2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow

A Cold Day for Murder
by Dana Stabenow

A Cold Day for Murder

Copyright: 1992

Pages: 199

Read: Nov. 7 – Nov. 11, 2016

Rating: 2/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: She’s a savvy investigator with the cool toughness of Sam Spade – and a smile that could melt a block of ice. Once the star of the Anchorage D.A.’s office, she’s gone back to her roots in the far Alaska north. But Kate’s taken her talent for detection along … and trouble knows where to find her. 

When a young National Park Ranger disappears during the long Alaskan winter, everyone assumes the cold got him. But when an investigator goes in after him, and never comes out, the weather may not be all that’s killing. Or so thinks Kate Shugak. With her Husky-breed Mutt as an ally, she’s hunting for answers among the pipelines, Aleuts, and hardy eccentrics of the rugged American north. But she’s heading for thin ice between lies and loyalties … between justice served and the cold face of murder.


Review: I picked this one up because it sounded like a good series that I could start (because you know how much I need another series…..). Unfortunately, to say I was disappointed would be an understatement…

At 199 pages, an author doesn’t have much time for character development and an awesome plot line. For this particular book the character development was A+++ and the plot line …. stunk. I mean, the idea was there. It was just the execution that didn’t work for me. And I really felt it was because entirely too much time was spent on the characters and then all of a sudden it was time to wrap it all up and send it off to the publisher. It was that abrupt at the end.

I really wish I could say that I liked this one, but I didn’t. Perhaps the later books in the series are better … but I doubt I ever get to another book in this series.

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

Review: And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

And When She Was Good
by Laura Lippman

And When She Was Good

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 314

Read: Oct. 25– Oct. 29, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased new

 

 

Blurb: In the comfortable suburb where Heloise Lewis lives, she’s just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she’s the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record.

But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she’s the woman of your dreams—if you can afford her hourly fee.

But now, after a decade, her secret life is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new dangers. Her employees can’t be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it? And then she learns that her son’s father, a killer and former pimp, might be released from prison. With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life—again. Disappearing will be the easy part. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.


Review: I purchased this book a fear years back now. I enjoy Ms. Lippman’s books and this one seemed a little outside of her usual scope, but it sounded really fascinating to me. And now that I’ve read it, I’m not really sure how I would classify it. Perhaps just leave it at fiction?

That being said, I enjoyed this one. I liked Helen/Heloise’s character. I thought she felt real – she could literally be any of my neighbors (ha!). I think my only complaint would be that it was a little more …. tame … than what I’m used to. I’m more used to fast paced, throw curve balls at you, thrillers. This book was not that. The layers of this one were slowly revealed, little by little. It wasn’t boring, because it definitely kept my interest throughout, but there was no big huge “ah-ha” moment at the end. It was all just wrapped up neatly. And I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to revisit Heloise later on in life, to see how things really work out for her in the long run.

But I really did like it. And I’d recommend it. And I’m going to submit it to my book club for consideration for our December meeting. So yeah, definitely give it a chance if you have the opportunity!

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 – Oct. 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, 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.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: Gone Missing by Linda Castillo

Gone Missing
by Linda Castillo

gone-missing

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 277

Read: Oct. 9– Oct. 13, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Rumspringa is the tie when Amish teens are allowed to experience life without the rules. It’s an exciting time of personal discovery and growth before committing to the church. But when a young teen disappears without a trace, the carefree fun comes to an abrupt and sinister end, and fear spreads through the community like a contagion.

A missing child is a nightmare for all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties run deep. When the search for the presumed runaway turns up a dead body, the case quickly becomes a murder investigation. And Chief of Police Kate Burkholder knows that in order to solve this case, she will have to call upon everything she has to give, not only as a cop but as a woman whose own Amish roots run deep.

Kate and State Agent John Tomasetti delve into the life of the missing teen and discover links to cold cases that may go back years. But will Kate piece together all of the parts of this ominous puzzle in time to save the missing teen and the Amish community from a devastating fate? Or will she find herself locked in a fight to the death with a merciless killer?


Review: This is the fourth book in the Kate Burkholder series. I have read the first three – all this year. And I think that’s why this one fell a bit flat for me. I hadn’t intended to pick it up as quickly as I did after reading the third, but it fit into a Goodreads challenge that I had going and I figured it would be a quick, fun read. And it was. But lord was it predictable. And that was my problem with it. The ending was so predictable it was almost laughable. And what’s sad is that it overshadowed the entire book for me. It was an  interesting storyline. But it just felt so much like the previous three books that it was flat for me. It’s also frustrating because I feel like if I had read this books spaced out further then I would have enjoyed this one much more than I did. So while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t the greatest for me. But I would still highly recommend this series!

