Review: Compelling Evidence by Steve Martini

Compelling Evidence
by Steve Martini

Compelling Evidence

Copyright: 1992

Pages: 432

Read: March 20-31, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased used

Blurb: Paul Madriani, a brilliant criminal defense lawyer, had a once-promising career with a prestigious law-firm, until an ill-judged affair with the senior partner Ben Potter’s wife led to his resignation. Now he scrambles for work amid the ghosts of his doomed affair and the remains of a failing marriage.

Then Potter is found dead, an apparent suicide. But as details come to light, the case turns from suicide to murder and the needle of suspicion points towards the victim’s seductive wife, Talia Potter. Indicted and arrested, Talia turns to Paul, her former lover, to defend her against the mounting evidence in a case that for her could result in the gas chamber.


Review: I have wanted to start this series for many, many years. I have collected quite a few books in this series. So I figured now was as good a time as ever. I’m a sucker for a good legal thriller and was excited to finally get to this one.

Let me just be very clear – the beginning is almost excruciatingly slow. It was nearly to the point that I was going to walk away from it. But I persisted and I can honestly say that I am thrilled I stuck with it. From about the midway point to the end it was extremely exciting and I couldn’t wait to figure out what happened. I had no idea what had really happened to Ben Potter until it was finally revealed. I always enjoy being surprised completely. I read so many mystery/thriller/suspense novels I can usually peg the who-dun-it part relatively early on. I was honestly completely surprised by the reveal in this book.

I hope that I get to the second in the series quicker than my track record with series books are (!). Hopefully the next one will be as good, if not better, than this one! Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good legal thriller!!

Review: The Girl From Home by Adam Mitzner

The Girl From Home
by Adam Mitzner

The Girl From Home

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 321

Read: April 1 – 11, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for review

Blurb: Jonathan Caine is a true master of the universe – a currency wizard with a trophy wife, a penthouse condo with a view of the Statue of Liberty, and the desire for more -when his world comes crashing down. In the midst of this spiral, Jonathan returns to his hometown to care for his ailing father and attend his twenty-fifth high-school reunion, where he becomes reacquainted with former prom queen Jacqueline Williams. Back in the day, Jackie didn’t even know Jonathan existed, but now she is intrigued by the man he has become. Yet their budding relationship has problems, not the least of which is that Jackie doesn’t know the full truth about Jonathan, and she’s married to a jealous and abusive man. Jonathan is determined to learn from his mistakes, but is he capable of complete transformation? Or will a shocking temptation test his desire for redemption beyond anything he could have imagined?


Review: It was the pitch of this book that really brought me back to my blog. Having been given the opportunity to read Mr. Mitzner’s previous two books (A Case of Redemption and Losing Faith) I knew that I would not want to miss this one, so I accepted it for review and decided to come back to my blog 🙂

So what did I think about this book? Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, having absolutely no background in the financial world, I did have a little bit of trouble keeping up with what Jonathan was doing in the beginning. I’m sure Mr. Mitzner did  a lot of research to get it all right, but I was just a tad bit confused at times with the different aspects of that whole storyline.

 At first I didn’t like Jonathan’s character. In the beginning he’s just too superficial and completely obsessed with money. It definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. And his wife, Natasha – she was even worse! Yuck! But as the book goes on and Jonathan comes home to take care of his father we definitely see a change in Jonathan’s character. Thankfully it’s a change for the better.

As the story progresses, we see Jonathan and Jackie reacquaint and you have to wonder how this is all going to turn out. The reader is given the sense that it’s definitely not going to work out as well as one would hope. And sure enough, that prediction is true. But it’s what happens in the last 20 or so pages that was really surprising to me. A twist came that I wasn’t expecting and that honestly, kind of upset me until the very last two pages when I realized exactly what was going on.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s just one more reason why I love Mr. Mitzner’s books so much. They are such fun, enjoyable reads! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.

2015.25 REVIEW – The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

The Night Sister
by Jennifer McMahon

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 322
Rating: 5/5
Read: July 25-31, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 25
Format: E-Book
Source: Requested from Edelweiss
Series: N/A

The Night SisterBlurb:
 Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past, something that ruined their friendship forever.

Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock’s next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.


Review:I received a copy of this for free via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

I have kept Jennifer McMahon’s books on my radar since devouring The One I Left Behind and The Winter PeopleSo I was thrilled to catch this one on Edelweiss while browsing … even more excited to get approval!!

The way this book unfolds is so impressive. It’s like Ms. McMahon just lightly peels away layer after layer until you’re finally at the heart and soul of the story. The pacing is just superb. The suspense keeps you on your toes. I really, really loved this book.

I enjoyed the flashbacks. It was interesting to see the different perspectives from Rose/Sylvia to Amy/Piper/Margot and then on to Piper/Margot. The way it spanned some 50 years to reveal the intricate details of a family’s secrets … just, wow! And then when it all came to fruition at the end, there were a couple of revelations that made the book come together perfectly.

I mean, really, I don’t know what I could possibly say negative about this book. I throughly enjoyed reading it. This one will definitely make my “best of” books read at the end of the year.

Bottom line … read this book! And read some of Ms. McMahon’s backlist too – you won’t be sorry!

 

2015.23 REVIEW – The Forgotten Ones by Brian McGilloway

The Forgotten Ones
by Brian McGilloway

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 256
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 19 – 25, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 23
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss
Series: Lucy Black #3

The Forgotten OnesBlurb:
 The body of an elderly man is hauled out of the rushing water of the River Foyle, cold dead. Detective Lucy Black is called in to investigate when it becomes evident that this was not a suicide: the man’s body was embalmed before it ever entered the water.

Confounded and exhausted, Lucy heads home to review the case in quiet; but there will be no rest for her tonight. She’s barely in the front door when a neighbor knocks because his wife’s sister has been attacked and they need her help.

As a string of strange crimes is unspooled throughout the city, Lucy is pulled in countless different directions… until she realizes there may be something dark and dangerous connecting everything.


Review:I received a copy of this for free via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

Lucy Black. Oh how I love you! I mean seriously, I absolutely adore this book series!! There’s just something about Lucy. And Tom Fleming. And Lucy’s mom. I just have some weird love fest with these characters. I can’t help it. I almost missed out on this one, I was just randomly searching Edelweiss one day and came across it. I was so excited to see that there was more Lucy Black!

In this installment there’s a lot going on. Lucy definitely has her hands full. Her father’s Alzheimer’s is rapidly progressing (such a sad, sad thing to watch happen to family members). She has to figure out why an embalmed body is found floating in a river. Then she has to deal with a neighbor’s family member having an abusive partner. Oh, her boyfriend wants her to move in with her. Then there’s another string of murders. A string of murders that she has to figure out why they all seem to be connected. There’s a lot going on.

If I had to tell you the one weak part of this whole book it’s that there was so much going on. It was almost like there were too many dead bodies for me to keep track of. I eventually couldn’t remember which name went with which murder. I understood how they all connected in the end, but it was a lot of confusion for a little bit on my end. Now, that might just be because I read this book in bits and spurts, never really committing a whole lot of time at once. But it didn’t really slow down my enjoyment of this book whatsoever.

After about the 60% mark of this book (darned Kindle – I want page numbers, not percentages!), this book just absolutely flew by. There was a lot of action going on and I could hardly wait to get to the end to see how on earth everything ended up. The writing was excellent, the storyline was fast paced and exciting. The character development is exceptional. Overall it’s a book that I just want to gush about.

Truly, I can’t say enough about this series. I fell in love with Lucy after reading Little Girl Lost and Someone You Know. I seriously hope you would give Mr. McGilloway’s Lucy Black series a chance. While I personally am always a stickler for reading books in order, I can tell you that this book would read relatively well as a standalone.

Bottom line …. read this book! (Read this series!)

2015.15 REVIEW – Losing Faith by Adam Mitzner

Losing Faith
by Adam Mitzner

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 354
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 21 – April 27, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 15
Format: Print
Source: Publicist for Review
Series: N/A

Losing FaithBlurb: Aaron Littman is the premier lawyer of his generation and the chairman of Cromwell Altman, the most powerful law firm in New York City, when a high-profile new client threatens all that he’s achieved – and more. Nicolai Garkov is currently the most reviled figure in America, accused of laundering funds for the Russian Mafia and financing a terrorist bombing in Red Square that killed twenty-six people, including three American students.

