Review: Absolute Power by David Baldacci

Absolute Power
by David Baldacci

760769

Copyright: 1996

Pages: 505

Read: March 6-15, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased used

 

Blurb: ABSOLUTE CORRUPTION…In a heavily guarded mansion in a posh Virginia suburb, a man and a woman start to make love, trapping a burglar behind a secret wall. Then the passion turns deadly, and the witness is running into the night. Because what he has just seen is a brutal slaying involving the President of the United States.

ABSOLUTE DANGER…Luther Whitney is the career break-in artist who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. Alan Richmond is the charming U.S. President with the power to commit any crime. And Jack Graham is the young attorney, caught in a vortex between the absolute truth – and …

ABSOLUTE POWER…A tale of greed, sex, ambition, and murder, this is the novel everyone has been talking about … the shattering, relentlessly suspenseful thriller that will change the way you think about Washington – and power – forever.


Review: I’ve had this one on my shelf for a few years now. I always like David Baldacci’s books, and this one sounded really interesting. The premise sounds so exciting! And it was his debut novel, so I figured it was something I should probably eventually read. And this is a heck of a good book.

My one and only complaint is the length of this book. It was about 100-150 pages too long. However, I understand why Mr. Baldacci set things up so meticulously in the beginning. There were quite a few places where the story seemed to drag on, but the last 200 or so pages were fast paced and action packed!

This book is a prime example of how good people end up doing bad things. Whether it’s to save their job, their life, their family. People will go to extraordinary measures to protect themselves and those that they love. This book shows just how far people will go for those reasons.

Review: A Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal

A Front Page Affair
by Radha Vatsal

 

A Front Page AffairCopyright: 2016

Pages: 312

Read: July 8-11, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

 

Blurb: Intelligent, well-traveled, and well-bred, Capability “Kitty” Weeks never expected to find herself reporting on fashion trends and society gossip, but every aspiring journalist has to start somewhere, and Kitty finds her “in” to the world of newspapers on the New York Sentinel Ladies’ Page. Meanwhile, news headlines buzz about a shooting at J.P. Morgan’s mansion and the sinking of the Lusitania. It seems that Kitty will never have a chance to get the scoop on a big story – until a man is murdered at a high society picnic on her beat.

Determined to prove herself as a journalist and break away from the Ladies’ Page once and for all, Kitty digs deeper into the circumstances behind the murder. She soon finds herself plunged into the midst of a wartime conspiracy that threatens to derail the United States’s attempt to remain neutral – and to disrupt the privileged life she has always known.


Review: I was immediately intrigued by the description of this book when it was first pitched to me. I’m not taking on a whole lot of review books, so a book has to really stick out for me to accept it for review consideration. But there was something about this book that really sucked me in and made me want to read it. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I figured reading about a character in New York City in 1915 wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I took it on my train ride to Chicago, knowing that I would have 5+ hours each way to enjoy some good quality reading time. I’m definitely glad that I took this book because I read the first half of it on the way up and the second half on the way back home. This book was such a fun, enjoyable, easy read that it was just perfect for what I needed at the moment.

I liked Kitty’s character. She was interesting and fresh. I am excited to see that this is the first in a planned series (you know I love series books!) because I cannot wait to see what Kitty finds herself in going forward with women’s suffrage right around the corner for her. Kitty’s character definitely breaks the mold of the average woman in the early 1900s and I think that’s what really drew me to her. The author has really set up a great background for some really interesting books going forward with a character like Kitty.

The writing of this book was extremely good. It was very upfront and not bogged down with a lot of what I call flowery descriptions. It made it a lot more easier for me to read than a typical historical fiction.  It was packed with just enough historical background that the scene was easily imagined. I also enjoyed the fact that this was a very believable book. Kitty ran into numerous roadblocks but she persevered in each and every one of those. I especially enjoyed one moment when one of the newspaper’s higher-ups questioned Kitty as to how she gained entrance to somewhere she had no business being and she simply responded that she got in because she asked. It was such an easy, simple response, and yet it really made me realize how much women were ignored for the most part during those times.

Overall, I really think this is a great book. It’s definitely a great start to a new series that has left me eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. I can’t say enough good things about this book … just read it for yourself!

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

 

Review: Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark

Guilt by Association
by Marcia Clark

Guilt by Association

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 397

Read: May 4 – 14, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased new

 

 

Blurb: Los Angeles DA Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wisecracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city’s most elite division. When her colleague Jake is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault on a young woman from a prominent family.

