4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Non-Fiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2019, S

Review: John Adams Vol. 1 (1735-1784) by Page Smith

John Adams Vol. 1 (1735-1784)
by Page Smith

John Adams (Smith)

 

Copyright: 1962

Pages: 599

Read: Feb. 21 – March 20, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Source: abebooks.com

 

Review: This book is the first in a two-book series by Page Smith. I personally enjoyed it quite a bit. Volume 1 covers Adams’ life from his birth to the point when Abigail joins him in Europe during his overseas diplomatic years.

While this book was originally published in the 1960s, I had no issue whatsoever with the writing style. I found it to be quite easy to read and very informative. In fact, it was almost mesmerizing in some points – Mr. Smith certainly had a way with words.

One thing that I did greatly appreciate as a reader is that I felt like the author kept things relatively balanced. Sure, you can definitely tell that he is definitely a John Adams fan, but I didn’t feel like he bent over backwards to place him on an unnecessary pedestal.

After having read the David McCullough book I greatly appreciated this book in that it could expand on things that Mr. McCullough only merely touched upon. For a more casual reader this book would likely give you more information than you could ever want, but as a follow-up, I found it to be quite enjoyable.

As stated, this is only a review of the first volume of the two-volume set. I am getting ready to start on Volume 2 and I look forward to learning more about the second half of John Adams’ life – that of his Vice Presidency, Presidency and retirement years.

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4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley


The Hunting PartyAbout The Hunting Party

• Hardcover: 336 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (February 12, 2019)

Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?


Review:

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

I eagerly snatched up the opportunity to read and review this book when I was originally pitched it. It sounded creepy, thrilling … and that cover! So I was really excited to finally get to dive into this one.

I will say … it is not very likely that you will like any of the characters in this book. They’ve all got secrets. Some of them are just plain mean. It’s pretty obvious early on (at least it was to me) which “friend” would be the one found dead, but it was a lot more difficult to figure out which one was the murderer. Almost every character has a “voice” in this one – chapters where you see their point of view. The secrets are slowly revealed and each one is even more shocking than the last it seems. Again – these are not likable characters! At all! But this book really captivated me. I was so wrapped up in this one and I couldn’t wait to figure out what had really happened! And then that ending … I definitely didn’t see it coming! It really added for an interesting twist at the very end.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a really good thriller that kept me guessing until the end. Highly recommended!!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Lucy Foley AP

About Lucy Foley

LUCY FOLEY is a former editor at Hodder Fiction and has been both a literary agent and a bookseller. An avid painter, she now writes full time and lives in London, England.

Follow Lucy on Twitter and Facebook.

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Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, March 11, 2019

Mailbox Mondays

Well this week I received a Paperbackswap order as well as my bookcase.club subscription box. I’m not going to lie, I’m not 100% thrilled on the bookcase.club box selections this month – and this isn’t the first time. I have one more month before my next renewal, and I think I’m going to let it go. I’ve been a subscriber of this box for 8 months and for the most part I haven’t been overly excited over the picks 😦

Anywhoo – from Paperbackswap I got:

A Savage Place

TV reporter Candy Sloan has eyes the color of cornflowers and legs that stretch all the way to heaven. She also has somebody threatening to rearrange her lovely face if she keeps on snooping into charges of Hollywood racketeering.

Spenser’s job is to keep Candy healthy until she breaks the biggest story of her career. But her star witness has just bowed out with three bullets in his chest, two tough guys have doubled up to test Spenser’s skill with his fists, and Candy is about to use her own sweet body as live bait in a deadly romantic game – a game that may cost Spenser his life.  

 


And from bookcase.club:

The White MirrorLi Du, an imperial librarian and former exile in eighteenth-century China, is now an independent traveler. He is journeying with a trade caravan bound for Lhasa when a detour brings them to a high valley hidden between mountain passes. On the icy planks of an old wooden bridge, a monk sits in silent contemplation. Closer inspection reveals that the monk is dead, apparently of a self-inflicted wound. His robes are rent, revealing a mysterious symbol painted on his chest.

When the rain turns to snow, the caravan is forced to seek hospitality from the local lord while they wait for the storm to pass. Li Du receives a courteous welcome at the manor built into the mountain. The dead monk, he soon learns, was a reclusive painter who lived alone in a nearby temple. According to the family, his bizarre suicide is not surprising, given his obsession with the demon world.

But Li Du is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why did the caravan leader detour to this particular valley? Why does the lord’s skittish heir sleep in the barn like a servant? Why is an Italian missionary convinced that there is a lost Christian kingdom in Tibet? And who is the mysterious woman traveling unescorted through the mountain wilds?

These are dangerous times and dangerous roads. Political tension is escalating among the emperor of China, the king of Tibet in Lhasa, and the Mongols in the north. Bandits roam the trade routes. Trapped in the snow, surrounded by secrets and an unexplained grief that haunts the manor, Li Du cannot distract himself from memories he has tried to leave behind. As he discovers irrefutable evidence of the painter’s murder and pieces together the dark circumstances of his death, Li Du must face the reason he will not go home and, ultimately, the reason why he must.

Any Minutes NowRed Rover – the blackest of black ops teams – is betrayed during a top-priority mission to capture and interrogate a mysterious Saudi terrorist. One of their own is killed; the remaining two barely get home alive. Then, without warning or explanation, the team is disbanded.

