2.5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird

Art in the Blood
by Bonnie MacBird

Art in the Blood

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 336

Read: March 24-29, 2018

Rating: 2.5/5

Source: Barnes & Noble Serial Reads

 

 

Blurb: London. A snowy December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris.

Mlle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her young son has vanished, and she has been attacked in the streets of Montmartre.

Racing to Paris with Watson at his side, Holmes discovers the missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem. The most valuable statue since the Winged Victory has been violently stolen in Marseilles, and several children from a silk mill in Lancashire have been found murdered. The clues in all three cases point to a single, untouchable man, an art collector seemingly beyond reach of the law.

Will Holmes recover in time to find the missing boy and stop a rising tide of murders? To do so he must stay one step ahead of a dangerous French rival and the threatening interference of his own brother, Mycroft.

This latest adventure, in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, sends the iconic duo from London to Paris and the icy wilds of Lancashire in a case which tests Watson’s friendship and the fragility and gifts of Sherlock Holmes’ own artistic nature to the limits.

 


Review: This was Barnes & Noble’s March selection on their Serial Reads program. I was really unsure about reading this one. While I do enjoy mysteries, Sherlock Holmes has never really been a huge draw for me. I posted the introduction to this book here, and based on the comments it was split whether or not my visitors would continue reading the book based on the intro. To be honest, the first few pages didn’t really immediately draw me in either, but I eventually got interested enough in the book to continue on.

Overall, this wasn’t necessarily a bad book. It just wasn’t really a home run for me either. It fell somewhere in the “eh” category. It felt a little convoluted and I didn’t like how the storyline kept switching from the missing boy to the art theft and back to the missing boy, constantly… I think it was a little too much. I wanted Holmes to concentrate on one or the other cases.

I’m not entirely sold that this book was really written in the Sherlock Holmes “way.”  It didn’t feel entirely authentic. Not that I’m an expert in Sherlock Holmes, but I just felt like something was missing from his character. It didn’t feel like an authentic Sherlock Holmes character in this book.

To be honest, this book didn’t do much for me in the end. It was a decent enough read for   a freebie. However, I don’t really feel the need to read the second book in this series. I’m not even entirely sure I would recommend this book. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to hard-core Sherlock Holmes fans … but I suppose the casual mystery lover may find something in this that I simply didn’t.

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4/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, S

Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth
by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 320

Read: March 2-8, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: ARC from NetGalley

 
Blurb: Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

From blazing new talent Zoje Stage, Baby Teeth is a story about a perfect-looking family, and a darling little girl who wants nothing more than to kill her mother.


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

I first found this book in a NetGalley email advertising it as Read Now. I immediately logged in and downloaded it. It caught my eye nearly instantly! It looked like such a good book, I knew I had to read it.

And oh my goodness was it so creepy good. I devoured it. I was absolutely enthralled by Hanna and Suzette’s story.

The only reason this one didn’t get a 5 star rating is because I had a little bit of a hard time accepting that a 7 year old could actually be as evil as Hanna. At one point it flashes back to when Hanna was like 2 or 3 and she realized that Mommy was going to fail her “test”? I mean, come on – I have two children, almost 6 and almost 3 years old …. there’s no way at 2/3 a child could think in that manner. And to imagine that at 7 she could be actively plotting to kill her mother? I’m not sure that I buy that either…. And we won’t even talk about the unhealthy obsession Hanna has with her father. Yikes.

The ending (or really lack thereof) was a little disappointing. But I can totally understand why Ms. Stage chose to end it as she did. I can appreciate that, but I would have liked a little more closure than I got. Maybe a teenage Hanna will re-emerge in a few years?! 😉

I’m nearly positive this is going to be one of the most talked about books this summer. It’s definitely buzz worthy. It’s controversial. It’s enthralling. I’m glad that I read it and I’m looking forward to Ms. Stage’s future ventures in writing!

While I can fully appreciate that this book would not be for everyone, it’s definitely a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and will be recommending it to everyone I know!

 

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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2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, N, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book

Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go
by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 372

Read: Dec. 16 – 22, 2017

Rating: 2/5

Source: NetGalley

 

 

Blurb: Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…


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

So this was totally an impulse request on NetGalley. The cover really drew me in. The blurb made is sound so creepy. I don’t read a lot of YA, but this one really sounded great to me.

But. It fell flat. Very flat for me. There were times I considered just DNF’ing it. The writing  itself was good, but the actual structure of the book was strange. There were flashbacks and then there were chapters that were written like a script. It was just a strange set up for a book in my opinion.

