4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: Dark Harbor by Stuart Woods

Dark Harbor
by Stuart Woods

Dark Harbor

 

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 374

Read: Sept. 4 – 6, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

Blurb: Stone Barrington hasn’t heard from his cousin Dick Stone in years. Then an otherwise pleasant meal at Elaine’s is interrupted by the CIA with the news of Dick’s death – apparently by his own hand. It seems that Dick Stone, a quiet family man who doubled as a CIA agent, methodically executed his wife, daughter, and himself – or did he? Appointed executor of Dick’s will, Stone must settle the estate and – with the help of his ex-partner Dino and friend Holly Barker – piece together the elusive facts of his cousin’s life and death as a CIA operative. At every step, Stone knows he is being watched by Dick’s family – and one of them just may be the killer…


Review: This is the 12th book in the Stone Barrington series. They are no literary feats, but they’re usually a good, fun, and quick read. This installment is no exception to that. It had been a few months since I last visited with Stone, so it was nice to jump back in with the gang.

This particular book was enjoyable. I liked the storyline and there was a twist with Holly that really ramped up the suspense in this one! My one and only complaint is Stone’s womanizing – how can he go from practically proposing to Arrington to hopping in bed with Holly within 24 hours irritates me to no end.

Overall, a fun and fast read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has definitely left me wanting to get to #13 sooner rather than later!

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3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, U-V-W

Review: The Sixes by Kate White

The Sixes
by Kate White

The Sixes

 

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 376

Read: Aug 18 – 20, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap
Blurb: Phoebe Hall’s Manhattan life has suddenly begun to unravel. Right after her long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she’s falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.

But behind the campus’s quiet cafes and leafy maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, and disturbing revelations begin to surface: accusations from coeds about abuses wrought by a secret society of girls on campus known as The Sixes. To help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues – a quest that soon raises painful memories of her own boarding school days years ago.

As the investigation heats up, Phoebe unexpectedly finds herself falling for the school’s handsome psychology professor, Duncan Shaw. But when nasty pranks turn into deadly threats, Phoebe realizes she’s in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive.

Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she’s close to unmasking a killer. But with truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered … and starting over may be a crime punishable by death.


Review: I excitedly ordered this one off of Paperbackswap a few years ago after reading some blog reviews of it. It sounded so creepy and enjoyable, and the reviews were all pretty positive. And then I let it sit on my shelves.

I decided that it was finally time to get it off my shelf, so I picked this one up hoping for a deliciously creepy read. However, this book fell slightly short of that for me. I found this one to be extremely readable and enjoyable, but the ending was a disappointment. Throughout the entire book I was running through different scenarios, imagining certain characters as the bad guy … and when the end was finally revealed, the bad guy was someone who was not only not even on my radar, but someone who I felt was a bit of a stretch to make the bad guy. It just didn’t fit with the vibe of the entire book. It didn’t work for me.

So overall a decent book with a let down of an ending … an “eh” read for sure.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, U-V-W

Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 340

Read: April 16-21, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Book of the Month

 

 

Blurb: In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea.

At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo hears what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers and crew members remain accounted for – and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read i n The Woman in Cabin 10 – one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.


Review: This was my August 2016 Book of the Month selection and I’m kicking myself that I’m just getting around to it….

The twists and turns in this one kept me guessing until the near end. I personally was not so fond of the main character, Lo. She spent so much time drinking and not doing her job  that it irritated me to no end. It definitely added somewhat to the intrigue of the book, but at one point I seriously considered the possibility that she was in an insane asylum!

I don’t want to go into too much detail on this book, because I firmly think that the less you know the better. Overall, I really did enjoy this book, but it was just slightly below being a 5 star read for me. But still one that I’ll recommend to anyone who loves a psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours, U-V-W

Review: The Longest Silence by Debra Webb

 

About The Longest Silence

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: MIRA (March 6, 2018)
“The twists and turns in this dark, taut drama make it both creepy and compelling.” —New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
A killer stole her voice. Now she’s ready to take it back. Don’t miss the chilling Shades of Death series from USA TODAY bestselling author Debra Webb.

Joanna Guthrie was free. She had been for eighteen years–or so she needed everyone to believe. What really happened during the longest fourteen days of her life, when she and two other women were held captive by the worst kind of serial killer, wasn’t something she could talk about. Not after what they had to do to survive.
But when more women go missing in an eerily similar manner, Jo knows her prolonged silence will only seal their fates. She’s finally ready to talk; she just needs someone to listen. FBI special agent Tony LeDoux can’t deny he finds Jo compelling–he’s just not sure he believes her story. But with the clock ticking, Jo will do anything to convince him, even if it means unearthing long-buried secrets that will land them squarely in the crosshairs of the killer…
“This psychological thriller is rife with tension that begins on page one and doesn’t let up. It’s a race against the clock that had me whispering to the pair of flawed, desperate protagonists, ‘Hurry,hurry.’ A gripping read.”  New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown

Review:

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

When I was pitched this book I was excited. That blurb just totally sucked me in and it sounded really great! This book is actually the fourth in a series, but don’t be afraid – it read perfectly well as a standalone. I’m still stunned that I had never heard of Debra Webb before this, I’m not sure how I’ve missed her!

