3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, D, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.24 REVIEW – Spy Trade: A Novella by Matthew Dunn

Spy Trade: A Novella
by Matthew Dunn

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 100
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 27-28, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 24
Format: E-Book
Source: Publicist via Edelweiss
Series: Spycatcher Novella

Spy TradeBlurb:
 When a mission goes awry in Syria, senior CIA officer Bob Oakland is captured by aspiring members of ISIS, who demand the release of one of their own, Arzam Saud, in U.S. captivity. When their hands are tied by Washington’s refusal to negotiate, the CIA turns to MI6 officer Will Cochrane to find out what’s really going on. The threats are escalating quickly, and in order to save the CIA officer, Cochrane must uncover why Saud is truly so important . . .


Review:I received a copy of this for free via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

I have never read anything by Matthew Dunn before, but when the opportunity to review this one showed up in my email a couple of weeks ago I jumped on it. I figured it would give me a great intro to the series and the author to see if I would want to start the Spycatcher series.

I didn’t hate this novella, but I didn’t love it either. It was just in the “okay” category for me. I think part of my issue with it was the ISIS aspect of it. I didn’t enjoy reading about it. I really enjoyed the parts where Patrick was dealing with Washington “politics” and Will was trying to track down Bob Oakland. The other parts, I could have done without. So like I said, I didn’t hate this one, there was some really good parts in it. I can say that my interest has been piqued enough to place the first Spycatcher novel on my TBR list for sometime in the future.

Overall, I think this one is short enough that readers can easily squeeze it into their reading schedules and I’m glad that I made time for it … I may have found another new series to enjoy 🙂

 

2/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, D, Nonfiction, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.22 REVIEW – Those Wild, Wild Kennedy Boys by Stephen Dunleavy & Peter Brennan

Those Wild, Wild Kennedy Boys
by Stephen Dunleavy & Peter Brennan

Copyright: 1976
Pages: 211
Rating: 2/5
Read: July 10 – 18, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 22
Format: Print
Source: Paperbackswap
Series: N/A

Those Wild, Wild Kennedy BoysBlurb:
 There have been many words used to describe the Kennedy boys … handsome, aggressive, charismatic, charming, volatile, red-blooded, and sexy. This book investigates the latter descriptions, an in-depth probe into the more sensual aspects of the Kennedy mystique.

Here are Jack and Bob and Ted and all the girls you’ve ever heard whispered or gossiped about, a few you never heard of, and, too, those gals who somehow fell onto the front pages … Judy and Marilyn and Lee and Angie and Kim and Rita and Page and Jayne and Janet and Mary and Candy and Mariella and Rhonda and Amanda and Joan and Maria and more girls than anyone would have thought possible…


Review:This was an impulse PBS order. I don’t know what caught my eye about it but something did.

Unfortunately I ended up reading it in order to fulfill a Goodreads challenge that required me to read a book rated the lowest on my TBR. This one was the “winner” of that requirement.

And I have to admit … it’s not the greatest book. It was too gossipy for my taste. It was one of those books that just kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.21 REVIEW – Stand Down: A Novella by J.A. Jance

Stand Down: A Novella
by J.A. Jance

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 112
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 17, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 21
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss via Publicist
Series: J.P. Beaumont #21.5

Stand DownBlurb:
 Life has shifted for J. P. Beaumont. After a tragic accident that devastated—and ultimately disbanded—his Special Homicide Investigation Team, he accepts that he has left homicide detection behind at this point, but he has a lot of unanticipated free time on his hands. He’s keeping busy with renovations on the new house that he and his wife Mel Soames, the newly appointed Chief of Police in Bellingham, Washington, have bought. But new fixtures and paint palettes can occupy only so much of Beau’s daily life, and Mel is encouraging him to return to where he is needed: investigating crimes.

