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.

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Review: Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway

Bad Blood
by Brian McGilloway

Bad Blood

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: June 13th 2017
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062684558 (ISBN13: 9780062684554)
Series: DS Lucy Black #4
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Blurb: A young man is found in a riverside park, his head bashed in with a rock. One clue is left behind to uncover his identity—an admission stamp for the local gay club.

DS Lucy Black is called in to investigate. As Lucy delves into the community, tensions begin to rise as the man’s death draws the attention of the local Gay Rights group to a hate-speech Pastor who, days earlier, had advocated the stoning of gay people and who refuses to retract his statement.

Things become further complicated with the emergence of a far-right group targeting immigrants in a local working-class estate. As their attacks escalate, Lucy and her boss, Tom Fleming, must also deal with the building power struggle between an old paramilitary commander and his deputy that threatens to further enflame an already volatile situation.

Hatred and complicity abound in McGilloway’s new Lucy Black thriller. Compelling and current, Bad Blood is an expertly crafted and acutely observed page-turner, delivering the punch that readers of Little Lost Girl have grown to expect.


Review: This is the fourth book in the Lucy Black series and I have read the previous three (Little Girl Lost, Someone You Know, The Forgotten Ones ) and thoroughly enjoyed all of them! So when I was pitched this book I eagerly accepted it to review. I was looking forward to falling back in with Lucy and Tom.

Gay rights, immigration, and the legal issues of drugs were all integral parts of this book. The way they were portrayed definitely leaves the reader with some tough questions to ask themselves – how would you react in certain situations that these characters were placed in? I will say that going this route with the storyline gave this book an extremely current feel. While this book is set in Ireland right before the Brexit, these are some of the same issues that plague the United States as well right now.

I still really enjoy Lucy’s character. Theres’s just something about her that I enjoy. She’s a smart cop, but she’s also got a lot of heart. It’s a nice combination to see. There seemed to be a lot more interaction with other police officers in this book than I remember in the previous books. It was nice to see some other secondary characters get quite a bit of attention in this installment.

So while the political issues brought up in this book definitely have a current vibe, I hope it won’t be too off-putting to certain readers. Luckily, I am still looking forward to seeing more of Lucy Black in the future and will be eagerly awaiting the next installment from this series!


Author Bio:

Brian McGilloway

Brian McGilloway was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling Lucy Black series, all to be published by Witness. Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife and their four children.

Catch Up With Our Author On:Website 🔗Goodreads 🔗Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!


GIVEAWAY

There is a Rafflecopter giveaway! There will be 3 winners of one (1) non-Kindle eBook coupon for a copy of THE FORGOTTEN ONES by Brian McGilloway. The giveaway begins on June 24 and runs through August 1, 2017. You can find the Rafflecopter link HERE.


Excerpt

The hall was already packed by the time Detective Inspector Tom Fleming arrived. The air was sweet with perfume and talc and, beneath that, from the farmers still wearing their work clothes, the scent of sweat and the smell of the earth.
The congregation were on their feet, being led in the opening hymn by Pastor James Nixon. Fleming smiled apologetically at those he squeezed past to get to a free seat in the third row from the back. The hymn finished, the assembly took their seats just as Fleming reached his, and settled to listen to the words of Pastor Nixon.
‘My brothers and sisters, it is a great honour to be here with you this evening and to see so many of you have taken the time to come and pray with me.’ His voice was strong despite his age, a rich baritone still carrying the inflections of his native Ballymena accent.
‘But it is a time of great challenge for us all. Daily, all good people face an assault on their morality with the rampant homosexual agenda that assails us and belittles everything we hold to be true and dear. Men of conscience are tried for refusing to make a cake celebrating homosexuality or print leaflets and posters furthering that agenda. And on the other side of the border, the Irish Republic has voted to allow homosexuals to marry, as if two women playing house is no different to the consummated union of a man and a woman. As if it is not a perversion which shames us all.
A few voices appended his comment with ‘Amen’.
Nixon raised his hands, acknowledging their support. ‘There are those who would silence me, silence us. They tell us we must accept homosexuals in our town, our shops, allow homosexual bars and public houses to operate on our streets. We must allow sodomites to teach our children and to corrupt our young. We must stay silent while a new Gomorrah is built next to our homes and farms, our shops and schools. They say I am dangerous. They say I preach hatred. They say I should be silent. But I say this: I say that there is no danger in truth. I say that there is no hatred in goodness. And I say that I will not be silent.’
Another chorus of ‘Amens’ greeted his proclamation, accompanied by a smattering of applause which began at the front and rippled its way through the hall.
‘I will not stand idly by as our families are exposed to sin and depravity. I will not countenance the laws of the land being used to protect profane persons, allowing them to indulge their lustful practices, forcing those of us with consciences to humour this lifestyle. It is an abomination. The people who practise it are abominations and, like those before them, they will end in fire and brimstone.’
Fleming glanced around at the others in the congregation. While one or two shifted uncomfortably in their seats, for the most part the listeners sat intently waiting for Nixon to continue.
‘Friends, only last week, I read of an African nation – a heathen nation, a Godless nation – who arrested two men for homosexual acts. One of these men was sixteen. Sixteen! And do you know what they did to the pair of them? They stoned them. They took them out of the town and they threw rocks at them until the pair of them were dead. And do you know what I thought? Shall I tell you?’
An elderly lady in the front row called out ‘Yes’, to the amusement of those around her. Nixon smiled mildly at her, as if indulging her.
‘Stoning was too good for those men. Every rock that struck them was a just reward for their sinfulness, their immorality, their ungodly behaviour. Every drop of their blood that stained the ground was a reminder that they deserved to die. It was the wages of their sin!’
***
Excerpt from Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway. Copyright © 2017 by Brian McGilloway. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Review: Gone by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Gone
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Gone