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. My chief “complaint” was that the formatting of the e-book on my phone was kind of wonky, so I sometimes had some trouble keeping track of who was talking. But that likely had nothing to do with the book and was due to me trying to use an iPhone instead of my Kindle.

I enjoyed the characters in this one. Knowing now that this is the fourth in the series, I’m curious to know more about Tony in the previous books. In the beginning of this one it’s painfully obvious that he’s hit rock bottom. As strange as it sounds, I would like to know how he got to that point. Enough was included so that I had a basic understanding of the situation, but there’s still something about taking that trip with the characters. I never fully trusted Jo’s character. There was no secret that she wasn’t telling the entire story, and honestly when the truth was finally revealed I was kind of surprised that she hadn’t just told Tony from the get-go. It wasn’t that terrible considering her situation … and to be honest, it wasn’t all that surprising either.

The plot itself was interesting and relevant. It didn’t feel like something I had read a million times over. That was refreshing. And it was interesting to follow the case with Jo and Tony until the ending. I did have some trouble keeping some of the bad guys straight, but in the end it all came together and made sense.

Overall I’m glad that I got the chance to read this book and find a new author. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more from Ms. Webb! Definitely recommended!


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Purchase Links

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About Debra Webb

DEBRA WEBB is the award winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 130 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama.

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3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: Two Dollar Bill by Stuart Woods

Two Dollar Bill
by Stuart Woods

Two Dollar Bill

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 349

Read: Feb.19-26, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Not long after Stone and his ex-partner Dino make the acquaintance of Billy Bob – a smooth-talkie’ Texan packing a wad of rare two-dollar bills – someone takes a shot at them. Against his better judgment, Stone offers Billy Bob a safe haven for the night but almost immediately regrets it. The slippery out-of-towner goes missing and someone is found dead – in Stone’s town house no less. Stone is now caught by a beautiful federal prosecutor and a love from his past, a con man with more arises than hairs on his head, and a murder investigation that could ruin them all.


Review: This is the 11th book in the Stone Barrington series. I’m not going to lie, these books are not anywhere near literary feats. But they can usually be depended upon for some good fun!

This particular installment saw Stone in some precarious situations. And at some point I was shaking my head wondering how on earth Stone would get himself out of the jam he was in. He made some bonehead moves. And yet he managed to come out on top. It was all a little unbelievable at one point. But hey, it was still a fun read.

An entertaining book that leaves me eagerly anticipating the 12th book!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: Reckless Abandon by Stuart Woods

Reckless Abandon
by Stuart Woods

Reckless Abandon

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 342

Read: Nov. 18 –23, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Stone Barrington is, once again, right at home in New York City. But this time he’s joined by the tenacious Holly Barker – the lady police chief of Orchid Beach, Florida. She’s come to Manhattan hot on the trail of a fugitive from her jurisdiction. And Stone is, well, glad to see her, right up until the moment when her presence creates a great danger to both of them – and to their surprise, she becomes the pursued instead of the pursuer…


Review: I say this every time – Stuart Woods Stone Barrington books are no literary feat by any means. They are simply good fun escapism. Nothing more than some brain candy for a few days. And that’s okay. Sometimes that’s exactly what a reader needs!

This particular installment (#10 in the series) introduced me to Mr. Woods’ other recurring character, Holly Barker. And I’m not entirely sure I liked her. She came off as Stone Barrington in a female body and I don’t know exactly how that translates in her own series. Ed Eagle, another of Mr. Woods’ characters also has a small role in this book so I was introduced to two new characters.

This book had Holly on the hunt for a particularly nasty fugitive. The FBI wants him in Witness Protection so he can testify in some cases for them while Holly wants him for something like 12 murders back in Florida. I think most of my issue with this book is that Stone is not stupid. Woman-crazy, sure. Stupid, no. So the mere fact that he went off with Holly (who was half-cracked over catching the fugitive) really didn’t translate well for me. I think I just didn’t care for Holly as a character. Or maybe I just didn’t like the character crossover – I know they do that sometimes with the TV shows I watch and I very rarely like those episodes.

Either way, not a terrible book, but not one of my favorites in this series either. On to the next one … there’s only 30 something books to go!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book, U-V-W

Murder Between the Lines by Radha Vatsal

Murder Between the Lines
by Radha Vatsal

Murder Between the Lines

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 291

Read: May 10-14, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

 

Blurb: When Kitty Weeks’s latest assignment writing for the New York Sentinel Ladies’ Page takes her to Westfield Hall, a well-regarded girls’ school in New York City, she expects to find an orderly establishment teaching French and dancing – standard fare for schoolgirls in 1915. But there’s much more going on at the school than initially meets the eye. Kitty especially takes note of the studies of Elspeth Bright, the daughter of a scientist heavily involved in naval technology, who has inherited her father’s interest and talent for scientific inquiry. s

Elspeth’s seemingly accidental death is a shock to the school community and to Kitty – and the more she finds out about Elspeth and her family, the more the intrepid reporter begins to believe that it may not have been an accident at all.


