A, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, F, Fiction, H, Lucas Davenport, M, Mini Review, Nina Reilly, O, Read in 2017, S, SERIES

September & October 2017 Reads

Well….. it’s obviously been awhile ūüė¶ 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 ūüôā

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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5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Nina Reilly, O, RATING, Read in 2016, SERIES

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 ‚ÄstOct. 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…

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2016

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 fianc√©, 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.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, M, Nonfiction, O, RATING, Read in 2014, READING CHALLENGES 2014

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.

AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, Nina Reilly, O, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES

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!

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, D, E-Book, Nonfiction, O, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012

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‚ÄĒand 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 ūüôā

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Giveaway, Book Review, Empty Coffin, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, Review Book, SERIES

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 ūüôā

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 ūüėČ

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 Рnot 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 24th ‚Äď The Reading Date
Tuesday, September 25th ‚Äď Tales of a Book Addict
Wednesday, September 26th ‚Äď Reading Lark
Thursday, September 27th ‚Äď A Dream within a Dream
Friday, September 28th ‚Äď Evie Bookish

Monday, October 1st ‚Äď YA Between the Lines
Tuesday, October 2nd ‚Äď I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
Wednesday, October 3rd ‚Äď Nerd Alien
Thursday, October 4th ‚Äď Hopeless Bibliophile
Friday, October 5th ‚Äď 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)

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, Review Book

2012.23 REVIEW – The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O’Brien

The Lincoln Conspiracy
by Timothy L. O’Brien

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 296
Read: Sept. 10-18, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012
Yearly count: 23
Format: E-Book
Source: Review copy through NetGalley

Blurb: A nation shattered by its president’s murder
Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy
A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him

From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O’Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?

In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy-and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.

Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War-era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends-and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions-Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.

Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping,The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents-and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.


Review: I originally saw this book on LibraryThing’s¬†Early Reviewer program a couple of months back. I was immediately intrigued – pretty much anything with the name “Lincoln” will get my attention. I was incredibly sad when I didn’t snag a copy. I checked to see if my local library had a copy on order – they didn’t. Then I decided to see if maybe it was available on NetGalley (a service that I rarely use because I really do not like reading e-books). I was encouraged when I found that it was listed – and was even more thrilled when I got accepted for a copy! I got my Nook Color out, dusted it off, charged it up¬†(because I honestly don’t think I had turned it on in over a year) and loaded the book onto it. Then I let it sit. For weeks. Finally I realized that if I wanted this review to get done around the release date, I would have to get on it.

My feelings on this book overall are mixed. I need to start out by saying that, for me, this book started out extremely slow. Like to the point where if it hadn’t been a review copy, I probably never would have finished it just because the beginning was that tough to get through. But I carried on … and I can honestly say that I am very glad that I stuck with it.¬†It was about 75-100 pages in when it started to really get interesting.

While reading this book it didn’t really feel that much like a historical novel. Obviously it was, seeing as how it was set in 1865, but there was something about the language that didn’t make it seem historical. The context was there, but the language was not, I suppose it the best way for me to describe it. Personally, I liked that. I tend to shy away from anything that has flowery descriptions of things or that has wording that is harder for me to understand because of the differences in the wording we use today versus what was used in the past. This book didn’t have that feel to it (which might have some historical fiction fans upset). I’m not 100% sure, but I think part of the reason why I get that vibe from this book is simply because it was written by a man. All the historical fiction that I have read (and trust me, my experience with the genre is limited) has been authored by women. Either way, it doesn’t really matter because I enjoyed the book.

I liked the characters. Temple and Fiona are a good couple, they definitely compliment each other perfectly. Poor Temple, he was always ruining his boots – much to the chagrin of Fiona!! I liked Augustus as well. Having a black man play such an important role in a white couple’s life during the 1860s was quite interesting. They truly considered him a friend and I liked that, particularly since it was set in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. I don’t think that made much sense, it’s really hard to find the wording for my feelings on this.

The “mystery” of this book was interesting. It obviously revolves around the diaries that are mentioned in the blurb above. It was neat seeing the cipher be broken bit by bit throughout the book. And there sure were a lot of people in D.C. that wanted those diaries covered up! It definitely made for some exciting moments. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have had more information on what was in Mrs. Lincoln’s diary than what the reader sees.

The ending of the book …. oh, how do I explain this without giving too much away. Let me start with this – the ending frustrated me! I guess I wanted more closure than I felt like I got. We never know who Maestro really is. I have a pretty good guess just by the clues that are given about him, but I have no concrete evidence as to if my suspicion is correct. And that irritated me! However, having said that, I suppose it adds to the suspense of the overall story.

Overall I would highly recommend this book. I’m glad that I persevered through that slow beginning and finished the book. It might technically be a historical fiction book, but I really think it will appeal to the¬†thriller/suspense crowd as well.

 

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Empty Coffin, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2011, SERIES

2011.60 REVIEW – Envy by Gregg Olsen

Envy
by Gregg Olsen

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 285
Rating: 5/5
Read: Oct. 17‚Äď Oct. 24, 2011
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly Count: 60
Format: Print
Source: Library Copy

Blurb: Evil comes in all sorts of flavors. Some bitter. Some deceptively sweet. That’s what Katelyn¬†discovers on the day she dies. One minute she’s a depressed teen with a loser life. The next, she’s lying on a stainless steel slab, eyes glassy, skin frosted over, and very, very dead. Was it: Suicide? Murder? Who’s to blame?

Twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan stumble upon the truth, which is far more disturbing than they could¬†have ever imagined … and which sheds light on another secret, a hidden past¬†even they don’t know about.

Inspired by a ripped-from-the-headlines true crime about cyberbullying, Envy is the gritty first volume in a new bone-chilling series that takes you to the edge – and pushes you right over.


Review: More time has passed since I finished this book than I had intended. I didn’t immediately write a review of this book because I wanted it to set in a little bit. (Well, I should know better than to put anything off, I’m such a procrastinator).

This is a first in a new Young Adult series by an author who writes adult fiction books that I¬†love. I’m¬†not a huge YA reader, but I do read a few YA books a year, and this¬†is¬†definitely a book that I’m glad I got the chance to read.¬†¬†It will definitely be interesting to see what happens in the future installments.

For the most part, this is a mystery, but there is a slight paranormal edge to it. Being a person who is not a huge paranormal fan, I was not put off by the slant it had at all. I have always been intrigued by twins and the relationship that they have, so I really enjoyed following Hayley and Taylor and seeing them interact. Being young ladies who are starting to have boyfriends, Hayley having a boyfriend whereas Taylor did not, definitely made for some interesting passages. The jealousy over feeling left out was evident.

I would have liked to have known more about Katelyn. I felt as if there was a lot that the reader never knew about her. Like how on earth she ever got to be friends with a girl like Starla¬†in the first place! And when it was finally revealed what Katelyn¬†had done to Starla, well it was so little in comparison to what Starla (but was it really her? ūüėČ did for revenge.

Port Gamble is portrayed as a very small town. The accident that occurred there years before would have devastated the entire community.¬†And then to have something happen again years later, well it seems like that would be almost too much for such a small place to deal with. Being from a small town myself, it made me recall how the entire town felt when two popular teenagers were killed in a terrible car accident my senior year (one of whom was in my class). It’s amazing how something like that can really¬†touch so many different people’s lives.

Okay, so I realize that I’ve now rambled on about this book and really haven’t said much at all. It’s just one of those books where you don’t want to really say too much. All I can say is that I would highly recommend this book and I am eagerly anticipating the 2012 release of Betrayal.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, SERIES

2011.59 REVIEW – The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost Causes
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Translated by: Lisa Hartford

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 395
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Oct. 3‚Äď Oct. 8, 2011
Challenge: TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 59
Format: Print
Source: Library Copy

Blurb: The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first installment of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s¬†international bestselling Department Q series, features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl M√łrck, who used to be a good homicide detective – one of Copenhagen’s best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren’t so lucky, and Carol, who didn’t draw his weapon, blames himself.

So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects.

But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl’s been selected to run Department Q, a new special investigation division that turns out to be a department of one. With a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases to keep him company, Carol has been put out to pasture. So he’s as surprised as anyone when a case actually captures his interest. A politician vanished without a trace five years earlier. The world assumes she’s dead. His colleagues snicker abou the time he’s wasting. But Carl may have the last laugh, and redeem himself in the process.

Because she isn’t dead … yet.


Review: I’m honestly torn on how to rate this book. I’m not really sure where to begin, so I’ll just start from the beginning and work my way to the end (with as few spoilers as possible, of course).

This book alternates between the perspective of Merete¬†Lynggaard, the politician who disappeared and everyone assumes is dead, and Carl M√łrck, a detective who has survivor’s guilt after being involved in a shooting where his two colleagues weren’t as lucky as he was. I must say that when I first met Carl, I was not impressed. I wanted to shake him and say, “snap out of it!” But at the same time, I understood why he was feeling like he was … one of his colleagues lost his life and the other one is permanently paralyzed after¬†a shooting in which Carl didn’t even pull his gun. But his attitude is not very likeable and I struggled with that throughout the entire book.

The next thing Carl knows he’s getting a promotion! That would definitely be the last thing anyone would expect, but they put him in the basement with Assad as his assistant. Now, let me just say that I loved Assad’s character. There was so much to him that was so surprising! He’s definitely a good match with Carl … it was really Assad’s interest that got Carl’s interest going in the Merete¬†Lynggaard disappearance. And as Carl continues to dig deeper (while looking like he’s not doing anything) he realizes that there’s something not quite right about the case.

So now I’m to the point where I need to explain why I’m so torn on my opinion of this book. First of all, I didn’t like Carl’s character. Not one bit. He’s a jerk, plain and simple. He doesn’t care about his job anymore. He has a major beef with one of the detectives upstairs. He practically blackmailed his superiors because he knows how much money his new department has been allocated … and he knows that his department isn’t seeing all that money. He’s just not a nice guy.

But then there’s Assad. He’s a very likeable guy. He’s intriguing because we don’t really know anything about him. Carl doesn’t even believe him when he tells him he’s from Syria; Carl thinks he might be from Iraq. He’s definitely not who he says he is, that much is very clear. And he’s not doing what Carl thinks he’s doing when he sends him up to talk to Hardy, Carl’s paralyzed colleague. But then again, it’s really Assad who pushes Carl to work hard on this case. It’s Assad who gets him interested. It’s Assad who really comes up with some great ideas to work the case with.

So I guess the next logical question would be: will I read more in this series? I’m honestly torn. I’m not sure I could stand another book of Carl’s attitude. But at the same time, I would love to know more about Assad and who he really is. Overall, I put this book at a 3.5 rating, which is somewhere between good and really good. If I had liked Carl’s character just a little bit more, I could have given it a 4, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. I think I could recommend this book to other readers, but I don’t think it would be a good fit for everybody.