In the meantime, she is struggling to gain control of her new situation, cast into a department where some are welcoming—and some are not. It’s been a few months, and the tension in the police department is rising, but Beau realizes Mel has to tackle things in her own way, so he refrains from advising. But when Beau shows up one afternoon to survey the construction at their new house and finds Mel’s car there but no sign of her, his investigative instincts kick in. Suddenly he’s back in the game—except this time, his heart is on the line as well as his professional dignity.


Review: I was contacted about this novella a while ago and had kind of filed it away thinking it sounded interesting, but I wasn’t really sold on it. But when I got a second email reminding me about it because the release date was near, I thought I’d give it a try. What’s to lose when there’s only112 pages?

Part of my reluctance is that I’ve actually only read one book in the J.P. Beaumont series and it was many, many years ago. So I figured I would be completely lost jumping into this series at book 21.5! But fear not … I had no trouble sliding right in with Beau and Mel. There was just enough background that I wasn’t scratching my head trying to figure out who was who and what was going on. Actually it made me want to read some of the previous books to really know more of the backstory (BAD Tara! The last thing you need is another book series……).

I was a little more than bummed when I reached the end of this novella. I was definitely left wanting more. I found this slim installment to be a lot of fun. It was fast paced and entertaining. I’m glad I gave this one a shot; I would definitely recommend it.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Myron Bolitar, RATING, Read in 2015, SERIES

2015.20 REVIEW – Back Spin by Harlan Coben

Back Spin
by Harlan Coben

Copyright: 1997
Pages: 342
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 28 – July 6, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 20
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Series: Myron Bolitar #4

Back SpinBlurb:
In this fourth thrilling novel featuring sports agent Myron Bolitar, a boy vanishes on Philadelphia’s mean streets. Golf superstar Linda Coldren is desperate to find her son – and taps Myron to unravel the mystery.

But when Myron goes after the missing boy, he crashes through a crowed of lowlifes, blue bloods, and liars on both sides of the social divide. With Linda’s golf-pro husband suddenly making a run at the U.S. Open championship, a family’s skeletons are coming out of the closet. And Myron is about to find out how deadly this game can get.


Review: I’m guessing that when you think of golf you probably don’t think of it as a very cut-throat sport … right?! Me either. I am a casual golfer (I did play on my high school team one year) but I really wouldn’t have ever thought that there could be a mystery novel having golf as a subject which would hold my interest. But this one sure did.

Maybe it’s because I can’t seem to resist Myron Bolitar. I mean, the dude is hilarious. And if you can make golf funny … yeah, you can make anything funny.

There’s not much to say about this book. I like the Myron Bolitar series. I find them entertaining and intriguing. They are so different from Mr. Coben’s stand-alone novels, which I also enjoy, but there’s just something about Myron’s character that I love. I would definitely recommend this book and the series as a whole. But if you’re not into series books, these read well as stand-alones.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.19 REVIEW – The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

The Silent Wife
by A.S.A. Harrison

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 326
Rating: 3/5
Read: June 18 – June 27, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 19
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Series: N/A

The Silent WifeBlurb:
 Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.


Review: I purchased this book new in 2014. And then I proceeded to do as I always do … I let it linger on my shelf. I have no idea what made me pick this one up, but it caught my eye when I went searching for my next read after finishing up Misery.

So what did I think ….hmm. This is a tough one. What do you get when you absolutely hate both main characters? Because one is so stupid and the other is in such denial you want to slap her upside the head? Yeah. That’s where I’m at on this book. Todd is a class-A jerk wad. A cheater. Jodi needs to get her head out of the sand. Even after Todd leaves her for Natasha she’s in such denial that I wanted to strangle her.

But for some reason I kept reading this book. I was sucked in for whatever reason. I couldn’t tear myself away from the book (when I got the chance to pick it up … reading with 2 little ones is a whole different ball game). I had to know what happened. Little by little the book unfolds and I was left holding my breath until the very end. This is not necessarily a fast-paced thriller. It’s more slow-paced, but every bit as intriguing.

