4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Eve Dallas, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Holiday in Death by J.D. Robb

Holiday in Death
by J.D. Robb

Holiday in Death

Copyright: 1998

Pages: 308

Read: Nov. 19-24, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: No one likes to be alone during the holidays. And for New York’s most posh dating service, Personally Yours, it is the season to bring lonely hearts together. But Lieutenant Eve Dallas, on the trail of a ritualistic serial killer, has made a disturbing discovery: All of the killer’s victims have been traced to Personally Yours. As the murders continue, Eve enters an elite world of people searching for their one true love – and a killer searching for his next victim. A world where the power of love leads men and women into the ultimate act of betrayal…


Review: This is the 7th book in the Eve Dallas series and I’m pretty sure it had been over a year since I had read the 6th book. If I don’t read more than one a year, I will never catch up on this series (!). Anyway … this one was pretty decent.

Be forewarned, if rape is difficult for you to read about you need to avoid this books as it is a large part of the plot line and can be graphic at times.

All that aside though, I did enjoy this particular installment. I enjoyed seeing a little more of Peabody. And of course I always enjoy Eve and Roarke.

Overall a good read … and I need to read more of these books!

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4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Lucas Davenport, RATING, Read in 2018, S, SERIES

Review: Night Prey by John Sandford

Night Prey
by John Sandford

Copyright: 1994

Pages: 384

Read: Nov. 11-14, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: John Sandford’s acclaimed Prey novels have taken readers into the minds of murderers and manhunters. Now his brilliant detective, Lucas Davenport, faces an equally brilliant – and elusive – opponent. A madman who becomes obsessed with a beautiful woman – and carves her initials into the flesh of his victims. 


Review: It had been over a year since the last time I picked up a Lucas Davenport novel, so I was excited to jump back in with Lucas … especially since I had so enjoyed the previous installment. I was most definitely looking forward to the 6th book. And this one did not disappoint! 

This is one twisted and crazy read. It was gruesome and violent. But I still thoroughly enjoyed it! Mr. Sandford definitely comes up with some creepy and clever killers for Lucas to have to hunt down. I really enjoyed the addition of Meagan’s character, even though I knew she wouldn’t be a long-lasting one (she was dying of cancer). It was interesting to see Lucas work with a female “partner” on this case. 

I am generally a huge supporter of reading series books in order (I’m actually kind of fanatical about it…) but I really think this book would read well as a standalone if needed. Either way, I definitely would recommend picking up this backlist book if you are looking for a fast paced thriller. 

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING

Review: The Yard by Alex Grecian

The Yard
by Alex Grecian

The Yard

 

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 422

Read: Oct. 21-26, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

 

Blurb: Victorian London: a violent cesspool of squalid depravity. Only twelve detectives – the Murder Squad – are expected to solve the thousands of crimes committed here each month. Formed after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure in capturing Jack the Ripper, the Murder Squad suffers the brunt of public contempt. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own…

A Scotland Yard inspector has been found stuffed in a black steamer trunk at Euston Square Station, his eyes and mouth sewn shut. When Walter Day, the squad’s new hire, is assigned to the case, he finds a strange ally in Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the Yard’s first forensic pathologist. Their grim conclusion: This was not just a random, bizarre murder. It appears that the police – possibly the squad itself – are being targeted, and the devious killer shows no sign of stopping before completing his grim duty. But Inspector Day has one more surprise, something even more shocking than the crimes: the killer’s motive.


Review: I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I usually enjoy historical fiction when it is wrapped up with a mystery. I’m so glad that I did finally get around to this book because I really did enjoy it.

My one main criticism would be that we really knew who the killer was entirely too early. It was still interesting to watch the case unfold, but I’m just not a fan of knowing who the killer is so early in the book.

I can’t tell you how atmospheric this book felt to me. I really felt like I was walking the streets in London in the 1800s, I felt like Mr. Grecian really captured the feel of the city during that time period.

