Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book Review: Heels Over Head by Clay G Small

Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 246 pages
Genre: Suspense / fiction
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Henry Lindon is playing a game of tit for tat that he’s about to lose.

​Successful, charming executive Henry Lindon was happily making high-dollar global deals and enjoying the good life in Dallas when his job mysteriously disappears—and with it, his identity. On top of that, he’s sure his beautiful wife is having an affair with some Romeo down in Argentina. While attempting to start a new life teaching law, Lindon is finding his paranoia has got him around the throat and won’t let go.

In class one day, the discussion goes off track from law and libel to tattoos. When a student appears in his office in pink shorts and a crop top and takes the subject of tattoos to a much-too-personal level, Lindon’s at a loss to explain why and worried about ramifications. Discovering he may have the Department of Justice on his back with phony felony charges, he’s reaching his breaking point and nothing’s making sense. Two tattoos, a murder, and an old rivalry are part of a distant game of revenge that’s about to come full circle.

Review: 

Henry and his brother Marvin grew up on a farm causing mischief in their small town along with one of their friends.  It seems that mischief is now coming back to haunt them.   They embarrassed one of the town rich kids and he still hasn't forgotten or forgiven.  Now he is out for revenge. This is an okay mystery as you try to figure out which side will win and if they will catch the perpetrator who seems hell bent on destroying lives.  A few twists and turns and a rather brutal death later Henry comes up with a plan to turn the tables.

This was an okay book, there were several pieces that I felt jumped the shark or were just out of character. Henry was a bit whiny for my taste and then all of a sudden grew a backbone.  There just seemed to be too many "coincidences" for someone to start putting things together. An unnecessary death, I think the author didn't know what to do with this character so it was easier to kill her off then to find a way to fit her into the final plan.

Overall it was an entertaining easy to read, fluff mystery.


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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Silver Dagger Book Tour Cover Reveal: Beginners Luck by Kate Clayborn

Release Date: October 31, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon | Apple  | GooglePlay | Kobo | B&N 

Synopsis:

When three friends impulsively buy a lottery ticket, they never suspect the many ways their lives will change—or that for each of them, love will be the biggest win of all.

Kit Averin is anything but a gambler. A scientist with a quiet, steady job at a university, Kit’s focus has always been maintaining the acceptable status quo. Being a sudden millionaire doesn’t change that, with one exception: the fixer-upper she plans to buy, her first and only real home. It’s more than enough to keep her busy, until an unsettlingly handsome, charming, and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart . . .

Ben Tucker is surprised to find that the scientist he wants for Beaumont Materials is a young woman—and a beautiful, sharp-witted one at that. Talking her into a big-money position with his firm is harder than he expects, but he’s willing to put in the time, especially when sticking around for the summer gives him a chance to reconnect with his dad. But the longer he stays, the more questions he has about his own future—and who might be in it.

What begins as a chilly rebuff soon heats up into an attraction neither Kit nor Ben can deny—and finding themselves lucky in love might just be priceless

About the Author:

Kate Clayborn lives in Virginia, where she's lucky enough to spend her days reading and talking
about all kinds of great books. At home she's either writing, thinking about writing, or--during long
walks around her fabulous neighborhood—making her handsome husband and sweet-faced dog
listen to her talk about writing.

Website * Twitter * Facebook



Monday, April 17, 2017

Silver Dagger Book Tours Cover Reveal: Desperate Bride by AS Fenichel

Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Historical Romance
Buy: Amazon * Apple * GooglePlay * Kobo * B&N

Synopsis: 

An unexpected promise . . . an everlasting passion.

An accomplished musician, Dorothea Flammel has refused more proposals than any London
debutante; her only true love is her music. Dory’s shimmering talent and beauty have long been
adored from afar by Thomas Wheel, an untitled gentleman who can only dream of asking for the
hand of a nobleman’s daughter. But when her father, the insolvent Lord Flammel, arranges for Dory to marry a lecherous Earl in order to pay off a debt, she runs to Thomas—and proposes marriage to him.

Eloping to Scotland saves Dory from a disastrous fate, but what is for her a mere marriage of convenience proves more passionate—and more complex—than either imagined as rumors, scandal, and buried emotions come to light. And when a vengeful challenge from a drunken and embittered Lord Flammel puts Thomas’s life on the line, will the fragile trust between husband and wife be enough to save them both?

About the Author:


A.S. Fenichel adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still
relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in the southwest with her real life hero, her wonderful
husband. When she is not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history and puttering in her garden.

