4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax
by Dorothy Gilman

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax

 

Copyright: 1970

Pages: 176

Read: Oct. 14-19, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Used book store

 

Blurb: When Emily Pollifax answered the phone that Sunday morning she quickly forgot about her Garden Club tea in the afternoon. The last time she had heard the voice on the other end of the line it had sent her off on a journey that plunged her into a wild tangle of secret agents and high adventure – an exciting change from her quiet life in the New Jersey suburbs. Now the man from the CIA was asking if she could leave immediately on a mission that would take her half-way across the world. What else could Mrs. Pollifax say but yes??


Review: Ok, so I had read the first Mrs. Pollifax book, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax back in 2016 and wasn’t really all that thrilled with it. But when I saw this one on the shelf at my favorite used bookstore I figured for $1 it wouldn’t kill me to give it another shot.

I’m glad I picked this one up that day. I thought this installment was much better than the first. I felt like I got to understand Mrs. Pollifax better. I felt like there was more meat to the story itself and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I really enjoyed the supporting characters in this installment, they really added to the story in a positive way.

I’ll definitely be on the hunt for book #3 in this series. I’m definitely glad I gave Mrs. Pollifax another shot!

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4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799) by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799)
by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington Anguish and Farewell.jpg

 

Copyright: 1969, 1972

Pages: 503

Read: Sept. 14 – Oct. 11, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Powells.com

 

 

 

Blurb: George Washington: Anguish and Farewell is the fourth and final volume of one of the most distinguished American biographies of our generation. Covering the tumultuous years of Washington’s second term as President, his retirement, and his death, the book reveals the almost shattering pressures under which Washington struggled to maintain America’s unity during its first great peacetime testing as an independent nation.

The testing was regional: North versus South, East versus West. It’s a philosophical and political: Federalists versus Republicans, Hamilton versus Jefferson. And it was international: the upheaval accompanying the French Revolution, which threatened to draw the United States into a world war that would have stifled the growth of the infant republic and perhaps ignited civil conflicts on the streets and farms at home.

Disproving the contention that Washington allowed himself to be used by Hamilton, James Thomas Flexner has discovered unexpected dimensions in the stormy relationship between Washington and Jefferson. And Mr. Flexner’s exploration of Washington’s attitude towards slavery breaks significant new ground. He demonstrates that Washington’s growing unhappiness with slavery – he eventually freed his own bondsmen – was an important reason why Washington would not support Jefferson’s Virginia agrarianism to the exclusion of the alternative economic system espoused by Hamilton.

The book is intensely dramatic. It is also tinged with sadness, portraying Washington at a time when his struggle to keep the nation together was weakened by his own infirmities. With Washington’s retirement, his former brilliance became increasingly clouded by periods of confusion. When the time came, he was glad to die.

George Washington: Anguish and Farewell provides a brilliant counterpoint between Washington’s public and private lives. It is a narrative in which Washington not only thinks and acts, but lives. It takes the final measure of the great president as a hero – and as a man.


Review: This is the fourth and final book in James Thomas Flexner’s George Washington series. And honestly, I found it to be the best book of the series.

This particular book covers the time from the beginning of Washington’s second term up until his death. Perhaps it is because this time period was a little more interesting to me than that of Washington’s earlier years, but I definitely had a lot more interest in reading this book than I had the previous three.

As with the previous books in the series, this one was well-written and extremely well-researched. I also felt like this book was put together a little bit better than the last book (where I distinctly remember that there were things that felt a little out-of-place in certain areas).

I can’t say that reading this 4 book series was an easy road (it totaled up to 1,825 pages!), but I’m overall glad that I stuck it out and finished it because it definitely is a work of art in itself. It’s probably not the series for everyone, and definitely not for just the average reader. But if you are interested in taking a serious stab at learning more about our first President, this series is an amazing resource.

For quick reference, my reviews of Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3

 

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan

I Know You Know coverAbout I Know You Know

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 18, 2018)

From New York Times bestselling author Gilly Macmillan comes this original, chilling and twisty mystery about two shocking murder cases twenty years apart, and the threads that bind them.

Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger.

For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don’t want the case—along with old wounds—reopened so many years after the tragedy, especially Charlie’s mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands.

When a long-dead body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career at risk, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy…


Review:

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

So I immediately snatched up this opportunity when it was pitched to me! I had read and really enjoyed one of Ms. Macmillan’s previous novels, The Perfect Girl last year and so I was eager to read more of her work!

I was immediately pulled into this story. I really enjoyed the podcast part of this story, it was like little breadcrumbs here and there. As I was reading I wasn’t really sure where the storylines were going to intersect, but Ms. Macmillan managed to weave them together nearly seamlessly.

