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.

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.

Review: Worst Fears Realized by Stuart Woods

Worst Fears Realized
by Stuart Woods

Worst Fears Realized

Copyright: 1999

Pages: 402

Read: Sept. 5-8, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

Blurb: Not a man to dwell on the past, Stone Barrington has no choice but to rattle old skeletons when the people closest to him start dying, and he has little to go on but the suspicion that the killer may be someone he once knew. The trip down memory lane isn’t all bad though, for it reunites Stone with his ex-partner, Dino Bacchetti – now head of detectives in the nineteenth precinct.

Trying to find a brilliant killer in a sea of old faces is difficult enough without Stone’s former love, Arrington, now Mrs. Vance Calder, resurfacing, too – especially when she sets off her own fireworks coming nose to nose with his latest flame, a Mafia princess as beautiful as she is dangerous.

Caught on a thrill ride of a case that tests him as non has ever done before, Stone races to find a twisted madman with a taste for blood vengeance, with only a prayer to find him before Stone’s worst fears are realized.


Review:  This is the 5th book in the Stone Barrington series (only a million more to go, ha!) and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I found it to be fast paced, exciting and enjoyable. It was interesting to see Stone work the case, always seemingly behind the eight ball, so to speak. It was a really good book.

My one and only complaint with Stone’s character has always been his womanizing. And I will say, it was toned down a little bit in this installment. But it still bothers me that we’re 5 books into this series and he’s slept with more women than I can count. But that’s just a personal pet peeve…

So yeah, overall, a good installment in a series that I am enjoying so far. I look forward to reading this next one.

Review: A Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal

A Front Page Affair
by Radha Vatsal

 

A Front Page AffairCopyright: 2016

Pages: 312

Read: July 8-11, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

 

Blurb: Intelligent, well-traveled, and well-bred, Capability “Kitty” Weeks never expected to find herself reporting on fashion trends and society gossip, but every aspiring journalist has to start somewhere, and Kitty finds her “in” to the world of newspapers on the New York Sentinel Ladies’ Page. Meanwhile, news headlines buzz about a shooting at J.P. Morgan’s mansion and the sinking of the Lusitania. It seems that Kitty will never have a chance to get the scoop on a big story – until a man is murdered at a high society picnic on her beat.

Determined to prove herself as a journalist and break away from the Ladies’ Page once and for all, Kitty digs deeper into the circumstances behind the murder. She soon finds herself plunged into the midst of a wartime conspiracy that threatens to derail the United States’s attempt to remain neutral – and to disrupt the privileged life she has always known.


Review: I was immediately intrigued by the description of this book when it was first pitched to me. I’m not taking on a whole lot of review books, so a book has to really stick out for me to accept it for review consideration. But there was something about this book that really sucked me in and made me want to read it. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I figured reading about a character in New York City in 1915 wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I took it on my train ride to Chicago, knowing that I would have 5+ hours each way to enjoy some good quality reading time. I’m definitely glad that I took this book because I read the first half of it on the way up and the second half on the way back home. This book was such a fun, enjoyable, easy read that it was just perfect for what I needed at the moment.

I liked Kitty’s character. She was interesting and fresh. I am excited to see that this is the first in a planned series (you know I love series books!) because I cannot wait to see what Kitty finds herself in going forward with women’s suffrage right around the corner for her. Kitty’s character definitely breaks the mold of the average woman in the early 1900s and I think that’s what really drew me to her. The author has really set up a great background for some really interesting books going forward with a character like Kitty.

The writing of this book was extremely good. It was very upfront and not bogged down with a lot of what I call flowery descriptions. It made it a lot more easier for me to read than a typical historical fiction.  It was packed with just enough historical background that the scene was easily imagined. I also enjoyed the fact that this was a very believable book. Kitty ran into numerous roadblocks but she persevered in each and every one of those. I especially enjoyed one moment when one of the newspaper’s higher-ups questioned Kitty as to how she gained entrance to somewhere she had no business being and she simply responded that she got in because she asked. It was such an easy, simple response, and yet it really made me realize how much women were ignored for the most part during those times.

Overall, I really think this is a great book. It’s definitely a great start to a new series that has left me eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. I can’t say enough good things about this book … just read it for yourself!

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

 

Review: Swimming to Catalina by Stuart Woods

Swimming to Catalina
by Stuart Woods

Swimming to Catalina

Copyright: 1998

Pages: 391

Read: May 24 – 27, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Stone Barrington thought he’d heard the last of former girlfriend Arrington after she’d left him to marry Vance Calder, Hollywood’s hottest star. The last thing Stone expected was a desperate call from Calder. Arrington has vanished, and her new fiancé wants Stone to come to L.A. and find her.

