4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES, Stephanie Plum

Review: Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

Ten Big Ones
by Janet Evanovich

Ten Big Ones

 

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 319

Read: Aug 22 – 27, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Goodwill

 

Blurb: Swing off the Jersey Turnpike and you’ll be in bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s neighborhood. You’ll know it because all hell will be breaking loose. Not that she looks for trouble – it just seems to follow her. In Ten Big Ones it explodes at a deli, and when Stephanie pegs a robber as a member of a vicious Trenton gang, they peg her as dead. Vice cop Joe Morelli fears she’s in way too deep – even with the help of crime-solving, cross-dressing bus driver Sally Sweet, and Stephanie’s friend Lula riding shotgun as backup. With a notorious killer on her tail, Stephanie figures the best hideout is Ranger’s secret lair…


Review: It had been about a year since the last time I had read a Stephanie Plum novel. I read quite a few of them in a relatively short time period and as a result, kind of burned out on them. So I knew I needed to take a break before I picked another one up. I’m glad that I made that decision, because I ended up really loving this book!

I cannot tell you how funny this particular installment is. I mean it was a laugh a minute!  Sure there are some roll-your-eyes moments (like when Stephanie has another car blown up…) but for the most part this one was just a really fun romp! And then there was the addition of Sally Sweet – what a hoot he is! And Ranger … the mystery of that man just oozes off the page…

Overall I’m really glad that I read this one; I really enjoyed it and it has definitely renewed my interest in this series!

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4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Harry Bosch, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Lost Light by Michael Connelly

Lost Light
by Michael Connelly

Lost Light

 

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 385

Read: July 13 – 18, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

Blurb: The vision has haunted him for four years – a young woman lying crumpled in death, her hand outstretched in silent supplication. Harry Bosch was taken off the Angella Benton murder case when the production assistant’s death was linked with the violent theft of two million dollars from a movie set. Both files were never closed. Now retired from the L.A.P.D., Bosch is determined to find justice for Angella. Without a badge to open doors and strike fear into the guilty, he’s on his own. And even in the face of an opponent more powerful and ruthless than any he’s ever encountered, Bosch is not backing down.  


Review: This is the 9th book in the Harry Bosch series. I really need to read these quicker than one a year. I distinctly remember how the 8th book ended, with Harry’s retirement from the LAPD. And I was eager to see where he went from there. So I was anxious to finally get around to this book to see how he was faring in retirement. I was not disappointed!

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It had an interesting storyline and I found it to move pretty quickly. Bosch is so not tech savvy and it left me chuckling more than once – and it definitely reminded me of my father-in-law!! There was also a very interesting revelation at the end of the book that has me looking forward to the 10th installment!

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what case Harry finds himself involved in next … as well as where his personal life goes from here. I hope I get to book #10 sooner rather than later!

3.5/5, Alexander Hawke, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Assassin by Ted Bell

Assassin
by Ted Bell

Assassin

 

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 590

Read: June 14-20, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Bookmooch

 

Blurb: Alexander Hawke, a direct descendant of the legendary pirate Blackhawke, is an expert on espionage and terror. A shadowy terrorist kingpin has orchestrated the systematic slayings of American diplomats, and as the death toll mounts, Hawke is called upon to avert a cataclysmic attack – while avenging a senseless crime that has left him devastated.

 


Review: This is the second book in the Alexander Hawke series. I had read the first book, Hawke, way back in 2013, so my memory of that was not very good. Luckily it didn’t really matter because there was enough background included for me to be able to follow along easily.

At 590 pages this book is way longer than what I normally read. The beginning was a little slower than I would have liked. But once the book picked up it was quite enjoyable to read and the 590 pages didn’t feel too terribly long.

Overall a good book that I enjoyed. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what adventures lay ahead for Alex Hawke!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Kinsey Millhone, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton

F is for Fugitive
by Sue Grafton

F is for Fugitive

Copyright: 1989

Pages: 307

Read: April 9-15, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: When Kinsey Millhone first arrives in Floral Beach, California, it’s hard for her to picture the idyllic coastal town as the setting of a brutal murder. Seventeen years ago, the body of Jean Timberlake – a troubled teen who had a reputation with the boys – was found on the beach. Her boyfriend, Bailey Fowler, was convicted of her murder and imprisoned, but he escaped.

After all this time, Bailey’s finally been captured. Believing in his son’s innocence, Bailey’s father wants Kinsey to find Jean’s real killer. But most of the residents in this tight-knit community are convinced Bailey strangled Jean. So why are they so reluctant to answer Kinsey’s questions? If there’s one thing Kinsey’s got plenty of it’s persistence. And that’s exactly what it’s going to take to crack the lid on this case.

As Kinsey gets closer to solving Jean’s murder, the more dirty little secrets she uncovers in a town where everyone has something to hide – and a killer will kill again to keep the past buried…


Review: It’s been forever since I visited with Kinsey Millhone and so I was glad when this book popped up on my April call-out on a Goodreads challenge.

I had a lot of fun working the case with Kinsey. It definitely ended up going in a direction that I never saw coming, although there was a couple small instances that should have clued me in had I been paying more attention.

Jumping back in with Kinsey definitely made me want to read more of her and soon! I don’t remember her being so badass, but I definitely enjoyed it! She’s smart and strong, a good (and sometimes rare) combination in female protagonists. I definitely appreciate that aspect of her character.

I did jot down this quote from the very end that resonated with me:

If love is what injures us, how can we heal?

