Mini Reviews: Ceremony in Death & Hard Eight

ceremony-in-deathTitle: Ceremony in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Read: Feb. 9-15, 2017
Pages: 310
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts:  This is the fifth book in the In Death series. I read #4 back in the beginning of 2016. I don’t remember much about it other than that I really liked it. So I was looking forward to dipping back into this series. But this one fell flat for me. It had to deal with Wiccans and witchcraft. Which if you’re a long-time follower of mine, you know that I only sparingly dabble in anything dealing with witchcraft/magic. So my personal feelings on these types of storylines definitely affected my overall opinion of the book. But I will still continue on with the series and hopefully the sixth book will be back on track to what I prefer.


hard-eightTitle: Hard Eight
Author: Janet Evanovich
Read: Feb. 16-24, 2017
Pages: 326
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts:  I picked this one up because I needed something light after reading the J.D. Robb book. I read a few of these books last year until I kind of burned out when they started to all feel the same. So I was looking forward to knocking another one of these series books out of the way. Overall it wasn’t a bad book. I will say that Albert Kloughn has to be one of the funniest characters I’ve seen in a book in a while. He definitely made the book much better. But seriously …. how many times can Stephanie’s car get blown up? At this point I can’t help but think that Ms.Evanovich needs to get some new ideas for her books – it’s no longer funny when Stephanie’s car gets blown up … it just makes me roll my eyes at this point.

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Review: Invisible by James Patterson & David Ellis

Invisible
by James Patterson & David Ellis

Invisible

Copyright: 2014

Pages: 385

Read: Aug. 26-Aug. 30, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 
Blurb: Everyone thinks Emma Dockery is crazy. Obsessed with finding a link between hundreds of unsolved cases – one of the death of her own sister – Emma has taken leave from her job as an FBI researcher. Now all she has are the newspaper clippings that wallpaper her bedroom, and her recurring nightmares of an all-consuming fire.

Not even Emma’s ex-boyfriend, field agent Harrison “Books” Bookman, believe her claim that these dozens of deaths across the country are connected. That is, until Emma finds a piece of evidence Books can’t ignore. More fatalities are reported by the day – and they’re all inexplicable. No motives, no murder weapon, no suspects. Could one person really be responsible for these unthinkable crimes?


Review:  James Patterson is always my go-to when I need a quick, easy read. And this one fits that bill perfectly. But this one is also extremely interesting! It sucked me in quickly. I really liked Emmy’s character. All she wanted was justice for her twin sister. I really admired her perseverance – even when everyone thought she was crazy.

This book has an ending that I never saw coming. It made the overall book that much more enjoyable. I really enjoy when books throw curve balls!

So overall this is another good James Patterson read. Fun, easy, enjoyable. Definitely recommended!

Review: Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

Seven Up
by Janet Evanovich

Seven Up
Copyright: 2001

Pages: 337

Read: July 15-21, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Used book store

 

 

Blurb: All New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has to do is bring in semi-retired bail jumper Eddie DeChooch. For an old man he’s still got a knack for slipping out of sight – and raising hell. How else can Stephanie explain the bullet-riddled corpse in Eddie’s garden? Who else would have a clue as to why two of Stephanie’s friends suddenly vanished? For answers Stephanie has the devil to pay: her mentor, Ranger. The deal? He’ll give Stephanie all the help she needs – if she gives him everything he wants…

As if things weren’t complicated enough, Stephanie’s just discovered her Grandma Mazur’s own unmentionable alliance with Eddie. Add a series of unnerving break-ins, not to mention the bombshell revelation leveled by Stephanie’s estranged sister, and Stephanie’s ready for some good news. Unfortunately, a marriage proposal from Joe Morelli, the love of her life, isn’t quite cutting it. And now – murder, a randy paramour, a wily mobster, death threats, extortion, and a triple kidnapping aside – Stephanie’s really got the urge to run for her life…


Review: I picked this one up to fulfill a Goodreads challenge. I have read books 4-7 so far this year and for the most part have really enjoyed them. They are fun, easy reads. I’m constantly surprised by the messes Stephanie finds herself in. I love the humor in these books, it definitely lightens things up.

Overall, I throughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the eighth installment.

