4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES, Women's Murder Club

Review: 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

14th Deadly Sin
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

14th Deadly Sin

Copyright: 2014

Pages: 304

Read: Dec. 29, 2017 – Jan. 2, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

Blurb: With a beautiful baby daughter and a devoted husband, Detective Lindsay Boxer can safely say that her life has never been better. In fact, things seem to be going well for all the members of the Women’s Murder Club (for a change). But a birthday celebration for medical examiner Claire Washburn gets cut short when Lindsay is called to a gruesome crime scene, where a woman has been murdered in broad daylight. Then video footage of another crime surfaces, so horrific that it shakes the city to its core. Wearing SFPD jackets, their faces obscured by masks, the cold-blooded criminals on tape could be anyone – and all of Lindsay’s coworkers are suspects. As pubic fear and anger grow, Lindsay and her friends must risk their lives in the name of justice – before it’s too late.


Review: This was my first finished book of 2018. It was a quick read that I took on my vacation and read mainly on the airplane rides (and during the 4 hour delay ::eyeroll::)

I can always rely on James Patterson for an enjoyable and easy read. This one was no exception. The two storylines were both fun to “work the case” with Lindsay and company. The character development was good – Joe is trying to figure out where he’s going next after losing his job, Yuki leaves the DA’s office and takes a new job, Cindy has written a book and is doing the publicity for that. I just love series books because you get to know all these great characters!

As usual, I would recommend starting this series from the beginning, but at the same time it would probably stand well on its own if need be. This one was just a good, easy read … definitely “brain candy” for me. And I look forward to the 15th in the series.

 

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4/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, M, Maggie Hope, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES, What Should I Read Next

Review: Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary
by Susan Elia MacNeal

Mr Churchill's Secretary

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 349

Read: Dec. 9 –15, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased new

 

 

Blurb: London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character,  Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.


Review: So this was my December pick chosen by you dear readers! I was really looking forward to digging into it! So what did I think? ……

Well. The beginning was excruciatingly slow. EXCRUCIATINGLY. No joke. To be completely honest, had I not been also reading this one in conjunction with a Goodreads challenge that required the book to be finished by Dec. 15th, I have a pretty good feeling I would have walked away from this one.

But. But. But! …. I am very glad that I stuck it out because it got really good around the halfway mark and was a lot better from that point on. The first 100 pages or so was really setting the scene. I understand that. But it just didn’t grab me like I wanted it to. So once I got past that 100 page mark it got a lot easier, and by the halfway mark I was fully invested in the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed Maggie’s character. She felt very real to me. And the supporting characters were all well-developed with their own backgrounds. This book is very character driven and I personally enjoy that. I like series where I can get invested in the characters. So just that alone makes me look forward to continuing on in this series!

Like I said, once you get past the first 100 or so pages the pace really picks up and the book gets a lot more interesting from that point on. I would definitely recommend this book to historical fiction lovers as well as mystery lovers and even espionage lovers too! It’s a good book that will appeal to a variety of readers. And I’m really looking forward to reading more from this series in the future.

So, dear readers …. you did pretty good for me this first go around! I’ve got another three selections coming up for you to vote on for my January version of this! Hopefully it’ll be another good read! See you next week!

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4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie

About Garden of Lamentations

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 14, 2017)

Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are drawn into separate investigations that hold disturbing—and deadly—complications for their own lives in this powerful mystery in the bestselling series.

On a beautiful morning in mid-May, the body of a young woman is found in one of Notting Hill’s private gardens. To passersby, the pretty girl in the white dress looks as if she’s sleeping. But Reagan Keating has been murdered, and the lead detective, DI Kerry Boatman, turns to Gemma James for help. She and Gemma worked together on a previous investigation, and Gemma has a personal connection to the case: Reagan was the nanny of a child who attends the same dance studio as Toby, Gemma and Kincaid’s son.

Gemma soon discovers that Reagan’s death is the second tragedy in this exclusive London park; a few months before, a young boy died in a tragic accident. But when still another of the garden residents meets a violent end, it becomes clear that there are more sinister forces at play. Boatman and Gemma must stop the killer before another innocent life is taken.

While his wife is consumed with her new case, Kincaid finds himself plagued by disturbing questions about several previous—and seemingly unrelated—cases involving members of the force. If his suspicions are correct and the crimes are linked, are his family and friends in mortal danger as well? Kincaid’s hunch turns to certainty when a Metropolitan Police officer close to him is brutally attacked. There’s a traitor in the ranks, and now Kincaid wonders if he can trust anyone.

As Gemma begins to see a solution to her case, she realizes she holds a child’s fate in her hands. Can she do the right thing? And can Kincaid rely on his friends, both inside and outside the Scotland Yard force, to stand beside him as he faces the deadliest challenge of his career?