Bottom line … I enjoyed this one, but ultimately it was my distaste for Todd and Jodi that is keeping my opinion of this one more on the “okay” side than the “awesome” side.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2015, Read-a-Long

2015.18 REVIEW – Misery by Stephen King

Misery
by Stephen King

Copyright: 1987
Pages: 356
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 1 – June 17, 2015
Challenge: #MiseryRAL
Yearly count: 18
Format: E-Book
Source: Purchased
Series: N/A

MiseryBlurb:
 Misery Chastain was dead. Paul Sheldon had just killed her – with relief, with joy. Misery had made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. And now he wanted to get on to some real writing.

That’s when the car accident happens, and he wakes up in pain in a strange bed. But it isn’t hospital. Annie Wilkes has pulled him from the wreck, brought him to her remote mountain home, splinted and set his mangled legs.

The good news is that Annie was a nurse and has pain-killing drugs. The bad news is that she has long been Paul’s Number One Fan. And when she finds out what Paul has done to Misery, she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t like it at all.

And now he has to bring Misery back to life. Or else…


Review: When I first saw a read-along mentioned on Twitter for Misery I was intrigued. I had skipped over the few King read-alongs there have been in the past. Mainly because I’m not very social on Twitter. However, I’m trying to change that and I had been kicking around the idea of re-reading some of the old Stephen King books that I fell in love with. So I figured now was as good a time as any to join in on the read-along fun.

As I said at one point on Twitter … Annie is bat-shit crazy! Sometimes all I can do is just shake my head at what Mr. King has come up with for his books. I mean, you pretty much get the idea that Annie has to be crazy just by the book blurb, but you really don’t have any idea just how psycho she is until you get into this book. She’s really creepy psycho. And it makes for some great reading!

For the first time, clearly, the thought surfaced in Paul Sheldon’s mind: I am in trouble here. This woman is not right. (p. 14)

Oh, Paul … you really had no idea just how “not right” Annie truly was. You were her number one fan, you know. Creepy, right? I shudder just at the thought of everything that Paul went through with Annie.

I felt sorry for Paul. Annie really does a number on him psychologically and physically. She breaks him down. She makes him completely dependent on her and the drugs she has. But little by little he brings himself up out of the fog he’s in and it really begins to become a game of wits between the two. That’s when the book starts to get really good!

If he meant to get out of this, he would have to kill her.

Yes. That’s the answer – the only one there is, I think. So it’s that same old game again, isn’t it? Paulie … Can You? 

He answered with no hesitation at all. Yes, I can. (p. 201)

There’s not much I can say in this review that hasn’t been said a million times before. Personally, I enjoyed this book. However, I don’t think it would be at the very top of my list of favorite Stephen King books. It wasn’t scary to me … it was just downright creepy. And kind of gross in some places (okay … very gross!)

My copy had 356 pages. That’s relatively short for a Stephen King book. And it reads quickly (I would have finished it a lot sooner had I not spent a week dealing with Katelyn’s surgery and recovery). So I would definitely recommend picking it up if you’ve never read Mr. King and you’re intimidated by the size of most of his books.

Highly recommended.

3.5/5, A, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.17 REVIEW – The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

The Truth and Other Lies
by Sascha Arango

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 241
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: May 23 – May 31, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 17
Format: Print
Source: Publicist for review
Series: N/A

The Truth and Other LiesBlurb: Henry Hayden seems like someone you could admire, or even like. A famous bestselling author with the air of a modest everyman. A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A generous, compassionate friend. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask. His past is a secret, his methods more so. Only he and his wife know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous.

But when his hidden-in-plain-sight mistress becomes pregnant and his carefully constructed facade is about to crumble, his permanent solution becomes his most terrible mistake.

Now not only are the police after Henry, but his past – which he has painstakingly kept hidden – threatens to catch up with him. But Henry is an ingenious man, and he works out an ingenious plan, weaving lies, truths, and half-truths into a story that might help him survive. Still, the noose tightens.

