September & October 2017 Reads

Well….. it’s obviously been awhile 😦 September saw a HUGE reading slump…. I went from reading anywhere from 6-9 books to a whopping 3 in September…. October wasn’t that much better….. Here’s to hoping November is better 🙂

So I’ll do a quick mini-review round up of my September and October reads. It’s so impressive, I tell ya …. ::eyeroll::

Sate of the Onion
Title: State of the Onion
Author: Julie Hyzy
Read: Sept. 3-6, 2017
Pages: 325
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the first in the White House Chef Mystery series …. it was a fun read that I enjoyed! It was cute, but not cutesie …. if that makes sense? I definitely am looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Where They Found Her
Title: Where They Found Her
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Read: Sept. 10-19, 2017
Pages: 326
Source: Purchased New
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: So this one I found in the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble. I had my eye on it when it first came out because I had read and LOVED her previous book, Reconstructing Amelia, so I think I had high hopes for this one. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t grab me right off the bat and I struggled to really get into it. And when it was all revealed in the end, it wasn’t as surprising as I had hoped for. So good, but not great.
Obstruction of Justice
Title: Obstruction of Justice
Author: Perri O’Shaughnessy
Read: Sept. 20-29, 2017
Pages: 512
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the 3rd book in the Nina Reilly series. I have read and enjoyed the previous two so I was looking forward to this one! I enjoyed it and it definitely left me wanting to read the fourth book … if only they weren’t so long, I often find myself too intimidated by longer books these days….
Her Last Breath
Title: Her Last Breath
Author: Linda Castillo
Read: Oct. 2-5, 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the 5th book in the Kate Burkholder series. I read and LOVED the first 4 in 2016 and had tried to pick this one up shortly after I read the 5th, but realized that I was a little burned out on the series. In fact, I can recall feeling like the books were all too similar to each other. So I set it aside and decided I’d come back to it later. Apparently a year later I decided it was time …. I’m glad I waited because I thoroughly enjoyed it! I had no trouble jumping right back into Kate’s life and I can’t wait to see where her and Tomasetti go in the future. I definitely recommend this series!
Pop Goes the Weasel
Title: Pop Goes the Weasel 
Author: M.J. Arlidge
Read: Oct. 8-13, 2017
Pages: 390
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: I read the first book in this series, Eeny Meeny,  back in January of this year and I absolutely adored it! So I had high hopes for this one, but I wanted to let it sit for awhile (series burnout is real!) … and while I did enjoy this one, it definitely didn’t grab me as fast as the first book did. It was gruesome and a roller coaster ride, but I felt like it was a letdown from the first book. Yet I still want to continue on with this series, so it wasn’t terrible either. A solid thriller.
Beautiful Storm
Title: Beautiful Storm 
Author: Barbara Freethy
Read: Oct. 6-25, 2017
Pages: 321
Source: B&N Serial Reads
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: This book was October’s selection for Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads…. I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense, mainly because I don’t read a lot of romance. So I was a little unsure going into this one, but I was immediately intrigued by the storyline – the missing person’s case. If only it had been a little more on the intrigue and less on the romance (which really, wasn’t overbearing honestly…) it would have been a lot more interesting to me. So not something I would ever pick up on my own, but definitely a decent freebie read.
Winter Prey
Title: Winter Prey
Author: John Sandford
Read: Oct. 21-27, 2017
Pages: 400
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I remember very clearly thoroughly loving the previous book in this series, Silent Prey, so I was looking forward to getting to this 5th book in the Lucas Davenport series. Why did I wait so long between books?!? I really enjoyed this book. It was so creepy and suspenseful. I know I’m only on the 5th book in the series, but other than #2 they’ve all been home runs for me! Definitely makes me look forward to continuing on sooner rather than later!

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Review: Invasion of Privacy by Perri O’Shaughnessy

Invasion of Privacy
by Perri O’Shaughnessy

Invasion of Privacy

Copyright: 1996

Pages: 517

Read: Oct. 19 – Oct. 24, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Source: Box trade with Carol

 

 

Blurb: The bloodstains on the courtroom floor belong to attorney Nina Reilly. Months earlier she’d been shot during a heated murder trial. She should have died that day. Instead Nina has returned to the same Lake Tahoe court. Her only concession to her lingering fear is to give up criminal law. She figures an invasion of privacy lawsuit is a nice, safe civil action that will help her support her young son and pay the bills for her one-woman law office. She figures wrong.

