Sunday, December 31, 2017

Audio Book Review: Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike Book 3)by Robert Galbraith

Release Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Hatchette Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 17 hours 58 minutes
Narrator: Robert Glenister
Genre: Mystery
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them....

Review: 

I could listen to Robert Glenister read forever.  I love the way he interprets each character and his reading really sucks me into these stories.  I loved the first two in this series and like this one even better.  I really hope JK Rowling (Robert Galbraith is just her pen name) puts out the next book in this series sometime soon.  Its been about 3 years!

Cormoran and Robin have a great working relationship and the chemistry between them reminds me of the X-files Mulder and Scully.  You want them together but you're afraid of what might happen if they do get together.

This book has it all, mystery, suspense a great story line and great characters. I have listened to all of these (instead of reading a traditional ebook or paperback) and think I would do the same for any others, I just feel connected to the characters the way Glenister reads them.

There are some new characters that really are a great addition to the story line such as Shanker.  His character gives us insight into Strike and also is just a great stress relief.  I hope new ones like this continue to pop up.



Book Review: Grey by EL James

Release Date: June 18, 2015
Publisher: Vintage
Format: ebook
Pages:  576 Pages
Genre: bdsm/romance?
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis:

Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart. 

Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?

Review:

Why I subject myself to these is still a mystery but its like a moth to a flame I can't seem to not read them.  I really wish the author would find her own stories instead of capitalizing on Stephanie Meyers and her Twilight Series.  But I guess the dollar signs and potential movie scripts keep her going. This is a total ripoff of the book Meyers refused to release after it was stolen by a hacker and released to the web unfinished. The cover looks like a ripoff of the Host.  Really Ms. James please for the love of god find a unique story and stop this madness. 

We revisit the 50 Shades of Grey book from Christian's point of view and I'm mighty disappointed.  Not that I was expecting anything different I mean it is the same damn book.  The writing was juvenile and stilted and honestly having a peak inside Christians mind was something I could have done without.  I think she would have been better off leaving this one alone.  His character went from the mysterious, freaky ultra rich guy to insecure, troubled child pretending to be a man.  I liked him much better from Ana's point of view. 


ARC Book Review: Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant

Release Date: January 11, 2018
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: ebook
Pages:  305 pages
Genre: mystery/thriller
Buy: Kindle 

Synopsis:

It starts with a lie. The kind we've all told - to a former acquaintance we can't quite place but still, for some reason, feel the need to impress. The story of our life, embellished for the benefit of the happily married lawyer with the kids and the lovely home.

And the next thing you know, you're having dinner at their house, and accepting an invitation to join them on holiday - swept up in their perfect life, the kind you always dreamed of...

Which turns out to be less than perfect. But by the time you're trapped and sweating in the relentless Greek sun, burning to escape the tension all around you - by the time you start to realise that, however painful the truth might be, it's the lies that cause the real damage...

... well, by then, it could just be too late.

Review:

There is a lot of hype about this book and I'm going to have to be in the minority with this and say it was really difficult to read.  I hated the main character, Paul Morris, pretty much immediately and he never really improved.  The other characters in the book were either shells or just as despicable as the main character.  This book reminded me of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which many people loved but I just couldn't get into.

I find it hard to connect with a book when all the characters aren't likable. The other characters were manipulative, mean and shallow. I didn't care what happened to any of them and I had a hard time wrapping my head around Pauls love interest, Alice, who lost her husband it seems a while ago yet everyone in her circle keeps treating her like he died yesterday.  It just seemed really off.

The last 1/3 of this book gave it a reprieve from a one star rating. There was intrigue, manipulation and some nasty well deserved retribution but it just was a little too late for me. If you liked Gone Girl or books like that you may love this but it wasn't for me.


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


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Book Review: Deadly Communion (The Liebermann Papers 5 ) by Frank Tallis

Release Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback

Synopsis:


Published in the US as Vienna Twilight by Frank Tallis but I seemed to have found a British copy from a free little library. 

In the dynamic and dangerous Vienna of 1903, a brilliant psychoanalyst and a brave detective battle to catch criminals who commit the most clever and brutal crimes.