And the overall plot/storyline? It fell flat as well. I think I expected more from it somehow. It started out extremely slow. Like slower than slow. And it was a little bit all over the place and really confusing.

I didn’t really care for how Kyra’s bipolar illness was portrayed. If you or someone you know has a mental illness issue of any kind, I do not feel like you should read this book at all. The way it is presented was just very disheartening to me.

Bottom line? This book just didn’t work for me.

3/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book

Review: The Undertaker’s Daughter by Sara Blaedel

The Undertaker’s Daughter
by Sara Blaedel

The Undertaker's Daughter

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 320

Read: Nov. 26 –28, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: NetGalley

 

 

Blurb: Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen.  Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: her father–who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on Ilka and her mother more than three decades ago–has died.  And he’s left Ilka something in his will: his funeral home.  In Racine, Wisconsin.

Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn’t heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin.  Desperately hoping to gain some insight into her father’s life, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father’s things before preparing the business for a quick sale.

But shortly after her arrival, one of the bodies in the morgue is vandalized. The dead man, Mike, was suspected of killing his girlfriend in high school, but disappeared from Racine and was never seen again–until recently. Disturbed by the attack, Ilka resolves to find out what really happened all those years ago….


Review: I hadn’t signed on to my NetGalley account in probably more than a year … I’m not exactly sure what made me log in randomly one day last week, but I figured why not? I browsed around a little bit and checked out my auto-approved options … this book was one of those. So I figured I’d give it a shot – the blurb appealed to me almost immediately. Plus I have a friend who lives like 30 minutes from Racine, so I thought it would be interesting to read a book set there!

So what was my opinion? This book was extremely easy for me to read. I flew through it in 2 days flat. But …. it wasn’t necessarily compelling I suppose you could say. I think I was expecting this to be more mystery/thriller than this ended up being. I expected Ilka to follow through on the “find out what really happened” part mentioned in the blurb. That whole aspect of the book seemed to take more of a backseat. Yes, we did “find out what really happened” but it was not because Ilka solved the case – like I was sort of expecting.

I enjoyed Ilka’s character to a certain extent. I didn’t care for her very relaxed opinion towards sex at all. And I didn’t find it very believable that someone who had been a school photographer back home could suddenly start dealing with dead bodies (some in pretty nasty shape) with little to no problem. I did appreciate her drive and resolve to turn her father’s funeral home around. But honestly, she’s still sort of an enigma to me. The character development was a little bit all over the place. Every character had their quirks that were discussed at some point, but I never really felt like I got to know any of them. They were all still shrouded in mystery…. maybe that was supposed to be the draw of this series?

I’m not exactly sure what more to say. It really wasn’t a bad book … it just wasn’t what I expected it to be. I needed just a little bit more mystery in this book. And more character development. Plus … it ended in a cliffhanger – just, no! A huge pet peeve. I’m not sure I’ll read more in this series as it is released, but I do look forward to trying out Ms. Blaedel’s Louise Rick series in the future.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

The Perfect Girl
by Gilly Macmillan

The Perfect Girl

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 464

Read: Aug. 1 –26, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads

 


Blurb
: Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead. In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all.


Review: I was excited to see this as August’s selection on Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads (especially after not being at all interested in July’s selection…). I had never read anything by Ms. Macmillan, but I do have What She Knew on my shelf. So I was eager to jump right into this one!!

Overall, I enjoyed the book. But I did have some issues with it. First, there was all this build-up to the climax and then I was ultimately let down. I mean, you have all these people telling the story how they saw it and then you just end it with a brief mention of an arrest and sentence … and that’s it? It was a little disappointing to me and I felt like there could have been just a little more to the story.

There was also the entire side story with Sam’s character – what was the point of him being mentioned at all? Ok, I take that back…. as Zoe’s attorney for her “incident” he definitely did deserve a mention. But beyond that it felt totally unnecessary.

I keep going back and forth wondering if the fact that I read this book in spurts every day with it being part of Serial Reads hampered my opinion of this one. Maybe then the flow of it would have felt a little more natural? I’m not sure. I’m still pretty sure that when you spend 95% of the book with the entire lead-up to the who-dun-it then you’re going to have a little bit of a let down no matter what because 5% is not enough time to wrap it all up without feeling rushed.

I never really felt entirely vested in any of the characters. Zoe was very off-putting to me. Chris was a slime-ball from the beginning. Tessa was irresponsible. Lucas was just kind of there. Richard was ridiculous. Sam was pointless. It was all one big cluster…. ha! I don’t know. I’m still scratching my head as to how I did enjoy this one so much. I did find it to be very readable. And I was very interested in knowing what happened to Zoe’s mom, Maria.

