3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, MMD Book Club, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

Harry’s Trees
by Jon Cohen

harry's trees

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 428

Read: Jan 4 – 14, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane works as an analyst for the US Forest Service. When his wife dies suddenly, he is unable to cope. Leaving his job and his old life behind, Harry makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, determined to lose himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She and her mother, Amanda, are struggling to pick up the pieces from their own tragedy – Amanda stoically holding it together while Oriana roams the forest searching for answers. And in Oriana’s magical, willful mind, she believes that Harry is the key to righting her world.

After taking up residence in the woods behind Amanda’s house, Harry reluctantly agrees to help Oriana in a ludicrous scheme to escape his tragic past. In so doing, the unlikeliest of elements – a wolf, a stash of gold coins, a fairy tale called The Grum’s Ledger and a wise old librarian named Olive – come together to create a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open Harry’s heart to a whole new life.

Harry’s Trees is an uplifting story about the redeeming power of friendship and love and the magic to be found in life’s most surprising adventures.


Review: This book is the January selection in the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. As usual, this selection is way outside my normal reading. It’s billed on Goodreads as magical realism. I was a little leery to take this one on, but having skipped the last few months I knew I wanted to at least give this one a shot – it didn’t sound terrible, just not necessarily my norm.

So what did I think? Well, ultimately, it wasn’t a bad book. In fact the first half of the book really swept me up and I was really enjoying it. And then right around the time that Oriana and Harry put their “scheme” into motion it kind of dropped off for me. I think it was right around that time that I could see the obvious about how the ending would happen – and for the most part, I nailed it. I don’t like predictability in my endings, and this one was just a little too predictable for my personal taste.

The book itself is well written and thought out.  The characters were all well-developed and each had their own interesting story. The character development was definitely a big part of this book and that was probably my favorite part about the entire book. I can definitely see the “magic” of this book, but I had a hard time buying into it personally.

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3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Dirk Pitt, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019, SERIES

Review: Treasure by Clive Cussler

Treasure
by Clive Cussler

Treasure

Copyright: 1988

Pages: 547

Read: Dec. 24, 2018 – Jan 2, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Charts of lost gold … breathtaking art and rare volumes … maps of hidden oil and mineral deposits that could change the world’s balance of power. Now Dirk Pitt has discovered the secret trail of the treasures of Alexandria – a trail that plunges him into a brutal conspiracy for total domination of the globe. Zealots threaten to unseat the governments of Egypt and Mexico, exposing America to invasion and economic collapse. Suddenly, from East to West, anarchists reach their deadly tentacles into the heart of the United States. And Dirk Pitt, the hard-hitting hero of Clive Cussler’s Deep Six and Raise the Titanic! is up against the most feared assassin known to man. An international band of terrorists is making its play for world power on the high seas – and Pitt is the only man alive who can stop them!


Review: I try and read one Clive Cussler book every year, but I kept putting this one off every time I thought about needing to get my yearly Dirk Pitt fix in. 😦 For some reason this one just didn’t call to me the way the other installments have. And for the most part, my original assessment was pretty close to spot on.

There were a lot of things going on in this book with multiple storylines. Some of those storylines I loved and yet the other one… not so much. It all came together in the end in an interesting way, but there was a lot of political scenes that I could have done without. I just found it a little bit of a stretch to believe what Dirk Pitt went through in this book (which I think is pretty par for the course for any Dirk Pitt novel).

So while overall I’m glad that I was able to cross this one off the list, at 547 pages it was a little long and it dragged in a few places. But I’m still looking forward to continuing on with this series! There’s just something about Dirk Pitt that keeps me coming back for more.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, MMD Book Club, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Corner
by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Corner

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 332

Read: Dec. 6 – 10, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Library

 
Blurb: Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.


Review: This book was the December selection in the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. I had honestly never even heard of this book before it was announced but it sounded like a cute read that I would enjoy even if it was a little bit out of my comfort zone. To be completely honest, after skipping the September book, DNF’ing the October book and skipping the November book, I was ecstatic for something that seemed like it might work for me again.

For the most part I did enjoy this book. However, it wasn’t perfect. The first 2/3 of the book was enjoyable and then the last 1/3 of the book there was another love interest thrown in there that felt forced and not vital to the overall storyline. It wasn’t even all that surprising, but it just didn’t work for me. Of course, romance and chick-lit novels are not my usual cup of tea, so that’s probably why I had an issue with it.

