to him. I also like the addition of Hawk’s character, I think he adds a really great dimension to the book and I hope he continues to make appearances in subsequent installments.

Overall I enjoyed this one. It was a good and solid installment and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book.

Monthly Wrap Up

October 2018 Wrap Up

Holy moly, another month gone! I swear 2018 has flown by, it’s unreal! To think that it’s November is insane! And now the holidays are upon us…. ugh! I’m so not ready, ha! Anyway, I had a good reading month for October, but I wasn’t nearly as active here on the blog as I had liked to be. I just didn’t find myself on the computer as much as I would have preferred, but I was still reading so it’s ok 🙂

AlertGeorge Washington and the New NationThe Amazing Mrs. PollifaxAn Imperfect GodThe YardThe Judas Goat

The Yard would probably be my favorite, with An Imperfect God being a really close second (for a non-fiction read that was a really good book!)

Other than book reviews, I only posted one thing on the blog this month:

  • First Chapter/First Paragraph: Oct. 23

Told you I was pretty quiet around here 😦 Hopefully November can get back on track for me. I Just found myself reading more than turning on the computer, which is a good thing… but I still prefer to be a little more present around here.

Off the blog I had a busy month. Between me and my children we spent an entire week at home sick. That was no fun … plus it put me really behind at work. And of course October is generally a pretty busy time at my work. I’m still running, in fact I’m doing a little bit better than I have been. I’m pretty close to figuring out the whole breathing thing, lol! It definitely makes it a lot easier 😀 We joined a local gym so I could access the treadmills. Ugh. That’s got to be the worst running ever… I definitely prefer to run outside! But our winters can be pretty unpredictable, so I’ll probably need to utilize the treadmills during the winter months to keep in shape until spring.

I’m looking forward to November. I hope to have another great reading month; I’m already off to a good start, having finished my first book yesterday! Hopefully I can be a little more active here than I was in October…. but as long as I keep reading it’ll be fine 🙂

Until next month … happy reading!