Website * Twitter * Facebook



ARC Review: Horace Winter Says Goodbye by Conor Bowman

Release Date: April 6, 2017
Publisher: Hachette Books Ireland
Format: Kindle
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Paperback | Kindle


Synopsis:

Horace Winter has led an unexceptional life. Ever since that long-ago day, when the Very Bad Thing happened, he prefers to spend time with his butterfly and moth book instead of with other human beings - an interest was passed on to him by his father.

But shortly after his retirement from his job as an assistant bank manager, Horace receives some devastating news and is forced to confront the life he has led (or hasn't led). As he does, he meets Amanda. And Max. He gets a man jailed (sort of) and rescues the man's son (sort of). He discovers a letter his father never posted, and sets off on a quest that changes everything.

As Horace begins to let life in, he starts to experience a world which had almost entirely passed him by. Will he discover the man he was meant to be before it's too late?

Review:

I had a rough time reading this book, I'm not sure why, it just was difficult to hold my interest while reading it.  I was sad that Horace Winter's life was so boring and status quo and just when he can finally do anything he wants he gets devastating health news.  What is even worse is that there are so many people just like Horace out there in the world right now living in a little bubble fearing to live life outside of their comfort zones.

Horace compares everyone he meets to a butterfly or a moth, which became a bit distracting however the story of Horaces life and how he finally breaks free of his daily routine and finally spreads his wings is inspiring if not bitter sweet since Horace doesn't have long to appreciate it.  The message in the book is to not let anything hold you back, take chances and things are not always the way you see them.

What Horace accomplishes when he finally leaves his status quo position at the bank is a good lesson for us all to learn.  Don't get complacent, always seek to learn, take a chance now and then, break free of your comfort zone and don't be afraid to enjoy life. Travel, try a new food, help someone in need.


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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Audio Book Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely

Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Format: Audible
Narrator: Guy Lockard, Keith Nobbs
Length: 6 hours 35 minutes
Genre: Fiction /Race / Racial Tensions
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Two teens - one black, one white - grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and ultimately the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

A bag of chips. That's all 16-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad's pleadings that he's stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad's resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad's every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins - a varsity basketball player and Rashad's classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan - and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news, and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team - half of whom are Rashad's best friends - start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

Review: 

This is a powerful book that speaks to the violence and racial tension that exists today.  If you ever wondered if black and white kids have the same experiences in High School this story will let you know they don't. Told by Rashad a black high school student and Quinn a white high school student. Quinn witnesses the beating of Rashad by a white cop and struggles to decide what to do with his information.

This is not an easy book or an easy topic but this book tackles it with accuracy and grace. It should be required reading for all students.  This really shines a spotlight on the differences that two boys in similar situations both with dreams and hopes have to deal with. This book helps to challenge us on our biases and really shows white privilege.  Do we judge people on the way they look? On how they dress? Change Rashad's religion to Muslim would it make a difference? What if the cop was black? This book definitely makes you think and would be great to start a conversation on race.

The narrators really gave these two kids life.  They were perfect and I found myself lost in the story.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Audio Book Review: A Death In Sweden by Kevin Wignall

Release Date: January 1, 2016
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Audible
Length: 7 hours 59 minutes
Narrator: Will Damron
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Dan Hendricks is a man in need of a lifeline. A former CIA operative, he is now an agent for hire by foreign powers on the hunt for dangerous fugitives. It's a lethal world at the best of times, and Dan knows his number is almost up. His next job could be his last - and his next job is his biggest yet.
The target sounds traceable enough: Jacques Fillon, who gave up his life trying to save a fellow passenger following a bus crash in northern Sweden. But the man was something of an enigma in this rural community, and his death exposes his greatest secret: Jacques Fillon never existed at all.
Dan is tasked with uncovering Fillon's true identity - but can he do so before his own past catches up with him?

Review:

Someone is tying up loose ends, and one of those loose ends is Dan.  Running for his life and those of his friends he finds himself taking a job to find out the real identity of a man named Jacques Fillon. Fillon saved a young girl from a bus crash but doesn't really exist.  If Dan can find out who Fillon was he could save himself and his friends.

This is a fast paced spy thriller with quite a lot of  non graphic violence and sex.  Dan is an assassin but is he a good guy? Can any assassin be considered good? Wignall tries to make Dan the hero of this book which is a difficult task but one I think he ultimately achieves.

With a lot of twists and turns and more going on than meets the eye this was a great spy mystery.  The author brought the story to life.  Overall a very satisfying listen.





Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Zondervan Fiction
Format: Kindle
Pages: 318 Pages
Genre: Mystery/Christian/Romance
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | Audible 


Synopsis:

Casey knows the truth. But it won't set her free.
Casey Cox's DNA is all over the crime scene. There's no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she's arrested...or worse.
The truth doesn't matter anymore. But what is the truth? That's the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren't adding up. Casey Cox doesn't fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan's skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn't guilty, why did she run?
Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan's damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer...or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Review:

I'm not a big Christian Lit book but honestly it wasn't until the last 30% of the book that I even realized it was. This is a good mystery with interesting characters.  It ends on a bit of a cliff hanger but the second book in the sequel If I'm Found was released March 2017.

Casey has been scared since she found her father dead.  She knew it wasn't a suicide but the police didn't listen.  When Casey finds her friend Brent dead she knows she has to run.  If she stays knows she will wind up like her father.

Dylan Roberts is Brents childhood friend and when he finds out that he was murdered he wants to help in anyway he can. When Brents family asks him to find Casey he takes the job.  Keegan the police chief is supposed to be helping him but seems to be blocking him from certain evidence.  As Dylan starts to suspect there is more to this case another body is found.

This was a well written book and a great mystery, my biggest complaint is that it seemed that the Christian theme seems almost an afterthought in this book.  It was thrown in toward the end and really would have been a better book without it.  It seemed too forced - it didn't need to be pushed as hard as it was and it may have worked better had it been scattered throughout the book.  It was almost a surprise toward the end which threw me off. I also have a problem with books stopping on such a big cliff hanger and then not releasing the sequel for almost a year.  Luckily I found this book just as the sequel was put out.




Friday, March 31, 2017

ARC Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Release Date: March 1, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Kindle
Pages: 400 pages
Genre: YA , sci fi/ fantasy
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover  


Synopsis: 

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price...

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she's a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles...and make a powerful choice.

Review:

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book but I was drawn in immediately.  The story goes back and forth between present day as Tea talks to the Bard who has come to learn her story and the past when Tea first learned that she would become a Dark Asha.

Chupeco has created a rich world with many layers and political intrigue.  Magic is common but the gift of the Dark Asha is looked at with fear and disdain. Tea's back story is interesting and slowly builds you up to present day.  You watch her grow from a scared 12 year old who accidentally raises her brother from the dead to a skilled kick ass woman at 17.

As the story unfolded I became more and more invested in the characters and really wanted to get to know a few of them a bit more.  Since this is the first book in a series I'm hoping that more will come from some of these other characters that Chupeco has given us a taste of.

Everyone in this world has a heartglass and the color of the glass tells you how you feel and also determines what you will be.  There doesn't seem to be any room for someone to make choices of free will in this world since you are pushed in the direction your heartglass leads you.

There are many different themes throughout the book that really seem directed at following your own heart and not so much what society thinks you should do.

I really liked this book and look forward to the rest of the series.




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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Audio Book: The Yellow Sock: An Adoption Story by Angela Hunt

Release Date: January 21, 2015
Publisher: Angela Hunt Communications Inc
Format: Audible
Length: 2 hours 55 minutes
Narrator: Becky Doughty
Buy: Audio | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Megan and Dave Wingfield want nothing more than to be parents--to welcome a child of their own. When they aren't able to conceive after two years of trying, they decide to adopt and find that journey is also fraught with mishaps and the potential for broken hearts. Can Megan learn to trust God with the desires of her heart?

Review: 

The narrator was a bit distracting - her pacing was a bit strange and her voice, though she tried to change it for each character seemed almost robotic and lacking in emotion. I felt like I was listening to Hal from 2001 a space Odyssey read a book.  I think I would recommend reading this on kindle or paperback instead of listening to the audio since the narration is so distracting.

Since I am not a very religious person and was not raised in the Christian faith some of the writing left me cold.  However the emotions about wanting to be a mother and wanting to be pregnant are things that I hear often in my work at an adoption agency.  I really appreciated the way the author brought a lot of adoption language and development to light and shared some of the feelings that many adoptive parents feel or have experienced.

The process of domestic and international adoption was a bit off from the way things really work and the description of private adoption isn't completely accurate but overall the intentions of this book were good.  It touched on the emotional side of infertility and adoption that many books gloss over or are afraid to mention.





Monday, March 27, 2017

ARC Review: Every Body Yoga Let Go of Fear. Get On the Mat. Love Your Body by Jessamyn Stanley

Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Workman Publishing Group
Format: Kindle
Pages: 232 pages
Genre: yoga - Health - Mind - Body
Buy: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

It’s a book of inspiration for beginners of all shapes and sizes: If Jessamyn could transcend these emotional and physical barriers, so can we.
It’s a book for readers already doing yoga, looking to refresh their practice or find new ways to stay motivated.