Either way, I did ultimately like this book and am definitely looking forward to reading more from Ms. Macmillan.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: Law and Disorder by Heather Graham

Law and Disorder
by Heather Graham

Law and Disorder

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 256

Read: June 1 – 22, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Barnes & Noble Serial Reads

 

Blurb: Desperate to escape her kidnappers, Kody Cameron can turn to only one man…and he’s holding a gun. Outnumbered and trapped in the deadly Everglades, she has little recourse, but something in this captor’s eyes makes her believe she can trust him. Does she dare to take the risk?

Undercover agent Nick Connolly has met Kody before and knows she might very well blow his cover. Though determined to maintain his facade, he can’t let Kody die. He won’t. And his decision to change his own rules of law and order are about to make all hell break loose.


Review: This was the June selection on Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads. Having enjoyed the last two months’ selections, I was eager to see what would be on the agenda for June. This one didn’t really do much for me.

I don’t read a lot of romance to begin with. So I was a little leery to give this one a go, but I figured it was free so why not. (Plus I unexpectedly enjoyed Beastly last month.) It left me with a definite “eh” feeling. I think a lot of my problem was that I found Kody’s character to be pretty foolish. I also felt like the storyline was rushed.

I’ve never read anything by Heather Graham before and I have a really bad feeling that this was not necessarily a good place for me to start. But I finished it and while it didn’t really appeal all that much to me, I’m sure romance readers will enjoy it.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, F, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly
by Alex Flinn

Beastly

Copyright: 2007

Pages: 336

Read: May 5-25, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Barnes & Noble Serial Reads

 

 

BlurbI am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.


Review: This book was the title featured on Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads for the month of May. I was really hesitant to start it to be honest, it’s completely outside of my comfort zone. Not only is this book a YA, it’s also a fairy tale re-telling. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this … I mean how many ways can Beauty and the Beast really be spun? But I figured it was free and if I didn’t like it I could always walk away from it.

Since I’m reviewing it here, I obviously finished it. It was a cute read for the most part. You could definitely tell it was a little dated (MySpace?!?) and more juvenile than I normally read. But overall it wasn’t a bad book. It was a pretty standard re-telling in my opinion. But there was just enough there to make it feel a little more original.

Not a bad book, but probably not one that will be very memorable for me in the long run. But it was good to read something out of my comfort zone. I’d recommend it if you’re into young adult and/or re-tellings.

 

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!)

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book

Review: Wildcat by Sara Paretsky

Wildcat
by Sara Paretsky

Wildcat.jpg
Copyright: 2017

Pages: 46

Read: March 1, 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

Blurb: Sara Paretsky, one of the most legendary crime writers of all time, presents an exclusive and thrilling short story featuring beloved investigator V.I. Warshawski as a ten-year-old girl on her first investigation.

V.I. Warshawski developed her strength and sense of justice at a very early age.  It’s 1966 and on the south side of Chicago racial tensions are at an all-time high. Dr. Martin Luther King is leading marches at Marquette Park and many in the neighborhood are very angry. With nothing but a bicycle, eighty-two cents in her pocket, and her Brownie camera hanging from her wrist, Victoria sneaks off to Marquette Park alone to protect her father Tony, a police officer who is patrolling the crowds. What begins as a small adventure and a quest to find her father and make sure he is safe turns into something far more dangerous.  As the day goes on and the conflict at the park reaches a fever pitch Victoria realizes she must use her courage and ingenuity if she wants to keep herself and her family members out of harm’s way.


Review: Confession: I’ve never read any of the V.I. Warshawski books. So when I was sent the widget to this short story I thought it would be interesting to know about V.I.’s first case – from when she was just a child. I was very drawn to the fact that it was going to be set in 1966 with the racial tensions experienced in the 60s. It’s very timely when you think about what we have seen happen these past few years.

So I knew it was a short story, which isn’t normally my thing, but I figured it would be a quick and easy read to knock out. It was quick, but I had a little trouble following the story in places. Mainly I found myself re-reading entire passages because I had trouble keeping who was talking straight. I don’t know if it was because I was unfamiliar with the characters or my attention span at the time.

So overall I thought this was a fun and interesting introduction to V.I. Warshawski for me. It definitely left me eager to start this series sooner rather than later … and I already have the first book in the series on my shelf! So even if short stories aren’t your thing, I would definitely recommend giving this one a go.