3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Eve Duncan, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES

Book Review: Body of Lies by Iris Johansen

Body of Lies
by Iris Johansen

Body of Lies

Copyright: 2002

Pages: 369

Read: March 16-19, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchased used



Blurb: Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan has been summoned to Baton Rouge by a high-ranking government official to identify the remains of an unknown murder victim. Eve wants nothing to do with the project. She has finally found peace from her own tragic past, living a quiet life with Atlanta detective Joe Quinn and her adopted daughter, Jane. Then a stunning series of seemingly unrelated events turns Eve’s new world upside down.

Now, in a special government facility, she takes on the project of identifying the victim’s skeleton. But she hasn’t even begun when the first death occurs. Someone totally ruthless, someone who can strike anywhere at any time and with seeming immunity, is determined to put a halt to her work, her life, and the lives of those she loves. Eve has stumbled onto a chilling conspiracy. There is only one person who can give her the devastating truth … and he is already dead.

Review: Hm… I have some issues with this book. First it’s been ages since I read the first three books in the series, so I was basically going in blind having little to no recollection of the characters/past storylines. This probably affected my opinion somewhat. However, I was disappointed that I had someone pegged as not quite kosher immediately. It was all too cookie-cutter neat to be believable in my opinion. And also I had an issue with Jane’s character- she’s supposed to be a preteen, right?! So why is she cursing in front of her parents? My mom would have brought me down ten notches if I had acted that way. Eve never blinked an eye. Not believable or appropriate. The suspense was decent enough but not really surprising at the end. This was more of an “eh” book for me and I doubt I’ll be rushing to read any further in this series…

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.31 REVIEW – Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Blackberry Winter
by Sarah Jio

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 286
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 7-10, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 31
Format: Print
Source: Purchased New
Series: N/A

Blackberry WinterBlurb: Seattle, 1933. Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, good night and reluctantly leaves for work. She hates the night shift, but it’s the only way she can earn enough to keep destitution at bay. In the morning – even though it’s the second of May – a heavy snow is falling. Vera rushes to wake Daniel, but his bed is empty. His teddy bear lies outside in the snow.

Seattle, present day. One the second of May, Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge awakens to another late-season snow-storm. Assigned to cover this “blackberry winter” and its predecessor decades earlier, Claire learns of Daniel’s unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth – only to discover that she and Vera are linked in unexpected ways.


Review: I purchased this one new a few years ago and let it linger on my shelves for far too long. I picked it up to take on my vacation because it was a little shorter than most of the books I read. I am thoroughly glad that I did get to read this one, because I ended up loving it!

I was immediately taken with Vera and Claire. Their stories were so intriguing from the beginning that I wanted to know what happened with both of them. The pain that Vera went through losing Daniel just absolutely broke my heart. And then learning of Claire’s own loss was even more painful. As a mother to two healthy, vibrant children, I can’t even imagine the loss of one.

Overall, this is a book that I really enjoyed and am glad that I finally read. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Jio in the future. Highly recommended to anyone who loves a good story. This one has a bit of romance, mystery, and history. It is well written and I found it to be a joy to read. I couldn’t wait to get to the end just so I could find out what happened to little Daniel. And when it was finally revealed it was a shock as to how it all came full circle for Claire. Just a lovely book that I thoroughly enjoyed!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.21 REVIEW – Stand Down: A Novella by J.A. Jance

Stand Down: A Novella
by J.A. Jance

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 112
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 17, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 21
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss via Publicist
Series: J.P. Beaumont #21.5

Stand DownBlurb:
 Life has shifted for J. P. Beaumont. After a tragic accident that devastated—and ultimately disbanded—his Special Homicide Investigation Team, he accepts that he has left homicide detection behind at this point, but he has a lot of unanticipated free time on his hands. He’s keeping busy with renovations on the new house that he and his wife Mel Soames, the newly appointed Chief of Police in Bellingham, Washington, have bought. But new fixtures and paint palettes can occupy only so much of Beau’s daily life, and Mel is encouraging him to return to where he is needed: investigating crimes.

In the meantime, she is struggling to gain control of her new situation, cast into a department where some are welcoming—and some are not. It’s been a few months, and the tension in the police department is rising, but Beau realizes Mel has to tackle things in her own way, so he refrains from advising. But when Beau shows up one afternoon to survey the construction at their new house and finds Mel’s car there but no sign of her, his investigative instincts kick in. Suddenly he’s back in the game—except this time, his heart is on the line as well as his professional dignity.

Review: I was contacted about this novella a while ago and had kind of filed it away thinking it sounded interesting, but I wasn’t really sold on it. But when I got a second email reminding me about it because the release date was near, I thought I’d give it a try. What’s to lose when there’s only112 pages?

