Friday, May 1, 2015

ARC Review: Eeny Meeny

Title: Eeny Meeny (A Detective Helen Grace Thriller) by M.J. Arlidge
Publisher: NAL
Pages: 432 pages
Format: Kindle - advanced ecopy from publisher through available June 2, 2015
Genre: Mystery

Synopsis:Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Inspector Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense....

(26) Review: As soon as I started reading this book the only thing that came to mind was the Saw movies..I haven't even seen the Saw movies but I remember seeing previews about them where they put people in impossible positions and told them if they did something horrific they would be free.

The people who get trapped in these "games" find themselves in no win situations.  Yea they may live but killing someone else is bound to change you in very profound ways.  So which is the thrill for the unsub? The killing or the aftermath of the survivor?

Twisted up in this is Detective Inspector who seems to have issues of her own.  For a woman who was the youngest female to be given the title of Detective Inspector she sure seems to be easily tricked and swayed.

As the story progresses it picks up pace a bit but the story still seems contrived and not quite thought out. The ending jumped the shark for me a bit and wasn't satisfying in the least.  There are apparently three books in this series so far, the 2nd Pop Goes the Weasel coming out in the USA in Oct 2015.  I'm not sure if I will give it a whirl or not, but here is to hoping that this is just a first book blunder and MJ Arlidge works the kinks out in the next one.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Audio Book Review: The Bat: The First Inspector Harry Hole Novel

Title: The Bat: The First Inspector Harry Hole Novel by Jo Nesbo
Publisher: Random House Audio
Length: 9 hours 39 minutes
Narrator: John Lee
Format: Audio
Genre: Nordic mystery

Synopsis: Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Inger had a number of admirers, each with his own share of secrets, but there is no obvious suspect and the pattern of the other crimes seems impossible to crack. Then a circus performer is brutally murdered, followed by yet another young woman. Harry is in a race against time to stop a highly intelligent killer who is bent on total destruction.

(25)Review: I struggled with the Narrator of this book.  There were times I felt like I was listening to a sportscaster, the inflections and ways of speaking were sometimes distracting.  John Lee narrates the first 2 books in this series and then it switches to someone else so I will be interested to see how the other narrator performs with the same character.

Although this is the first book int he Harry Hole series, it wasn't released in the USA until the last few years.  I think most of the people who have read this book and reviewed it have already read a Harry Hole novel and love this character therefore are excited to read about his beginnings.  Unfortunately this is the first Harry book I have read and I found it only so so.  I'm not sure if it was the narrator or the story but I found that it didn't hold my attention as long as many other Nordic Mysteries.  They usually are a bit slower and darker than US mysteries but this one seemed to wander around having a hard time figuring out where it needs to go. Despite this I'm gonna stick with Harry though since I have high hopes for later books.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Book Review: Blood Memory

Cat finds herself battling with alcohol, plagued by nightmares, and entangled with a married detective. Then, in her childhood bedroom, some spilled chemicals reveal two bloody footprints
Title: Blood Memory: A Novel by Greg Iles
Publisher: Pocket Star
Pages: 800 pages
Format: Paperback
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis: Some memories live deep in the soul, indelible and dangerous, waiting to be resurrected....Forensic expert "Cat" Ferry is suspended from an FBI task force when the world-class odontologist is inexplicably stricken with panic attacks and blackouts while investigating a chain of brutal murders. Returning to her Mississippi hometown, Cat finds herself battling with alcohol, plagued by nightmares, and entangled with a married detective. Then, in her childhood bedroom, some spilled chemicals reveal two bloody footprints...and the trauma of her father's murder years earlier comes flooding back. Facing the secrets of her past, Cat races to connect them to a killer's present-day violence. But what emerges is the frightening possibility that Cat herself has blood on her hands....

(24) Review: I found a copy of this at our beach house and picked it up for something to read while we were there - I couldn't put it down.  I loved it.  Cat is a mess, personally and now her professional career is taking a dive.  Suffering from panic attacks at the last two crime scenes Cat is struggling to get control of her life.  She is pregnant by her married boyfriend, trying to withdraw from alcohol and is having flashbacks of her fathers death. It seems that the story she has been told all her life is not true and the truth is muddled up in her head with blackouts, manic episodes, and alcohol.  Now the police think she may have some inside information into the serial murders that are taking place or she may actually be the perpetrator. The truth however is far more disturbing.

I loved how this book unraveled, as Cat tries to piece together what is going on with her. Iles has hooked me with his subtle writing, it was like peeling an onion with each layer you find something new.  His descriptions of the South and southern culture bring the bayou right to you and allow you to feel the humidity in the air and the deeply secretive ways of many of the little towns near New Orleans.

I am also impressed that Iles has been able to capture the fear, confusion and insight of a female character which seems so difficult for so many male writers who try to have a female protagonist.  Kudos Iles I will be seeking you out for more! So glad I found this one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Open to a random page:
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser this week is from Blood Memory: A Novel by Greg Iles

"Stepping around Natriece, I look down at the luminescence on the floor. It's not diffuse, as I had thought, but well defined. Suddenly an eerie numbness spreads through my body. 

I'm looking at a footprint."

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: Double Dip Feelings & A Terrible Thing Happened

Title: Double-Dip Feelings: Stories to Help Children Understand Emotions by Barbara Cain
Publisher: Magination
Format: paperback
Pages: 32 pages 
Genre: Kids

Synopsis: This volume is designed to help children understand emotions, and shows that it is possible to experience two contrasting feelings at the same time, such as feeling both proud and scared on the first day of school. Questions are raised throughout the book to help them cope with the tugs and pulls of emotions that simultaneous and dissimilar feelings can produce. This second edition contains new illustrations.

(22)Review: This book helps children understand that it is possible to feel two ways at the same time. Feelings are complex things and when children have conflicting feeling such as when they are dealing with moving to a foster home or to a new adoptive home from their biological home there can be excitement and sadness.  This book can help facilitate the conversation on having these conflicting feelings and that being perfectly normal.  Nice illustrations and easy to understand text.

Title: A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes
Publisher: Magination
Format: Paperback
Pages: 20
Genre: Kids

Synopsis: Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous and had bad dreams. Then he met someone who helped him talk about the terrible thing, and made him feel better.

(23)Review: Sherman Smith saw a terrible thing and he tries really hard to forget about it but it just makes him angry, gives him nightmares and makes his stomach hurt. When he finally starts talking about what he saw his life becomes better, his nightmares go away and he realizes he isn't as angry.

Research has shown that children who have witnessed violence or trauma are actually affected as strongly or worse than the primary victims. Children who have experienced trauma or witnessed violent deaths can be helped by talking to a parent, teacher, or other adult about their experience. This story can help children to talk about things that are bothering them.  Maybe their terrible thing isn't is different or not as bad as Sherman's but if its keeping them up all night or making them unhappy if they share it and talk about their feelings they will be more likely to move through it.
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