It’s a how-to book: Here are easy-to-follow directions to 50 basic yoga poses and 10 sequences to practice at home, all photographed in full color.

It’s a book that challenges the larger issues of body acceptance and the meaning of beauty.

Review:

Jessamyn is an inspiration to everyone who doesn't look like the typical yogi.  Yoga is for everyone but in most studios you find the same smaller framed women and not many women of color. Jessamyn shows that you don't have to be skinny or white to find your peace on the mat.  Yoga is about YOUR experience not what everyone else in the room is doing but it can be intimidating.

I love Jessamyn's easy to read prose and her down to earth style of writing. Her stories of growing up made the book easy to relate to and her yogic history was at a level that even the most novice person can understand.  I loved that she used models of all different sizes to illustrate different asanas, it really made the book accessible and proves that these postures are obtainable by anybody!

As a yogi with injuries and a Kundalini yoga teacher I applaud Jessamyn's book and hope that her story will inspire more people who may not fit the stereotypical yogic mold.  Anyone can get on the mat and get something from their practice.


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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Audio Book: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Format: Audible
Length:10 hours 18 minutes
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Genre: YA
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis: 

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful - and cruel - father. Now Scarlett's father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the faraway once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year Scarlett's long dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval's mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season's Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Review: 

Scarlett has been obsessed with stories of Caraval and has been writing to Legend the head of the Caraval for years begging him to come their small island but she has never received an answer until now.  Days before her arrange marriage Scarlett and her sister Tella travel to attend the show but as soon as they get there Tella disappears and has become the object of the "game". Now Scarlett and everyone is trying to find her.

During the quest to find her sister Scarlett also needs to find herself, her strength and her power.  Her father is an abusive evil man and Legend has a long twisted past with her family that may be her undoing. Engaged to a man who she has never met but she feels is her only way to get away from her horrible father and save her sister, Scarlett needs to find the strength to stand on her own instead of being so afraid, that may be the only way to truly save her sister...and herself.

With lots of twist and turns this story holds your attention keeps you on your toes and keeps you interested. However this is a very dark story and may not be for all YA readers.  Descriptive with an intricately woven story I really found myself lost in the action.

Narrator Rebecca Soler also narrated the Cinder Series by Marissa Meyer and I loved her reading so much it lead me to this book and I was not disappointed.




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Release Date:
March 7, 2017
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Mystery
Buy: kindle | Hardcover 


Synopsis: 

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

Review


Wow, this is a dark, twisted and disturbing book with a hopeful ending.  It seems that all the Roanoke girls have issues and die young, usually by their own hand.  After Lane's mother died Lane is brought to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra who is a strange and disturbed young woman. Though the two cousins grow close eventually Lane like other Roanoke girls flees the family home but gets called back 11 years later when her cousin goes missing.

As Lane desperately tries to discover what happened to her cousin she also is reconnecting with her past love whose heart she broke when she left.  The two are drawn to each other but this time instead of bringing out the worst in each other they may just be able to help each other break free of their pasts.  With alternating chapters from past to present you discover the mystery of what goes on in Roanoke and why there is so much tragedy in this family.

This book is tragic and yet in the end you find hope that Lane will be able to break free and be happy unlike the other Roanoke girls before her.  Amy Engel keeps you interested and slowly pulls you into the secrets of what is happening in this strange little town. Many of us are shaped by our pasts but we don't have to be defined by them.  Lane doesn't have to be a " Roanoke Girl" she can be her own person. This book really touches on that and how we don't have to let tragedy or our families control our future. Well written this book will stay with me for a while.


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


Friday, March 17, 2017

Audio Book: Overcoming Fears: Creating Safety for You and Your World by Louise Hay

Release date: May 10, 2006
Publisher: Hay House
Format: Audible
Length: 45 Minutes
Narrator: Louise Hay
Buy: Audio


Synopsis:

On this audio program, best-selling author and lecturer, Louise L. Hay, helps you overcome fears through the positive strength of mediation and affirmations. By listening, you can change your negative thought patterns into healthy, positive ones.

Louise's meditation visualizes a world where it's safe to grow and love each other without fear. She stresses the importance of loving your inner child, and her vision of the world as a secure, loving place will help give you the confidence and power to make your own contribution to a productive and caring society.

Review:

There are two meditation in this audio book.  The first is a beautiful guided meditation to help heal your inner child and let go of fear.  It is a way to imagine a better world and a more peaceful planet. Great way to relax and let go of stress. Combined with long slow deep breathing this is a really helpful meditation to relax your body.  I felt that the relaxed state I was in after listening to this stayed with me for several hours afterward.  The flute music in the background was very soothing.

