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.

Review: Drop Dead Gorgeous by Linda Howard

Drop Dead Gorgeous
by Linda Howard

dropCopyright: 2006

Pages: 347

Read: Feb. 4-6, 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Library

Blurb: Blair Mallory has already survived one murder attempt. Now, while planning her wedding and dealing with holiday-season madness, Blair once again dodges a bullet. Or more precisely, a Buick. And though the driver’s identity remains a mystery, his or her murderous intentions are all too clear.

Or are they? After all, Blair’s homicidal ex-husband and his partner in crime/wife are safely behind bars. And even Wyatt Bloodsworth, her police detective groom-to-be, isn’t inclined to believe she’s being targeted again. All of which makes Blair wonder if her close call was simply a mishap. But the wondering stops when she narrowly cheats death again in another seemingly innocent accident. Two strikes is all it takes to convince Blair that she’s back in someone’s crosshairs. And the only thing more frightening is that Wyatt still doubts her. That means this time, no one will be watching Blair’s back when she sets out to get the drop on her would-be killer–before whoever it is finally drops her.


Review: Here’s the deal. This is wayyyyy out of my comfort zone. I do not read very many romance novels. It’s just never been my thing. I picked this one up from the library because (1) I needed a romance book that was on a particular Goodreads listopia for a GR challenge, (2) It had a pink cover – again, needed for a GR challenge and (3) My library had a copy of it on the shelf. That was it. I knew going into it that it was technically the second book in a series. I didn’t think it would matter much because (1) I didn’t think I’d be all that invested in the characters/story and (2) I honestly didn’t care – I figured it would be a read it and forget about it book.

What I didn’t anticipate was actually enjoying this book. Ha! I mean, it’s not like I’m going to go out and buy every Linda Howard book ever published. Nor will I be trading all my mystery/thriller books in for shelves upon shelves of romance novels. But it made me realize that I should probably branch out more into the romance genre than I have in the past. It was actually enjoyable to me.

Now that’s not to say it was perfect. Because let me tell you – Blair’s character was the most annoying ever! Like seriously! She was so ridiculous at times I wanted to strangle her. Who makes lists upon lists of “transgressions” that their fiancée does? And by “transgressions” I’m talking about things like “made fun of for having a period.” Stupid stuff. I don’t know what was up with her personality, but it was harsh and not very likable to me. Now she was pretty funny at times, but no amount of humor could possibly make up for the sheer irritation she causes.

So what’s the take away from this? You may potentially be seeing more romance novels mentioned here on my blog. It was a quick read that I liked.

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.

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.

2015.12 REVIEW – Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent
by Veronica Roth

Copyright:2012
Pages: 525
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: March 14 – March 23, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 12
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new
Series: Divergent Trilogy #2

InsurgentBlurb: One choice can transform you– or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


Review: Just last week I finished Divergent. I had picked it up for a Goodreads challenge that was asking us to read outside our normal genres. I never dreamed that I would fall in love with it. I enjoyed it so much so that I immediately went out and purchased a brand new copy of Insurgent (I so rarely buy any book new, so that should say a lot about my feelings). I immediately started reading it, too. Something I also very rarely do.

Then about a quarter of the way through I just about stalled out. This book was not nearly as enjoyable and entertaining as Divergent. But I was determined that I would stick it out and finish it. And I finally did.

And boy am I glad that I did. Because that ending … now I have to get my hands on the last book in the trilogy, Allegiant. I have to know what happens now.

As I stated above, I felt like this book was not up to par with the first book. There was just too much drag in the middle portion of the book for my taste. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t like what was going on in places or if it was because I don’t normally read series books back-to-back to avoid burn-out. But I felt like this was a much weaker installment than Divergent. I can only hope that Ms. Roth finishes out the trilogy with a strong bang.

There’s not much else I can say about this book. Based on the last two pages alone, I’m glad that I spent all that time reading the previous 523 pages. Those last two pages gave me hope that just maybe the trilogy will wrap up with a bang.