So overall I’m thrilled that I read this book and it gives me a new series to follow (like I needed that!!) But yes, I would definitely recommend this book to both historical fiction lovers and mystery lovers. I felt like it was a perfect blend of the two genres and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018, U-V-W

Review: An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America by Henry Wiencek

An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America
by Henry Wiencek

An Imperfect God

 

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 362

Read: Oct. 13-22, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: In this groundbreaking work, Henry Wiencek explores the first president’s life, his work, and his engagement with slavery. Born and raised among blacks and mixed-race people, Washington and his wife had blood ties to the slave community. Yet as a young man, he bought and sold slaves without scruple, even raffled off children to collect debts. Then, on the Revolutionary battlefields where he commanded both black and white troops, Washington’s attitudes began to change. This revelatory narrative documents for the first time the moral transformation that led to his decision – unique among the Founding Fathers – to emancipate his own slaves. Washington’s heroic stature as Father of Our Country is upheld in this superb portrait: now we see him in full as a man of his time and ahead of his time.


Review: Wow, can I just say that this was a really enjoyable read! It may be non-fiction and dealing with a pretty heavy subject matter, but it read so fast and was so good that I hardly even noticed… I was so drawn into it!

Now with that being said, I have to say that I’m not entirely sure that Mr. Wiencek completely hit the mark on what he was trying to accomplish in this book. Reading the blurb I went into this book thinking that he was really going to unravel George Washington and show a little bit more than what I had read in previous books. To some extent he certainly did accomplish that. However, there were multiple places that I felt like I could have been reading about slavery in general, not necessarily slavery as it related to George Washington.

I have never made any type of serious study into slavery and so a lot of things that I read in this book were just gut wrenching to me. I mean, I’m aware of the overall aspect of slavery as a whole, but there were a lot of things that I really didn’t know. It proved to be quite a difficult read at times. To think that people could actually treat other human beings in the manner that they did was just unfathomable to me. I still shudder at some of the stories and descriptions in this book.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s eye-opening and quite informative. If you’re looking for a basic overview of slavery during George Washington’s time, I feel like this is as good a place as any to start. I think that it’s a good place for people interested in learning more than just the basics of George Washington to learn some new information as well. It has definitely piqued my interest in studying more about slavery as a whole in the future.

Definitely recommended.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax
by Dorothy Gilman

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax

 

Copyright: 1970

Pages: 176

Read: Oct. 14-19, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Used book store

 

Blurb: When Emily Pollifax answered the phone that Sunday morning she quickly forgot about her Garden Club tea in the afternoon. The last time she had heard the voice on the other end of the line it had sent her off on a journey that plunged her into a wild tangle of secret agents and high adventure – an exciting change from her quiet life in the New Jersey suburbs. Now the man from the CIA was asking if she could leave immediately on a mission that would take her half-way across the world. What else could Mrs. Pollifax say but yes??


Review: Ok, so I had read the first Mrs. Pollifax book, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax back in 2016 and wasn’t really all that thrilled with it. But when I saw this one on the shelf at my favorite used bookstore I figured for $1 it wouldn’t kill me to give it another shot.

I’m glad I picked this one up that day. I thought this installment was much better than the first. I felt like I got to understand Mrs. Pollifax better. I felt like there was more meat to the story itself and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I really enjoyed the supporting characters in this installment, they really added to the story in a positive way.

I’ll definitely be on the hunt for book #3 in this series. I’m definitely glad I gave Mrs. Pollifax another shot!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799) by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799)
by James Thomas Flexner

George Washington Anguish and Farewell.jpg

 

Copyright: 1969, 1972

Pages: 503

Read: Sept. 14 – Oct. 11, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Powells.com

 

 

 

Blurb: George Washington: Anguish and Farewell is the fourth and final volume of one of the most distinguished American biographies of our generation. Covering the tumultuous years of Washington’s second term as President, his retirement, and his death, the book reveals the almost shattering pressures under which Washington struggled to maintain America’s unity during its first great peacetime testing as an independent nation.

The testing was regional: North versus South, East versus West. It’s a philosophical and political: Federalists versus Republicans, Hamilton versus Jefferson. And it was international: the upheaval accompanying the French Revolution, which threatened to draw the United States into a world war that would have stifled the growth of the infant republic and perhaps ignited civil conflicts on the streets and farms at home.

