Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Review: Down a Dark Road (Kate Burkholder book 9) by Linda Castillo

Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Minotaur books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 304 pages
Genre: Mystery/Amish
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover | Mass Market Paperback


Synopsis:

Two years ago, Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire, putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. But this is personal for Kate. She grew up with Joseph King. As a thirteen year old Amish girl, she’d worshiped the ground he walked on. She never could have imagined the nightmare scenario that becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and takes his five children hostage at their Amish uncle’s farm. Armed and desperate, he has nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate makes contact with King only to find herself trapped with a killer. Or is he? All King asks of her is to help him prove his innocence―and he releases her unharmed. Kate is skeptical, but when the facts and the evidence don’t align, she begins to wonder who she should trust. Spurned by some of her fellow cops, she embarks on her own investigation only to unearth an unspeakable secret―and someone who is willing to commit murder to keep it buried.

Review:

I really like this series, I am rarely disappointed when I read one.  This time Kate finds herself taken hostage by her childhood crush who has escaped from prison after being convicted of killing his wife.  He denies killing her and just wants to be with his kids and hopes Kate will help him prove his innocence.  Hoping that this situation will end well Kate agrees to help and after speaking to one of the children who may have seen the killer things don't seem to be adding up.  As usual Kate starts ruffling feathers and shaking trees that put her in bad situations.

I liked how Castillo brought us back to Kate's childhood to see Joe King through her eyes. Viewing him as a child and the things that may have shaped the man he came to be.  She has an innate ability to really draw you in and make you care about her characters.  Her descriptions of the Amish community and culture is fascinating and really brings a different dimension to the crimes, law enforcement and the ways in which a policeman interacting with the Amish.

Fabulous as always.  I feel this could be a stand alone book but I feel each book builds upon the layers of Kate's personality so you may be missing something by not starting from the beginning.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ARC Review: The Dream Keepers Daughter by Emily Colin

Release Date: July 25, 2017Publisher: Ballantine BooksFormat: KindlePages: 480 PagesGenre: Romance/Time TravelBuy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis: 

Isabel Griffin has done her best to move on since her boyfriend, Max Adair, vanished without a trace eight years ago, leaving her heartbroken—and pregnant. Eerily enough, this isn’t the first time someone Isabel loves has gone missing. When she was sixteen, her mother disappeared, and her father became obsessed with finding his long-lost wife—at the expense of parenting Isabel.

Determined not to repeat her father’s mistakes, Isabel works hard to become a respected archaeologist and a loving mother to her daughter, Finn, a little girl with very unusual abilities. But while Isabel is on a dig in Barbados, she receives a disturbing phone call. The hauntingly familiar voice on the other end speaks just four words—“Isabel. Keep her safe.”—before they’re disconnected.

Isabel tries to convince herself that the caller can’t possibly be Max. But what if it is, and Finn is in danger? As one mysterious event after another occurs, she can’t shake the feeling that, despite what everyone else believes, Finn’s father is alive—and he’s desperately trying to reach her.

Review: 

I'm not sure why this book didn't get better reviews but I really enjoyed it.  I loved the time slip and the star crossed lovers aspect of the book but instead of being your usual romance this one had a bit of a twist that was more realistic and I like that.  While I understand some people feeling let down with where the author took this book (I too felt that for a fleeting moment) I then realized why.  It makes more sense! In a book that has things that suspend your disbelief I was happy to see she grounded it.

This is a book of tragedy, loss, coping and how people handle the shitty and sometimes strange hands they are dealt.  Max didn't want to travel back in time but he did the best he could in the time and place he was in and made a difference.  Isabel studies the past and has dealt with the loss of her mother and her boyfriend to strange circumstances. Finn is a shining beam of light through the story the thread that ties everyone together. I wanted more of her and wanted to explore her gift a little more but that wasn't the point of this story.