I’m seriously bummed that Ms. Grafton passed away a little while ago. I’m disappointed that the alphabet now ends with Y … but I am satisfied with the decision to not use a ghost writer to finish the series out (I hate, hate, HATE when that occurs.) I’m looking forward to getting around to G sooner rather than later!!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES, Sookie Stackhouse

Review: All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

All Together Dead
by Charlaine Harris

All Together Dead

Copyright: 2007

Pages: 323

Read: March 9-14, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased at the Used Book Store
Blurb: Betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse must now not only deal with a possible new man in her life – the oh-so-handsome shape-shifter Quinn – but also contend with a long-planned vampire summit. With her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans, the local vampire queen is vulnerable to those hungry for a take-over. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she’ll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe…


Review: This is the 7th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I read the 6th installment back in early 2016. Oops? No wonder I was a little out of sorts trying to remember what had happened in a few places….

Most of this particular book is dealing with the actions that happened in the 6th book, so I definitely recommend reading that one before this one to save some serious confusion.

I enjoyed this one though. It was interesting and kept me entertained throughout the entire book. It definitely renewed my interest in this series and I hope I get to the 8th book sooner rather than later.

 

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: Two Dollar Bill by Stuart Woods

Two Dollar Bill
by Stuart Woods

Two Dollar Bill

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 349

Read: Feb.19-26, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Not long after Stone and his ex-partner Dino make the acquaintance of Billy Bob – a smooth-talkie’ Texan packing a wad of rare two-dollar bills – someone takes a shot at them. Against his better judgment, Stone offers Billy Bob a safe haven for the night but almost immediately regrets it. The slippery out-of-towner goes missing and someone is found dead – in Stone’s town house no less. Stone is now caught by a beautiful federal prosecutor and a love from his past, a con man with more arises than hairs on his head, and a murder investigation that could ruin them all.


Review: This is the 11th book in the Stone Barrington series. I’m not going to lie, these books are not anywhere near literary feats. But they can usually be depended upon for some good fun!

This particular installment saw Stone in some precarious situations. And at some point I was shaking my head wondering how on earth Stone would get himself out of the jam he was in. He made some bonehead moves. And yet he managed to come out on top. It was all a little unbelievable at one point. But hey, it was still a fun read.

An entertaining book that leaves me eagerly anticipating the 12th book!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Jack Reacher, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Die Trying by Lee Child

Die Trying
by Lee Child

Die Trying by Lee Child

Copyright: 1998

Pages: 422

Read: Jan. 12-19, 2018

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

Blurb: Jack Reacher is an innocent bystander – in the wrong place at the wrong time – when a woman is kidnapped. Now, he’s at the mercy of a group of men demanding an impossible ransom, for this mysterious woman is worth far more than Reacher’s ever suspected. And though she doesn’t ask for his help, he’s going to give it to her…

Because ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a hero. He’s used to saving lives. But this time he’s going to take a few before he’s through…


Review: This is the second book in the Jack Reacher series. I read the first one, Killing Floor, nearly 4 years ago. Oops!

This one, for the most part, I enjoyed. I felt like the plot was a little convoluted and far-reaching. But I suppose that’s kind of what you get when you’ve got a character like Jack Reacher….But I like Jack Reacher the character. He’s got charm, and yet he’s indisputably badass at the same time. There’s just something about him. I honest think that his character is the reason I kept reading this one, because to be honest with you, the overall storyline was not really my cup of tea. Clocking in at 422 pages, this book was a little chunkier than I have been reading lately. Unfortunately, I also feel like at least 100 pages could have been cut out and not much would have been missed.

Can a reader like a book because they like the main character? Because that’s really my feeling on this one. I didn’t care for the storyline itself, but I felt like Reacher made the book worth reading. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more Jack Reacher … let’s just hope it’s not 3+ years before I get to it 😉

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.

 

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!

MyTBRList-1024x661

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: Reckless Abandon by Stuart Woods

Reckless Abandon
by Stuart Woods

Reckless Abandon

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 342

Read: Nov. 18 –23, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Stone Barrington is, once again, right at home in New York City. But this time he’s joined by the tenacious Holly Barker – the lady police chief of Orchid Beach, Florida. She’s come to Manhattan hot on the trail of a fugitive from her jurisdiction. And Stone is, well, glad to see her, right up until the moment when her presence creates a great danger to both of them – and to their surprise, she becomes the pursued instead of the pursuer…


Review: I say this every time – Stuart Woods Stone Barrington books are no literary feat by any means. They are simply good fun escapism. Nothing more than some brain candy for a few days. And that’s okay. Sometimes that’s exactly what a reader needs!

This particular installment (#10 in the series) introduced me to Mr. Woods’ other recurring character, Holly Barker. And I’m not entirely sure I liked her. She came off as Stone Barrington in a female body and I don’t know exactly how that translates in her own series. Ed Eagle, another of Mr. Woods’ characters also has a small role in this book so I was introduced to two new characters.

This book had Holly on the hunt for a particularly nasty fugitive. The FBI wants him in Witness Protection so he can testify in some cases for them while Holly wants him for something like 12 murders back in Florida. I think most of my issue with this book is that Stone is not stupid. Woman-crazy, sure. Stupid, no. So the mere fact that he went off with Holly (who was half-cracked over catching the fugitive) really didn’t translate well for me. I think I just didn’t care for Holly as a character. Or maybe I just didn’t like the character crossover – I know they do that sometimes with the TV shows I watch and I very rarely like those episodes.

Either way, not a terrible book, but not one of my favorites in this series either. On to the next one … there’s only 30 something books to go!