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: The Candidate by Lis Wiehl

The Candidate
by Lis Wiehl

the-candidate

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 328

Read: Oct. 1 – Oct. 5, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Review copy from publicist.
Blurb: Mike Ortiz is a dynamic war hero favored to win the White House. Standing by his side is his glamorous and adoring wife, Celeste. But something about this seemingly perfect couple troubles Erica. Is Celeste really who she seems? And most importantly, what really happened in that squalid Al-Qaeda prison where Mike Ortiz spent nine months?

But more than the nation’s future is at stake. Erica’s relentless search for the truth puts the life of her preteen daughter Jenny in danger, even as Erica’s own dark past threatens to overtake her.

In her latest Newsmakers thriller, New York Times bestselling author and Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl weaves a taut and chilling story. The Candidate is packed with political intrigue and media manipulation as the lust for power turns deadly indeed.


Review: What a book! I knew going into this one that it was the second in a series and I hadn’t read the first one (something I’m sometimes reluctant to do), but I also felt like it would be interesting to read something dealing with a Presidential election alongside our own Presidential race. And what a great decision I made by accepting this one for review!

This book grabbed me from the beginning and kept my attention throughout the book. I know at one point Erica goes to Baghdad to see what Mike Ortiz really went through firsthand. Can I just say that I read those few chapters practically holding my breath the entire time? I didn’t know if something terrible would happen to Erica in such a dangerous location and I couldn’t get through those scenes fast enough. I wanted Erica to be back on safe ground (which is a big fat HA! if you read the rest of the book…). Anyway, those few scenes in Baghdad are very suspenseful and I still shiver a little bit thinking about them.

I really liked Erica’s character. There were some times that I wanted to shake her because she ignored some pretty obvious things that a reporter (or anyone for that matter) should have been more inquisitive about. But at the same time I understand that she was just trying to keep an open mind. I liked that she was portrayed as a woman juggling career and parenthood. This is such a real thing for so many women (myself somewhat included – I don’t have a big time career, but I do work outside the home and it’s very tough at times) and it was good to see it on the page in the way it was portrayed.

I was a little bummed that I hadn’t read the first book in this series, because the first book is mentioned multiple times and it was tough to not know what had happened in that first book – although we got enough background to not be completely lost – it still left me curious. But I can say overall that while it didn’t really affect this book too much, it would have been nice to have a little more background on Erica and who she is.

So overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a great read with a plot line that is very plausible and believable.

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

 

Review: A Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal

A Front Page Affair
by Radha Vatsal

 

A Front Page AffairCopyright: 2016

Pages: 312

Read: July 8-11, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

 

Blurb: Intelligent, well-traveled, and well-bred, Capability “Kitty” Weeks never expected to find herself reporting on fashion trends and society gossip, but every aspiring journalist has to start somewhere, and Kitty finds her “in” to the world of newspapers on the New York Sentinel Ladies’ Page. Meanwhile, news headlines buzz about a shooting at J.P. Morgan’s mansion and the sinking of the Lusitania. It seems that Kitty will never have a chance to get the scoop on a big story – until a man is murdered at a high society picnic on her beat.

Determined to prove herself as a journalist and break away from the Ladies’ Page once and for all, Kitty digs deeper into the circumstances behind the murder. She soon finds herself plunged into the midst of a wartime conspiracy that threatens to derail the United States’s attempt to remain neutral – and to disrupt the privileged life she has always known.


Review: I was immediately intrigued by the description of this book when it was first pitched to me. I’m not taking on a whole lot of review books, so a book has to really stick out for me to accept it for review consideration. But there was something about this book that really sucked me in and made me want to read it. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I figured reading about a character in New York City in 1915 wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I took it on my train ride to Chicago, knowing that I would have 5+ hours each way to enjoy some good quality reading time. I’m definitely glad that I took this book because I read the first half of it on the way up and the second half on the way back home. This book was such a fun, enjoyable, easy read that it was just perfect for what I needed at the moment.

I liked Kitty’s character. She was interesting and fresh. I am excited to see that this is the first in a planned series (you know I love series books!) because I cannot wait to see what Kitty finds herself in going forward with women’s suffrage right around the corner for her. Kitty’s character definitely breaks the mold of the average woman in the early 1900s and I think that’s what really drew me to her. The author has really set up a great background for some really interesting books going forward with a character like Kitty.

The writing of this book was extremely good. It was very upfront and not bogged down with a lot of what I call flowery descriptions. It made it a lot more easier for me to read than a typical historical fiction.  It was packed with just enough historical background that the scene was easily imagined. I also enjoyed the fact that this was a very believable book. Kitty ran into numerous roadblocks but she persevered in each and every one of those. I especially enjoyed one moment when one of the newspaper’s higher-ups questioned Kitty as to how she gained entrance to somewhere she had no business being and she simply responded that she got in because she asked. It was such an easy, simple response, and yet it really made me realize how much women were ignored for the most part during those times.