Copyright: 2013

Pages: 386

Read: June 23 – 29, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Mexican strongman Manuel Perrine slaughters rivals as effortlessly as he wears his trademark white linen suits. Detective Michael Bennett is the only U.S. official ever to succeed in putting him behind bars. But now Perrine is out and vows to kill Bennett and everyone dear to him.

Bennett and his ten adopted children are on a secluded California farm, guarded by the FBI’s witness protection program. When Perrine begins a campaign of assassinations across the country, the FBI asks Bennett to risk it all – his careers, his family, his own life – to fight Perrine’s war on America.


Review: This is the sixth book in the Michael Bennett series. I read the fifth installment, I Michael Bennett, back in April and was left with this huge cliffhanger – the Bennett’s being placed into the witness protection program. So I was anxious to get to this book sooner rather than later. I immediately ordered it off of Paperbackswap. So I was glad that it fit a recent callout for a Goodreads challenge I’m doing. It gave me a reason to pick it up.

And while this book wasn’t necessarily a bad book, it just could have been better. I think it’s mainly because Michael Bennett was out of his element. I wanted him on a case, working a homicide. And the parts where the farm and whatnot was described, just didn’t feel right for this series. It definitely picked up once Bennett was called into the thick of things with the investigation to find Perrine.

So I’m glad I finally got the resolution I was looking for after the fifth book. I’m not entirely convinced that it needed an entire book in and of itself, but hey, I’ll continue to read the Michael Bennett series, I still like his character a lot. And I’m anxious to see if him and Mary Catherine will finally stop denying the inevitable and just get together already!!

Review: Sutton by J.R. Moehringer

Sutton
by J.R. Moehringer

Sutton

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 334

Read: June 13 – 24, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchased New

 

Blurb: Willie Sutton was born in the squalid Irish slums of Brooklyn, in the first year of the twentieth century, and came of age at a time when banks were out of control. If they weren’t failing outright, causing countless Americans to lose their jobs and homes, they were being propped up with emergency bailouts. Trapped in a cycle of panics, depressions and soaring unemployment, Sutton saw only one way out, only one way to win the girl of his dreams.

So began the career of America’s most successful bank robber. Over three decades Sutton became so good at breaking into banks, and such a master at breaking out of prisons, police called him one of the most dangerous men in New York, and the FBI put him on its first-ever Most Wanted List.

But the public rooted for Sutton. He never fired a shot, after all, and his victims were merely those bloodsucking banks. When he was finally caught for good in 1952, crowds surrounded the jail and chanted his name.

Blending vast research with vivid imagination, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer brings Willie Sutton blazing back to life. In Moehringer’s retelling, it was more than poverty or rage at society that drove Sutton. It was one unforgettable woman. In all Sutton’s crimes and confinements, his first love (and first accomplice) was never far from his thoughts. And when Sutton finally walked free – a surprise pardon on Christmas Eve, 1969 – he immediately set out to find her.