Smart, sardonic, and compulsively readable, this is the story of a man whose cunning allows him to evade the consequences of his every action, even when he’s standing on the edge of the abyss.


Review: I received a copy of this book for review after responding to an offer in a Goodreads group I belong to. All opinions expressed below are my own.

Henry Hayden is one interesting character. He’s a best-selling author despite never having written a word in his life. Rather it’s his wife who is the author. And she’s a big part of this book, yet I didn’t really feel like I knew her at all. Of course, I also didn’t feel very connected to Henry either. There’s a lot that we as readers do not know about Mr. Hayden. He’s got a pretty shady childhood … yet we really aren’t given very many details beyond him ending up an orphan at a fairly young age. And the logic that he uses throughout the book … well, I just can’t grasp most of the decisions he made either. Although I will say he is definitely one sneaky dude. His wife might have been the bestselling author in the family, but he managed to come up with a pretty far-reaching story as to what happened to his wife and mistress.

At one point early on in this book I couldn’t figure out if Henry was delusional and I was reading pretend dialogue, or if what was happening at ay given moment was really happening and not just a figment of his imagination. I have to say that I really struggled with this throughout the book and I think that’s what really impacted my final rating of this novel.

This isn’t a very long book, only clocking in at 241 pages. And to be perfectly honest here, I felt like it could have been a tad bit longer just because there were some places that I felt lacking. I guess it was more because I felt as if there was no real ending. There’s a big “what happened?” at the end that I would have preferred to see resolved. I wanted to know what really happened to Betty. And I really would have liked to have known what happened to Henry’s mother all those years ago.

Overall, this isn’t a bad book. It’s just a little bit different from what I’m used to reading. But it did keep my attention and kept me guessing throughout. Had there been a little more finality to it at the end and had I been able to connect more with the characters, I would have preferred it just a little bit more. But I would recommend it to mystery lovers.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.16 REVIEW – Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Mr. Mercedes
by Stephen King

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 436
Rating: 2/5
Read: April 29 – May 21, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 16
Format: Print
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Series: Bill Hodges #1

Mr. MercedesBlurb: The stolen Mercedes emerges from the pre-dawn fog and plows through a crowd of men and women in line for a job fair in a distressed American city. Then the lone driver backs up, charges again, and speeds off, leaving eight dead and more wounded. The case goes unsolved and ex-cop Bill Hodges is out of hope when he gets a letter from the man who loved the feel of death under the Mercedes’s wheels…Brady Hartsfield wants that rush again, but this time he’s going big, with an attack that would take down thousands – unless Hodges and two new, unusual allies he picks up along the way can throw a wrench in Hartsfield’s diabolical plans.


Review: I borrowed this book from a co-worker. I remember when it came out it sounded interesting, but I’ll be completely honest here … it’s been a really long time since I have enjoyed a Stephen King book.

Unfortunately, this book really didn’t prove to be an exception in my recent dislike for Mr. King’s latest works. For me, it was just an “okay” and “eh” read.

It probably didn’t help that I started this book in the very last of my pregnancy (when pregnancy brain was in full force) and then finally finished it with a newborn in the house (and sleep deprivation in full force).

I think my issue is that this felt like such a departure from the Stephen King works I have liked in the past. I mean, how can you beat Carrie or It? The short answer is … you can’t. But this book really felt like he was dipping his feet into a completely different genre. And it simply didn’t work for me.

You want my complete honest opinion … had he cut about 100 pages out of this book, it probably would have been a lot better. There just seemed a lot of unnecessary things going on. Obviously Mr. King has routinely produced very long works, but this storyline didn’t need 436 pages to tell the full story. It could have been done in 336 pages. Very easily.