Overall, I really think this is a great book. It’s definitely a great start to a new series that has left me eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. I can’t say enough good things about this book … just read it for yourself!

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

 

Review: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls
by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 573

Read: May 15 – 23, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Source: Publicist for Review

 

 

Blurb: It’s been more than twenty years since Claire and Lydia last spoke. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire; Lydia, a single mother dating an ex-con, struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the disappearance of their sister Julia two decades earlier – and the shocking murder of Claire’s husband brings the horror and heartbreak of the past roaring back into their lives.

The vanishing of a teenage girl and the killing of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: What could connect them? As they form a wary truce, the surviving sisters unearth the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago … and find the astonishing truth where they least expected it.


Review: Oh for the love of everything holy, this book is one hell of a ride! I read Julia’s story, Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes last year and loved it. So when I was given the opportunity to read this one, I knew I had to know what happened to Julia!

Let me just preface this with the fact that this book is gruesome. I mean, gruesome. It’s not for the faint of heart. That being said, I loved every deliciously disgusting moment of it! It sucked me in and spit me back out at the end. It was one heck of a ride. And can I just say that I was chugging along nicely and about the halfway mark the reader is thrown a curve ball that I never saw coming and hit me like a Mack truck. From that moment on I had to know what happened. I had to know how this ended up. It was just that good!

The characters are enjoyable, and some of them will surprise you in the end. You see a lot of growth in them throughout the book. You see a family torn apart come together. You see what a madman can do to one family. The plot is so intricate it’s amazing. Everything is woven together so perfectly. One little thing mentioned could mean something big later on in the book. It’s not a book to skim through, it’s one to devour. It’s just such a great book I don’t know how much more gushing I can possibly do.

This book will definitely be one of the best ones I read all year long. It was that good in my opinion.

Read. This. Book. Now!

**I received a copy of this book for review, all opinions expressed are my own.

Review: Dark Angel by Ron Felber

Dark Angel
by Ron Felber

Dark Angel

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 316

Read: April 29 – May 4, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

 

Blurb: Set on Princeton University Campus in a world where money is measured in billions and success by the control one wields over entire nations, readers will encounter a Nazi geneticist, a renegade CIA operative, a trans-human serial killer, and a Hollywood starlet as deadly as she is beautiful; all gathered together for a horrifying project: the creation of the Fourth Reich.

Review: When I was first pitched this book I was first really excited and then kind of unsure. Excited because I have read and enjoyed the earlier Jack Madson books, A Man of Indeterminate Value and The Kafka Society, and was really looking forward to the final book in the trilogy. Unsure because the description didn’t necessarily grab my attention. But I prefer closure when reading series books, so I took a chance on this one.

Overall I’m a little unsure how to approach this review. The book, while not bad in any way, shape, or form, was not what I felt like was a good fit for me as a reader. I found a lot of the subject matter nearly impossible to follow. I have a history degree and have a pretty good background in the historical aspects of the Hitler era. However, science is not my strong suit at all, and I struggled with a lot of the science aspects involved in this book. I found myself completely skipping over entire sections because it was almost incomprehensible for me and honestly, just not all that interesting to me.

There were a lot of good aspects to the book that kept me reading, though. Jack’s character is a tough one to describe. He has a lot of problems, but he also has a lot of heart. So while his constant drug and alcohol use is not a positive character trait, his dedication to justice makes me keep reading. He’s also given a love interest which adds another positive aspect to his character in this book – underneath everything, he’s got a big heart.

The book moves at a great pace, and honestly if it weren’t for the science aspects that I struggled with so much, this book would have been really great. However, if you’re a science and history junkie, I think you’ll enjoy this book. There’s definitely an audience out there for this book, unfortunately it just isn’t really me. However, I am glad that I read it and finished out the trilogy. (Although I felt like the ending kind of left it open for more Jack Madson…)

Bottom Line: A decent book, one with a character who may be flawed, but is a good man underneath all his issues, but I just didn’t feel like I was the target audience for this one.

**I received a copy of this book for review, all opinions expressed are my own.

Review: The Girl From Home by Adam Mitzner

The Girl From Home
by Adam Mitzner

The Girl From Home

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 321

Read: April 1 – 11, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for review

Blurb: Jonathan Caine is a true master of the universe – a currency wizard with a trophy wife, a penthouse condo with a view of the Statue of Liberty, and the desire for more -when his world comes crashing down. In the midst of this spiral, Jonathan returns to his hometown to care for his ailing father and attend his twenty-fifth high-school reunion, where he becomes reacquainted with former prom queen Jacqueline Williams. Back in the day, Jackie didn’t even know Jonathan existed, but now she is intrigued by the man he has become. Yet their budding relationship has problems, not the least of which is that Jackie doesn’t know the full truth about Jonathan, and she’s married to a jealous and abusive man. Jonathan is determined to learn from his mistakes, but is he capable of complete transformation? Or will a shocking temptation test his desire for redemption beyond anything he could have imagined?