Garkov is completely unrepentant, admitting his guilt to Aaron, but with a plan for exoneration that includes blackmailing the presiding judge, the Honorable Faith Nichols. If the judge won’t do his bidding, Garkov promises to go public with irrefutable evidence of an affair between Aaron and Faith – the consequences of which would not only destroy their reputation but quite possibly end their careers.

Garkov has made his move. Now it’s Aaron and Faith’s turn. And in an ever-shocking psychological game of power, ethics, lies, and justice, they could never have predicted where those moves will take them – or what they are prepared to do to protect the truth.


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

A couple of years ago, I read and reviewed A Case of Interest by Mr. Mitzner here on my blog. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I was given the opportunity to read and review Mr. Mitzner’s newest release I jumped on it!!

And I am so excited to say that I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea going into the trial who or what to believe. Was Aaron guilty? Was he innocent? Who did kill Faith? I have to admit that I had someone else pegged as the murderer, so when it was revealed at the end I was in shock.

I will also say that I enjoyed learning a little bit more about the legal system. I had a dream of law school immediately after my undergraduate years. A move out of state with my husband and real life intervened and I have to live vicariously through legal thrillers at times. So I was really intrigued by some of the twists and turns that occurred in the courtroom action of this book.

The storyline in this one was interesting. The characters were well-developed. It’s just a really fun, easy-to-read book that kept me on my toes the entire time.

Definitely one that I am glad I got the opportunity to read and one I would have highly recommend!!

2014.45 REVIEW – Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne

Angel Killer
by Andrew Mayne

Copyright: 2012, 2014
Pages: 353
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 29 – Oct. 10, 2014
Challenge: RIP IX
Yearly count: 45
Format: Print
Source: TLC Book Tour
Series: Jessica Blackwood # 1

Angel KillerBlurb: FBI agent Jessica Blackwood believes she’s left her complicated life as a gifted magician behind her . . . until a killer with seemingly supernatural powers puts her talents to the ultimate test.

A hacker who identifies himself only as “Warlock” brings down the FBI’s website and posts a code in its place that leads to a Michigan cemetery, where a dead girl is discovered rising from the ground . . . as if she tried to crawl out of her own grave.

Born into a dynasty of illusionists, Jessica Blackwood is destined to become its next star—until she turns her back on her troubled family to begin a new life in law enforcement. But FBI consultant Dr. Jeffrey Ailes’s discovery of an old magic magazine will turn Jessica’s world upside down. Faced with a crime that appears beyond explanation, Ailes has nothing to lose—and everything to gain—by taking a chance on an agent raised in a world devoted to achieving the seemingly impossible.

The body in the cemetery is only the first in the Warlock’s series of dark miracles. Thrust into the media spotlight, with time ticking away until the next crime, can Jessica confront her past to stop a depraved killer? If she can’t, she may become his next victim.


Review: I received a copy of this book for free in conjunction with a TLC Book tour, all opinions expressed below are my own.

I accepted this book for review with the reservation that I am not generally into magic. It just stretches my boundaries of what is believable. But there was something about the description that really drew me in … probably just the FBI aspect, to be honest.

Either way, I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to try this book. It worked. Really, really well, in my opinion. I found myself flying through the pages. There were a lot of twists and turns throughout the book that kept me guessing until the very end – and I never did have things figured out!

Jessica is a great character, but her self-doubting trait kind of got a little irritating at times. I like a little more confidence personally. And Damian – what a character! I don’t really know what else to say about that…

Overall, I definitely think this is the great start of a new series that I think will attract a very wide audience … magic lovers, mystery lovers, it’s just an all-around good book that I would definitely recommend!


Andrew MayneAbout the author: Andrew Mayne is the star of A&E’s magic reality show Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne, and has worked for David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and David Blaine. He lives in Los Angeles.