Disproving the contention that Washington allowed himself to be used by Hamilton, James Thomas Flexner has discovered unexpected dimensions in the stormy relationship between Washington and Jefferson. And Mr. Flexner’s exploration of Washington’s attitude towards slavery breaks significant new ground. He demonstrates that Washington’s growing unhappiness with slavery – he eventually freed his own bondsmen – was an important reason why Washington would not support Jefferson’s Virginia agrarianism to the exclusion of the alternative economic system espoused by Hamilton.

The book is intensely dramatic. It is also tinged with sadness, portraying Washington at a time when his struggle to keep the nation together was weakened by his own infirmities. With Washington’s retirement, his former brilliance became increasingly clouded by periods of confusion. When the time came, he was glad to die.

George Washington: Anguish and Farewell provides a brilliant counterpoint between Washington’s public and private lives. It is a narrative in which Washington not only thinks and acts, but lives. It takes the final measure of the great president as a hero – and as a man.


Review: This is the fourth and final book in James Thomas Flexner’s George Washington series. And honestly, I found it to be the best book of the series.

This particular book covers the time from the beginning of Washington’s second term up until his death. Perhaps it is because this time period was a little more interesting to me than that of Washington’s earlier years, but I definitely had a lot more interest in reading this book than I had the previous three.

As with the previous books in the series, this one was well-written and extremely well-researched. I also felt like this book was put together a little bit better than the last book (where I distinctly remember that there were things that felt a little out-of-place in certain areas).

I can’t say that reading this 4 book series was an easy road (it totaled up to 1,825 pages!), but I’m overall glad that I stuck it out and finished it because it definitely is a work of art in itself. It’s probably not the series for everyone, and definitely not for just the average reader. But if you are interested in taking a serious stab at learning more about our first President, this series is an amazing resource.

For quick reference, my reviews of Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3

 

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Michael Bennett, P, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Alert by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Alert
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Alert

 

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 368

Read: Oct. 1-6, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

 

Blurb: New Yorkers aren’t easily intimidated, but someone is doing their best to scare them, badly. Why? After two crippling high-tech attacks, the entire city is on edge. Detective Michael Bennett, along with his old pal, the FBI’s Emily Parker, has to catch the shadowy criminals who claim responsibility – but they’re as good at concealing their identities as they are at wreaking havoc.

When a shocking murder in broad daylight points to killers both skilled and cold-blooded, Bennett begins to suspect that these mysterious events are just the prelude to the biggest threat of all. Soon he’s racing against the clock, and against the most destructive enemy he’s faced yet, to save his beloved New York – before it’s lights-out for the city that never sleeps.


Review: I can always count on James Patterson for a quick and easy read. This particular book is the 8th installment in the Michael Bennett series. Last month I read the seventh book and enjoyed it well enough, but this book was much better!

I found this one to be fast paced and quite frighteningly believable. It was quite scary to think just how something like what happened could actually happen in real life. Good thing this was fiction 🙂

Overall a good story that I enjoyed. It was a quick, easy, enjoyable read that I would definitely recommend to thriller lovers.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: The Stranger Game by Peter Gadol

The Stranger GameAbout The Stranger Game

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Hanover Square Press; Original edition (October 1, 2018)

A literary suspense novel in which an eerie social game goes viral and spins perilously—and criminally—out of control.

Rebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police, they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the “stranger game,” a viral hit in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media. As the game spreads, however, the rules begin to change, play grows more intense and disappearances are reported across the country.

Curious about this popular new obsession, and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, who is willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. As her relationship with Carey and involvement in the game deepen, she begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may take her further and further from the life she once lived.

A thought-provoking, haunting novel, The Stranger Game unearths the connections, both imagined and real, that we build with the people around us in the physical and digital world, and where the boundaries blur between them.


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 first pitched this book that blurb immediately drew me in. I had to know more about what the Stranger Game was and how things would end up playing out!

And whoa, let me tell you, this book starts out with a super creepy vibe and I was immediately hooked! I was expecting a fast paced thriller, but I was pleasantly surprised by a more slower paced, layer by layer unfolding book that really left me with chills when I was finished! I found this book to be extremely readable and there were lots of twists and turns to make this one a really good read.

I highly recommend it!