Review: It was the pitch of this book that really brought me back to my blog. Having been given the opportunity to read Mr. Mitzner’s previous two books (A Case of Redemption and Losing Faith) I knew that I would not want to miss this one, so I accepted it for review and decided to come back to my blog 🙂

So what did I think about this book? Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, having absolutely no background in the financial world, I did have a little bit of trouble keeping up with what Jonathan was doing in the beginning. I’m sure Mr. Mitzner did  a lot of research to get it all right, but I was just a tad bit confused at times with the different aspects of that whole storyline.

 At first I didn’t like Jonathan’s character. In the beginning he’s just too superficial and completely obsessed with money. It definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. And his wife, Natasha – she was even worse! Yuck! But as the book goes on and Jonathan comes home to take care of his father we definitely see a change in Jonathan’s character. Thankfully it’s a change for the better.

As the story progresses, we see Jonathan and Jackie reacquaint and you have to wonder how this is all going to turn out. The reader is given the sense that it’s definitely not going to work out as well as one would hope. And sure enough, that prediction is true. But it’s what happens in the last 20 or so pages that was really surprising to me. A twist came that I wasn’t expecting and that honestly, kind of upset me until the very last two pages when I realized exactly what was going on.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s just one more reason why I love Mr. Mitzner’s books so much. They are such fun, enjoyable reads! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.

2015.30 REVIEW – Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

Everything She Forgot
by Lisa Ballantyne

Copyright: 2015
Pages: 409
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 2-7, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 30
Format: Print
Source: PICT Book Tour
Series: N/A

Synopsis:

cover

Driving home, Margaret Holloway is rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage of her car. Just as she begins to panic, a stranger pulls her free and disappears. Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something’s wrong. Flashbacks to the crash are dredging up lost associations from her childhood. And somehow, Margaret knows that it’s got something to do with the man who saved her life. As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth-from yourself?

Review:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a Partners in Crime Book Tour. The thoughts below are my own.

Once, her mother had taken her hand and smoothed it, saying, ‘Some things are best forgotten,’ and so she had forgotten almost everything. (p. 115)

That quote that I included above, “Some things are best forgotten,” is really the heart and soul of this book. As I was reading and watching everything unfold in front of my eyes, it really got me thinking about just how impressive the human mind truly is. What our minds can do with memories is shockingly unreal to be honest.

This was my first time reading a book by Ms. Ballantyne; but it certainly won’t be my last. I took this one on my recent vacation and I loved every page of it. It was easy to read in bits and pieces without getting lost. It kept my interest – in fact, at one point I wanted to just sit in the room and finish the book … not enjoy vacation! Oops!!

This isn’t a fast-paced thriller. Instead it’s a very intricate tale where the story is laid bare little by little. I loved getting to know Maggie, Big George, and even Angus (who was not my favorite character … I had a lot of issues with him after what he let happen to his poor cow). And as I said earlier, it really is interesting to see what the human mind is capable of.

This was a really enjoyable read, I loved watching Maggie’s memories come back to her bit by bit. And the way it all came full circle at the end was nice. Overall, a book that I would definitely recommend!


 

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Number of Pages: 432
ISBN: 0062391488 (13: 978-0062391483)
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Critical Praise:

“Ballantyne’s effortless prose took me across the Atlantic and didn’t let me return until its surprising and satisfying conclusion. A tight story that comes full circle and keeps you reading.” — Bryan Reardon, author of Finding Jake

Author Bio:

authorLisa Ballantyne was born in Armadale, West Lothian, Scotland and studied English Literature at University of St Andrews.

She lived and worked in China for many years and started writing seriously while she was there. Before being published, Lisa was short-listed for the Dundee International Book Prize.

Her debut novel, The Guilty One was translated into over 25 languages, long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe Award. The Guilty One was also the Autumn 2012 Richard and Judy Book-club Winner. She lives in Glasgow.

Catch Up:
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As always, I hope you take the time to visit the other stops on the tour:

09/14/2015 Showcase w/excerpt @ Books Chatter
09/15/2015 review @ A Fold in the Spine
09/16/2015 review @ Wall-to-wall books
09/17/2015 Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
09/18/2015 review @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too!
09/19/2015 review @ The Book Divas Reads
09/21/2015 review @ Tales of a Book Addict
09/22/2015 review @ JulzReads
09/24/2015 review @ VicsMedia Room
09/25/2015 review @ Deco My Heart
09/28/2015 review @ Kritters Ramblings
09/30/2015 review @ Booked on a Feeling
10/01/2015 review @ From the TBR Pile
10/03/2015 review @ Marys Cup of Tea
10/04/2015 shawcase @ Writers and Authors
10/07/2015 review @ Books Direct
0/08/2015 review @ Lazy Day Books
10/09/2015 review @ Book Babble
10/10/2015 review @ Rockin Book Reviews
10/11/2015 review @ Bookalicious Traveladdict
10/12/2015 review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
10/14/2015 review @ Book Club Librarian
10/15/2015 review @ Curling up by the Fire
10/16/2015 review @ b00k r3vi3ws