But then again, most of the reviews on Goodreads say otherwise. I guess I’ll have to get my hands on a copy of Allegiant ASAP and decide for myself.

 

 

2015.10 REVIEW – Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments
by Rainbow Rowell

Copyright:2011
Pages: 323
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: March 4 – March 6, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 10
Format: Print
Source: Purchased online at powells.com
Series: N/A

AttachmentsBlurb: Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work email. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious emails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now – reading other people’s email. When he applied to be “Internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers – not writing up a report eery time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained – and captivated – by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say…?


Review: So earlier this year I signed up for some Goodreads challenges, one of those was to read 14 books from the group’s moderators’ favorite genres. Talk about having to really expand my horizons. One of the genres is chick-lit. Not something I read. Ever. And something that made me a little nervous. But I went searching for a chick-lit book that I felt I would be able to handle (i.e. – not throw across the room in total and utter disgust). Somehow I stumbled upon Rainbow Rowell.

Now, I’d have to be in a complete hole to have never heard of Rainbow Rowell. She seems to have taken the book blogosphere by storm since her debut in 2011. And while I will admit that a couple of her books have sounded a little bit interesting to me, I never took the plunge and gave one a try. Until now.

And I can honestly say that I didn’t throw the book across the room in total and utter disgust. But don’t consider me a chick-lit convert just yet, either.

Overall, I enjoyed the first 98% of this book. I had a lot of fun with Beth and Jennifer’s emails. I loved the parts revolving around Lincoln. He was so screwed up it was ridiculous, but I found him to be endearing all the same. I wish I had a girlfriend relationship like Beth and Jennifer (sure, I have friends that I tell certain stuff to, but no one I can really pour my heart and soul out to). Lincoln’s mom is so dysfunctional it’s not even funny – and I could end up being the type of mother she was … not wanting her baby boy to ever leave her.

But then there’s that other 2% that just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was the ending. I. Hated. It. Pure and simple. It made me realize why I don’t read chick-lit. And it really felt at total odds with the rest of the book. It just didn’t work for me. Too cookie-cutter, everything works out for my taste. Just yuck.

So overall I’m glad that I expanded my horizons and read something outside of my comfort zone. And I might even give another Rainbow Rowell book a chance in the future.

I can’t say that I would have really missed anything if I had never read this book. But I can’t say that it was a waste of my time either. It was a decent book for a couple of snowed-in days. But that ending did it no justice in my opinion, and also majorly affected my overall rating of the book.

2015.1 REVIEW – Vixen 03 by Clive Cussler

Vixen 03
by Clive Cussler

Copyright: 1978
Pages: 362
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Jan. 1 – Jan. 4, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 1
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Dirk Pitt #5

Vixen 03Blurb: 1954. “Vixen 03” is down. The plane, bound for the Pacific carrying thirty-six Doomsday bombs — canisters armed with quick-death germs of unbelievable potency — vanishes. Vixen has in fact crashed into an ice-covered lake in Colorado. 1988. Dirk Pitt, who heroically raised the “Titanic,” discovers the wreckage of “Vixen 03.” But two deadly canisters are missing. They’re in the hands of a terrorist group. Their lethal mission: to sail a battleship seventy-five miles up the Potomac and blast Washington, D.C., to kingdom come. Only Dirk can stop them.


Review: I have already declared 2015 the year that I will be reading what I want, when I want. The pressure is off. No review copies will be coming in (unless they look really good …… I have no self-control, after all). So when I went “shopping” on my shelves for the first book to start off 2015 with, this was the one that stuck out to me.

And I found it to be a really fun read. It really caught my attention from the beginning with Vixen 03 going missing and then Dirk finding it in Colorado. To be honest, I felt like the middle portion of the book was the weakest. I personally could have done without the African political storyline. It just made the book drag on in my opinion. When the story centered back on Dirk and the bombs, it picked back up again.

I would recommend it, but I have a feeling that it probably isn’t the best installment in the Dirk Pitt series. But I am definitely looking forward to catching up a bit more in this series this year …. there’s only a gazillion more books to go 🙂