Connect with him through his website, Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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Other tour stops:

Tuesday, September 23rd: Always With a Book

Wednesday, September 24th: Living in the Kitchen with Puppies

Thursday, September 25th: Priscilla and Her Books

Thursday, September 25th: Mysteries and My Musings – spotlight

Thursday, September 25th: Why Girls Are Weird

Monday, September 29th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, September 29th: Mysteries and My Musings – review

Wednesday, October 1st: The Road to Here

Friday, October 3rd: Not in Jersey

Monday, October 6th: BoundbyWords

Tuesday, October 7th: Ace and Hoser Blook

Wednesday, October 8th: Book Loving Hippo

Thursday, October 9th: Open Book Society

Monday, October 13th: Tales of a Book Addict

Tuesday, October 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, October 15th: Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Wednesday, October 15th: A Bookworm’s World

Thursday, October 16th: Book Marks the Spot

Friday, October 17th: Girl Lost in a Book

Friday, October 24th: A Dream Within a Dream

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2014.27 REVIEW – If I Can’t Have You by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris

If I Can’t Have You: Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children
by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 322
Rating: 5/5
Read: June 5-7, 2014
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge, What’s in a Name Challenge
Yearly count: 27
Format:  Print
Source: Library
Series: None

Blurb: New York Times bestselling authors Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris investigate one of the twenty-first century’s most puzzling disappearances and how it resulted in the murder of two children by their father.

Every once in a great while a genuine murder mystery unfolds before the eyes of the American public. The tragic story of Susan Powell and her murdered boys, Charlie and Braden, is the only case that rivals the JonBenet Ramsey saga in the annals of true crime. When the pretty Utah mother went missing in December of 2009, the media was swept up in the story – with lenses and microphones trained on Susan’s husband, Josh. He said he had no idea what happened to his young wife, and that he and the boys had been camping in the middle of a snowstorm.

Over the next three years, bombshell by bombshell, the story would reveal more shocking secrets. Josh’s father, Steve, who was sexually obsessed with Susan, would ultimately be convicted of unspeakable perversion. Josh’s brother, Michael, would commit suicide. And in the most stunning event of them all, Josh Powell would murder his two little boys and kill himself with a brutality beyond belief, leaving a family destroyed and a nation in shock.


Review: In my late teens and early twenties, I gobbled up true crime. In any way, shape, or form. I just devoured it. From books to documentaries, to CourtTV … I couldn’t get enough true crime! Then I kind of got away from it. I still occasionally catch a TV show here or there, but for the most part, I’ve really not devoted much time to my love of true crime. 

But then I had seen the pre-publication publicity for this book and I was immediately intrigued. So I put myself on my library’s wait list and was excited when it came in. But what I wasn’t expecting was to absolutely devour it. Like in 3 days.

I learned a lot of stuff by reading this book. I remember the Susan Powell disappearance. And I remember Josh’s weird behavior. And I remember the absolute heartbreaking news that Josh had killed his two precious little boys. But I didn’t know a lot of the fine details. Which, after reading the book, a lot of people didn’t because the police never released a whole lot of information until after the case was officially closed. And by then, I’m not sure how many people were still interested.

I was really surprised by how tight-lipped the police department really was. It was almost as if they didn’t want to pursue the case. Knowing what I know now, they were doing things that a lot of people didn’t know. However, I finished this book with the profound feeling that Charlie and Braden could be alive and well today had the police department done a little bit more. I know how difficult it is to progress with such circumstantial evidence. But at the same time, I think Susan’s father had it right all along … Josh would have broken down in jail. He wouldn’t have reacted to that well and I think he would have talked.

Now, do I have a strong feeling as to what really happened to Susan? No. I can’t say whether I think it was an accident, premeditated, or if Josh was just a participant, not the actual offender. I do think that there is only one person alive today that knows where Susan actually is … Steve. I think Charlie and Braden saw something that night “camping.” And they were desperately trying to process it, you could see that in their behavior after Susan was missing. I think Josh’s brother Michael knew something, why else would Josh make him beneficiary to his life insurance … and why would he commit suicide when the police focused on him?

This book left me with a lot of questions. But that’s the ultimate problem with this case. There are so many unanswered questions.

Regardless of what you know or think you know about Susan Powell’s disappearance, I can’t recommend this book enough. It reads so easily. It’s not dry or hard to read. It puts things in such a light that you heart will break over and over again before you reach the end.