Review: Jury of One by Laura Bradford

Jury of One
by Laura Bradford

Jury of One

Copyright: 2005

Pages: 252

Read: June 9 – 10, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Used Book Store

 

 

Blurb: Beaches, boardwalks and the promise of carefree summer days mark the start of tourist season in the small, scenic town of Ocean Point, New Jersey. But this scene is marred suddenly by the body of a young woman found bludgeoned to death. It’s the first in a string of seemingly random, senseless murders, the only connection being the odd positioning of he victims’ fingers.

It’s a crisis that puts local detective Mitch Burns on edge. Murder in a peaceful beach town is bad enough, but a serial killer at the height of tourist season is worse. Much worse. Newly hired local reporter Elise Jenkins cuts her journalistic teeth on this one – especially when her search for the truth leader her on a dangerous hunt for the killer with a face whose familiarity masks deadly intent.


Review: I picked this one up on a total whim the last time I was at my favorite used book store. I don’t usually read a lot of cozy mysteries, but this one really caught my eye.

I ended up enjoying this one quite a bit. I really liked the characters. At one time, I was a journalism major. Anyway, I really related to Elise’s character in a way. She’s the type of journalist I would have liked to have been – I really liked how she gave Mitch a lot of room in regards to the investigation. It was a sigh of relief to see the media portrayed as not overbearing and intrusive. I’m also intrigued by the attraction between Elise and Mitch … I’d be curious to see how that plays out in future books.

The who-dun-it part was not a complete surprise, as there were subtle hints dropped throughout the book. But it was still fun to see how things unfolded. It was an interesting storyline.

So overall it’s a cute book that I enjoyed. It was a fun and easy read. I’d definitely recommend it!

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Review: The Lost Order by Steve Berry

The Lost Order
by Steve Berry

The Lost Order.jpg

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 487

Read: April 5-17, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for Review

 
BlurbThe Knights of the Golden Circle was the largest and most dangerous clandestine organization in American history. It amassed billions in stolen gold and silver, all buried in hidden caches across the United States. Since 1865 treasure hunters have searched, but little of that immense wealth has ever been found.

Now, one hundred and sixty years later, two factions of what remains of the Knights of the Golden Circle want that lost treasure—one to spend it for their own ends, the other to preserve it.

Thrust into this battle is former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone, whose connection to the knights is far deeper than he ever imagined. Complicating matters further are the political ambitions of a reckless Speaker of the House and the bitter widow of a United States Senator, who together are planning radical changes to the country.

From the backrooms of the Smithsonian to the deepest woods in rural Arkansas, and finally up into the rugged mountains of northern New Mexico, The Lost Order is a perilous adventure into our country’s dark past, and a potentially even darker future.


Review: So I did something I never do. I read a book out of series order. It’s not something that I like to do …. ever. But something about this book immediately caught my eye when it was pitched to me. So I took the plunge, and said why not? I can say that while I did miss some things along the way (and don’t worry, I will backtrack and read the two books I skipped), it was nothing really earth-shattering that left me kicking myself for reading out of order. In fact this book could easily read as a standalone quite well. So don’t let the fact that it’s book #12 in the Cotton Malone series deter you from picking this one up.

For me this book had a somewhat slow start. It probably didn’t help that I was dealing with some medical things relating to my daughter when I first started this book. So while I *say* it had a slow start, it might just have been because of the way things were going in my personal life. The last 250 pages were a blur – I read them very quickly and couldn’t stand to put the book down. It got extremely good, extremely fast.

I like Cotton’s character. I always have. He’s just a really interesting character. I think he’s really the perfect blend of being a total badass while remaining believable. It also doesn’t hurt that I like all the supporting characters as well. So that probably makes Cotton more enjoyable to me. As always, Mr. Berry seamlessly blends fact vs. fiction. I always love the very ending of each book where he separates the facts from the fiction. Everything he writes always seems so plausible. That’s really what makes these books so appealing to me. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a fascination with the Civil War, so that was just another attention grabber this book had for me.