Review:

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

I was thrilled when I was offered this book for review. I had read and reviewed the 15th book in the series, The Sound of Broken Glass, back in 2014. I thoroughly enjoyed that book and was looking forward to jumping back in with Gemma and Duncan.

It’s always hard to pick up a book in the middle of a long running series and not be a little lost. Looking back at my review for the previous book I mentioned that, but it didn’t really affect my opinion on the book all that much. For this installment, while I still enjoyed the book …. I definitely missed something big in the 16th installment. Practically the entire case that Duncan is working on throughout this book is heavily influenced by something that happened in the 16th book. It was definitely frustrating, but not a deal breaker by any means.

Gemma’s case she was working on was a lot easier for me to read, because it had nothing to do with the previous books. It was fun to work the case with Gemma. And I enjoyed unraveling the who-dun-it with her. But it felt strange because she wasn’t working with her normal crew, she got pulled into the nanny case because she happened to know someone who knew the victim. She found herself working with someone she obviously had a history with …. but once again, that seems to have been something a previous installment touched upon.

See a trend here? This is why I hate to pick up a book in the middle of the series. Because it just makes me want to go back and read the entire series from the start so that I can get a good base … but at the same time you hate to do that because you already know things that are slightly spoiler-ish. Such a conundrum when dealing with a long running series!

I did enjoy this book. I just happened to prefer the storyline Gemma was dealing with more than Duncan’s storyline. So definitely give this book a chance…. but I highly recommend reading at least the 16th book first!

And now I’ll be going back to the beginning……. 🙂


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Deborah Crombie

Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

Connect with her through her website, Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark

I’ve Got You Under My Skin
by Mary Higgins Clark

I've Got You Under My Skin

Copyright: 2014

Pages: 371

Read: Nov. 4 –9, 2017

Rating: 5/5

Source: Grandmother

 
Blurb: Five years after watching his father brutally gunned down, eight-year-old Timmy Moran is still haunted by a killer’s piercing blue eyes. His mother, Laurie, is troubled by the man’s threat as he fled the scene: “Tell your mother she’s next, then it’s your turn…”

As the producer of a true-crime television show, Laurie is no stranger to murder. Her new series will feature the twenty-year-old unsolved case of a socialite who was found suffocated in bed following a graduation gala for her daughter. The sensational murder made news nationwide. Reopening the case in its lavish setting with the cooperation of the fatal night’s surviving guests, Laurie is sure to have a hit on her hands. But when filming begins, it becomes clear her subjects are hiding secrets … small and large.

And a pair of blue eyes is watching events unfold, too…


Review: Mary Higgins Clark is the epitome of murder mysteries. Her books are always so good! Entertaining, suspenseful, clean …. just good fun! This particular book was no different.

I went back and forth between all of the subjects throughout the entire book before the killer was finally revealed in the last few pages. The killer wasn’t even someone I had even given a second thought to! I thought I had it all figured out …. but nope! I wasn’t even close! That to me is what makes a perfect murder mystery. I shouldn’t be able to peg the killer early on in the book. Even though looking back on it, this person should have been more suspect to me … they weren’t. Wasn’t even really on my radar!

Apparently this is the beginning of a series, one featuring Laurie Moran continuing to find and produce her television show showcasing old unsolved cases. I didn’t realize that going into this one, but I will definitely be looking forward to reading more of Laurie’s story in the future!

So another backlist book that I definitely highly recommend! If you love a great murder mystery this one is definitely for you! Just Mary Higgins Clark at her finest!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: Presidents’ Day by Seth Margolis

Presidents’ Day
by Seth Margolis

Presidents Day

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 356

Read: July 13 – 16, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: TLC Book Tours
Blurb: Julian Mellow has spent his life amassing a fortune out of low-risk / high-reward investments. Now, Mellow has an even greater ambition – and to make that man do his bidding, in business and beyond.

His motivations are mysterious to everyone – from the puppet candidate he’s running to his own wife – everyone except for one man who lost everything when he took the fall for Julian Mellow’s dirty financial dealings, and has been looking for a way to strike back ever since. He’s the only person standing between the American people and a rigged election, between democracy and a new American tyrant.

Marigolds spans the globe to weave together a brilliant story of politics at its most venal, where blackmail and murder are part of the political process, where anyone’s life is up for sale, and where one man could bring the whole kingdom toppling.


Review: I enjoy a good political thriller every now and then, so I was excited to see this one come through my email. I was immediately intrigued by the concept – a rich man wanting to essentially “buy” the presidency …. hmmm… 😉 Moving on….

I found this book to be extremely fast paced from the beginning, that’s a must with any political thriller in my opinion. I felt like the storyline was incredibly relevant. Let’s be honest, American politics have been the butt of all jokes since Trump announced his candidacy. So the whole idea that a very rich man could buy the presidency doesn’t seem so impossible after all….