The second meditation is a series of positive affirmations that helps let go of negative emotions and tapes that we have playing in our heads and replace them with soft soothing words that all you to let go of the pain an turmoil that we have experienced.  It may take a few listens to buy into her theory but I have been working with Louise Hay's work for a long time and have found it immensely helpful and healing.

I may listen to this daily for a week and see what kind of changes come about.





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Audio Book Review: The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike Book 1)

Release Date: May 16, 2013
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Format: Audible
Length: 15 hours 54 minutes
Narrator: Robert Glenister
Genre: Mystery
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Review: 

I decided to read this based on the description of the story, it wasn't until I was almost finished that I found out that Robert Galbraith is the pen name of JK Rowling.  I'm almost glad I didn't know before hand so it didn't cloud my judgement.  I really love Harry Potter but they are very different books than Cuckoo's Calling.

Cormoran Strike is a flawed detective who is hired to investigate the death of a celebrity.  Despite his famous father Strike is anything but part of the "in" crowd.  Investigating the suicide of Lula Landry Strike finds himself immersed with celebrities and high fashion. He is a tall imposing man who is down on his luck but seems to be making due. He knows how to read people and is very good at his job and his luck seems to be taking a turn for the better.

Strikes new temporary secretary Robin is intrigued by detective work and by Strike.  Her job was supposed to be temporary but she begins to make herself indispensable to Cormoran and despite her fiances objections to her working for Strike she takes a full time position as his secretary.  I really liked Robin, she is a strong capable woman who really wants to help and get into detective work.

This book kept me interested and eager to listen.  I don't know if this was a product of the narrator or the actual book but either way it was very entertaining.  This is a good old fashioned detective novel and I loved it.  I have already downloaded the 2nd book in this series.  I think the narrator makes or breaks audio books and Robert Glenister is a fabulous voice actor. He changes his voice to the different characters really allowing you to become immersed in the story.



Monday, March 13, 2017

ARC Review: The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen

Release Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Group
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368 pages
Genre: Crime / Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Synopsis:

They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.

She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. But she was not alone. When Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI-BCA violent crime force stumble upon the case, they discover a horror far greater than anyone expected—a string of murders on the High Line, all of them young women drifters whom no one would notice.

But someone has noticed now. Through the bleak midwinter and a frontier land of forbidding geography, Stevens and Windermere follow a frustratingly light trail of clues—and where it ends, even they will be shocked.

Review:

This is the 6th installment of Stevens/Windermere series.  I haven't read the others in this series but that didn't seem to be too big of a detriment.  The Forgotten Girls is about speaking for those who society doesn't seem to think count. The homeless, the runaways, the prostitutes.  These are the women who have been disappearing for years and no one has figured out why.  There are rumors of a ghost that hunts along the Highline, but the law just think its a myth.  Stevens and Windermere discover the connection while a young runaway tries to find evidence to get revenge for her friend.

This book is more action driven than character driven but there aren't very many twists and turns.  I wish there had been more suspense or twists to the story.  Despite the story being predictable it kept me entertained and I felt it was a good read.  I wish I had connected to the main characters a bit more but there wasn't much to connect with.  I've heard that the other books by Owen Laukkanen are quite good so I may have to give this author another shot.  Overall I enjoyed the book I just wish there had been a bit more to it.


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



Friday, March 10, 2017

ARC Review: Get it Together Delilah! by Erin Gough

Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: LGBT YA
Buy: Hardcover


Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn't have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it's working fine. While her dad goes on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, Del manages the family cafe. Easy, she thinks. But what about homework? Or the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell? Or her best friend who won't stop guilt-tripping her? Or her other best friend who might go to jail for love if Del doesn't do something? But really, who cares about any of that when all Del can think about is beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street. . . . Until one day Rosa comes in the cafe door. And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?

Review:

Originally published in Australia as The Flywheel, this book is a roller coaster of emotions. Filled with wit and deeper emotions we watch as Delilah Green tried to save her family's business while her father is off on the holiday she insisted he go on.  Her mother lives in another city with her new boyfriend and isn't really in Delilah's life.  With her group of friends Delilah struggles to go to school and manage the restaurant.  Her love life is a total disaster and she is being bullied at school.

I appreciate that this isn't your typical coming out YA LGBT book.  Delilah is gay, her family and friends accept this it isn't a secret and the story doesn't center around it.  Delilah is a strong young woman who is trying to juggle too many adult responsibilities along with trying to figure out what to do with her life.  She has the typical teenage love life that is a mess, broken hearts, etc but with the extra issues surrounding dating as an LGBT youth when not everyone is as open or out as Delilah.