2013.30 REVIEW – Where All the Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison

Where All the Dead Lie
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 392
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 6 – July 12, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 30
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: In her showdown with the murderous Pretender, a bullet taken at close range severed the connection between Taylor’s thoughts and speech. Effectively mute, there’s no telling if her voice will ever come back. Trapped in silence, she is surrounded by ghosts – of the past, of friendships and trusts lost … of a lost faith in herself and her motives that night.

When Memphis Highsmythe offers Taylor his home in the Scottish Highlands to recuperate, her fiancé can’t refuse her excitement, no matter his distrust of the man. At first, Memphis’s drafty and singularly romantic castle seems the perfect place for healing. But shortly the house itself surrounds her like a menacing presence. As Taylor’s sense of isolation and vulnerability grows, so too does her grip on reality.

Someone or something is coming after Taylor. But is she being haunted by the dead … or hunted by the living?


Review: This is a hard review for me to write. I am a huge fan of the Taylor Jackson series. But this book left me a little flat. I think my problem with it is that it is nothing like the previous Taylor books. It is completely different and at times I had to wonder what on earth Ms. Ellison was thinking at the time. It really wasn’t until the very end of the book that it felt like we got to actually see the Taylor that the readers know. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily disliked this book, because I really didn’t, but if this is the end of the Taylor Jackson series, I’m not sure that Ms. Ellison did Taylor justice.

I had a big problem with the change in setting. This series has always been set in Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve always liked that – I live about 2.5 hours from Nashville and go down there occasionally. But in this book it is set in Scotland. It felt like it was way out in left field at times too, honestly. There is no doubt that the author definitely did her research in regards to this new setting, but I think it was just too drastic of a change for my liking.

It’s hard not to like Taylor Jackson. I’ve always liked her. And I pitied her in this book, and that’s not something that I ever wanted to do. At the same time I was a little more than frustrated with her. She knew better than to go off to a foreign country with a man like Memphis! I didn’t like what that did to Baldwin … and she didn’t even seem to care at first. It wasn’t until she really got there that she realized that she hadn’t given Baldwin a fair shake in everything.

I don’t know. It’s really hard to explain my feelings on this book. Overall, I’m glad that I read it. But if this is really the last Taylor Jackson book (I don’t know that it is – I just know that Ms. Ellison has taken off with a spin-off series with Sam’s character) I feel like it could have been wrapped up better. But then again, maybe I’m just bummed because I really don’t want Taylor’s series to end. Who knows. I might add that this book could probably be read as a standalone, just because it is so different from the other books, but then you would be spoiling a lot of the storyline with Memphis in the earlier books.

Bottom line: Recommended, but probably only to die-hard fans of this series.

2013.15 REVIEW – So Close the Hand of Death by J.T. Ellison

So Close the Hand of Death
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 406
Read: March 15-24, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 15
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

So Close the Hand of DeathBlurb: It’s a hideous echo of a violent past. Across America, murders are being committed with all the twisted hallmarks of the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer and Son of Sam. The media frenzy explodes and Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows instantly that The Predator is back … and he’s got helpers.

As The Pretender’s disciples perpetrate their sick homages – stretching police and the FBI dangerously thin – Taylor tries desperately to prepare for their inevitable showdown. And she must do it alone. To be close to her is to be in mortal danger, and she won’t risk losing anyone she loves. But the isolation, the self-doubt and the rising body count are taking their toll – she’s beside herself and ready to snap.

The brilliant psychopath who both adores and despises her is drawing close. Close enough to touch…


Review: I love, love, love the Taylor Jackson series. It’s one that I found a few years back and have read almost all of them – I only lack the latest one (is it the last? I just might cry if it is … but at the same time, I’ll be relieved because I kind of prefer to have some closure to series, not the huge 40+ book long-running ones).

Anyways, I must start this review with stating that if you have never read a book in the Taylor Jackson series, do not start with this one. You will be so confused. You probably won’t like Taylor’s character. You have to start from the beginning to really understand this book and who she is in this installment.

That being said, I think that this is the best book in the series that I have read. It’s so raw. It’s so eye-opening. It’s just a perfect blend of everything I love in  my mystery/thriller books.

