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!)

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.

2015.28 REVIEW – Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes
by Karin Slaughter

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 67
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 22-24, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 28
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss via Publisher
Series: N/A

Blonde Hair, Blue EyesBlurb:
 A beautiful young girl was walking down the street?when suddenly…

Julia Carroll knows that too many stories start that way. Beautiful, intelligent, a nineteen-year-old college freshman, she should be carefree. But instead she is frightened. Because girls are disappearing.

A fellow student, Beatrice Oliver, is missing. A homeless woman called Mona-No-Name is missing. Both taken off the street. Both gone without a trace.

Julia is determined to find out the reasons behind their disappearances. And she doesn’t want to be next…


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

It’s funny, I used to avoid short stories at all costs. This is partly because I sometimes feel like you don’t get the character development that draws me into a book as much when the story is so short. But these last couple of months I have been drawn to them more and more because I simply don’t always have the time to commit to a full length novel. But that’s all besides the point of this review…

I was originally offered the chance to sign up for the book blast of this book a couple of weeks ago. I had stated in that post that I had yet to get to reading this one. I finally got to it … and I was hooked!

I guess I should have read the blurb to this one AND the blurb to her upcoming full-length novel, Pretty Girls, to know that this short story was actually a prelude for the later release. Which would explain the twisty ending to this short story. And it definitely left me wanting to pick up Pretty Girls ASAP!!

I really enjoyed Julia’s short story. I found her intriguing and believable. I enjoyed seeing her interact with her college friends as well as her sisters. On the one hand, I suppose I knew where this story was going to end up, but I was unprepared for the feeling of shock I had as I flipped that last page on my Kindle.  I would definitely highly recommend getting your hands on this short story.

Ms. Slaughter is a writer that I have only begun to just recently discover. I wish I knew why, but either way, she’s definitely caught my interest now! Highly recommended and I can’t wait to read Pretty Girls soon!!

2015.25 REVIEW – The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

The Night Sister
by Jennifer McMahon

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 322
Rating: 5/5
Read: July 25-31, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 25
Format: E-Book
Source: Requested from Edelweiss
Series: N/A

The Night SisterBlurb:
 Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past, something that ruined their friendship forever.

Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock’s next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.


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 kept Jennifer McMahon’s books on my radar since devouring The One I Left Behind and The Winter PeopleSo I was thrilled to catch this one on Edelweiss while browsing … even more excited to get approval!!

The way this book unfolds is so impressive. It’s like Ms. McMahon just lightly peels away layer after layer until you’re finally at the heart and soul of the story. The pacing is just superb. The suspense keeps you on your toes. I really, really loved this book.

I enjoyed the flashbacks. It was interesting to see the different perspectives from Rose/Sylvia to Amy/Piper/Margot and then on to Piper/Margot. The way it spanned some 50 years to reveal the intricate details of a family’s secrets … just, wow! And then when it all came to fruition at the end, there were a couple of revelations that made the book come together perfectly.

I mean, really, I don’t know what I could possibly say negative about this book. I throughly enjoyed reading it. This one will definitely make my “best of” books read at the end of the year.

Bottom line … read this book! And read some of Ms. McMahon’s backlist too – you won’t be sorry!

 

2015.23 REVIEW – The Forgotten Ones by Brian McGilloway

The Forgotten Ones
by Brian McGilloway

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 256
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 19 – 25, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 23
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss
Series: Lucy Black #3

The Forgotten OnesBlurb:
 The body of an elderly man is hauled out of the rushing water of the River Foyle, cold dead. Detective Lucy Black is called in to investigate when it becomes evident that this was not a suicide: the man’s body was embalmed before it ever entered the water.

Confounded and exhausted, Lucy heads home to review the case in quiet; but there will be no rest for her tonight. She’s barely in the front door when a neighbor knocks because his wife’s sister has been attacked and they need her help.

As a string of strange crimes is unspooled throughout the city, Lucy is pulled in countless different directions… until she realizes there may be something dark and dangerous connecting everything.


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

Lucy Black. Oh how I love you! I mean seriously, I absolutely adore this book series!! There’s just something about Lucy. And Tom Fleming. And Lucy’s mom. I just have some weird love fest with these characters. I can’t help it. I almost missed out on this one, I was just randomly searching Edelweiss one day and came across it. I was so excited to see that there was more Lucy Black!

In this installment there’s a lot going on. Lucy definitely has her hands full. Her father’s Alzheimer’s is rapidly progressing (such a sad, sad thing to watch happen to family members). She has to figure out why an embalmed body is found floating in a river. Then she has to deal with a neighbor’s family member having an abusive partner. Oh, her boyfriend wants her to move in with her. Then there’s another string of murders. A string of murders that she has to figure out why they all seem to be connected. There’s a lot going on.

If I had to tell you the one weak part of this whole book it’s that there was so much going on. It was almost like there were too many dead bodies for me to keep track of. I eventually couldn’t remember which name went with which murder. I understood how they all connected in the end, but it was a lot of confusion for a little bit on my end. Now, that might just be because I read this book in bits and spurts, never really committing a whole lot of time at once. But it didn’t really slow down my enjoyment of this book whatsoever.

After about the 60% mark of this book (darned Kindle – I want page numbers, not percentages!), this book just absolutely flew by. There was a lot of action going on and I could hardly wait to get to the end to see how on earth everything ended up. The writing was excellent, the storyline was fast paced and exciting. The character development is exceptional. Overall it’s a book that I just want to gush about.

Truly, I can’t say enough about this series. I fell in love with Lucy after reading Little Girl Lost and Someone You Know. I seriously hope you would give Mr. McGilloway’s Lucy Black series a chance. While I personally am always a stickler for reading books in order, I can tell you that this book would read relatively well as a standalone.

Bottom line …. read this book! (Read this series!)

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 🙂

 

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.