Detective Inspector Oskar Reinhardt finds that young women are being slain in an unnerving—and ingenious—manner, with a small, almost undetectable, hat pin. For Dr. Max Liebermann, the killer is unique in the annals of psychopathology, one who murders in the midst of consensual love. Is the culprit a patient, one who swears he has a double, a shadow figure that is far more forward (in fact, indecent) with women? As danger mounts, Liebermann must find the answer while struggling with his own forbidden desire for a female patient.

Review:

I really enjoyed this book it reminded me of Sherlock Holmes.  Inspector Reinhardt and Dr. Liebermann remind me of Sherlock and Watson. This is a great period piece with great characters.  The mystery is well written and the characters that are well developed.

There is a great deal of Freud in these pages so if you feel things are too sexualized remember who the psychologists mentor is...Freud was all about sex and sexuality.  This book is also not set in modern times so what we would see right away may take the characters a bit to figure out.  We are surrounded by crime tv shows and movies that have attuned us to clues but if we put ourselves back in time where crime wasn't quite as common as it is nowadays you may find it harder to figure out.

I will be looking for more books in this series as I found this in a free little library around the corner from me.  I love finding new gems.




Friday, December 15, 2017

Book Review: Lady of Sherwood (Outlaws of Sherwood Book 1) by Molly Bilinski

Release Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback

Synopsis

Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.

After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn't the only thing she wants—she wants revenge.
As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin's choices begin to haunt her. She'll have to choose between what's lawful and what her conscience believes is right—all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.

Review: 

This is a unique retelling of the Robin Hood tale.  Instead of Robin Hood being male in this book all the main characters are women.  Its an interesting take on the tale and very empowering to young women.

Set in a time when arranged marriages were the norm and women were treated like property this book shines the light on one young woman who holds on to her convictions and her power.  Her father taught her how to Hunt and shoot and her mother desperate to make her into a lady tries to teach her to sew and behave in lady like ways.  After her father dies her mother is desperate to make an advantageous match for her despite Robin's wishes and love of a commoner.  The man she pledges her daughter to is cruel and when he is spurned resorts to deeds that leave Robin running from the hangman.

I really enjoyed this retelling of the famous tale and enjoyed the fact that they were all women. I will be looking out for the other stories in this series.





Monday, December 11, 2017

Book Review: Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole my Childhood, Made Me Crazy and Almost Killed Me by Ally Hilfiger

Release Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Center Street
Format: Paperback
Pages: 287 pages
Genre: memoir
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback

Synopsis: 

Ally was at a breaking point when she woke up in a psych ward at the age of eighteen. She couldn't put a sentence together, let alone take a shower, eat a meal, or pick up a phone. What had gone wrong? In recent years, she had produced a feature film, a popular reality show for a major network, and had acted in an off-Broadway play. But now, Ally was pushed to a psychotic break after struggling since she was seven years old with physical symptoms that no doctor could explain; everything from joint pain, to night sweats, memory loss, nausea, and brain fog. A doctor in the psych ward was finally able to give her the answers her and her family had desperately been searching for, and the diagnosis that all the previous doctors had missed. She learned that she had Lyme disease-and finally had a breakthrough.

What she didn't know was that this diagnosis would lead her down some of the most excruciating years of her life before beginning her journey to recovery from eleven years of misdiagnosis and physical pain. She would need to find her courage to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally, and become the survivor she is today.

Review: 

Ever since being diagnosed with Lyme a few months ago I've struggled with getting people to understand the ups and downs of Lyme and how it effects me.  I would cry while reading this book because I finally felt validated.  I felt like finally someone "got it". The achy joints that make me feel like I'm 90 when I stand up, the days I feel great and can do a million things and the days I can barely crawl out of bed. This book is the greatest gift to people suffering from Lyme and their families.  Allys story is tragic since it took so long for someone to actually figure it out but she is not the only one.  There are plenty of people out there today whose doctors or families aren't listening or they didn't have a bullseye rash so they couldn't have lyme. This disease is debilitating and horrible and the treatment whether you go traditional or herbal suck and for me one didn't cut it so I am on a combination of antibiotics and herbs. But treatment for this disease is a long marathon toward feeling better not a sprint.  Its not oh take this and you will feel better, the parasites that cause this disease are smart, and resiliant.