Review: This is the second book in the Kitty Weeks series. When I was pitched this one I was really excited because I had read and reviewed and loved the first book in A Front Page Affair last year.

Once again, it was fun to be back with Kitty and company. I found that there were some parts that were a little more complicated for my personal taste – the scientific parts revolving around batteries and the navy. Science is not my wheelhouse and I just didn’t care for that whole part of the storyline. While it was an important part of the story, it wasn’t enough to make me dislike the book in any way.

I liked how the characters were evolving throughout the book (like Kitty’s boss at the Ladies’ Page). I could really see the change start to occur that happened around that time in our history with the women’s suffrage movement. It’s still 1915/1916 in this book, so women are still a few years away from the vote, but Ms. Vatsal begins to include some of the issues women were facing at that time period.

I would definitely recommend this book. I think historical fiction fans and mystery lovers alike will both enjoy this book (and series). Ms. Vatsal’s books are fun and easy to read. I’ll eagerly be awaiting the third book next year!

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed above are my own.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, U-V-W

Review: A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

A Certain Age
by Beatriz Williams

A Certain Age

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 352

Read: April 15-23, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Barnes & Noble Serial Reads

 

 

Blurb: As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.


Review: So did you know that Barnes & Noble offers something called Serial Reads on their Nook reading app? I sure didn’t. Basically they offer up a free e-book each month and release it in daily installments. I happened to get an email about it. Otherwise I never would have known this existed! So I was really glad to get this email because (1) this book had been on my radar since it was released last year and (2) who doesn’t like free books?!

So what did I think of this book? Well….it helps to not miss the very first part…ha! I don’t know why but my app started me out on Chapter 1, but there’s actually a part that comes before that – and that is really important to the plot of the story. Oops! So here I was reading along and then BOOM! there’s this part that came from out of left field. When I exited and reloaded the app there were FOUR of these sections that I had completely missed! Um, ok? So I read those really quick and …. well the story started to make a lot more sense at that point. ::eyeroll::

So really I have to say that the book was very readable. Even though I had obviously missed a really big part of the entire book I was still able to pretty much put things together without it. I don’t know if that was a good thing or bad thing to be completely honest…There are some pretty big unanswered questions at the end of the book and this wasn’t billed as a series – I didn’t care for that. Either call it a series or wrap it all up like a standalone should be. Whatever…

So really, I did enjoy this book. I was actually really disappointed when I got to a certain point and had to wait until the next day for the next installment to release, haha! It was just a really good, enjoyable and completely readable book. I enjoyed it quite a bit and was glad to have found it available on Serial Reads (which I’m going to stalk like a hawk from now on, hehe!)

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: The Short Forever by Stuart Woods

The Short Forever
by Stuart Woods

The Short Forever

Copyright: 2002

Pages: 349

Read: April 1-4, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Hired by an odd client previously unknown to him, Stone arrives in London on a mission he thinks he understands, but doesn’t. Soon he finds himself not only out of his territory, but out of his depth as well. Stone is baffled by the behavior of both his quarry and his client, and his life is further complicated by two, possibly three, murders and the affectionate attentions of two former lovers. When the intelligence services of several countries become involved, he can only hang on for a wild ride and hope for a note-too-bumpy landing.


Review: The Stone Barrington series …. let’s be honest here … these are no literary feats in any way, shape or form. They’re fun and easy reads. Once you get past Stone’s outrageous behavior and lifestyle, they’re just plain fun. It’s definitely escapism at its finest.

This particular installment (the 8th in case any one cares to know) has Stone way out of his element. It didn’t feel like a normal Stone Barrington novel, either. He wasn’t necessarily hunting down a murderer. He was more trying to put together a very convoluted plot in my mind. I still am not quite sure as to what the purpose of the entire book was. But it was good fun anyway.

So while this one will probably not be very memorable as I continue on with the hundred other books in this series, it’s a quick and easy read that I enjoyed.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2016, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: L.A. Dead by Stuart Woods

L.A. Dead
by Stuart Woods

L.A. Dead

Copyright: 2000

Pages: 406

Read: Oct. 13 – Oct. 16, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 
Blurb: Trouble finds stone smack in the middle of a romantic Mediterranean holiday. His trip to Venice – with the fiery Mafia princess Dolce – is cut short by a frantic phone call from half a world away. A celebrity murder has Los Angeles in an uproar and mysteriously threatens a former flame, Arrington Calder. And once he arrives there, amid Hollywood’s sun and sin, he must plumb the depths of film society to find the killer – before a court trial rips away his last chance at a life he once desperately wanted…


Review: This is the 6th in the Stone Barrington series. And as usual, it was a quick, easy read. These are pretty mindless. Yet relatively interesting. Stuart Woods is quickly becoming another go-to author for me when I need something fast. I still can’t believe some of the trouble Stone finds himself in when it comes to women. It’s just like one big soap opera. But it’s also something that I look forward to finding out more as I continue on with this series.

So while these aren’t going to win any great literary awards, if you’re looking for something fun and quick to sate your appetite for a murder mystery, these will probably fit the bill. I’d for sure recommend this series and this book.