Nina’s client is Terry London, a filmmaker whose documentary about a missing girl is raising disturbing questions. The girl’s distraught parents believe the film invades their privacy. But Terry’s brutal murder changes everything. Breaking her promise to herself, Nina decides to defend Terry’s accused murderer, a man she’d known years before and hoped never to see again. Suddenly the secrets of Nina’s past are beginning to surface in a murder case that gets more dangerous every day. The evidence against her client is shocking and ironclad – a video of Terry’s dying words. The only chance Nina has to save the man may be illegal. And if it fails, Nina may lose the case, her practice … and even her life.


Review: This is the 2nd book in the Nina Reilly series. I read the first, Motion to Suppress, back in 2013 (oops!) I remember thoroughly enjoying that book, so I’m not exactly why it took me so long to get around to the second book. But for whatever reason …. this one was another really good book.

I really enjoy the courtroom scenes in this book. They’re well written and easy to read even by a non-attorney. There were a few places where some of the legal descriptions got a little more involved than I preferred, but for the most part, it was really an enjoyable, easy read. Clocking in at 517 pages, this is definitely a little longer of a book than I usually take on, but I really didn’t notice it being too daunting while I was reading it. It probably could have been cut down by 75 or so pages, but really, don’t let the length of this book intimidate you – it’s a really interesting read that kept my attention throughout.

I definitely recommend this book. And I can say that having taken so long between reading the first book and this second one, it really didn’t hurt much in terms of being confused anywhere. So you could definitely pick this one up as a standalone if you preferred. Either way, I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from this series – hopefully it doesn’t take me 3 more years before I get around to the third book…

Review: Vicious by Kevin O’Brien

Vicious
by Kevin O’Brien

Vicious

Copyright: 2010

Pages: 406

Read: July 1-7, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased at used book store

 

 

Blurb: For more than two years, he held Seattle in a terror grip. A cold-blooded killer who abducted young mothers right in front of their sons and murdered them execution style. Then as suddenly as the killings began, they seemed to stop.

Susan Blanchette is looking forward to a relaxing weekend getaway with her fiancé, Allen, and young son, Matthew. But something about the remote lake house doesn’t feel right. A woman vanished from the area a year ago, and now Susan thinks she’s spotted someone lurking around the property. And when Allen disappears, her fear grows…

A psychopath has returned, ready to strike again. Someone who can’t resist the urge to kill, who derives pleasure form others’ pain, and who is drawing nearer to Susan as each minute of the weekend ticks by. But she’s just one pawn at the heart of a killer’s deadly game. A killer who is unrelenting, unstoppable, and absolutely vicious…


Review: I haven’t read a book by Kevin O’Brien in years and I have to admit that I picked this one up now because it fit multiple challenge slots on my Goodreads groups. But I remember that Mr. O’Brien had very rarely let me down in the past so I was definitely excited about reading it.

This one is kind of gruesome. Kind of scary. Kind of exciting. And full of lots of twists and turns to keep you reading all night. It sucked me in and didn’t spit me back out until I reached the end. I really enjoyed it.

This is definitely a book that I would recommend to thriller lovers everywhere.

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.

2013.20 REVIEW – Motion to Suppress by Perri O’Shaughnessy

Motion to Suppress
by Perri O’Shaughnessy

Copyright: 1995
Pages: 450
Read: April 23-29, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf Challenge
Yearly count: 20
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb:Misty Patterson only remembered the fight, the polar bear statue she used as a bludgeon, a trail of blood, and the comatose sleep that followed. When she awoke, her husband and the statue were missing. Only the blood was left. She had come to attorney Nina Reilly’s office seeking a divorce. But when Anthony Patterson was found on the bottom of the frigid lake, Misty needed a miracle.

Barely a week before, Nina Reilly had been a happily married San Francisco lawyer. Suddenly she’s a single parent, opening a shoestring practice in Lake Tahoe. And now Nina finds herself embroiled in a case that’s going to change everything she believes about the law. It’s going to rock everything Misty Patterson believes about herself. And it’s going to give both women a look at the damning piece of evidence that will challenge their faith in each other. Or give them their one and only chance to win…


Review: This is the first in the Nina Reilly series. It’s also been a series that has been on my “to start” list for ages. Recently I started acquiring the first few in this series and since I needed a break from review books, I figured now was as good a time as any to start another series (ha!)