In a town where the sharks drive Bentleys and no one can be trusted, Stone soon discovers he’s drowning in a sea of empty clues that take him from Bel Air to Malibu to Rodeo Drive. Running out of time and leads, he needs to keep his head above water and find Arrington fast, or end up swimming with the fishes himself.


Review: This is the 4th in the Stone Barrington series. I’m not entirely sure why I keep coming back to these books, but I do. You see, Stone’s character irritates me. It seems to me he does nothing but jump into bed with every woman who crosses his path (two in this book alone…). I just don’t like that trait. I will say, though, that this particular installment didn’t have nearly as much sex as the previous book, Dead in the Water. This book dialed it back a notch and left me wanting to actually continue on with this series.

I personally felt like the storyline of this book was especially good. I found it much more interesting than the first three books. It was a fast paced book that I read in a few days’ time. I think what keeps drawing me to this series is really that they’re just fun, fast reads.

Overall, not a bad book and I look forward to continuing on with this series after this one.

2014.30 REVIEW – The Qualities of Wood by Mary Vensel White

The Qualities of Wood
by Mary Vensel White

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 312
Rating: 3/5
Read: June 19-25, 2014
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 30
Format:  Print
Source: Publicist for Review
Series: N/A

The Qualities of WoodBlurb: When Betty Gardiner dies, leaving behind an unkempt country home, her grandson and his young wife take a break from city life to prepare the house for sale. Nowell Gardiner leaves first to begin work on his second mystery novel. By the time his wife Vivian joins him, a real mystery has begun: a local girl has been found dead in the woods behind the house. Even after the death is ruled an accident, Vivian can’t forget the girl, can’t ignore the strange behavior of her neighbors, or her husband. As Vivian attempts to put the house in order, all around her things begin to fall apart.

The Qualities of Wood is a novel about secrets. Family secrets. Community secrets. And secrets between lovers, past and present. And all of these secrets have their price.


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

When I was first pitched this book, it sounded really great. I was definitely excited about getting the chance to read and review it.

However, I was ultimately let down by this book. Maybe I had too high of hopes for it, I don’t know. But it didn’t end up being the book that I had hoped for. To bill this book as a “mystery” is not entirely correct in my opinion. Because there wasn’t much mystery at all in it. And I think that’s what I was disappointed in. When the blurb talks about a dead girl and secrets, I automatically think: mystery. But this book does not fit that bill.

The ending was extremely rushed. You had 300 pages of build-up to finally figure out what was really going on. Three hundred pages. And twelve pages of Vivian, Lonnie, and Nowell running around in the woods behind the house. I just expected more. I wanted more answers. I wanted Vivian to step up her game and really question Nowell with the revelations he made. I wanted more than I got.

Now, I will say this about the book, the writing was impeccable. It flowed so beautifully in places. The characters were all interesting in their own way. I keep coming back to the idea that maybe things were left the way they were to open the door for another meeting of Vivian and Nowell. I could definitely see them still in Grandma Gardiner’s house raising a few children. There could be plenty of material still there to explore with some of the holes in this book.

So there is definitely good points to this book and I would ultimately recommend it to other readers. However, if mystery/thrillers are your main thing, I don’t think it will necessarily work for you. But if you like literary fiction, this one will probably be a home run for you.

Overall, a good book, but not what I was hoping for.

2014.29 REVIEW – Dirt by Stuart Woods

Dirt
by Stuart Woods

Copyright: 1996
Pages: 417
Rating: 3/5
Read: June 16-18, 2014
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 29
Format:  Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Stone Barrington #2

DirtBlurb: Feared and loathed for her poison pen and ice-queen persona, gossip columnist Amanda Dart has made her share of enemies. Then the tables are turned. An anonymous gossipmonger is faxing Amanda’s personal and private peccadilloes to anyone who can read. Desperate to save her reputation, she enlists the help of New York lawyer and private investigator Stone Barrington to learn the identity of the faxer. And everyone in the world of tabloid journalism becomes a suspect.

But the faxes don’t stop. In fact, they get worse. And Stone winds up with more leads than one man can handle, until Amanda takes matters dangerously into her own hands and turns the world of gossip on its head. As the circle of suspects shrinks, Stone discovers that even the most respected members of the social scene will stop at nothing – even homicide – to clear their sullied names, in this mesmerizing tale of betrayal, murder, and tabloid terror.


Review: This was the second book that I took with me on vacation. I didn’t know if I would get to it, but I was able to start it the morning we left and I read nearly all of it that day while on my flights home. 

As with the first book in this series, New York Dead, which I read just a little bit ago, this book was so readable. The pages just flew by.

However, it wasn’t perfect. I had a little bit of an issue with just how easily and quickly Stone jumped into bed with multiple women throughout the entire book. Most of it was completely unnecessary in my personal opinion.

I’ll definitely be continuing on with this series. So far I’m finding these books to be extremely easy reads and fun. I hope the series continues on this trend.