Greg Whitman and Felix Orteno are left adrift in a world full of deathly shadows, blind alleys, and unanswerable questions. They hook up with Charlize Daou, a brilliant, wildly talented arms expert whose past is entangled with Whit’s. Though Charlie grapples with damage of her own, she becomes their new center, their moral compass, and their reason for resurrecting Red Rover.

The new Red Rover secretly sets out to find the protect Saudi terrorist, the first step in a perilous journey into the heart of a vast conspiracy that involves the NSA, a cabal of immensely wealthy mystics known as the Alchemists, and an ageless visionary out to create an entirely new way of waging war. A war that will destabilize one of the great superpowers and forever rearrange the balance of power across the entire globe.

 

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019, Review Book, S, TLC Book Tours

Review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Before She Knew HimAbout Before She Knew Him

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (March 5, 2019)

Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door

From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder . . .

Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.

Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. . .


Review:

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

I have never read a book by Peter Swanson before, although I do have a copy of The Kind Worth Killing on my shelf. So I was excited to get the opportunity to read and review this book!

I am a firm believer that the less you know about this book going in – the better off you will be. It’s full of twists and turns, some you see coming … and some you don’t! There’s one particular twist that it was just like “WHOA! Stop the presses on that one…” I totally didn’t see it coming and it made the book even creepier than it was before.

I really, really enjoyed this one. I found it to be very fast-paced and thrilling. The characters were all well-developed and somewhat unreliable at times. That plot … it may seem like it’s a bit far-reaching (because, you know, most people don’t really think they live next door to a murderer), but Mr. Swanson definitely makes it work in this book.

Overall, a really great book that left me practically breathless! It was a race to the finish to see how it would all end up for Hen.

Highly, highly, highly recommended 🙂


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Peter Swanson AP Photo by Jim Ferguson.jpg
Photo by Jim Ferguson

 

 

About Peter Swanson

Peter Swanson is the author of three novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; and his most recent, Her Every Fear. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science FictionThe Atlantic MonthlyMeasureThe GuardianThe Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine. A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife.

Find out more about Peter on his website and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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Mailbox Monday, Meme, Uncategorized

Mailbox Monday, March 4, 2019

Mailbox Mondays

Well. I’ve got more than a few this week 😀 Should have stayed away from the library book sale, ha!

Anyhoo, I got one book for review in last week:

The Hunting PartyDuring the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands – the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiration of the stunning, if foreboding, scenery; champagne in front of a crackling fire; and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous rivalry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead … and another one of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?


I got two books from my grandmother:

Three Sisters, Three QueensWhen Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined – with Margaret’s younger sister, Mary – to a unique sisterhood. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland, and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. But as they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

The SandmanAn emaciated young man named Michael is found wandering outside Stockholm. Thirteen years earlier, he and his younger sister went missing, presumed to be victims of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter, who is now serving a life sentence in a maximum-security psychiatric hospital. But Mikael tells the police that his sister is still alive and behind held by someone he calls the Sandman.

Detective Joona Linna sacrificed everything to capture Jurek, but he always thought that Jurek had an accomplice. Any chance of rescuing Mikael’s sister depends on getting Jurek to talk, and the only agent capable of this is Saga Bauer, who will have to go deep undercover and beat Jurek at his own game before it’s too late.


And then here’s what I got at the library book sale:

HeydayThe Killing ForestFinger Lickin FifteenThe Elusive Mrs. PollifaxAuntie Poldi and the Sicilian LionsTrumanDismantledAmerica Afire

Monthly Wrap Up

February 2019 Wrap Up

Well, February ended up being a slightly better reading month than January did (who on earth starts a brand new year in a reading slump?! UGH!) Here’s what I read in February:

Meet Me at the MuseumBack to School MurderJohn AdamsEleven on TopBefore She Knew Him

So there’s a visual of my books read in February. Meet Me at the Museum was the February selection for the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club – it is an epistolary novel, and way outside my comfort zone, but it somewhat surprised me. I can’t say that I loved it, but I finished it and while not necessarily my cup of tea it was a well-written book. I finally got my way through John Adams. Whew. That was a chunky book, and while extremely well-written the writing style was not necessarily what I was looking for at the time. My favorite this month, hands down, was definitely Before She Knew Him. Be on the lookout for my review of that one this upcoming Thursday!

Here’s what you may have missed last month:

Let’s see … on the personal side of things. Hm. We were able to see two movies in the theater this month, Aquaman and Glass. Both were good in their own way. As far as Aquaman is concerned, it was a decent adventure movie – but while I can appreciate that Jason Mamoa is a good-looking guy, I’m not sure I understand the hype about him right now. All my mom friends are obsessed. Glass was a good movie, but a little confusing to me at times. I never saw the two movies before it in the “trilogy” so that may have impacted my overall thoughts on the movie. My weekly running partner and I have signed up for a 5K on St. Patrick’s Day. Eek. I’m not really “ready” Ok, I can’t really say that. We’ve been running every week together and I’m consistently doing 3.5-4 miles with her every Sunday, but the whole idea of a “race” is getting into my head again. But it benefits the American Cancer Society, and all finishers get a really cool medal that is also a bottle opener (hey – I’m all about the race swag!). I don’t really know what else to mention here. So I suppose until next month –

Happy reading!