Honestly, I really enjoyed this book. There’s just something about Nina Reilly that really hit home for me. I don’t know quite how to explain it, but I just really enjoyed her character. She felt so real to me. She wasn’t perfect, but she was doing the best she could with what she had. And that husband of hers … ex-husband, now … what a sleaze bag. He rubbed me the wrong way. But it will be interesting to see what happens between her and Paul!

The characters, even the secondary ones, are so well-developed in my opinion. I know sometimes it’s hard to make secondary characters seem important, but the O’Shaughnessy ladies (they are two sisters), definitely make it happen.

I have to say that I wasn’t exactly surprised by the ending. I kind of had an inkling of where things were going, but I didn’t have it completely figured out until it was revealed. It wasn’t hard to figure out who was behind the threats on Nina and Misty. But what happened to Anthony, well that one was a little more surprising.

I felt as if the book went along at a nice pace, it never slowed down for me. And I really felt that Nina was amazing in the courtroom – those scenes were some of the best in the book, in my opinion.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this first book and look forward to reading more in the series soon!

2012.31 REVIEW – Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot
by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 275
Rating: 5/5
Read: Nov. 24-Nov. 28, 2012
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge 2012
Yearly count: 31
Format: E-Book
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb:Killing Kennedy

A riveting historical narrative of the shocking events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the follow-up to mega-bestselling author Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln

More than a million readers have thrilled to Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln, the page-turning work of nonfiction about the shocking assassination that changed the course of American history. Now the anchor of The O’Reilly Factor recounts in gripping detail the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy—and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture-changing aftermath.

In January 1961, as the Cold War escalates, John F. Kennedy struggles to contain the growth of Communism while he learns the hardships, solitude, and temptations of what it means to be president of the United States. Along the way he acquires a number of formidable enemies, among them Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and Alan Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  In addition, powerful elements of organized crime have begun to talk about targeting the president and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

In the midst of a 1963 campaign trip to Texas, Kennedy is gunned down by an erratic young drifter named Lee Harvey Oswald. The former Marine Corps sharpshooter escapes the scene, only to be caught and shot dead while in police custody.

The events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century are almost as shocking as the assassination itself. Killing Kennedy chronicles both the heroism and deceit of Camelot, bringing history to life in ways that will profoundly move the reader.  This may well be the most talked about book of the year.


Review: I just got a new Nook with Glowlight (for my long-time readers, you already know that I have a Nook Color – I will explain in a later post as to why I decided to get a different Nook) for Christmas. I picked it up at my local Books-a-Million on Saturday. I immediately brought it home and (impatiently) waited for it to fully charge. Then I was off and running and Killing Kennedy was the first book sample I downloaded to my new device. I read through the sample and immediately hit the “Buy” button. The beginning of it really grabbed me and hooked me in.

I have to just state that I am a huge JFK nut. Being a history major in college, I even wrote a paper on his assassination for one of my classes. Actually, it was for History of Journalism, and I compared the media coverage of Kennedy’s assassination to that of Lincoln’s assassination. The similarities are astounding, really. But that’s a little off-topic for this review.

I realized that I hadn’t read a single non-fiction book all year, and what better way to ease myself into one than this book. I found it to be an extremely fast-paced and exciting read. It definitely does not feel like you’re reading non-fiction at all. It reads more like a fiction novel to be completely honest – but that is partially because just about everything revolving around JFK can seem like it can’t possibly be true.

But since many of the events recounted in this book are so fantastic and also so horrific, and because so many of the details are rather intimate, it’s important to remind the reader that Killing Kennedy is completely a work of nonfiction. It’s all true. (pg. 258)

This book leads you up to the assassination. It starts with Kennedy’s inauguration, but then it goes back and touches on his time on PT-109 (something that I’m not very familiar with). Then it goes through all the big events in his presidency (Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, Civil Rights) until it hits the assassination. And you learn a little about Lee Harvey Oswald and what he’s doing during these same time periods. It’s a very well laid out book and presented perfectly for everyone, whether you be a JFK expert or just a casual reader.

Obviously this is a book where the ending is very well-known. But it didn’t stop me from wanting more and more. I absolutely did not want to put this book down. I seemed to be constantly reading (something that hasn’t happened to me in quite some time).