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Peter Gadol

Peter Gadol’s seven novels include THE STRANGER GAME, SILVER LAKE, LIGHT AT DUSK, and THE LONG RAIN. His work his been translated for foreign editions and appeared in literary journals, including StoryQuarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and Tin House. Gadol lives in Los Angeles, where he is Chair and Professor of the MFA Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design. Visit petergadol.com for more info on his work.

 

Instagram Tour:

Monday, October 1st: @thecityofdarkclockwork

Tuesday, October 2nd: @katielmae

Tuesday, October 2nd: @createexploreread

Wednesday, October 3rd: @bookishwinterwitch

Thursday, October 4th: @dropandgivemenerdy

Friday, October 5th: @novelmombooks

Saturday, October 6th: @bookclubwithbite

 

Review Tour:

Monday, October 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Tuesday, October 2nd: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, October 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, October 4th: A Chick Who Reads

Monday, October 8th: Jathan & Heather

Tuesday, October 9th: Tales of a Book Addict

Wednesday, October 10th: @somekindofalibrary

Thursday, October 11th: Openly Bookish

Friday, October 12th: @wherethereadergrows

Monday, October 15th: Novel Gossip and @novelgossip

Tuesday, October 16th: Helen’s Book Blog

Wednesday, October 17th: Sweet Southern Home

Wednesday, October 17th: @basicbsguide

Thursday, October 18th: @jennblogsbooks

Monday, October 22nd: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind

Tuesday, October 23rd: @bookishmadeleine

Wednesday, October 24th: Write Read Life

TBD: The Lit Bitch – excerpt

tlc tour host

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Until Proven Guilty by J.A. Jance

Until Proven Guilty
by J.A. Jance

Until Proven Guilty.jpg

 

Copyright: 1985

Pages: 310

Read: Sept. 23 – 26, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

 

 

Blurb: The little girl was a treasure who should have been cherished, not murdered. She was only five – too young to die – and Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont of the Seattle Police Department isn’t going to rest until her killer pays dearly. But Beaumont’s own obsessions and demons could prove dangerous companions in a murky world of blind faith and religious fanaticism. And he is about to find that he himself is the target of a twisted passion … and a love that can kill.


Review: This is the 1st book in the J.P. Beaumont series. Many years ago I randomly read the 13th book in the series. I was not impressed and never felt the desire to go back to the beginning or continue on from there with the series. I’m not exactly sure what made me acquire this book, but for whatever reason I did.

And for the most part, I did enjoy this book. There were times that Beaumont’s actions were really reminiscent of Stone Barrington’s …. apparently they both go temporarily insane when in the presence of a beautiful female ::eyeroll::.

I can’t say that I loved it, but I certainly didn’t dislike it. I am looking forward to reading more in this series. Maybe installment #13 wasn’t a great place for me to start all those years ago … but I am willing to give Beau another chance!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, S

Review: One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie
by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie

 

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 351

Read: Sept. 19 – 23, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

 

Blurb: Chris Brennan looks perfect, on paper. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as assistant baseball coach, and his resume is impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan in a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a free-spirited pitcher who’s the star of the baseball team. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving Raz vulnerable to any new father figure, who might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who admires her son Jordan’s passion for baseball and feels guilty that she can’t be at his games, like the booster moms. But Jordan is shy, and Heather fears he’s being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man whose fun-loving manner might conceal a darker side.

Mindy Kostis is a surgeon’s wife who fills her days with benefit luncheons and cocktails. She has no idea that her husband and son Evan are keeping deadly secrets that could rip their family apart.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he pretending to be someone else? What does he want? And how far will he go to get it?


Review: My grandmother gave me this book a couple of weeks ago with a glowing recommendation. I was eager to get to it! And I was not disappointed! It starts off with a bang and I was hooked almost immediately, reading the first 100 pages the day I started it.

It’s an intricately woven story with more than a few twists and turns. It had me on edge the entire way through trying to figure out who was who and what was what! I really enjoyed it and couldn’t get through it fast enough!

I can’t say much about this book other than to give this one a try – I doubt you’ll be disappointed … I know I sure wasn’t!!

Highly recommended!