3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Kinsey Millhone, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton

F is for Fugitive
by Sue Grafton

F is for Fugitive

Copyright: 1989

Pages: 307

Read: April 9-15, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: When Kinsey Millhone first arrives in Floral Beach, California, it’s hard for her to picture the idyllic coastal town as the setting of a brutal murder. Seventeen years ago, the body of Jean Timberlake – a troubled teen who had a reputation with the boys – was found on the beach. Her boyfriend, Bailey Fowler, was convicted of her murder and imprisoned, but he escaped.

After all this time, Bailey’s finally been captured. Believing in his son’s innocence, Bailey’s father wants Kinsey to find Jean’s real killer. But most of the residents in this tight-knit community are convinced Bailey strangled Jean. So why are they so reluctant to answer Kinsey’s questions? If there’s one thing Kinsey’s got plenty of it’s persistence. And that’s exactly what it’s going to take to crack the lid on this case.

As Kinsey gets closer to solving Jean’s murder, the more dirty little secrets she uncovers in a town where everyone has something to hide – and a killer will kill again to keep the past buried…


Review: It’s been forever since I visited with Kinsey Millhone and so I was glad when this book popped up on my April call-out on a Goodreads challenge.

I had a lot of fun working the case with Kinsey. It definitely ended up going in a direction that I never saw coming, although there was a couple small instances that should have clued me in had I been paying more attention.

Jumping back in with Kinsey definitely made me want to read more of her and soon! I don’t remember her being so badass, but I definitely enjoyed it! She’s smart and strong, a good (and sometimes rare) combination in female protagonists. I definitely appreciate that aspect of her character.

I did jot down this quote from the very end that resonated with me:

If love is what injures us, how can we heal?

I’m seriously bummed that Ms. Grafton passed away a little while ago. I’m disappointed that the alphabet now ends with Y … but I am satisfied with the decision to not use a ghost writer to finish the series out (I hate, hate, HATE when that occurs.) I’m looking forward to getting around to G sooner rather than later!!

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3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: Law and Disorder by Heather Graham

Law and Disorder
by Heather Graham

Law and Disorder

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 256

Read: June 1 – 22, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Barnes & Noble Serial Reads

 

Blurb: Desperate to escape her kidnappers, Kody Cameron can turn to only one man…and he’s holding a gun. Outnumbered and trapped in the deadly Everglades, she has little recourse, but something in this captor’s eyes makes her believe she can trust him. Does she dare to take the risk?

Undercover agent Nick Connolly has met Kody before and knows she might very well blow his cover. Though determined to maintain his facade, he can’t let Kody die. He won’t. And his decision to change his own rules of law and order are about to make all hell break loose.


Review: This was the June selection on Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads. Having enjoyed the last two months’ selections, I was eager to see what would be on the agenda for June. This one didn’t really do much for me.

I don’t read a lot of romance to begin with. So I was a little leery to give this one a go, but I figured it was free so why not. (Plus I unexpectedly enjoyed Beastly last month.) It left me with a definite “eh” feeling. I think a lot of my problem was that I found Kody’s character to be pretty foolish. I also felt like the storyline was rushed.

I’ve never read anything by Heather Graham before and I have a really bad feeling that this was not necessarily a good place for me to start. But I finished it and while it didn’t really appeal all that much to me, I’m sure romance readers will enjoy it.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman

the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane

Copyright: 2013

Pages: 178

Read: Sept. 10-13, 2016

Rating: 2/5

Source: Purchased at library book sale

Blurb: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie – magical, comforting, wise beyond her years – promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.


Review: I picked this one up a couple of years ago at the library book sale. I had heard a lot of good things about Neil Gaiman and was curious. I picked this one up now because I needed something quick to read, and at 178 pages I figured this one would fit that bill perfectly.