The storyline is so fast paced in this book. It really starts off and never lets up. I was constantly turning the pages trying to figure out what was going to happen. And the end-game between Taylor and The Pretender is not at all how I expected things to happen.

And I must say that I really like the sound of the next book in this series. I don’t have a copy of it, but I’m definitely on the hunt. I think it’s going to be a very good installment. I’m interested in seeing what happens between Taylor and Baldwin … there’s a definite disconnect after the events of this book, and it will be interesting to see what happens between them.

Final Thoughts: I can’t say enough good things about this book. Or the entire series, really. So –  read this series. End of story.

2012.14 REVIEW – The Wrong Man by David Ellis

The Wrong Man
by David Ellis

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 466
Rating: 5/5
Read: May 27 – June 13, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly Count: 14
Format: Print
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer Program

Blurb: When Jason Kolarich agrees to defend a homeless Iraq War veteran accused of murdering a young paralegal, his course seems clear: to mount an insanity defense for a man suffering so badly from post-traumatic stress disorder that he has no real memory of the crime. But as Kolarich digs deeper, he realizes that, unlikely as it seems, his client is probably innocent … and the murder was no random crime, but a targeted hit. As Kolarich races to find the truth in time to save his client, he’ll find himself embroiled in a mystery involving the mob, a mysterious assassin, and a conspiracy of wealthy international terrorists with explosive plans for his city.


Review: I received this book courtesy of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program.

I have to admit that I normally resist picking up a book that is part of a series without reading the books before it in the series. This is usually a big pet peeve of mine. But I was just so thrilled at getting the opportunity to get this book I didn’t really care that it was the third in the series. And honestly, it stands relatively well on its own. There were a few places where I felt like knowing a little more background could have been helpful, but knowledge of what happened in the previous books really is not an issue with how this book reads.

All that aside, how can you go wrong when you’ve got the mob, an assassin, and terrorists involved? And the courtroom action was very interesting as well – I got a big kick out of how Jason perceives the Judge in the case and what his rulings will be. But of course I am a sucker for good courtroom action in any book.

Overall I found this book to be very interesting. The storyline was good and current. The writing and grammar were perfect (I think I saw one grammatical error, but my copy is an advanced reader copy). The characters were well-developed, as they should be for being the third in a series. And there’s a pretty big twist at the end. I had a sneaking suspicion something was a little off, but when I realized what exactly the twist was I was pleasantly surprised.

Bottom line: Definitely pick up this book if given the chance. And I look forward to meeting Jason Kolarich from the beginning sometime in the future.

2012.6 REVIEW – The Immortals by J.T. Ellison

The Immortals
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 389
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 22– Mar. 6, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012 Challenge
Yearly Count: 6
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: It is Samhain – the Blood Harvest. Nonbelievers call it Hallowe’en. The night when eight Nashville teenagers are found dead, with occult symbols carved into their naked bodies. It’s a ritual the killers believe was blessed by Death himself.

When children are victimized, emotions always run high, and this case has the public both outraged and terrified: a dangerous combination. Recently reinstated homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows she has to act quickly, but tread carefully.

Exploring the baffling culture of mysticism and witchcraft, Taylor is immersed in a darkness that threatens to unbalance the order of her world, and learns how unchecked wrath can push a killer to his limits.


Review: I have enjoyed all of the Taylor Jackson books in this series so far and this installment is no exception. I had a bad feeling going into this book when I found out that there was an occult spin on the storyline. I tend to steer clear of anything with witches/vampires/werewolves, etc. It’s just not my thing. But I love Taylor’s character and was pleasantly surprised to find this one enjoyable. I guess I should say that while there was that aspect to this story, it wasn’t too overpowering for someone who tends to not care for paranormal stuff.

For whatever reason it had been a few months since I had read the previous Taylor Jackson book. I don’t know why; this book had been on my shelf since before I finished the previous book. (It’s probably because it had the occult/paranormal twist and I was putting it off). So I had a little bit of trouble recalling some things that had happened previously. But all in all I found this one to be another great installment in this series.

I need to say that while you do not have to read these books in order, it is definitely for the best that you do.

So I guess my final rating would be that it was another good installment in a favorite series!