So while I did a bad thing (reading a series book out of order – ha!), I’m happy to say that it didn’t affect my feelings on the book at all. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. And I highly recommend it to everyone. Even if you’re not a series fan, or not caught up with this series, pick it up – it’s a really good read!!! I look forward to seeing what happens next with the characters – seeing what adventures await Cotton! This was just a good, solid read. It was a lot of fun and left me wanting more Cotton Malone!!

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

Review: Absolute Power by David Baldacci

Absolute Power
by David Baldacci

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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: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

The Postmistress
by Sarah Blake

The Postmistress

Copyright: 2010

Pages: 318

Read: Aug. 18-Aug. 21, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchased at library book sale

 
Blurb: It is 1940. France has fallen. Bombs are dropping on London. And President Roosevelt is promising he won’t send our boys to fight in “foreign wars.”

But American radio gal Frankie Bard, the first woman to report from the Blitz in London, wants nothing more than to bring the war home. Frankie’s radio dispatches crackle across the Atlantic Ocean, imploring listeners to pay attention – as the Nazis bomb London nightly, and Jewish refugees stream across Europe. Frankie is convinced that if she can just get the right story, it will wake Americans to action and they will join the fight.

Meanwhile, in Franklin, Massachusetts, a small town on Cape Cod, Iris James hears Frankie’s broadcasts and knows that it is only a matter of time before the war arrives on Franklin’s shores. In charge of the town’s mail, Iris believes that her job is to deliver and keep people’s secrets, passing along the news that letters carry. And one secret she keeps are her feelings for Harry Vale, the town mechanic, who inspects the ocean daily, searching in vain for German U-boats he is certain will come. Two single people in midlife, Iris and Harry long ago gave up hope of ever being in love, yet they find themselves unexpectedly drawn toward each other.

Listening to Frankie as well are Will and Emma Fitch, the town’s doctor and his new wife, both trying to escape fragile childhoods and forge a brighter future. When Will follows Frankie’s siren call into the war, Emma’s worst fears are realized. Promising to return in six months, Will goes to London to offer his help, and the lives of the three women entwine.

 


Review:  I picked this one up at the library book sale about a month ago. It sounded intriguing to me. I don’t read much historical fiction, but something about it drew me in.

Overall I’m kind of stuck as to my opinion on it. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really draw me in like I had hoped for. I never took to any of the characters. I kept waiting and waiting for something, anything, exciting to happen … but nothing ever came. It just fell flat in the ending. I actually laid it down and thought to myself “that’s it?” It just didn’t work all that well for me.

Review: The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry

The Jefferson Key
by Steve Berry

The Jefferson Key

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 513

Read: June 19-30, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

Blurb: Four presidents of the United States have been assassinated – in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963 – each murder seemingly unrelated. But what if those presidents were all killed for the same shocking reason: a clause contained in the United States Constitution? This is the question faced by former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone. When President Danny Daniels is nearly killed in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the murder – only to find himself at odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution. Racing across the nation and taking to the high seas, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt must break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves – one powerful enough to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.


Review: The last Cotton Malone book in this series is actually one I ended up not finishing. It revolved around a Chinese storyline of some sort and I vaguely remember being heavily pregnant with Katelyn and just not interested. So I DNF’ed it. Seeing as how my daughter is over a year old now, it’s obviously been a while since I last met up with Cotton. I obviously missed something in the previous book (how Cotton and Cassiopeia ended up a couple), but overall that wasn’t really a big surprise.

So what did I think about this book? Well this is the first time Mr. Berry has set Cotton primarily in the United States. And I loved it. My one and only complaint is that it was over 500 pages – common for these books – but definitely tough on me personally as a reader these days. And while this is the 7th in the series, it stands well on its own, but I do highly recommend meeting Cotton from the beginning!

So overall … a good book, if rather long. Definitely recommended.

Review: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

Fool Moon
by Jim Butcher

Fool Moon

Copyright: 2001

Pages: 401

Read: June 9-18, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work – magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses – and the first two don’t count…


Review: So I read the first book in the Harry Dresden series, Storm Front, a full two years ago. I knew going into this one I might have some problems remembering who was who and what was what. Honestly, I really didn’t have much trouble jumping back in with Harry and his friends.