And it was a quick, easy read. I just didn’t care for the overall storyline. I am not a huge fan of fantasy as a general rule, so I think that affected my overall feelings on this one. It just didn’t work for me personally, but Mr. Gaiman is definitely a gifted storyteller.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Doroth Gilman

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax
by Dorothy Gilman

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

Copyright: 1966

Pages: 192

Read: Aug. 9-Aug. 15, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

Blurb: Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. So, naturally, she became a CIA agent. This time, the assignment sounds as tasty as a taco. A quick trip to Mexico City is on her agenda. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and our dear Mrs. Pollifax finds herself embroiled in quite a hot Cold War–and her country’s enemies find themselves entangled with one unbelievably feisty lady.


Review: I requested this one from Paperbackswap after seeing Stacy mention the second in the series on Goodreads. It was definitely an impulse “purchase” but it sounded like such a fun, cute book.

And for the most part, it was. It should have been a quick, easy read. 192 pages – I could knock that out relatively quickly. But for some reason, it didn’t really click with me. I enjoyed the first bit of the book quite a bit, where Mrs. Pollifax introduces herself to the CIA and when she first went to Mexico City. It was all the stuff that came after that I didn’t care for. It just seemed to drag on forever with very little movement toward anything.

So while I wouldn’t say this book is bad, I doubt I continue on with this series. I need more meat to my stories. I need to connect more to the characters (and I really couldn’t find myself connecting to Mrs. Pollifax very well). So yeah, not terrible but not something I’ll remember in a month.

AUTHOR, Book Review, D, Fiction, G, Mini Review, P, Read in 2015

3 Mini Reviews

Here’s something I’ve never done before … mini reviews.

I still have no blogging mojo. In fact, I’m typing this up quickly while my daughter screams fusses in her crib after only a 20 minute nap – momma needs more nap than that, darling!

So while I have little to no blogging mojo, I have been reading a bit. And I need to get these thoughts down before I forget everything.

So without further ado…..

Fates and Furies Title: Fates and Furies
Author: Lauren Groff
Read: Oct. 10-30, 2015
Pages: 392
Source: Book of the Month Club
Rating: 2/5

Thoughts:  This was my very first selection from the Book of the Month Club. To say that it was a disappointment would be the understatement of the year. To be completely honest, none of the October books really caught my eye, this one was just the one that seemed like it would be the most enjoyable for me. Oh how wrong I was on that! I struggled through this one. For 3 freaking weeks. I still don’t know why I bothered to finish it. I did not like it in the least. I can’t in good faith recommend this book, but hey, I’m sure someone out there would enjoy it … just not me.


Private BerlinTitle: Private Berlin
Author: James Patterson & Mark Sullivan
Read: Nov. 7-10, 2015
Pages: 448
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I knew I had to have something fast paced after coming off of Fates and Furies, so of course I picked up a James Patterson book. Overall, I enjoyed this one relatively well. I think I prefer the Private books where Jack Morgan plays more of a role, but this one was still interesting. I can almost always rely on Mr. Patterson for a quick and enjoyable read, this one does not fail on that part. Recommended for sure.

 

 


 

The Alpine Advocate Title: The Alpine Advocate
Author: Mary Daheim
Read: Nov. 11-18, 2015
Pages: 240
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: What a cute little first in a series. Cozy mysteries are not usually my cup of tea, but for some reason this one really caught my eye and was an impulse order on Paperbackswap. I think a lot of the draw for me was the journalist/newspaper aspect of the storyline – I originally declared print journalism as my major in college. Anyway, like I said this was a cute little book. It kept my interest throughout. And I had no idea who the killer was until it was revealed at the end – I had missed all of the clues laid throughout the book. I am definitely looking forward to continuing this series in the future and would definitely recommend it!

 

 

 

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2014

2014.49 REVIEW – These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

These Things Hidden
by Heather Gudenkauf

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 337
Rating: 4/5
Read: Nov. 23 – Dec. 7, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 49
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: N/A


These Things HiddenBlurb:
 When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn – shy, quiet Brynn – who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.


Review: So after I finished the book that I had been reading when we moved out, I realized that I had failed to hold out any other books to read until we moved into our new house and the movers brought all our stuff back. The horror! So of course I had to go to the bookstore and buy something to read! This is what I happened to come across. I had seen this book mentioned in (I believe) a Paperbackswap newsletter. I don’t know how I missed it when it was released in 2011, but somehow I did.