My one criticism is that I felt like the ending could have been a little stronger in its execution. It wasn’t a bad ending, but I did feel slightly let down that there wasn’t just a little bit more oomph to it.

Overall though a really great book that I definitely recommend!!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Gilly Macmillan APAbout Gilly Macmillan

Gilly Macmillan is the Edgar Nominated and New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew. She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she’s worked as a part-time lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.

Find out more about Gilly at her website, and connect with her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Michael Bennett, P, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Alert by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Alert
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Alert

 

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 368

Read: Oct. 1-6, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

 

Blurb: New Yorkers aren’t easily intimidated, but someone is doing their best to scare them, badly. Why? After two crippling high-tech attacks, the entire city is on edge. Detective Michael Bennett, along with his old pal, the FBI’s Emily Parker, has to catch the shadowy criminals who claim responsibility – but they’re as good at concealing their identities as they are at wreaking havoc.

When a shocking murder in broad daylight points to killers both skilled and cold-blooded, Bennett begins to suspect that these mysterious events are just the prelude to the biggest threat of all. Soon he’s racing against the clock, and against the most destructive enemy he’s faced yet, to save his beloved New York – before it’s lights-out for the city that never sleeps.


Review: I can always count on James Patterson for a quick and easy read. This particular book is the 8th installment in the Michael Bennett series. Last month I read the seventh book and enjoyed it well enough, but this book was much better!

I found this one to be fast paced and quite frighteningly believable. It was quite scary to think just how something like what happened could actually happen in real life. Good thing this was fiction 🙂

Overall a good story that I enjoyed. It was a quick, easy, enjoyable read that I would definitely recommend to thriller lovers.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: The Stranger Game by Peter Gadol

The Stranger GameAbout The Stranger Game

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Hanover Square Press; Original edition (October 1, 2018)

A literary suspense novel in which an eerie social game goes viral and spins perilously—and criminally—out of control.

Rebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police, they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the “stranger game,” a viral hit in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media. As the game spreads, however, the rules begin to change, play grows more intense and disappearances are reported across the country.

Curious about this popular new obsession, and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, who is willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. As her relationship with Carey and involvement in the game deepen, she begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may take her further and further from the life she once lived.

A thought-provoking, haunting novel, The Stranger Game unearths the connections, both imagined and real, that we build with the people around us in the physical and digital world, and where the boundaries blur between them.


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 first pitched this book that blurb immediately drew me in. I had to know more about what the Stranger Game was and how things would end up playing out!

And whoa, let me tell you, this book starts out with a super creepy vibe and I was immediately hooked! I was expecting a fast paced thriller, but I was pleasantly surprised by a more slower paced, layer by layer unfolding book that really left me with chills when I was finished! I found this book to be extremely readable and there were lots of twists and turns to make this one a really good read.

I highly recommend it!


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Peter Gadol

Peter Gadol’s seven novels include THE STRANGER GAME, SILVER LAKE, LIGHT AT DUSK, and THE LONG RAIN. His work his been translated for foreign editions and appeared in literary journals, including StoryQuarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and Tin House. Gadol lives in Los Angeles, where he is Chair and Professor of the MFA Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design. Visit petergadol.com for more info on his work.

 

Instagram Tour:

Monday, October 1st: @thecityofdarkclockwork

Tuesday, October 2nd: @katielmae

Tuesday, October 2nd: @createexploreread

Wednesday, October 3rd: @bookishwinterwitch

Thursday, October 4th: @dropandgivemenerdy

Friday, October 5th: @novelmombooks

Saturday, October 6th: @bookclubwithbite

 

Review Tour:

Monday, October 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Tuesday, October 2nd: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, October 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, October 4th: A Chick Who Reads

Monday, October 8th: Jathan & Heather

Tuesday, October 9th: Tales of a Book Addict

Wednesday, October 10th: @somekindofalibrary

Thursday, October 11th: Openly Bookish

Friday, October 12th: @wherethereadergrows

Monday, October 15th: Novel Gossip and @novelgossip

Tuesday, October 16th: Helen’s Book Blog

Wednesday, October 17th: Sweet Southern Home

Wednesday, October 17th: @basicbsguide

Thursday, October 18th: @jennblogsbooks

Monday, October 22nd: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind

Tuesday, October 23rd: @bookishmadeleine

Wednesday, October 24th: Write Read Life

TBD: The Lit Bitch – excerpt

tlc tour host

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Until Proven Guilty by J.A. Jance

Until Proven Guilty
by J.A. Jance

Until Proven Guilty.jpg

 

Copyright: 1985

Pages: 310

Read: Sept. 23 – 26, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

 

 

Blurb: The little girl was a treasure who should have been cherished, not murdered. She was only five – too young to die – and Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont of the Seattle Police Department isn’t going to rest until her killer pays dearly. But Beaumont’s own obsessions and demons could prove dangerous companions in a murky world of blind faith and religious fanaticism. And he is about to find that he himself is the target of a twisted passion … and a love that can kill.