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a really good, solid political thriller. It’s timely and enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one and will be anxiously looking forward to future books by Mr. Margolis.

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

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, T

Review: Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway

Lacy Eye
by Jessica Treadway

Lacy Eye.jpg

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 339

Read: July 4 – 6, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Book of the Month Club

 
Blurb: Hanna and Joe send their awkward daughter Dawn off to college hoping that she will finally “coming into her own.” When she brings her new boyfriend, Rud, to her sister’s wedding, her parents try to suppress their troubling impressions of him for Dawn’s sake. Not long after, Hanna and Joe suffer a savage attack at home, resulting in Joe’s death and Hanna’s severe injury and memory loss.

Rud is convicted of the crime, and the community speculates that Dawn may also have been involved. When Rud wins an appeal and Dawn returns to live in the family home, Hanna resolves to recall that traumatic night so she can testify in the retrial, exonerate her daughter, and keep her husband’s murderer in jail.

But as those memories resurface, Hanna faces the question of whether she knows her own daughter – and whether she ever did.


Review: If you have never read this book, stop reading this.  There will be a few spoilers in this review. 

Still with me? Good. So here’s the thing…. Hanna is an idiot! Plain and simple. Anyone with half a brain would realize within the first chapter that something was seriously wrong with Dawn. First of all, no 20-something woman will call her mother “Mommy” that’s just not normal in my opinion. Also, it was painfully obvious that something was “off” with Dawn from a very early age, teachers mentioned this multiple times … and yet, they never sought any help for her. I know it’s difficult to see your children in any light other than perfection, but at some point in time you have to get your head out of the sand and face reality that perfection does not exist and that there may be something needing attention. I was just flabbergasted at how Hanna’s character was portrayed throughout the entire book. As a mother it was really discouraging for me to read and I can only hope that I would not ignore any of those warning signs in my own children.

Moving on … overall I enjoyed the book. It gripped me from the very beginning and I found it hard to put down. I was pretty well convinced that I already knew the truth behind the attack rather early on, so there wasn’t any great big surprise. But it was still interesting to see the psychology behind all the characters and the decisions they made. It was well written, and I enjoyed reading it. I just had the little problem with the naiveté of Hanna’s character. If it hadn’t been for that, this would most definitely had been a 5 star book for me.

So yeah, I’d definitely recommend this book. You probably won’t have any huge surprises along the way while reading this book, but it was still a good solid read. I’m only upset that I waited so long to read this one!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, L, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: Better Read Than Dead by Victoria Laurie

Better Read Than Dead
by Victoria Laurie

Better Read Than Dead

Copyright: 2005

Pages: 296

Read: June 18 – 21, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: It’s autumn in Detroit, and psychic intuitive Abby Cooper is falling to pieces. She was about the nestle into her cozy, almost-renovated new house – and into the arms of FBI agent Dutch Rivers. Then, faster than you can say trick or treat, her plans fell apart with one phone call…

As a favor for a friend, Abby agrees to read tarot cards at a wedding and finds herself predicting the future for some very shady guests. Word of her talents reaches a Mob boss who wants her help in some business matters, and he doesn’t take no for an answer. Then the police seek out her psychic intuition to shed light on a masked man who’s been attacking women, and Abby’s working for both sides of the law. With all of Dutch’s time going to a big FBI case and his sultry new partner, Abby’s on her own, leading her to wonder: Why didn’t I see this coming?


Review: This is the second book in the Psychic Eye Mystery series. I read the first book back in January and really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much that I went ahead and ordered the second and third books in the series from Paperbackswap. So when I was looking for a second in the series for a particular call out in a Goodreads reading challenge, this one immediately caught my eye. I was eager to revisit Abby Cooper!

And I really enjoyed this one. I just like Abby’s character. She reminds me a lot of the Harper Connelly series from Charlaine Harris. She’s just very relatable and down-to-earth. The supporting characters are also all very well developed and enjoyable as well. The storylines in this book were interesting and I had a good time “working the case” with Abby.

So definitely a fun, light paranormal series that I’m looking forward to reading more from. I’d for sure recommend this book and the series to all readers! There’s something for everyone from paranormal lovers to romance lovers to mystery lovers. Definitely recommended!!!

4/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: Jury of One by Laura Bradford

Jury of One
by Laura Bradford

Jury of One

Copyright: 2005

Pages: 252

Read: June 9 – 10, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Used Book Store

 

 

Blurb: Beaches, boardwalks and the promise of carefree summer days mark the start of tourist season in the small, scenic town of Ocean Point, New Jersey. But this scene is marred suddenly by the body of a young woman found bludgeoned to death. It’s the first in a string of seemingly random, senseless murders, the only connection being the odd positioning of he victims’ fingers.