I had no preconceived notions going into this book. I had seen no buzz about it online. I had not read review after review of it from various bloggers. I did something the old-fashioned way. I chose a book in a bookstore that intrigued me and I read it. I cannot tell you how long it had been since I had done that. My reading has been so structured and scheduled for so long that it was really strange to do something so out of the ordinary for me.

I was just glad that the book was a great read and not a dud! Ha!

Overall I liked it. I had no idea really what was coming when it finally happened. But really thinking back on the way things unfolded, it really should not have been as much of a surprise as it was for me. I liked that the book was told from multiple character viewpoints. I felt like it really made everything come together so much better. You got all of the innermost thoughts and feelings of so many characters. It was an interesting way of setting up the book in my opinion.

Some of the characters in this book are doozies, to say the least. You’ve got a wide variety – the one fresh out of prison, the sister who has some obvious mental issues, the parents who pretty much checked out when their kids were found to be imperfect. And that’s just all in one family. There are plenty other dysfunctional characters within the book!

The storyline was interesting. I felt like the author did a really good job with it to be honest. Because it could have been pretty dull … teenage girl gets pregnant, gets rid of baby and *thinks* life will go on as normal. It doesn’t. Girl gets out of jail 5 years later and tries to reconnect with her family and society in general. But all is not as it seems. And that’s what makes this story so much more interesting as it unfolds before your very eyes. I liked it. A lot.

So I guess I found a gem in this one. I would definitely recommend it!

4/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2014, READING CHALLENGES 2014

2014.41 REVIEW – A Time to Kill by John Grisham

A Time to Kill
by John Grisham

Copyright: 1989
Pages: 515
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 22 – 29, 2014
Challenge: Official TBR Challenge
Yearly count: 41
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: N/A

A Time to KillBlurb: Clanton, Mississippi. The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle – and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life … and then his own…


Review: This book was from my own shelves, all opinions expressed below are my own.

What really defines a “classic”? Is it something from a gazillion years ago that we are forced to read in high school, with language and dialects that we can’t even follow along with? Or is it something that can be written in the 1980s and still resonate with a reader in the year 2014? I go with the latter.

I originally placed this book on my to-read list this year for the Official TBR Challenge. I don’t remember why this particular book made it onto my list, but I’m sure it was just the shock of realizing that I had never read this book. I will be honest, I have seen the movie (though years ago, and I only recalled that Matthew McConaughey portrayed the defense counsel).

But here’s what really gets me about this book. You’d have to be a complete recluse with no contact with the outside world to not know what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri in the past few weeks. All I want to say about the matter is that it was a sad situation and the violence and rioting was completely unacceptable. But back to the book … I was amazed at how the racism aspects of this book is still very relevant to today’s world. The events of the past month have proved that there are still very large problems in our country. Ones that are ignored for the most part, until things come completely undone.

And that, my dear readers, is why I feel like this book is such a classic. If I can read a book that was published when I was 5 years old and be able to sit down and realize that the plot of this book could be played out today in just about any court in the country … it just speaks volumes to me.

Personally I highly enjoyed this book. And I think it should be required reading. My one and only complaint is that it really could have been about 150 pages shorter. Every character we encounter along the way seemed to have their own back story, which just continued to draw out the book. But the last 100 pages were full of nail-biting suspense and really set the bar for Mr. Grisham’s fellow authors.

My copy of the book included an author note from Mr. Grisham. I want to leave you with the last sentence:

This one came from the heart. It’s a first novel, and at times it rambles, but I wouldn’t change a word if given the chance.