Overall, just an okay book. I can’t say that I would necessarily recommend it. But I finished it, so it obviously wasn’t horrible either.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.15 REVIEW – Losing Faith by Adam Mitzner

Losing Faith
by Adam Mitzner

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 354
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 21 – April 27, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 15
Format: Print
Source: Publicist for Review
Series: N/A

Losing FaithBlurb: Aaron Littman is the premier lawyer of his generation and the chairman of Cromwell Altman, the most powerful law firm in New York City, when a high-profile new client threatens all that he’s achieved – and more. Nicolai Garkov is currently the most reviled figure in America, accused of laundering funds for the Russian Mafia and financing a terrorist bombing in Red Square that killed twenty-six people, including three American students.

Garkov is completely unrepentant, admitting his guilt to Aaron, but with a plan for exoneration that includes blackmailing the presiding judge, the Honorable Faith Nichols. If the judge won’t do his bidding, Garkov promises to go public with irrefutable evidence of an affair between Aaron and Faith – the consequences of which would not only destroy their reputation but quite possibly end their careers.

Garkov has made his move. Now it’s Aaron and Faith’s turn. And in an ever-shocking psychological game of power, ethics, lies, and justice, they could never have predicted where those moves will take them – or what they are prepared to do to protect the truth.


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

A couple of years ago, I read and reviewed A Case of Interest by Mr. Mitzner here on my blog. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I was given the opportunity to read and review Mr. Mitzner’s newest release I jumped on it!!

And I am so excited to say that I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea going into the trial who or what to believe. Was Aaron guilty? Was he innocent? Who did kill Faith? I have to admit that I had someone else pegged as the murderer, so when it was revealed at the end I was in shock.

I will also say that I enjoyed learning a little bit more about the legal system. I had a dream of law school immediately after my undergraduate years. A move out of state with my husband and real life intervened and I have to live vicariously through legal thrillers at times. So I was really intrigued by some of the twists and turns that occurred in the courtroom action of this book.

The storyline in this one was interesting. The characters were well-developed. It’s just a really fun, easy-to-read book that kept me on my toes the entire time.

Definitely one that I am glad I got the opportunity to read and one I would have highly recommend!!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, L, Mark Mallen, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book, SERIES

2015.14 REVIEW – Innocent Damage by Robert K. Lewis

Innocent Damage
by Robert K. Lewis

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 293
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 14 – April 20, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 14
Format: Print
Source: Author for Review
Series: Mark Mallen #3

Innocent DamageBlurb: The three-year-old daughter of Mark Mallen’s old friend has been kidnapped. And when a child goes missing from San Francisco’s notorious Tenderloin District, there’s not much of a chance that she’s going to be found.

But that won’t stop Mallen.

When his first lead takes him to a murder scene with a stash of child porn, Mallen knows he’s on the right track. Now the only people who can shake him off the trail are two SFPD detectives who seem to be more involved in the case than their job requires. Knowing all too well that skid row has its own set of rules, Mallen must act alone to serve justice to those who would put innocent children at risk.


Review: I have read and reviewed the two previous Mark Mallen books, Untold Damage and Critical Damage here on my blog. Having enjoyed both of those books, I was really thrilled when Mr. Lewis contacted me again about reading the latest (and greatest) Mark Mallen book.

Mark Mallen is just one of those characters that really appeals to me. He’s so flawed, yet he’s trying his hardest. And he seems to find trouble no matter where he goes. His sense of loyalty is amazing, if I had troubles I would want a friend like Mallen on my side for sure.

This particular installment dealt with tracking down a kidnapped girl. But things kind of snowballed from there. Things are not as cut and dried as one would have thought. People are not who you think they are either. It definitely makes for some exciting reading! Gato is also back in this book still trying to find his sister. There’s an interesting storyline in a future book with that whole situation. I can only hope that Mr. Lewis gets to tell that story in another Mallen book.

Overall, another book that I really enjoyed reading and would highly recommend. And I hope to goodness there’s at least one more Mark Mallen book!! I’m not ready to say goodbye to him just yet…