Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Down a Dark Road -Linda Castillo

Product DetailsIn this electrifying new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

"Murder in Amish country has a certain added frisson, and Castillo’s the master of the genre.” People magazine

“Castillo weaves the particularities of the Amish mindset into a complex mystery that will leave you crying with pity or seething with rage.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
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 worshipped 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.

I was worried after the last book that this author had lost her touch, but this book proved me wrong -thank goodness!

Kate is off being a good cop again and boy does she pay for it. She is 'caught' trying to help a long time friend that had become estranged. He is Amish but had been sentenced for the murder of his wife; this is his big crime although there have been other crimes along the way.

This is a novel of corrupt policemen and police departments and how they can sometimes take advantage of those who don't understand or live by our rules like the Amish.

I dislike having to say that this book dept me guessing and at the edge of my seat, but it really did. At one point I had thought that it was going to be a cliff hanger, but it wasn't.

The secondary character's are mostly unlikable and disagreeable, but frankly that is how they should be. Even the Amish secondary character's got on my nerves a bit and I had to keep reminding myself that this is the way they live -by keeping to themselves.

This is not the type of Amish book that we read when we read Amish/Christian romances -this book is about the 'real' Amish or at least what I believe to be the true Amish. And I enjoy looking into this unusual lifestyle (at least it is to me). To add a murder into the mix is the cherry on the strudel!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mr. Right-Swipe


Mr. Right-Swipe


Mr. Right-Swipe
 

3.0 out of 5 stars Added StarJuly 7, 2017

Book Description - MR. RIGHT-SWIPE
A Tale of #LeftSwipes, #NotMyTypes, and #Vodka

Rae Wallace would rather drown in a vat of pinot greezh and be eaten by her own beagle than make another trip down the aisle--even if it is her best friend's wedding. She's too busy molding the minds of first graders and polishing that ol' novel in the drawer to waste time on any man.

But when her best friends stage an intervention, Rae is forced to give in. After all, they've hatched a plan to help her find love the 21st century way: online. She's skeptical of this electronic chlamydia catcher, but she's out to prove she hasn't been too picky with men.

However, when a familiar fella's profile pops up--the dangerously hot substitute teacher from work--Rae swipes herself right into a new problem...

Sarcastic, irreverent, and uproariously funny--the painfully-true, so-insightful-it-hurts kind of funny--Ricki Schultz's wry debut will speak to fans of Bridesmaids or Trainwreck, and to anyone who's ever been on a bad date.
 
 
Okay, I admit that I did not finish this book and I know that I will take a large hit because of that. I will also admit that this book was probably NOT geared towards anyone of my age, so I probably shouldn't be so harsh in my condemnation of it. I will say that I added a star since I believe that many others will love and appreciate this book much more than I did. However with what I did manage to finish, I found the premise of this book to be smarmy, the language difficult to understand, the character's unlikable and the idea of it all to be cliched. This is a case of what was popular ages ago merely being updated to today's standards and that is where the age of the reader may play a big role in the liking or not liking of this book.
 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The People We Hate at the Wedding – Grant Grinder

Product DetailsThe People We Hate at the Wedding – Grant Grinder


"Relationships are awful. They'll kill you, right up to the point where they start saving your life.
Paul and Alice’s half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at “it” restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins. They couldn’t hate it more.
The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a less than perfect family. Donna, the clan’s mother, is now a widow living in the Chicago suburbs with a penchant for the occasional joint and more than one glass of wine with her best friend while watching House Hunters International. Alice is in her thirties, single, smart, beautiful, stuck in a dead-end job where she is mired in a rather predictable, though enjoyable, affair with her married boss. Her brother Paul lives in Philadelphia with his older, handsomer, tenured track professor boyfriend who’s recently been saying things like “monogamy is an oppressive heteronormative construct,” while eyeing undergrads. And then there’s Eloise. Perfect, gorgeous, cultured Eloise. The product of Donna’s first marriage to a dashing Frenchman, Eloise has spent her school years at the best private boarding schools, her winter holidays in St. John and a post-college life cushioned by a fat, endless trust fund. To top it off, she’s infuriatingly kind and decent.
As this estranged clan gathers together, and Eloise's walk down the aisle approaches, Grant Ginder brings to vivid, hilarious life the power of family, and the complicated ways we hate the ones we love the most in the most bitingly funny, slyly witty and surprisingly tender novel you’ll read this year."