But Rachel can’t stop herself from also digging deeper into Jake’s death, a decision that will have her risking her reputation – and her life – to find the truth.

Thoughts: I first read Marcia Clark when I read The Competition a couple of years ago. That was in 2014 – why on earth did I wait two years before picking up the first Rachel Knight book?! I wish I had a decent answer for that question. But I don’t.

This book really hits the ground running. It sucked me in almost immediately and I found myself reading 50 pages in the blink of an eye. It was a really fun, interesting book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really like Rachel’s character. She’s so down-to-earth and relatable. Rachel and Bailey are like two peas in a pod – they just mesh together so well as partners.

Being a backlist book, there’s not much I can say about this one that you haven’t read before. So – if you haven’t read anything by Marcia Clark yet, definitely give her a try! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I highly recommend this one!

2015.32 REVIEW – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 316
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 13-20, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 32
Format: Print
Source: Cruise Ship Library
Series: N/A

The Girl on the Train Blurb: Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens.

She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses, “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see: she’s much more than just the girl on the train…


 

Review: When this one first came out it had so much buzz surrounding it. But I was intrigued. I wanted to read it so badly. But I usually end up hating buzz books. So I chose to hold off and let the buzz die off a little bit. When I went on my cruise recently, I finished the only two books I took with me. On the last night of the cruise, I decided I’d pop into the cruise ship’s library and see what they had. And I saw this book. I got so excited I nearly knocked my husband down to get to it. So I made a little trade with one of the books I had finished for this one.

I started reading this one on my plane ride home. I read 100 pages. Actually, I should say I flew through 100 pages, because that’s more accurate. What I really found about this book was that it was an addictive read.

Another thing that I found was that the characters are horrible. Actually, they’re probably a bit beyond horrible, they’re that bad.

I wanted to slap Rachel upside her head on more than one occasion. I could hardly tolerate her near the end – either make the change in life you need to or stop whining about it and deal with what you’ve gotten yourself into. I had very little sympathy for her. Anna irritated me to no end. She was too proud of herself for breaking up a marriage – not something that’s really brag-worthy in my opinion. Then you had Megan, Scott and Tom. They were all screwed up too. Every single person in this book was screwed up to the max, to be completely honest. It was just a little over the top in places, and I hated every single one of them. But yet, I kept reading. I had to know what really happened. It really was an addictive read.

I don’t know why I loved this one so much. It was irritating to me in so many places. I hated the characters. Yet I loved it. It’s such a strange thing to try to describe. But definitely a book I’d recommend.

2015.17 REVIEW – The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

The Truth and Other Lies
by Sascha Arango

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 241
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: May 23 – May 31, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 17
Format: Print
Source: Publicist for review
Series: N/A

The Truth and Other LiesBlurb: Henry Hayden seems like someone you could admire, or even like. A famous bestselling author with the air of a modest everyman. A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A generous, compassionate friend. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask. His past is a secret, his methods more so. Only he and his wife know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous.

But when his hidden-in-plain-sight mistress becomes pregnant and his carefully constructed facade is about to crumble, his permanent solution becomes his most terrible mistake.

Now not only are the police after Henry, but his past – which he has painstakingly kept hidden – threatens to catch up with him. But Henry is an ingenious man, and he works out an ingenious plan, weaving lies, truths, and half-truths into a story that might help him survive. Still, the noose tightens.

Smart, sardonic, and compulsively readable, this is the story of a man whose cunning allows him to evade the consequences of his every action, even when he’s standing on the edge of the abyss.


Review: I received a copy of this book for review after responding to an offer in a Goodreads group I belong to. All opinions expressed below are my own.

Henry Hayden is one interesting character. He’s a best-selling author despite never having written a word in his life. Rather it’s his wife who is the author. And she’s a big part of this book, yet I didn’t really feel like I knew her at all. Of course, I also didn’t feel very connected to Henry either. There’s a lot that we as readers do not know about Mr. Hayden. He’s got a pretty shady childhood … yet we really aren’t given very many details beyond him ending up an orphan at a fairly young age. And the logic that he uses throughout the book … well, I just can’t grasp most of the decisions he made either. Although I will say he is definitely one sneaky dude. His wife might have been the bestselling author in the family, but he managed to come up with a pretty far-reaching story as to what happened to his wife and mistress.