I was drawn in by Delilah and her friends and was routing for her in both her love life and trying to keep the Flywheel open. I breezed through this story and found it delightful, funny and touching. This was a great debut for a new author.


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

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ARC Review: Never Forget (Saul Marshall Book 2) by Richard Davis

Release Date: February 20, 2017
Publisher: Canelo
Format: Kindle
Pages: 363 pages
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Buy: Kindle 


Synopsis:

Saul Marshall is on the run.
 As a wave of seemingly random assassinations engulfs California, Marshall finds himself drawn into a situation spiraling out of control. He soon discovers some of the webs’ most secure protocols have been compromised by a rogue team of former Chinese agents. When Marshall realizes what they plan, the stakes are raised… And that’s before the Secretary of State gets involved. Can Marshall unravel the deceit and tricks before it’s too late? Can he stop the carnage, or will he become part of it? One thing is for certain: either way his enemies will never forget.

Review:

Richard Davis got it right from the start on this one.  This book immediately hooked me from the beginning this book is a race to the finish.  Filled with political intrigue and cyber security Never Forget takes you down the path of hackers and terrorists. As our last political election proved cyber attacks are becoming more frequent and are being used to infiltrate governments and cause upheaval.

I liked Saul Marshall in the first book False Prophet and I still like him.  Ex-FBI who has his own moral compass. His back story was explained as we learned along with the woman he saved Ellen Kelden. We learned more about Saul's past as a con man and I actually can't wait for more stories from his past.  Davis really develops his characters and it seems that we may be seeing more of some of them again.

Davis has found his stride and taken all of the reviewers critiques of his first book into account and developed a solid well written book that still leaves you wanting more.  From beginning to end this is a great thriller and I was really happy and pleasantly surprised.





Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Book Review: In Albuquerque, Abandoned: A Mystery Novel (Cinnamon/Burro New Mexico Mysteries Book 7)

Release Date: September 30, 2016
Publisher: Create Space
Format: Kindle
Pages: 286 pages
Genre: Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 


Synopsis:

Leon wants to rescue a baby abandoned in a dumpster in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His brother, Booth, is killed before Leon has a chance to get the baby. Did Leon kill his brother in order to save the baby? Is there a baby? In this noir crime story, Cinnamon and Burro unravel a closely woven secret, beguile a neurotic police officer, and assist a man with schizophrenia badly in need of treatment. Strange characters with odd habits abound. All the while, Burro uses his visions to search for the baby, the killer, and the long lost Momma, who appears and then disappears from view.

Review: 

I have not read the other 6 books in this series and I'm thinking that this book may have made more sense if I had.  I feel like I was dumped into the middle of a mystery with people who acted like they knew me and I had no idea who they were.

Leon has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, lives with his brother and his wife and has recently been found every morning in the dumpster outside a school trying to find a baby that he insists is lost.  Cinnamon and Burro are private investigators, who are called in to try to find out the mystery of the baby and try to get Leon to stop coming to the dumpster.  Burro is a diagnosed schizophrenic as well but isn't medicated and gets visions of things that are happening or going to happen.  I don't know much about Cinnamon other than she is looking for her mother, who after much confusion I realize has the same name.

This book felt very disjointed and confusing.  Fifty percent of the book was focused on Leon and his dumpster diving for babies and why he thinks there may be a baby there and the cop who shows up every morning to stop him and is increasingly getting more aggressive.

It wasn't until I passed that fifty percent mark that pieces started falling into place about Leon's brother and some other characters selling artifacts from a museum on the black market.  And Cinnamon's mother keeps popping up in strange places but doesn't really fit the story.

This story had a lot of potential but there needed to be some back story on the characters and a faster move toward what was really happening in this small town. I liked the character of Burro but I didn't get enough of a feel for Cinnamon other than she wanted to find her mother.  I almost stopped reading but I hate doing that so I plowed forward and the second half of the book was much better. There were some typo's and grammatical things that could have used an editor but overall the story was good but the delivery needed some work.  Maybe I would have felt different had I read some of the previous books in this series.