It definitely had a whimsical feel to it – how Nina just up and left everything she knew behind for an entirely different country. Not very practical, but it is fiction 🙂 I also had an issue with just how entirely wrapped up in books Nina was. I mean don’t get me wrong, I am a book lover – but I also have a life outside of books and it felt to me as if Nina lived only through her books … not entirely healthy, if you ask me.

I don’t know. It was a cute book and it read quickly and was enjoyable. It was also not something that I ever would have picked up on my own. And so while I can’t say that I absolutely loved it, I liked it well enough. Another win for Modern Mrs. Darcy for really helping me to explore outside of my comfort zone.

 

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!!

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

Review: Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Stillhouse Lake
by Rachel Caine

Stillhouse Lake

 

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 286

Read: Aug 14 – 26, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Kindle Unlimited/Audible

 

Blurb: Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.


Review: I have seen this book around for a bit and had been interested in it, but never had a chance to pick it up or anything. Then I signed up for Kindle Unlimited & Audible on Prime Day … and realized that I could read this one for free. I decided to read it on Audible because I had a Goodreads challenge that required me to read an audiobook. I knew this was an awesome opportunity to read a book I have had my eye on and knock out that audiobook at the same time. Not going to lie … I’ve never had good luck with audiobooks, but I was looking forward to giving it a shot again. Thankfully, I found it easier this time around.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed Gwen’s voice and her story. I was not overall thrilled with the narrator, but the story was able to sweep me in enough to look past the narration. I was questioning every single person that Gwen came into contact with … they were all suspicious at one point or another. It was a really interesting storyline. My main complaint was that the book did end with somewhat of a cliffhanger. I really dislike that in books, but it was still a good book overall.

I enjoyed this one. I’m not sure I will be an audio lover, but it’s not a terrible way to read. But I’m definitely looking forward to continuing on with Gwen’s story and seeing what happens after that cliffhanger!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Harry Bosch, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Lost Light by Michael Connelly

Lost Light
by Michael Connelly

Lost Light

 

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 385

Read: July 13 – 18, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

Blurb: The vision has haunted him for four years – a young woman lying crumpled in death, her hand outstretched in silent supplication. Harry Bosch was taken off the Angella Benton murder case when the production assistant’s death was linked with the violent theft of two million dollars from a movie set. Both files were never closed. Now retired from the L.A.P.D., Bosch is determined to find justice for Angella. Without a badge to open doors and strike fear into the guilty, he’s on his own. And even in the face of an opponent more powerful and ruthless than any he’s ever encountered, Bosch is not backing down.  


Review: This is the 9th book in the Harry Bosch series. I really need to read these quicker than one a year. I distinctly remember how the 8th book ended, with Harry’s retirement from the LAPD. And I was eager to see where he went from there. So I was anxious to finally get around to this book to see how he was faring in retirement. I was not disappointed!

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It had an interesting storyline and I found it to move pretty quickly. Bosch is so not tech savvy and it left me chuckling more than once – and it definitely reminded me of my father-in-law!! There was also a very interesting revelation at the end of the book that has me looking forward to the 10th installment!

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what case Harry finds himself involved in next … as well as where his personal life goes from here. I hope I get to book #10 sooner rather than later!

4/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie

A Share in Death
by Deborah Crombie

A Share in Death

Copyright: 1993

Pages: 259

Read: Feb. 7-14, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: A week’s holiday in a luxurious Yorkshire time-share is just what Scotland Yard’s Superintendent Duncan Kincaid needs. But the discovery of a body floating in the whirlpool bath ends Kincaid’s vacation before it’s begun. One of his new acquaintances at Followdale House is dead; another is a killer. Despite a distinct lack of cooperation from the local constabulary, Kincaid’s keen sense of duty won’t allow him to ignore the heinous crime, impelling him to send for his enthusiastic young assistant, Sergeant Gemma James. But the stakes are raised dramatically when a second murder occurs, and Kincaid and James find themselves in a determined hunt for a fiendish felon who enjoys homicide a bit too much.


Review: This is the first book in the Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series. After reading the 15th and 17th books in this series, I decided it was time to read the first book.

Overall I was not disappointed. This book really reminded me of an Agatha Christie novel. It didn’t read like the other two later books that I have read. It was a completely different feel. It was a chore to keep all the different characters straight throughout the entire book. I had trouble remembering who was married to who. But that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

I didn’t know the killer until it was revealed at the end and I can’t help but wonder if I missed something earlier in the book, because it was someone who wasn’t even on my radar as the bad guy!