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

Review: The Candidate by Lis Wiehl

The Candidate
by Lis Wiehl

the-candidate

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 328

Read: Oct. 1 – Oct. 5, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Review copy from publicist.
Blurb: Mike Ortiz is a dynamic war hero favored to win the White House. Standing by his side is his glamorous and adoring wife, Celeste. But something about this seemingly perfect couple troubles Erica. Is Celeste really who she seems? And most importantly, what really happened in that squalid Al-Qaeda prison where Mike Ortiz spent nine months?

But more than the nation’s future is at stake. Erica’s relentless search for the truth puts the life of her preteen daughter Jenny in danger, even as Erica’s own dark past threatens to overtake her.

In her latest Newsmakers thriller, New York Times bestselling author and Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl weaves a taut and chilling story. The Candidate is packed with political intrigue and media manipulation as the lust for power turns deadly indeed.


Review: What a book! I knew going into this one that it was the second in a series and I hadn’t read the first one (something I’m sometimes reluctant to do), but I also felt like it would be interesting to read something dealing with a Presidential election alongside our own Presidential race. And what a great decision I made by accepting this one for review!

This book grabbed me from the beginning and kept my attention throughout the book. I know at one point Erica goes to Baghdad to see what Mike Ortiz really went through firsthand. Can I just say that I read those few chapters practically holding my breath the entire time? I didn’t know if something terrible would happen to Erica in such a dangerous location and I couldn’t get through those scenes fast enough. I wanted Erica to be back on safe ground (which is a big fat HA! if you read the rest of the book…). Anyway, those few scenes in Baghdad are very suspenseful and I still shiver a little bit thinking about them.

I really liked Erica’s character. There were some times that I wanted to shake her because she ignored some pretty obvious things that a reporter (or anyone for that matter) should have been more inquisitive about. But at the same time I understand that she was just trying to keep an open mind. I liked that she was portrayed as a woman juggling career and parenthood. This is such a real thing for so many women (myself somewhat included – I don’t have a big time career, but I do work outside the home and it’s very tough at times) and it was good to see it on the page in the way it was portrayed.

I was a little bummed that I hadn’t read the first book in this series, because the first book is mentioned multiple times and it was tough to not know what had happened in that first book – although we got enough background to not be completely lost – it still left me curious. But I can say overall that while it didn’t really affect this book too much, it would have been nice to have a little more background on Erica and who she is.

So overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a great read with a plot line that is very plausible and believable.

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

 

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

Review: Daddy’s Gone a Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark

Daddy’s Gone a Hunting
by Mary Higgins Clark

 

Daddy's Gone a Hunting
Copyright: 2013

Pages: 385

Read: Sept. 25-28, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased new

 
Blurb: What was Kate Connelly – a tall, glamorous CPA – doing in her family’s antique furniture museum when it exploded into flames in the middle of the night? Why was Gus, a disgruntled retired employee, with her? Now Gus is dead, and Kate lies in a coma, cable to explain the tragedy’s mysterious link to a decades-old missing person case. Nor to warn her sister what could happen next. In this dazzling and suspenseful mystery, Mary Higgins Clark presents readers with a fascinating cast of characters – one of whom may just be a ruthless killer…


Review: I picked this one up knowing that when I bought it a couple of years ago I had actually set it aside after not immediately being drawn in. But I usually love Mary Higgins Clark and decided it was time to give it another shot. I’m glad I stuck with it. It’s a very good book.

However, it’s not perfect. There are numerous grammatical errors throughout the book – sometimes entire words are completely missing! I found that somewhat disappointing. I also had the ending pegged with about 150 pages to go – so I would say that it was somewhat predictable as well.