I can't recommend this book enough. It is easy to read, and is honest. Even though she comes from a very wealthy family, with lots of advantages she still was unable to get an accurate diagnosis and then when she finally did it took a lot to get her to where she is today.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Review: Alligator Candy: A memoir by David Kushner

Release Date: February 17, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
Pages: 343 pages
Genre: memoir
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback

Synopsis: 

David Kushner grew up in the suburbs of Florida in the early 1970s, running wild with his friends, exploring, riding bikes, and disappearing into the nearby woods for hours at a time. One morning in 1973, however, everything changed when David’s older brother Jon took a short bike trip to the local convenience store. He never returned. Alligator Candy is the story of Jon’s murder at the hands of two sadistic drifters, and everything that happened after.

Jon’s death was one of the first in what turned out to be a rash of child abductions and murders that dominated headlines for much of the 1970s and 80s. It was around this the time that milk cartons began to feature the images of missing children, and newscasters began asking, “It’s 10:00, do you know where you children are?”

Review: 

David was really young when his brother was abducted and killed.  While his parents tried to shield him from what happened it changed his life and effected him in ways that he wasn't even aware of until much later in life. His parents did an amazing job of moving past their pain and helping their other children to live as normal a life as possible but they missed opportunities to help their kids heal. They didn't stifle them but allowed them to soar. However, their attempt to shelter their children from the details of what happened to their brother ultimately left them with big gaps with only rumors and misinformation to fill them. As an adult David, his brother and his mother go through Jons life up through that day.  They fill in all the gaps and David uses his investigative tools to find information on the 2 men who changed their family.

This book is a love story to his brother Jon, a testimate to his parents strength and devotion, and the reality of a murder that touch so many and changed so many lives.  You truly see the ripples in the pond after reading this book.  Jons death didn't just affect their family but so many others as well.

Well written and not too heavy despite the subject, not too graphic although there is a fairly graphic description of the Jons death in one part which if your squeamish you may want to skip over.




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Release Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Scout Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback

Synopsis:

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

Review: 

This was a great whodunit. Lo Blacklock has just had the scare of her life and is excited to get away from reality to travel on a luxury cruise for her travel magazine. She hasn't slept in days and really just needs to get away from the crazy that is her life.

The cruise ship is a small intimate ship that only has 10 cabins, and all starts out great until the first night when after a fabulous dinner and a lot of drinks Lo stumbles back to her cabin hoping to get some much needed rest when she is awoken by a scream.  This brings back the episode that happened to her right before she left leaving her shaken.  After hearing a splash she rushes to her balcony only to see something floating in the water and what looks like blood on the next door railing.  Convincing someone of what she saw proves harder than she thought and her paranoia and drinking aren't helping her case.  But someone is worried and keeps trying to warn her off.

Filled with twists and turns and little teasers at the end of each section that lead us down a dark path of what really happened on the boat. Interesting characters and a story line that really kept me interested and turning pages.  This isn't great literature but its great fun. I think they had it right when they compare this book to Agatha Christie it definitely had that feel in a more modern package.

Very well done.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Random House
Format: Kindle
Pages: 546 pages
Genre: Lit/fiction
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback

Review: 

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry.

Review: 


Rachel has no idea what she is getting herself into when she agrees to go to Singapore with her boyfriend.  Nick comes from one of the richest families in Singapore, where the rich each try to outdo each other and everything is about what designer you are wearing, how much money you have and who your family is.

The rich can't help flaunting what they have, trying to outdo each other and those less fortunate don't belong and they make sure they know it. While not all of the characters are shallow and shallowly written the majority are making this a tough book for me to wade through, however there was something intriguing about it.  Perhaps it was all the underhanded manipulations that kept me intrigued at the ingenuity of some of this crowd.

There are two more books in this series at this time and I'm not sure if I will read them, but if I want to dive back into the world of couture, private jets, shallow relationships and wicked women I know just where to turn.


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