Part of my reluctance is that I’ve actually only read one book in the J.P. Beaumont series and it was many, many years ago. So I figured I would be completely lost jumping into this series at book 21.5! But fear not … I had no trouble sliding right in with Beau and Mel. There was just enough background that I wasn’t scratching my head trying to figure out who was who and what was going on. Actually it made me want to read some of the previous books to really know more of the backstory (BAD Tara! The last thing you need is another book series……).

I was a little more than bummed when I reached the end of this novella. I was definitely left wanting more. I found this slim installment to be a lot of fun. It was fast paced and entertaining. I’m glad I gave this one a shot; I would definitely recommend it.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, SERIES

2012.12 REVIEW – The Pawn by Steven James

The Pawn
by Steven James

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 427
Rating: 5/5
Read: May 7 – May 20, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012
Yearly Count: 12
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: Patrick Bowers specializes in tracking down the killers who elude the FBI’s best forensic investigators. As an environmental criminologist, Bowers employs twenty-first-century geospatial technology to analyze the time and space in which a crime takes place. Using an array of factors, Bowers can pinpoint, with surprising accuracy, the important clues that lead to solving the toughest of cases.

Bowers’s impressive skills have made him one of the Bureau’s top agents. Until now. Called to the mountains of North Carolina to consult on a gruesome murder, Bowers finds himself caught in a deadly duel with a serial killer who seems to transcend Pat’s analytical powers. Forced to track the killer’s horrific string of murders one by one, Bowers finds his techniques and instincts put to the ultimate – and perhaps final – test.

Review: Oh my goodness, this book was so good! I am still beating myself up for not picking this book up sooner. It’s only been sitting on my shelves for a good two years, and the only reason I picked it up when I did is because I am involved in a multi-book trade with a friend and this was one of her selections! *Kicking myself* Seriously, this was that fun of a book!

There was just something about this book that sucked me in nearly immediately. I can honestly say that I was hooked from the very first page (and with my scatterbrained pregnant mind the way it is right now, that was such a nice change). It was a very fast-paced interesting read. The bad guy that Patrick was charged with chasing was interesting and original, in my opinion. Not just your run-of-the-mill bad guy (or guys?!)

And the reader gets to see a personal side of Patrick’s character as well. I thoroughly enjoyed that. His reactions to his wife’s death a while back and how he has reacted to the teenage step-daughter he is left in charge of, well it just made his character that much more real life. And I think that’s part of what really drew me into Patrick’s character.

Overall, I can’t gush enough about this book. I think it will be the start of a great new series for me to explore! Book two is The Rook, and luckily, my library has a copy of it – as well as the other books in this series. Hopefully I can get to them soon (although I’m not holding my breath on that, what with a newborn baby coming any day now!)

Bottom line? – Read this book!!

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2011

2011.30 REVIEW – Lost Souls by Lisa Jackson

Lost Souls 
by Lisa Jackson

Copyright: 2008, 2009
Pages: 488
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: June 15 – June 21, 2011
Challenge:  No Challenge
Yearly Count: 30
Format: Print

First Line: Where am I?

Blurb: Kristi Bentz wants to write true crime. All she needs is that one case that will take her to the top. She finds it when she enrolls at All Saints College after learning that four girls have disappeared in less than two years. All four girls were “lost souls” – troubled, vulnerable girls with no one to care about them, no one to come looking for them if they disappeared. The only personal that believes Kristi is her ex-lover, Jay McKnight, a professor on campus. The police think the girls are runaways, but Kristi senses there’s something that links them – something terrifying. As Kristi gets deeper into her investigation, she gets the feeling she’s being watched and followed – studied, even. Then the bodies start turning up, and Kristi realizes she is playing a game with a killer who has selected her for membership in a special club from which there will be no escaping death….

Review: Vampires, sex, murder … this book has it all. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it was a little on the long side for the story it was trying to tell, but honestly, that didn’t take away too much from the book itself. Having read Lisa Jackson’s books before, they are usually guaranteed to be a good thriller, but sometimes this one felt a little pushed in places. It’s hard to explain what I’m really trying to say. It was a good book, no doubt about it. But it didn’t feel entirely believable. I think that was my issue with it. Maybe that’s just me not buying into the whole commercialized vampirism and whatnot (now, if you want a good vampire story, check out Blood Oath). However, I suppose if the vampire element had been left out of this book, it would have felt like a gazillion other thriller books with very similar plots. Overall, I would recommend this book. But I think it’s a very forgettable read.

AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, Read in 2009

Whispers by Lisa Jackson

by Lisa Jackson

Copyright: 1996; 2003
Pages: 433
Rating: 5/5
Read: May 19-23, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009; 2009 Celebrate the Author
Yearly Count: 24

First Line: “Bitch.” Harley Taggert was drunk, but not drunk enough.

Sixteen years ago Claire Holland left Lake Arrowhead, Oregon, with a secret. One that she swore she’d never tell. But when her father calls her and her two sisters back to the old family home she realizes that the secret that she’s held for all these years just might get out after all. But what she didn’t count on was that it would be Kane Moran who would end up wanting to expose the truth behind the night that her fiancé drowned. But as Claire fights her feelings toward Kane, feelings that she has fought for sixteen years, a killer lurks in the background eager to silence Claire forever.

I must say that I have been in somewhat of a reading slump lately. So when I picked up Whispers I just had to cross my fingers that I would be able to finish it. But let me say that I never once had any hesitation once I really got into this book! I was hooked from the first page. I really enjoyed Claire and her family. I liked learning about them and seeing what the secret was all about. I couldn’t hardly wait to figure out what had happened to Harley that night at the marina. I definitely enjoyed this book and am glad that I have other Lisa Jackson books on my TBR shelf.

AUTHOR, Book Review, Eve Duncan, Fiction, J, Read in 2008, SERIES

Quicksand by Iris Johansen

by Iris Johansen

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 361
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Nov. 23-28, 2008
Challenge: No challenge; personal read

First Line: Someone was watching him.

Eve Duncan is still searching for Bonnie, her little girl. Her search takes her to a man named Kistle. Kistle will lure Eve into a swamp with Joe. But in the end, it will be just another sick play that Kistle will make.

I’m getting kind of sick of the Eve Duncan series. I’m sorry, but how long is she going to drag on the search for Bonnie? I understand that the series is selling and that once she finds Bonnie the series will more than likely end, but come on, it’s the same stuff every time it seems like.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, Read in 2008

Name Withheld by J.A. Jance

Name Withheld
by J.A. Jance
Copyright: 1996
Pages: 392
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 24-27, 2008
Challenge: Initials Challenge

First Line: With Seattle’s New Year’s fireworks display due to begin soon, the Peters girls – nine-year-old Heather and ten-year-old Tracy – and I shut down our Uno game at twenty minutes before midnight.

When a dead man’s body is found in Elliot Bay, Detective J.P. Beaumont catches the case. What he is faced with is a man, as a biotech executive, has made many enemies along the way. So it’s easy to say that this was a man who was hated and wanted dead by many people. But things are not as they seem. Instead of an open-and-shut case, there are many twists and turns along the way, including the man’s boss admitting that he should be prime suspect number one, and a little old lady from the suburbs confessing to the murder. It will take a lot of thinking for Beaumont to straighten this one out.
Okay, this is the first book that I’ve ever read by J.A. Jance. And I hate to say it, but this will probably be the only book I read. I just was not impressed by it. It honestly sounded like a good book, but I felt that the writing was seriously lacking. It was just okay for me. Nothing spectacular by any means, though.
4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, Read in 2008

Firestorm by Iris Johansen

by Iris Johansen

Copyright: 2004
Pages: 339
Rating: 4/5
Read: March 6-9, 2008
Challenge: What’s in a Name – Weather Event Category

First Line: She couldn’t breathe!

Kerry Murphy’s life is seemingly consumed by fire; from a fire that took life the of her mother as a young girl to the present. Along with her dog Sam, she is an arson investigator. However, when a mysterious man by the name of Silver invades her life and practically forces Kerry to join in him in stopping a psychopath with a love for starting fires. Her decision to help Silver might destroy Kerry and the people closest to her.

Like any other Iris Johansen book that I’ve read, I enjoyed this one. It wasn’t one of her better ones, but it was still pretty good. I enjoyed it. I would recommend this one to anyone.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Eve Duncan, Fiction, J, Read in 2008, SERIES

The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen

The Face of Deception
by Iris Johansen
Copyright: 1999
Pages: 446
Rating: 4/5
Read: Jan. 24-25, 2008
Challenge: Triple Eight Challenge – First in a Series category
First Line: It was going to happen.
Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan wants nothing more than to find the body of her murdered daughter and do her work. Unfortunately, work is all she has for now. But her world is turned upside down when billionaire John Logan confronts her, offering her a large sum of money for the use of her services. Unsure of his reasons, she reluctantly agrees to the job. What she will find out in the process will not only stun the nation when revealed but also puts her and her closest family and friends in danger.
This was a really good book! I enjoyed it a lot! It was a good introduction to the Eve Duncan series and I want to pursue this series more. I highly recommend it!