At one point early on in this book I couldn’t figure out if Henry was delusional and I was reading pretend dialogue, or if what was happening at ay given moment was really happening and not just a figment of his imagination. I have to say that I really struggled with this throughout the book and I think that’s what really impacted my final rating of this novel.

This isn’t a very long book, only clocking in at 241 pages. And to be perfectly honest here, I felt like it could have been a tad bit longer just because there were some places that I felt lacking. I guess it was more because I felt as if there was no real ending. There’s a big “what happened?” at the end that I would have preferred to see resolved. I wanted to know what really happened to Betty. And I really would have liked to have known what happened to Henry’s mother all those years ago.

Overall, this isn’t a bad book. It’s just a little bit different from what I’m used to reading. But it did keep my attention and kept me guessing throughout. Had there been a little more finality to it at the end and had I been able to connect more with the characters, I would have preferred it just a little bit more. But I would recommend it to mystery lovers.

2015.11 REVIEW – Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent
by Veronica Roth

Copyright:2011
Pages: 487
Rating: 5/5
Read: March 8 – March 13, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 11
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new
Series: Divergent Trilogy #1

DivergentBlurb: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


Review: You may remember me mentioning in my review of Attachments that I had signed up for some Goodreads challenges, one being where we were encouraged to read outside our comfort genres. This is another book that I chose for that challenge.

So what did I think? Honest to goodness, I LOVED this book. I surprised myself by how much I truly enjoyed it. I really took to Tris’s character. And Four. I think I may have had a little bit of a crush on Four by the end of the book.

I think my only complaint about this book is the lack of background. We just jump right in. What happened to put the City in its current state? Why the factions? Why the hatred between the factions? What caused all this discontent? I hope the other two books address this.

This book was about initiations. We got to see all the training that Tris had to go through to become Dauntless. It was unrealistic, to say the least. There’s no way anyone could have survived what they had to go through. Okay, maybe some people could have – I sure wouldn’t have, ha! It’s this training that sets up for whatever is going down. We get a little bit of a preview of what is to come in the last few chapters of the book. But now I’m anxious to know what will happen next!

I am still amazed that I liked this book as much as I did. I liked it so much that I’m going out to buy Insurgent.

Highly recommended.

2015.10 REVIEW – Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments
by Rainbow Rowell

Copyright:2011
Pages: 323
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: March 4 – March 6, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 10
Format: Print
Source: Purchased online at powells.com
Series: N/A

AttachmentsBlurb: Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work email. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious emails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now – reading other people’s email. When he applied to be “Internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers – not writing up a report eery time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained – and captivated – by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say…?


Review: So earlier this year I signed up for some Goodreads challenges, one of those was to read 14 books from the group’s moderators’ favorite genres. Talk about having to really expand my horizons. One of the genres is chick-lit. Not something I read. Ever. And something that made me a little nervous. But I went searching for a chick-lit book that I felt I would be able to handle (i.e. – not throw across the room in total and utter disgust). Somehow I stumbled upon Rainbow Rowell.

Now, I’d have to be in a complete hole to have never heard of Rainbow Rowell. She seems to have taken the book blogosphere by storm since her debut in 2011. And while I will admit that a couple of her books have sounded a little bit interesting to me, I never took the plunge and gave one a try. Until now.

And I can honestly say that I didn’t throw the book across the room in total and utter disgust. But don’t consider me a chick-lit convert just yet, either.

Overall, I enjoyed the first 98% of this book. I had a lot of fun with Beth and Jennifer’s emails. I loved the parts revolving around Lincoln. He was so screwed up it was ridiculous, but I found him to be endearing all the same. I wish I had a girlfriend relationship like Beth and Jennifer (sure, I have friends that I tell certain stuff to, but no one I can really pour my heart and soul out to). Lincoln’s mom is so dysfunctional it’s not even funny – and I could end up being the type of mother she was … not wanting her baby boy to ever leave her.

But then there’s that other 2% that just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was the ending. I. Hated. It. Pure and simple. It made me realize why I don’t read chick-lit. And it really felt at total odds with the rest of the book. It just didn’t work for me. Too cookie-cutter, everything works out for my taste. Just yuck.

So overall I’m glad that I expanded my horizons and read something outside of my comfort zone. And I might even give another Rainbow Rowell book a chance in the future.

I can’t say that I would have really missed anything if I had never read this book. But I can’t say that it was a waste of my time either. It was a decent book for a couple of snowed-in days. But that ending did it no justice in my opinion, and also majorly affected my overall rating of the book.