Poignant, comic, fast-paced and fact-studded, Sutton tells a story of economic pain that feels eerily modern, while unfolding a story of doomed love that is forever timeless.


Review: This book has been sitting on my shelf for a few years now and I decided it was finally time to get to it. Maybe I had too high of expectations for this one. I have been reading more historical fiction this year than normal, and they’ve all been winners. So I went into this one thinking I’d really enjoy it. But it ultimately fell a little flat for me.

I found it hard to get into. I’m not sure if it was the writing style with the constant flashbacks or the actually story itself. But something just didn’t click very well with me. Obviously it wasn’t a terrible book, because I did finish it. But it’s not something that appealed to me a great deal. I found Willie’s character to be completely unreliable at the end and I struggled with a big revelation near the very end of the book. I wasn’t prepared really for how things turned out and so I was a little frustrated by that. So this one was just an “ok” book for me.

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.

Review: Fuzzy Navel by J.A. Konrath

Fuzzy Navel
by J.A. Konrath

Fuzzy Navel

Copyright: 2008

Pages: 310

Read: June 10 – 11, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Things are going well for Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels of the Chicago Police Department. She has solved some of the city’s toughest homicides, and Alex Kork, one of the most dangerous criminals she ever arrested, is finally out of the picture. But things turn sour quickly when a group of vigilantes on a murderous spree decide to take down a cop and the people she cares about, and they get downright awful when Jack discovers Kork may not be dead after all…


Review: Ok, I’m not going to lie here … this book was not up to par in comparison to the others in the series.

This particular installment is set over the course of maybe 8 or 9 hours and it’s definitely action packed … but that’s about all that was positive about it…. It started out interesting with the Alex Kork aspect and I even enjoyed the beginning of the vigilante part of the book. But then the two storylines converged and it just didn’t work as well for me.

The only reason I read this book as quickly as I did was because it was the only book I had with me on my train ride home from Chicago. I just had a lot higher expectations for this book. I think a part of me was a little disappointed that there was no real case to solve with Jack and her partner Herb. The humor that is prevalent in all of these books was just plain stupid at times because it was so inappropriate.

This one just didn’t work much for me. It’s definitely a weak link in the rest of this series. So if you’ve never read from this series before, do not start with this one. I’m still looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Cherry Bomb, but that’s really just because there’s a cliffhanger (another pet peeve!) at the end of this one…

Review: Knoll by Stephen Hillard

Knoll
by Stephen Hillard

Knoll

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 274

Read: May 22-29, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

 

Blurb: Bus McIntyre, small-town lawyer and Sixties survivor, is presented with evidence from the cold-case murder of his father Dean, a hard-drinking cop, four decades ago. It reveals Dean’s ties to a dead Mafia kingpin – and the assassination of JFK. Meanwhile, Banner McCoy, a young NSA data analyst assigned to a project code-named KNOLL, goes into hiding when she learns its objective: eliminate anyone with information on what really happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963. When Bus falls into the agency’s sights, all paths lead to a small Louisiana town full of secrets, where the late don’s aged but indefatigable hit man awaits, determined to tie up all loose ends. 


Review: If you have followed my blog for any time, you know by now that I am a sucker for anything JFK related. It’s a strange obsession I have. I gobble everything up about him, his life, his family, his presidency, his assassination, etc. So it was no surprise that when I was pitched this book I immediately jumped on the opportunity.

I will say that this book started out really slow for me. I had a hard time getting into the flow of the writing. It was a little bit of a strange start, really. But once I finally got into the book, I found it to be quite enjoyable.

I think my main complaint (if you can even call it that…) is that this book could have been a lot longer. I felt like there were a lot of things that could have been expanded upon. First of all there could have been a lot more to Banner’s story. This book kind of opens up and you’re just thrown into everything. I think that’s what had me so confused in the beginning. I felt like there could have been a lot more meat to the story than there actually was. A lot more background would have been nice as well. It’s a fine line sometimes, though. I know I have complained numerous times that a book could have been 100 pages shorter … this one I just feel could have been 100 pages longer!

Even so, without that “meat” I would have preferred a little more of, I still enjoyed this book. It was an interesting spin on the JFK assassination. I would definitely recommend this book to JFK junkies like myself as well as mystery fans.

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