Disclaimer: I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ARC Review: Waking in Time by Angie Stanton

Release Date: March 1, 2017
Publisher:  Switch Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 360 pages
Genre: YA fiction
Buy: Hardcover


Synopsis: 

Still mourning the loss of her beloved grandmother and shaken by her mysterious, dying request to find the baby, Abbi has just arrived at UW Madison for her freshman year. But on her second day, she wakes up to a different world: 1983. That is just the first stop on Abbis journey backward through time. Will is a charming college freshman from 1927 who travels forward through time. When Abbi and Will meet in the middle, love adds another complication to their lives. Communicating across time through a buried time capsule, they try to decode the mystery of their travel, find the lost baby, and plead with their champion, a kindly physics professor, to help them find each other again ... even though the professor gets younger each time Abbi meets him.

Review:


This book reminded me a little of the Time Travelers Wife, in that Abbi keeps jutting back into time while Will travels forward.  Two star crossed lovers never knowing if or when they will meet again.. As they try to communicate through time they also enlist the help of a physics professor whose mission is to help them find each other again and stop them from traveling. Abbi is also on a mission to find out what happened to a baby that her grandmother asked her about on when she was dying.

Remembering that this is a YA book I found it to be fairly well written and captivating.  This book takes you through time, giving you glimpses into the past through the eyes of a modern day girl.  I love how she has to learn to adapt her behavior and dress to fit the time period.  It is a great way to get a small lesson on what it was like to be a teenager in different eras.

I was sucked into this book from the first page and couldn't get enough of it.





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

Monday, February 13, 2017

ARC Review: Gunmetal Gray by Mark Greaney (Gray Man 6)

Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 512 pages
Genre: Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover


Synopsis: 

After five years on the run Court Gentry is back on the inside at the CIA. But his first mission makes him wish he had stayed on the outs when a pair of Chinese agents try to take him down in Hong Kong. Normally the Chinese prefer to stay eyes-only on foreign agents. So why are they on such high alert?

Court’s high stakes hunt for answers takes him across Southeast Asia and leads to his old friend, Donald Fitzroy, who is being held hostage by the Chinese. Fitzroy was contracted to find Fan Jiang, a former member of an ultra-secret computer warfare unit responsible for testing China’s own security systems. And it seems Fan may have been too good at his job—because China wants him dead.

The first two kill teams Fitzroy sent to find Fan have disappeared and the Chinese have decided to “supervise” the next operation. What they don't know is that Gentry’s mission is to find Fan first and get whatever intel he has to the US.

After that, all he has to do is get out alive...

Review:

I haven't read the first 5 books of this series but I may go back because Greaney's Gray Man has intrigued me.  He is a CIA op who the CIA turned against became a free agent and is now back as a CIA consultant.

 Set mostly in Hong Kong, Cambodia and Thailand this book lets you take a ride with one of the best covert op men in the business.  The problem the CIA has with him become very apparent toward the end of the book when you realize that Court Gentry has a code of honor that does not always mesh well with the CIA.  He may be a covert op turned assassin turned consultant but he doesn't betray his own morals or values.  He fights for what he thinks is right. Think of him as a modern day James Bond.

This book had great pacing, great action, lots of twists, a touch of romance, and enough political power plays to make your head spin. Even without reading the previous books I didn't feel lost or overwhelmed by past plots that were necessary to this story. I think the author did a good job of filling in the blanks to make this a stand alone even though it is part of a series.






Friday, January 27, 2017

ARC Review: The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt

Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 400 pages
Genre: Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis: 

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered...

Review:


This is not a quick book, its slow to build and a bit disjointed.  You know something isn't right from the beginning, since Dahlia talks about not having the right paperwork for most jobs.  The book picks up a bit around half way but still feels like its all over the place and not sure what it wants to be, is it a mystery, a thriller, a fantasy book? And it could be all of those if it was woven together a bit more. The ending wasn't completely satisfying. It felt rushed and off but most of the book felt off as well so I guess its fitting.

The story itself was pretty good, a bit repetitive and not woven as well as it could have been but it was an interesting plot.  When Dahlia Waller finds a woman half buried in the woods you think it will be a main theme tying things together but it seemed to just be there not very necessary or important other than it spurs Dahlia into questioning her mother about the past and her mother being weirder than she already was. It just didn't seem necessary, more like a prop that once put out you're not really sure what to do with anymore.

I wouldn't say I hated this book but I also wouldn't put it in my loved it category.  It was ok but there are so many more entertaining things to read out there.

 



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

Monday, January 23, 2017

Audio Book Review: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Release Date: November 15, 2016
Publisher: Audible Studios
Format: Audible
Narrator: Trevor Noah
Length: 8 hours 50 Minutes
Genre: Biography
Buy: Audible | Hardcover | Paperback


Synopsis:

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

Review: 


I was really excited about getting this book and I toyed around with either buying the book or listening to the audio.  Once I realized that Trevor Noah actually narrated the book I had to get the audio.  To hear him tell the stories of his childhood and apartheid with his South African accent and to listen to him speak Zulu, and Xhosa, Afrikaans and other South African dialects is worth the listen. I'm not sure they would have had the same impact if I had just read the words on the page.