Review: This is the 1st book in the J.P. Beaumont series. Many years ago I randomly read the 13th book in the series. I was not impressed and never felt the desire to go back to the beginning or continue on from there with the series. I’m not exactly sure what made me acquire this book, but for whatever reason I did.

And for the most part, I did enjoy this book. There were times that Beaumont’s actions were really reminiscent of Stone Barrington’s …. apparently they both go temporarily insane when in the presence of a beautiful female ::eyeroll::.

I can’t say that I loved it, but I certainly didn’t dislike it. I am looking forward to reading more in this series. Maybe installment #13 wasn’t a great place for me to start all those years ago … but I am willing to give Beau another chance!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, S

Review: One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie
by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie

 

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 351

Read: Sept. 19 – 23, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

 

Blurb: Chris Brennan looks perfect, on paper. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as assistant baseball coach, and his resume is impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan in a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a free-spirited pitcher who’s the star of the baseball team. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving Raz vulnerable to any new father figure, who might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who admires her son Jordan’s passion for baseball and feels guilty that she can’t be at his games, like the booster moms. But Jordan is shy, and Heather fears he’s being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man whose fun-loving manner might conceal a darker side.

Mindy Kostis is a surgeon’s wife who fills her days with benefit luncheons and cocktails. She has no idea that her husband and son Evan are keeping deadly secrets that could rip their family apart.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he pretending to be someone else? What does he want? And how far will he go to get it?


Review: My grandmother gave me this book a couple of weeks ago with a glowing recommendation. I was eager to get to it! And I was not disappointed! It starts off with a bang and I was hooked almost immediately, reading the first 100 pages the day I started it.

It’s an intricately woven story with more than a few twists and turns. It had me on edge the entire way through trying to figure out who was who and what was what! I really enjoyed it and couldn’t get through it fast enough!

I can’t say much about this book other than to give this one a try – I doubt you’ll be disappointed … I know I sure wasn’t!!

Highly recommended!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Kinsey Millhone, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton

G is for Gumshoe
by Sue Grafton

G is for Gumshoe

 

Copyright: 1990

Pages: 327

Read: Sept. 14 – 19, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Kinsey Millhone celebrates her thirty-third birthday as only she can – she moves back into her renovated apartment, gets hired to find an elderly lady supposedly living in the Mojave Desert by herself, and makes the top of triggerman Tyrone Patty’s hit list. As much as she hates to admit it, Kinsey realizes even she’s going to need help fending off a hit man and she hires a bodyguard: Robert Dietz, a Porsche-Driving P.I. who takes his job very seriously. With Dietz watching her for the merest sign of her usual recklessness, Kinsey plunges into a case that will lead her to the gruesome truth about a long-buried betrayal. And, in the process, will bring her face-to-face with her own mortality…


Review: This is the 7th book in the Kinsey Millhone series. I had read the 6th book a few months back and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was excited when this fit a Goodreads challenge call-out so I could get to it sooner rather than later!

Again, I enjoyed working the case with Kinsey. It was interesting to see just what kind of trouble she finds herself (usually because she puts herself there…). I also enjoyed the addition of Robert Dietz, I hope we get to meet him again in future installments.

I found this one to be a fast paced and enjoyable book that I really enjoyed reading. It definitely has me looking forward to “H” soon!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Firm by John Grisham

The Firm
by John Grisham

The Firm.jpg

 

Copyright: 1991

Pages: 501

Read: September 6 – 13, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased used

 

Blurb: When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage, and hired him a decorator. Mitch McDeere should have remembered what his brother Ray – doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail – already knew. You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch’s firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice – if he wants to live.


Review: So I’m going back and (slowly) reading Mr. Grisham’s backlist. I can’t believe I had never read this book before! It started out really good and hooked me from pretty early on. Don’t be daunted by that 500 page count … it goes by very quickly!

The old saying goes … if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. And that’s basically the premise of this book. I still can’t believe that a man who was as smart as Mitch McDeere could fall for all that and get involved with the Bendini firm – he should have run like crazy when all this stuff was told would be “provided” to him! But then we wouldn’t have a novel and where would the fun in that be? I did enjoy how the story unfolded and I really didn’t know how things would end up. I was pleasantly surprised and quite happy with the way the book ended.

Now I’m eager to see the movie … hadn’t read the book and never saw the movie! I always enjoy doing a book to movie comparison. I hope to be able to get to that soon … I’ve already seen where I can rent it on my Amazon Prime account (hey, I’m still really new to all this streaming stuff, haha!).

Overall, a very good book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Definitely recommended!

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!