Overall I suppose this is just an average book. It was just an okay book for me. I want to like paranormal books, but I still have a lot of trouble accepting these crazy happenings. I don’t know, it’s hard for me to explain. I suppose I just have trouble suspending my beliefs long enough and accepting that I’m reading about wizards and werewolves.

So while this book wasn’t bad, it probably won’t be very memorable down the road for me. However, I can say that I’m more than willing to give Harry another chance … maybe in a couple of years 😉

2015.30 REVIEW – Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

Everything She Forgot
by Lisa Ballantyne

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 409
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 2-7, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 30
Format: Print
Source: PICT Book Tour
Series: N/A

Synopsis:

cover

Driving home, Margaret Holloway is rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage of her car. Just as she begins to panic, a stranger pulls her free and disappears. Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something’s wrong. Flashbacks to the crash are dredging up lost associations from her childhood. And somehow, Margaret knows that it’s got something to do with the man who saved her life. As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth-from yourself?

Review:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a Partners in Crime Book Tour. The thoughts below are my own.

Once, her mother had taken her hand and smoothed it, saying, ‘Some things are best forgotten,’ and so she had forgotten almost everything. (p. 115)

That quote that I included above, “Some things are best forgotten,” is really the heart and soul of this book. As I was reading and watching everything unfold in front of my eyes, it really got me thinking about just how impressive the human mind truly is. What our minds can do with memories is shockingly unreal to be honest.

This was my first time reading a book by Ms. Ballantyne; but it certainly won’t be my last. I took this one on my recent vacation and I loved every page of it. It was easy to read in bits and pieces without getting lost. It kept my interest – in fact, at one point I wanted to just sit in the room and finish the book … not enjoy vacation! Oops!!

This isn’t a fast-paced thriller. Instead it’s a very intricate tale where the story is laid bare little by little. I loved getting to know Maggie, Big George, and even Angus (who was not my favorite character … I had a lot of issues with him after what he let happen to his poor cow). And as I said earlier, it really is interesting to see what the human mind is capable of.

This was a really enjoyable read, I loved watching Maggie’s memories come back to her bit by bit. And the way it all came full circle at the end was nice. Overall, a book that I would definitely recommend!


 

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Number of Pages: 432
ISBN: 0062391488 (13: 978-0062391483)
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Critical Praise:

“Ballantyne’s effortless prose took me across the Atlantic and didn’t let me return until its surprising and satisfying conclusion. A tight story that comes full circle and keeps you reading.” — Bryan Reardon, author of Finding Jake

Author Bio:

authorLisa Ballantyne was born in Armadale, West Lothian, Scotland and studied English Literature at University of St Andrews.

She lived and worked in China for many years and started writing seriously while she was there. Before being published, Lisa was short-listed for the Dundee International Book Prize.

Her debut novel, The Guilty One was translated into over 25 languages, long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe Award. The Guilty One was also the Autumn 2012 Richard and Judy Book-club Winner. She lives in Glasgow.

Catch Up:
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As always, I hope you take the time to visit the other stops on the tour:

09/14/2015 Showcase w/excerpt @ Books Chatter
09/15/2015 review @ A Fold in the Spine
09/16/2015 review @ Wall-to-wall books
09/17/2015 Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
09/18/2015 review @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too!
09/19/2015 review @ The Book Divas Reads
09/21/2015 review @ Tales of a Book Addict
09/22/2015 review @ JulzReads
09/24/2015 review @ VicsMedia Room
09/25/2015 review @ Deco My Heart
09/28/2015 review @ Kritters Ramblings
09/30/2015 review @ Booked on a Feeling
10/01/2015 review @ From the TBR Pile
10/03/2015 review @ Marys Cup of Tea
10/04/2015 shawcase @ Writers and Authors
10/07/2015 review @ Books Direct
0/08/2015 review @ Lazy Day Books
10/09/2015 review @ Book Babble
10/10/2015 review @ Rockin Book Reviews
10/11/2015 review @ Bookalicious Traveladdict
10/12/2015 review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
10/14/2015 review @ Book Club Librarian
10/15/2015 review @ Curling up by the Fire
10/16/2015 review @ b00k r3vi3ws