In the backseat of the Lincoln, Jackie Kennedy holds her husband’s head and quietly sobs. “He’s dead. They’ve killed him. Oh Jack, oh Jack. I love you.” (pg. 231)

I would definitely highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to get to the other book, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever – I already have the sample downloaded to my Nook 🙂

2012.24 REVIEW – Betrayal by Gregg Olsen ((Giveaway!))

Betrayal
by Gregg Olsen

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 267
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 19-23, 2012
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge; Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly count: 24
Format: Print
Source: Review copy for The Readiacs’ blog tour

Blurb: When foreign exchange student Olivia Grant is stabbed to death at a party, the accusations fly through Port Gamble faster than Twitter trending. Fingers point at frenemy Brianna and her dim-witted boyfriend, Drew. But loner and host-roommate Beth Lee may also have an ax to grind, which sends her best friends Hayley and Taylor Ryan down a twisted path to clear her name – only to discover a tangled web of shocking secrets about all of them.


Review: After reading Envy last year, I was eagerly anticipating the 2012 release of Betrayal! So I was more than thrilled when I got the opportunity to participate in a blog tour for this book 🙂

This particular installment in the Empty Coffin series felt a lot different from Envy did. This was more than just Hayley and Taylor’s story – there were other characters that had a big impact in the storyline. With the storyline revolving around a murder, the reader gets a lot of perspective from the local police department, including Chief Annie Garnett –  a character that I personally liked.

But that’s not to say that Hayley and Taylor weren’t the main characters, because they definitely were. I find it amazing what kind of trouble Hayley and Taylor can get themselves into. They sure got themselves into some precarious situations in this book. And it’s not because they’re stupid either – most of the time they knew better, but they are stubborn and determined young women.  also can’t help but wonder what else can happen in little Port Gamble, Washington. That town is full of some dandy people – not just the teenagers! Plus we got to learn a little more about the twins’ “secret.” What  we learn at the end of the book definitely makes me look forward to the next book in the Empty Coffin series – Guilty.

One thing that really resonates with me when I read this series is that Gregg Olsen really seems to get teenagers. There’s been a few times when I’ve read YA books and the author just doesn’t seem to understand teenagers and the way they thing/talk/act. Gregg Olsen does. And while I may not be a teenager anymore (and haven’t been for 8 years) and while I don’t necessarily understand the current generation of teenagers myself, I can still remember what it was like to be in high school. As I said, some authors don’t seem to be able to get the teenager feeling onto the pages, but Gregg Olsen does a great job with that in my opinion. And may I just say that I definitely had a Brianna in my graduating class 😉

There was “Truth in Fiction” section at the end of the book where Mr. Olsen discusses how a recent case in Italy (Amanda Knox) lended itself somewhat to this book. Personally, I only know the very bare bones of the Amanda Knox case, so I can’t say much about the similarities. But this seems to be a theme with the Empty Coffin series since Envy revolved around cyber-bullying and referenced the Megan Meier case out of Missouri. I know a lot of authors get their original inspiration for novels from actual headlines around our country. I actually like that Mr. Olsen includes a little information at the end of both books about what (I’m assuming here) prompted the original inspiration for the particular novel.

Overall I would highly recommend this book. I think that it will definitely appeal to a very wide audience – not just the YA crowd. While this book can stand as a standalone, I definitely recommend reading Envy first so you can understand the characters better.


—–> GIVEAWAY!! <—–

    

I am thrilled to announce that I am hosting a giveaway of my ARC of Betrayal AND a finished paperback copy of Envy!

US entrants, only.

As always, your information will never be shared and the form will be deleted upon the end of the giveaway.

Giveaway begins 9/25 and will end 10/2 at 5pm central time. Winner will be selected using random.org and will be announced here on the blog. (And the winner will also get a confirmation email)


Be sure to check out the other tour stops on the Betrayal blog tour:

Monday, September 24thThe Reading Date
Tuesday, September 25thTales of a Book Addict
Wednesday, September 26thReading Lark
Thursday, September 27th A Dream within a Dream
Friday, September 28thEvie Bookish

Monday, October 1stYA Between the Lines
Tuesday, October 2ndI Am a Reader, Not a Writer
Wednesday, October 3rdNerd Alien
Thursday, October 4thHopeless Bibliophile
Friday, October 5th – Book Hi (I’m sorry, but I couldn’t find this blog when I googled it – if you know this blog please let me know so I can add the link)