If you have never read this book, do not hesitate. If you have read this book, consider a re-read.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Giveaway, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2014, READING CHALLENGES 2014, Review Book

2014.21 REVIEW – The Blonde by Anna Godbersen {GIVEAWAY}

The Blonde
by Anna Godbersen

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 390
Rating: 4/5
Read: May 5 – May 11, 2014
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge
Yearly count: 21
Format:  Print
Source: Publicist for review
Series: None


The BlondeBlurb
: In 1947, a young, unknown Norma Jean meets a mysterious man in Los Angeles who transforms her into Marilyn the worldwide star. Twelve years later, he comes back for his repayment, and Marilyn is given her first assignment from the KGB: Uncover something about JFK that no one else knows.

But what begins as a simple job turns complicated when Marilyn falls in love with the bright young President, and learns of plans to assassinate Kennedy. Now the most famous woman on the planet will do anything to save her man, the leader of the free world. Part biography, part love story and part thriller, The Blonde is a vivid tableau of American celebrity, sex, love, violence, power, and paranoia.


Review: I received a copy of this book for free from a publicist for review purposes, all opinions expressed below are my own.

Faithful readers, you know I’m obsessed with JFK. Add Marilyn Monroe and I’m even more intrigued. So you can imagine that I never even hesitated when I was pitched this book for review! I couldn’t wait to dig into this one and figure out how Ms. Godbersen was going to present Marilyn Monroe as a spy!

And I must tell you, the gloves are off in the way the characters were portrayed. It’s obviously well known that JFK was quite the ladies man, which is quite evident in this portrayal. But I will admit that I didn’t like who Marilyn became in this story. Without giving away too much of the storyline, Marilyn is promised something very important to her in return for whatever information she can get out of JFK. Seducing him is the obvious way to get what she needs. I have typed out a sentence four times trying to word it the way I need to for you to understand my dilemma with Marilyn in this book. Maybe I should just keep it to the fact that I wanted to like Marilyn but I just didn’t. I couldn’t like her.

Can I just state the obvious here? The whole idea of Marilyn Monroe as a spy?! Oh. My. Gosh. I simply cannot get over that concept! It might seem like a total stretch, but the way it plays out in this novel… well, it really works! There’s a lot of twists and turns that you don’t really expect. There are characters who might seem out of character from what you know of history. There are revelations that make you wonder… and that, in my opinion, is the heart and soul of this book. Could it be true? You really never know anyone else, do you? Like I said, it’s a concept that is a lot of fun to see how it unfolds in this book!

Overall though it’s definitely a good read in my opinion. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next while reading it. The writing was very well done. The characters were well-developed. The only thing to be aware of is the fact that there is a lot of sex in this book (but it is Marilyn Monroe and JFK after all…)

I would definitely recommend this book! Another great read in my opinion!


So now that you’ve patiently read through all my ramblings about this book, let’s get down to the nitty gritty here. I have a giveaway opportunity! Somehow I ended up with a hardcover, finished copy of this book (it arrived mysteriously a couple of weeks after I received the ARC). So I would like to extend the offer of a giveaway to my readers.

Fine print: If you want to win and you live in the United States (sorry, international friends :() just leave me a comment here with your email address to be entered. You have until 7pm central standard time on Sunday, May 18th to enter. At that point I will take the number of comments I have and use random.org to decide a winner. Your comment will decide your entry number. At that point I will make an announcement and contact the winner by email. You will have 24 hours to respond, or I will have to choose another winner. Good luck!!


Anna Godbersen_creditedAbout the author: Anna Godbersen was born in Berkeley, California and moved to New York to attend Barnard College. After graduating she worked in the literary department of Esquire magazine, where she also wrote book reviews. Her debut novel was the first installment of the bestselling LUXE series for young adults, which she followed with the BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS series. THE BLONDE, to be published by Weinstein in May 2014, is her first book for grownups. She lives in Brooklyn. 