I generally like books about dysfunctional families. They tend to make me appreciate my own dysfunctional family even more. But this book was so out of left field that I very nearly decided to give up on it, but kept plodding through it just to see how it would end.

The premise was somewhat confusing once you started reading this – yes it did deal with exactly what the synopsis claims, but the ‘why’ of it all was so stupid that I wanted to scream.

Most of this book seemed to dwell on Paul and Mark’s relationship and sexual antics. The sex part was somewhat explicit but not over the top for this sort of book. However, this made for short shrift in dealing with the other members of this family. Oh, Alice got her own part and boy was she a bit whacko, but nothing compared to her brother! And the mother, Donna, well we don’t get much on her at all.

Then there is the not so beloved step-sister Eloise (and this is where I don’t see how this could come together to make a story, even a fictional one) who is hated by her younger brother and sister. She is hated because her father left her well-off? Because she wasn’t there for her step-sister’s emergency? Well so what of it? He wasn’t their father so how could they have such horrid reactions? She had her own problems (such as they were) when her sister had her emergency. Just plain jealousy is what it all turned into.


These are three of the most unlikeable characters I have met and I think had I ever net someone like this in real life I would run not walk away from them as fast as I could run. I have never felt less for character’s as I felt with this bunch…ALL of them. Even during the worst the world threw at this crew, I felt nothing for them. They were shallow, flat, unlikeable drug addicted, drunks, and attention prostitutes.

There is some closure, but not enough.
ARC supplied by publisher/author

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rich People Problems: A Novel by Kevin Kwan

Rich People Problems: A NovelKevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia's greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance. 
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside—but he's not alone. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim on their matriarch’s massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park—a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore—Nicholas’s childhood home turns into a hotbed of speculation and sabotage. As her relatives fight over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by her ex-husband—a man hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to China’s second richest man, billionaire Jack Bing, still feels second best next to her new step-daughter, famous fashionista Colette Bing. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a kidnapping at Hong Kong’s most elite private school to a surprise marriage proposal at an Indian palace, caught on camera by the telephoto lenses of paparazzi, Kevin Kwan's hilarious, gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets of Asia's most privileged families and their rich people problems.


What can I say about this book...well first thing it would help a lot if you make sure you read the first two books in this series (?). It might help you keep the myriad of characters straight. You might also want to be happy with foot-notes, a LOT of them. And let me tell you it is no picnic reading a book with foot-notes on a Kindle.

You need to be happy with constant advertising of items that the hoi polloi (like me!)wont know about, but with a book such as this it is the norm or how else would we know that these people are filthy rich if it wasn't for all the advertising???

There are a about a skagillion character's (it seems) and it is sometimes very difficult to keep them all straight, but the main character's of Nick and his sister Atstrid will grab you and they are fairly well written- not too fleshed out but enough so you can empathize with them.

In the long run this was a bit more boring than I would have thought a book of this type would be. It is also somewhat long winded, but again for a book of this type it is understandable.

I did love learning about Ah Ma and her past. She should have a book all to herself -it wouldn't be a funny one, but it sure would capture me!

I think that this author has so much more inside and could branch out from these ironic books, to something just as entertaining but with a little bit more to say.
ARC from Author and/or Publisher

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor

Sycamore"Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since. In the days it takes the authorities to make an identification, the residents rekindle stories, rumors, and recollections both painful and poignant as they revisit Jess’s troubled history. In resurrecting the past, the people of Sycamore will find clarity, unexpected possibility, and a way forward for their lives."
I'm not sure what exactly to say about this book. It is obvious that many people just loved this novel, but for me it was a very difficult read.

Yes this was a very literary, beautifully written and very deep novel and not something you would want to take on vacation to perk yourself up or to get lost in. The book does not really end well -or at least it doesn't end in any way other than the one which we already figured out right fro the beginning. As a matter of fact, in some ways it was a deeply disturbing novel - (this is a bit of a spoiler but needs to be said as it is missing from the synopsis) -there is a pedophilia aspect to this book that some will find...disconcerting? upsetting? contrived? brilliant? 