So while probably not the best Mary Higgins Clark novel out there, I still enjoyed it. Ms. Clark is definitely the queen of mystery! Her books are just good, enjoyable reads. Definitely recommended.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Grant County, RATING, Read in 2016, S, SERIES

Review: Kisscut by Karin Slaughter

Kiss cut
by Karin Slaughter

 

Kisscut.jpgCopyright: 2002

Pages: 420

Read: Sept. 17-23, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Bought at used book store

 


Blurb
: Sara Linton, pediatrician and medical examiner in Heartsdale, Georgia, knows only too well the horrors that can hide behind closed doors in a small community. But when a Saturday night argument between teenagers at the local skating rink leads to death – and a subsequent autopsy reveals evidence of ritualistic self-mutilation and long-teem abuse – she realizes that true evil is closer than she imagined. Aided by her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, and Detective Lena Adams, still traumatized by her brush with a maniac, Sara’s investigation is frustrated at every turn by the cold silence of the family and friends of the slain girl. But the truth cannot be hidden forever, as Sara inexorably peels back the many layers of an inhuman outrage that goes far beyond mere murder. For an ominous cloud has settled over the young daughters and sons of Heartsdale – and those who would protect them must act quickly before all innocence here is devoured.


Review: So I picked this one up at my last trip to the used book store and I was glad to have found it. I had been wanting to dive back into Sara Linton’s world – since I last read the first book, Blindsighted, way back in 2013 – oops!

This book is gruesome. It’s difficult to read. The subject it deals with is excruciatingly painful to read – especially as a mother. And interestingly enough, I wasn’t turned off by that. I probably should have been, and I have to admit, I was more than a little shocked in some spots throughout the book, but really I enjoyed this one. Karin Slaughter, while I’ve only read a few of her books, is starting to become a real favorite of mine!

I really like Sara’s character. And I can’t wait to see what happens between her and Jeffrey. The one character in this installment that irritated me to no end was Lena. I get that she went through a lot in the first book, but honestly – she really needs to learn to cope with what she went through. She needs help, badly. I can only hope that she finds herself the help she needs, or else I’m going to go crazy every time I read her name on the page.

So yeah, if you can deal with a really touchy and difficult subject matter, I’d definitely recommend this book to you. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to get to read the third in the series! (hopefully it won’t be 3 years before I pick that one up…)

2.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: Private Vegas by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Private Vegas
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Private Vegas.jpg

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 361

Read: Sept. 14-17, 2016

Rating: 2.5/5

Source: Grandmother

Blurb: Seedy and glamorous, seductive and outrageous, Las Vegas attracts people of all kinds – especially those with a secret to hide, or a life to escape. It’s the perfect place for Lester Olsen’s one-of-a-kind business. He treats gorgeous young women to five-star restaurants, lavish shows, and limo rides – and then he teaches them how to kill.

Private’s Jack Morgan has been hired to hunt down two men on a gleeful murder spree. Jack thinks there could be nothing more dangerous than two criminals with an insatiable hunger for violence. But when their paths of destruction lead Jack to Vegas, he’s drawn deep into the heart of a murder ring more ruthless than anything he could have imagined, masterminded by a diabolical genius.


Review: I won’t lie, I’m a sucker for a James Patterson book. They’re fast, easy, enjoyable reads. I can usually knock one out in a few days. And for the most part, I really like them.

This one though … well, I was disappointed. Reading through the blurb as I typed it out, I realized that it’s very misleading to what is actually in this book. The actually setting is more accurately Los Angeles. The Las Vegas/Lester Olsen storyline mentioned above is maybe 50 pages total in the entire book.

The actual blurb should have read more like this: Jack Morgan’s best friend is on trial for a brutal battery against his ex-girlfriend; he faces 10 years in prison if convicted. At the same time, someone has blown up Jack’s Lamborghini as well as other expensive cars in the area. Oh and there’s some foreign diplomats assaulting women and getting away with it because of their diplomatic immunity (the two I am assuming mentioned above as being “on a gleeful murder spree.” And oh yeah – there’s a crazy guy in Las Vegas training women to kill their obscenely rich elderly husbands.

I don’t know who wrote the actual blurb on the back of the book – but they sure didn’t read the book. What’s sad is that this book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what it was billed as and to me that made it very aggravating. I was expecting Private Vegas – I got Private Los Angeles.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman

the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane

Copyright: 2013

Pages: 178

Read: Sept. 10-13, 2016

Rating: 2/5

Source: Purchased at library book sale

Blurb: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie – magical, comforting, wise beyond her years – promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.


Review: I picked this one up a couple of years ago at the library book sale. I had heard a lot of good things about Neil Gaiman and was curious. I picked this one up now because I needed something quick to read, and at 178 pages I figured this one would fit that bill perfectly.

And it was a quick, easy read. I just didn’t care for the overall storyline. I am not a huge fan of fantasy as a general rule, so I think that affected my overall feelings on this one. It just didn’t work for me personally, but Mr. Gaiman is definitely a gifted storyteller.