Overall I’m very glad that I finally got to this book and I look forward to reading more of these earlier books. Definitely recommended!!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Jack Reacher, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Die Trying by Lee Child

Die Trying
by Lee Child

Die Trying by Lee Child

Copyright: 1998

Pages: 422

Read: Jan. 12-19, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

Blurb: Jack Reacher is an innocent bystander – in the wrong place at the wrong time – when a woman is kidnapped. Now, he’s at the mercy of a group of men demanding an impossible ransom, for this mysterious woman is worth far more than Reacher’s ever suspected. And though she doesn’t ask for his help, he’s going to give it to her…

Because ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a hero. He’s used to saving lives. But this time he’s going to take a few before he’s through…


Review: This is the second book in the Jack Reacher series. I read the first one, Killing Floor, nearly 4 years ago. Oops!

This one, for the most part, I enjoyed. I felt like the plot was a little convoluted and far-reaching. But I suppose that’s kind of what you get when you’ve got a character like Jack Reacher….But I like Jack Reacher the character. He’s got charm, and yet he’s indisputably badass at the same time. There’s just something about him. I honest think that his character is the reason I kept reading this one, because to be honest with you, the overall storyline was not really my cup of tea. Clocking in at 422 pages, this book was a little chunkier than I have been reading lately. Unfortunately, I also feel like at least 100 pages could have been cut out and not much would have been missed.

Can a reader like a book because they like the main character? Because that’s really my feeling on this one. I didn’t care for the storyline itself, but I felt like Reacher made the book worth reading. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more Jack Reacher … let’s just hope it’s not 3+ years before I get to it 😉

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie

About Garden of Lamentations

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 14, 2017)

Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are drawn into separate investigations that hold disturbing—and deadly—complications for their own lives in this powerful mystery in the bestselling series.

On a beautiful morning in mid-May, the body of a young woman is found in one of Notting Hill’s private gardens. To passersby, the pretty girl in the white dress looks as if she’s sleeping. But Reagan Keating has been murdered, and the lead detective, DI Kerry Boatman, turns to Gemma James for help. She and Gemma worked together on a previous investigation, and Gemma has a personal connection to the case: Reagan was the nanny of a child who attends the same dance studio as Toby, Gemma and Kincaid’s son.

Gemma soon discovers that Reagan’s death is the second tragedy in this exclusive London park; a few months before, a young boy died in a tragic accident. But when still another of the garden residents meets a violent end, it becomes clear that there are more sinister forces at play. Boatman and Gemma must stop the killer before another innocent life is taken.

While his wife is consumed with her new case, Kincaid finds himself plagued by disturbing questions about several previous—and seemingly unrelated—cases involving members of the force. If his suspicions are correct and the crimes are linked, are his family and friends in mortal danger as well? Kincaid’s hunch turns to certainty when a Metropolitan Police officer close to him is brutally attacked. There’s a traitor in the ranks, and now Kincaid wonders if he can trust anyone.

As Gemma begins to see a solution to her case, she realizes she holds a child’s fate in her hands. Can she do the right thing? And can Kincaid rely on his friends, both inside and outside the Scotland Yard force, to stand beside him as he faces the deadliest challenge of his career?


Review:

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

I was thrilled when I was offered this book for review. I had read and reviewed the 15th book in the series, The Sound of Broken Glass, back in 2014. I thoroughly enjoyed that book and was looking forward to jumping back in with Gemma and Duncan.

It’s always hard to pick up a book in the middle of a long running series and not be a little lost. Looking back at my review for the previous book I mentioned that, but it didn’t really affect my opinion on the book all that much. For this installment, while I still enjoyed the book …. I definitely missed something big in the 16th installment. Practically the entire case that Duncan is working on throughout this book is heavily influenced by something that happened in the 16th book. It was definitely frustrating, but not a deal breaker by any means.

Gemma’s case she was working on was a lot easier for me to read, because it had nothing to do with the previous books. It was fun to work the case with Gemma. And I enjoyed unraveling the who-dun-it with her. But it felt strange because she wasn’t working with her normal crew, she got pulled into the nanny case because she happened to know someone who knew the victim. She found herself working with someone she obviously had a history with …. but once again, that seems to have been something a previous installment touched upon.

See a trend here? This is why I hate to pick up a book in the middle of the series. Because it just makes me want to go back and read the entire series from the start so that I can get a good base … but at the same time you hate to do that because you already know things that are slightly spoiler-ish. Such a conundrum when dealing with a long running series!

I did enjoy this book. I just happened to prefer the storyline Gemma was dealing with more than Duncan’s storyline. So definitely give this book a chance…. but I highly recommend reading at least the 16th book first!

And now I’ll be going back to the beginning……. 🙂


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Deborah Crombie

Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

Connect with her through her website, Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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