It was an interesting choice of the author to tackle something like this subject, but it is not the main crux of the book...it just seems to be that way since the topic is so controversial. 

I struggled to get at least half-way though and them at about 80% I just started skimming to find out for sure how this was going to conclude.

My problems mostly stem from the fact that this book is told from so many different view points and the time frame switches back and forth from the year 1991 to the year 2009 (and I think we even did a horizontal time shift at one point. LOL).

Another thing I had difficulties with is that most of the main character's seem to need heavy doses of anti-depressants and top notch psychiatrists - there was not a single person who didn't have some sort of angst problem, which for me made this a very depressing read. Yes, this is normal in any town -large or small, but it might have helped to have one person who doesn't go off the deep end, who can keep their cool even during the worst that life can dish out. 

I do understand that not everyone's lives are filled with sunshine and roses, so this is another reason why this book is going to be a hit. It really deals with real life in all of it's uncomfortable nakedness.

For me, I need something that takes me away from the problem's in my life and being reminded for this many pages on how bad it is out there just made me more depressed than I usually am.
*ARC supplied by publisher/and or author.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Not a Sound

A shocking discovery and chilling secrets converge in this latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf 

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters--her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?

New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf has been described as "masterful" and "intelligent" and compared to Lisa Scottoline and Jodi Picoult. Introducing her most compelling heroine yet, she delivers a taut and emotional thriller that proves she's at the top of her class.


ReviewI really don't know what to think about this book. If you are a fan of Nora Roberts and have read Angels Fall then you will be as astounded as I was that "Not a Sound" was so similar to the other. The only main differences between the two books is that the protagonist in this book was deafened in an accident and that she knew the murdered woman.

I liked the idea of a deaf protagonist and the author was very adept at making us see the world through Amelia's eyes, and the author does a great job of making us understand the nursing world, However, I was annoyed at some of the plotting - the great leaps of logic that Amelia made seemed nonsensical to me; the rehashing that she did of certain things just seemed like filler to me and did nothing to add to my enjoyment of this book.

Angels Fall:

Starts with frightening prologue.

The protagonist Reece, was a chef and was traumatically changed by being in a mass murder.

Reece was considered 'nutty' because her behavior changed after the murders.

She moved to a small town and there she witnessed a murder.

Nobody believed her.

She was stalked by the murderer and had things done to here that made her seem crazy.

Hot romance.

She over-thought things and put herself into the investigation of the murder.

Chase scene at the end of the book.

Not a Sound:

Starts with frightening prologue.

Amelia was a nurse who became deaf due to an accident.

She became a drunk due to the ramifications of her deafness and even when she became sober nobody really believed what she had concluded about the murder.

Mild romance.

She was stalked by the murder.

Chase scene at the end of the book.

Do you see what I mean? I liked the book well enough, I just couldn't seem to read it without thinking and comparing it to Angels Fall.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gwendy's Button Box


by 

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told... until now.
On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat... 
Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December. This book will be a Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive with no other editions currently planned anywhere in the world!



Although this should have been categorized as a novella it was not and it was a very, very short read.  However short it was, the story telling was intense and the concept of the story was very interesting.  The character of Gwendy was fully fleshed and the time span made this a very interesting book for those of us who had lived as adults or young adults through the ‘70’s.

The “what if” theme is one that has been done numerous times, but the way Mr. King and Mr. Chizmar handled it made it seem new and fresh.  The story does make the reader think very hard about how they would react to having this much power at their disposal and if the reader could handle it as Gwendy did.  

I really enjoyed and was captivated by this book.  It really did make me think ‘what would I do’.  I think it is going to be right up there with my other Stephen King go-to-reread: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

So many popular authors are collaborating lately. And a lot of them work out very well (Agnes and the Hitman Aug 21, 2007 by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer) for one.  It amazes me that so many readers are finding it repugnant the Mr. King has done so and it really isn't his first time (The Talisman: A Novel Sep 25, 2012 by Stephen King and Peter Straub) or his last (Sleeping Beauties: A Novel Sep 26, 2017by Stephen King and Owen King).