This book is about growing up at a time when he could have been taken away from his mother due to his very biology.  The way they had to walk down the street, the times when his mother denied being his mother to protect him, even though he may not have understood and ultimately the strong bond between a mother and a son.  His stories are of South Africa and not fitting in anywhere, of Apartheid, and the brilliance of how the government divided a country that is still struggling against it, and of just being an awkward kid and trying to find his way through the world.   His stories had me laughing, crying, gasping and I found it difficult to stop listening.  I was totally enthralled by his story telling and I could have listened to him go on and on.




Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: A Time of Torment (A Charlie Parker Novel 14) by John Connelly

Release Date: August 2, 1016
Publisher: Atria
Format: Kindle
Pages: 480 pages
Genre: thriller, supernatural
Buy: Hardcover | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Jerome Burnel was once a hero. He intervened to prevent multiple killings, and in doing so destroyed himself. His life was torn apart. He was imprisoned, brutalized.
But in his final days, with the hunters circling, he tells his story to private detective Charlie Parker. He speaks of the girl who was marked for death, but was saved; of the ones who tormented him, and an entity that hides in a ruined stockade.
Parker is not like other men. He died, and was reborn. He is ready to wage war.

Now he will descend upon a strange, isolated community called the Cut, and face down a force of men who rule by terror, intimidation, and murder.

All in the name of the being they serve. All in the name of the Dead King.


Review:

I love these books they keep getting creepier and more mystical.  I'm not sure where they are leading but Charlie is not a normal PI and ever since his last encounter with death he has changed. If anything he seems more deadly which is hard to believe.

In this book we learn a tiny bit more about his daughter as well. We knew there was something different about her but this one really shows that there is a whole lot more to this girl than anyone thought.  But not being normal might be a good thing when you are Charlie's daughter.

The Cut is an isolated community within a small county they don't like outsiders and are pretty much self sustaining, but if you cross any of them there is no where you can hide that they can't find you and once they do its unpleasant.  They have a leader but they really follow the Dead King of which most people know little about.

As usual this is a well written book with some interesting characters.  Charlies mission it seems is to avenge the dead or the wrongly accused.  His sidekicks Angel and Luis don't have there usual lively banter in this one but their presence is always fun to watch as they interact with other people.

I am utterly enamored by these books and they just keep getting better. They are almost difficult to review because they are just so fabulous. Connelly has really created a very interesting supernatural world that lives within our world.  They look just like us but hide something deeper.





Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ARC Review: 20 by Vatsal Surti

Release Date: December 18, 2016
Publisher: Hybrid Texts
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Kindle


Synopsis: 

One night as she is driving back home from a show, she almost runs over someone. She holds her breath, and through the fog they see each other for the first time. Love begins to form in the space between them, in precognitions and thoughts, lights and intimacies. Seasons change. They come to know more things about themselves and each other. Life wraps them in its embrace like a haze, in a vacant space bigger than their eyes can see.

Review: 


This is a story of loneliness and love and finding yourself.  This novel is almost a poem in its lyrical and atmospheric writing.  Its haunting, beautiful and left me scratching my head wondering what I had just read but feeling better having read it.  Its one of those books that is hard to describe and even reading it leaves you a little lost but needing to go on.  Beautifully written but not for everyone.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 16, 2017

ARC Review: The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

Release Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 448 pages
Genre: Thriller & Suspense
Buy:  Kindle | Hardcover


Synopsis:

When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem's chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed "The Goddess Murders," in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.

But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

Review:

Rose was once an acclaimed academic but after a fateful night and the murder of three women she has lost everything, even it seems her mind.  Callie was just a child when her mother was murdered and she thought Rose was dead until a news story brought everything back. Now she is on a mission to save Rose from being charged with murder again after the death of a young man.

This is a great atmospheric novel filled with folklore, Salem history and women who are much more than they seem. I loved this book, it grabs you from the beginning and takes you on a long ride.  As things twist and shift you can't quite get a grasp on who to trust and what exactly is happening to all these different people, is it witchcraft or something even more deadly? Is Rose the Banshee she claims or is someone else pulling the strings? Old money, new money and long held family feuds give this Salem mystery even more to sink your teeth into.

Apparently this is the second book in this series but it can totally stand alone. The characters are well developed and believable and the plot just gets deeper and deeper like the roots of a family tree.




Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com
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