AUTHOR WEBSITE

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2014, READING CHALLENGES 2014

2014.3 REVIEW – The Hostage by W.E.B. Griffin

The Hostage
by W.E.B. Griffin

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 750
Rating: 3/5
Read: Jan. 2 – 16, 2014
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge; TBR Pile Challenge
Yearly count: 3
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

The HostageBlurb: An American diplomat’s wife is kidnapped in Argentina, and her husband murdered before her eyes. She is told her children will be next if she doesn’t tell the kidnappers where her brother is – a man who may know quite a bit about the burgeoning United Nations/Iraq oil-for-food scandal. There is an awful lot of money flying around, and an awful lot of hands are reaching up to grab it, and some of those hands don’t mind shedding as much blood as it takes – even if that blood comes from Charley Castillo…


Review: I have had this book on my shelf since early 2009. I knew it had to make my list for the TBR Challenge if nothing else to at least get it read or otherwise off my shelf as a DNF. I also picked it up first for that challenge because at 750 pages I knew I should get it out of the way immediately if possible.

This is the second in Presidential Agent series. I read the first one, By Order of the President, back in 2008. I knew going into it that I was going to have absolutely no recollection of the characters or storyline from that first book. That always makes me a little apprehensive, but in all honesty, it has no impact on this book. There are a few references to the first book, but for the most part this book reads quite well as a stand-alone.

Overall I was not incredibly impressed by this book. I honestly think that some serious editing could have occurred to cut the page number down to a more reasonable number without missing too much of the story. Looking over the notes I took as I read this book, around the 300 page mark I commented that there was a lot of unnecessary repetition. I feel very strongly that this is very much the case with this book. I would be going along reading only to get to the end of the chapter and Mr. Griffin would have the characters pretty much just sum up everything that just happened in the chapter. Very unnecessary in my opinion and only added to the page count.

The actual storyline was interesting at first, but as the book progressed things kept spiraling and more things were added to the story and I eventually started feeling a little bogged down. And the ending … or should I say, what ending? There are so many questions left hanging that I was a little disgusted. All this lead-up … all 700+ pages of it and no resolution? You mean you want me to read the next 700+ page book in this series to find out the conclusion to this book? No thank you, not at this time.

That pretty much sums up exactly what I felt about this book.

Overall I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It just wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea. Military-esque books are out of my comfort zone. Plus the length was a little bit of an issue for me. But if that’s your thing you’ll probably enjoy this one.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Jane Rizzoli, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES

2013.39 REVIEW – Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

Last to Die
by Tess Gerritsen

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 423
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Sept. 12-19, 2013
Challenge: RIP VIII; 2013 Sequel Challenge
Yearly count: 39
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Last to DieBlurb: For the second time in his short life, fourteen-year-old Teddy Clock has survived a massacre. Orphaned once more when his foster family is murdered, the traumatized teenager has nowhere to turn – until the Boston PD puts Detective Jane Rizzoli on the case. Jane spirits Teddy to the exclusive Evensong boarding school, a sanctuary where young victims of violent crime learn vital skills of survival. But even behind locked gates, Jane fears that Evensong’s benefactors aren’t the only ones watching. And when she learns of two other students whose pasts bear a shocking resemblance to Teddy’s, it becomes chillingly clear that a circling predator has more than one victim in mind. Joining forces with medical examiner Maura Isles, Jane races to stop an obsessed killer’s twisted quest – before an unspeakable secret dooms the children’s fate.


Review: This is the 10th book in the Rizzoli and Isles series. And I couldn’t help myself from comparing it to the TNT television series. The books and TV show are nothing alike. And having just watched all of the summer season, it was still fresh in my mind and that’s why I couldn’t help but compare them. I’m not saying that if you like one you won’t like the other, but just know that they are very different and you can’t really compare them.

Overall I thought this was a pretty decent installment in the series. But I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer Ms. Gerritsen will continue with this series. You finish this book with a big question mark, one of the characters appears to want a change in scenery … what will that do to the series?

Most of this book is set at Evensong, a private boarding school. I thought that it was a neat setting. Julian is back in this book and is very prominent in the plot line. That was fun seeing Maura and Julian back together. The Mephisto Club was also mentioned again.

There was a slight twist at the end that I wasn’t entirely anticipating. Part of it I was, the other part not so much. I can’t say much more than that without getting into spoiler territory.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. However, this is one of those that I think you really need to have read the previous books to fully understand all the dynamics (At the very least, The Mephisto Club installment.)