It’s a crisis that puts local detective Mitch Burns on edge. Murder in a peaceful beach town is bad enough, but a serial killer at the height of tourist season is worse. Much worse. Newly hired local reporter Elise Jenkins cuts her journalistic teeth on this one – especially when her search for the truth leader her on a dangerous hunt for the killer with a face whose familiarity masks deadly intent.


Review: I picked this one up on a total whim the last time I was at my favorite used book store. I don’t usually read a lot of cozy mysteries, but this one really caught my eye.

I ended up enjoying this one quite a bit. I really liked the characters. At one time, I was a journalism major. Anyway, I really related to Elise’s character in a way. She’s the type of journalist I would have liked to have been – I really liked how she gave Mitch a lot of room in regards to the investigation. It was a sigh of relief to see the media portrayed as not overbearing and intrusive. I’m also intrigued by the attraction between Elise and Mitch … I’d be curious to see how that plays out in future books.

The who-dun-it part was not a complete surprise, as there were subtle hints dropped throughout the book. But it was still fun to see how things unfolded. It was an interesting storyline.

So overall it’s a cute book that I enjoyed. It was a fun and easy read. I’d definitely recommend it!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, D, Fiction, Goldy Schulz, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES, Uncategorized

Review: Killer Pancake by Diane Mott Davidson

Killer Pancake
by Diane Mott Davidson

Killer Pancake

Copyright: 1995

Pages: 329

Read: May 30 – June 2, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: When Goldy, owner of Goldilocks’ Catering, faces the challenge of whipping up a sumptuous low-fat feast for the Mignon Cosmetic’s company banquet, she rises to the occasion brilliantly … only to discover just how ugly the beauty biz can be!

On the day of the banquet Goldy finds herself confronting an angry mob of demonstrators – “Spare the Hares” – who object to Mignon Cosmetics’ animal-testing policies. As she struggles to carry forty pounds of low-fat fare from her van to the mall where the banquet is being held, she hears an ominous squeal of tires and a horrifying thump. Seconds later, a Mignon employee lies dead on the pavement. And soon the police discover that this hit-and-run was no accident.

Now Goldy is enmeshed up to her saute pans in a homicide investigation. Could the murder have had something to do with Spare the Hares – or with the exotic flower found near the dead body? Though busy serving up Hoisin Turkey and Grand Marnier Cranberry Muffins, Goldy decides to start digging at Mignon’s million-dollar cosmetics counter. But when another murder takes place and Goldy herself is attacked, the caterer turned sleuth knows she must step up her search for a gruesome killer. For this time was only a warning. Next time she’ll be dead – and it won’t be pretty.


Review: It has been ages since I read the fourth book in this series, so I was a little nervous picking up the fifth. However I am happy to say that I easily fell right back in with Goldy and her crew.

I thought that the storyline in this installment was interesting. The killer was not all that surprising, but there were a few times when I was convinced it was someone else. This was an easy read that I enjoyed. It definitely has renewed my interest in reading a bit more from this series.

A fun installment in a fun series – definitely recommended!!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book, U-V-W

Murder Between the Lines by Radha Vatsal

Murder Between the Lines
by Radha Vatsal

Murder Between the Lines

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 291

Read: May 10-14, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

 

Blurb: When Kitty Weeks’s latest assignment writing for the New York Sentinel Ladies’ Page takes her to Westfield Hall, a well-regarded girls’ school in New York City, she expects to find an orderly establishment teaching French and dancing – standard fare for schoolgirls in 1915. But there’s much more going on at the school than initially meets the eye. Kitty especially takes note of the studies of Elspeth Bright, the daughter of a scientist heavily involved in naval technology, who has inherited her father’s interest and talent for scientific inquiry. s

Elspeth’s seemingly accidental death is a shock to the school community and to Kitty – and the more she finds out about Elspeth and her family, the more the intrepid reporter begins to believe that it may not have been an accident at all.


Review: This is the second book in the Kitty Weeks series. When I was pitched this one I was really excited because I had read and reviewed and loved the first book in A Front Page Affair last year.

Once again, it was fun to be back with Kitty and company. I found that there were some parts that were a little more complicated for my personal taste – the scientific parts revolving around batteries and the navy. Science is not my wheelhouse and I just didn’t care for that whole part of the storyline. While it was an important part of the story, it wasn’t enough to make me dislike the book in any way.

I liked how the characters were evolving throughout the book (like Kitty’s boss at the Ladies’ Page). I could really see the change start to occur that happened around that time in our history with the women’s suffrage movement. It’s still 1915/1916 in this book, so women are still a few years away from the vote, but Ms. Vatsal begins to include some of the issues women were facing at that time period.

I would definitely recommend this book. I think historical fiction fans and mystery lovers alike will both enjoy this book (and series). Ms. Vatsal’s books are fun and easy to read. I’ll eagerly be awaiting the third book next year!

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