This was a good mystery, a good romance and an interesting glimpse into a little known piece of history.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Audio Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Release Date: August 16, 2011
Publisher: Random House Audio
Length: 15 hours 46 minutes
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Format: Audio
Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | Audio 

Synopsis: 

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?


Review: 


I just saw the movie preview for this book the other day and I have to say I wasn't impressed.  I hope that its better than the preview makes it out to be.  This was an amazing book.  I wasn't sure what to expect although I heard good things about it.  Wade lives most of his life inside a virtual word called the Oasis.  The maker of the Oasis, Halliday built an easter egg into it for anyone to find but the winner takes all...meaning his money, the Oasis everything.  Its been a race for the egg since Halliday died and while most people have given up a select few have continued the quest.

This book was like Willy Wonka set in the 80's. For me it was a trip down memory lane of video games, pop culture, and 80's music.  Cline brilliantly combined all of this in an action packed search for the key to the ultimate prize.  While others want it in order to control the Oasis, and thus the world, Wade just wants to get out of his crappy life.  Winning the ultimate prize is a like a pipe dream that keeps him going.

Wade lives through his avatar instead of living in the real world. Sort of like people do now who hide behind their facebook persona's or gaming avatars. It seems our world is not so far from from Wades. Where school is virtual, kids hang out in virtual dens and spend most of their time online instead of in the real world.

Wil Wheaton's narration is brilliant and takes you deep inside the Oasis.  Listening to this book through headphones made me feel like I was living inside my own made up world, an Oasis of my own. Brilliantly done. So glad I decided to listen instead of read it.






Wednesday, October 11, 2017

ARC Review: Snow by Mike Bond

Release Date: October 1, 2017
Publisher: Mandevilla press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 253 Pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis: 

Two hunters and their guide find a crashed plane full of cocaine in the Montana wilderness. Each has a reason to steal the cocaine – who will? Two take it, and soon the Mexican drug cartel, the DEA, Las Vegas killers, and the police of several states are hunting them down.
Zack, a former NFL star now a TV sports icon, has nasty friends in Vegas to whom he owes two million dollars. Steve, a Wall Street broker, has just lost all of his and Zack’s investments in a banking securities crash. Curt, their guide, a half-Cheyenne mountain man, is trying to save his ranch from an energy company takeover.
Zack is in love with two women, one from his days of cocaine and the NFL, the other a doctor who wants to save him from his past. Steve has wife and two kids he loves in Manhattan, a house full of debts and no way out. Curt guides them to make money, but wants to get back to his wife and save his ranch.
Diego is an executioner for the cocaine cartel. MarĂ­a Christina, a Harvard grad and Yale MBA, runs the cartel. Whitney Castro is a black girl from the Denver slums, now a brilliant DEA agent. Kenny Stauffenberg is an easy-going Montana sheriff who never gives up a hunt.

Review:


Zack a former NFL player, and his buddy Steve a stockbroker are off on their yearly hunt in the Montana.  While trudging through the snow they find a crashed plane full of cocaine.  Both are in serious debt and don't see a way out other than this plane and its promise of millions, like the answer to a dream fallen from the sky.  The problem is that these two are the worst thieves, leaving a trail of evidence and bread crumbs as they travel back and forth from Denver, Vegas, and New York with the DEA, and a hit man for the Mexican cartel whose drugs were stolen following them.

The book centers around Zack, Steve, hit man Diego, and the Cheyenne guide, Curt, whose truck Zack and Steve steal to move the coke. Their stories weave in and out as they make one stupid decision after the other. Zack is reckless, Steve seems devoted to his family but seems more in love with the almighty dollar. Diego is in love with his boss and hopes that one day she will be his. Curt is losing his farm if he can't come up with the money for his loan.

This book is fast paced and jumps the shark at many a turn but it is entertaining with an underlying theme of "money isn't everything." All the players in this book have a lesson to learn but can they learn them before its too late? This book is pure adrenaline, everyone is one step away from getting caught, cashing out or dying. Easily devoured in one sitting this is a thrill ride from moment one.



Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
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